Friday, August 29, 2008

Sort of weird things that happened to me recently that sound made up and AREN'T! Pt.1

Okay, as you may or may not know, the lovely ladies of Book Binge are having SHOMI Spotlight month (go enter to win a ton of Shomi books!).  

Anyway, I was so flattered when they asked me to do a review of a Shomi. I went out to my B & N to pick one up.  I wanted to do one that everybody else wasn't reading, but I could only find the three that everybody is reading right now, and I figured surely there would be more. I thought, okay, maybe I'm not seeing the others, or they're shelved somewhere else.  

Me to the clerk: I'm looking for Shomi books.  You have three out there, but I was wondering if you have any more.

Clerk: [Blank look.]

Me: Published by Dorchester? 

Clerk:  Oh! Dorchester, okay. What's the author?

Me: I'm not sure.  But there are only a few.  I just want to know what you have in stock of Dorchester's Shomi

Clerk: [Weird look at me.]

Me: The line is [pause - I'm stressing the word now]  Shomi.

Clerk: Nervously turns the computer monitor to face me.  Dorchester has a lot of books.

Me: But within Dorchester, can you just search for, you know,  Shomi

Clerk: [Nervously gestures to screen.]  These are all the Dorchester books right here.  You can see them right here.

At this point I realize she thinks I'm actually saying Show me?  Like I'm this total bitch freak. No wonder I was making her nervous.  I felt like I was trapped in a Laurel and Hardy routine.  I doubt this is a really unique story. I've mentioned Shomi to a few other people, and if they're not hip to what it is, they really do think I'm saying SHOW ME in some freak out of context way.

Anyway, once I spelled it, she got with the program. And indeed, they only had the three.  

Then she asks me what Shomi books are like, and I tell her it's sort of in the vortex of sci fi, action adventure and romance. She suggested I try the Sookie Stackhouse series instead. Which I found a bit odd, frankly.  Though I do like those books, but they more live at the vortex of mystery and romance. I might've gone more with Linnea Sinclair. 

Anyway, the Book Binge gals hooked me up. I'm reading Liz Maverick's WIRED.  I know, it's not exactly obscure as Shomis go. But cripes!  I can't believe how much I like it!  So I'll be reviewing it over at Book Binge soon. Glowingly. Fawningly. I honestly didn't think I'd actually be finding a new author to really like with this little Shomi thing, but wow. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Meme Freakout

Okay, as some of you may have noticed, I am the worst meme-doer ever. But okay, I have been recently tagged for two memes, and I'm doing them!

Meme #1
The first is from Ellen - a meme entitled Six Unspectacular Things About Me.
Here are my unspectacular quirks:
1. I am addicted to chapstick.
2. I hate mushrooms and all puddings on the grounds of texture.
3. I have to listen to a specific Led Zeppelin song every day before I write.
4. I forget all jokes told to me, except two stupid ones that inexplicably stay in my brain.
5. I know it's uncool to use as many exclamation marks as I do, but I can't stop myself!!!!
6. I LOVE to see brides outside of churches.
Meme Terms & Conditions
1. Link the person who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
4. Tag 6 other bloggers by linking them & leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they have been tagged.
Okay, I'm tagging you back on this one, MaryKate you meme lover you!

Meme #2
This next is from MaryKate: and it is clearly going to grow to be the longest meme ever because you add a question!!

1. What is your occupation?
Advertising writer.

2. What color are your socks right now?
Black with a red snowflake pattern design.

3. What are you listening to right now?
Crickets outside my window and a kitty purring in my lap making it really hard to type.

4. What was the last thing that you ate?

A bite of cheese right off the block. Chomp.

5. Can you drive a stick shift?

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Burnt Sienna
. Definitely!

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
A new client who wants me to do a
voiceover script.

8. Do you like the p
erson who sent this to you?
Oh, yes!

9. Favorite drink?
Arnold Palmer (Ice Tea and Lemonade)

10. What is your favorite sport to watch?

11. Have you ever dyed your hair?

Every five weeks, Mister.

12. Pets?
Two kitties, Tiberius and Oblio.

13. Favorite food?
Curly fries.

14. Last movie you watched?
Wanted. It sucked!

15. Favorite Day of the year?

16. What do you do to vent anger?
Throw things around or go running.

17. What was your favorite toy as a child?

That car ramp with a little crank elevator.

18. What is your favorite, fall or spring?

19. Hugs or kisses?
Depends on who is doing the kissing. But generally, hugging.

20. What kind of pie?

21. Living arrangements?
One part of a triplex with my husband.

22. When was the last time you cried?

This past weekend.

23. What is on the floor of your closet?
Clothes, shoes, dust bunnies.

24. Favorite smell?
Chocolate chip cookies baking.

25. What inspires you?
The prospect of abject failure.

26. What are you afraid of?

Abject failure.

27. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers?
No hamburger. I'll take extras fries instead.

28. Favorite car?
Any that is cheap and runs. Good mileage a plus. Okay, I'll take heated seats.
And fluffy stuff around the steering wheel.

29. Favorite cat breed?
High strung gray tabbies, as well as orange and white boys.

30. Number of keys on your key ring?
Three plus one tiny unknown, but it's cute.

31. How many years at your current job?

32. Favorite day of the week?

33. How many states/provinces have you lived in?
Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota.

34. How many countries have you been to?
About, oh, 20.

35. How much do you love "Knowing Me, Knowing You" by ABBA?
a TON.

36. The name of the first person you kissed (romantically)?Brian Wiese!
37. Are you the oldest child, youngest child, middle or only?
Oldest of three girls.

Tagging...Sarai and Tracy.
(and if you don't want to do it, you are excused, because I ignore meme tags all the time.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blogger meet-up

Okay, I just got back from my long weekend trip to Pewaukee to visit my mom and sister and her family. We spent a lot of time just sitting on the porch overlooking Pewaukee lake and talking. My brother-in-law and I had a heated argument on whether you can see the Southern Cross from Wisconsin.

