Wednesday, March 10, 2010
posted by Carolyn @ 3/10/2010 07:00:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Contest News - Ann Aguirre and A Reading Challenge
She's giving away 8 ARCs on her blog, and two on Twitter. Check it out. Enter. You won't be sorry.
Over at The Riskies we're setting up a Read-Along. Help us decide what book to read. There will be some prizes during the Risky Reading.
posted by Carolyn @ 2/03/2010 09:03:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Various bits of News
First off, here's the cover of The Mammoth Book Of Regency Romance in which I will have a story. I don't know the release date yet, but I will update you all when I know.
My story is about a couple who realize their long correspondence via the post has made them perfect for each other. He's younger than she is, by the way.
I don't know how mammoth the book will be, but hey, what a great way to find out about other authors you might like!
In other news, the official title for My Beloved Assassin is now My Immortal Assassin. You heard it here first!
In other, other news, I recently finished my first book by John Scalzi. I've been following his wonderful blog for ages and have been thinking, for ages, that I should read something by the guy. I was at my local independent this weekend, Copperfield's Books, and there was his first book. Old Man's War so I said Whatever and bought it.
Then I read it. And damn! It was really good. It gave me the warm and fuzzies for SciFi again after years and years of being all depressed about how hostile so much SciFi is to the women in the books. I grew up adoring Azimov and Heinlein etc and even when I was twelve or so I remember feeling sad that the women didn't do much besides die or be cast off or require saving. They were so rarely characters that changed the story on their own. Over the years, I'd pick up something in the genre -- maybe I was just unlucky -- and I'd end up feeling like not much had changed. I love stories with ray guns and space ships and physics and all and I've missed them, as I discovered.
Old Man's War was like reading Heinlein or Azimov only the women were real people! They were capable and worthy of admiration and respect for so much more than big boobs. And the story was romantic. Really, truly romantic. ::Sigh::
And now, back to work for me.
Has anybody read anything good lately?
posted by Carolyn @ 1/19/2010 09:22:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, January 03, 2010
The new year is still shiny!
Am up to chapter 3 three on revisions for My Beloved Assassin. It's going well.
Tomorrow is mailing day for several December Extravaganza prizes. Two packages are heading off to Africa. My thanks to everyone who dropped by to answer my silly questions!
I read a bunch of books during my break.
- Covet by JR Ward -- still thinking about what I think
- A vampire book with a heroine I adored, but the rest -- meh. And the ending. WTF?
- Susan Elizabeth Phillips No One's Baby But Mine I enjoyed this book, but I have an issue with a woman tricking a man into impregnating her without his knowledge. That's just too wrong for me to believe in such a heroine.
- Susan Elizabeth Phillips Glitter Baby Also enjoyed this one. But it's dated. This must have been one one the last generational Romances written. I kind of miss them.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/03/2010 08:23:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Contest, Food and some other stuff
In other news, I made pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and have since been baking lots of pumpkin stuff because I bought a big pumpkin and had LOTS of pumpkin left over. The pumpkin muffins have been consumed. Yummy. I made pumpkin soup last night that was amazing. That disappeared before it had time to cool. Today I made a pumpkin bread with cranberries and boy, it's really, really good. I'll probably make 1-2 more pumpkin-y things.
I've now been twice to see the movie The Blind Side. What a great movie! Go see it.
I'm in the middle of reading Diana Holquist's Hungry For More. It's really cute and I'm in awe of how accurate the chef details seem to be. From what I've read (I went on a Ruth Reichel binge a while back plus read a long New Yorker article about chefs) she seems to have nailed the details. And even if she didn't, she's making me believe she did.
This afternoon, I met some friends and had European Sipping Chocolate and talked about books. What a lovely day.
Currently, I am in denial about Monday and how much I've eaten. Please support me in this effort.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/29/2009 06:45:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Books I've read or Am Reading Now
- Prime Time, Hank Phillippi Ryan
- Air Time, Hank Phillippi Ryan
- Face Time, Hank Phillippi Ryan
- SEALed and Delivered, Jill Monroe
I LOVED the Ryan books. I keep wishing there were more to pick up because the Voice is so wonderfully conversational. And every book had 2-3 lines that just impressed the hell out of me.
The Monroe book was my very first Harlequin Blaze that I didn't get free. It was cute and fun and I'll be looking for more of her work plus reading more from Harlequin, too.
These three books rock. The last one is interesting but I do think she missed the point of Bronte's Vilette. I have a way to go, but it's actually in line with some interesting and hyperbolic conversation that's been going around on the Interwebz lately. I'll be posting on that in a day or two I think.
Off to post chapter 1 of The Last Paranormal which I have tentatively titled My Beloved Assassin. I have started work on The Next Paranormal and am wondering if there is any hope of catching up in NaNoWriMo.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/08/2009 02:10:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Reading and Writing.
Interestingly enough, my son struggled to learn to read, in part, I think because it was the only thing he actually had to work at. But we got him over the hump, he learned to read and caught up quickly with his classmates. The thing is I've always thought of him as not as strong in language skills as he is in, say, Math and Science. But every year since about 3rd grade he tests higher in ability, from slightly below his grade level to grade level and now, he actually tests as not just proficient but advanced.
For anyone who worries about a child who is having trouble with reading (and is not learning disabled) I think I can say that this doesn't mean he or she is doomed to poor performance forever.
Until he was about 12 I think, I read to him every single night. I read him books well above his grade level as well as books at his level. I bought him books, and, of course, he's surrounded by avid readers. And there are certain books he inhales the minute they come out. And now that he's picking his own books, he has a pretty remarkable open-mindedness about what to read. And somewhere along the way, he seems to have improved his language skills to the point where I can't point to anything and tell him he needs to work at it more. This, DESPITE the fact that he spends too much time playing World Of Warcraft.
Anyway, just wanted to mention that kids can catch up as long as they have support in the effort.
As for writing, right now, it's going slower than I like. I started freaking about how my hero and heroine in The Next Paranormal hardly interact so I started cutting other characters out of the scenes and getting my two together. Seems obvious now. But I caught it fairly early. But this means I'm cutting a lot so although I'm adding word count it's not 1000, more like 500 ish. However, I can report that I really like how it's coming out now. There was a nice little shift in dynamics that I'm looking forward to working -- if I can just get through this cut-the-crap bit.
I have 42.7K words, which is good, but critical mass is about 10-20k words away.
My son is going camping with my bother and his family until the day before school starts so I'm going to have several days with a Monday and Tuesday off to get myself caught up and moving on.
Wish me luck.
posted by Carolyn @ 8/13/2009 10:01:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Mother's Day Jewel
This meant I had to do some quick shopping so that he has more than one pair of pants that fit him (the trusty, next-size-up pants I always buy). Plus he needed some new shirts and a new jacket. Sigh. I am poor now. My Mother's Day was unexpectedly expensive.
Then it was time to take down the garbage, and my son could only find one shoe. Normally, I would just tell him to look a little harder but since there was company, the Border Collie was all excited and one of the things she does when she is excited is pick up a shoe when a door opens somewhere and dash outside with it. Then when the excitement wears off, she drops the shoe wherever she might happen to be at the time the adrenaline rush is over for her. This explains, for example, why there was a yellow rain boot standing in the middle of the driveway when I came home one afternoon. And why one time I found a sneaker in the orchard. There are five acres here and we often find shoes in the darnedest places.
So the missing shoe is actually kind of worrisome. It's Sunday and getting on toward dark and there's school tomorrow and the tallest person in the house has grown out of the emergency shoes that used to belong to his Uncle Matthew. I had visions of having to send him to school in his slippers. They're nice slippers and all, but still. He's only 13 and that sort of thing could scar him for life. It's even possible that the shoe could be in the pond because the other thing the Border Collie does when she's done running around is go lie down in the pond. It cools her off. Which I knew she'd done because I saw her at the sliding glass door in the kitchen dripping wet and with her nose covered with duckweed.
We got back to the house and the search began. Fortunately he found his shoe -- in his room where, I am quite sure, if it had been a snake it would have bit him when he was looking for his shoe before.
I'm reading Agnes and The Hitman by Crusie and Mayer, and finding it wonderfully hilarious.
No writing today. Oops. Didn't get any more done on implementing the new website either. Oops.
So, how was your mother's day? Any stories about odd pet behaviors or kids who grow overnight?
posted by Carolyn @ 5/10/2009 09:04:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, May 03, 2009
I've been reading - how about you?
