Monday, March 19, 2018

A Wrinkle In Time: A Review

To start off, a new chapter in the Tax Form Saga:

So, the government failed to send me a needed tax form when they were supposed to, and I called to ask where the heck it was. They told me it would come in a few weeks, which seems like a stupidly long time to wait to get an easily printed-out document, but whatever.

Anyway, today I get a packet from the organization in question. SUCCESS!

OR NOT! It wasn't the form; it was something entirely different. So I call again to see if they accidentally sent the wrong form and I get the notification that no, that wasn't supposed to be it, that my case was valid and they would be sending the form. That I should be getting it soon. But they don't know exactly when.


Let this be my testimony, with all of you as my witness, that I am doing everything in my power to be a good citizen. If I end up having to file for a freakin' extension, IT IS NOT MY FAULT!

Okay, now on to the main attraction. Last Tuesday, I went to see the new A Wrinkle in Time movie.

I said I would, last week. I also said that I was predisposed to like it.

Guys, I really, really wanted to like it.

And there were things I did like about it. It's quite pretty to look at, and the child actors did a great job. It does decently at feeling large and spacious, like they are traveling around the galaxy and "wrinkling" timespace to do it. Science and physics has a strong place here, just like in the book. But, people, the book....

The movie was a pale, poor reflection of this book.

From here on out, I'm going to be going into details, so if you haven't read/seen this and would like to unspoiled, here's your spoiler warning.

Got it? Good. Now the full review.

Like I said, I think the actors did a great job. I loved the kids they picked to play the kids and even the adults (although I have concerns about Oprah as Mrs. Which, which (HA!) I'll get into later). I think, also, that they did a decent job with the themes of self-worth, with Meg feeling like she's not special and growing into her confidence through the story.

However, I think that's the only theme they did well, and sacrificed other themes to do it.

A Wrinkle in Time is a beautiful, complex book, and I understand that in filmmaking things need to be cut. However, I disliked immensely the things that were cut, and what they were replaced with.

The biggest of these was the scene on Ixchel, with Aunt Beast.

In the book, Meg rescues her father on Camazotz but almost is taken over by IT, so her father tessers her and Calvin away with him to Ixchel. There, Meg (who doesn't tesser well) is weak and needs healing, and she's furious with her father for leaving her brother Charles Wallace behind. Here, Meg receives love and nurturing, and she learns to forgive her father. She also learns that she is the only one who can potentially save Charles Wallace, and that the power to do so lies in her love for her brother. Meg is the only one who knows Charles Wallace well, since Calvin just met him and her father left when he was just a baby.

This scene is pivotal in Meg's development, because it's here that she realizes that she is a part of this, a vital, important part. The only person who can save her brother is her, which makes her special. She is worthy of love because of who she is, but as I read it, she is powerful because of the love she has for her family. This echoes her ability to find her father (again, she's the connection because of her love), and gives her the confidence and the understanding she needs to face IT, rid Camazotz of darkness, and save Charles Wallace.

And the whole scene was cut for time. But we got a long scene of running in a freaking forest, instead, so that's fine, too, I guess.

(Pacing was weird. Some scenes, like flying around or running on Camazotz, lasted a long time, but Charles Wallace is possessed in the blink of an eye, without a fight. It felt strange.)

On a related note, I didn't like how they handled Camazotz. In the book, Camazotz is a planet overtaken by darkness, not the darkness itself like in the movie. Also, the effect of that darkness on the planet (in the book) is that the planet has every citizen literally marching to ITs beat. There's a rhythm that forces people to think and act along to it. IT forces everyone to be exactly alike, thinking the same, and doing the same.

This doesn't happen in the movie, and I'm sorry for it. Camazotz becomes a puzzle box of traps and challenges, but not a planet where everyone is forced to be the same. A major theme of A Wrinkle in Time is the idea that everyone is important, that differences, even flaws, are powerful, and that the ability to love gives someone power. Camazotz is dark because it erases those differences, and makes it so no one is important, no one is unique. And that whole idea was gone in the movie.


My biggest issue with the movie is that there is power in the book, real power that lingers with you long after you finish reading, and the movie cut out so much of the scenes and symbols that give the story its power to focus on only one theme: people deserve to be loved. Yes, and it's true, and it's there, and it's good, but in focusing only on that theme, it stripped away the richness of the story, that everyone's different and that's good and the ability to love others gives you real power to fight the darkness. I left the theater reminded of how good the book is and wanting to read it again. I don't care about watching the movie again.

