Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A snapshot of debachery

My kids are playing GIT BACK MUTHA F**** , YOU DON'T KNOW ME LIKE THAT"
and mouthing the words at me while dancing. 

The visiting dog tries to mount the small dog.

The song ended and some discussion of molestation and the additional yelling IF YOU LOOK AT HIM IN THE EYES, HE WILL KILL YOU.

And now they're wrestling, shouting obscene threats while dancing and will probably land on top of my while I type on the couch. 

Wholesome family life hasn't changed much over the last decade but they are a lot bigger and when they land, the house shakes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

monday morning

Every now and then I get a cold flash of horror about the way I've spent the last decade or so of my life. I could have done something else, something that helped people. I could have done something that gave back to the world. I could have spent more time thinking about the people I live with.

Instead I wrote books.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I am tempted..

what do you think of buying book reviews?  Want to know my opinion? A heinous practice, that's what I think---or rather, what I thought.
But then stars became too important and, by god, even more random. In the last couple of days I've looked around Amazon and Goodreads and found:

 a 1-star review for a friend's book that hasn't had ARCs sent out yet. (Jackie Ivie)
a few "omigod I lurve this book! it's a keeper!" 2- or 3-star reviews (nearly every book out there has something like that).
1- or 2-star reviews with reviewers complaining about all the sex sex in the story that is clearly labeled EROTICA
1- or 2-star reviews with reviewers complaining how they thought they were getting a full length novel on a story that is labeled SHORT STORY
1- or 2-star reviews on paperback copies of books for the slow delivery of those books.
and also
bushels and truck-loads of 5-star reviews for books that won't be out for a year or so -- because the reviewers love the authors (I can't bring myself to despise those reviews, but really. They're just as unreality based as the others)

The stars mean next to nothing to some of the people who click the buttons. (note the word some, it's important.**) But when it comes to operating in the promo world, they mean everything. You can't get much done in terms of promo without the star currency.

Fine. IF we need reviews And IF a big chunk of the people pasting stars aren't actually using brain-cells when they click, why not buy some reviews?  That path seems less repulsive and dishonest every day.

I'd rather have some honest "I dislike this story and here's why" reviews that I bought than a bunch of "I hate this thing--I haven't read it but I know I hate it because it has a ugly guy on the cover" sort of reviews someone passing by might post.

Of course I'd enjoy "I love this story and here's why" but the honesty bushwa is what I'm ranting about now. Honesty and actual thoughtful analysis -- and reading at least a big chunk of the book....That's what I want. And I no longer associate it exclusively with freely-offered reviews.

I'll save the "why do you hate my perfectly wonderful stories" for another emotional outburst.

**because obviously I'm not talking about your reviews

Thursday, July 25, 2013

how to get ninety-nine cent audiobooks.

I posted this on some Kindle board I joined because some article about promo told me to join the board. Articles about promo are running my life at the moment. But that's okay. I paid attention to an article I found (on Galleycat, I think?)....and lookit:

that's what I woke up to this morning. Nice numbers for Her Mad Baron. It was languishing until I followed the advice of some article or another. God, I'm tarred, tarred, tarred.


I'm fairly sure I told you this but did you listen? No.

All of the books I'm talking about are classics (out of copyright) but I swear Jane Austen is made to be read aloud and the readers are pros.
here's the way to do it:
1. You go pick up your free kindle copy here  and then, once you have the book in your library
2. click on the audible version of the book. The whispersync program means you can get these titles for 99 cents.
I'm having a wonderful time listening to Austen, Dickens, and Wodehouse. Except, no, right now I'm listening to a spy novel I got from the library. I couldn't tell you the name of the hero, the name of author, the name of the damn book. Maybe I should go for The Portrait of Dorian Gray. I don't have that one yet. .

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My new Kate Rothwell page

It's pretty huh? See any mistakes or issues? Let me know before my web-designer goes back to college.  Then he and I have to get started on Summer Devon's page.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

summer reruns and other random stuff

...and how dated is the concept of summer reruns? more dated than my friend Penny was in high school, that's how dated. heh. Anyway. I'm rereading things--a Pratchett, an Ilona Andrews book right now. Apparently my early training has kicked in. Summer is for reruns.

I did just buy a book that Many People are Raving About. The Dead Will Rise First. There's a typo in the description (a "to" instead of "too") but I pushed buy anyway. I won't be a hypocrite. It's short, it's 99 cents and I'll get to say I was there at the start of the swarm.

Most of my online world is going to Atlanta this week. About now is when I should go look for Paperback Writer's blog--she's always so good point out about why conferences are a waste of time. But it's been a long time. I'm too scared to discover she's stopped blogging so I won't go look.

Hey, do you do that too? A blogger is only a few clicks away but you're too scared to check because you don't want to find out they've abandoned a place you cared about?

I avoid places I've lived because I dislike the fact that they carried on without me--too much like death, and the opposite of It's a Wonderful Life.

