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Friday, October 31, 2008

Bookbinge Has the POWER.

Here it is, my second appearance in USAToday a review for Taken Unaware (the first time I showed up on USA Today was via Dear Author and it was for the "guess the race of that author through her voice." update: OOoo! I just remembered the day that appeared in USAToday, my blog-hit numbers went up to about 1,000.)

Thanks, Holly!

now we do


Pumpkins designed by boyz.
An Orly owl. There are owl feathers at the top.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

omigod we have no pumpkins!

Halloween is just not coming along here. No costumes either, yet. The printout Sarah Palin mask won't do it. It's TOMORROW>>> oh jeebus jeebus, we're screwed. We do have a lot of candy, although considerably fewer kit-kat bars than earlier. I love kit-kat bars.

and Aya? Can you get here by 5 tomorrow so you can trick-or-treat too? Any later and there will be no point. We shut down early in this neighborhood. They ride the candy train hard and fast 'round here.

Today's big event (other than buying pumpkins. All by myself and from a grocery store. Our punkin patch days are over): car pooling. Picking up a kid from school, meh. I do it all the time, at leas twice a week. And dragging along a friend or two, no biggie. But usually one of the guys is part of a car pool and every now and then I get to load up the 96 van with 6 boyz and it's hilarious. I love listening in to those conversations. They don't seem to realize that the adult in the car is actually listening and boy, it's the highlight of the day, eavesdropping on them. Does it qualify as eavesdropping when I'm sitting right there bigger than life?

Elementary school conversations are wonderful. Funny and sweet with only a trace of really rude to make it interesting. Usually middleschool is kind of scary, because the testosterone is riding high and free and they're just MEAN and ORNERY as well as FUNNY. By high school they're less mean, and more funny--or the mean is zingier and less unpleasant. Key word: funny. All boyz, all the time = amusing as heck.

It's one of my favorite chores, driving car pool, although I can never find everyone's house, which is embarassing for my poor kid.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

still more stuff, still more random

Mike's on facebook. Once he starts to read blogs, we'll know it's over--leading life on the interwebs? That shark will have jumped, retired from the jumping life, gone home to sit in the Barcalounger and died during a rerun of Happy Days.

Five more days and then..... no more snarky election videos. I bet you'll miss some of them, you masochist. I wonder if anybody I know (or if anyone I've ever even met) is undecided about who they're voting for. Hard to imagine any voter actually planning to go to the polls is clueless about which candidate they want to see president. The only time I've ever done eenie meenie was for probate judge. They can't possibly care so why would they bother to go vote? To buy a bake sale brownie, maybe?

I never even considered voting for that other candidate. And I can guarantee no one my family has either. Heckfire, my family is entirely mono-minded. I can only imagine what would happen if I sent out a letter endorsing McCain to my sisters, brothers, and even inlaws. Makes me see how tribal we are. And since I'm looking at Us, I have to admit we're pretty boring, too. Between my husband's family and mine--us people in our generation, I mean--there are eight married couples, all of whom hitched up from ten to a gazillion years ago.

Happy Anniversary, Nan and Carter. And yes, you're old. Not as old as some people, though. I happen to know that our brother is older than dirt.

The only person in those two sets of siblings to divorce was my husband (years before I met him). Not that I'm trying to jinx all these hundreds of years of marriage, but what a snoozy group. No material for novels. Nothing much for blogs, either.

Monday, October 27, 2008

beth sez halloween sbd

okay a list! And because I make reference to a couple of books, I think it can be labeled SBD.

favorite halloween story? Dragon's Halloween by Dav Pilsky

favorite halloween scene? The one in the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird.

favorite candy? Almond Joy because Mike and my kids hate those so I get some.

least favorite thing about Halloween? People trying to scare me with movies. I do NOT like horror movies. No, no, no. I have enough adrenaline going on, no need to get more flowing. And this time of year, there are lots of horror movies everywhere.

