Archive | January 2012

Wicked Little Romance

I’ve been reading romances since I was in the fourth grade. Granted, at first I was only allowed the “sweet” Harlequin romances. But I graduated quickly. The genre has been with me ever since, accompanying my through a Master of Arts in English Literature. If you ever want to see how brave you are in the face of ridicule, make sure to take a romance novel out of your back pack in full view of a professor who has an inferiority complex. My response to all of her frothing was to note that as a writer I was very interested in one of the fastest growing genre’s.

She wasn’t amused.

Somehow, my little romance novels survived the rigors of a higher education. Perhaps only because I am a spiteful, stubborn student. Perhaps just cuz they are good. Although there is great freedom in the romance genre, there are certain things that are to be expected. 1. Boy and girl meet. 2. Boy & Girl fall in love/lust 3. All sorts of mayhem keeping them apart. 4. Happily ever after ensues.

I don’t generally enjoy stories that take place between persons who are already married. Don’t know why but in the normal course of my reading I don’t take that trip.

Enter in “My Wicked Little Lies” by Victoria Alexander (Published by Zebra, it goes on sale January 31, 2012). This book has landed on my all time favorite list. It takes the question of “What happens AFTER happily ever after?” and throws in a bit of boredom, jealousy, a secret or two and some great BFF’s for the heroine. This book is witty and winsome, striking the perfect pitch between the couple in question.

 

Trust me on this one. I give it five out of five stars….

As an added bonus, the publishers are giving a sweet deal next month (2/13/12 to 2/18/12) on the first book of the series: The Perfect Mistress, also by Victoria Alexander. Perfect for Valentines day, whether you have someone to share it with or not :-0

 

Read on my lovelies!

Advertisements

Dream Snatchers, Time Wasters, Excuse Makers

So last week was a book wasteland. Bought a couple, thought they’d be good… but no dice. Life’s too short for bad books… So instead, here it is, a bad blog 😦

Did come up with the opening line, tho. For the anger project. “My family excels in the fine art of the polite fiction.” See, and I’ve already written it here, where it will remain safe and sound, until I can find a mother’s helper to come in and help me so I can start writing the darn thing. Actually, that isn’t true. It was, at one point. It’s not anymore. Ray has grown so much, and with the Skylanders I might not see or hear form him for a while if I set him infront of the video game. That probably makes me a bad mommy. However, finding a little time for myself, especially when it pertains to writing… That is a very good thing. How does it help him to keep putting off my dreams? (BTW– he has not snatched my dreams… I just liked the way that title sounded).

Anyways, I JUST finished a cute little cozy mystery and reading one of the BEST ROMANCE NOVELS ever! I mean ever! Coming from someone who reads as much as I do, that says a lot. The reviews will be up on those by Sunday. Saturday night if I can 🙂

What are the biggest excuse makers you have with your writing? How do you over come them?

 

PS– We’ve started doing shared stories, the princeling and I. And tonight he asked me to start writing them down. How cool is that, to be writing stories off the cuff with your 5 year old and hearing him say “and then…” with the special tone of voice that throws the story to the next person. AWESOME!

Music at the Museum

Different segments of the arts often intertwine. Music, paintings, sculpting, words used in both poetry and prose… they all influence each other. Many times an author has a “Play List” included in their Author Notes, and our words are often bound with a work of art on the cover.

The Haggin Museum often has a music program held in the room with the thirteen naked ladies. (I don’t know the name of the painting, but suffice it to say that it is a hallmark in my life, is much prettier than “thirteen naked ladies” implies and I have postcards and the magnet of it.) The first time I went with my father, it was for a talk on the Stockton Opera by Jaffe, with musical selections on the piano as well as a soloist.

My father cried. Happy tears.

We went yesterday to hear the Divertimento String Quartet. The first selection that they played was everything I imagined: so light and airy that if you closed your eyes you could see the pretty girls dancing across polished wooden floors.

The second piece…not so much.

The piece was played well, but I have to say I’m glad that Velickovic gave a little talk about it  before hand, explaining the strife and anguish, the political climate of both the country and the composer at the time it was written.

Because that piece took my anger and amplified it right out of context.

Have I mentioned lately that I have anger issues?