Other things I didn't care for in the movie:

- That weird pacing I mentioned earlier.
- The Happy Medium wasn't all that happy (though I kind of liked the portrayal, shouldn't the Happy Medium, well, kind of deserve the title?)
- Mrs. Whatsit was relegated to comic relief, and they got her character all wrong. She isn't dismissive of Meg; in fact, she's the one who seems to see the most potential in her.
- Oprah's Mrs. Which was also wrong. She's the one who's supposed to be most dismissive of Meg, focusing instead on Charles Wallace's potential. But noooo, I guess Oprah can't possibly play a part where she's not the center of all that is inspiring.
- Meg's father never called her "Megaparsec." Small thing, but it bugged me for some reason.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Mental Spring Cleaning


First bit of news, I'm taking part in #MGBookMarch on Twitter, so during the month of March I'm answering questions about books and writers, particularly those of the middle grade variety. Check it out!

Also, I'll be attending the 2018 AML Conference at BYU from March 22-24. The theme is Humor and I look forward to going to the sessions there. I may also do a reading. Will keep you posted.

Anyway, on to the reason for this post:

It's spring!

Okay, it's not technically spring yet. But it is warm here in Utah today, and that's good enough for me.

Spring is a time of the year when I start to feel more alive, more awake, and more ready to do something good with my life. Ready to do some cleaning, both physically (my room needs it) and mentally. This spring, I realized that sometime over the winter I got a bit more easily annoyed than I have been, mostly over stupid, trivial things, and I want to fix that.

I have some plans, like refusing to voice annoyances, and implementing thought processes to check myself. I have a temper, and I like to keep it in control, and I'm just much happier when I manage not to let the stuff around me bother me more than I can handle. Or not at all, if it's not worth fussing about.

So today I'm going to, just once, write down a list of things that bug me, with the hope that once I write them, they'll be out of my system and I can focus on the good things, which I'll put in another list so I can get my focus straight.

Which means you get a catharsis entry today. I hope it's entertaining, all the same.

Things that bug me:

- People who drive under the speed limit in the left lane

- Insomnia, especially when I'm 3 hours into it and melatonin doesn't help fast enough
- Broken wheels on shopping carts
- Clothes chafing when I run
- ICE on the ground when I plan to run
- When the gym is so busy that there's always someone on the machine I need to use
- When the person on the machine is just sitting and texting someone

- When I forget that I had the volume up high on my laptop and I put in headphones and blast out my eardrums
- Finding an ant on my pillow
- People who enjoy antagonizing others
- My computer shutting down without warning to do updates (it always happens when I'm writing)
- Full parking lots
- Adulting
- The government failing to send me a needed tax form and then taking its sweet time to resend it when I asked where it was

- Writing, when it goes poorly
- Waiting. For anything, especially when it takes a long time.

Okay, that was actually helpful. Now for the positive things.

Things I always enjoy:

- Springtime, especially when the flowers start budding and the air smells like a garden
- Disney parks (I'm going to Disneyland in May!)

- Spending time with my family
- Chocolate, especially dark chocolate
- Reading a good book or trip to the library when I'm not rushed
- A delicious lunch, whether homemade or at a restaurant
- The one time a day (while in race training) that I get to eat a dessert

- Marathon training. Hard, but feels good
- My new fluffy pillow
- Music on my playlists
- Driving to that music
- Writing, when it's going well
- Being productive with my day
- Doing a crossword puzzle

- The view of the mountains from my window (at sunset)
- When the temperature is JUST RIGHT for a morning run
- When the waiting is over

Thanks, all, for letting me vent and realign. I hope it goes well, but you may have me again, next week, passionately griping about some story or other that blew it.

But I hope not. I'm seeing A Wrinkle in Time tomorrow, and I fully expect to like it.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Weekend Adventures

This has been an interesting weekend.

First, Friday night I had my book launch at The King's English! It was great. We had a good turnout, and the people at the bookstore were so kind and helpful. I talked a little bit about Arts and Thefts, which was an interesting experience since it's a sequel. With Under Locker and Key, I could talk about my journey as a writer and how this whole idea came to be.

With Arts and Thefts, all that seemed important, but less important since this book was the next installment as well as something new. So I touched on the story of the series and my journey as a writer, but I mostly focused on what made this new book different and my experience writing it, on its own.

Like, how I almost wrote Arts and Thefts from's Becca's point of view, but decided that this series is really Jeremy's story. And how it's a mystery instead of a heist story, though it still maintains a high level of general thiefy-ness through the book. Such as when Jeremy crawls through some air ducts to avoid police.

