Friday, December 31, 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 only so much pissy anger one can hold onto before spewing. Without details the spewage is boring -- but tough. I vaguely regret writing all that. I didn't even drink last night and yes, I definitely regret that.

I don't regret that boredom factor, much.

I don't regret writing stories with other people and want to do that more and more.

I regret people didn't buy that particular story of mine. I thought it was fun.

I regret dumping all those email addresses.

I regret not finding that dog vomit earlier.

I regret not answering your letters or emails.

I regret not knowing how how to gracefully answer that sort of note/email months too late without making dumb excuses.

I regret clicking on links of year end retrospectives, mostly because then I'm reminded about all the people who died in 2010.

I regret not staying up past 11:30 but I don't think I"m going to make it.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My New Cover and the contest

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

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

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:

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 no one enters, I'll give myself that gift certificate and buy some ebooks. Carla Kelly has new one out I want. (And I might even give my book a new title on my own. Sigh.)


You want a gift certificate? Some free ebooks? It's easy! Just enter the contest and you'll be as likely to win as anyone.


Give me a new title
. Post it below or email me at katerothwell at


Something fun and catchy and historical and romantic and . . . . Gawd, I hate this part of the process.

Generic Historical
is out as a title, thanks anyway. Somebody [Something-or-another] might be okay since the story is very vaguely related to those books I wrote all those years ago, Somebody Wonderful and Somebody to Love.

Somebody Clueless would be good, because the heroine was raised in a vacuum, except that is neither historical nor romantic. Too bad Brave New World has been taken because she's as boggled as Miranda.


Like I hinted above, if someone actually enters this kinda contest, I'll give you (at least one of you) 3 of my ebooks. If more than a five people enter, I'll give away a gift certificate, too. I'll be randomly picking a name of a winner. So really, enter any damn title and you're entered to win. I may not use any of the titles I get. I might have with a stroke of genius and find my own title. I doubt that one.

We'll say one grand prize winner will get $20 from Amazon, ok? Let's also say we have until January 5, which is when Kimberly will probably get antsy for a title.

That amount of time and that prize is more than most editorial interns'll get, let me tell you.

Yes. Okay. And this is obviously just for fun, not real promo, since I'm not trying to get you to purchase a book that'll make me money--at least not until it has a title and cover. Time is running out on these offers.

* * * *
Oh, right! If you're going to play editorial and/or marketing department, you might want some props to work with. You can read the book (available for free in PDF) or you can read the book sheet below.

My sheet is based on the dozen or so different types of art/cover copy sheets I’ve filled out over the years. I left off the synopsis (that always describes the story from start to finish) The art/marketing departments usually want an abbreviated version of that. I've added my very lame tag-line thingy. Feel free to improve that, while you're at it.


Physical descriptions for hero and heroine go here, along with their GMC.
Unfortunately, it's been so long since I've read the book, I'll have to fill this in later.
Cutter. Um. A guy.
Callie. She was raised by a reclusive, eccentric grandmother and has zero skills for survival.
Secondary characters, if they will relate to the cover or possible title: No, not really.

Tone of book (eg sensual? dark?): Sensual, sort of, though there is no actual sex, there is a lot of tension. It's a fluffy historical.

Cheesy description (called the "blurb"*** by ebook editorial types and "cover copy" by NYC types): (btw, feel free to make this more appealing. Try for catchy, okay? Good. And I'll take a coffee, cream no sugar, while you're up.)

A gaslight historical romance set in 1884 New York City. Innocent Callie Scott lived a sheltered life until she is trapped in a raid on a house of ill-repute. That's only the start of her run of bad-luck. Two days later, she must turn to help from the same detective who has already witnessed her at her worst: tipsy and behaving like a fool.

Officer Cutter doesn't need the complication of a well-bred innocent in his life, but he still finds himself offering her a job. He discovers he must now act as protector to the same young lady he desires--and who wants him.

* * * *

Yay! Thanks! Now, do my job for me!

If I can, I'll post the title-less cover here and that might help inspire you. Ass-backwards, as far I can figure out (title first, cover later), but that's fine.


**I'm fine with other people's books, just incapable of titling/describing my own.

***Blurbs in NYC circles are actually those "Omigod I can't put it down!" quotes by Famous People or reviews.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

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.

Monday, December 27, 2010


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.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

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 Johansen was also a DNF. Practically a real DNF as in the characters were annoying. And so was Sullivan's Evidence by someone who's name I've forgotten.