Although I do like that Vincent Price movie about the wax museum. And who could dislike Bette Davis's cheesey wonderfulness in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? So the old campy ones I watched with Gretchen Glick are fine. The others with blood and guts and buxom teenagers getting axed, not so much.

least favorite candy? Snickers. And yet I eat them. Maybe that's why I don't list licorice because I won't touch that stuff. so it doesn't qualify as foodstuff.

favorite horror writer? Dean Koontz, until Mike made me listen to a line from a Koontz book on tape--it was a schtick about how people can't truly know other people because we are all mysteries tied in a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Dean, O, Dean. How could you? So it's back to Stephen King who can be too scary because he doesn't have that Basic Goodness Exists nonsense that I like in horror. I crave the existence of BG even if BG doesn't win--just like I want the murderer brought to justice in a mystery.

if you had to be a political figure for halloween, would you do McCain, Biden, Palin or Obama? Nixon or Boss Tweed.

the romance isn't dead

me, in kitchen: Hey, look at that! There are a couple of smaller versions of Beatrice running around near the sink. [leaning closer] Naw, they're not as hairy as she was. But that's pretty amazing. I wonder where they came from.
husband: Outside.
me: Huh? How do you know that? How'd they get in?
husband: You seemed so sad about that other spider I went out and caught these.

Both spiders eventually hunkered down behind objects on the windowsill and looked gloomy for a while. Then they disappeared. They've scuttled off to somewhere less exposed, I expect. I hope they lead long and happy lives in the basement where I won't find their webs. Oh how I hate running into unexpected spider webs.

But still, it's about as romantic a gesture as anyone's ever made--because, hey, my husband doesn't much like spiders.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

stuff

I love that remark on the comments below about us being made of magical stardust. Love. It. And I'd comment but I can't even open the damn comments much less read or add to them.

However I can play with the layout and so that's what I'll do instead. Adding things to the sidebar is easy.

Eventually I'll go declog the toilet with the plunger *blupablupasploooshshit!damn!blupablupablupa....gurgle) bleach everything in the bathroom and then go exercise.

There. The highlights of my busy, busy day. What about your life?

Oh, and we're mourning here. Beatrice the spider passed away. RIP, sweet arachnid. She died tucked back behind the crystal vase, a little husk with curled legs. I was so sad, I made Mike clean up the corpse and web. I really couldn't do it. We had a brief service during the Colbert Report: we muted the commercials and each of us talked about what Beatrice added to our lives. And we reassured each other that she's up in buggy heaven. May flights of fruit flies sing (or wing) her to her rest.

Friday, October 24, 2008

whinging

I swear to god, there's something about autumn that gives me the pip. I used to think it's because this is when most of my family/friend deaths have occurred but now I think it has to do with something chemical because that's how I think these days. Everyone's a big sack o'chemicals. That's enough to give anyone an outlook lower than a toad's knee.

But in the autumn I'm peeled, totally raw. I thought when you get older, it's harder to get all jittery and sad because you have experience and know what's going on. Yeah, but it's experience in getting jittery and sad, dude.

The most unlikely things send me into a decline. The sight of an nearly wrecked swing-set in someone's back yard. A nicely carved pumpkin sagging a bit. An empty popcorn bag in a pile of leaves. In fact I'd say just about anything that has the air of being abandoned and near its end.

WTF? If those images showed up in some post-modern short story, I'd give the writer a big red F. No fair they have power in real life, especially when my house, which is covered in a layer of dog fur and neglect has no emotional impact (as in a dire need to clean) whatsoever.

Here's what I have learned after years of slogging through Autumnal Despair/Panic/Meh (depending on day and time): I'll have to get my ass in gear and fake it. Clean anyway. Go running. Interact with cheerful people and not smite anyone. Buy Halloween candy and not eat it all.

I did cheer up when I read the hundreds of clever, snarky comments on this thread. Maybe it's time to go read SBTB again because that works too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Carrie Lofty, did you send this? Eh?



Even if you hate Obama, this is one slick and funny production. The parts I like are:
little headlines on the side (too bad they don't go to real articles)
guy worrying about his goat
cursing Marcianne Walsh


EXCEPT, uh oh, it's one of those video things that apparently plays whether you want it to or not. So I might have to disable it in a day or two because those things drive any visitor batshitcrazy fast.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

good review for Taken Unaware

"This is a sexy adventure that will keep the reader enthralled until the last page is finished. Taken Unaware is the perfect weekend pleasure read to get away from it all. Summer Devon has a huge hit on her hands, and I can only hope that there will be more stories to follow. Kudos Ms. Devon!"
--ecataromance review

Monday, October 20, 2008

today in print!

not sure the covers reflect the stories, and she does look like she's perhaps clutching herself in pain.