Copy edits for Indiscreet came and have been completed and returned. Yay! Here's the cover, by the way:
Awesomeness, I think. Release date is October 3, 2009, from Berkley Sensation.
At any rate, I've been reading a lot (heaven!).
- Fault Line by Barry Eisler: very very good. The romance line was very strong and very well done. He does a HOT alpha hero. Yum! I read somewhere that Eisler feels his books have very hot sex scenes, and compared to most Thrillers/Suspense, I'd have to say that's so. But compared to a romance considered hot - he's on the milder side. But Fault Lines is a very very good cross-over for Romance readers. His involvement with RWA is an astute move. Highly recommended.
- Skinny Dipping, by Connie Brockway. Excellent! More women's fiction than Romance I'd say, but the romance was very sweet. I loved this book and savored the read.
- Lover Avenged, by J.R. Ward. I enjoyed it quite a lot. Revhenge was never my favorite character, so I had my doubts going in. I thought Ward did some masterful problem solving and some really intriguing set up for future plot lines. I won't say much more (even though I want to) because the book just came out and I don't want to spoil anything for people who haven't read it. But Two Thumbs up!
- A book I won't name because I DNF (Did Not Finish). I found it too poorly written to continue, despite the intriguing story. In fact, I am floored that a major print publisher let this slide. I was proofreading my 8th grade son's report on General John C. Fremont when I picked up this book, and at one point when I came back to the story I found myself thinking that I must not have mentally refreshed myself from my son's literary efforts because it struck me that this book was actually worse than my son's writing -- but then I realized I wasn't mistaken after all. The book was about an inch deep in every direction and just flat out badly written. Major disappointment.
- All three of Brent Weeks's Shadow books. I already raved about the first one (The Way of The Shadow) and while I feel the second two were not quite as strong and once or twice channeled Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin a bit too closely, the bar was set extremely high and even a slight let down leaves all three books up there with some of the finest fantasy I've read. For a while I worried that the story was wandering into the familiar and depressing Fantasy trope about sexually active women being evil and punished with death or celibacy -- but there were at least two strong female characters who did have sex and didn't die or end up as nuns for their sins that I decided I was OK with the one who did suffer, since, obviously, the author wrote women who didn't. Books handed off to father to read. I read these 3 150K plus books in less than a week. Highly Recommended.
- Sherrilyn Kenyon's Night Embrace (Talon's story). Classic Dark Hunter. Recommended, of course.
- Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione -- my first by her. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Will definitely be reading more of her.
- Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. My first by her. I know, I know! I loved this book. What fun!
- Am in the middle of reading Complications By Atul Gawande. Non-fiction about errors and the practice of medicine. I'm enjoying this quite a bit, no surprise, and have gotten some really interesting ideas from it.
I know there's more I've read, but I can't recall them right now. So, what have you guys been reading?
posted by Carolyn @ 5/03/2009 04:59:00 PM Permalink
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Reading in my Future
Brandon Webb, writing with Mir Bahmanyar's SEAL SNIPER, the true story of Webb's experience in Navy SEAL Teams as a sniper, including combat tours in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan, to managing the Naval Special Warfare Sniper Course and employment with the operational branch of the CIA, to Brent Howard at Caliber.
I love books like this.
posted by Carolyn @ 4/18/2009 09:50:00 AM Permalink
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
How about a Quickie?
I was going to rant about the whole Kindle 2, Text to Speech thing, but for now all I'll say is that the Author's Guild is wrong on this one. I disagree wholeheartedly with their position. (Sorry AG, but I'm staying a member, K?)
Couple things to flail away at, but I'm off to maintain the horizontal.
Does anyone else go to bed thinking you shouldn't read in bed because if you do you'll get sucked in again and stay up too late?
I know it's going to happen again.
posted by Carolyn @ 3/03/2009 08:50:00 PM Permalink
Monday, February 16, 2009
Monday on Tuesday? What?
Contest and Bookmark news
I picked my contest winners for my Newsletter subscriber only contest. Books are being mailed out tomorrow -- except for one person who hasn't supplied a mailing address yet.
Bookmarks will start going out tomorrow, too. Wow, it's a lot of work.
My critique contest is still open. Leave an entry.
Today I was sitting in the car reading while my son was with his Math tutor - today they started on square roots, which his class hasn't gotten to yet. Glad to see the review is over and they've moved past his classwork. The kid needs to be challenged. Anyway, the Math guy lives pretty close to us, which means he's almost as in the boonies as we are. I was parked in the airquotes parking lot airquotes from which you can only kind of see the road, mostly it was just trees and green fields. It was really pretty. All of a sudden it got dark. I looked up from my book and saw the clouds overhead were dark dark dark gray. Two seconds later it was pouring so hard I could hardly see out the window. Very dramatic. We're so rain-starved here that even after a weekend of pretty frequent and hard rain the roads still aren't flooded.
The book I was reading, I'm sorry to say, was very nearly a Did Not Finish (DNF) even though it was by an author I normally enjoy quite a lot. I read the last 1/3 very quickly. A disappointment.
I started another of my iPhone Harlequin's and DNF it. Not good for me. Then I started another one and it's fantastic so far. Wow. I can't wait to get back to it.
Stupid Author Moves
Another author I won't mention took it upon herself to sign me up for her newsletter and then spammed me with her stupid newsletter. Man, you can't do that. Really. Don't. I don't want your stupid newsletter. If I did, I'd already be a subscriber. I'm just hopping mad. Deleted the email and removed myself from her list. File this under Stupid Author Moves.
Anyway, gotta work tomorrow. Which means get up early. Which means go to bed early. Think I will do so very soon.
posted by Carolyn @ 2/16/2009 07:19:00 PM Permalink
Friday, February 13, 2009
The Dread and Evil Had. Also other stuff.
I hate that.
This particular story jumped around in time, but instead of working at making it seamless, simply dropped in, had with every verb. He had gone. She had eaten Why? Why do that when you can, with a little work, bring that out of the hideous past like that and make it a direct recollection? There are so many ways to avoid the dreaded and evil had.
These verb forms distance. The reader has to put down a mental marker of where the present left off and hold that while reading about crap that happened in the past, and then pick up that marker when they're back. I've read enough, thank you, to know there are short story writers out there who actually write short stories instead of precious little MFA show-off pieces. Go practice your scales in class. Don't inflict them on me.
OK,so I'm a little more bothered by this than I thought. Sorry.
In other news, it's Friday and tomorrow I get to go to my local RWA meeting. Yay!
In reading news, I downloaded the free Harlequin books to my iPhone and today I started reading one and ohmygosh. It's pushing one of my favorite themes; the hero who's done the heroine wrong and boy is he going to get it when he realizes what a doofus he's been to his one true love. I love that.
I'm loving this book and I'm going to go finish it shortly. Plus there's secret babies only she's been trying to tell him No, stop that. Do NOT think that an email subject line of I'm Pregnant! would have gotten his attention. I'm overlooking that.
I will report back when I'm done.
posted by Carolyn @ 2/13/2009 07:51:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, January 25, 2009
One of Those Days
Today I finally transferred my paper copyedits for My Forbidden Desire to my document. It took just about all day, but it needed to be done so I'll have an eARC to send when the time comes.
I also finished my RITA reading. Now I'm going to jump back into my TBR.
Can I also say I am tired of this sucky economy? I've had enough of stressing. Seriously. My sister, who works at Home Depot Express, is losing her job in April as they shut down a fairly large number of stores. She has time to get her ducks in a row and figure out what to do, but the uncertainty is no fun. Sigh.
I'm starting to get a bit anxious about Scandal. Reviews are stressful, too, but considering the official release date is February 3, I haven't seen all that many and there are none at Amazon. Like I don't have enough to get me all worked up. Sigh.
But, off to bed with another book. Except, you know, I'm getting anxious about the writing. It may be time to start work on The Dark Elf Project.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/25/2009 08:47:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Reading Reading Reading!
Kresley Cole's Dark Deeds at Night's Edge was a good read. Really enjoyed it.
If you happen to write [genre omitted for reasons of secrecy], why on earth would you give a character in your book the same rather unusual last name as certain characters in a New York Times bestselling series in the same genre? It's enough to make you think the author has never read the genre because, trust me on this one, anybody even a little familiar with the genre will have heard of this name.