We ended up leaving, right after the second piece was finished. It had nothing to do with the performance, but I had to pick my son up from his other grandparents and quite frankly my father could tell I was ready to pop a cork.

At the first movement washed over me, I thought of scenes such as to be found in swords and sorcery. As it escalated, so did my pissed-off-itude. I started thinking of the piece I kept starting to write, what I wanted it to be and what it keeps ending up being. And until yesterday, I have to tell ya, I had no intention of every really writing it.

It’s a rock opera using Bon Jovi songs. Originally intended as The Mommy Monologues,  I was going to talk about raising my little ray of sunshine.

The best intentions…

It keeps coming out as the Meth Monologues. As in my husband was a meth addict and I’m still pissed off not only at him but also at myself and want nothing more than to beat the crap out of something. I have always dealt with my anger through my writing. Always.

Still, I have tied my fingers into knots, trying *not* to write that story.

There are a million reasons why it’s not a viable project: I’ve never written a play, could never in a million years get the permissions needed to stage it, and even if I did it would be too hurtful to ever allow my son to see it.

It’s not a viable project.

But apparently, it’s what I need to write. I’m tired of keeping the crap  inside, battering at my fingers every time I sit down to write.

Maybe then I can start to forgive myself.

Books in Bloom

I have a question. Actually, I have several questions (it’s not new for me hehehe). The first one is: why is it that I have no problems putting down a book I paid good money for if it is bad, but I hang on just that little bit longer for a Nook Book?

Specifically, a free Nook Book.

Now, first of all, there are several books/novellas/stories for free out there that were simply marvelous. Grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let me go. I’ll give you a list later. But there seems to be a plethora of freshmen E-books that are sadly lacking.

The book I’m reading is actually a pretty good story. With the right editor, it could have been much better. Admittedly, having a Master’s Degree in English and loving to write kind of make me a harsh critic, but remember: I am not critting the author but instead am going after the editor.

The book I’m reading right now is a free Nook Book. It’s got pretty good action, and I feel for the character as is evidenced by the fact that I’m still reading it. I’m still undecided if I’m going to share the name of the book and/or the author though. I don’t want to make them cry, when it’s a really good story. (Leaving this author out.)

But. But the author has a couple of bad habits that a good editor, or even a competent reading group, should have caught. Such as commenting on the fact that the heroine has become spoiled by being indoors after suffering near freezing temperatures. No fewer than three times has the comment been made. Possibly four. I stopped counting. S/he also has a habit of describing the heroine as “The Blank Girl”. As in fill in the blank. The confused girl. The exhausted girl. The new healer (which, granted, had the benefit of throwing in a new word). Easily tightened up. Confused, Heroine went to the library. Exhausted, she climbed on the horse. The last one isn’t as easily tightened up, but it can be done.

I know this because my writing friends call me on it all the time. Maybe I’m spoiled in my writing friends. Perhaps they have  set the bar too high. Although  I have to admit after trying to read some of these free Nook Books, I’m half tempted to get my completed novellas (which seems to be the format I prefer), putting them through the writer friend test, and selling them as a Nook Book for $0.99.

But now on to my general rant about the Nook Books. Is it really that hard to pop it onto a Nook screen and skim through it before going live? Because there are some PRO books, with REAL editors and BIG PUBLISHING houses behind them that have stupid errors in them. Wordsrunningtogetherbecausesomeoneforgottocheckformattingisnotverynice. (Translation: words running together because someone forgot to check formatting is not very nice.)

So. So far the Nook is still good. Had to figure out that it really does not like the interface with Internet Explorer for Windows 7, so downloaded FireFox. After I did that, downloading from the laptop (my preferred method) is great. Am saving money, see my Freebie List so far.

Free Nook Books that I have Loved:

The Gauntlet, Karen Chance

The Queen’s Witch, Karen Chance

These two stories should be read in the order listed above. They are short stories.  Kit Marlowe as a vampire, Queen Elizabeth, magic, mayhem—grabbed me by the throat and made me enjoy being choked. The main drawback to these stories is that the author, supposedly, has not done a series with the characters in them. Bad author! Bad! You have a great thing going here, and a built in audience.

Summer’s Crossing, Julie Kagawa

It has Puck. And Tatiana. Is told from Puck’s point of view. Need I say more? Is part of the Iron Fey series, which I have not read.

