Posts

Showing posts from 2010

end of the year regrets

I regret not more of you are entering my contest. Do so and make the new year brighter for all of us.

I regret not filling in those details in the contest that'll help. I'll add those later.

I, like many other people, regret those shoes with toes. I regret that they don't seem to be going away.

I regret buying my poor child a cheap MP3 player when all he really wanted an Apple product. No wait a sec -- that's his regret, not mine.

I regret writing that letter to her employer when a friend of mine got shafted. It didn't help. My friend was appalled that I'd done that== she pointed out that I'd made her look like she'd violated the STFU clause and the employer can make her life that much more difficult. I'd thought the employer was a good person and now I'm less convinced And I regret I can't tell you what the deal it is. I don't think I'll regret writing this because it's so vague you'll just get annoyed. Because there's onl…

My New Cover and the contest

Image
See? The title Rat Catcher does not fit that cover.


This is from Kimberly's site of premade covers, but look! She has a bunch of images she'll make into covers.

So? What are you waiting for?
Enter the contest to give me a title.

Maybe you're waiting for details? Okay, okay. I'll work on my back cover text sheet later. First I have to write a book that'll actually earn me some money.



filed under promo kinda

Get it while you can AND a contest, maybe

Here's your chance to play editor!
Give that book a title.
Test your skills as a editorial and/or marketing peon.

your questions, answered:

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS, KATE?
Because I've tested my skills and they suck.**

WHY #2?

I'm going to buy a new cover for The Ratcatcher. Mostly because I love Kimberly Killion's business. And I'm fond of this book.

This means the final product is going cost me money. Which, in turn, means I'm going to stop giving it away for free. Of course there are a gazillion free copies of the thing floating around, and this is a useless exercise, but why not? Hey? Well?

WHY #3?

I'm more likely to sell more copies if I give the book a new title because the title Ratcatcher actually sucks, according to everyone who knows these things. There are no rats, there is no ratcatcher (which disappointed a number of people) and the title is as romantic as Pesticide.


WHY #4?

This seemed like fun at the time. So far, I'm the only one who thinks that. If …
Dear Author reviews our latest book.

Sarah seemed to get the character of Reese. I think he's a guy who isn't particularly emotional -- he usually successfully avoids introspection, in fact. He's had a tough time and is gay in a time when that's just not done, but he hunkers down and gets the job done and he's not neurotic.

Maybe neurotic would have made him more interesting --- if he'd been holding down a vibrating pressure cooker of emotion, just about ready to blow. That's a standard for romance. (A standard because, when it's well done, it is entirely satisfying----> Lord of Scoundrels)

But Reese doesn't respond with strong emotion. It's not who he is. He screws up when he gets emotionally upset, so he simply refuses to let it happen.

I'd ask Bonnie if she agrees with this assessment, but I'd hate to look stupid about our co-creation.

huh.

Okay this is desperately important. All those el cheapo make-it-yourself videos, do they use voice actors? I could swear this book I'm currently listening to -- The Two Minute Rule by Crais -- THE VOICE of CHRISTOPHER GRAYBILL IS THE MALE IN MANY OF THOSE VIDEOS. (For reference, see the latest annoying Geico commercial)

Is that possible?

Here, listen for yourself. Here are samples of his voice.

what do I read next? an early sbd

I've read all of the Miles Vorkosigan books and all the other Bujolds as well. I've finished every Terry Pratchett**. Ditto Suz Brockmann, Patricia Briggs, SEP, and Jennifer Crusie. I've plowed through a bunch of mysteries, the LA series, as it turns out. And I just finished laughing at David Sedaris's latest book--the one full of animals. But hey, here I am, unable to concentrate on my non-fiction, and out of fluff.

What should I read next?

Books I've recently abandoned (usually for no good reason)
The Cookbook Collector
The Forgotten Garden
The Looking Glass Wars
The Way of Shadows
What Comes After Crazy

Should I keep trying on any of those? I dumped most fairly early on.

I had a bunch of Nora Roberts (all library books -- in fact almost every title I've listed is from the library which makes a book/tape easier to abandon.) Anyway, I only finished one NR. The others are not a omigodthisishorrible sort of DNF. More of an eh, meh thing.

Pandora's Daughter by Iris Jo…

not really SBD

I'm listening to The Passage. Wooowweee. It is LONG and I can't seem to turn it off. It has great moments and yet, occasionally sort of rip-off Koontz character-types....or maybe they're just horror/thriller post-apocalypse tropes. eg wise old black lady, religious type that is sort of savioresque.

It's long rambling but holding together enough that I'm there, babee.

I would write about the other books I've read (and I've read a bunch, lately) but this one is in my head, literally. There's some multitasking going on. I'm trying to get this Cronin book done while I write. Blame the inarticulate blog post on the voice in my head. Scott Brick has a nice voice, but I wish he'd be a little less dramatic now and then. And what's with the women's accounts that are thrown in there occasionally? Anyway, I have to get through this so I can have my life back. So Shhhh. Babcock is at it again.

