Monday, November 30, 2009

and this is the best website ever.

stuff and maybe an SBD

I'm trying NOT TO COUGH, okay? but it's not working, so just stop glaring at me. I learned how to do the int0-the-elbow thing when my kid was in preschool and I'm good at it.

I n other coughing news, the cheratussin ac is evil tasting. My chest hurts.

and that's the extent of my complaints, which is pretty good for a Complaint Queen such as myself. Because coughing, while it is monotonous and keeps one from sleeping, isn't in the same league as stomach stuff on the pain and suffering index.

And I just got a dash of perspective. My P&S index seems pretty minor compared to these people. I was looking up the cough syrup to see if I could add on other meds and found that loop where they discussing getting high or coming off a high using cough syrup. Call me old fashioned, but what's wrong with alcohol if you want a little drug abuse? It has to taste better than cough medicine. Or is there some kind of addiction thing going on?

And hey I got to ask after reading that loop (and another, actually): how can anyone despise these people? They're abusing the drugs, and their bodies, not to mention discussing it on the internet--all of which seems fairly stupid--but why is that worthy of loathing?

Those gazillion PSAs we watched as kids have had their effect. Except instead of fearing the drugs we're all in a hizzy about the people who use them.

* * * *

Ok. So far no SBD. But the fact is I'm not reading the new and coming authors these days (as in the last couple of weeks) because I've gone into one of my least favorite state of beingsess, the temporary Envy Pit. You know you get there, too, writers. Unless of course you're chugging along nicely on your career track, it's almost inevitable. Or I bet you could avoid it if you have Jennifer Louden in your brain.

Just like any envy or hatred this particular pit is way worse for the person experiencing it than the peeps who're the target. Because, damn, I'm not reading any new good books while I'm here.

If affirmations worked for me, I'd be in front of the mirror doing them, anything to climb out of the envy pit faster because, yo, I love reading those fucking "fresh new voices".

Luckily this is a BTDT thing. It's only temporary. Even if the career plummets off a cliff, I'm not going to give up fresh new voices for long.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I've been doing the glom thing lately. . . and have noticed that the first book in a series is best and the rest are written more quickly and so aren't as polished.

Except the writing in the Maisie Dobbs series gets better and better with each book, the characters more interesting.

Now I need to find another series. I wish that Patricia Briggs woman wrote more quickly.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cover Queen

This is worth reading: Mandy Roth's process Cover art in the smaller presses.

The bigger publishers--it's a whole different story.

But since I deal with the little guys, lately....I have a strong new opinion and my attitude has changed. A lot. As in I now believe my opinion shouldn't matter at all.

Seriously, dudes, what I like isn't relevant and, these days, when I see that form asking me for my preferences, I wonder why do they ask me?

My name might be on the cover, but this is a project involving specialists in all sorts of fields. Do they think I know what sells or doesn't sell? I know the sort of covers I prefer, but I'm too close to the story plus--and this is more important-- my tastes might not match other readers, the people who'll actually buy my book.

At that point, once the publisher has acquired my story and used my input to turn the book into something polished [sidenote: BUT HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, NOT JUST MY INPUT PLEASE. Thank you.]Anyway . . . . once I'm done with the text, my preferences shouldn't matter because I'm not the expert.

I do know about art, thank you SMFA, but I haven't taken marketing classes. I haven't surveyed the readers to find out what they like to see on their books.

I hope someone at the publisher has done just those things. If they haven't, then I'm in a lot more trouble than if they put up a red curly title instead of blue san serif one.

Obviously I know certain things: Bad photoshopping is icky. Having a blonde heroine and a brunette on the cover annoys a lot of readers.

But that's basic stuff and the art department knows that, too, right? I hope? And I hope they give a damn about that stuff, too. IF they don't seem to know or care about production quality, then yeah, my opinion suddenly is relevant again--to me, anyway.

Otherwise, it shouldn't make the slightest bit of difference if I loathe those cut off head torsos or those peculiar montages or I feel nausea at the sight of pumped-up mantitty. If the readers like them, and the art department does the style right, I'll shut the fuck up. Mostly.

But sometimes I can't and then I hold a contest to make sure everyone sees the awesomeness that is a cover. (It's old, but still a classic.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

blahdyblahblah blah

I'm here, doing nanowrimo at La Paloma. There are about ten of us sitting around in a pleasant coffee house, typing on computers, writing in notebooks. It's very quiet. Shhhh.

So why am I blathering on twitter and in my blog? No clue.

I think I'll plan Thanksgiving dinner, except, naw. If I get too funky with that, the traditionalists will be crushed and angry. Turkey, and everything I always make, including the sacrificial turnips and brussel sprouts.

Okay, maybe I could balance my checkbook.

Or curl up on this comfy couch and fall asleep. Or do useless research on the the origin of color names because of Doug. Or go buy coffee from Helder. Or design a page for the getting the book done group because Meetup, bless its easy-to-use self, costs too much. Or go home and harass my family.

This laziness is so not my fault. Someone needs to give me a deadline and apparently nanowrimo doesn't cut it.