I came into possession of a $200 gift card so last Sunday I made my son pry himself off the couch and go into town with me to spend it on stuff we didn't need. We discussed what to do and, well, OK. I'll tell you:
We went to our local independent bookstore and spent $98.15 on books. He got another edition of a Peanuts book he's been collecting and I got Toni Morrison's A Mercy, Patricia Brigg's Cry Wolf. Josh Bazell's Beat The Reaper and Stan Nicholls Orcs. This last book as a cover that is this shy of being the awesomest book cover ever. I'm dying to read A Mercy but I think I'm going to start on Orcs first.
Tomorrow I have Jury Duty, so I'll take that book and maybe another plus, naturally, my iPhone on which I have yet more books to read.
After the book extravaganza we went to our local Chocolate Bar, Viva Cocolat and Soccer Boy spent $75 on chocolate (truffles and some desserts) and I rounded out the purchase with a couple more things. Fun was had. A lot of fun. The last of the chocolate disappeared today.
But here's what I hate: my son is now 5'6 and weighs 113 lbs. He can eat $75 worth of chocolate and still need more calories. Between Dec 7 and January 17 he grew two inches. And he's not stopping the growing thing.
Anyway, I get to sleep in an hour later because of jury duty and with any luck get to sit around and read all day. I have served on a jury before and I cannot recommend the experience enough, but I think if I get voir dired I'll be dismissed on account of my two lawsuits (Hepting vs. AT&T and Jewel vs. NSA). But maybe not. Maybe I'll get put on a jury. You never know.
Off to read!
posted by Carolyn @ 1/21/2009 08:30:00 PM Permalink
Friday, January 16, 2009
A cornucopia of goodness!
Books in my Future
From Publisher's Marketplace (If you're a writer, you should be subscribing. It's worth the money.
CEO of Ciao Bella Gelato F.W. Pearce's book on gelato, featuring 100 recipes for classic and exotic flavors, advice from Ciao Bella's master chef on creating your own new flavors, as well as information about ingredients, methodology and tools, and using gelato to make creative concoctions, to Aliza Fogelson at Clarkson Potter (World).
I'm hungry all ready!
Keith Desseric and Brooke Desseric's originally self-published NOTES LEFT BEHIND, said to have sold almost 8,000 copies after being featured on GMA recently, a journal created by the family of five year-old Elena Desseric, during her battle with an inoperable kind of cancer that took her life in 2007, including Elena's "bucket list" and accompanying artwork, to Lisa Sharkey for William Morrow, for publication in fall 2009, by Sharlene Martin at Martin Literary Management, with the authors' proceeds going to a foundation to raise money to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer.
In case you didn't hear, this terminally ill 6 year old hid notes around the house, to be found after her death. I cried just reading about it. I'll totally buy this book.
A new Author Talk!!!
Merline Lovelace rocks:
posted by Carolyn @ 1/16/2009 06:04:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Pet Peeves About Books
I just didn't finish a medieval. It is right this moment resting in my circular (well ok, rectangular) file. Let me explain the DNF (did not finish)
Number one, I HEART medievals. Knights and armor and big swords. What's not to like about that? The problem is that medievals have several devices that are now so common it's trite. An author has to be a darn good writer to overcome the baggage of any of those devices.
Carolyn's Dangerous List of Medieval Romance Devices in the Book She DNF
- Heroine not bound by any of the social or legal strictures of the time
- Heroine who drugs the hero
- Nobody acts like they believe in the swift and terrible hand of God
- A hero whose mother abandoned him and left his father so he now expects betrayal from all women so that when he learns the heroine has drugged him, he can be effing pissed off at her. Like he has to have some excuse for being angry about being drugged
- Heroine wears men's clothing
- Everyone and their cousin twice removed can read AND write. People pass notes like it's 7th grade.
- Furniture that didn't exist in the time
- These's little to no problem with communication between the Normans and the Anglo-Saxons
For crying out loud! Can we have at least a little respect for historical accuracy? The book is set shortly after the Norman invasion of England, which, as you know, occurred in 1066.
Allow me to deconstruct just a bit. In fact women were chattel, the property of some male relative. In fact a betrothal was as good as married. One could easily make a case that it was the same as marriage. God and the Church were a very real presence in everyday life. Literacy was low. Really low. There were, of course, literate women, but they were literate in Latin and later, literate in French. It wasn't until Chaucer round about the 1300s that writing in (Old) English was da bomb.
Anyway, the minute the heroine started thinking about drugging the hero, I got a sinking feeling and when she carried it out, that was it for me. Not only that, the back of the book used the word brutal with respect to the hero so I was expecting a hero in need of taming. But no. He's polite and understanding of her from the start and even tells a dangerous whopper in order to spare her feelings. And they have fantastic sex from the start. No one's even worried or upset or anything. No taming of the big Norman Knight needed.
So now I need to find another book.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/14/2009 08:28:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Hey! Lookie here.
Awesome, since I'm loving the first one.
This weekend I will be in lovely Lemoore CA watching my son play soccer. I think it will be cold. But as I am not on deadline, I can do whatever I want. Read. Play with my iPhone. I guess I'll bring the lap top. Just in case I'm struck by Dark Elf Fever.
I finished my Golden Heart entries. One of them was quite excellent.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/08/2009 09:20:00 PM Permalink
I'm slowly, for some reason, working my way to the end of the Train Wreck book. Much eye-rolling as things continue to get stupider and stupider. The heroine has her TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) moment. But what I need now is a phrase to describe the hero who is Too Emotionally Blocked To Be Allowed Out In Public. Maybe that's it: TEBTBAOIP. What do you think?
Authors who allow their characters to do things like this in service of the plot really need to be taken out back and spoken to sternly. I'm wondering if this is the downside of the Plot-Driven book. Characters do idiotic things or behave idiotically because, um, otherwise there's no more story? Dunno. But it's irritating and I'm feeling dirty for rubbernecking.
Back to reading Golden Heart entries.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/08/2009 04:40:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
I'm also reading Dead After Dark an anthology with Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, Susan Squires and Diana Love. I just finished the Squires story with just the Love to go. All three have rocked so far. Will finish soon.
I'm reading another book which I won't mention because it is train-wreck flawed for me. Don't know if I'll bother finishing.
Also reading Clown Girl by Monica Drake. This will be a slower read. It's literary and a bit slow to be about something. But some things are worth waiting for. We'll see if this one is.
I'll need to take two books to the gym tomorrow morning since I'll finish Dead after Dark pretty soon.
Have been thinking about the Dark Elf project a lot. I may start some basic plotting and brainstorming fairly soon.
Off to check the laundry then to bed.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/06/2009 09:25:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Oh, weekend, don't go! I love you so!
The last of my subrosa tweaks are in. I don't want to talk about it. But it's done and there's nothing more I can do right now.
Now I can read unabashedly. Indulgently. Massively. Which I will do for a darn good while, let me tell you. I will report in on my reading as I consume mass quantities.
Off to do just that.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/04/2009 08:17:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, December 25, 2008
A lovely day
My family celebrates Christmas, so we did the Christmas thing today. I got up at 5:43 a.m. because I was in charge of bringing cinnamon rolls to breakfast at my brother's. It takes about 4 hours start to finish and we were supposed to be there at 10:00. Sigh. A bit later, presents were opened and enjoyed while the dough was slowly rising.
It's very cold here, so alas, the dough really did rise verrryy slowly to the point where being done by 10:00 am was not going to happen. My son was having far too much fun with his marshmallow blaster. Far too much. At ten my brother called and was informed that we'd be there more like 11:00 or so. Which was right. The 2nd and 3rd rising were also slow.
But we made it over there with piping hot cinnamon rolls about 20 minutes before two of my brother's kids joined us after morning with their mother. My brother from Santa Barbara was there with his wife, so we had Gramma, Grandpa, five children, four grandchildren and two daughters-in-law there. More presents. Then the white elephant gift exchange which was really really fun. Lots of stealing.
Then home to finish cooking dinner with slightly fewer people. More marshmallow shooter mayhem. I cut up green beans and peeled potatoes. That was my contribution to the cooking effort.
I did get some writing done. Every now and then I managed to sneak off and do some tweaking of stuff in need of tweaking.
Plus, I made my brother do my RAM replacement for my iMac since I was upgrading from 2GB to 4GB. Parallels is much much happier with 1 GB assigned to it. Ah, yes.