But I digress. You want more, read the book.

Saturday afternoon I went with a couple friends, my brother, my sister, and her friend, up to Sandy's Hale Center Theater to see their production of the stage musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame. As I've posted about, I've seen this one before. I saw it when it was down south at the Tuacahn. But since it was going to be performed again, so close to home, I decided to see it again with the same friend I saw it with before, as well as my sibs and some other lovers of the play.

And holy cow, it was good.

The singing was good (although I'm easily impressed in that respect) and the acting was very well done. But the stage.


Hale Theatre performances are in the round, which is always cool because no matter where you sit, you'll have a good view. But this theatre was moved and updated, so here's what they have to work with:

- A round stage that can spin, split into segments, and RAISE AND LOWER about 15 feet
- Screens around the outside of the theatre above the audience that can display anything
- Smoke and pyrotechnic effects
- Seemingly endless space in the ceiling to hold dangling props and scenery

So, this means that they could hang the bells and chandeliers over the stage, and that they could raise parts of the stage to create the bell towers, and lower other parts to create the contrast of height. They could spin the stage to allow more frenetic motion with the actors. They could put up the translations of the Latin lyrics on the screens, and use them to surround the audience in stained glass, turning the theatre into Notre Dame, during "God Help the Outcasts."

And the song "Hellfire"? Oh, man. The screens burned with fire, the stage was raised and lowered to create depths churning with chanting monks and orange smoke, the lighting, the movement...I was gobsmacked. I kid you not, the power in the performance and the staging was such that my jaw actually dropped and I felt a thrill of terror during this villain song.

So, if you're in Utah and looking for a good piece of musical theatre, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is playing through the end of March. Highly recommend.

One thing that made the weekend so interesting is that I was doing a lot of driving, up to Salt Lake City Friday and to Sandy on Saturday, and there was a winter storm in the forecast. I was blessed, though, because it didn't hit until late Saturday night, after I'd finished up everything for the day. It was bad Sunday morning.

But, in true Utah fashion, the weather is warm enough today for me to be outside without a jacket and all that snow is melting like crazy.

Busy weekend. And now it's over, and I can go back to grading, writing, reading, and training for the marathon.

I'll keep you posted. Until then, I hope your weekends are full of fun and adventure!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Black Panther, Rage, and "Clapback Culture"

I saw Black Panther, and I have some thoughts about it.

But before we get into that, I have some news. First, my book launch for Arts and Thefts is this Friday! The King's English Bookstore in Salt Lake City, 7 pm, March 2. I'm nervous, but I'm excited too!

Also, I just got the news that I'm a finalist for an Association of Mormon Letters Award!

This is such an honor, and honestly, a surprise. I know the other names on this list, and they're phenomenal writers with wonderful, poetic books and writing. The fact that my fun little mystery is a finalist along with their books is beyond anything I expected.

Okay, so now, time to talk about Black Panther.

I really liked this movie. It didn't replace my favorite Marvel movie, but I do think it's up there on the list and that it's very well made. Marvel is really learning their trade in writing movies that are packed full of action, star superheroes, and also deal with real-world conflict and issues. Black Panther was a strong, mature film that had well-developed characters who were supremely likeable (when they were supposed to be) and dealt with confusing issues without jeopardizing the morality of the heroes.

Also...Shuri. She's awesome, and there'd better be a scene where she and Peter Parker team up to annoy the adults. I thought the movie did an excellent job at showing a realistic, loving family dynamic, as well.

Now that I've given my overall review, get ready for spoilers as I talk about what I think made Black Panther particularly timely in ways that might not be as obvious as how it addresses race struggles. If you don't want spoilers, time to check out now until you've seen the movie. I'll see you later. This is also going to be rather long, so again, if you check out now, fine. See you next week.

In Black Panther, there is an interesting discussion around the oppression of people of African descent. Wakandans have been sheltered from the slave trade and widespread racism because they keep themselves and their vibranium hidden and secret from the rest of the world.

This policy of isolation is upheld by T'Challa's father, King T'Chaka.

He keeps his kingdom hidden, and he has good reasons for doing so. He wants to protect his people, a noble mission for a king. He also wants to prevent evil men from taking the vibranium and using it to make weapons that could hurt many, many people. This is not an evil policy; it's born of love of home and a desire to protect. But it's a flawed solution, as seen when N'Jadaka arrives.

