Thursday, December 29, 2011

the plot genie visited overnight

and hey! maybe, perhaps, this stupid problem with these stupid people might be solved. I think we might have a Gordian knot which means a simple solution! Time to destroy a character, change a time-line, and maybe insert some scenery.

Suddenly they're no longer stupid people--they'll transform into beloved characters. And the stupidity in the story turns into something akin to cleverness (at least for this minute)

This THIS THIS is why I write. Hours of boredom punctuated by moments of pure terror clarity. **

Scuse me. Got to get back to work.

**the first time I heard that "hours of boredom punctuated by seconds of terror" I was doing a ride-along with a cop for an article; I was writing a portrait of a cop's life for a magazine. I thought she was amazingly insightful. Heh.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

well. ..I Like It

No, more than that. I love my Kindle Fire. I cuddle it to my bosom and call it sweetums.

My kid's response: "it's perfect for a 42-year-old lady." Can anything sound more insulting? He explained that he wasn't being dismissive, it just really is perfect for that particular demographic. Mom. (And could he just point out that I'm older than that? So really I've peeled away the years with this purchase. Yes, he could.)

No Kindle for him.

I keep reading these snarky reports about how unresponsive it is, how clumsy and thick and awful. I have yet to see a problem, so now I'm starting to feel a bit like a boho who wandered into a classy party and asked for a Bud Light. I don't have the savoir faire to understand the intricacies of a real electronic device. I have no tricks to make it sing like a well-tuned instrument. Although I do check the free apps every day.

And then I remember what people in my unenlightened world do to regain our sense of self-worth: become proud of our ignorance and return to the state of fuck-it-so-what-[you-effete-snobs].

I'm supposed to be working now, but I think I use my Fire to watch another old episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I missed when it first showed up. I was having a life back then.

Here's what I do with my free time: read books and watch stuff. Kindle Fire = perfect.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Contest over.

The winner only had one entry--unlike Casey or Joanna (they had about a dozen between them!) Congratulations hotcha12. You're the winner of the contest!!

Only a matter of hours now.

Hey, couldn't you use thirty extra bucks for that last minute shopping? Don't you want some fun escapist fiction? The answer is of course! Yes! So enter my contest. I'm telling you, it's easy-peasy. I think I'll end it at ten p.m. tonight because that's about the time I start falling asleep. I love the random picker I found. No more nagging a kid to pick a number.

Some people (CW, for instance) have entered over and over. You can too. 

I'm giving away a $30 gift certificate to Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) plus three Summer Devon titles
also winner's choice. And if you live in the US, you can even choose paper of the books in print. I'll send your hard copies to you -- You'll have to wait until after Christmas though.

Entering is easier than pie (which isn't that easy unless you do a graham cracker crust)
To enter, you can:
1.  Leave a comment in this blog. Below this entry works fine.
2. or you can make a comment at twitter or facebook about my my new book (and send me notice that you did at -- or just reply to this newsletter)
3. you can blog about the release at your own place. That's fine--be sure to let me know though.

Every time you do one of these things, you get another entry. The contest ends December 20th! So you'll have time to use your gift certificate to buy presents. Winner will be chosen by random pick.

Friday, December 16, 2011

at the bottom of the pyramid

I'll call this issue the Eifersucht-glück effect because German is always best for these things. 

It's that stab of envy you feel at someone else's gain. It's the exact opposite of schadenfreude. (joy at sorrow vs. sorrow at joy)

Someone else achieves something great, and eventually you might get to a real-ish "hurray for you!" point... But before that, there's the inevitable sense of hey, wait, what about me? That's mine. Even when it obviously isn't yours--and it's equally obvious the lucky/smart person deserves the good outcome.

Here's the thing: no matter how clear it is to you intellectually that the lucky/smart person deserves this, the Eifersucht-glück effect will kick in (unless you're in the throes or after-glow of a major achievement yourself, then you can skip this conversation altogether. Chances are you're not here anyway--you're busy achieving, not reading dumb blogs).