HOWEVER I really like this cover. Neat colors, fonts--art, dammit. You can buy the book here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

to stimulate the economy

and to spend all my paycheck in one spot, and to avoid cleaning, I want to buy books.
Carpe Jugulum (managed to miss this one)
Once Upon a Christmas (I lent out my copy and it's gone. Besides this cover is less mortifying)
The Yiddish Policeman's Union (Cavalier and Klay was great. Oh, errrm and so was that Kavalier and Clay)
....and that potato society book.

HEY, I found an abandoned gift card so I can spend another ten bucks. Any suggestions?

more stuff

The college student is home again**. I like having the school close--about 40 miles away--so it's easy for him to appear on the weekends. Okay, so we have to go fetch him. And okay, so we found out he was coming home when his friend's mother called Thursday to see if we could fetch her son too. Oh. The boys are planning to come home? I heard Mike saying, so I got the newz fourth-hand.

I expect he would have called to tell us he needed a ride about an hour before he wanted to be picked up.

My point is...I like it. I'm glad this growing up thing can be done more gradually than I expected. I don't have to miss him as much if he doesn't go away long.

In other All About Us news, the cars' repair will total more than $3,000 and thus we are reminded that there's a reason insurance premiums are high. I mean, jeebus, we're talking two bumpers thumped at about 5 mph. No broken lights even. I'd post photos but I don't have any and if I was going to go take pictures, they'd be of the red and orange trees, not my car's butt.

_____
** I enjoy his aura even if he does play Big Balls by AC/DC -- which of course all the boyz are now singing. I first wrote "I enjoy his company" but that would imply we spent actual time interacting. Not so much.

Friday, October 17, 2008

boring stuff about me but it is my blog

1. Probably bad that the major response I have to my husband's tiny little fender bender (involving our own 2 cars and costing well over $1000) is:
It wasn't me. I didn't do it. NOT me--someone else! It isn't my fault! Yay!
The inner middle-schooler's response is never far from the surface. Constant guilt about almost everything.

My current theory: You lose the magic thinking after childhood. but you can't shake the residual guilt about having all that power over the world. Guilt: the id's lizard brain at work. :-P Also when you spend all day alone at work (like I do) you lose perspective fast.

2. Speaking of writing, I need someone to kick my butt back into work gear. Also I'd like to shift into exercise mode more easily again. Are there pills for these things? Pills are easy. What happened to the coffee achievers? How come that's not working any more?

3. That Alfred E Newman-Smith dinner always struck me as disgusting insidery-beltway self-congratulatory richfatcat nonsense, but watching the preznital contenders making fun of themselves and each other on youtube is calming for us all.

Why look, they aren't actually At War. And they can be funny. Made me feel better about McCain. All of which is the point of the exercise, I expect. (Although I'll never like the man or the candidate--anyone who'd pick Palin for VP is never going to make the top ten list of Great Decidererers.)

4, Time to eat an apple or two.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We Got Apples, lots and lots of APPLES




Fine. Don't answer my question about that book. No one's read it.
Anyway.
Thanks to Aya, we got pictures, too. (and as usual, she's the instigator of the apple event)

Monday, October 13, 2008

realy shoddy SBD**

Anyone read this book? Is it any good? I loved Local Hero but we all know too twee is as bad as, if not worse than, too sappy. So? What about it? Does it go over the edge or should I buy it?

I did buy the latest Julia Quinn because I had a coupon. Always the coupons provide excuses for downfalls.

**(Told you it was shoddy. Hey, yo, I didn't even spell Really right.)

confused about what happened in the world of finance

Barbie and friends explain, with help from Els and friends, using only a few technical terms such as "ooblyboobillion dollars."



Speaking of politics, the gay couple down the street have a McCain/Palin sign in their front yard. I'm confused, but I bet not as confused as they are. I mean, guys, have you paid attention to Palin? I get the impression you out types are not part of her Vision of America.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I've said it before, I'm saying it again...and again...

The chat was okay, even though it wasn't nearly as busy as the ones we used to hold. Turns out that mine was one of the very last noveltalk chats. I spent much of the time squeeing at Diane Farr and Megan Frampton instead of pushing my own book. I forget to have stuff ready to post at those things. Too late now. I don't think there will be many more live chats anywhere. Too intensive and long in a fast-paced internet.

I was thinking, as I didn't do my job over there, how it's just about time for the fluff to emerge again. Bad times means light-hearted material will thrive. No more spies (unless they're bumbling) no more murders or thrillers, it's time for a modern PG Wodehouse to help us feel as if it isn't all doom and gloom and must Mean Something Deep to be real.