Looks like I've dumped most of a library, but I've read many more than I've abandoned. If I was any good sort of reader, I'd list them all and make notes. Maybe that'll be my 2011 resolution.


**that latest one, I Shall Wear Midnight, had moments of Pratchettness but the moments of repetitiveness made me sad.

Monday, December 20, 2010

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 Fictionwise or Amazon, yet, but eventually.

About the life that isn't held on the computer or in my ears:
I love the little lights strung up all over the place. We need to use them other times of the year for pete's sake.
I eat too much.
The dog eats too much.
I think, yes. . . Definitely. It's time for mandarin orange zinger tea.

Oh, and this. Some unbelievably crappy Compassionate Conservative gifts during this Holiday season.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

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 they (the people) were slinging them (the cookies) onto all these trays -- which were then tied up in tinsel and plastic. The person in front of me bought 75 dollars worth of cookie trays.

It was amazing and it means those nice people will have work for at least another week.

Also, I forgot reason number 1: I love the winter solstice. GO, MR. SOL! Come back to us! Not really Christmas, but I can dig that whole rebirth of hope thing.

**I know curmudgeons seem to be male, but I haven't found a female equivalent.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

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


It's not fair.

Yes, yes, we've read this stuff before. Katiebabs has discussed it. And we're talking about an old and boring topic. I've read (and enjoyed) plenty of reviews written by authors about other people's books. Hey, it's the way all those Sunday book review sections have operated for years and years. I don't mind reading 'em at all.

But still, it would feel unfair (or it would, if someone other than jmc, rachel and beth read my sbds)

Consistency isn't considered a major virtue, I hope? At least my brand of hypocrisy doesn't always work in my favor. Stuff it.

* * * * *
I'm sitting in Border, avoiding writing cover art instructions, and I realized there is nothing here my 13-year-old wants. This makes me sad. I don't know what to buy him, other than computer game stuff. Ew.

* * * * *

Back to work. I must lure people into buying my stuff.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

nice to wake up to

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 decided it was not a taste I'd ever acquire. Once she was finished digging into the thing, I dragged the stinky corpse out to the compost pit but the kitchen still reeks.

Monday, December 06, 2010

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)
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 various Reacher tropes are annoying me and that's not his fault; it's mine. If I read one book a year the way I was supposed to, instead of however many in one month, I'd be reminded of his talents and habits (and all those damn "____ said nothing"s) -- instead I'm pummeled with them.

Except wait. . . I just finished a major Lois McMaster Bujold glom and never got tired of Miles or his stories, so maybe it is a little Reacher's fault. No, wait . . . .

I've changed my mind AGAIN.

The thing about Reacher is that he doesn't grow or change much and I think that's what we want. If he developed a conscience, it would probably be as bad as those flirtations. He's an old fashioned hero like one of those old fashioned television shows. You didn't have much a continuing, growing story line in those series (think Perry Mason) and he's more like one of those.

You know what you got when you turned on the tube and you didn't have to worry that you missed the episode in which it was hinted that Perry and Hamilton Burger were carrying on a secret love affair. Hell, you didn't even have to wonder about Perry and Della from week to week. So yeah. Reacher is Reacher and Miles is Miles. If I was on a desert island, I'd grab the Bujolds, but no one's asking me to, so there.

I'm almost done with the Crusie and it's not my favorite, but you know what they say. A mediocre Crusie is . . . is . . . worth two in the bush? A Crusie book always has some wonderful dialogue or character sketches or something to make it, um, wonderful. Maybe I ought to hire a writer for this blog.

The thing I don't like -- two pairs of characters decide they're in love less than 2 days after they meet. Huh. That worked just fine for me in the last Crusie I read, Getting Rid of Bradley. Maybe because it's two pairs? Or maybe the characters are less vivid? There aren't enough dogs? I'd stop to think about what I don't like, but I'd rather just enjoy the characters and dialogue. There's some point to reading great escapist fun: you do not have to analyze it, even on SBD days.

Oh and it's time to whine about the Garden book already? Okay. The skipping around time hither and thither is going to bug me, I know already and I'm only up to my third skippage. A jump here and there is fine, but this is dizzying and there's more to come, Amazon reviews warn me.

Hey. The writing is good, the reader is good.

And I have to make a fire in the fireplace now.