Winning The Wallflower, Eloisa James

Already did a review on this one. It was free when I got it, but may now cost money. Hint: It’s worth it.

Once Upon a Winter Eve, Teresa Dare

I think I may have actually paid $0.99 for this one, but I liked it. Flowed nicely, keep me hooked, and I really liked that little hideaway the spinsters found for themselves.

Let me know your thoughts & recommendations. Who knows, you may point me in the direction of my new favorite author.

B&N Nook: Glimpses & Winning the Wallflower

So I got myself a Nook from Barnes and Nobles for myself for Christmas. It’s the simple, black and white edition. Since my son’s name was going on the tag, I gave it to pops to put away until Christmas. I now think I’ve given it enough time to give a review (if you’ll forgive it’s not being for an actual book… although I’ve got 2 e-books I’m going to review in here).

Let me be completely forth coming. I like books. I like the smell of paper and ink, the weight of it in my hand. I can hold a book open to read one handed and not crack a spine. I love books. I have resisted the Nook and/or any e-reader for a long time. I just can’t see cuddling up in bed with a good… computer app?

Christmas Day I damn near threw the thing through the wall. The only thing that saved that poor little electronic device was the fact that I knew Barnes and Nobles would be open the next day and more than happy to help me out. They were. Both open and happy to help. I can’t imagine getting another brand e-reader and not having someone that you could bring the device to for help. Part of the problems I had that first day was because I was having problems with the website. Which brings me to one of the biggest CONS of the thing. In order to order books, even free books, you must have a valid credit card linked to your account. As I understand it, even if you have a gift card you’re using, you have to have a credit card on file. Times are hard. A lot of people don’t have credit cards. A lot of people don’t have wireless, either. But the wireless part can be taken care of by going into the brick and mortar store, where it’s free. The credit card… Well, if you don’t have one, I suggest getting a pre-paid card. That actually might be even better than using your own credit card anyways.

The next item makes me want to go DUH. I checked the manual several times after charging it up the first time. NO WHERE did it say exactly how to power the durn thing off. The lady at the store didn’t even look at me funny when I asked. All the instructions point to the little button on the bottom, which brings you to the main navigation screen. And just as an aside, that unlock tap & slide dance is annoying me! She showed me how to shut it down, and asked me if I was interested in the Nook Class.

He. He.He.

Now. Enough of the bads. Because there are many a good thing about the Nook. Novella’s and short stories, as well as actual books for free. Turning pages is easy peasy, especially considering all the problems I had just switching the thing off. It keeps your place for you, and extremely easy access to where you’re reading in your book. And, did I mention, the LIVE, NICE SUPPORT PEOPLE IN THE STORE? It’s a lot nicer than I thought it would be. I’ll definitely keep it. Just don’t expect me to give up my actual books for it and we’ll all be happy. I can see where this will be especially handy when travelling, or even to help curtail your pile o books, like I am.

Now, onto the Nook Books I actually have bought and read. I don’t have publishers off hand for these, please forgive me.

Glimpses, by Lynn Flewelling.

This is a must have for those who love the Night Runner series by Lynn Flewelling. This collection of short stories gives the reader glimpses into times that were either glossed over or only hinted at in the series. Great writing, as is usual for Lynn. I bought it as a Nook Book only because I couldn’t find it in the stores. Savings was one whole dollar. But I should have ordered the print version— Glimpses is also filled with fan art, some of which looked like it would be quite good. Except it was very teeney-tiny on the screen.

Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James.

OMG. I loved this little novella. Sweet, charming and laugh out loud funny… I have never laughed so hard at the word “moo” before in my life. But I swear the writing and tone is so on target that you can see the expression on the heroine’s face as she mutters the word. The writing is seamless from beginning to end. Although on the nook I can’t skip around the books and read the ending, I didn’t miss it one bit on this one. And in a delightful little twist, it happened to be free. Doesn’t matter, would gladly have paid for it. Kind of wish I could get it in print so that I could send it to my sister. (That’s where “The Help” went.)

So… It the Nook is nice, convienent, has a large library of free items. Free items are good for writers, it gives something to your fans and also makes it easier for people who normally wouldn’t pay the price for an unproven author to pay full retail.

But I’m still gonna buy real books in a in a real book store too 😛