Yo! Look! You can buy a copy of our book at Sony. Not at…

Also this

I'm hoping she'll write a book report too, but if not, this will do nicely as a consolation prize. Dear Author makes us a recommended read.
In my quest to over-ride my curmudgeonly** spirit, I look for Bright Side of Things. If Christmas is going to be foisted on us year after year, and take up more and more of our lives, I might as well try to appreciate it, right? Cast off the bleak mood created by endless chirping carols. Stop shaking my fist at Little Drummer Boy renditions at Ocean State Job Lot. Only because it'll make my life easier. I can't stay in a cave from Thanksgiving through New Year.

So reason number 87 to say, "Woot! Christmas" ......

Every few weeks I visit the failing Italian bakery. It's cheerfully run-down --clean but plain -- and I like the people who work there and the coffee is cheap. But there's rarely anyone else in there. I fret for the survival of the bakery. Today I went and the line was out the door. Turns out everyone NEEDS THOSE MEH ITALIAN COOKIES this time of year. The people behind the counter had huge rubbermaid containers full of those pale tasteless cookies and …

stuff edition

What?! A civilized disagreement between an author and a reviewer? And one that actually results in some interesting conversation? That's just uninternetty stuff.

* * *

I say yes to more five star reviews. Life is too short kvetch about the details of the books that entertain me and that are as enjoyable as hell (if hell was all candy floss and carousels). If the book gave me a lift, it gets five stars over at goodreads where I keep track of that sort of thing, dammit. Call me Harriet Klausner, if you want. I don't care.

I'm sure Patricia Briggs and Lois McMaster Bujold are heaving sighs of relief to read that my mighty rating index finger is going for the fives instead of fours.

Actually, if people really did pay attention to my reviews, I'd have to stop writing either them or stories. Anyone who writes books shouldn't wield that kind power over other people's's books and careers because. . . because. . . . because

Um.

It's not fair.

Yes, yes, we've read t…

nice to wake up to

Image
A very nice review.


"When Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon work together on a book, it becomes an automatic buy for me. I know anything that is co-authored by them together will sweep me up into the intricate lives of the characters and the fast paced storyline. So, when I noticed that the book, The Nobleman and the Spy was up to be reviewed, I anxiously requested it, and I’m glad I did. Not only did The Nobleman and the Spy immediately captivate my attention from the first page, it held it onto it until the very last word.
* * * *

In other news, Aya is visiting. This visit is all about the food. We made cheese from a kit she's got and she brought us a huge durian--that thing had to weigh 20 lbs.

Oh. My. God. I think she'll post pictures. But here's my point: that quote by Anthony Bourdain, "when you eat a durian, your breath will smell like you've been french-kissing your dead grandmother." is not an exaggeration, much.

I got about two bites in when I dec…

SBD mid book variety day

I'm reading three books at the same time.
1. 61 Hours Worth Dying For Jack Reacher novel (on my Kindle)
2. Trust me on this by Jennifer Crusie (an actual book)
and
3. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (an audio book)

All I need to do is add an erotic book or a science fiction and I'll have a REALLY Wide Variety of stories. Oh, look. Up next is a Patricia Briggs.

The funny thing is that the Reacher book is the one I find hardest to put down and that's not because it's the best -- in fact, in terms of characters and writing, it's a third. The damn thing doesn't let up, that's why it's hard to put down. (get it? up? down). Thank goodness there's no romantic figure in this one. When Reacher flirts, it's painful -- like that Susan/Amanda flirtation in the last book. Stick to beating the shit out of tough guys, Reacher. Don't forget to land a couple of sidekick type people in the morgue. Thanks.

I think I've read too many of them in a row. The var…

this is jammed into my head

The good news: it is not Santa Baby.

confirmation of a suspicion

Just as I'd suspected, I have a double standard.

Our latest book finally got a meh review (over at Goodreads) and the person writing it only mentioned Bonnie Dee, as in she seemed to indicate that Bonnie was the only author. This is something I've whined about before and I've always had the urge to say hey! hey! hey! I wrote it too.

I do not have that urge at the moment, but I suppose I ought to say something. Right? I mean if I'm going to get all HEY and barge in when there are good reviews, I should about the other kind, too.

Right?

Yeah....especially since the reviewer didn't like the beginning of the book and I think (I have to look, though) that I was responsible for much of that writing.

okay NOW SBD -- funny stuff

So A Civil Campaign, which takes place on a distant planet in the future and Frederica, which is set in Regency England, are more alike than you'd expect. I'd actually pick up and consult the books for this comparison, but
1. I'm lazy
2. I just read them both**
3. the humor is my idea of fun, so I haven't forgotten those bits of the stories. Even though I'd stumble if someone asked me to sum up the Bujold book, because it was jammed with subplots, I did not forget that dinner scene. Nosirree.

The plots, eh, in the end they're both all about marriage. Granted the plot of Civil Campaign is more convoluted and has more characters. But there's love and courtship and the humorous scene that I'm thinking of -- Miles's disastrous dinner party--reminded me of the Lufra the Barcelona Collie scene. The way the people dealt with the physical funny bits was what mattered most.