N'Jadaka, also known as Killmonger, is T'Challa's cousin. His father, T'Chaka's brother, was sent out into the world as a spy and during that time saw the struggles other black people were going through. He wanted to use Wakanda's tools and technology to fight back against oppression. T'Chaka did not agree with this, and a fight started, resulting in T'Chaka's brother's death. N'Jadaka grew up knowing who was responsible for his father's death, as well as dealing with racism and poverty.

Personally hurt, he grew into Killmonger, who learned to fight and kill so that he could return to Wakanda, take over as king (thereby getting revenge on the family responsible for his father's death) and use Wakanda's technology to arm the oppressed so they could fight back and turn the tables on their oppressors.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. Killmonger has legitimate points about justice and oppression. He's not wrong, and in fact, some people see him as a tragic hero of this movie (I disagree, but we'll get there). There is racism and poverty and oppression. There is a need to do something about it. Wakanda's policy of isolating itself was in fact allowing people to continue to be hurt, and N'Jadaka was one of the people who was hurt.

But Killmonger is consumed with rage. His points are valid, and the reasons for his pain are as well. But he has allowed that anger to fester until he believes justice is served by lashing out and attacking those who wronged him. He is hurting, and for good reasons, but he takes out that pain on people who have done nothing to him, who knew nothing of what happened to him until long after it was too late to stop. There is no attempt made by him to connect, to persuade. It's all about hurting others like he has been hurting, so he becomes exactly what he thinks he fights against. This approach to the problem is so flawed that the movie is all about stopping it from happening.

Which brings me to T'Challa and why he's the hero. T'Challa sees Killmonger as a result of T'Chaka's isolation policy: because a boy was hurt, he grew to be a monster who dealt in pain. He sees that violence and pain begets violence and pain, and lashing out only leads to more fighting. T'Challa is a good man, a point made clear in the movie.

[I really liked seeing how T'Challa's understanding of revenge has grown since Civil War, where he seeks revenge on Bucky (for, again, understandable reasons) but comes to realize revenge cannot give him what he wants. Great job, Marvel!]

T'Challa is the hero because he sees injustice but seeks to connect and share information instead of using Wakanda's resources to attack or oppress. He uses the power that he has as king to lift and reach out and teach, not arm and attack. He does not lash out at those who have done wrong but offers understanding and aid. Which is such a wise, peaceful message from this movie.

Yes, I thought the comments on race in this movie were important and timely. But I also thought its comments on anger and lashing out timely, too. I could talk about current events and the dialogue of politicians, but I also see it on a more personal scale. I have recently started to be careful of the sites I frequent online because of all the anger I've seen online. And yes, there's a lot to be angry about. Our world is not perfect, and there's much work to do to make it better.

However, when I go online, I see angry posts and snarky attacks on people who have opposing views. I see people cursing out others (which makes me remember that the word "curse" means to wish harm to someone).

I see a culture of "clapbacks," which are sassy comebacks that are used to shut someone who has insulted you down. I don't see a lot of calm communication seeking to build empathy between people.

This seems to be common. Clapbacks and curses, burns and insults, seem to be okay as long as you're getting back at someone who insulted you first. Only, do it better, so they can't retaliate.

As someone who has been reliably informed for years that I have a temper I need to control, I have gained an interesting relationship with anger. Anger has spurred me to action: I have run faster and farther, submitting manuscripts, and improved myself in many ways because I motivated with some anger. (How DARE my body give out on a race? I'm going to push myself harder so I finish with my goal!)

Anger is a spark of energy, and yes, I've used that energy. It can be good energy, useful in pushing us to action. When we see a problem, a little anger can make us stop being complacent and do something about it. But when that anger grows from spark to flame, it can consume us, like it does Killmonger. It can make us no longer see others as people, with their own views and values that seem, to them, perfectly reasonable, but as problems that need to be removed or shut down. It can make us cruel and angry, lashing out instead of reaching out.

And that's a problem.

Black Panther was a wise movie in so many ways, but I think mostly in giving a model of how to deal with things that make us angry. Lashing out, insulting, treating others like enemies or means to an end instead of as people is not the answer. Hiding away and looking after our own is not the answer, either. Success comes by reaching out and helping, seeing others as worth caring about, even the ones who disagree with us. We can't grow together if we're constantly trying to tear others down.