I think it's time for editors to buy NEW Fluffy STUFF. No more recycling old Metzger and Farr books. Get Metzger back to writing shorter Regencies, please. Haul back Nonnie St. George, even if she doesn't want to be brought back. Bring back clever fun and even silliness.

another guest bloggerific

Another post at Samhain. The Powers that Be just scheduled me in two days in a row. No problem for me. I can always blather. Today it's changing book buying habits. I was going to talk about each of the authors I listed, and explain why I love 'em, but that would take hours and hours and hours and . . . I think I'll go to sleep instead.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I posted over at Samhain today

I hope I didn't step on toeses because I'm early. But I couldn't figure out the time stamp and I'm running out the door. At least my entry is short. Here is that blog.

UPDATE: Uh oh. I might have goofed up by more than 30 minutes early, like by posting 24.5 hours early. . If it disappears, at least you'll know why.
Another UPDATE: Nope, it's okay. I'll just be over at Sammy tomorrow, too. What Samhain related post should that be? Hmmmm.

Monday, October 06, 2008

whoa

You might want to watch this if you're thinking of voting for McCain.

turn the page why don't you

Don't know why I always come back to referring to that damned save the children ad whenever I want to push a book. Because even I know:

Save the starving children =/= Buy Summer's book.

A wide-eyed youngster staring up at you from the page in the New Yorker, wondering why she's had to endure so much suffering. I wonder when the last time they used that very effective blackmailing method in their ads? It has to be at least 20 years, right?**

Begging and Pathos is not working for me. NO ONE IS COMMENTING over at that blog. And the hideous realization that this is only the Monday of a week of promo? Is making me whimper like a kid who has to pee and just realized he's got to wait 76 miles for the next exit. Unlike the starving children, that particular example does seem to fit. )

Come on.

Buy a book = let poor Ralphie out of the car to pee in the bushes

At twitter I promised no attempts at guilt. No such luck here.

LOOK! There's the excerpt. Did I mention there's also an interview with me over there? And if you comment on either between now and Friday, you can win a book.

Next up, I'll be nagging you to visit Samhain's blog where I post tomorrow morning. I'll make that post entirely original and funny and filled with poignant pith. Yup. And then there's a chat at noveltalk on Wednesday. I'll bribe you with whatever it takes. Pride? Who needs pride? I have a goddamn ebook to flog.
_______
**TANGENTIAL UPDATE: I went looking for references to that particular "turn the page" ad campaign, and the only direct reference I could find, after searching a couple of pages of google, was this book called Compassionate Fatigue by Susan Moeller I wonder if using guilt to get money started to backfire on them? People resent being told they're heartless. Or it became such an overused phrase?
Look, an excerpt from Taken Unaware, the book that's coming out tomorrow. J and J are holding a contest and you can win a Summer Devon book.

Friday, October 03, 2008

god, this is depressing.

Huh.

Well, then I Give UP. I don't know what it is. Sara Reinke didn't get a new contract.

Here's why I don't get it: She is one of the writers who busts her butt at promo. And it's good promo, too. As in positive, upbeat, inclusive, professional. She draws in other writers, has contests, really works hard. There might be somewhere on the web where she's been negative or nasty, but I haven't seen it. Maybe on occasion she might have been a little Hey, I'm an author! Have I told you about my books? But hell, that's what you're supposed to do, especially when you're newly published.

I'm confused by this, because I'd become convinced lately that with all-out professional promo, you can't lose. You'll beat the odds and stay published.

And what about the "It's all about the books
" argument? Short answer: No. It isn't.

I've seen some godawful writers get new contracts. And despite that it's all subjective line I'm always spouting, I do believe it's possible to write a crappy book by ignoring the basic stuff: eg knowing the real meaning and connotation of words (thesaurus divers are obvious), showing not telling etc. I've seen crappy writers get new contracts because enough people buy their books. Maybe they keep the readers going with hooks and twists. Maybe it's not all about the books, but about the plot lines? A few years back, I would have said those crappy writers kept getting contracts because they were all about the sex--but not lately. Not with slippery cores/plunging peni scenes spreading like virulent (heh) flu or the clap.

I've figured out that those crappy writers know how to be authors. They get promo or they spend big, BIG bucks and hire someone who does.

I haven't read Sara's books, but I've read excerpts and I can tell she's okay. So? What's the deal?