Now I'm exhausted and fighting to keep my eyes open.
Tomorrow I will blog about some books I've been reading.
posted by Carolyn @ 12/25/2008 09:45:00 PM Permalink
Friday, December 19, 2008
Carolyn Blogs About Reading and Some Other Stuff
Title Title, Who's Gotta Title?
First off, The Next Historical (or the book briefly known as Sinful) is now officially entitled Indiscreet. My editor emailed yesterday and said it turns out Berkley has a July 2009 release titled Sinful, and sales didn't like the second choice title which was A Reputation for Sin, so did we (my agent and I) have any other ideas? My agent, I do believe came up with Indiscreet. So there it is. It has the Sales seal of approval.
Apparently, Suzanne Brockmann has a prologue posted for her next Troubleshooters book, Dark of Night. The heroine is Sophia and as any fan of Brockmann knows, Sophia is in love with Decker. Well, readers are all atwitter (in the traditional sense) with the possibility that Sophia's hero will be Dave, not Decker. Some appear to be enraged. One woman opined that there should never be ambiguity about the hero, to which I must say au contraire!!
Personally, I think whoever the hero turns out to be, Brockmann will pull it off. We'll all be thinking we want to marry Dave or Decker or whoever it is and be glad that Sophia gets her hero.
I also think that the last Troubleshooter book laid some excellent groundwork for Dave or Decker. I think it could go either way, and I don't care which way (ok, I have a slight preference for Decker, who wouldn't?) but I know I'll be entertained and enthralled the entire time either way.
As to the no ambiguity about the hero? By the end of a Romance, there should indeed be no ambiguity over who the hero is. But in the beginning, I disagree with that statement wholeheartedly. In fact, I think a big part of the trouble with a lot of Romances is the very lack of ambiguity.
The only Rule for Romance is the HEA. (Just like the only Rule For Msytery is that there's a mystery to be solved) That's it. All the other stuff that gets you there can be anything at all. Anything. And that can mean a hero who isn't the best candidate for the job at the start.
Off to make sure I've pre-ordered my copy...
Carolyn's Reading List - Partial and in no particular order
- The Outlander by Gil Adams
- The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart
- Brain Rules by John Medina
- Clowngirl by Monica Drake
- The Crown Road by Ian Banks
- The Black Arts - a concise history of witchcraft, demonology, astrology, alchemy and other mystical practices throughout the ages by Richard Cavendish
- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewksi
- Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
- In Cod We Trust, Living the Norwegian Dream by Eric Dregni
- The truckload of books I brought back from RWA
- miscellanous other books lurking in the TBR
How about you? Leave a comment so I'm not so lonely here!
posted by Carolyn @ 12/19/2008 06:15:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, August 31, 2008
One milestone and a confession
Confession: Today, in between writing, for some stupid reason I checked the Amazon reviews for My Wicked Enemy and found the usual for me: some hate :: some love. Not too much in between. Probably because those readers couldn't be bothered. One review mentioned another paranormal book as being much better than my horribly boring one.
So I went off and read some reviews on the book that is soooo much better than mine. And guess what? There was some hate :: some love for that one, too.
Hey! Isn't that interesting? It's not that I suck and Author A does not. (I have her book in my TBR and continue to look forward to reading it.) It's that people have different tastes. And just because my writing didn't work for Reader X doesn't meant it won't work for Reader Y.
Because you know, blue is not everyone's favorite color. It's not mine1 and yet I don't go around telling all the blue-lovers that they are plainly fools, though they may well be for any number of reasons. Or not.
I felt better after that. A bit petty for the schadenfreude over at Author A's book reviews, but oh well. I'm over it now.
So, please go buy My Wicked Enemy read it and then say what you think over at Amazon or B&N or wherever because it's awesome that readers get to share what they think. As an opinionated person myself I am aware that I loathe Madame Bovary and yet also know a lot of fine people disagree with my opinion. And I'm okay with that.
And you know what, major thank you's to all the people who have written to me either at my website or MySpace and even Twitter to tell me how much they enjoyed the book. It's wonderful when someone takes the time to let an author know. Trust me, we get all excited and warm inside. Keep those letters coming! It makes me very happy.
1. Here's another confession for you. Although I like green my favorite color is gray. I think that means there's something wrong with me.
Geek note: The hex code for gray is
#666666which can be shortened to #666. Kind of scary, huh?
posted by Carolyn @ 8/31/2008 10:56:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Why am I Exhausted? Lemme Tell You....
I really really enjoyed Acheron. Enough that I went two nights in a row staying up far too late for a 4:25 am wake up. I'm dragging now. Could I quibble about this book? Yes, but not about very much and not about anything that matters. And to be honest, after reading a few Big Books that were a disappointment, I was thrilled to read one that wasn't in any way.
Sherrilyn Kenyon totally delivers. I expect I'll be re-reading it, too.
I have a final read through of revisions for His Wicked Witch and then it's off to NY. Then I have to write like heck for the book due Nov 15.
Off to it.
posted by Carolyn @ 8/07/2008 05:21:00 PM Permalink
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Six Fingered Hero
I've read some reviews of this book and I have to say that I'm now utterly convinced that some of the big on-line reviewers (I do NOT mean Amazon) are reading so fast they really have no business reviewing. One review of this book took issue with the hero for calling the heroine by demeaning diminutives. Only it wasn't the hero. He never once did that. Not once. In fact, this particular reviewer got so many things wrong there's no way she read this book carefully enough to give a review that should guide anyone.
Since I'm on the subject, I have to rant a bit about the awful cover for The Spymaster's Lady.
First off, the guy is just baring his chest there for no discernible reason. Very dumb. Look closely and let's count off all the things wrong with this cover.
- Shirt that appears to have buttons (OK, this is a detail the author also got wrong Edited to add: Acutally, Jo Bourne was cool enough to email and let me know she'd written he pulled the shirt over his head, and that she was writing about the kind of shirt that had buttons to about mid-sternum, which totally did exist.). Men's shirts in the Regency did not have buttons down the front.
- No waistcoat
- A short jacket. Excuse me? In what time period have men ever worn sissy short jackets like that?
- A belt. With a buckle. Suspenders, dear Art Department. No belts.
- His shirt has a collar. Was someone thinking that it would be okay if we thought the shirt had a French collar? Mais non! No collared shirts in the Regency. Not even on the French themselves.
- No cravat. Instead, there are ruffles on the sides of his inaccurate button front shirt.
- A mutant belly button.
All of this would be tolerable if the guy didn't look like he should have on blue tights and a big red S on his chest. Sorry. I love Bourne's writing, but boy, she got gypped with the cover art. There's a step back which is actually more accurate in that he's wearing a waistcoat and doesn't look like he's using his x-Ray vision to see under Lois Lane's panties. But if you own this book, look carefully at the hand on the heroine's thighs. He's got six fingers. Eww!!!
If I have time tomorrow, I'll see if I can add a pic of that.
In writing news, I had a great idea about how to add some complexity to The List. Tomorrow I may start writing. I can't put it off much longer anyway.
posted by Carolyn @ 5/24/2008 10:35:00 PM Permalink
Saturday, May 17, 2008
More catching up
I've started on the next historical. At the moment I'm calling it The List but that is admittedly kind of lame. It's all I've got so far.
Finished Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. It was darn good. Now I'm reading Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist which is really quite good so far. The narrative voice is odd and very intimate. Kind of hard to describe. The narrator is having a conversation with another person, but you only get the narrator's words, interpretation and interpolation of the conversation. The other person is a total black box so far. It totally works even when, perhaps especially when, it slips into present tense which as some of you may recall is like fingers down a chalkboard for me. Very deft.
Taking the son to see the Narnia movie today. With luck he'll wake up before noon.
I'm going to the bookstore to get more Sherman Alexie and maybe pick up another prize or two for the Wicked Cool Contest which you should enter.
Also, just as a side note, if you email me with a question or request for a bookmark or both, make sure you provide a valid email address and that you've added me to your list of approved email senders. Because I absolutely reply to all my emails which you will not believe if you send me a bad email and it bounces. I always feel bad when that happens, and it does. Also, I can't mail you a bookmark without a complete address. Despite the astounding powers of my mind, I can't quess your city state or name, which helps when addressing an envelope. And, if you're requesting from outside the US it helps if the address is in English. Usually I can figure out that Italia is Italy, but that doesn't mean the USPS will be as clever.