At the end of Black Panther, T'Challa has mortally wounded Killmonger. He then takes Killmonger to see a Wakandan sunset, like he's wanted to all his life, and offers to save the life of the man who tried to kill him and everyone he cared about. Killmonger refuses (in a fascinating, compelling way that I'm not going to talk about in case you read this far without seeing the movie).

But, even after everything Killmonger did, T'Challa still gave him what help he could, instead of taking vengeance. And that, I think, is the kind of hero we need more of.

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Junk Drawer of Happy Stuff


1. Before you ask, no, I have not yet seen Black Panther. But I will see it this week! Can't wait!

2. My book launched this week! Here's picture of Arts and Thefts snuggled up to its big brother Under Locker and Key at the Orem Barnes & Noble:

3. I will be launching Arts and Thefts at The King's English Bookstore in Salt Lake City on March 2 at 7 pm. Here's a link to the event.

If you come, I'll sign a book for you!

4. This past week I discovered this book:

Yes. It is The Phantom of the Opera starring the Muppets.

I have read The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux many a time. I can tell you, this Muppet version is scene for scene, character for character, the same book. There are full passages that are identical or very similar to the passages from the original novel. But Kermit is Raoul de Chagny, and Miss Piggy is Christine Daae.

I died. I was laughing so hard. If you like the Muppets and also have read/appreciate The Phantom of the Opera, I think you'd enjoy this.

5. Taste Chocolate in Provo. It snowed today, so I went with some of my siblings since we've been on a quest for good hot chocolate since the Cocoa Bean (may it rest in peace) no longer exists here. So, is the cocoa good?

Holy cow, it is amazing!

Maybe some of the best cocoa I've ever had. It was $5 for a large mug, but it's made with real chocolate and has a great flavor. The whipped cream is excellent, too. We got a mug of the cocoa and a cup of the sipping chocolate (the same thing, only richer and thicker) and passed them around.

The location is also super classy, with real flower centerpieces and old-fashioned/French music playing.

I wanted to add pictures, but I don't want to infringe on copyright, so I can't. But you should follow the link or look it up yourself if you want to see.

Yes, we are planning to go back. It feels like a vacation to New York City or Paris.

6. "LOU" by Pixar. Seen it?

You have now.

Okay, actually, this isn't the whole thing. It has been cut, but it's the short they had before Cars 3. I think this shows enough to show how cute it is.

This has been my highlights this week. I hope your week has been excellent!

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Lawless Art Show



I'm just a little excited. Just a little.

But I have a right to be! My book is coming out! The book launch will be March 2, 7 pm, at The King's English bookstore. It's a great venue; I love that charming bookstore. See you there!

Okay, so last year when Under Locker and Key hit stores, I built up to it with interviews with my characters. I wanted to do something a little different with this new book.

So, Arts and Thefts takes place over the summer at Scottsville's community art contest. Jeremy and Becca have to team up once more to stop an art saboteur from ruining kids' chances of winning the contest. It's personal for Jeremy because his forger friend Case is one of the contestants.

Since the book is about art sabotage, and Case is a forger, I thought it might be fun to give you all a little exhibition of some famous art forgers/forgery and vandalism. Because crime is fun. Or, at least, reading about it is.


Elmyr de Hory:

I think I've mentioned this guy before. He's a famous art forger, mostly for being the subject of Orson Welles's (fake, believe it or not) documentary called F for Fake. He has over 1,000 pieces of fake art to his name, starting with a fake Picasso.

Wolfgang Beltracci:

Another ridiculously prolific forger. He and his wife forged and sold tons of fake art, including forgeries of Max Ernst and Heinrich Campendonk. He has made more than $100M from selling forgeries. He was caught and sentenced to 6 years in prison, but only served 3 before being released.

Han van Meegeren's Jesus Among the Doctors:

This piece is cool. Van Meegeren had to paint it in front of court-appointed witnesses to prove that he was a forger. He was accused of collaborating with Nazis and "plunder[ing] Dutch cultural property" because he sold a Vermeer painting to Reichsmarschall Hermann Goring. Guess what? It was fake, so he wasn't a traitor. Just a forger. In 1947, a Dutch poll found him the second-most popular man in the country, just behind the Prime Minister.

Michelangelo's Sleeping Eros:

Yes, Michelangelo was also a forger. The picture above is actually a real statue similar to one that 21-year-old Michelangelo made out of marble. By the time anyone realized it was fake, Michelangelo had become famous for his Pieta. The forgery was likely destroyed in a fire in 1698.