But speaking of opposite, this response is sort of the flip side of that. I want that corner of the world to have thrived even though I wasn't there. Still selfish of course -- I want them to be right there where I left them, just as popular and relevant and all those shiny surface items intact. No dust, no decay and still funny as ever. Now I'm really scared about going and looking for her.  Maybe I'll go check Beth to make sure she's still there. An online touchstone.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

recalling ancient harrassment, puzzling over ancient indifference

Back in the '80s I worked as a parts runner/service manager in a garage and as a bartender/server at a small neighborhood bar. Those were male territories with male rules. I understood that even if I didn't know it.

I automatically thought about those jobs when I read a whole lot of accounts of women who are offended by male strangers who talk to them or touch them in an unwelcome manner. They are outraged and offended.

I'm struck by how offended these women (and men) are, because it back in the day it didn't occur to me to be offended by that sort of unwanted sexual nonsense I ran into. I didn't want harassment, I didn't welcome it, but my response was less ....I don't know. Not outraged for sure--and probably because I expected it.

I did deal with it. There was a bat behind the bar. I once pulled it out because a guy was asking me what I was doing after work too many times. hahaha, going for batting practice. I plan on slamming some balls, hard. hahahaha. Joke. I poured beer on at least one guy who grabbed my boob hard enough to hurt. I recall everyone around us clapped, and so my laughter was real. The boob-pinching incident became a kind of "ha ha we're all in on this great joke together" moment. Which probably didn't teach the guy to keep his hard lil fingers to himself even though that beer was cold.  

I was lucky enough to have bosses that supported me. I'm not talking about bosses who'd call the police if someone groped my ass or tried to pull me onto his lap. Fact is, unless a customer got threatening, they wouldn't take action. But they nearly always let me say "someone else deal with that customer. I won't." and "If ___ is working today, I'm picking up the parts at the other dealer. He keeps making remarks about me posing for the Snap-On calendar and it's just creepy." I wouldn't get in trouble. That felt like a lot of support at the time. Once the bar-owner caught a guy giving me a hug and said, "hands off the help. I don't pay her enough to put up with you."

I know the fact that guys could and would harass the help without getting bitch-slapped by the whole world is not a good thing. And yeah, I'm glad that people are offended by the behavior. The changes are all good as far as I'm concerned. 

Yet I'm glad I didn't have that horrified-by-harassment-and-other-bullshit mindset back then because I liked my life. Internal and external responses would have made the world much harder to cope with.
The question I keep thinking about: Why'd we put up with it? Looking back I wonder if the groping didn't feel like a huge OMIDOG experience because I was on the watch for it. It was not standard operating procedure, but it wasn't abnormal. And when it happened, I didn't lose sleep or feel particularly violated. I'm grateful for that -- because why waste all that outrage and humiliation on a situation I couldn't change?

It didn't occur to me to take drastic steps, whatever that meant. More than once I pushed a guy away, or told a patron to stop it or he'd have to go somewhere else. But there was a line I didn't cross. If I'd pushed hard, if I'd slammed my steel-toed boot against the shin of the handsy customer looking over his car.  If I called the cops, if I even made "too big a deal" of a situation, I would have gotten fired and made enemies of people I liked. I didn't have the strength of personality for that. And besides, it just didn't bother me enough to rock the boat.

Huh, yet another tangent: it's funny that I immediately recall two incidents where I felt triumphant (baseball bat and beer). There were other times when I just ignored the action, or moved away, walking off quickly. Retreating. I can't remember them as clearly. Unusual--a nice change--that for at least one aspect of my life, I don't remember the most mortifying outcomes.

Was my relative indifference because I was accustomed to assholes? I doubt it. These things didn't happen every day I went to work. Maybe it was because I never lost total control of the situation, so I didn't feel like a victim? I didn't feel endangered. I did have a three-day stint in a job that I left because my boss was too flirtatious. Yeah, I don't think even these days a three-day employee could claim harassment. In that situation I walked away rather than be under his control. If I'd stayed, I would have been his victim. Also, crap jobs were less hard to come by then.

Maybe the situations didn't feel like bullying? It did help to know it was about the guys, not me. It helped to have people I worked with who understood (even if they didn't want me to take steps we would have considered drastic). When I grumbled, a fellow bartender often told me: drunk guys are jerks. They also tip well. Huh. That line felt like solidarity back then. Now it feels cold--cold comfort, cold about the state of human relations.

 I really don't know why my internal or external responses weren't stronger. I think if I'd felt truly threatened I would have acted. Has the definition for feeling threatened changed? And maybe "threatened" is too low a threshold for taking action?

I'm torn. When I reading the accounts of what people consider sexual harassment my automatic response is to scratch my head. Really? You're going to go the authorities because of that? A slight touch? A dumb remark? Boy, when I think about the way guys used to talk to me. I used to laugh at the lines like "Hey you're kinda cute, wanna fuck?" or "You look good in that uniform. Bet you'd look even cuter out of it."  Hahahaha. Hey. Those guys taught me the value of a good comeback. 

On the other hand....why the fuck should that be SOP? I'm glad I didn't lose sleep over my life back then but I'm even more glad other people lay awake, outraged enough to change the world.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The Gentleman's Keeper out today

It's new release day for Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee! Our book is out!

let's get straight to the ego-stroking, shall we?