I suspect I was on the wrong side of it. It was great to see them, and difficult to say goodbye, as usual.

And then I made a side trip to Chicago to meet up with Lisabea, her daughter, and Shannon. I am happy to report everybody was not only quite sane but lovely and funny and smart and delightful.

The group of us had a great time!

I was nervous, and I wasn't sure what to wear at all - or what to bring - but I settled on an apron type dress, and a black dress for later. Can you ever go wrong with a black dress?

LB and I had a lot in common. We were instant friends!

The group of us went to this Tapas restaurant where we gorged ourselves on about 20 different yummy items, drank Sangria, talked fondly about books and a million other things, and had a generally jolly time.

Later, LB and daughter and I walked all around Chicago. Very fun.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Okay, the exciting results of the Nancy Drew contest:

Winner of the (possibly signed) Clues to Real Life Book: LIZA!

Winner of the fabulous Nancy Drew tote: NAIDA

Winner of the gift certificate to a bookstore of your choice, but not Amazon: KIM!

Drop me an email and we'll get these prizes out! (carolyn7000 (at)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Nancy Drew, Last day!

The end of Nancy Drew week!

This has been SO fun. Thanks everybody for stopping by. Special thanks to Sarai, Katie(babs), Ellen, Kim, Tracy and Jenn Fisher for their very fun and excellent contributions! 

Okay, I'm racing to catch my train to go out of town, so I'm going to pick contest winners either later tonight when I get to my destination (Pewaukee Wisconsin!) Or bright and early Saturday morning. Because you know, I still do the ripped up names on paper things which is time intensive!!

Up for grabs: The fabulous tote, the hilarious and possibly signed Clues for Real Life book, and the amazing $15 gift certificate! (Details at the end of day 3 post)

I want to close with a passage from Nancy's Mysterious Letter that I thought was really sweet.

At the end, somebody asks Ned and Nancy if they are detectives.
The young people began to laugh, then Ned said, “I’m not, but Nancy Drew is the best girl detective in the whole world!”

“Don’t you believe him,” Nancy said quickly. “I have solved some mysteries, I’ll admit, and I enjoy it, too, but I’m sure there are many other girls who could do the same.”

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nancy Mania, Day FOUR!

The second part of our exclusive interview with Nancy Drew

Your boyfriend Ned Nickerson is so supportive and awesome. Do you ever disagree about anything?

ND: Ned’s great and he’s so patient! He knows that mysteries are very important to me, though he’s always pestering me to attend Emerson fraternity dances but sometimes a girl just has to sleuth! Mysteries often have a way of catching up to me at Emerson events and often our dates involved stakeouts and chasing after suspects. Ned’s even taken a few punches and been kidnapped in the pursuit of my suspects. He’s such a trooper and he never complains. What a guy!

Now we've heard some buzz about you and FRANK HARDY! Is it possible Frank could ever eclipse Ned in your affections?

ND: Ned is so patient, he's a great guy, he can take a few punches for the team and bounce right back--he also follows orders. I've trained him well. He's really into football and insurance sales though, so sometimes Frank Hardy can seem like an adventurous side trip--he's got great detective skills and has a lot in common with me. I'll admit, I've given him more than a passing glance before and we have kissed, but I think in the long run, Ned is the steady guy for me.

You have used many aliases and disguises. What was your most memorable disguise? Do you have any advice for the modern girl who wants to conceal her identity?

ND: My most memorable disguise would have to be from The Whispering Statue case, where I dressed up as “Debbie Lynbrook” complete with a dark wig and glasses. George even made me a set of calling cards with my alias on them! In hindsight, my worst alias was probably Nan Drewry…My advice for the modern woman, would be to use both a disguise and a good alias that has nothing to do with you or your name. And speak with an accent for that extra dash of flair!

You have helped so many crime victims with your sleuthing abilities. Do any cases stand out in your mind as being especially rewarding to you personally?

ND: I always help others, it’s my great passion in life, and every case has been rewarding in so many ways. Of course, I always have help from my friends and couldn’t have done it without them! My first case, I always have a special place for in my heart as I was able to help so many in need of money to better their lives in The Secret of the Old Clock. And in The Password to Larkspur Lane, I was able to catch a host of thieves who were stealing elderly people’s fortunes and imprisoning them in a fake nursing home.

Talk about a great job!
Thanks to Jennifer Fisher for playing the part of Nancy for part 1 &2 of this interview as nobody else could. Fisher is an author, consultant and historian of all things Nancy Drew; she conducts lectures, programs, conventions and interviews nationwide, consults on book identifications and values. (She was the Nancy Drew Consultant for Warner Brothers on the 2007 Nancy Drew movie!) and is President of the Nancy Drew Sleuths fan group. Find Fisher at

Tracy examines a Modern Nancy Drew Book!

TITLE: The Mistletoe Mystery – A Nancy Drew book
AUTHOR: Carolyn Keene
SERIES: Hello! It’s Nancy Drew!

Well, I had planned on reading another ND book that my daughter has, but it mysteriously disappeared when I was looking for it (maybe I should call ND and her come investigate). Anyway, so I got this one from the library.

SUMMARY: (from Goodreads)
Nancy's friend Bess has been hired by Special Effects, a River Heights company, to decorate Albemarle's department store for the holidays. When Bess discovers that her friend Ali Marie is now working at the store, she's thrilled -- the two of them can have lunch and try on clothes for fun! But when some dresses are swiped, Ali is accused of stealing, and the party's over.
Sure of her friend's innocence, Bess calls in Nancy to help find the real thief. With all the suspects and misleading clues, Nancy and her friends are running in circles -- and the holiday shopping rush isn't helping! Can they figure out the identity of a clothes-hungry kleptomaniac before the holiday season turns sour?

So I was a little hesitant to read this book because it was one of the newer Nancy Drew Mysteries and I wanted to read one of the older ones to get that feeling again that I felt when I was reading them 1000 years ago. But, CJ convinced me to read it anyway.