Okay, off to work.
posted by Carolyn @ 5/17/2008 09:50:00 AM Permalink
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Well I started something all right
Right. Monday is a total blur. Number one it was a Monday and that's hard enough. But I'm doing my grocery shopping on a Not-Sunday so as to preserve Sundays for non-drudgery stuff. That part of the plan worked brilliantly. So, I went shopping after work Monday and got 3 homework related calls while doing this. Got home, dealt with the homework situation and then someone says, Say, isn't today the [insert REALLY important meeting]? Long story short, yes. It was. In 30 minutes. So I cooked a pizza, sliced it up, left the kid to fend for himself and was at the meeting 15 minutes later. Got home fagged, but the Fudgester wanted to play and so we went out and I threw a stick for him. Blogger wouldn't post my blog, so I left it in draft.
Yesterday is a blur, too. Some stuff happened which I can't remember what it was only it was busy stuff. Then at 9:30 pm the darling child remembers important homework. I did get Monday's blog posted.
Today is becoming a blur. The DC calls me at 2:15 to tell me he'd forgotten he was getting a ride to soccer practice with someone else and was on the bus home instead and calling from a friend's phone because he'd left his at home EVEN THOUGH I called him at 7:00 am to remind him it was on the charger in my room.... I had to leave work early in order to get him to soccer practice 15 minutes late. Then we got home just in time to leave for his Jr. High Open house at which his French class sang a French song. They were very charming. Got home from that and now after a bit, I'm here doing this. It was so freaking hot today I took a shower when I finally got home.
In reading news, I finished Lisa Kleypas's Sugar Daddy which was fantastic except maybe the ending wasn't strong enough for how fantastic the rest of the book was. But still a big thumbs up. I also finished Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues which was brilliant and his fiction debut. I will buy more of his books soon. This weekend if I make it past Friday.
In writing news, I did officially start notebooking the next historical. The heroine's name is Camilla, I think. And the hero's name is Lysander, I think. Nobody has a last name or title yet. But the idea has fleshed itself out in my head over the last week or so of down time and now it's ready to get fleshed out on paper. I'm pretty sure what chapter one needs to be.
posted by Carolyn @ 5/14/2008 09:09:00 PM Permalink
Friday, May 09, 2008
In other news, it's Friday!!!! oh thank all the powers in the universe for that!
I finished Evermore. Now I'm reading Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs. But I may set it aside for Reservation Blues because as you may know, I am now a huge fan of Sherman Alexi.
Off to my local RWA chapter meeting tomorrow which means I should go to bed.
Thought A LOT about the next book today. I'm getting anxious to start. I'm thinking May 14 should be my official start date. That way I have this weekend for a last bit of massive reading.
posted by Carolyn @ 5/09/2008 08:52:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Ends and Odds
Recently named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People, brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor's originally self-published MY STROKE OF INSIGHT: A Brain Scientist's personal Journey, tracking her experiences after a blood vessel exploded in her brain and she watched her mind deteriorate -- losing the ability to walk, talk, read, write or remember -- and then fought her way to complete recovery, aided by her understanding of how the brain works as well as her mother, to Clare Ferraro at Viking, at auction, for publication in May 12, 2008, by Ellen Stiefler at Stiefler Law Group (world).
About a month ago, I posted a link to her speech on this subject in this post. The speech is riveting. I can't wait for the book.
I finished Sherman Alexie's Indian Killer. Fantastic. I gushed about it yesterday. Yup. Fan girl. I'll just say this now: If Sherman Alexie keeps writing books like this, I expect a Nobel one day. Don't laugh. I predicted Toni Morrison's Nobel. Sure, it was obvious from Beloved that she was a major writer. You're probably saying to yourself, Carolynn, any idiot could tell that about Morrison. I'm saying the same thing about Sherman Alexie. I have Reservation Blues on tap.
Now I'm reading Lynn Viehl's Evermore because it was on the top of the pile when I left the house this morning. Pretty darn good so far.
And NOW I'm going to bed to read some more.
posted by Carolyn @ 5/07/2008 09:04:00 PM Permalink
Monday, May 05, 2008
Reporting In On Project Relaxation
Other than that, I've finally started in on the TBR pile. So far:
Mine to Possess By Nalini Singh. I've been meaning to read her forever, and at last I could. And am glad I did. Fun read!
The Short Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao By Junot Diaz (Still working on this one, but it's great!) Only, I've set it aside for:
Indian Killer By Sherman Alexie
I'm becoming a Sherman Alexie fangirl. His YA The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was so freaking good -- rush out and buy or borrow this book, people -- I went out the next week and bought two of his adult titles. Wow. Just wow. He's amazing.
I should be ashamed about setting aside Diaz, but you know what? It's my TBR and I can read in whatever order I want and I can be reading as many books as I want at the same time, too.
Today, I notebooked some of the next historical and I think I nailed the basic idea. Things began very badly. All confusing and none of the parts were fitting together. But then I realized I needed to change the location and ta dah! everybody was very happy.
OK, off to bed because I want to read some before it's too late.
posted by Carolyn @ 5/05/2008 09:02:00 PM Permalink
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Catching Up Is Hard to Do
In Fun and Happy news, feast your peepers on this:
Delivery estimate: June 4, 2008
Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 6)
J.R. Ward; Mass Market Paperback
Delivery estimate: August 6, 2008
Acheron (Dark-Hunter, Book 12)
Sherrilyn Kenyon; Hardcover;
posted by Carolyn @ 4/26/2008 04:47:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Why some Rat Poison maybe isn't so bad
I'm just saying, is all. No Planet Sue's or Culture Sues. Please.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/29/2008 04:12:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Today I turned into an Ice cube
I car pooled with the coach which meant a stress free drive for me since in fact, I did no driving at all, except to the coach's house and back. Yippers! I'm reading this non-romance vampire book and by now I'm more than half way through because I'm skimming and/or skipping sections. The man did his research into the history of New York City and, alas, has so far missed no opportunity to insert the results in his narrative AND his dialogue. Oh my gosh, it's painful. The history comes at the expense of character development because his characters are all too busy telling the other characters supposedly obscure historical facts. Not to mention a pet peeve of mine, which I know some people don't mind, which is historical characters -- real ones -- who are characters in the book. Boss Tweed (can you say High School U.S. History?) Jay Gould, Diamond Jim... Oh, it's just so not for me. I am very sorry, but no matter how fascinating U.S. History is, and I totally agree that it is, it doesn't belong as a character in your novel, because what happens is readers skip the history lecture Like this:
"Why, yes, and did you know that in 1862 blah blah blah.... " page turning until something actually happens.
Off to watch Buffy and then go to bed.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/20/2008 07:10:00 PM Permalink
Monday, January 07, 2008
Just a Few odd Thoughts
Oh. My. Gosh.
It's true. I can name off the top of my head, at least five fantastic books (or series) that are marketed YA or Teen:
- Harry Potter, JK Rowling
- Bartimaeus Trilogy, Johnathan Stroud
- Faerie Wars, Herbie Brennan
- Twilight etc, by Stephanie Meyers
- Inkheart, Inkspell, Cornelia Funke
- His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
See? Right off the top of my head. And what am I reading right now? City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. It's really good.
Why is that? I mean, it's fantastic that there's so much great stuff out there for kids to read. But where's the neat stuff for adults? Now, one reason for having teenage characters is nobody has to have a job. And it would be terrifically un-PC to have the characters doing -- you know. Those two things alone decrease the plotting and plausibility burden by about two thirds.
Here's the inappropriate NON-PC comment list to the above list. The anti-list list that will get me in trouble I bet.
- Professor Snape (OK-- Alan Rickman) I have the hots for you. But if you're busy, send over Lucious Malfoy.
- I'm quite sure Bartimaeus would have had the hots for me, too. You could be anything you want. Please pretend this is a footnote.
- Lord Hairstreak. Oh. Yes.
- Eric, you can bite me any time. If you're too hung up on Bella, then well, send over Jake. I'll distract him.
- Dustfinger rocks.
- Lord Asriel. Need I say more?
Just some odd random thoughts.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/07/2008 08:22:00 PM Permalink
Monday, December 31, 2007
Rant Alert! (Carolyn Finds a Practical Use for Grad School)
Oops. Too late.