Eventually the E-G effect must resolve or you:
1. collapse into bitterness.
2. abandon that aspect of your life
3. go after people with weapons.

The next stage, called the post-Eifersucht-Gluck phase of brain activity is perhaps called the  "eh, it happens; get over it."

The best resolution, the absolute end of the effect, also known as the post-post-post-Eifersucht-Gluck phase is a genuine "yay! couldn't have happened to a nicer person. You deserve it."

This is something like reaching the top of the Maslow pyramid, only in a matter of seconds or minutes instead of years, one hopes.

This is not envy based on a sense of true injustice, by the way. That is something entirely different. I suspect the purest E-G occurs only when you like the person -- so there's also a sense of indignation because you can't feel entirely happy for them right off the bat. Another source of the Grumbly-Blues. (see also: "problems, first world") 

* * * 
Amy suggests that this be called Jealous Bitch Syndrome. This would also work. 

Say you're supposed to go to an office party to spontaneously celebrate a co-worker's well-deserved advancement. You say, "Sorry. I can't make it. My JBS is acting up at the moment." 

It just needs a name so you/we can label it and forget it. 


**I think the "sucht" part of that is pronounced "sucks" even if it's wrong for German. Also I thought glück meant luck, but google babble thinks it's joy. Both work well.

Monday, December 12, 2011

SBD after these messages from our sponsor

Message 1. Have you entered the contest yet? Easy to do. Easy to get multiple entries, too. ENTER THE CONTEST, and yes, that's shouting. I'm adding a megaphone of bolding, too.  Win $30 and more Summer Devon books than you ever dreamed possible.

Message 2. We just got a review for House of Mirrors from Queer Magazine Online. Reviews come so slowly these days, which is fine in an age of endless shelf life. Just funny that in a world where everything has sped up, reviews have slowed down.
It's a good review--as in not just positive (which makes reviews wonderful) but also well-written. I mean how could you not like lines like these?

This is a wonderful, unusual story with delightfully complex characters, many of whom I grew to admire and love. The carnival world is a perfect setting for this engaging story, challenging us to think about reality versus illusion; it's an eye-opening look into the hardship and camaraderie of life on the road for carnival entertainers. I'd recommend 'House of Mirrors' to anyone who enjoys a well written story, full of angst, hate, deception, honesty, friendship and love.

Message 3. Hey, listen, If you write a review of my books, let me know, and I'll enter you into the contest. It does not have to be a positive review, okay? Leave your review at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Fictionwise, your blog--anywhere. Of course if you give me a bad review with no reasons for why you thought the book sucked, I will enter your name but I'll be grumbling. Reasons, people. Reasons.

Funny thing, though. I just realized that if you write "I loved this book!" and nothing else, I won't be grumbling. People are so inconsistent.

Speaking of inconsistent, that's what my reading's been like, although no non-fiction. YA dystopia, murder mysteries, a bunch of ghost stories and some vampire things.

I read the second YA book of the Matched series, Crossed, and I will read the third. The woman has an imagination. I didn't want to put the book down and got mad at people in my family who wished to interact with me.

But.... Two people tell the story, both in first person, and they sound a lot alike. And I found both a trifle annoying. Lots of poetic observations when there are people dropping dead all around them. When a book makes you aware of that arty voice as the big scary action is going down, then that's a kind of author intrusion that draws me out faster than POV switches. Perhaps I wouldn't have noticed if they hadn't been in first person. It's funny because you can't more intrusive like that than Chuck Palahniuk and his style doesn't bother me at all. Maybe because he isn't trying to show what a sensitive soul the narrator is.

I read an anthology of supernatural stories that were fun. Charlaine Harris, Maggie Shayne, Barbara Hambly. Harris's was the one I liked best. It has the simplest plot, and is the most slanted toward romance which is what I'd expect when I see Harlequin on the cover. I got why those two characters ended up together.

