Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Paris, November 2012
About two years and 231 posts ago I started this blog with the intention of posting about books, movies, writing and travel. A few months later, Pat O'Dea Rosen agreed to join me and since then has enhanced my modest endeavor with her wit and insight, and in the process has become a dear friend.

As happens, my life took an unexpected turn last summer--a good turn, but one that added a great deal of complexity to my world. I've had to make some hard choices and one of those was to bow out of the blog. Pat will carry on and I'll certainly stop by and say hi. This, however, will be my last post so I thought I'd go back to the beginning and talk about my favorite subjects.

Three books stood out for me in 2012--two were part of Amanda Stevens' Graveyard Queen series. I loved 2011's THE RESTORER and was thrilled the next two, THE KINGDOM and THE PROPHET, were released this year. Amanda is a master of the Southern Gothic genre who never disappoints. I'm eager to read her new YA series.

The third book has been at the top of the New York Times Hardcover list and for good reason. Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL had me on the edge of my seat with all its twists and turns and the ending totally blew me away. This book proved to me that conventional wisdom--characters need to be likable in this case--can be reinterpreted with great success.

Of all the movies I saw this year, my favorites were THE AVENGERS  and SKYFALL. Both were action flicks but of a very different tone and nature. Superhero flicks haven't always appealed to me, but who could resist Robert Downey Jr as Ironman and Chris Hemsworth as Thor? And both in the same movie? Yes!! RDJ was the glue that held the cast together and CH was just hot and cool. If there's an AVENGERS 2, I'm totally on board.

I was never a Bond fan until the Daniel Craig era. As much as I've liked Sean Connery in other movies, I just never got Bond. The pretenders, we ignore. DC's dark, tortured Bond has hooked me with his all too human  flaws. In SKYFALL we're taken on a wild action ride that also addresses the demons within Bond, M and the deliciously evil villain. It's still in the theatre. Go. Now.

Carving out time for writing this fall was a challenge but I had the chance to see James Scott Bell at the Northwest Houston RWA's Lone Star Conference in October. I highly recommend his workshop for anyone who struggles with story structure like I do. He uses movie structure to illustrate how to write a novel that will grab and hold the reader. An added bonus--this structure is also very helpful in writing the dreaded synopsis.

Last year my rambling took me to Paris over Thanksgiving. Although my husband and I have been to the City of Lights together many times, this was one of the best of our visits. For anyone planning to spend more than a couple of nights there, I want to give you a piece of advice I wish I'd had years ago: rent an apartment in a part of the city close to things that interest you and become Parisian for a short while. There are many websites with offerings from modest to luxurious and some now take credit cards. These places are generally comparable in price to a decent hotel room and you'll have a kitchen enjoy some meals in and a sitting room to rest and recoup after a day sightseeing.

That wraps up my final thoughts but I'd love to hear from everyone about the highlights of your 2012...or just say good-bye. All my best wishes to everyone for a wonderful 2013!


Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

My inner child hates goodbyes, endings, and change. Give me a minute while I send her to time-out.

Okay, she's gone. Lark, I'll miss you, but your job is important and demanding. You're right to focus on it and on your fiction writing.

I want to say more about how you've inspired me, but I've saving it for my blog post Thursday. Bwahaha, you're going to have to pop in and visit to read it.

Thanks for asking me to join this blog back in 2011. Your friendship has been the reward.

Lark Howard said...

Change is good, Pat. You've inspired me as well and I'll definitely be back to visit Thursday and frequently thereafter.

Sarah Andre said...

You'll be missed on this blog, but since I see you often I guess this isn't a real goodbye!

I did not see many movies this year but agree wholeheartedly with your book reviews. I would also add Karen Slaughter, a bestselling RS author, I happened to come across last month. Breakneck pace and tightwire tension! I immediately bought her entire back list!

So long here and I'll see you this weekend!

Lark Howard said...

I put Karen Slaughter on my TBR list, Sarah. I appreciate all your visits here and comments over the past two years. And, of course, we'll still hang out in RL.

Sheila Seabrook said...

Lark, I want to wish you all the best in your future endeavours. I've enjoyed your posts during this last year. Take care of yourself and when you make that first sale (and second and third, etc, etc), make sure to let us know! :)

Louise Behiel said...

Ditto to everything that Sheila said. It's been a pleasure to get to know you this year. good luck with your new endeavors...and your writing.

Lark Howard said...

Thanks, Sheila. I appreciate all your comments over the last months and will keep up with you on Facebook.

Lark Howard said...

It was great getting to know you, too, Louise. Good luck to you, too!