It was very strange to read this book. It was good, and from what I remember a typical Nancy Drew Mystery, but it was so updated that it was odd.

Let’s get a little into the story…
So as you read in the summary, Nancy is trying to solve the mystery of the theft of a shipment of dresses from the Juniors Department at a large Department store in River Heights. (The place kind of sounds like a Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s from the description). Ali works in Wave (Junior department) and is accused of stealing the dresses, but management is obviously not convinced she’s done the stealing since she’s only been fired, but not arrested. Along with the dresses being stolen Ali has informed Nancy that there are things being stolen out of the electronics department as well. (This is one of those places that seemed odd to me since they were talking about minicomputers, handhelds and other electronics. Those weren’t invented in the earlier books!)

Nancy has stepped in to try to help figure out who is taking the merchandise. She talks to the head of security, Jack, and although he’s heard of Nancy and her great reputation of solving crime, he says he doesn’t need her help, thank you anyway. Nancy basically doesn’t listen and keeps up her investigation.

This part irked me a little in the fact that this is a huge department store with security cameras, etc., but Nancy still feels that they need her help. Did she do this in all her books? I just can’t remember. She even goes so far as to sneak into the head of security’s office, copy security reports and steal passwords! This was sooooo not the Nancy I remembered! THEN, as if that were bad enough, Nancy, Bess and George basically break into the office again, hack into Jack’s computer (well I guess it’s not hacking since she stole his password!) and looked into personnel files. I was appalled that this happened! My Nancy just doesn’t do that kind of thing!

Nancy did tell Jack the next day that she broke into his computer and although he wasn’t happy he just told her not to do it again. WTF???? OMG – how about call the police?! Lol (sorry Nance but that’s just wrong!) When I was reading the books when I was younger and Nancy used to do things she wasn’t supposed to do I thought it was pretty cool. Maybe because I couldn’t do any of that stuff? Did she always break laws to get her cases solved? IDK. Am I just old? Again, IDK!

Nancy ended up getting help from her friends and solving the crime in the end. She got commendations from the department store and ended up saving them a ton of money because the thefts stopped.

Overall I think it was a great little book and would definitely recommend it to young teens. Nancy as usual was inventive in her case cracking and capture of the criminal.

Find Tracy at the fabulous Ahhhhh Romance

Newsy updates:

Sarai has caught Nancy Drew fever! Check her "13 Things Nancy Drew Taught Me." One of my faves:
#4: Always keep your friends close. You never know when they might come in handy as a decoy for a foiled kidnapping scheme.
Tomorrow: Winners announced and more!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Crazy about Nancy, Day 3

Thrillionth Page exclusive: Interview with Nancy Drew!
Part 1 of 2

Nancy, it is such an honor to have you as a guest! We are such fans of yours - thanks so much for joining us.

Okay, you've been sleuthing a long time. Can you say a little bit about your first case, and how you got your start in all this?

ND: I got my start in the sleuthing business thanks to Josiah Crowley whose final will I had to hunt down in The Secret of the Old Clock. I showed up those snooty Topham sisters too.
I’m a magnet for mystery, or so my friends say! Sometimes it’s a lot of work and sometimes it’s plain luck and a clue materializes just when I need it. Like those times that I’d be walking down the street and a note will just fall out of a suspects pocket!

You've run up against some pretty frightening foes. Could you tell us about your most memorable or scary villain(s)? 

ND: One of the most memorable crooks I nabbed was Frank Semitt from The Sign of the Twisted Candles case. He was such a bumbler and I made him eat my dust when I outran him in my spiffy roadster and he drove into the ditch!

One of the most frightening foes was Bush Trott, when he tied me up in the secret room next to the attic of Pleasant Hedges in The Secret of the Old Attic. He left behind a poisonous spider to do me in. The thought of being bound and gagged and left in the dark with a spider crawling my way was horrifying! Thankfully Ned rescued me at the psychological moment and stepped on the spider!

A lot of books nowadays feature mystery-solving girls getting together with vampires, werewolves or demons and so forth. What are your views on that? 

ND: I don’t believe in ghosts. And every “monster” I’ve ever encountered was some crook who was trying to pull a scam over some innocent victim. Like that Natham Gomber from The Hidden Staircase who was pretending to haunt The Mansion and scare the Turnbull sisters!

Or, those pesky treasure hunters Al and Sid who were trying to haunt the ranch in The Secret at Shadow Ranch with the phantom horse. And that vampire I ran into in my Nancy Drew Ghost Stories case, haunting that cave in the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania, was just a creep trying to use the cave for nefarious purposes!

Your girlfriends - fun, boy-crazy Bess and tomboy George - have such different personalities. What it's like to sleuth with them?

ND: They’re like oil and water and I’ve learned over the years to try and stay out of their disagreements and not take sides! Poor Bess, she’s such a fraidy and likes to eat all the time! And George, she’s such a tomboy and enjoys picking on Bess. Their constant bickering aside, they are big helpers! George is always up for adventure and her judo comes in handy sometimes like the time she nailed that fake detective flat on my hallway floor in The Clue in the Crossword Cipher who was trying to steal my big clue—the crossword cipher! And Bess, though she often gets left as a guard on sleuthing ventures or waits in the car, she really came through in The Phantom of Pine Hill when George and I were knocked out by the villain and she managed to knock him out and run for help!

~ Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of this exclusive interview! ~
The Spider Sapphire Mystery
Aka Nancy Gets Her Passport Stamped. (heh. no. That is not a euphemism for anything)
by Kim

I loved everything about Nancy Drew books. The mystery, the camaraderie, the food, the adventure, the titles (Back when they knew how to title a book, yes I am pointing at you Harlequin) and the covers.