Yup, the humor in both books is physical. A jumping dog vs. some jumping bugs and a great…

SBD later but first, the tooth

I'll get around to SBD but first, I have a dilemma. I asked Mike what I should do and he said "I dunno. ask the facebook world."

Eh. Well. It's less bizarro than those people asking if they should have a baby or not. . .

My question: Do I save a tooth or yank it out?

Here's its dental history. (Warning: ugh. Teeth. UGH) The thing had a cavity, then a bigger cavity. And then a root canal. And now it's acting up again. There's an infection at the very way bottom of the root. So the dentist said, okay it's dental surgery time. They go in via the gum and jaw and do things that I don't want to think about. I said what about just yanking the damn thing? He looked shocked, but he would being a dentist and all. I'm thinking the stupid tooth has had its chances and it keeps acting up. Maybe it's time to say goodbye.

It's a molar sort of a tooth, maybe two or three one in from the last back tooth. That missing tooth look doesn't shock me. The…

eat more cranberry sauce

Here's a fabulous recipe I found somewhere online:
bag o' cranberries (I used a mix of frozen and fresh)
3 cups raspberries (trader joe's frozen for me)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup crystallized ginger.

Chop the ginger by hand (the food processor didn't manage it well for me.) then toss it and cranberries into food processor. Grind it up, but not to a pulp. Just enough. Add sugar and then sprinkle in the frozen raspberries (not need to thaw them), stir not too hard so most of the raspberries stay whole.

Let it all sit for a few hours. Eat. Oh, boy. YUM.

A lament

O car, why do you require a new transmission? O dog, why do you need these visits to the vet? O children, what is this clamoring for new shoes? And, O WHY, do you want those presents next month?

Alas, powerball ticket why are you so worthless?

Kate Ponders Willow and Bristol on Facebook

I'm not going to think about this story I'm writing. I'm going to cruise around. . . and WOW, would you look at that? Straight from Lamebook, a dumb back and forth between Willow and some other people -- and then.... howdy, Bristol.

My first response: five minutes of my life, gone, reading idiocy.

The focus of the MSM article I read is the faggot and gay stuff. The fact that there was gay and faggot calling in that thread isn't even slightly shocking to me. Here in fancypants liberal enclave CT the middle schoolers still throw those words around easily. They're being trained, but the words are still there.

What took me aback was how the Palin Jrs went snarling grizzly bear so fast. Aren't they used to that kind of trash talking by now? And come to think of it, the "hated the show" remark is hardly calling their mom a whore. Haven't the handlers taught them how to ignore bad press?

Then I got smug. I happen to know my kids were raised better'n that…

work stuff

I'm working at Borders (hi, Linda! hi, Helder! hi, Guy whose name I've forgotten--whoops) and I'm listening to Pandora as I write. The music was movie themed stuff and I notice that when I work to all that orchestrated splendor, my writing is always more fascinating and heroic....or so it feels as I thump out the words. Wait, it's not the writing that gets all glitterific. The characters transform into more than people.

That uplifting effect is obvious in the movies themselves. What an unfair advantage, having audio to pump up your audience's response. Pfah.

Anyway, I moved over to jazz and my characters were suddenly laid back and uninterested in the conversation. Too cool for school. Back to something neutral, maybe New Age. I don't want superheroes and I don't want schlubs. (I'll take Plain Old Interesting People for a thousand, Alex.)

a quick break

I LOVE BOOKS> LOVE THEM, love them, love them. I love stories and collections of dry facts and poems and analysis (sometimes) and fluff and even that bio textbook that's been sitting on our dining room table since the beginning of time. I want to read them all---every single one. As long as there isn't a test at the end and as long as I don't have to retain the actual content anywhere in my mind, I'm there, baby.

Do It Yourself

A few years back I realized the problem with having no religion is that I don't have rituals. I needed my own Day of the Dead. Jarhzeit candles. Post the names and losses on the back of the church bulletin. Bow my head over some sort of altar. Some formal grieving.

The point of that realization is that I had to make one, do something, or I'd never shake off the autumnal blues. Once I figured that out, well, it was almost as good as actually having the ritual.

But I've never actually gotten around to evolving a ceremony. Bake a cake and each bite is a goodbye to something? Stand in front of a mirror and read aloud? I get the point of group rituals. The more people taking part, the less you feel like a silly person (though I must say the instances of grace I've felt were when I was alone).

I think going into a field and looking at dead grass is the best I'll manage. Not bad, but not particularly lovely -- unless you count the field itself. That's pretty good. My …

SBD tough guy edition

I'm reluctant to post because it'll push our NEW BOOK down. For some reason, book releases and my books out there have become more exciting again. I wish to cradle the precioussssss excitement of hey! look! People! Look! A book! I helped write it! A BOOK!

But tradition is important too, and it's Monday. SBD, bitches.

