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Showing posts from March, 2009

SBD Blindspot

I think I sometimes like flawed books better than more perfect, polished ones. Like Blindspot, this one I just listened to--it was a lot of fun. It tried to do too much and be too much, but I love it just for making the effort.

A big reason to like the book--I found the hero totally appealing. He was a wonderful rogue/goober. The heroine and her journey made sense, usually. You forgave her for almost killing herself with poverty and pain instead of making easier choices. I don't know why I didn't find her as appealing as the hero when she was the stronger, smarter of the two of them.

The story of the hero's best friend, Alexander, was harder to take but that's because it was much less light-hearted and the best friend (a black man) was more complex. Alexander might not have fit the tone of the story but he was overall a nice change of pace, lemme tell you. Having the best friend be difficult, angry and vain (all for very good reasons) was such a pleasant surprise. I'…

Attention writers in search of advice about writing

Hey, listen, even if you don't approve of Twitter, this is a good thread for newbie writers. Shannon Stacey (whom I love even if she ignores me 99 percent of the time. No, it's ok. I don't mind) started it. You just go here and type in #writeradv . Easy!

And unlike #queryfail, there isn't a lot of meta-discussion so far. If you look up #queryfail there are thousands of messages about the process and how meaningful/horrible/innovative/boring it was. Not worth the time. Better to read about queryfail on a blog where the good messages--as in useful or funny--are collected.

no chum today**

I'm over at erotic muses today, not fuming about the RITAs. I haven't threatened to withdraw from the RWA for years now.

I need to get steamed about something. Got anything for me?

All I have is this stupid book I'm writing. These people are boring me and they should stop being assholes. And frankly I don't care if they fall in love or fall off the boat. If only they'd shut up.

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**I promise to stop using that word soon, but truthfully, I'm not harping on anonymous's note. That's just a wonderful word. As good as "dickweasel" (whoops got that wrong at first.) Chum just feels good in the mouth even when you're not saying it out loud. Chum. Tastes like "gum" only even juicier. And then for the extra-added-plus you have the fish guts and heads flash through the mind? Yay.

speaking of division conferences

This is funny.

Mike found it.

Well lookie at that

Whoa. This blog is sort of featured. I wish I could frame that post over at Linc's because, dude, it is going to be the only time I'm ever going to be shoved into the same division conference as Neil Gaiman.

Does this mean I have to start using punctuation and hunting down missing words** in the blog? Naw, I should have a couple of days ago. It's moot now.

And for anyone who wants to know what I think the blog's theme is: Stream of Consciousness Random with Occasional Stabs at Promo. Also forays into fretting and bleeding heart politics. SBD is all Beth's. If you want to see truly elegant Stream of Consciousness, go visit Beth.

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** for instance "to" is a word I can't seem to use/place properly. Always the little shit that trips one up.

SBD after all

good god it's all twitter and facebook's fault. I have only so much fritter time and they're using it all up. But SBD is short and it's Fool, by Christopher Moore a book that is silly fun so far. (it's a retelling of Lear, I suppose it will get tragic eventually, although the ghosts are as randy as anyone else, so even death isn't so horrid.)

Wonderful insults, good language play. But seriously, Moore's not kidding when he says in the intro you must avoid this book if you don't like wankery or fuckery. It's not just bawdiness --almost all but not quite -- I'm about half done and characters are growing more interesting and some are almost even fleshed out as they do their wankery and fuckery.

Part of the reason it's so good is that I'm listening to it, not reading it. I think it's the sort of book vastly improved by a good reader and Euan Morton is one of my favorite new readers. He's right up there with Simon Jones. Those are some …

it's friday already?

I could lie and say I've been writing novels, but actually I've been reading them. Mostly Balogh and they've all blended together in my mind. Lots of healing outdoor passive sex for deeply wounded people who hold back especially when they really should just say what the hell they're thinking. I do like her work but I should not have read so much of it at once.

My own books have slowed to a crawl. Too daunting. Plus at the moment I don't like my own style. I keep trying to change it but once I really start plugging away, the way I write slides back to what I'm used to. And then I slide into self pity and then we all slide into bed to watch Cash Cab...or read another Mary Balogh. Time to slide out of here! Time to go running! Time to find other people! I spend too many hours alone with snoring dogs!