The Mona Lisa:

Mona Lisa, one of the most famous paintings in the world, has been the victim of repeated vandalism. In 1956, a vandal threw acid at it in the Louvre, and then later that year, someone else threw a rock and chipped some paint off her elbow. It has since been restored.

The Little Mermaid:

This statue, based on the character in Hans Christian Andersen's story The Little Mermaid, has been vandalized so often that Copenhagen officials had it moved out further in the harbor to prevent more vandalism. The primary type of vandalism for The Little Mermaid is decapitation; in 1964, the head was sawed off and stolen, never to be recovered. Another head was made instead. It has also been blown up, cut apart, and had paint dumped all over it. I have no idea why this statue gets so much damaging attention -- while I had to find a joke picture for Mona Lisa, this one's vandalized shots were very easy to find.

Diego Velazquez's Rokeby Venus

In 1914, Mary Richardson, a suffragette, attacked the Rokeby Venus with a meat cleaver. The act was in response to the very recent arrest of fellow suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. Richardson said, "I have tried to destroy the picture of the most beautiful woman in mythological history as a protest against the Government for destroying Mrs. Pankhurst, who is the most beautiful character in modern history." She got 6 months of prison time for destroying art.

Cy Twombly's Phaedrus:

Not all vandalism is paint and knives; in 2007, artist Rindy Sam kissed the Phaedrus, an all-white canvas, leaving a red lipstick smear. Attempts to remove the mark, using 30 different chemicals, failed. Sam was arrested and convicted of "voluntary degradation of a work of art." She was ordered to pay 1000 euros to the owner, 500 euros to the gallery, and 1 euro to the painter. Her defense for her act was this: "It was just a kiss, a loving gesture. I kissed it without thinking; I thought the artist would understand... It was an artistic act provoked by the power of Art."

I'm going to call it good here, though there are lots of stories, very interesting ones, about art forgery and sabotage. I hope you enjoyed the read; look up these stories on your own if you'd like to know more. And don't vandalize or forge art. Both are crimes.

Also, if you'd like to read a fun piece of fiction about art sabotage with a forger character, might I suggest Arts and Thefts? Because it comes out tomorrow!

Couldn't resist. Have a great week! I think I will.

Monday, February 5, 2018



First, some news: Arts and Thefts hits stores next Tuesday, February 13. This is the day before Valentine's Day, as well as Mardi Gras. I don't know what to do with this information.

Second, in conjunction with said book release, my launch for Arts and Thefts will be held March 2 at 7 pm at The King's English Bookstore in Salt Lake City.

It will be fun, I hope. I'll do a short presentation including a reading and a Q&A, so hope to see you there!

Anyway, now that I've mentioned that, I want to write a blog post that I've been thinking about for the last week. It's serious and personal, and I debated about whether to write it, and I came down on the decision that it's important for me to do this.

About two weeks ago, my grandmother Mary Alice Yardley Hymas passed away. Here's a picture of her from the program:

Lovely, right?

Anyway, I felt like it was important for me to share some of my memories about my grandmother. I write on this blog about so many things that are important to me, and my family is one of the most important things in my life. So, here goes:

- She would preserve raspberries in jars, and would let us kids eat mounds of them out of bowls with spoons. I think this contributed to my life-long love of raspberries.
- I remember molded soaps at her house. I don't have any special connection with them, other than they were the first place I saw soaps shaped like other things and now molded soaps remind me of her.
- She had about a hundred Kewpie dolls, which were simultaneously interesting and creepy to me.
- Going to Grandma and Grandpa's house meant games. I have a memory of playing Mousetrap (which I loved for the Rube Goldberg machine element) at their house.
- Grandma telling me the story of my ancestor Rebecca Nurse, who was hanged as a witch in Salem. I remember her telling the story and making it very clear that the reason Rebecca was targeted was because she was smart and capable and good. Grandma's voice was firm on that.
- Grandma supplied a lot of the movies I grew up on, like Alice in Wonderland, and Cinderella. They were taped and sent over in the mail on VHS tapes. It's still comforting to think of those tapes.
- Every time I visited, she'd ask me about my dating life. I know that's common with grandparents, but I enjoyed how invested she seemed. It was kind of encouraging.
- A more recent memory was after Under Locker and Key was published. I went down to visit my grandparents and they had me sign a bunch of copies to give to friends. As I signed, I noticed that Grandma had stuck a printed copy of the (positive) review of my book in each one. She didn't say anything about it, but I smiled knowing that she was giving her friends the review as well as the book.

Love you, Grandma, and I miss you. Thank you for everything you did for me.