The titles told you exactly what to expect in the book and the covers gave you so much more. This was never more true than with The Spider Sapphire Mystery. Just the mention of the word spider made the book scary for me but then you throw in jewels too, and I am soooo there. It also gave me a spelling lesson. Sapphire has two “p’s”. That was a 4th grade “High Hat” word. So WIN! The cover had a big-as-your-head (seriously, it is as big as Nancy’s head) sparkly blue sapphire with a huge black spider imbedded in it with Nancy gazing up at it from behind. It scared the crap out of me and I loved it.

This book had a lot of peril and DANGER! in it for our intrepid heroine and pals. It starts off with a suspected jewel heist, takes us along on a safari in Africa, and we find a missing person. Here are a few hijinks our brave companions faced.Nancy’s purse snatched!
  • Ned kidnapped!
  • Warning notes!
  • Nancy attacked and suffocated with a bag!
  • George snatched by a man in a gorilla suit!
  • Ned, Burt and Dave hurt while chasing attackers!
  • Acid on suitcase handles burns Ned and Nancy’s hands!
  • More warning notes and a Death mask!
This book also had a character that I hated. She wasn’t the villain, she was a classmate that went along on the safari with Nancy. I call her Gwen the Whiner.

She was a brat. I imagined my 10 year old self sitting behind her in class and cutting her hair with my brand new 4th grade issued pointy end scissors. Yeah, you heard me. No more blunty end scissors for me, sistas. I was moving up in the world. My BFF’s and I were chugging the haterade for this chick. Then Bess gave Gwen the Whiner a make-over and washed her hair. So now everyone liked Gwen the Whiner. Now that she was pretty. And. Had.Clean.Hair. Yeah. Hmmmm.

Anywho, we get to learn about spiders who may or may not have had spinneret’s, jewels, safari’s, African animals and tribes, bad hotels where people break in your room and set your clothes aflame, food, medical attention and care of acid burns and wood carving. We took out the bad guys and we found a missing person. It was a great adventure.

A few more random notes from Nancy’s Mysterious Letter

by Carolyn Jean

Okay here is a little scene I rather liked. Look what a great driver Nancy is! This is a scene that will unfortunately never happen between my husband and me, for numerous reasons:
Parking was allowed only on one side and she had to go to the next block before finding a space.
Ned teased her by saying he was sure she would never squeeze her convertible in such a tight parking place. However, after several skillful twists of the wheel, Nancy maneuvered the car in the vacant spot. Ned admitted he could not have done a finer job.
Onto the shoe clue - I should've asked Nancy about this shoe business in the interview, because it was very odd, and went nowhere: the random shoe clue.
A little background: The alert little boy who had been so helpful earlier, getting a description and partial license plate for the villain, Edgar Nixon, brought this shoe to Nancy, claiming it belonged to him. When this happened, I thought, well, what are they going to do with a shoe? There wasn’t any footprint evidence.

Nancy was determined to bring it to the police, and I sort of thought, the police are just going to laugh at her. But they didn’t. They just accepted it, without comment. I figured the shoe would come into play somehow (an APB for a man with one shoe? Find the match in an incriminating situation?) but the shoe clue never came to anything.

At the end of the book, the police simply handed it back to Nancy, saying, well, we couldn’t do anything with this. Was this one of those threads an author puts out, just in case, but then never ties up? Was this the author’s sly way of suggesting that the police sometimes humor Nancy? Or was it put in to show the reality of an investigation: some leads are strange, some leads go nowhere?

Newsy Nancy Drew items:

Okay! WHAT is this I hear about Nancy and Frank Hardy?

I missed my chance to ask about this in the interview, but Sarah mcq, who clearly knows what she’s talking about, made this comment in the Nancy day 1 comment section in response to another commenter who mentioned the Hardy Boys:
Since you enjoyed the Nancy Drew appearances in the old Hardy Boys, you might also consider looking for the more recent "Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Mysteries". They're more recent paperbacks in which Nancy and the Hardys each start out on their own mysteries, only to discover(gasp!) that their cases are related. Regular appearances from George and Bess too, but less Ned, since there's also some great Nancy-Frank tension...
Oh boy, this is distressing. I can see where Frank and Nancy would have a lot in common, but poor Ned!

Another blog is also doing Nancy Drew week:

The Stiletto Gang, which appears to be a group of woman mystery authors, is doing a thing on Nancy Drew week too. There can never be too much Nancy!

Nancy Drew on the Web!

In doing this week, I've found a number of interesting Nancy Sites. The Nancy Drew Sleuths is an International organization of fans and scholars with annual conventions and an ongoing discussion groups. Site features a Sleuth Shop, annual Sleuth conventions, Sleuth Awards, a series magazine The Sleuth and Sleuth charitable endeavors, as well as ND Sleuths: Jr. Detective Squad Club.

The Nancy Drew Sleuth unofficial website is another great one, chock full of information on the books, history, collectibles and more, and is related to ndsleuths.

Giveaway Details:
Comment, contribute or pimp Nancy Drew Week by tomorrow and you’re entered for the following prizes:

Clues for Real Life: This fun book is filled with witty and often tongue-in-cheek quotes, interactive quizzes and trivia as well as humorous insights. “It is a great nostalgia ride in that blue roadster down memory lane for any Nancy Drew® fan!”

Nancy Drew Tote: Who doesn’t need another tote? It is made of leather and the cover of the Secret of the Old Clock. And hey, it’s Nancy.

Gift Certificate: A $15 gift certificate to the bookseller of your choice that’s not Amazon.

More Nancy Fun!
Tomorrow: Part 2 of the interview, Tracy's review of a 2002 Nancy Drew mystery and possibly another item.
Friday: Winners announced and I go out of town.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nancy Madness, Day 2

Thrillionth Page Scoop!
The Secret of the Slush Pile: Never-published Nancy Drew Mysteries
By Ellen

The successful debut of the Nancy Drew series in 1930 had a tremendous impact on purveyors of popular published works. Series originator Edward Stratemeyer had discovered an entirely new market of consumers with disposable income: American girls who were old enough to babysit but not yet old enough to drive. To meet the demands of this lucrative readership, Stratemeyer employed several ghostwriters to produce stories featuring the titian-haired teen sleuth and her easy-to-tell-apart friends.