"Devon and Dee (The Gentleman and the Rogue) fill this expertly written gay Victorian romance with emotional tension [...] this story is a must-read for fans of gay historicals."
"The Gentleman’s Keeper by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon is one of the best historical romances I have read this year. The story has a rare richness and depth, and its many layers are lovingly revealed by these two talented authors. The conflicts and challenges faced by Everett and Miles made for relatable and realistic characters and an evocative romance, one in which the happy ending was hard-fought and well earned. ...I cannot wait to read more from these authors, and I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves excellent historical romance.
-Night Owl Romance -- top pick 

We love new releases! The computer has that new release smell all over it.

Or maybe that's the coffee I spilled this morning -- just a few drops. No worries. Yet.

 We had fun writing this book. I was going to write "I had fun" but sure, I'll speak for Bonnie. She's currently not around to tell me to stop. 

I do know we both cackled about the rotten kid, Ipsial (the name came from a typo in another manuscript).  I wanted to make him even worse, and maybe not mostly redeemed by the end, but we decided that this is a HEA romance, dammit. Who wants to start a brand new life burdened with a thieving, lying, wild child?

I'd have to love this book because it got that starred Publisher's Weekly review. See above and let me link to it again. Starred PW review. (I think Bonnie had gotten one just a couple of weeks earlier for her m/m contemporary Au Pair Affair)

Ages ago, back when things like Publisher's Weekly MEANT something, an experienced writer I looked up to told me that her ambition was to sell at least 100K books and get a good PW review.

Getting the good PW review hasn't been my ambition, but it feels good, even a couple of months later. We've gotten a meh review or two (NO I am NOT linking to them) but all I have to do is murmur, "starred PW review" and those other reviews shrink, or at least stop feeding the eternal core of dark doubt that exists in most writers.

Wait. Let's get back to the promo:
 The Gentleman's Keeper:
Confronting the darkness of his past, he finds the light of his future.

After years gadding about Europe, Everett Gerard can no longer avoid his responsibilities. Word has come that a child bearing the unmistakable Gerard stamp has shown up at the family estate—and he realizes it’s time to face his demons.

As his carriage nears the gates of home, he fights the urge to flee the memory of the horrible crime he witnessed as a child. Yet the Abbey delivers surprises and delights he never expected.

Miles Kenway was content with his quiet life as the Abbey’s bailiff, until the wild child, clearly a bastard son of some Gerard, upends his peace with constant pranks and mischief. And when the master of the house arrives, an unsettling attraction heats Miles’s blood.

As they clash over the fate of the ancestral land, they battle a powerful desire to grapple in ways that could disrupt the delicate balance between master and servant. But when the boy’s real sire appears, they must unite as only true fathers can to protect the boy whose mischievous charm has captured their hearts.
Product Warnings
Gothic murder, hot man loving, and emotional family drama.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Mosquitoes and bunnies

There are scathes more than usual this year. Hop, hop, buzz. We are plagued by these critters--such numbers must be a signs of some event, a message or an apocalypse maybe. Maybe these signs aren't found in a religion's holy books on this particular planet, not yet anyway. Hindsight will prove me a soothsayer. 

Looking back, someone's bound to see them as signs as clearly as the chosen saw the locusts and frogs.  I was here first, people.

In other local news: air conditioning. Aaaaaaaaah.

In even more local news, my "s" button seems to have a problem.  I have to slam my finger down on it, hard, and then it sticksss. It makes my writing look like a snake's doing the dictation.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

An Occasional God

I don't have a permanent resident in the spot. I have manifestations of love. And I hardly think a blue bathrobe invented the universe.

I have faith envy, and every now and again, I try to impose some form of god on life. I don't often succeed, and I never manage to conjure a personal god above as an all powerful being that gives a damn. I don't get a Creator God of any sort, at least not one that knows me. But every now and then I do manage a very tiny god, smaller than Anoia (from the disk world). It's an internal force, that I know it's me, but is a part of me that stays strong when much of the rest of me is crumbling under some weight. I figure it's still in the upper branches of the brain--we're not talking lizard brain--but it's rather like the emergency lights that flicker on when the power goes down...when coping isn't high on my list.

You can't chug along for more than 50 years without running into tough times. Granted, mine have been pretty easy--I know this because I've met far too many people who've face real, mind-warping pain. Nevertheless I've had an small issue or two, and this internal version of god/love has shown up now and then--not always. But when it does, it speaks with an actual voice. I don't know why. I don't invent it consciously.

The part has been played by my brother's wife. It has been my older women friends (nearly all of whom are dead now). Interestingly, my mother hasn't been one of the voices to tell me to calm the hell down or  accept love or whatever that voice does (usually cliche, but I don't need originality. I just crave some answer). As far as I can remember it's always female, which makes sense. That's been true until earlier today when I had a moment of fetching up a morsel of god and it spoke in my son's voice.

Well,huh. Okay. If you're going to have a bizarro version of this, might as well be truly absurd.