Speaking of deadlines....segue alert! segue alert! whoopwhoopwhoop.....I just had a look at the line-edits done by someone at Loose-Id for the m/m historical Bonnie Dee and I wrote. The editor gave the manuscript a careful check for anachronistic words. Oh, yes. Nice. I like love that in a publisher.

I can't wait to get our second edited manuscript to play with and fix per the editor's instructions. That's what I'm in a mood for. None of this out of thin air thing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

that good review

and really, I should post links like this everywhere I can. A good review for an old book. She got the hero's name wrong, but ask me if I care. Answer: not even a little bit.

I wonder if I can remember how to update my page.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

well, ok

Dear Summer,
I really enjoyed your book. Obviously I don't agree with Smart Bitches and I just wish I had the kind of clout they do so I could counterbalance that review. Irrational Arousal was a fun read and I'm going to read more of your stories--I already have them on my computer.

I would like to point out that that one phrase that Sarah uses "Vulvan Mind Meld" is awesome and you should take that for your own use. It doesn't look like they've copyrighted it, so you should steal it.

Thanks for a great book, and I look forward to reading more!

That's almost exactly what Toni A. said--I should play that baby up big time. Yeah, I think maybe I'll put somewhere on my Summer Devon site...without actually linking back to that damned review, of course.

Vulvan Mind Meld TM is mine. . .

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The big question: When do I get my first paycheck?

Somewhere online someone is acting like an expert and, because of luck and timing, that person will be right. His/her spouting off will be accurate---this time.

How can we know the difference between this coin-flipping clever person and a real expert? (definition of real expert someone who has read articles longer than twitter entries and maybe has been around for a while. And knows the details and isn't just guessing based on sensations emanating from his/her butt. A degree might be in there as well--> his past, not his butt.)

So, what's the answer? How do we know?

No clue. I don't know the difference and neither does anyone else unless they bother with the research which is tedious and requires some expertise. The world is full of poseurs and it's interesting to discover how easy it is to pull off a convincing act as an authority even in the age of google.

I'm thinking of adopting the correct confident attitude and trying for a schtick as an expert myself. First I'll need a slicker website and a terrifying ability to snark doubters.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I'm tired of long descriptive passages. Maybe it's time for something written by Hemingway. Only I don't think I want one of his stories...sure, all that spare prose fits those narratives about Being a Man, but how about a mystery? That might work.

Maybe a Wodehouse mystery too. "I say Tuppy, topping weather. Is that a corpse sprawled on the old chaise lounge?"

If I can't have new material, I'll take a retelling of old stuff.

At dinner we were explaining O. Henry stories to the sprats and they said, "hey! Now I get that episode of Futurama."

The boys attempted to describe the episode in which two characters get hair cuts so they can buy combs and the third shows up with a new wig (their hair) and a lotta combs.....or something. You had to be there and I wasn't. But the gist! The gist!

Hey Shakespeare did that retelling schtick and nobody whines about him, much. And some stories just keep popping up like reanimated corpses and no one complains. Maybe if we get creative, we can attempt a retelling of A Christmas Carol by Oliver Stone. Or Pride and Prejudice by Hitchcock. Add a little tension in there.

This rematching thing is all the rage for those stupid high concept one liners, right? Or are they passe? Should be by now.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

have you noticed?

1. I'm all about the numbers.
2. and the tangents.

reading some more

1. I think I lied when I said I wasn't going to do a Maisy Dobbs glom. There are habits I want broken--like I wish the characters didn't do that repeat a phrase thing and keep saying each other's names (eg "That they do, Billy, that they certainly do.") and honestly, Pilates? But I'm growing fonder of them, and that's a sign of danger ahead.

Growth and change in familiar characters is worse than salty nuts when it comes to that old addictive quality. I wonder when TPTB figured out that it can't all be same old, same old. We have a buncha Perry Masons on tape and there's no change or soap opera building from week to week. No way you could get away with that now. All those evil publishers/producers know about helpless readers/viewers trapped by helpless addiction to changing character arc.

2. Also more Wodehouse because they're all free on Kindle. Early Wodehouse is better than no Wodehouse.

3. Here's what I'm not going to read: Going Rogue, although I might pick up a copy of Going Rouge.

4. Also after all that it's the Best Thing Ever about Stieg Larssson might have ruined the book for me. The book was okay, pretty good, but BTE? Oh, I don't think so.

5. I just reread one of my own shorter stories (time to do a cover form) and, hey, I can write. Don't let them convince you otherwise.

source of grump

1. The theme from Arthur is jammed in my head. Thanks a lot, Ryan. Your video is cute, but the song! THE SONG.

2. This is the biggie for me: a semi-possible offer from a dreamy fabu publisher is not going to happen.

3. Christmas. I'm getting worse at that holiday, or rather the season. I should have been trained in it better.

4. Rain, rain, more rain.

5. The house smells like an old damp ex-fire because the old fire went out.

6. Nekkid trees.

7. In the rain.

Except my husband just told me out of the blue that he loves me, so okay. And also someone invented Pandora so I can drive out Christopher Cross. Currently my "Old White Guys" station is playing Steely Dan and Bruuuuuuuuce is up next.