The true identity of series writer “Carolyn Keene” did not remain a mystery for long. By the early 1960s, Stratemeyer’s use of ghostwriters was an open secret. However very little has been known about the would-be authors who hoped to make the cut but failed to grasp the essential framework and formulae of the Nancy Drew franchise.

This mystery, perhaps the last and longest-held secret of the Drew dynasty, was solved in 2006, when an anonymous donor left a four-drawer filing cabinet at a Goodwill in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Goodwill volunteers discovered that the cabinet contained more than 70 years’ worth of rejected Nancy Drew manuscripts. It appears that, within weeks of the release of The Secret of the Old Clock, Stratemeyer’s family business was deluged with spec submissions from penurious novelists, playwrights, poets and other liberal arts graduates—each hoping for a slice of the lucrative juvenile mystery pie. It is evident from the contents of the cabinet that the stream of unsolicited material endured into the 21st century.

Several are marked with doodles or coffee stains. Some bear handwritten notes, such as “Well-plotted but creepy,” or “Lacks basic understanding of English syntax.” Many appear untouched.

Like Nancy Drew herself, this collection of never-to-be Nancys reflects our changing times. Unlike their published counterparts, the rejected manuscripts provide a fascinating, perhaps unwelcome, peek into the preoccupations and proclivities of three generations of failed writers. The following list is a representative sampling.

The Original Hair Color (1931)

The Secret Lady Spot (1934)

The Tax Forms in the Attic (1947)

The Box at the Back of the Closet (1951)

The Clue in the Pants Pocket (1958)

The Message in the Bottle of Valium (1964)

Return to the Secret Lady Spot (1968)

The Ancient Chinese Secret (1973)

The Clue to the Brownish Condiment (1979)

The Abruptly Discontinued Eye Shadow (1983)

The Smell in the Old Condominium (1990)

The Map to the Secret Lady Spot (1992)

The Thing That Went with That Thing (1996)

The Whereabouts of the Good Tweezers (1997)

The Hollow Tree at Hazelden (2001)

The Assembly Instructions for the Ikea Bookcase (2002)

The Mystery of Christopher Hitchens’s Career (2005)

Find Ellen at the very entertaining A Girl's Garden of Menopause

My Adventures with Nancy ‘Super Sleuth’ Drew
by Kim
The mair I kissed her the mair I lo'ed her
The mair I kissed her the mair she smiled
An' I forgot my mither's teaching
Nancy soon had me beguiled.
I began my adventures with Nancy Drew books in the 4th grade. The first ND book I read was my mother’s 1930’s copy of The Secret of the Old Clock. Being in the fourth grade, the vernacular of this old school book confused me. I am pretty sure it made me want to die. I didn’t know what the heck a roadster was. So, my mother took me to the library and we checked out a revised edition of The Clue in the Old Album. Thus began my love affair with Nancy and the gang. She did everything boys did, but she did it in a dress and heels. I soon spread my addiction to my 2 BFF’s. We rode our bikes to the library every week to check out the Nancy’s. We even called ourselves Nancy, Bess and George. I was Nancy because I was the only blonde. Hey, don’t mock me; I was in the fourth grade.

My favorite book is The Clue in the Diary. This is the book that introduces Nancy’s man, Ned Nickerson. To a ten year old, the best thing about ND books is the exclamations. Everyone exclaimed! I was all about exclamation points. Ned’s coolness factor soared because he did a lot of exclaiming. I loved that about him! He thought Nancy was the bee’s knees. In this story about mail and insurance fraud, Ned often admires Nancy’s smarty pants, isn’t afraid to compliment her on her detecting skills and he jumps right into the mystery to help her. And, yes, he even takes her to a dance. He was this ten year old’s perfect man.
“You’re being very mysterious,” Ned complained good-naturedly. “How about letting me in on the secret?”

Nancy laughed. “Maybe you shouldn’t beg too hard, Ned. You may find yourself being called upon to do all kinds of outlandish sleuthing jobs.”

“I’m at your service,” Ned replied quickly.

Little by little, Nancy told him the details. When she finished, Ned said, “You’ve certainly done some terrific detective work!”
This was a great story about Nancy and her friends eating, discovering the intricacies of the mail system, insurance fraud, eating, learning Swedish, finding out about the history of diaries, eating, and mostly about helping others in need. At the end of the book Nancy holds a victory celebration at her home.
“It really was a gorgeous party!” Bess sighed blissfully. “Such fun!”

“Say,” said Ned, “I have a notion to start a diary of my own!”

“Why don’t you?” Nancy asked lightly.

She became conscious that Ned’s eyes were looking straight at her. “I will if I can fill most of the pages with entries of dates with you.”

My thoughts upon re-reading Nancy's Mysterious Letter 
by Carolyn Jean

It was so interesting to re-read a Nancy Drew book after all this time.  I remembered particularly liking this one as a girl, mainly because I was super into mail and had numerous pen pals.

Anyway, this mystery begins as Nancy and her friends drive past old Ira Nixon the mail carrier, who looks tired and bedraggled. I was immediately alarmed for Ira; I remembered something awful happened to him. In fact, many awful things happen to Ira, but the first is that his mailbag is stolen while Nancy and pals are serving him cocoa.

It soon comes out that there was a letter to Nancy in that bag, informing her of a large inheritance, only the letter was meant for a different Nancy Drew. Basically, Ira’s evil brother is trying to get the other Nancy Drew, who doesn't know she's an heiress, to marry him before she learns about the windfall, and Nancy is trying to stop the wedding and let her know Ira Nixon’s brother is a bum.