I got off from work early and decided to finish reading my Fall 2007 Author's Guild Bulletin in which volume is contained a lengthy essay entitled Goodbye To All That 1 penned by Steve Wasserman, former editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review. The essay was originally published in the Columbia Journalism Review September/October 2007. You can read the essay here.
Here's my entire thesis:
It's not all or none, people!
Here's a sub-plot (that's writer's humor for This is totally off the cuff, otherwise it's not a rant.)
Maybe there's another reason no one reads the book review section...
I'm going to riff of Valleywag and give the 100 word version of Mr. Wasserman's essay2:
Nobody reads important books anymore, we're all going to hell in a hand-basket and it's all the fault of those low-culture morons plus popular fiction. The only way to save democracy is to revive the Book Review section (but for dog's sake, don't do it any differently.) Keep it exactly the same so we'll all still find it mostly irrelevant.
Pretty much, that's what he's saying. Maybe I inserted a bit of Carolyn RhetoricTM in there. Can you find it? Because that's an advanced technique and I only know about it because I had to take Rhetorical Theory in grad school. If you try that at home, just be careful, okay?
Right. So, western culture can only be saved by reviewing IMPORTANT books in newspaper Book Review sections. That's IMPORTANT in big red letters because he doesn't mean anything else. Marxism Alert! He means ONLY stuff the cultural elite find important. Substitute "Rich White Men" for cultural elite to round out the typical Marxist view. He doesn't get off the hook for mentioning a Spanish nun. And now let's go to my favorite bit because it's soooo Post-Modern and Post-Modern, folks, is grad-school-ese for ist-isms3: sexist, elitist and freaking annoying.
I often tried to imagine what I might do if I had been, say, the literary editor of The Times of London in 1900 when a then obscure Viennese doctor named Sigmund Freud published his first book, The Interpretation of Dreams4 Suppose I'd had on my desk only two books -- Freud's and, say, the next surefire best-selling novel by Mrs. Humphrey Ward, the Danielle Steele of her day.
I'm sure you can guess where he was going with this. Because we all know that if only we eliminated the Mrs. Wards of the world from the literary landscape, we would all leap to read whoever is the equivalent of Freud today. (I have no idea who that is because I'm pretty sure all the theorists I read in Grad school were dead. Except Kristeva, she made my head hurt, so it's probably her. I think she's still alive.) Because no one would ever in all the world read both Freud and Ward. I mean, what kind of freak would do that?
Ohmygod. Wait! I have. I've read Freud. And years ago I did read some Ward. Because I was one of the massive readers he talks about. 20 books at a crack from the library when I was a kid. And now, I still read a couple books a week. Unless I'm on deadline and working at the collapse of civilization. bwahahaha!
And since when has Nora Roberts or J.R.Ward ever been reviewed in any Book Review section of the sort Wasserman eulogizes? I think the answer's never. There's a really fine rhetorical device. Set up a hypothetical dilemma that didn't happen in 1900 and hasn't ever happened today, either. And now, we can all conclude that Mrs. Ward (J.R, are you listening??) is single-handedly responsible for the decline of Western Civilization.
And that's my point. It's not Freud vs. Mrs. Ward. (But, if it came to a throw down between the two, Freud would die because Mrs. Ward would shoot him dead before he had a chance to explain the significance of her weapon. Either that or Vishous5 would perform a laying on of hands and zzzttt goodbye Sigmund.)
I think more people probably know who Sigmund Freud is than can identify Mrs. Humphrey Ward. And it's not because of The London Times Book Review. Sorry.
Intellectual importance isn't determined in The Los Angeles Times Book Review (especially not now, I guess!) mean little snicker (ohh, prosody!) It's determined in Universities by professors and students who rigorously study difficult issues and who figure out stuff like the parts of Freud that are complete and utter crap. (There's no penis envy, trust me. Admiration and maybe longing, sure, if I'm in the mood) and which parts have something useful to add. Like possibly dream interpretation. What Mr. Wasserman is actually suggesting is an intellectual trickle down theory. Please, editor, let me inform the Proletariat!
Wasserman: You there! Put down that Ward!
Reader: Hey! I didn't get to read what happens to Phury!
Wasserman Here. Take this edition of The Lais of Marie de France.
Reader: But I already read that.
See, the thing is the really massive readers do both.
Is there some reason you can't have a short review of J.R. Ward's latest and a longer review of Ransom Seaborn? That's my question. I don't doubt for a minute that Ransome Seaborn deserves a long, intelligent and thought provoking analysis. Ward maybe not so much. But not none, either. And if they're both there in the same section... But that way lies heresy.
. . . . .
1. Yeah, I get that the title comes from Robert Grave's WWI novel Goodbye To All That. Isn't that ironic? I mean that someone like moi would get the reference?
2. Don't count. I'm sure it's not 100 words.
3. I just now coined that word, so don't say you did. It was me.
4. Just to repeat viz Freud: Professor Kunat, you were right and I was wrong. I was honor bound to take that dratted Introductory Lectures and go confess that yes, Freud was brilliant. Rats.
5. Hey, Mr. Wasserman, there's a cultural reference for you. Get it?
posted by Carolyn @ 12/31/2007 03:02:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, December 30, 2007
More stuff and stuff
Last night I finished the 2nd MaryJanice Davidson mermaid book. Swimming Without a Net. It was cute.
Tired. Off to bed.
posted by Carolyn @ 12/30/2007 09:12:00 PM Permalink
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Saturday Afternoon Post
In other news, it's been raining, or at least constantly drizzling. A couple of counties north had snow. But it's not that cold here, much to the darling child's dismay. The big fuzzy cat is asleep on my lap, which is nice.
Regarding my switcheroo to the Mac, I'm pleased to report further good progress. The keyboard that comes with the iMac is a thing of beauty. It's awesomely gorgeous. But if you type for several hours at a stretch, which as you may well imagine most writers do, it's a torture device. Ergonomic this keyboard is not. And, some of the keystroke combos for WordPerfect don't work on the iMac keyboard: Alt-F3 for example. So I pulled out my extra Ergo keyboard -- I'm pretty hard on keyboards and one time I spilled something on my keyboard and kablooie I was left high and dry until I could get another one. Ever since I've kept an extra keyboard around. So anyhoo, I plugged the Ergo keyboard into the iMac keyboard and voila. The Ergo keyboard works in Parallels exactly as you'd expect. I can reveal codes and everything. And, even though the iMac doesn't quite recognize the keyboard, in fact, it works just fine on the iMac even though the box said it was Windows only. I am back to being a pretty fast typist and my hands don't hurt.
Note to Patti: Thumbs up for Word Perfect in Parallels. I'm happy.
In reading news, I read a Romantic Suspense by a major author and was pretty disappointed. By the end, I couldn't remember if I actually finished it and I didn't even care. The heroine was supposed to be computer genius, but the author conflated programming ability with technical support skills and business sense, too. Not to mention, it was blatantly clear she didn't bother to run the geekish pages past an actual geek. It was pretty sad.
Sigh. Back to work. Mommy wants to buy a MacBook Pro. Or whatever Apple announces on January 14.
posted by Carolyn @ 12/29/2007 03:36:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
posted by Carolyn @ 12/19/2007 09:44:00 PM Permalink
The Sad Tale of A Failed Novelist
There are more of us failed novelists than novelists because genius is actually rare. The way Pavarotti's voice is rare. It's not a matter of will. If I just wish hard enough will I write a book like Beloved? And if instead I write a story that entertains, why am I a failure? Just asking. When I was growing up, I read a lot of books by failed novelists, and those stories made me fall in love, and stay in love, with reading. They're why I read Toni Morrison and Michael Chabon and Virginia Wolff. There's not just room for us all, failures or not, but a need for all of us.
Just wanted to point that out.
posted by Carolyn @ 12/19/2007 08:20:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I started blocking out Xia's story. The due date is May 1. Yikes!! After Christmas I'll start writing.
Did I mention that the official title of Magellan's Witch is My Wicked Enemy? I've sent an email to my contest winner. But if I don't hear back from him by end of December, I'll select an alternate winner.
Going to bed.
posted by Carolyn @ 12/18/2007 09:31:00 PM Permalink
Monday, December 17, 2007
So I found the book
The shower water felt like tiny pebbles on my skin. It had been days, maybe even a week. I put on fresh jeans and a T-shirt, and set up shop at this worn, nicked, underused desk. PowerBook, 20 ounce Styrofoam coffee cup, ashtray, cigarettes-- all the essentials.