I wonder why her promo plan didn't do the trick, but chances are she's too professional to grouse about the problems in public. The woman is classy. So based on absolutely no factual information whatsoever, here's my latest guess: Her promo is based on an internet presence, ebook promo. And it really is a different game with print books. (keep in mind that post is years old and probably off)

So I won't abandon my theory after all. It is all about getting your name out there.

She's a writer and she's eventually going to get more contracts. But for now? I know that nasty, leaden-stomach sensation she might have and I say ugh, sorry, Sara.

UPDATED: yeah, yeah, I was being simplistic. I know a gazillion factors are involved in success/failure. I even know what some of the other ones are.

our debate thread

notes from last night, mostly twitter but why not? I think I'll go do some promo somewhere today.

I'm SO going to win this Palin game! Some of my words and phrases: Alaska, hero, umm, mocked, gosh, earmarks, McCain, gotcha journalism, real American

Other random selections: Surge, Media bias, gee, bad guys, governor, tax'n'spend, pelosi, wasilla, elites, wall st, main st Pakistan, phone it in, POW, pit bull

15-year-old: "she's like a feel-good movie, all happy ending, nothing but promises to make it better but it's not real. Not based on reality. She's not even a good movie, like the wedding singer." Huh?

This is disturbing. My son likes the wedding singer..? ?

IT is NOT NUCULAR YOU MORON. Why is she doing this?
why? Just to make everyone here scream NUCLEAR at her? Is that why Palin's saying it wrong?

Lauren points out it's on purpose--it makes Palin folksy and not elitist and we who correct her are East Coast Elitists. Hell. She's right, I betcha. (See? we can do it too? Betcha?)

Okay, she's winning because she has successfully put a subject and predicate together and then another related subject/predicate.

BLAME GAME! Heh. It wasn't on anyone's bingo card! It's so old, I expect everyone thought it would be retired by now.

Gwen Ifill is looking good.

Dang, I keep waiting for Palin to trip over her own tongue, but she's got those words coming smoothly. She doesn't sound entirely stupid. Passionate too. She might not be answering the questions asked, but will anyone notice?

Biden doesn't answer the question either. Bad Joe.

they hate our freedoms!


DANG Alex won with "Alaska, earmark, maverick, reformer, job creation" If only she'd said Community organizer or hero!


Why don't these people sit around the dining room table? Why always in the kitchen? How about sitting on the floor?

Fuckit, we're not real Americans because no kitchen table action.

Hey, when we try to get together at our kitchen table, we knock elbows and get in each other's faces. To be real Americans, we're going to have to kick out a kid or two or buy a bigger table.

Sure, she didn't answer the questions but she did put sentences together. And she's PERKY and FOLKSY. Uh oh.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

non-drinking game ideas?

Bill at dkos has a great plan "if you have a death wish, here's your drinking game for tonight: Every time Sarah Palin leaves the 'g' off a word ("Lyin'," "Cheatin'", "Moose huntin'"), take a swig of tequila. I promise to say nice things about you during your funeral."

The link above also leads to his great take on Stephen King's version of Katie and Sarah's next encounter. Spooky plus a fine accent.

My kids feel cheated because I won't let them play a drinking game tonight. The two that are home are supposed to watch the debate for school (did you have to watch debates when you were in sixth grade? I don't think we did)

Anyway, they're pretty excited and want me to go out and buy snax like it's the super bowl. No alcohol for them and really no liquids either. I suppose I could have an eating game? Like each kid starts with the same number of cheez puffs and each gets a particular set of phrases. Whoever runs out of puffs first, wins. They will have to pay attention to the debate.

Tthat way there will be less jeering and saying "huh? what does that mean, mom?" as there was during the presidential debate. I really resented the "what does that mean mom?" question because my usual answer of "the guy's a jackass, is what it means," which wasn't good parenting.

Maybe I'll wear discreet headphones and smile and nod during the debate tonight. It's the only way I'll be able to model polite listening skills for the boyz.

Or maybe I'll throw my cheez doodles at the screen.

Any suggestions for key words? Remember there has to be a good correlation between the words. I can't think of any word Biden says as often as Palin says "Alaska" except maybe "America" and "look". So okay, we should aim for key phrases. Cheez doodles goes to the person with the best list.

UPDATE: Here's a great Palin bingo card, but why should she provide all the entertainment? Where's the Biden card? It would have to have something about the people he meets on his daily commute to Delaware via Amtrak. Hmmm. He's harder because he's just less fun.