Now if that isn't gory detail.....well. (To understand why gory is important, see last few comments attached in post below. Every time I stop to think about putting…

so very modern

okay a number of people who Know These Things say that using a fake name is in the past. Hiding your identity is a tough proposition these days and if you're not devoted to making sure no one finds you (for a reason like you write gay fiction and you're a member of a conservative church or a third grade teacher or both), then using a pseudonym just annoys tech-savvy readers who wonder why you bother. They assume something is off. . . .Are you hiding bad sales figures? Bad reviews? Just trying to be cute?

Hmmm.

Skip Callie Braden, they say. Summer Devon is okay, because yeah, if it would be objectionable to some of your readers, makes sense to have a special name for the sex. But Callie Braden? Don't bother. Or if I am going to bother, I should something obviously related to my name (I tried Kate Wells, but got bad results) then it fits the "cute" and not "deceptive" category.

What do you think? In the internettty age does it make less or more sense to use …

be nice

I want you people out in the world to be nice to my boys, but especially to the one who cares. Go ahead and be rude and unpleasant to me. I can take it.

When people make fun of that coach who yelled at the reporters to lay off his boys, I wasn't scornful (months ago and I'd google it but I have to make a yarn run and clean the house. And get you people to be nicer to my kid). Yes, that coach was an ass, but yah, I get why he said that.

I'm fretting about that boy. He's too. . . too. . . I don't know. He's bound for disappointment. Too caught by what people think about and especially what they think of him. He's too empathetic. I wrote sensitive, but that has a negative connotation even if it fits.

The boy is pleasant to people and dammit, you should just be nice right back at him. Or else.

SBD I want to read their next books

It's time again to nag the world to publish works by these people. I have my standard list (RA MacAvoy, Judith Merkly Riley, Bonnie Dee etc) but I thought I'd add to it.

Come on, editors and publishers. Pony up and buy new books by:

TF Banks.

Lynnette Baughman

Cheryl Sterling

Don't make me whine at you, dammit.

My nightmare

YOU can take it and turn it into a real novella. I can't because I swear, I can still feel my bones dissolving. But if you sell it to the horror movie industry and make real money, I want a big cut. Seriously. After all, I had to live through this, sort of.

Here's what I dreamed:

We're having a party -- a big one--and an univited man comes into house. He's very jolly but somehow we sense he's up to no good. Yet because he's got some clever moves and gets round (he gets into the drop tile ceiling at one point) we don't manage to escape. He injects each person with a big white thing (looks just like one of the tools my dentist uses--to apply glue I think). Anyway he tracks us down one by one and then he leaves. He waves goodbye even.
Time passes and we're worried but none of us get sick or dies. A day? A week? I don't know. But it's okay. Everyone feels great. Also we feel a huge compulsion to go to a really nice house. The man from the party greet…

look, she's got no cone!

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Unfortunately see how her ear hangs low? The operation left her lopsided. She uses those ears to express emotion so this will be a disadvantage. Maybe it'll pop back into action eventually.

why they're so rare

I'm surprised that everyone's omiGOD, these people at CNBC aren't really reporters!!

Journalism is hard work and I don't mean the part where you sit down in front of a screen to write. The gathering news part is hard. But what can be way harder is the fuck yous you get, the clever lies, the personable liars and the threatening ones. Not to mention the fact that you might end up writing bad things about people which will make you an object of hatred. You might end up being messenger who will be ignore, reviled and undermined. Or shot. Yeah, that happens a lot in a lot of parts of the world.

Real journalism is not for someone who wants to be popular with the elite--or anyone else if it comes to that. If you write really balanced stories about horrible situations, nearly everyone is likely going to show an asshole side and you have to expose that. Exposed assholes aren't pretty. True investigation of important issues is not for television personalities if they care ab…

sleep on it

I so should not have written that last post. Kids, let that be a lesson to you: don't post when pissed. You look petty.

Now I have the Meatloaf song in my head. Lemme sleep on it

And if my son spends any more time trying to convince me that "The Trees" by Rush is actually a fine song, I'll sing Paradise by the Dashboard Light to him. That'll show him. He's still asleep; maybe I'll wake him up by serenading him.

