Taking A Break

I’m going to be away from blog-land for awhile. Monday evening I got a call that my grandmother (my nan) was going to the hospital as she was having some problems with her breathing. On Tuesday my nan’s battle with lung disease (COPD) came to an end. She passed on peacefully, surrounded by family. We were all lucky enough to spend her last hours with her, comforting her and loving her. Nan wasn’t just my grandmother, she was my best friend, and I was blessed to have had her in my life for the past thirty-one years.

I’m not sure when I’ll be back, but I will return at some point. There are a few reviews that I’ve committed to for August, and I am sorry but those will more than likely be late. In the meantime anyone needing to contact me can send an email to shiloki@gmail.com

Take care everyone and enjoy the rest of your summer.

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Life Is A Highway: Terrible Song … Perfect Metaphor

Weird title for a post eh? But it fits how I’m feeling right now. Reminds me of that totally awesome feeling I have when speeding down a freshly paved highway, no cars in sight. Such a smooth ride, with the perfect breeze coming in the windows. I could drive like that for hours (and I have once on a straight 11 hour shot from Halifax to Montreal.) But then something cruddy happens: road construction, speed trap, tourists driving an RV at 30 below the speed limit. And suddenly all the happiness is gone and I feel like a nutter.

Anyway, 2 weeks ago (wow has it really been that long?) something happened that really threw my family for a loop. And I need to say thank you to everyone who left comments of support – seriously you guys are amazing. By writing out that post I did feel a little better, but truly it was the warm, thoughtful comments and advice that really helped me. It helped that I didn’t feel alone in my own head. It helped to hear that others felt the same. Thank you, thank you, thank you – I cannot say it enough.

As for how my son is getting on, he’s bounced back amazingly. I did some research, made some calls, and learned about the impact violence can have on kids. During this I heard terrifying things, so in my head I knew the worst case scenarios, maybe that helped a bit. The sleeplessness, loss of appetite and slight anxiety he experienced are normal and actually very positive compared to what could have occurred. Also we found out how to get on with life, basically we learned to live our normal lives but not to ignore what happened. So this incident is not a taboo topic. During a family reunion my son got a little anxious but everyone knew why and offered a hug or smile. We are not coddling, but we are being supportive when he needs it.

The hardest thing has been my instinct to protect him, keep him in sight. But that could be more harmful that anything. My son has been spending lots of time with his friends (an amazing group of teens who rallied around him in support) going to movies, sleep-outs, game tourneys, and just hanging out. Today he’s going to the beach with a friend of his whose visiting for the summer. My son is awesome and I’m so happy to say that.

However, the criminal outcome of all this is not going as well as I would like. The local police had handed  the case over to a special group of investigators. Apparently this is because of something going on that involves other crimes, that my son’s incident may be related to. The information our family has received so far is zilch. There have been quite a few reports coming from the same area where my son was attacked, a man was stabbed in the same spot, robberies, vandalism etc. At any given time of day when we drive through the area there are cop cars parked. It’s strange to see a crime-free area suddenly becoming dangerous.

Whoops, this was supposed to be just a short update. So, my son is doing terrific, and that’s the only thing that matters to us. It looks like this was just a traffic jam, and it’s clear driving for the next leg of our journey. (metaphorically speaking) :)

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

July 2009 ♦ Reading Recap

Books Read in July 2009

  1. The Lie ♦ Chad Kultgen
  2. Slights ♦ Kaaron Warren
  3. The Rapture ♦ Liz Jensen
  4. The Unit Ninni Holmqvist
  5. Toxin ♦ Paul Martin Midden
  6. Wait Until Twilight ♦ Sang Pak
  7. Assisted Loving ♦ Bob Morris
  8. Speak ♦ Laurie Halse Anderson
  9. Fade To Blue ♦ Sean Beaudoin
  10. My Sister’s Keeper ♦ Jodi Picoult
  11. Hide Your Life Away ♦ Carol Little
  12. It’s Only Temporary ♦ Eric Shapiro
  13. The Crying Tree ♦ Naseem Rakha
  14. Succulent Prey ♦ Wrath James White
  15. House Of Night 1 Marked ♦ PC & K Cast
  16. House Of Night 2 Betrayed ♦ PC & K Cast
  17. House Of Night 3 Chosen ♦ PC & K Cast
  18. House Of Night 4 Untamed ♦ PC & K Cast
  19. Moose: A Memoir Of Fat Camp ♦ Stephanie Klein


© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

TSS ♦ Ranting, Cause I May Explode Otherwise

This weekend is the Natal Day long weekend here in Canada. The weather began to clear up a few days ago and the forecasters were calling for bright, sunshiny days, and warm summery nights. Around our house it was meant to be a relaxing couple days for everyone. We’d not planned any major trips or events. We were just going to chill out and enjoy whatever happened to come up.

Now it’s Sunday afternoon, and I can say with all honesty that no one in our family expected this weekend to play out the way it has. There’s been no real fun, the laughs we’ve shared have felt forced, smiles are hard and our minds all seem occupied on other things. We’re all drifting in our own currents trying to figure out how to get things back on track. We are trying to keep things as normal as possible, but for me it’s really hard. I’m angry. More angry than I’ve ever felt in my life.

I’ve got a story I need to tell, for purely selfish reasons. I’m not looking for sympathy by sharing what’s happened. I’m only trying to use this blog and my ability to write whatever I want to release some of the anger that’s making me into a really unbearable person.  

The story starts out normal enough, a few days ago shortly after supper my son asked me if he could go over to a friends house to practice their HALO team game. Him and a group of friends have been participating in the local MLG competitions for some time now. (MLG is Major League Gaming – video gaming at a professional level normally involving co-op strategy/war games.) Anyways, it was about six-thirty in the evening, the sun was still shining and would be for at least four more hours. For my son to get to his friend’s house he would need to walk about ten minutes from our house. Along sidewalks in a suburban neighborhood of single family homes. Halfway there he would pass by the local high school, one of the most desirable schools in our area. Along with the school there are basketball courts, tennis courts and a nice playground for the younger kids, all well-maintained and in use most every day.

My kids have always had pretty strict rules they must obey. They’re never allowed outside past dark, we must always know where they are and who they are with. We drive them and their friends wherever they would like to go. And they always carry cell phones in case of emergency. But at fifteen I felt my son was mature enough to walk the ten minutes to his friends house. At some point as a parent you need to loosen the reins and give them a little freedom. And really it was only a ten minute walk. I know that allowing him to go was right, but I feel guilty that I didn’t drive him. Which is unreasonable I know.

Back to the story, my son has just passed by the high school I mentioned earlier and is only a few minutes away from his destination. But instead of walking the rest of the way, he ends up running as fast as he can. He needs to get to the safety of a friends home and a telephone. But why would he be running for a phone? He has the cell phone in his pocket to call for help if he needs it, right? No. He doesn’t have a cell phone anymore, or his iPod, or his backpack. And he’s scared to death.

What the hell happened? In a nice neighborhood, within shouting distance of people enjoying the sun, mowing their lawns, walking their dogs, pushing kids on swings – in this setting two men told my son that whatever he had in his pockets was worth more than his life.

About twenty minutes after saying good-bye to my son, I answered the phone to hear him screaming that someone tried to shoot him. Without letting him say another word I demanded to know where he was and screamed to the hubs to “GO GET HIM!” Hubs was out the door in seconds and I stayed on the phone with my son until hubs got there. Then I went to join them.

When I pulled up to the house, son was in hubs car and the police were there. They wanted the whole story and then for us to go home and wait. Here is what my son said:

I was walking along the sidewalk and two guys were walking toward me. I hopped on the curb to let them pass, then an arm grabbed me and spun me around. The guys got on either side of me and walked with me, talking like old friends. Then they told me to give them everything in my pockets, my iPod I was listening to and my backpack. When I said no, thinking they were joking, one guy pulled a gun from behind his belt buckle. So I handed over everything. They looked on my cell phone and asked if the name on a message was me, then told me that they knew who I was and that I shouldn’t tell anyone since they knew me. They pushed away from me and one guy said, you know we normally stab people so they can’t run, but you’re pretty young so you better run fast.