It's raining outside, a fine mist. I hear it just barely against the window-- imaginary childhood horses rushing toward me from beyond the pale. I'm trying to think too much about what I'm writing...what I'm doing here. I guess I have a story to tell you.
Here goes nothing.
Wow. I read the first page of the story and it's just as fine as that.
Yes, I found the book to read next.
There's nothing like starting to read and realizing it's brilliant. I'll report back and let you know if it stays that way. How could it not?
posted by Carolyn @ 12/17/2007 10:00:00 PM Permalink
Friday, December 14, 2007
Me and Apple
Yeah, I understand that I need to invest some time in whatever program I end up using, but to be honest, despite my being On Vacation I don't have much time to invest. I have to get cracking on Xia's story damn soon. I'll have to play a bit more with Parallels, but it's not quite the same as a native program. But I'll play some more this weekend.
My mom turns 80 tomorrow and we're having a party for her. And by the way, she in no way acts or looks 80 - I should be so lucky myself when the time comes -- I hope. I have to get drinks and a present for her tomorrow morning. Here's a life tip: when people ask you what you'd like for your birthday or some holiday or whatever, please, for the love of dog! do not say Oh, I don't want anything... because that just makes the asker feel bad and useless. And possibly irritated. Particularly if you sigh and say this in such a way as to imply that the asker has not guessed what is desired and/or you just sound like you want to be a martyr to your own personal space. Sigh Not that my mother has ever done that. I'm just saying, you know, don't do that.
In other news, I finished The Reincarnationist and it was pretty good. I felt, in some odd way, that at times it lacked a certain emotional depth. But it was still a good story. Then I started Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union only to discover that it is written in the present tense. For me, the present tense is like fingernails down a chalkboard. I can't read it. So instead I'm reading Jodi Picault's Plain and so far it's really quite good.
Oh, one thing about The Reincarnationist that got me was a scene in which a character is able to easily and without any effort at all lower the bodice of an Edwardian gown and expose the woman's bare breasts. Um, no. Somebody didn't research.
posted by Carolyn @ 12/14/2007 09:40:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Vacating the Premises
Also, I have an iMac. The switcheroo is kind of a long involved story, but we'll see how I adjust. I've only been using it for 15 minutes and I think I love it already. Anyway. I still have to go to work tomorrow so I'm off to bed.
posted by Carolyn @ 12/13/2007 10:04:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Well, now what?
- Christmas shopping
- Update my website
- My Sword Hand is Singing (will finish tonight, awesome so far)
- The Reincarnationist by MJ Rose
- Plain Truth, by Jodi Picault
- A bunch of Lee Child
- The Yiddish Policeman's Union, Michael Chabon
- The Immortals series (I've got them all, I hope I can find them!)
- What Came Before he Shot her, Elizabeth George
- And lots more
But first I have to calm down. I'm totally still hyped up.
In two weeks, on to my bad boy Xia.
posted by Carolyn @ 12/12/2007 05:17:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Technology, Readers and Writers
Here's my take:
What a colossal mistake. Again. Boy, I hope somebody gets this right someday. But acting like a cell phone company ain't going to sell your gadget. Why would anyone do that? People already despise their cell phone carriers for overpriced and underperforming technology designed to rip you off -- because they can.
I remember reading a while back, can't remember where, that someone attending an O'Reilly conference, who happened to be a techie and Romance reader, challenged the assumptions about the assumed market for eBooks and eBook readers. The Techies, being basically ignorant about reading and publishing, assumed it's men and refused to believe the truth about women and their reading habits. Alas. What a missed opportunity.
Here's a few facts to set the scene of this fiasco:
Women buy most books. Women also buy the most eBooks. Let me direct any non-believers to Ellora's Cave See also eHarlequin, their Spice offerings in particular. I've bought from Ellora's Cave. Typically, I download my eBooks in pdf, print them two book pages per page, and double-sided (I love my printer!) stick them in a binder and read in bed. Since I'm a writer, if I read on a computer, my head is in editing mode...
So, I read a bit about the Kindle and here were my thoughts pretty much in order:
- $400?? Are they out of their effin minds?1
- It's ugly
- Black and white? That sucks
- No pdf? Are they out of their effin minds?
Plus, it's too big. But maybe that wouldn't matter so much if it weren't so ugly. Still how is that thing going to fit in my purse, to be brought out at moments of downtime (waiting in line, appts, lunchtime, boring events.) Booksquare is right. The only color for a device that people are going to carry around and push buttons on is black. Or at least dark colors that hide grime. Quick, what color is your keyboard. Take a good look at it. That's what your reader will look like in 5 months, only worse.
And then I moved on. I'm not going to pay that kind of money for DRM'd crap that won't load formats provided by the REAL eBook pubs (and Amazon, sorry, that's not you) If this device were say, $200 or less, it took pdfs and html, even if the display was B&W, I could load up all my eBooks, probably including my grad school research (oh, my god!! wouldn't that be awesome? Research at my fingertips!!) Hell, I could even pdf my own WIPs. All my Regency Library stuff why, the mind boggles... See, that's what's missing from the Kindle, that, oh my gosh, look at all the stuff I could do with that! My life would be better if I had that. Only it wouldn't be.
So to sum up, no one at Amazon seems to have thought about talking to actual readers or publishers, with or without eBook experience. They have a gadget and can only think that gadgets are for men. (I'm guessing here.) But at RWA in NY, which was what, 2002? 2004?, there were women there reading eBooks on their PDA's. Because the ePubs were already successfully selling eBooks2. But PDA's were not the right gadget -- plus, too expensive.
1. If I had $400 to burn, I'd get an iPhone.
2. In those days, EC looked like a promising venture, but it was by no means certain. Fast Forward a few short years. NY is copying EC. They proved eBooks work.
Amazon, you blew it.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/20/2007 09:14:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Been Readin'. . .
Anybody who would like Carolyn's patented inside scoop can email me privately, and I'll dish you some Vishous dirt. I'd love to compare notes!
I also recently finished reading Twilight by Stephanie Meyers. This book has been out long enough that I don't think I'll spoil anything by talking about it. For anyone who doesn't know, this is the first of a now prominent YA series. The protagonist is 17 year Bella who moves from Phoenix AZ to Forks WA and meets the gorgeous and mysterious Edward, who is her classmate. So, yes, the characters are teenagers, but the story is quite complex and utterly compelling, as any good novel is, regardless of target market.
Edward is a vampire.
The book is quite long, but yay for long stories that need to be long! Bella, Edward and their developing relationship is brilliantly rendered. When the villain shows up the story is absolutely impossible to put down. He's scary. Legitimately scary. The guy is probably one of the best villains I've ever read.
I also read Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon Lucky me! I haven't read all the Dark Hunter novels. Naturally, I enjoyed this one. The hero is one of the were-people, so no actual Dark Hunters. Fun story.
Scandal is going well enough. Maybe not fast enough, but well enough. I'm heading for bed early tonight since I'm not really 100%.
posted by Carolyn @ 9/26/2007 08:17:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Some days are just . . . not my favorite
So now it's 8:34 and Rats! I forgot!! I have to go start the laundry.
> > > >
OK, so now the laundry's started. Anyway, then my other brother called, the one who's getting married Saturday and said he hoped my son had Khakis and a collared shirt for the wedding. Well, the answer is no, he doesn't. But the DC has a soccer scrimmage in another town on Thursday and practice Friday evening and we have to leave by 9:00 am Saturday to get to where the wedding is, so when exactly I'm supposed to get clothes for my son I really don't know. Not that this town has 16 or 18 slims anywhere. I guess tomorrow evening sometime. Note: Please do NOT point out that I should have realized my son should have had wedding-suitable clothing long before now. I didn't even know until yesterday exactly where the dang wedding was going to be held. Well, that was an amazing bit of sleight of hand, conflating an unknown location with an inability to obtain wedding clothing. To be honest, the days just all got away from me, and besides we were at the soccer tournament all weekend.
Right. So now it's 8:43 and I'm going to try to get SOMETHING done on Scandal. Yesterday went well.
Oh, wait. Yesterday I finished Julia Quinn's The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever and I LOVED this book. Quinn at her amusing best. Everyone go read this romance and next week we'll all have a chat about it.