And in other breaking news: word count numbers are way down, my coffee is cold and I have to go to the dentist again. That's the worst I can come up with for the headline news [oh, see how the real headline news types are all dizzy with joy today? Anna Nichole is back! kinda.] which means life is dull and fine, just the way I like it.

hmmmm

okay so let's say last year there was a big online kerfuffle. All about a writer who was perhaps abusing the ratings system at an online store. Big, big stuff.

And let's say you're a snarky writer who got offended by the whole thing....and you make a remark out on the interwebs that you probably shouldn't have. No, you definitely should have stayed quiet.

So time has passed. Before all this started you published a couple of books under your name. Of course not everyone likes those books, but still you're sort of oh, bummer about the fact that the books have a pretty poor rating over at goodreads. Oh well, you say. Tough noogies.

More time passes. You're supposed to write a synopsis but instead you do all sorts of things to avoid doing that, including updating profiles everywhere including goodreads.

And as you're doing that, you look at your own books to see if anyone's read them lately and if the ratings have gone up...and hey....

you finallynotice that two…

mmm yummy

Hey, I made good cookie bars, like magic cookie bars, sort of.

bottom layer:
package of graham crackers
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup oats
optional dried cranberries.
put in food processor, then when it's all about the same texture press into greased 9x13 pan.

middle layer:
pour out a can of sweetened condensed milk so it's spread evenly on your graham crackers
sprinkle with chocolate chips (lots) dried cranberries or cherries or raisins or nuts or all of the above. You can add coconut but not around here. Sheesh, what a bunch of whiners.

top layer:
some of that bottom layer, mixed with more oats (not ground up this time, maybe 1/2 cup), 1/3 cup brown sugar and a few TBL butter. Approx measures. sprinkle on top of the other stuff.

bake about 20 minutes at 350.

Let it sit to cool a while or you'll have a goddawful mess when you try to cut it. Skip the oatmeal and graham crackers, and use more gluten free shortbread or some other cookie type and voila! Ryan can eat it too.

who's that again?

A while back I got a contract for a new book...it's a YA at Cerridwen, or whatever imprint EC does for YAs. I'm now filing out the cover sheet which means trouble because though I remember the name of the book, but I don't remember the characters. This means I have to go open the manuscript and go on a hunt.

These days I keep a character sheet for my stories. I have a list of details like eye color, hair color, clothes particular details that make that person distinctive. I didn't for this story. Fact is, I can't even remember the names of the people in the story.

Here's something even worse: I can't even remember my own name for this book.

Since this is a young adult contemporary, I didn't want to use Kate Rothwell (for historicals) or Summer Devon (for hotter stuff). Last fall, when the editor said he liked the story and wanted it, I picked a name for myself I'd used before, but then I made the mistake of googling it.

I discovered that the most online…

random whines

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So I have to go to Avon. I don't wannnnnnnnnnna go to Avon. First I have to go fetch my Bosnian pals and drag 'em with me. No, what I really need is to find a place that sells yarn that isn't fancy pants but is also WOOL and not acrylic. So anyone in the Hartford area know a place like that? Somewhere between Wal-Mart and OverPriced Yarnz R Us? And maybe we could buy it online?

That damn song about "Trees" by Rush? Hate hate hate it especially since I"m convinced they really mean it. I can't put on my Spinal Tap hat afterwards. And hey, I believe it's Ayn Randian.... ever notice it?

Also it must be hard to play on Rock Band 2 because the boyz can't seem to stop trying.

I had a nice SBD about a historical romance that's coming out but I don't know when it'll be released and I think I'll wait. I haven't read it but the premise is just so much fun and so different. . . .I'll wait.

And now I have to see if conedog will remain pat…

It's a contest!

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A contest with a bunch of creative ways to enter

(although, dudes, you're going to need a calculator to figure out all those methods of entries. 20 entries here, 5 there.... Yikes.)

Word must be getting out, too, because there are over 160 comments.