Can you believe that? I’m outraged that this could happen! Who are these assholes? But wait there’s the catch, the thing that makes me feel like a rabid dog, the thing that makes me want to go find them and murder them. To hurt them, slowly, so slowly. I want them to scream. I want them to pray to whatever god they believe in. What is killing me is that I know who these men are. But I can do nothing.

After talking to the police and being assured that they would be working on finding out what happened, I headed back home. But I decided, completely on a whim, to pull into a local convenience store to ask the owner if these two men came by. My son had gotten a very good look at them, he knew what they were wearing, what they looked like and most importantly – one of the men had a scar that went from the top of his cheekbone down to his neck. That was a pretty good and unique identifier. When I asked the clerk, he couldn’t recall a pair like this coming in, but then a person I knew came into the store and overheard. This person knew exactly who I was talking about. I was told that these guys were dangerous and with a promise to not say where I’d found out I got their names. Names that apparently the police are very familiar with. Names that a few other people have confirmed as the guys that assaulted my son.

Thankfully, they never physically harmed my son, but it is still assault. My son is and may continue to suffer from what they did to him. He can’t sleep, his appetite is gone and he’s scared. How do you fix these things? After being called and summoned to the police detachment my son and us spent hours, giving statements, answering questions, looking at photo spreads the police arranged. I understand that there are certain procedures that must be followed. I do. But my instinct is demanding vengeance, blood, pain. We know their names, and I want to just throw all the rules aside and go after them. The police try to say that it will work out and hey we might even get my son’s stuff back. But I don’t want his stuff back, that’s not the point. I want to scare them, I want to terrify them, I want them to experience what my son felt.

This is what I am fighting against at the moment. My mind is constantly thinking of how to hurt these bastards. And it’s wrong. Not for any religious or moral reasons, but because I know that if I do anything it can definitely ruin any chances we have of receiving justice the lawful way. We’ve been told these perpetrators will likely go to trial and receive jail-time. For now this is enough to slightly calm me, to focus on not blowing up in front of our family. But I worry that this instinct I feel to attack them is too strong and too natural to vanish completely. I understand that there are basic animal instincts that human beings, no matter how civilized, will always have in their genes. And I now believe that the mother’s instinct to protect her cubs is the strongest and most violent. It is a reaction that came so naturally to me, and I still feel that if I saw these two men walking down the street, it would be impossible not to tear them apart, to revel in their destruction.

Not such a nice story to hear on a beautiful August day, but I needed to get this off my chest. I’m hoping that by writing out my thoughts it might lighten my mind for just a minute. If you’ve made it this far I thank you. Thank you for listening to my rant. Thank you for sharing this experience with me. And if I seem to be less active or chatty or good at blogging and commenting, this is why.

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Fade To Blue ♦ Review & Visit From The Author

About The Book

Sophie Blue is sarcastic, artistic, and always decked out in black leather and Midnight Noir lipstick. A year ago on her birthday, her dad left. Or spontaneously combusted. Or joined an Amazonian cult. Either way, it’s sorta bad timing, since a scary Popsicle truck with tinted windows has started circling the house.

Kenny Fade is a basketball god. He’s got the cheerleader, the scoring title, the matching sweat suit, and sneakers that cost more than his Jeep. He’s the guy all the ladies (and their mommas) want. Bad.

Sophie Blue and Kenny Fade don’t have a thing in common. Aside from being reasonably sure they’re losing their minds.

Book Title: Fade To Blue Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Author: Sean Beaudoin Type: Hardcover 208 Pages
Publisher: LB Teens Publication Date: August 2009

Today I am thrilled to be hosting an author guest blogger to share a few words with everyone. Friends and readers please join me in welcoming Sean Beaudoin, author of Fade To Blue.