Now I'm going to write.
posted by Carolyn @ 9/05/2007 08:25:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Today's games were deadly hot. 100+ degrees. Yuck yuck yuck. I'm wiped out completely, and that was just from watching. My brain is fried. I managed to get through 2-3 books this weekend so far. More on that later.
The tomatoes are starting to come in and it's heaven. Tonight I parboiled a couple of tomatoes with the pasta, then skinned them, mushed up the innards with garlic and butter and mixed in the pasta. Yummy! I like cooking that doesn't require a recipe. And garden tomatoes. Oh, to have tomatoes that taste like tomatoes. Heaven, indeed.
So, I read books during the tournament in-between times (they had games at 9am and 2pm both days) one book I won't mention by title or author because I didn't much like it. It was Romantic Suspense by a NYT author and included everything I consider cheap parlor tricks. I intensely disliked the heroine, too. She was a whiner. But mostly I despised the deliberate inclusion of tricks, just plain authorial tricks, to make it look like one of the characters was the villain. There's a difference between a red herring and an authorial lie. Like, suppose you have two characters whose names are, say, Fredericka and Felicia and everyone calls Fredericka "Freddie". So, when the psycho has a conversation with "Freddie" who could it be but Fredericka, right? No. Turns out Felicia has a secret nickname of "Freddie" which isn't revealed until the last few pages. This book went straight into the garbage.
I also read Lori Foster's Simon Says which I enjoyed a lot. It was well written, internally consistent, mostly worked against stereotype and cliche, and was fun. I've started Tess Gerritsen's Mephisto Club. Pretty good so far. I read a page or two of Cormack McCarthy's The Road, realized it was going to be depressing as heck and set it aside for a time when my brain isn't fried from heat.
I'm going to bed now. I'm going to sleep late tomorrow morning and then get myself caught up on Scandal.
posted by Carolyn @ 9/02/2007 08:34:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The Big Sigh
I have got to stop staying up until 11:00 pm. So, yeah, I'm tired. Let's see... skipped the gym this am because I was too freaking tired. Went to work. Came home from work. Family stuff. Take son to soccer practice. I got some writing done. I wrote my emotional pain chapter last night; that came out good. In the car at practice, I spent some time staring at the laptop, then I realized I needed to move a chapter, so I did that and felt happy about about 20 seconds. Then I started working on the next chapter in which things get worse for my heroine Sophie. I wrote a paragraph, deleted it because it was stupid and boring and started with a different paragraph. I wrote some stuff and left off when I realized I had written mostly narrative and I needed to start putting people in the chapter. Practice was over.
Then we went to the bookstore because, well, my son has never been the world's most avid reader and for quite sometime I despaired. How, I've long worried, was I going to communicate with a boy who doesn't like to read much and who's good at math? Sidebar: Today, he was singing (a nonsense song) as he was doing his math homework and darned if he can't carry a tune! If he can sing, and it appears maybe he can, that's not a talent that comes from my side of the family. Sidebar Over
So, there was these series of books that enthralled him, the first book of which he HAD TO READ to himself for school. Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver. And he loved it enough to want to read the rest of them. Then came this series based very loosely on Greek mythology only set in modern times which he loved even more. He has a friend he admires very much, and they have quite a book club going between them. Because of all the books I've read to him, he and his friend had an amazing number of book-loves in common, and they recommended books to each other.
At his school, every day from 12:00 to 12:20, EVERYONE spends 20 minutes reading a book; the principal, the janitors, teachers, students, everyone. So, we found a book for him to take (after much complaining from him) and he finished it the other day, and begged to be taken to get the next one. And THEN, this was the most exciting part for me, he started reading it in the store and as we were walking back to the car. I had to hold his hand when we crossed the street because I didn't want him to trip or something. Suddenly, I seem to have reader on my hands, and this delights me even more than his being good at math and soccer. I'm just jealous about the singing thing. Rats. I've always wanted to be able to sing.
What these books have in common is lots of fighting, he says. Makes sense. He's a boy.
All right. I have to go meet my minimum word count. My heroine is about to find herself obliged to write to the hero to beg for assistance. Or something like that, I won't know for sure until I write the scene. Then I'm going to bed.
posted by Carolyn @ 8/29/2007 08:15:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, August 23, 2007
It's Friday's Yesterday!
Blogging earlier in my writing day is tough. I feel like I'm taking up time I could be using to do things that feel like writing but aren't -- like email and MySpace and now Facebook and, uh, blogging -- but lately I've been so tired that blogging at the end of my day just hasn't been happening. The previous day's writing is at this point pretty much immaterial since that was yesterday and this is today or, if you will, Friday's yesterday. Be that as it may, yesterday, I worked in the car while my son was at soccer practice and ended up resurrecting an old chapter which needed some pretty minimal work in order to fit in around its new home. Which meant I had 5,000 "new" words yesterday. But now it's today and yesterday doesn't matter. Except if I hadn't written anything, I would be panicking.
Last night I finished Blackburn by Bradley Denton. OK, look. This isn't a book for just everyone, so if you read it and hate it or can't get past the first few chapters, well, all right. But I have to say it's a damn good book. The protagonist (Blackburn) is completely real. It isn't a book I'll forget anytime soon. If you're interested in seeing how an author makes a protagonist consistent within that world, this is a good book to study.
Here's why I recommend this book: Yesterday at the Day Job cube-room there were HVAC guys all over because the HVAC in the server room is getting fixed so as to avoid another server meltdown. One of the guys, the boss, I believe, goes in the server room, shuts the door and proceeds to have a cell phone conversation with a co-worker. His end is all yelling so everyone outside the server room, which is all of Systems, can hear him quite clearly. Part of his yelling included the phrase (remember, he's yelling) You HAVE to OVERESTIMATE every job! and a bunch of other stuff related to why this particular job should have been overestimated. The moment, the very moment I heard that phrase, I thought If Blackburn were here, he'd kill that guy. And it would have been the right thing to do in a sick and demented kind of way.
So, that's why you should read Blackburn.
But if you're the squeamish type, don't (only, you know, maybe you should just try to get over that for this book). Bradley Denton has written SFF and Horror, it looks like, which probably accounts for why his literary novel is so good. Genre writing teaches you a lot about getting a story to hang together. You have to leave out all the self-indulgent MFA crap. I should know, right?
For the geekish, here's my twitter stream: http://twitter.com/cjewel I don't post to it all that often, but hey, if you're a writer or a reader, you can jump right in and we'll be the first authors/readers on twitter. Right now I think it's mostly geeks. Basically, it's kind of a way of shouting over the fence hey! I'm going to cook dinner, then write?.
posted by Carolyn @ 8/23/2007 05:38:00 PM Permalink
Friday, August 17, 2007
In the meantime, I've continued reading. I just finished Suzanne Brockmann's Force of Nature which, naturally, I enjoyed. She's a wonderful writer. Then I started this odd little book called Blackburn by Bradley Denton and I'm reserving judgment. Beautifully written, but the content is quite disturbing. I'll report on that when I'm done with it.
Lately I've been thinking about writing, mostly because I'm working on Scandal which at this point is a lot of first draft writing, the books I've been reading to which I've reacted in a sort of meh way and those to which I have not reacted that way. For example, I really really enjoyed Lone Survivor even though I vehemently disagree with his take on the evil Liberals and/or Liberal Media. Would I have liked it better if he'd toned that down? Maybe. But he didn't need to. The story is fantastic with or without that, and at least he was honest (wrongheaded, but honest!). Then there were other stories that felt to me like they ought to have been more exciting. Lots of stuff was going on. The stakes were high for the characters but gosh I was just not taken away as I should have been. Perhaps, I've been thinking lately, because they didn't face any moral difficulties. They faced outside evil but were never morally threatened by it. There was no chance of the characters making the wrong decision.
And, I am now compelled to add this thought. Lately, I've read some books by big authors that are not as well-written as they should be. I read them and felt the author was rushed or careless or that she/he needed another month or two of work. Deadlines help get the work done, but they can also keep a book journeyman good instead of awesome. This problem probably also has something to do with most writers having to have a day job to pay the bills. Sigh.
I like my literary landscape fraught with moral ambiguity. Write me a story where I'm reading something that ought to be evil but I'm cheering for it anyway. Someone do something reprehensible and yet have that be fascinating. Anyway, I was just thinking about that. Kind of half-baked. And thinking about baking, Scandal awaits.
posted by Carolyn @ 8/17/2007 02:17:00 PM Permalink