Early in the book, Nancy gets an excellent clue from a quick witted boy on a bike—a description of the mail thief’s clothes and a partial license plate. She relates this to mail carrier Ira:
“Mr. Nixon, do you know a tall, slender man who wears a yellow overcoat and hat, and has a beat-up car with the license plate TJ12?”

To the surprise of Hannah Gruen and the girls, Ira Nixon uttered a cry of dismay. The blood drained from his face. He put his hands over his cheeks and exclaimed, “No, no! It couldn’t be! Oh, what will I do?”

Ira Nixon slumped forward in a faint!
I totally forgot how delightfully dramatic these books were. I was also surprised at how short Nancy can be with certain tedious people. ("Can you please get to the point, Mrs. Skeets?") But Nancy is polite to authorities, like the Postal investigator:
The young man looked at her superciliously. She judged that he was not very many years older than she and his attitude annoyed her. But our of respect for his position, she said nothing.
Here is a passage that is so Nancy:
As soon as luncheon was over, Nancy told Hannah Gruen she was tired of staying in the house and waiting for news “I’m going to do some investigating,” she announced.
Her investigating takes her to the home of Sailor Joe, whose every exclamation is a sea thing (“Heave your anchor lass, come into the parlour.”) He tells her this really random and sort of insane story about being kidnapped because he was mistaken for a pearl diver, but when he'd said he was a pearl diver, he'd meant a dishwasher.
Sailor Joe laughed uproariously. Nancy wondered what was so funny about this. Instead, it seemed tragic.
Later, a stone is thrown at Nancy, and a window is broken. She muses that the suspect must be “getting desperate to try such a villainous method to keep her from trying to solve the mystery.” Villainous indeed.  Ineffective, too!  The stone thrower, it turns out, was paid $25 bucks to do the deed. Ned gets hold of him and says,
“Suppose you turn over some of it to me to have a new window put in our fraternity house.”

Otto was reluctant to do this, but seeing the determined look in the husky football player's eyes, he changed his mind and handed over five dollars. Then, quick as a ferret, he dashed off among the cars.
I loved quick as a ferret. Anyway, later Nancy is also chloroformed and somebody tries to run her over, too. That sort of surprised me too--Nancy really goes through a lot.

More Nancy fun!

Tomorrow: Part 1 of a surprise interview, more ramblings of mine, and giveaway details!
Thursday: Part 2 of surprise interview, Kim reviews The Spider Sapphire Mystery, and Tracy's mystery contribution.

Giveaway! Comment at any time this week and you're entered to win a $15 gift certificate to a bookstore of your choice that's not Amazon, a funky Nancy Drew tote, or a signed copy of the fun-filled Nancy Drew "Clues for Real Life" book. If you contributed to--or if you pimp Nancy Drew week, you get an extra entry!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Nancy Drew Week, Day 1

Welcome to Nancy Drew week, celebrating our fabulous teen sleuth friend, Nancy Drew!

Today: Fun facts, plus recollections from Sarai and KB.
Tuesday: Kim's recollections and review of The Clue in the Old Diary, I review Nancy's Mysterious Letter, and Ellen reveals the secret of the slush piles.
Wednesday: Part 1 of a surprise interview, more ramblings of mine, and giveaway details!
Thursday: Part 2 of surprise interview, Kim reviews The Spider Sapphire Mystery, and Tracy's mystery contribution.
Giveaway! Comment at any time this week and you're entered to win a $15 gift certificate to a bookstore of your choice that's not Amazon, a funky Nancy Drew tote, or a signed copy of  the fun-filled Nancy Drew "Clues for Real Life" book. If you contributed to--or if you pimp  Nancy Drew week, you get  an extra entry!  

Fun facts about Nancy and her gang
* Compiled with the help of Wikipedia, my vague memory, and Nancy Drew Consultant Jennifer Fisher (find her--and a ton of Nancy info at this awesome website:

The books:
Edward Stratemeyer created Nancy Drew.

The first 56 titles in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series were published between 1930 and 1979 by Grosset & Dunlap. The credited author for all Nancy Drew titles is Carolyn Keene, but different authors worked on them—sometimes as many as three different people worked on a single book.

The first three books in the series: The Secret of the Old Clock, The Hidden Staircase, and The Bungalow Mystery all debuted on April 28, 1930.

All about Nancy:
Our sensible, independent-minded teen sleuth Nancy Drew has solved over 500 cases!

Nancy is 16 in the early books, but her age was changed to 18 later on. You can kind of see why--in the books, she is graduated from high school, spends weekends with Ned at Emerson, and gets into life-threatening situations all the time.

Nancy’s mother died when Nancy was ten in the early books, but it was revised to her dying when Nancy was three later on.

Consultant Fisher points out that in the early books, Nancy often wore glamorous heels and fashionable frocks while chasing suspects, climbing ladders, and sleuthing for “ghosts” in secret passageways. Click here for an entertaining "through the ages" look at Nancy's looks.

Nancy's hair color is usually described as "red-gold" or "titian blond.” I never really got what titian meant, and it always bugged me, but I was too lazy to look it up. But I looked it up this week. Titian means a reddish-brown or golden-brown color, and it’s derived from an Italian painter, Tiziano Vecellio.

Nancy Drew packed heat, according to Fisher, carrying her father Carson Drew’s revolver in two early mysteries—the 1930 text of The Hidden Staircase and the 1931 text of The Secret at Shadow Ranch. Fisher points out that in contrast, in the 1965 Nancy Drew book, The Spider Sapphire Mystery, when confronted with guns, Nancy and her pal George Fayne tossed them into a brook.

The gang:
Nancy’s two close friends, George Fayne and Bess Marvin, are cousins.

George is short for Georgia in the revised editions, but she was named for her grandfather in the original editions. She is tall and slim, with short black hair, and made being a tomboy look cool. Early in the series, George Fayne is described as bold, slightly clumsy, blunt, and forward, resulting in the nickname "George the Terrible" from series fans. According to Jennifer Fisher, George’s favorite catch phrase was “Hypers!” (Like—Wow!)