Hambly's was my least favorite, which is kind of weird since I think she's a freaking genius. I did enjoy her portrait of New York and, to an extent, the picture of the evil building. I've never read a writer who can make a city into an intriguing personality like that Hambly can. Her portraits of New Orleans in the Benjamin January series is always incredible. Worth the read right there.

I think I don't like the way she borrowed from the Triangle Shirtwaist tragedy without naming it. (Kind of like having a giant ocean liner that everyone declares is called unsinkable crashing into a giant iceberg and calling that ship the Bibanic, only not really) Having a socialist New Yorker family background, I've heard about that fire since I was a wee tot. Anyway, I didn't felt drawn to the romance part of the book. I didn't entirely believe the "I love you" part--although I did like the characters for the most part.  

And this SBD is going on too long. Hmm.  Must be the advertising at the start. I'll be glad when NPR finally gets through its fund drive I stop promoting my new book. Which you should read. And be far nicer than I'm being to these books.

Okay one more book: A Cassandra Palmer book that I'm still reading-- wait, okay, she's the character, the story is by Karen Chance.

I'm cheap and only get what the library will give me. They don't have books 1-4 on Kindle. This is book 5 and like all those sorts of series, the heroine's power has been escalating. All sorts of things have happened to her in those earlier books. She's been gathering hangers-ons and powers like kids gathered pokemon cards back in the day.

Those of us late to the show get snippets of it all, and it's slightly annoying to try to figure out who's who and why they hate/love her, and why that person wants her dead, but the story is hardly unreadable like some series books I've tried reading mid-cycle (Feehan=impossible)

I can't read it in one gulp, like I do a lot of books. These fast-paced never-let-up stories exhaust me. But I like the author's voice. I like the fact that not every penis rises when the heroine walks into the room (most do, of course). I'm already tired of the "I'm not pretty" description she gives when she stares in the mirror -- when I suspect that she's probably gorgeous. I'm waiting for some man to tell her she's irresistible. But hey! I like the fact that in a crowded world,  I can tell one hanger-on from another and they have actual personalities.

Despite the fact that I'm burning out on first person urban fantasies with often Mary Sue heroines, this  character seems funny and interesting and the world is intriguing. I might have to go buy some earlier books.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Romantic Times says. . .

"If you're looking for a light read to breeze through that will leave you energized and smiling, Unnatural Calamities is the ticket!" 

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Things to do list

1. figure out a way to tell everyone on the planet that Bonnie and I had two books in Rainbow Rewards 10 best  historicalsThe Nobleman and the Spy tied for third and House of Mirrors is honorably mentioned in seventh place.

And Molly Winter listed one of our books in her top ten for the year.

2. get better numbers at Amazon and Samhain so that I can tag "best-seller" on my name. Actually, I have had best-selling books at Samhain before -- but this one hasn't made it yet. And I wouldn't really add that tag.

3. shake this godforsaken mind-set in which I check stats at Amazon and Samhain or look for reviews online. This sort of behavior leads to bitterness and frustration or elation and giddiness. None of these condition are ideal for #4 . . .  

4. write a goddamn book.

I'm telling you there is no happy coexistence between the promo mind and the writing mind. They exist in different realms. I hereby shed the promo-brain, all that glittery goo is out of my ears to be replaced by hard-working but boring old grey stuff.

* * *

The rest of you? You have a TTD list too. One item! Enter the contest. Don't give me that "everyone does this same contest and it gets old" thing. Quit pointing out the obvious and enter it.

Please, optional item #2 for you is to write a glowing review of any of my books. I will not stand in your way.

Speaking of which, I have to go review this book I just read by Jeaniene Frost. It was pretty good, but I don't feel the need to every book in the series ASAP which is a relief because I'm supposed to be buying christmas presents for people other than me.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

I know how I got that idea

And you will know too, if you go to Delilah Devlin's blog.
ALSO another chance to win books!
Plus! If you don't go to the blog, and no one comments, and I end up all alone, sitting here (and there) in the dark, whining again, I will track you all down and eat your cookies. I can't eat the ones sitting here because they're reserved for a school sale. Drat.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

FYI I currently hate TinyLetter

That is all. I feel a white-hot, passionate hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. And to all newsletter subscribers:  I'm sorry about the bad links and then the gibberish in the second attempt at correcting the link.


