Tuesday, November 29, 2011


The first review for Unnatural Calamities is out. It's a fairly positive review, but it might be true that Summer Devon is losing the smut. Hey I still like the tension, it's just I don't write the pages and pages of sex as often.***

Maybe she should get back in the habit because, damn, one of the comments shows that the review seems to have chased off a potential reader.

The review does have some good quotes. Here's one: 
The secondary characters are funny, delightful and interesting.  I would like to see more of them. Unnatural Calamities is a great light read, perfect for an afternoon escape when you want to laugh.

 I should put up one of those quizzes no one ever answers.

Should Summer Devon get back in the saddle and remember she writes fun smut?
Should she at least put the same number of words of sex in each book so people know what to expect?
Are you annoyed when an author's focus changes from book to book? 


***Except I forgot: this book was written before Summer wrote a bunch of books. It's an old one.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Post-Event Progress Report

The leftovers are almost gone, thank you god. One last slightly soggy piece of pumpkin pie for breakfast and we're done. The turkey soup doesn't count because it's a whole new food.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

SBD Seal Team Six

It's only a vague opinion, not a strong one -- but I didn't entirely trust the author. When it came to descriptions of battle and training, I had no issue because
1. I have no idea what he's talking about
2. Those parts are straightforward and technical.

Some anecdotes are harrowing, and others--like about the guys who're sleep deprived--are pretty funny and harrowing. And I loved the description of training as a sniper, but not so much about his personal experience of it because..... well, see that first sentence.

I think my disbelief comes from his family's strong response to his portrayal of his stepfather.  Maybe I'm naive, but I tend to believe the family is correct and Howard might have exaggerated or worse. The monster he described would have had to face some consequences to his actions. I mean nightly beatings with a belt? And no one else in his family apparently even talked about this harsh treatment? Doesn't ring true.

So that semi-belief that he's inaccurate colored my reading of the book. It would be interesting to know if Wasdin's memories seem on target to him but in reality are way off the mark (heh. sniper humor). No one's memory is entirely accurate but maybe for certain personalities there's a bigger slide away from reality. Maybe it's a useful survival mechanism for a soldier?

I also wonder about his voice because he didn't seem particularly self-aware or thoughtful. For instance, he goes on about how his job is to uphold the constitution of the US but doesn't notice this when he tells the story about trouncing some guys who ask "why doesn't the US stay out of other countries' business?" (Sure, the guys were taunting assholes, but dude, freedom of speech is right there as a first amendment to that precious item of ours.) We don't really hear about any of his screw ups (except the funny hallucination).

He went from being a super soldier (that I certainly believe after hearing about that training. Wow.) to a chiropractor. I like the fact that he seems to take as much pride in his current mundane job as his former elite occupation. Maybe he believes that is true all the time. Or maybe he occasionally acts as if his current work is as important because pride's important to him, or maybe because he is a salesman (a successful one, too) but never mind. . As I said, I like that bit. And it sounds like he made a good adjustment (heh. adjustment. Chiropractic humor) from a dark time. There's a vivid description of a sick and crippled Wasdin finally leaving the house and his despair at his encounter with the unpleasant lady -- that I believed.

What else. Hmmmmmm

Occasionally, I wondered if he got endorsements from all the brand-name items he mentioned. He did a good job of telling us why he liked 'em.

As a read, I'd say nothing fabulous, nothing terrible.

I wonder if I would have liked it more if I'd trusted the storyteller.The funny thing is Wasdin reminds me of my father and other men I knew from that greatest generation. I've thought about these guys a lot, probably more than they did. They seemed physically brave, emotionally somewhat disconnected....and maybe not entirely honest because of pride and the fear of losing that pride to fear.

A tiger eating or fleeing his own tail.

Tiger butter! (and hey, why is that book so frowned upon? Sambo is smart and wins in the end.)

Okay, time to stop wandering around on this. 3.5 stars out of 5 because I think it's a book I can rate.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Damned .... and hello! hi!

A week? What have you been doing all week?

Me? Not much. I'm reading Chuck Palahnuik's book, Damned. About four chapters in, I'm enjoying it. Four words to describe the book: obscene, funny, silly and gross.

I'm waiting for Thanksgiving stuff to start up, for all my boys to come home.

Ho, ho, ho! It's seasonal blah time. Hey, it's a real relief to understand that disliking a time of year that warms the heart of many people --> is not a sin. I do not need to watch and love Christmas movies. I don't need to worry that I'm missing some essential portion of human experience. Okay, maybe I am, but that's fine. I think because my kids are older I don't need to put on a show of a time of year that strikes a funereal chord for me. Christmas = loss, death, shredded hopes....unless I ignore it and then it's about routine, which is great.

I wrote an article for Samhain about my Christmas decorations. Yes, it was all true and for a time it made me happy to think about our decorations. But then I remembered Cathy (mentioned in the article) has died. And I've lost track of Woody (ditto). And let's not forget Mom and Dad (ditto). . . .

Maybe that's why Christmas is such a downer,  because a bunch of people I know have died or vanished or both? Damned if I know and damned if I care. I'd rather vacuum than explore My Feelings, thank you. This year's revelation: Feeling rotten is overrated. Dwelling in the past is not healthy and yeah, I know, I have more past than future, but see this year's revelation. Overrated.

Maybe I'll write another chapter. I'm only stopping by here because it seems to be about time to say hi! hello!

UPDATE: If you're depressed after reading this, go visit cake wrecks again. (You've seen it before, right?) It seems to cheer people the hell up.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blissful ignorance

Every now and then I think it would be a good idea to get more heavily involved in various online communities. I'd learn what readers are hungry for and attract new readers to my books.

Then things like this pop up.