Bess (short for Elizabeth) Marvin is slightly plump with luxurious set hair (but not clearly described as blonde until 1936) Bess has the most girlish appearance and attitude of the three, and loves to talk about boys. Bess tries to be proper, and is also easily frightened — once wrecking a car simply because she saw something unusual. One of Bess’ favorite foods was a gooey chocolate fudge sundae.

Nancy’s father, widower Carson Drew, is the most respected lawyer in River Heights. He assists Nancy on many cases and guides her in the right direction. He also looks up things for her because of the access he has to many files. He never seems to get very upset about Nancy’s peril, in my memory. His attitude is usually that of, “That’s my girl!”

Ned Nickerson, Nancy’s boyfriend, has been described as “tall, handsome, and athletic looking, with wavy dark hair, a ready smile, and brown eyes.” (The Mysterious Letter). Ned’s always excited to help with Nancy’s mysteries, and frequently finds clues dropping in his lap. He’s a star football player at Emerson college, and frequently invites Nancy up for dances and weekends. Bess’ and George’s boyfriends, Dave Evans and Burt Eddelton, attend Emerson, too. They also play football, but they’re on the second string. In some books, the descriptions of football games can go for pages!

Housekeeper Hannah: Nobody knows what the Drews' housekeeper, Hannah Gruen, actually looks like; she has never been described in any of the books. In the early stories, Hannah is depicted as Nancy’s servant, and follows her directives down to uniform appearance, menus and groceries. As the role of the middle-class and their servants changed, Hannah became more a member of the family, like Alice on the Brady Bunch.

River Heights: The Drew family lives in a three-story brick house in the fictional town of River Heights. According to Fisher, collectors and scholars have long argued that a basis for River Heights may be found in Iowa, Ohio, Illinois and even New Jersey, home of famous "Carolyn Keene," Harriet Stratemeyer Adams.

Nancy Drew and I go way back!
by Katie(babs)

My earliest memory of Nancy and me is around nine years old and reading The Hidden Staircase, which is actually the second book in the series. Soon after I would go back to the first book, The Secret of the Old Clock. By the time I was a freshman in high school I had read all 56 of the original series and went on to read the newer ones that equaled to 172 books. Even though these short, less than 200 page books where written over 70 years ago, Nancy Drew still stands the test of time. She was the epitome of "girl power!", a woman who can accomplish anything if she put her mind to it. She was always surrounded by wonderful friends and family, including a boyfriend who treated her with respect and love. Nancy was beloved by all and was able to solve any crime, big or small in a matter of a few days.

Carolyn Jean's idea for a Nancy Drew week couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I was in a quandary because I had no clue what type of birthday gift to give my cousin, who was turning nine years old. When CJ posted about her love for Nancy, a light bulb went off in my head! Why not give a few Nancy Drew books as a birthday gift? I quickly went to the closest Barnes and Noble, and in the Young Adult/ Kids section was almost every single Nancy Drew book that was ever published. There were too many rows of Nancy Drew to count, more so than any other series book I could see. I couldn't help smiling as I picked up both, The Secret of the Hidden Clock and The Hidden Staircase, which still has those old fashioned vintage covers that I remember from over 20 years ago. I was holding a piece of my childhood in my hands and a precious memory I didn't want to let go. I had to hold back from buying every single one of those Nancy Drew titles.

Because I had a few days before I would give these books away, I couldn't help myself and began reading The Secret of the Old Clock. I felt like I was coming home. I hoped that my cousin would feel the same way I did. When I finally gave her the books, I held my breath, hoping she wouldn't roll her eyes. As she unwrapped the package, her eyes lit up and she was so excited to finally read Nancy Drew. I could breathe again. The next day we would see each other again because of another party. She was quick to give me another hug and mentioned how much she loved her present. She started reading, The Hidden Staircase and wanted to act the scenes and pretend to be Nancy Drew.

The Nancy Drew Mysteries are the perfect books to hand down from generation to generation. Knowing that I was able to introduce another person to this treasure is a gift within itself. Hopefully when my cousin has a daughter or another child in her life who is of the perfect age to start reading, she will remember my present and will give her a few editions of Nancy Drew and share the love of reading, much like I have done with her.

Find Katie(babs) at Ramblings on Romance, as well as a lot of other sites.

Random Thoughts on Nancy Drew

by Sarai

Okay, first off this was a girl that solved mysteries and not just any mysteries but ones that could end up with her dead or hurt. I thought she was so cool. She was so cool in fact I used to go around trying to solve "Mysteries" around my neighborhood. My neighbors, God love them, were mainly old so they would humor me. I still have my collection of old mysteries lying around the house. I had the whole yellow book collection and of course after that I went out and bought all of the Hardy boys (they were blue in case anyone cares), mainly b/c Nancy would sometimes make an appearance.

Those were fun times. 
And do you guys remember all the times she traveled? I mean for Crap Sakes the girl was always going somewhere far away from home to solve mysteries. (Probably b/c all the thieves and killers were scared of the little shit, I mean think about it if every time you even thought about a heist near her you’d probably break out in cold sweats. The girl was that good.) I wished as a kid I could do all that traveling. And what’s worse, she would travel for fun then ruin the vaca by finding a mystery to solve. (Seriously girl, just once relax on the beach.) 
Oh and what about Bess and George? I mean, I would so be one. They got the free trips and all the great bonuses without any of the effort or work. Seriously how could you go wrong with that?

Okay moving on to my favorite Nancy Drew book: The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes. And once again Nancy is flying to another place far away, this time Scotland—and her dad feeling bad for her, he allows George and Bess to join (seriously my dad would been like you are SOL— get used to life sucking.)

Needless to say, I don’t remember everything but as usual Nancy got the bad guys and a nice pat on the back. Man I loved those mysteries. In fact, I think that is why I still watch Scooby Doo to this day b/c they always get the bad guys in the end.