I had a friend in high school. She was short and wore nerdy glasses and black skirts and really liked bands like The Cure and Bauhaus and Echo and the Bunnymen. I liked heavier guitar-oriented stuff, but when she’d come over and say hi to my mom, accept a cookie, and then tromp up to my room, I usually let her DJ. We never did anything particularly interesting. I had a small, dark room with ugly brown carpet and dark blue walls covered with sports posters I no longer cared about. We’d lay on the floor and listen to music. We’d prop our feet and make fun of things in low voices and cut up her fashion magazines. She used pinking shears and I used my dad’s army knife. She’d purposely spill the glue on me. I’d make her smell my sock. She’d talk about wanting to change her hair color and I’d talk about wanting to change it back. She always had some guy she liked who never approached her and I always had some girl I liked I was afraid to approach. There was never any thought that we’d be a couple and never any weird tension about it. We were cool and easy and it didn’t need a lot of analysis. She had a tiny little hatchback we drove around town in. My legs barely fit under the dash. It smelled like the baby of the aunt she’d bought it from, and was always running out of gas.

It went on like that for a year.

And then we just stopped hanging out.

I’m still not sure why.

When someone asks me what Fade To Blue is about, I usually give them a pretty stock answer: losing your mind, being paranoid, trust, having a little brother, ice cream, basketball, zombie fantasies, nurses, that guy, that girl, that parent. I tell them that because the truth is too hard to explain. The truth is that Fade To Blue is really about what it felt like for that year to be lying on my bedroom floor. With that friend. To not be worried about what you said or did or if you acted stupid or if your joke was funny enough. Being at ease and understood. Knowing someone’s reference before it even comes out of their mouth. Fade To Blue is about clangy music and bad sweaters and an entire pubescence of lousy stuff to choose from in the fridge.

And then losing all that. For no good reason. I wanted to capture that feeling, and somehow it just ended up becoming a book.

Wow! When I first read the above guest post, I immediately knew that Sean’s book had been completely successful in capturing that feeling he was going for. Fade To Blue is confusing and bizarre and sad, but not in any negative way. Reading this book feels like being pulled into a dream-world where you are following a character on a strangely exciting adventure. Nothing feels quite real, but it’s all so vivid and scary that you can’t help but believe. And hope. That’s one of the things that helped me navigate through the story, my hope and confidence that Sophie Blue would make it, that she would uncover the mysteries and eventually discover the girl she is meant to be. Because Sophie is so much more than the nasty nicknames and goth-girl costume she hides behind.

Comics are an important part of the story, and in keeping with that theme Fade To Blue has a graphic intermission of sorts. The book begins with Chapter None, working it’s way up to Chapter Twenty. There the traditional textual story format is paused and we are treated to a comic break – which does indeed have something to do with the main story. After that the story continues with another Chapter Twenty, but from this point one the chapters change direction and the countdown is begun. I really enjoyed this, it gave the second half of the story an increasingly frantic pace. It was also cool to see how the chapters were titled, they were all numbered, with the point of view character listed and each had an awesome little sub-title. Here’s one of my favorites to show an example:

Chapter Three
Sophie Blue
It’s Just Like A Horror Movie, Except No Cameras
Or Lights Or Actors, And Also, It Goes On Forever

Fade To Blue was unique and fun, with tons of clever twists and turns. Like falling down a rabbit-hole and landing smack in the middle of a surreal labyrinth. Sophie is a character that the reader can empathize with fully, she’s surrounded by strangers wearing familiar faces, and it’s so very easy to get pulled into the paranoia of her life. This is a book that would be impossible to label – there are elements of futuristic science fiction, splashes of techno-conspiracy, and hints of social satire, all pulled together by the turmoil of contemporary adolescent life.

It was with great pleasure that I read Sean Beaudoin’s most imaginative novel Fade To Blue, and it was fantastic to have him stop by The Book Zombie today. Thanks so much Sean!

About The Author
Sean Beaudoin is the author of Going Nowhere Faster, which was nominated for the YALSA Best Book Of The Year award. His short fiction and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Glimmer Train, Redivider, The Onion, Narrative, and The New Orleans Review.
He lives in Seattle with his wife and daughter and is currently working on a crime fiction novel.
Sean’s website is www.seanbeaudoin.com

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© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.