Another also? If there is some scurrying and hue and crying going on in the internettty world or politics or publishing, I'm not there. I've checked out.

Unless you know something about it....and it's potentially interesting? Well? Hmm? Anyone? Gossip?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

book report

I had a run on the YA Historical Mystery stuff.

I read:

1. a couple of Maisie Dobbs books....The history part is fun. She did her homework and uses the research for details that make the story richer instead of smacking us longside the head with Facts (well, occasionally there's a teeny tiny head-smack) . Maisie herself isn't impressing me all the time. She's too perfect and the way she tells people what to do in a rhhather pompous manner is rhather annoying. And there isn't a sense that she questions herself and the Great Blanche's methods--not enough self-awareness. Plus those methods. Nope, I'm not sure they are presented so that I'd believe them.

So that bit above sounds whiny, but I like the books just fine. The author knows her pre-WWII world. Overall grade: fun stuff. OH! And there's the big secret about the man Maisie had loved at the end of the first book and that made me like her more. She became slightly more human. More flawed = human. But am I in this series for the long run? Will I run to the store when a new one hits the stands? Eh. I'll read them when I find them and think these are good when you're under the weather and requiring a book that won't make demands. A lot of YA is like that.

I don't think I'm doing a glom of Maisie...Of course I said that about the Thompson series and then suddenly WHAM I was an addict. Buying hard-cover for God's sake.

Hey, what is with that? How do people get addicted to stuff they know isn't fabulous? Like all of the sudden, I want to watch Trauma. I crave that damn thing. And then I think, Hey Maybe it really IS fabulous.

WTF? Nothing has changed....except me.

The show is cancelled already which is sort of a relief. Addiction to a series is a PITA. And a series you don't entirely respect? Silly. Of course the more I watch the more believable it is, because I start to buy into the world (and thank god they finally brought in the parade of craziness that is SF.) and care about the characters.

I do think that female lead is pretty great. The tough as nails, cynical, love-em-leave-em loner cast as a woman and one who doesn't whine? I think she's why I like the show.


2. I read the three Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart series. She's a lot like Maisie as in bossy and sure of herself in a time that didn't allow for that sort of behavior in young women, but she has the right to be (and the backstory to show why she's like that.) AND she occasionally stops and questions herself.

It's funny because Sally's stories are the more outrageous Penny Dreadful of the two series, with opium crime lords and huge conspiracies and boatloads of action, but they feel more realistic because she and her friends have a touch more depth. That Pullman's a fabu writer. Maybe if I hadn't read Sally and Maisie at just about the same time, I would be more pro-Maisie. (and perhaps less pro-Sally?)

3. Now I've moved on to the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Of course I want to raise my hand and ask Teacher, Hey, how come he's allowed to do all that telling instead of showing?

It took a while, but now I'm caught by the story.

Time to work. I have to go crank out more stories that won't get boughtededed.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

gaze upon the awesome power that is me

No, I refuse to believe it's all coincidental: Twice in the last few months, I've change the course of the publisher.

Right after one of my books came out, they basically discontinued the line.

Right after I made a lot of fuss and bother (well, mostly just snickered) they changed the way they do covers.

They are sick and tired of authors complaining the cover doesn't reflect the story. . .Hmmm I didn't have that complaint. And really, they didn't say that--they do professional communication. I'm reading between the lines the official statements.

They just said something along the lines of nope, sorry. We are now making covers that we think will sell the book. The covers don't necessarily have to reflect the actual characters.

I hope they won't start putting tall leggy blondes on stories featuring midget brunettes. Since we're talking hot contents, at least the covers won't be entirely Kilgore Trout.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I want to post Halloween pictures of aya and tom, but I can't because I don't have any. I need my pix of butterflies and h1n1.

Here's Alex from a gazillion years ago. My boy:


Pretty happy teenager.

I don't get it but I'll take it, thanks. I realize the reason we're doing well here is that we're incredibly lucky with the kids, the health, the ability to laugh at the same stupid crap etc. The basics are better than anyone could hope for. That means any whining? Details and blips.

I should probably knock wood 24/7 ....spit over my left shoulder . . .light candles of gratitude to the gods . . . maybe clean the place up a little? Some recognition of the bounty. Maybe I'll whine creatively just to disguise the situation so the eye of chaos won't fall upon this house.

Monday, November 02, 2009

not too much of a good thing

There are some authors one should only read a book then take a break. No glomming for them. Right now I'm letting myself listen to my every-couple-of-months Carl Hiassen.

His basic characters and his plots are repeats but I love them so much, I don't mind. I did the mistake of reading a couple in a row and getting annoyed by the repetition factor.

But after a while I want to go back. I love the nasty pasty city villains, the crazy bad guys--especially the ones that are redeemed. And the crazies who're hanging around the everglades. In the familiar mix there is always something new and interesting--and usually something so funny I'll laugh enough to wake up the dog.