The only way Aleksandr could get that bent is if he spent time reading what other people said, then answering them, then reading their answers. I bet that if I tried to interact with fans and readers, I'd end up in a huff too. Or mocked or something. Maybe even (oh, God) ignored.

I kind of want to dig around, figure out who said what when and who's right and who's full of shit. Why is this person so offended? What kind of dreadful, hurtful things have people said? Why? What? Who are these people.

I probably will just scratch my head and wander off to do something else instead of getting caught up. After a few years of internet life, I've finally figured out that the whole trainwreck thing can be interesting but leaves a layer of something like scum (literal scum, not the devious underworld people). That greasy filter affecting a person's outlook feels unhealthy. Kind of like a surfeit of porn, or immoderate indulgence in any group activity like arguing, protesting or partying hardy.

Update: I couldn't help myself and got curious enough to read on (Riptide publishing was my jumping off point) But this particular post makes it clear that the issues aren't just about Aleksandr's books -- his whole life been caught in the online sludge. Ugh. I hope he tosses his computer, or at least the internet, over the deck for a while. It hasn't been his friend.

Yick. The first publicly-out generation of any non-majority group (suffragettes, gays, etc) has to live through sucky-hell.  The fact that future kids/people in his shoes will have it better probably won't help him at the moment.

You can win That Cover! in print.

You get the story too!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Irrational Arousal by Summer Devon

Irrational Arousal

by Summer Devon

Giveaway ends November 23, 2011.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, November 14, 2011

a connoiseur

I've been to enough funerals lately that I feel I can begin to critique them.

I don't like the ones with lots and lots of God. It starts to feel like an infomercial for the church and Jesus rather than anything to do with the dead person. The Catholic service doesn't bother me because that feels like ritual that is part of the process. It can go on a bit though, that's for sure. Lots of time to flip through the prayer book, look at the stations of the cross, count the flower arrangements. 

The one yesterday was a Christian denomination I don't know at all and the pastor? reverend?  really seemed to know the dead guy. He told funny stories as if he'd been there. Turned out he'd never met him. So the pastor/whatever was a good actor. Smarmy though. And he kept stopping to drink from a green container. Okay, that startled me at first because I'd sort of thought it was the thing that held Phil's ashes.

When I was a kid, the lady who took care of me was a pastor's wife. I can't recall which denomination, but I know I before I went to school, I ended up attending a lot of services and a bunch of funerals. I have memories of white gloves, fans flapping, crying, wailing and even collapsing people, pews CROWDED with people. Also I wasn't allowed to go up front and visit with the dead people even though I could see them where I sat.

Now those were REAL funerals, not pale imitations like we get today.

Friday, November 11, 2011

before you self publish. . .

Consider the publisher. See what even a lowly epublisher--a good one--can do for's a list.
Your publisher should:

1. Get you a reasonable cover. They know what sells (Or they should.)***
2. Find reputable review sites for you. There are a few that won't do self-pubbed books.
3. EDIT the story. Revisions, copyedits, final line edits. You ought to get a few pairs of eyes on that thing and a good publisher does that for you.
4. Maybe get some translation rights for you.
5. Put the book up at third party vendors, including a couple that don't do the self-published thing--although that keeps shifting. I wonder if Fictionwise is still closed to self pubbed authors with fewer than 10 books?
6. Did I mention the edits?
7. Promote you. Sure you have to promote yourself, but they generally have a presence on the web and elsewhere. Conferences and so on. At the very least, you'll find a few tweets and whatnot from your editor/publisher about you and every little bit helps. Right? Yes.
8. Keep track of the money and so you end up with a few 1099s instead of a fistful. Yeah, you can keep track of the money too, but the stuff trickles in from all over when you self publish. Of course if that money is pouring in, skip every bit, every iota of my advice. You got something going on that should not be tampered with. 

I suppose you can do a lot of this stuff on your own, but, oy, it's a PITA. I'd come up with more reasons, but at the moment I'm a curmudgeon and have to go kick the dog or clear the gutter or something.


***I sure don't. I think many Siren Press covers are purely gadawful, but those books sell and sell, so never mind what I think. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

a word for that

I didn't know there were words for different sorts of arguments until I had kids and debate was included in their education. My formal education is spotty, thanks to the dirty hippies.

Anyway. I was trying to describe someone who visited forums (fora, right?) of groups he loathes just to argue with them and then is considered part of their milieu. Guilt by association I suppose. But I want a word for that sort of guy, other than troll.

My favorite example: someone my parents knew (knew about? I wish I could ask 'em)  hated communism and would go to communists' gatherings to heckle them. So when the OSS came along and marked the license plates of all the people attending the meetings, guess who got hauled in as a Commie Sympathizer? I wish I knew the whole story. I can only hope he got as much grief as my parents did back in the day. During the fifties, they and their friends got the evil eye from the gov't in part because they went to Moscow during WWII -- at the behest of the gov't.

Monday, November 07, 2011

it's baaaaaaaaaaaaaack

The television is babbling at us. The computers are all running. The lights are on. We have taken off our knit caps and jackets. Power, o, power -- I will never take you for granted again. It's been a few hours but I still get a thrill when I flick a switch and the darkness is banished by a really bright light.

Still no school tomorrow, but we can handle that. Yup.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Here in my home town

The storm was Saturday and we have no power
no school this week
no telephone
no one coming to clear the road--with the wires lying across it
no idea when the situation will change. Sometime today they'll tell us when to expect power again.

The good news is the people staying with us (we have a fireplace and gas stove so our house is a better place than theirs) have a chain saw and so we can clear brush.

I'm in the library pining for a cuppa coffee, but if if I give up this spot, I'll have to break some arms to get access to an outlet again. Naw, it's not that bad -- yet.

I should write a novel instead of kvetching. Okay.