Find Sarai at Thoughts of an Aspiring Writer, Sarai is Reading What? and elsewhere.

The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes: The blurb
Warnings not to go to Scotland can't stop Nancy Drew from setting out on a thrill-packed mystery adventure. Undaunted by the vicious threats, the attractive young detective, with her father and her two best friends, goes to visit her great-grandmother at an imposing estate in the Scottish Highlands, and to solve the mystery of a missing family heirloom.

And there is another mystery to be solved: the fate of flocks of stolen sheep. Baffling clues challenge Nancy's powers of deduction: a note written in the ancient Gaelic language, a deserted houseboat on Loch Lomond, a sinister red-bearded stranger in Edinburgh, eerie whistling noises in the Highlands. Startling discoveries in an old castle and in the ruins of a prehistoric fortress, on a rugged mountain slope and in a secluded glen, lead Nancy closer to finding the solutions to both mysteries.

Wearing a time-honored tartan, Nancy climbs the mountain of Ben Nevis in the dark of night and plays a tune historic heroism on the bagpipes -- all part of her daring plan to trap the sheep thieves and to recover the valuable family heirloom.

Friday, August 15, 2008

True Blood cast photos

Okay, I'm still worried that the series, based on Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels, will be more silly & goofy than exciting and romantic.  That is, more Gilligan's Island than Buffy.

Please, no!  But anyways, being in a time wasterly mood, I found these cast pictures interesting. Here up top you see Tara and Sam Merlotte.  They seem like good picks. 

And below Sam and Tara we have Eric. I'm not so sure. He seems like a pretty good pick, but not perfect. It would be hard to approximate the Platonic Ideal of Eric that I have in my mind, though. And by that, I definitely don't mean platonic as in Three's Company. Anyway, this guy, I don't know. But maybe he has great screen presence! 

And below, Jason and Sookie.  Bill in the sports coat.  See more here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Annnouncement, question and mystery

Midling-to-late-adapter of blogroll
I've converted my blog list at left to blogroll, which shows the titles of posts on the most recent posted-to blogs.  It has occurred to me that blogroll rewards catchy post titles and frequent updates, whereas my old list rewarded alphabetical earliness and fun blog names.  

After a feverish night of soul searching, I decided catchy post titles and frequent updates have more merit. Sorry, cleverly named, alpabetically early blogs. Now I just have to update my TBR list. I can't believe how old it is. 

Twitter: Please advise
I am also thinking about twitter. But will it suck me in?  Will I waste more time? It seems to be popping up everywhere, but once people are in, they don't talk about it, they just do it. Is there a central forum where everyone twitters together and you get constant twitters at you? And then, if you ignore them, are you an ass? Sometimes I think I need to be less connected, rather than more. But I suspect there are secret merits to it. Please advise

The mystery of The Duke & I
Right now I'm reading The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, lent to me by lovely Sarai. it's a fun book that I look forward to reading at night, which has been my book barometer lately. The plot is cute: Simon the somewhat reluctant duke never wants to get married and is tired of society mothers and daughters dogging him at every party.  He makes friends with Daphne Bridgerton, who is a marriagable girl weary of the whole suitor scene, so they pretend to be engaged to get everybody off their backs. 

So here is the thing: every once in a while, I read a book that sort of seizes my imagination, and my subconcious can't stop churning over it, so after I read it at night, I go to sleep and have dreams about the plot, and generally a non-restful, low quality of sleep.  And if it gets bad enough, I have to relegate the book to day reading only.  

Historically, this has happened with books that are horribly dark and/or exciting, or shockingly smutty. But for some reason, it's happening with this book, which is a frothy and light confection. I mean, there isn't even a villain here.  And I know what will happen. SPOILER ALERT for the 2% of people who have read this far and haven't guessed - Daphne and Simon will fall in love. 

Not that I'm not enjoying it, it's just that now there's this mysterious element of it.    

Friday, August 8, 2008

Nancy Drew week details

Nancy Drew Week starts Aug 18th!

Stop by and help revisit and celebrate our old friend Nancy, and have fun looking back at the books. 

There will also be prize drawings, and maybe some interviews.

And if  you want to contribute you're invited! Write up whatever you please, any size.

Deadline:  Email them to me Sunday, Aug 17th. (Or soon after. I'll take stuff as late as Tuesday. I'm easy!) Email:  carolyn7000 (at) (note lowercase c) I’ll post what contributors send me with links to blogs, if you have one.  Send me text, or if you have an image, I’ll run that, too, or add one myself.
Ideas, if you want to participate:

Book reviews
Re-read all or part of an old Nancy and tell us about the experience, the plot, your thoughts, your memories. Excerpts welcome! I’m traveling to my folks’ place where my Nancy books are, and I may actually reread one or two. I’m thinking anything between 150-700 words per book. They don’t have to be formal reviews, of course.

Do you remember having a favorite, but can’t/don’t feel like actually rereading it? No problem! But it might be fun if you go to Amazon or somewhere and refresh your memory as to what the plot was if you don’t recall it, and give us a little recap, and maybe say why it was your favorite, or let us know about any scenes or things that stuck in your head from it. Length: 150-500 wds per recap

Nancy moments & memories
Is there a scary scene in a book that you have never forgotten, or a 
favorite Nancy and Bess moment. Which set did you have? Did you sneak a flashlight under the covers to finish them? Did you know her only through the TV series? Did you ever try to be like Nancy? George? Length: open. Feel free to discuss one moment or more.

I’d love for anybody to discuss a favorite character, even if it’s just 100 words about how exciting it was when Ned Nickerson appeared or the way George influenced your fashion decisions. Feel free to do a full profile, too. Any length.

Favorite cover, art
Email me a jpg of your favorite cover, with or without commentary. Though any cover discussions of any kind are welcome.

And anything else
I’m open to any other ideas. If you want to make a little quiz, or a list of your top favorite books or ?? (nothing x-rated, though!)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

You guys have all been really wonderful. I will be back very soon.