I read a book -- or rather, I listened to one. It was my very first Lee Child Reacher book. Number five in the series, but I wasn't lost, which is great. I do like Reacher and I've decided he can get away with being a laconic killing machine because he doesn't get all angsty. The introspection is about as much as you'd expect from any normal sort of a person. So his life is basically like any0ne else's except he's nothing like anyone else.

When he beats a guy up, that guy stays DOWN. On the FLOOR, nearly dead. No gloating on Reacher's part because beating the shit out of people is what he does. You got a problem with that? Not his prob…

happy release day to us!

Image
The Nobleman and The Spy is now available at Loose Id. This is Bonnie's announcement to her yahoo fan group**:

Summer and I are really enjoying writing these historicals. [ed's note: This is true. Co-writing with Bonnie is more fun than a St Patrick's Day party in a Boston bar.] Hope you like them too.
They once faced each other on a battlefield. Now soldier-turned-spy Jonathan Reese must keep watch over the man he's never forgotten. A close encounter reveals Karl von Binder, the count's son, also recalls the day he spared Jonathan's life. Sparks fly between the former enemies and Jonathan begins to lose perspective on his mission. He knows he must maintain distance because the heat he encounters in Karl's touch stirs him far too deeply for his own good. He can't keep away--especially when he suspects someone is trying to kill the nobleman.The spy becomes a protector as Jonathan guards the man he's begun to care for. Together the men try to puzzle ou…

SBD London is the Best City In America

A fun book. The various conflicts seemed weak-ish (which is surprising, since they're built into the plot) the goals not there (that was the point, actually) but I liked it. The voice and, to a certain extent the situation, reminded me of a fluffier Ann Tyler. The people are richer and less neurotic.

The first person narrator didn't annoy me, even when Emmy (that narrator) seemed annoyed with herself. Though she and her brother, Josh, might have been caught in high school worthy dramas, the view was usually fairly interesting. We watch them grow up a bit, become less passive.

The initial situation is Emmy walks out on her fiance and then stays in Narragansett, where they'd been staying the night. She stalls out and drifts along. I wished there was more about the community of fishermen and their wives--that sounded more interesting than Scarsdale where the action takes place. But part of the point of the book is that she doesn't understand those people and apparently is…
NaNoWriMo! Yup. It's coming along any minute. You doing it? I'm trying, again.
No more twitter, no more facebook. Just me and this story. Failing that, me and these Lois McMaster Bujolds I got from the library.

Glomming when the words don't come is acceptable. I have that on good authority.

Here's what doesn't work for me: looking around to see what other writers are doing -- even though that's what NaNo seems to be about.

Cover for November 2 release!

Image

psychopaths, sociopaths and you

We were arguing about the difference between psychopath and sociopath last night at dinner. (Alex argued no difference at all, Tom and I thought that a sociopath was someone who hadn't acted in an antisocial manner and psychopath was a sociopath who'd gone of the rails. Mike thought it was time to talk about something else.) and I started thinking about the socio-psychopaths I've known. (insert standard "you can't get to be ___ years old without running into and dealing with these people")

There are the dumb ones--or the not well disguised ones, I mean. They're the type who get into trouble and it's never their fault. They're easy to spot--well, easier than the other sort--because they play victim every time anything goes wrong. I met quite a few among the refugees and wonder if they were turned into that sort of person because of the horrors they'd seen or if they were the type of person who'd be likely to survive the horrors.**

But then …

Retreat

Okay, I did the sharing knife series most of the weekend -- as in listened to a book on tape and then uploaded the kindle book. If I were less lazy and in more of an SBD mood, I'd lure more publishers over here to offer me books.

Attention publishers: if you have writers like Bjold, I'll read their books and give good reviews. But I will mention that the number of times Dag called himself "old patroller" got on my last nerve.

For all that it's a new world and fantasy, the series is familiar, warm stuff. Like Marion Zimmer Bradley. Perfect for retreating.

Also I wrote.

The workshops were also familiar stuff but I didn't get the usual "oh, yeah! I've been forgetting about that lately!" aha moments. I miss learning, getting excited about writing, thinking about stories using new tools...yes, yes, I know. It's me, not them.

That "yes, yes it's me, not them" thing rose a lot. I had to shut myself up occasionally when the talk rolled abo…

books to travel, a short whine

What do you do in the car?

I have rituals and I need books for travel. Regular books, not books about traveling. When I drive any distance greater than 50, 10 5 miles, I require either light and fluffy (and I mean Wodehouse light) or, even better, something new but familiar -- and fluffy-ish. The best answer is always a series book, with characters I've met before.

I went off looking for a new book in series I follow, and no one is coming through for me here. Michael Connelly? Robin Hobbs? Terry Pratchett? Patricia Briggs? Suzanne Brockman? SEP?

Hello? I need a new audio book NOW. This minute.

I'll even listen to the gruesome Kindle audio reader, if I have to.

Sigh. Spenser would be perfect (I can interact with those audio books, occasionally shouting "Shut UP, Susan!" And I'm finally used to the way Joe Mantegna reads) but, alas.......At least Parker has a good excuse.

