Thursday, October 28, 2010

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.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

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 there are the ones who can run a con of a life for years. And they can leave you speculating that you don't know anyone at all. The very best can make you wonder if you yourself have a life based on lies and if you yourself are a sociopath at heart. There is no grounded reality after you've dealt with one of them.

The best are sweet (but not chokingly so) charming and tuned into the people around them. They never seem lose their place in their personal narrative. Never. Ever. Even when the game falls apart, as the unalterable facts are laid out, they can stare you in the face and give an entirely plausible explanation, or one that would be plausible if you hadn't seen the same thing happen over and over in their lives. I'm convinced that they can make themselves blind to their own actions, or turn those actions into something trivial or justified.

I've figured out a few guidelines to spotting the sociopaths who'll suck people dry:

1. There are a lot of people in their past who inexplicably don't seem to like them. They'll tell an amusing story about some dear friends and when you ask, where are those friends today, they say "Oh, we've lost track of each other. I have no idea what they're doing." Or "They stabbed me in the back. They hate me and I honestly don't know what I did wrong because they won't talk to me."

2. They live in the moment. There seems to be very little planning for the future. Or if there is, it's unrealistic.

3. They don't stay put in an apartment/place for more than a couple of years.

4. They've lost track of many (if not all) of their family members. If anyone's left it's probably a mother or father because, god bless parents, they tend to cling even after everyone else walked away.

5. They disappear for chunks of time. Maybe a couple of weeks here or there. Or even a year.

You can actually be friends with these people because they really do listen and respond. They are fun. Just for God's sake, don't lend them money or become dependent on them for anything. Expect to be abandoned once you figure out the truth. And then, if you're inhabit small world, the stories will filter back to you, all about how you inexplicably dropped your good friend.

Or, if they're vindictive (the best aren't because that'll bite them and they keep their eyes on the prize) there will be lies spread about you. The worst are when they spread distorted truths about you. Outright lies are just silly, easy to shrug off, but the mangled truths can be dangerous. That's one of the ways you end up wondering if you're the one who has been distorting truth this whole time. It's only when you run into other people who've been through the sociopath's wringer that you can set yourself straight.

I don't think this last has happened to me. (If it has, I'm blessedly ignorant of it) But I have met enemies of a sociopath who'd been described as dreadful assholes who turned out to be perfectly reasonable people who'd eventually asked for their loan back.


**They were NOT the majority of the refugees I met. Okay?

Monday, October 18, 2010


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 about How To Be Published and the Exciting World of Publishing. I wish to be perceived as more than bitter and snarky. I keep remembering other loops, conferences, events where I'd meet up with authors who were bitter and snarky and I'd think, "oh, that's not ever going to be me. Don't you know that you're looking like someone who's FAILED? I have now pegged you as a FAILURE."

Heh. Well, I got hoist on that petard a couple of years ago so either I move on or stay cackling crone in the corner. Perfectly okay in private--as long as I get the work done too--but out in public I promise to be less of a troll. I am not a failure. I am a happy success story IN MY OWN WAY.

I think I'm getting better at not expressing every thought in my head, even if I have been given one of those perpetually teenaged angsty self-involved souls. It's all the time alone in mom's basement with the cheezdoodle crumbs down my front.

It was good to spend time around other people. I need to come out of the cave occasionally. I realized I need a haircut. I need to grunt less. I need to get off the internet and write. And I NEED to be excited about the story if I can't get excited about the way it's written.

I sort of wish I'd signed up to go to New Jersey conference instead with Lori and Linda because we do cackling crones together so well.

Friday, October 15, 2010

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.


No one's coming through for me this second. I need to learn to store some books as back-up instead of reading them the second I get my hands on them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

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 "you've published my work before" Um. No, actually they hadn't. I'd forgotten the name of the one big publisher who put out some Summer Devon. Simon and Schuster hasn't called or written in so long, no wonder I'd forgotten its name.

Now Kensington, ah, I will never forget you, Kensington. You were my first love. And the sad fact is, if you send me books to review, and they're from your debut series (are they still running that?????) I'm afraid I will be unfair. You and Hilary broke my heart. Mostly Hilary--I miss that woman.

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 crap will get him votes is not a sign of progress. But still. The man is out of the mainstream.

**not even the NY Post. I bet there will be some "oh yeah?" going on in the comments, but they most definitely don't count.

Friday, October 08, 2010

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.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

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 to shop impulsively if there's nothing to click on in the BUY NOW slot. When I read an excerpt, and then click to buy, I get annoyed when it's pre-order. Immediate gratification is what my Kindle and I are all about

Getting the publicity out there is important and I know Bonnie and I aren't the best at that. (Sorry, Bonnie) So what should we do to improve our promo odds? When do we start? What do we do? Any new hints this week?
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 she'll be that dotty old neighbor who knocks on your door and insists on pressing lurid pamphlets into your hand and offering you extremely stale cookies. And after you feed her tea and choke down the horrible cookies (because she's just so pleasant, you don't want to hurt her feelings), you discover the pamphlet is all about hell fire and how there's no butter in hell and you're doomed.

Monday, October 04, 2010

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 mood for crusading against something urgent that is causing ruination, shine that fanatical searchlight on something HARMFUL rather than a flawed system that could use some repairs.

How's about pollution/ global warming for a change? That's been such a left-y issue for so long, can't y'alls take it up for a while? I'm racking my small brain for something hateful/dangerous you guys to rally around. (because that's always easier to take up causes against rather than work for the improvement something.) How about the blight of tomato stealing squirrels. Damned foreign squirrels coming in over the borders ---- clearly defined borders, goddamn it, with guards---to steal the green tomatoes on my deck.

Never mind. SO but it's really SBD and I should be thinking about books. My useless growling, like yours, won't do anything ...... so SBD instead. I did read a book, I liked by the way. Yay. Karin Slaughter--my first one by her. I loved that thing, though it left me glum and sad for just about every one in the story. I also read Dexter's latest, Dexter is Delicious. I love his voice, but the plot didn't do much for me this time.

Soulless Killers this week. Next week, maybe more romance. Or maybe not.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


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.)