Here it is, copied and pasted from the Bitten By Books website. (link above!)The Last First Book We Ever Wrote Hello there! My name is Bree, and I’m one half of the romance-writing, virtual-crime-fighting duo known as Moira Rogers. I’m here today because Bitten by Books was kind enough to agree to help us celebrate something really exciting that only comes once in an author’s lifetime: the release of the first book we ever wrote.Awesome, right? We sure think so! Of course, the part that takes a little bit of explaining is the part where Crux is, in fact, our sixteenth ebook to be released. A lot has happened to us since fall of 2007, when we first sat down to try and tell the story of Mackenzie and Jackson, the heroine and hero who have…

fiction fun in nearly real life

I just commented on a post in my Summer persona by accident. I forgot to sign out as her and sign back in as Kate. My comment mentioned barbie dolls.... and when I saw who'd posted it, Summer, I had a moment of "no, she wouldn't say that. Not her." As Summer, the only way I'd think about barbies would be as props. My friend Arianna uses barbies to make sure what she describes in hawt scenes is physically possible. That's the Summer way.

It's funny having a persona that always snaps off to another train of thought that's not really like my own. And then, when I see that I've signed her name on a comment that doesn't match that persona, it's like when any fictional character steps away from their natural behavior. It's jarring and rings false. Takes you out of the story.

It's kind of cool actually. Kind of like walking around living with characters in a book in your head during planning time. . .only this time it really is me. Sort of…

I'm Summer Today

Over at Erotic Muses, being erotic.

about time

I keep reading twitters and blogs and whatnot about how gorgeous Michelle Obama is and how the person making that comment would kill for her looks. And all I can think is it's about fucking time.

Sure, there have been gorgeous black women or women of mixed race who've been thought of as beauties, but they were models or stars. And anyway, usually they're EXOTIC. Six foot tall, cheekbones that are almost otherworldly. Michelle is an ordinary person, albeit glamorous, but she's no exotic. Futhermore she doesn't have blue eyes or a deep golden skin. She is black and she is lovely and everyone (other than a few scary people) knows it.

I've been personally aware of this white is the standard of beauty thing ever since I was a kid. When I was little, I got to go to Murphy's on Wisconsin Ave. and pick any doll I wanted. I picked a doll that was as big as I was, a walking sort of doll. Heck I was greedy and she was the biggest one there. The woman buying it with me …

today's favorite free book critique

You write good characters. I like your characters better than any book I've read this month.** I stuck with a plot I didn't love mostly to find out what happened to them and then I began to enjoy the plot, too.

(and yes, I did ask permission first this time, T!)

**sent on the 3rd but we're still pretty happy.

SBD not all that different when it comes down to it

So I read all of the Witch books by Kim Harrison and then I started reading another book by another author of the same sort of book and HEY, LOOK ! same sort of issues, same sort of emo vampires. I went over to a review site and started reading descriptions of plot and I suddenly got the point of how those books operate. And then I took that magic jump, past that particular barrier of subgenre, into pure realm of silliness--leaping the lines of power into another shadow kingdom where everything is the same but different, the ever after.**

In historical romances, there's the threat created by a monstrous uncle or bad guy who wants the woman (often feisty or strong-willed) who frets about her virginity and the tempting man who's so far out of her league, something about her life or dignity will be threatened if she gives in to him. She also worries about her role as she usually makes her way alone in the world. Or maybe she has a younger sister dependent on her. Standard famil…
Here're the first five pages of a story I'm currently working on. I'm about forty pages into it working title, Adventures of Trudy Tildon. Why did I take the time to put these five pages in pdf and put them on the internet?

Because I can?

Because it's easier than actually working?

I swear to God, the other stories I have lying around do not have rash heroines. Maybe I should put up the first five pages of all the current things and you guys can decide which one I should keep.

UPDATED: Damn. I forgot to put a "copyright, all mine, don't steal" note on it. I'll get around to it after I eat cookies and run on the treadmill, not in that order.

writerly stuff

I get more notes about my free book than any other book I've written. It's interesting how the notes aren't necessarily all about the book or my writing, but about other things, like the note-writer's work. That's fine with me because maybe it means I come across as friendly.

I doubt that's because more people have read that book than any of my others. That first Kensington book had a pretty big press run. It was in drug stores and Wal-Mart, for pete's sake. Probably this is because of the new interwebby ways of the world. Writers and readers are each others' FACE. Also? It might be because I put my email address somewhere in there.

Speaking of in your face. Here's a lesson I read on a writer's loop that people might want to take to heart: if you ever want someone to give you a cover quote? (a blurb dammit... thank you Colleen Lindsay) it's probably best not to trash any of her books in public, ever.