So.

No one's coming through for me this second. I need to learn to store some books as back-up…

it's SBD, a meta version so far

and I think I've got to take this smart bitches day Book Reviewing thing SERIOUSLY because 2, count them TWO mainstream publisher promo-types have written to me, asking, "hey, honey, how's about we give you some free books if you review 'em?" **

I suspect that anyone who has the word "book" on their website/blog gets that same treatment, but listen: Mainstream publishers. Attention.

I will put out for you. I will review. I will read your books and give you something in return.

The trouble is I'm more of a wife than a professional Lady of Negotiable Affection. You can't buy my love. I don't do fake orgasms for you, babe. But if I love you? I will pile it on to an embarrassing degree.

So no more reviews like "god, I hated this book, but I couldn't begin to tell you why."

I'll strive for pull-quotability just for you, babe.


_________
**those poor bastards must be desperate.

Also, speaking of stupid ideas, I told one of them "yo…

Books! so many FREE BOOKS.

look! a big book give-away at Dear Author. It's in celebration of National Coming Out Day. Sarah Frantz organized it and she's got about A MILLION TITLES there.

I went looking for it because our books are there (you have to go way down the list because Summer is listed first) but stopped to look over that list twice because there are some great titles on there.

And related to NCOD, how about that NY governor race? I was delighted by a throwaway remark Andrew Cuomo made about his opponent's rabid anti-homosexual viewpoint.

Here's why I was happy ---> because it was not the part of the story that everyone jumped on.

Cuomo said Paladino's opinion that gays are dysfunctional "goes against the mainstream" and that Cuomo remark didn't get any kind of "oh yeah?" response from the reporters** ....That is very cool. Because the mainstream has shifted and for once, it's drifting closer to sanity.

Of course the fact that Paladino believes saying cr…

I caught sight of my copy of A Vision of Light

And aw, damn. No more from her, ever again. Let's have another moment mourning the death of Judith Merkle Riley.

hey a Summer and Bonnie book out on November 2

How far in advance does one bother to hype an ebook? And how should one do that? Yes, we've both been doing this for years but I'm always looking for tips, especially since the online world changes every few months days hours or so.

Less than a month away and we're just hanging around. Actually I'm doing edits on my next book, but that's fine.

We don't even have a cover yet. I'm not worried about that because
1. so far, our Loose-Id covers have been gorgeous
2. I care more about the content
3. I'm convinced there really isn't a need in the world to push ebooks hard until the book is out and about.

The rules of print publishing don't apply because the whole print run thing is based on pre-orders. Nope, not an issue. We don't need to gather momentum months beforehand for basic survival.

I have to admit that my lack of pre-publication hoopla is based on personal experience -- most of my ebook purchases have been impulse buys and it's impossible t…
I can't help it, I like Christine O'Donnell. As Maher said, she's crazy as a loon but she's a nice person. You don't get that with a lot of ideological politicians. They're ambitious and hungry and know how to look sane in public but they have their Beliefs, things they Know to be True and, by God (often), they're gonna push those beliefs down our throats.

O'Donnell is filled with the same passionate bull and is determined that it's her way that'll save us all....but she's so likeable and so sweetly flawed in her tiny lies that you forgive her. No way in hell or heaven I'd vote for her, but I wish her well. If something truly nasty surfaces about her (not all the silly and entertaining junk currently winging around) I won't feel schadenfreude. And I'm in the camp of people who cackle with glee when the anti-homosexual ranter -- especially those with the power to make people miserable -- gets outted.

I imagine that in forty years s…

me being political again and short SBD

I can only hope Kimberly doesn't read this. It'll make her cranky.

Anyway, a year or so ago I went on about why I freaking appreciate government and why I think the corporate world can't do it all for us. (If you want a fine extreme example of capitalism running the world, read the first couple of chapters of The Supernaturalists. The sponsorship of orphans and using them as lab rats to make them pay their way. Chilling. Too easy to imagine)

And then, from the world of nonfiction, I read about the fire company that watched the house burn down and thought, yeah, see? Dammmit.

I'm growling around the house wishing conservatives and others would latch onto something else other than the issue of that dangerous, nasty public teat called government. Sure, sure, there's waste. Yes. Okay. Good idea to deal with it.

But don't throw the baby, the bathwater, the tub and the whole freaking second floor out, ya goofballs. This isn't an emergency. If you're in the moo…

proof

Image
The crap car, before and after.

The cost of the repairs, even without any kind of paint job = ~5.2 times the blue book value of the vehicle.

The repair $$ was graciously forked over by Marci, the lady with the mammoth SUV. (She didn't even notice the crap car as she backed out of the parking space. It's just that kind of car---or rather, they are just those kinds of cars.)

my life as a rioter is looking kind of pleasant

I submitted to Big Name NYC Publisher again for the first time in a long time and I forgot how cool it feels to just . . . do that. I suspect my synopsis wasn't romance-y enough so it'll be a no, but still. Fun.