Unnatural Calamities! Out today and of course, a contest.

I'm going to lift this from my newsletter, but just to be mean provide a tiny incentive for you to sign up for my newsletter, I'm going to remove the recipe. (Subscription link is on the right.)

So about Unnatural  Calamities....HEY! It's on sale today and when Samhain puts out a new book, they reduce the price. So if you want a copy at a lower price, now's the time to buy.

I'm very fond of this story and hope you enjoy it too
Updated: I fixed this link. Every single dang link in that newsletter didn't work. The recipe is fine though.

She has a deft hand with banana flambé…and a touch that sets his body on fire.

Janey knows all too well she looks a wreck. What hard-working chef wouldn’t, operating on three hours of sleep? Stuck in a dull Connecticut town, taking care of her beloved niece, Rachel, Janey spends her days
looking for a job and her nights working high-end catering gigs.

Just her luck, she runs into Mr. Perfect two days past her designated laundry day. And she’s just found out her niece is passing her off as“Mom” to avoid the embarrassment of admitting her real mother, Janey’s identical twin, is serving time.

Despite Janey’s questionable fashion sense and the juicy gossip about her checkered past, venture capitalist Christopher Dunham finds himself drawn to her spark. And warmed by her obvious affection for Rachel, so like what he feels for his own daughter.

When sexy, way-out-of-her-league Toph offers her a business loan, Janey can’t believe her long string of bad luck with bad boys has come to an end. At least, until a blast from her sister’s shady past turns up the heat on their attraction. And sets off a chain of events that could snuff out the flame just as their love starts to come to a boil…

Product Warnings
A comedy of errors, mistaken identity, poor girl meets rich guy, kidnapping at gunpoint, and hot handcuffed sex in a hotel bathtub—and that’s all before lunch.

The fact that I live in West Hartford, CT, and the story takes place in fictional West Farmbrook, CT, means nothing.

I'm giving away a $30 gift certificate to Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) plus three Summer Devon titles
also winner's choice. And if you live in the US, you can even choose paper of the books in print. I'll send your hard copies to you -- You'll have to wait until after Christmas though.

Entering is easier than pie (which isn't that easy unless you do a graham cracker crust)
To enter, you can:
1.  Leave a comment in this blog. Below this entry works fine.
2. or you can make a comment at twitter or facebook about my my new book (and send me notice that you did at -- or just reply to this newsletter)
3. you can blog about the release at your own place. That's fine--be sure to let me know though.

Every time you do one of these things, you get another entry. The contest ends December 20th! So you'll have time to use your gift certificate to buy presents. Winner will be chosen by random pick.

OTHER NEWS! Featuring lots of links!

Two Summer Devon books have come out in print--including the one with the most infamous cover, ever Irrational Arousal
Also you can find
The Nobleman and the Spy

both now in paperback!

Here's the Samhain's December letter
. There's a piece about my holiday decor. After this came out, I learned I'm not the only one with a lobster on the tree.

Tomorrow (December 7) I'll be blogging at Delilah Devlin's place about Unnatural Calamities -- and how I got the idea for the story. I'll be giving away a book or two there, as well. (I can't remember what I promised to do. This is what the holiday season does to some of us.)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The newsletter article

Remember when I got all like that? **  I grumbled about the freaking holidays. Gah.

Here's the newsletter containing the article that I mentioned, all about our fabu Christmas tree. My piece is the third or fourth one down and the tone is fairly chipper. I should actually read what other writers have to say in the newsletter.

First I have to finish destroying this heroine. I think she's going to have a really horrible fall off a roof.

** Me neither, but not because I didn't read my blog (your excuse). It's because I take off when bad moods strike. Years of practice and I'm getting better at dumping the depressive. Run away! run away!