And I liked the editor I subbed to--I met her last weekend. Liking someone isn't the big deal important part of course, we all know that. But it's icing on the cake. (big deal important = making gigundo bucks)

So. NYC. A fair number of writers I know and respect have figured out that they can make the money they need via epublishing. Yeah, we all heard that for years from defensive ebook writers, but turns out nowadays it's true, sometimes. You can support yourself with those ebook sales. (you, not me, yet)

I'm hearing them say, eh, why bother with NY? And they're right. But still. I'd love to be NY pubbed again. I liked those translated copies of my books.

What else? I wrote a note to a publisher mentioning some of my Concerns and Issues. Within 2…

reviewing when I'd rather be reading

I keep thinking of how to describe the way some books are annoying me lately. But there is no way in hell I'm putting this stuff down on the interweb. Not only is it not my job, but it's not what I want to be in the world. I want to love the books. I want to clutch them tight to my bosom and whisper about all the pleasure they've given me.

Only now that we've come this far, I wonder if any of you were as annoyed by the heroine in True Blue as I was? I'm not aiming for the creative snark, here, but God, she was a PITA. Her side-kick that she somehow snagged was more golden retriever than man. He followed along with her schemes, getting shot at etc, whining about the fact that he was a lawyer and could lose his license but never actually doing anything like calling her on the bullshit. Like, what the hell? Who bought the idea that her snooping around, not using any kind of standard procedure, on a case that had nothing to do with her down-fall was going to get her rei…

sbd a day late a big load of books

There have been kids around which means I read a lot. Easy to read, difficult to write with interruptions.

What I've read:

Compromising Positions by Jenna Baley-Burke This was a freebie from Amazon. Maybe I have low expectations from the freebies (I've gotten a lot of them lately and they've been almost all uniformly predictable and uniformly bad) but this was a great surprise. The hero and heroine were Romancelandia fluff--he's gorgeous and rich, she's attractive and in great shape to boot -- but they had more depth than I'm used to. When they did their banter, I was charmed and convinced they belonged together. A plain old contemporary romance with no paranormal elements or Big Mystery or death. Sweet but that's not the word I mean because it's quite sexy. I think this was my favorite read this week (despite the occasional feeling of "haven't we done this already?") .

And like I said, I read a bunch of books. Wait, there were some Cath…

bah, humbug,,,,,

Yet another great review for The Gentleman and The Rogue!

And yet another letter I wrote this week pointing out that Bonnie Dee didn't write that book on her own. (ARe left off Summer Devon with Seducing Stephen)

Hey, Bonnie could have written those books alone -- but she didn't.

And I didn't get annoyed the first couple of times Summer got left off a review or listing, but when I was reading that JERR review (which is great, but I'm not sure about their policy about reproducing it, so I won't) I finally got Shirty and Annoyed. I mean, jeez. Does Mandy Roth and/or Michelle Pillow deal with whichever one of them doesn't make it onto the lists? Is that why I don't see them writing together any more? I hope not.

And yeah, I know. It really isn't truly a big deal. It didn't bother me the first couple of times.For some reason it's happened enough times that I'm officially annoyed. Repetition apparently makes a big difference. Like one of those scene…

sbd labor day

Oooo I love that Jennifer Crusie book I just read. Yeah, it had ghosts, and I'm not big on ghosts, but so what. The characters were as good as they come. I wrote a review over at Amazon, but it's not up yet.

I read my first Clive Cussler and was taken aback by the clunky writing and cliches. We learned the hair and eye color of every character and the horse power of every vehicle, and considering it was set in 1906, there were a heck of a lot of vehicles discussed. Purple prose, too. I seriously don't get how that works for people, but it does. For a hell of a lot of them -- so he must be doing something right. Right? Yes?

Why don't people buy more books by the authors I love so that they can quit their day jobs and write stories for me?

I went looking for the newest RA MacAvoy or KG MacAbee and they still haven't written anything new. And Nancy Butler, too. Where is she? It's depressing me. At least I know I'll find out when/if Diane Farr writes another book…

Internet mysteries

Please to be explaining this, mr. google translate.

We put in the line "su conejo te ama" and the translation came back "Your pussy loves you."
No, said Mike, conejo means rabbit. So I took away all the words leaving only "conejo" and sure enough, when it was all alone, it was "rabbit"

THEN I added it all back, word by word and ended up with "Your bunny loves you."

WTF.

My guess is that google can do the obscene thing and rabbit is what women call their . . . pussies. But what's with the bunny? How'd did that creep in?

sbd

I'm listening to The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and enjoying it, but I enjoyed it more before I looked up the author and discovered all the prizes and whatnot she got.

Maybe it's a case of being left out of the party, but I frequently get a sense of "what am I missing here?" when I discover that an author is hailed as somehow super-uber-author. Same thing happened with the Olive Kitteridge book. I don't get what sets that writing apart. The word choices? The book structure? The sense of despair? How readers respond to the whole package of writing/plot/characterization? Yo, in case I haven't made my POV clear, the books don't shift my view of the universe, or make me see life in a transformed way. They're good, but I wouldn't call them Holy Fuck, that's Some Literature for The Ages good.

Maybe I should take more classes in this writing gig--by the time I was done with art school, when it came to paintings, I no longer knew what I liked but…

hey YO!

should I talk about mockingjay? No, posted a short thing over at goodreads.
how's about whining about the end of summer? Naw, I do that every year and it's not really whine worthy.

How about this? A Chihuahua playing pool AND making little noises.

best moment of vacation

There was this traffic jam on 495 that was a giant party. We all got out of our cars and walked around and talked to each other. As far as the eye could see cars, not moving. People wandering around.

Every now and then an emergency vehicle came zooming down the breakdown lane, giving us something to talk about (and making the people hanging around on the rail very nervous). There was a kid from a couple cars up jumping rope for at least ten minutes without missing. Someone else hauled out a tv and a group gathered around to watch some game.

other fun moments include kayaking, biking, trampolining and other active stuff--those all happened AFTER the traffic jam.

More good things later.

local cheap writers group in search of

It's that time of year again, when I start searching for guests for CORW.

1. someone who can talk about setting up a blog and other web presences for authors. I suppose that means. . . hell. I have no idea because every year, in nearly every way, my own internet presence shrinks.
And if there's talk about "branding" I break into hives. Except this isn't a talk for me so never mind that.

2. someone who can tell us all about POD/self-publishing vs vanity press/fate of MMPB/. . . in other words, all about the future of publishing. Since the present of publishing is pretty confusing for most of us, that would be nice too.

UPDATED: of course CT's own Don Linn would be our first choice.
UP-UPDATED: Damn. Brown-nosing didn't work after all. Still looking for this #2 speaker.

Booksquare's Kassia Krozser would be perfect but she's in freaking California.

Angela James would be great, but she's in Maryland (and we're too cheap even for that. Our stipend…

what happens when the non-detail oriented goes hunting for details

The dogs spread themselves flat on the wooden floor so they can get as cool as possible. They take up a lot of room and their panting leaves small drool puddles everywhere they go...is that why these are the dog days of summer? Or is it something to do with the dog star? I'd look it up but I'm all researched out.

I spent way too much time researching Germanic titles of nobility. Too much time
1. because I should have been doing something else--not because I resented all the hunting through books and sites. I don't, not at all, but time was a-wasting. I should be hauling furniture around various rooms. And vacuuming.

2. because we're not using any of the information I discovered. Those honorifics do not translate. Our count (son of a count, actually, so Erbgraf rather than Graf) would be called His Illustriousness or Highborn (Hochgeboren). His unpleasant father is called Erlaucht or Illustrious Highness. From what I could figure out, our guy, the count's son, is a hig…

SBD days later

Okay, I did the Florida Keys mystery books a year or so ago (Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry, Lawrence Shames etc) and now I've stumbled onto the Hollywood mysteries.

So far, my favorite is pretty slick and has a lot of stereotyped characters and no one has any real humanity but it was funny and clever and the story-telling technique was purely fun. Death By Hollywood by Boccho, that guy who does all those TV shows. Then there are all those Harry Bosch books, but we know about them. And now I'm onto Jefferson Parker and some other author whose name escapes me and I'm too lazy to look up.

I've discovered a key component to a lot of the guys--they are devoted husbands from just about the time they discovered sex. The one true thing about them is their love for their wives, usually some girl that they met in high school and have loved steady and true ever since. And wouldn't you know it, early in the book or series, the wives either fall over dead or walks out on them. That le…

SBD 31 Bond Street

Remember how I was on and on about not liking historical novels based on real people? Turns out I was wrong. Maybe it's okay if I've never heard of the people in the book.

I'm listening to 31 Bond Street and loving it. It's based on a sensational murder that took place in the 1850s and most of the characters were real people. The descriptions of New York would be enough to sell me--and the little snippets from the newspapers are great.

There isn't the deep POV I'm used to, so I haven't bonded with any of the characters. But that's fine. It's an elegant book and all the research she did makes it richer, not dull--or at least not for me. The descriptions of the clothes and other details seem a bit much now and then, as in not really fitting the moment, but I like 'em.

I'm off to see if Ellen Horan has written more books. If she has I bet she'll stick with that milieu. I think it fits her style of writing, solemn and slightly removed from str…

whining about the whiner

Once again a book has lost me fast. In this case, the heroine is obsessed with her poverty. I can see a character worrying about not making ends meet--that seems real. But this woman with a reasonable job continuously frets about her "poverty" and the examples we're given? Her car is five years old. All of her furniture is used. She has to pack her lunches for work. She only has two pairs of high heeled designer shoes, but they were bought on ebay

No, sorry. You're out, lady.

Oh, and here's the deal-breaker. She's been held hostage and shot at and this long list of her woes is what occurs to her after she flees the scene of violence and goes home. Yeah, right. The first thing anyone would think about just after they'd been shot at is, "shit, I wish my car wasn't five years old."**

Next book.....I think I'll re-listen to Stephen Briggs reading A Hat Full of Sky. I could use a heroine with a more interesting view of the universe.

__________…

counting buttons

Blogger wanted me to add all these buttons, so I did. Will that increase traffic? Do I care? A bit, though not as much as I once did.

I used to have a little number count on my page but something I clicked or added made it go away. After a half-assed attempt to find out what happened, I had one of those mini-epiphanies. Its absence is a Good Thing. I can't be writing my blog -- or my books -- with too much attention paid to traffic. And my nature is that any attention is too much. I'm one of those authors who used to watch those Amazon, Fictionwise and any other "You Are (un)Popular!" numbers go up and down.

In one direction, abandonment, which leads to heartbreak. Or, if you become popular, extreme self-consciousness sets in. All of the above have happened to me at various points since 2004. Madness, heartbreak, paralyzing self-consciousness. Okay, maybe I can't blame the madness on you guys. And it wasn't really madness. But I blame you invisible readers (…

rantyrant

Ok, I might be in a state of permanently twisted knickers because EVERYTHING is outraging me, including the books I've tried to listen to.

Jeebus god, the woman in the first book must have Stockholm syndrome because she puts up with all sorts of crap from the hero, who is 18 years older than she is, which is borderline creepy and let's add on the fact that he had been in love with her mother. He's a real charmer who stalks her and screams at her and when he's in a good mood, talks to her as if she's a moron. (there's also the way he does things like calling Vietnamese "gooks").

There is so much astonishment from the male characters about a "lady lawyer" , and they're all surprised that she's so pretty and yet a lawyer. Add on that a bunch of talk about her tasty buns from her boss that I'm thinking this must be a book from the 1960s. But no, it's from 1989. I was an adult for most of the 80s and there is no way in hell a profe…

another SBD

turns out it's really useful to have these SBD. I was trying to recall the title Lush Life, so I could tell Mike he should read it. And there was the book and its description, on the blog.

So now today's SBD is to remind myself that I enjoyed The Brass Verdict, my favorite Bosch so far. Mostly because it's Bosch from another's POV and he's just as reckless and driven as always but he's less heroic. I love the character of Mickey Haller, the Lincoln lawyer and Bosch's half brother. I want more of him. Too bad he seems to be leaving the bar......then again.....Naw. There's a lot of storming away from lifes' roles in those books and then they realize it was a mistake.

And there's another Artemis Fowl book? I suspect my kids are getting too old for them so I'll have no excuse to buy it. Except damn, thirteen isn't too old, boy. You're getting it. I just hope you remember to leave it lying around for me to find.

Food drive

Image
This is what my minivan looks like after the 11th annual food drive. . . .... 56 bags v 58 2 years ago. There's no room in the car so the kids'll have to get a ride from the Flanders.

yikes

I was locked out! Can you believer it? Google and gmail LOCKED ME OUT. I couldn't get into my own places, like this blog or email or my writing group. Disabled, shunned and banned, I was a pitiable sight. (I wrote site, which is also accurate)

I sent off long, pleading letters, and short, angry notes. I filled out forms. I'm not sure which of those things eventually worked, but I'm back again. The days of no gmail served as a severe reminder that my online world isn't really mine, I'm just borrowing it.

I know who holds all the cards in this relationship. The only real power I have is to walk away and Google Gmail etc wouldn't even notice if I should do that. Well. Damn. They can just forget about the card I was going to send for their birthday, is all I have to say.

Now if we were paying customers they'd at least sigh when we washed our hands of them.

I'm still here though so they win. Again. Curse you, useful free services. Stop playing with my soul.

SBD a day early Courting Miss Bronte

I learned a few things from this book:

Things I Learned 1-100: stuff about Brontes. I mean I learned a LOT about them. And as I read, I occasionally checked the author's facts and I could see the author did her research. She also usually did a good job inserting fact as fiction--as in it was pretty seamless. No bits standing out as obviously Fact Inserted.

Thing I Learned 101: I discovered I'm not a fan of fictional versions of a real life. I don't mind chunks of "this might have been the way this actual scene played out" in a book, or brief appearances of non-fictional people in fictional works, so I thought a whole book written that way would be fine.

But it didn't work for me. When I read certain scenes, I kept wondering if that's the leap I would have taken . . . which means I didn't trust the author's interpretation of her characters -- which was because they weren't really her invention. **

To anyone still reading this: because of Thing I …

You heard it here first

Okay, I'm convinced that within three months a book is going to hit the NYTimes best seller list.

It will be a diet book.

It will be all about eating the foods that discourage the bad bacteria and promote the good stuff.

It will be bigger than the South Beach Diet and Atkins combined.

I wanted to be the one to write it and rake in all the easy money -- I even have my own in-house microbiologist man to do the "research" or at least give it some credibility. But noooooooooooooooooo he has to get all science-y and ruin my great plan.

Research? Facts? Don't you want to own an island in the French West Indies, man? We could be the ones! We COULD MAKE IT BEEEG, dude.

Sigh.