Archive | May 2012

Ch-ch-changes

I mentioned a while back ago that I had unpacked my boxes of books and got them up on a shelf. In no particular order, but up none the less. This gave me a chance to open up and try to read some of my old favorites. Books I have read at least a hundred times, possibly two.

Books that I have hung onto for… gosh…. 20 years.

20 years? Really?

No, really?

Yup. First edition (and yes, this particular romance author’s books are almost always in print) and I checked the pub date after I huffed in indignation.

Huffed. Because I  couldn’t stand the book. Those heroine’s that I thought were so cool when I was in my twenties… They struck me like a teeney bopper. Not merely someone young of years, but someone annoying with it.

Another thing I noticed was the tendency to go from head to head to head. Sometimes within the same paragraph. It drove me batty!  It can be done, and done well… but not, apparently, by her. Then again, I’m holding a book that was written decades ago up to today’s standards.

And I’m a little heartbroken that they just don’t stack up, so to speak. It’s a matter of principle. I brought those dang books through the depths of hell with me. Although, tellingly, I did not read them while going through it.

So. Bottom line. That book that you LOVE SO MUCH that you can’t let it go even though you’ve held onto it for 20, 30 years? Try reading it. If you can still stand it, if you still feel like you’re going to visit old friends, keep the books.

And there are books that do that. They’re called classics for a reason. (As an aside, I’ve noticed that Fantasy– Sword and Sorcerey in particular, seems to fare well with the passage of time, too).

If you’re like me with this author’s books… Pass them on. Because you will make someone, somewhere, extremely happy. And, as an extra special bonus, you will get to have more room for more books. 

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Rakes & Protectors

The Rake by Mary Jo Putney (Zebra Historical Romance)

Disclaimer- I was provided an ARC of this novel.

The Rake is actually a reprint of the title The Rake and the Reformer. A lot of times this angers me, because I rebuy it on the basis of the cover art and didn’t pay attention. I hate buying the same book 2,3 times (and I have, with Kristen Brittain). However, this was a lucky chance because although I’d heard of the author, I’d never read her novels before.

Alys and Reggie are perfect for each other, even if they don’t know it. Each has a fatal flaw that they must overcome (and it has to be them to do it, not the other person), which makes it extremely real. The other person doesn’t “fix” the bits, they just enable the other to fix the bits themselves.

At turns heart wrenching and heart-warming, I would definitely recommend this book. It appears it was originally released in 1989, which labels it as a definite classic. Because quite frankly, readers’ tastes have changed so much over the past couple of decades that for one to still be relevant this long… Well. Bravo!

Lady Protector, L.E. Modesitt Jr. Tor Fantasy.

If this one is part of a series, I did not enjoy it any less for not having read the previous novels. It sucked me in and kept me there for the length of the novel. I was upset by only having my normally scheduled breaks because I wanted to keep reading it.

Mykella becomes the Lady Protector moments before the book opens. She has to deal not only with an imminent war but also the nefarious leeching of the country’s coffers. Who can she trust? How does she oversee everything and get to the battle in time? How will her powers help her, and can they harm her?

L.E. Modesitt does something in this novel that I’ve never seen in a novel before. It is written in a tight third person point of view… But I don’t think it ever goes to another point of view than Mykella’s. It is so tight as to be almost first person.

That gave me pause. Why third, even so tight, instead of first person? First person wouldn’t have the effect, it’s a little more casual than third. It is beautiful, though. If you ever want an example of a third person point of view that tightly held together… Use it.

I’ve gotta try that. It has to be so hard. The temptation to pull back and add scenery or pop into someone else’s point of view must be so great. Kudos, Modesitt!

So, over all 2 great books in very different genres. Hope to have some chick lit and an actual regular fiction book for next time!

Cleaning House

So yesterday was a hard labor kind of day. I had help (thank you, Leyla!) and it went more quickly and more… enjoyable than if I had been by myself. It also helped me with my creative muddle.

Have you ever had one of those? Where your brain is so cluttered up with this and that and soon you can’t remember even how to start writing again (alternately: insert creative obsession here). I started the reclaiming the garage project earlier in the week, all by myself. And little by little, things started getting stripped away.

Like the need to hold on to stuff just because it’s mine. Mine I say! I might need that craptastic pan, even though the teflon is peeling up off the bottom. Coffee mugs that I never used because they were too heavy (my grip gives, so a heavy cup to begin with is a bad idea) might come in handy some day.

Mostly, I was holding on to all that stuff because it is what remained after being married to a meth addict for 10 years. I got out alive, with my son, mostly intact. I packed whatever I could into the back of my dad’s car and left. Totally willing to leave everything behind (the pots and pans and some of the other stuff came back to me in a somewhat different way). It left me  with a fierce need to keep EVERYTHING. Because, you know, things dissappear when you live with a drug addict.

But this isn’t about that. Not at the core.

It’s about cleaning up my life, both metaphorically and literally. Because as those boxes were opened and gone through, as the books hit the shelves (voracious reader, remember, there were a LOT of them). I haven’t written, except in bits and spurts, since before my son was born. Because I couldn’t… I had to hide what was going on in my life, in little boxes around my soul.

When you write, you bare your soul.

Letting go of all that stuff, well, it was more than letting go of all that stuff. I actually had a great idea for a short story. And for 3 or 4 essays/non fiction pieces. We’ll see where they go, but the important thing is I’m thinking.. dreaming, again.

All I know is that coming out on the otherside? It’s marvelous!

Under Suspicion

Under Suspicion by Hannah Jayne

Wow. Just wow. I read Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, Jeanine Frost (sp?), Mary Janice Davidson… and now Hannah Jayne.

Under Suspicion excels because of the heroine, Sophie. She wants sooo badly to be kick-ass, but just can’t quite pull it off. Which is just as well, becuase I’ve got to tell you that I LOVE a heroine who has a soundtrack to her life, even if she didn’t get Bon Jovi. And when she starts asking “What would Paula Do?” I dare you not to laugh so hard you get a cramp. I double dog dare you.

The mystery portion was very well written, as was the underworld component. This is apparently the latest in a series that I haven’t read yet, but don’t let it discourage you. I jumped right in and didn’t “miss” having the other books, although I’m probably gonna go looking for them very very soon.

Ta Ta, my lovelies. I think tomorrow or Thursday, we’re gonna have a discussion about actual brick and mortar book stores. What thinkest thou? Let me know, or I’ll inflict my Dyspraxic’s Disneyland on you all. Or maybe my latest book 😀

Have a great week!

Fine Art of Editing

While reading I’ve noticed that there seems to have been a distinct lack of editing in books. Now most of the books that I read are great. Cuz otherwise I wouldn’t, you know, finish them.

With these books, it wasn’t bad grammer. It wasn’t faulty logic or crass writing. It just shocked me that no one, from the reading groups on up, told these authors that their books could stand to loose 100-150 pages. Because if I stop reading at 140, skip ahead to 298 and can still not only follow the story but haven’t missed a hole lot… Well….

Loose the verbiage.

I’m kind of a to the point kind of writer. There;s not a whole lot of embellishment. I forgive a lot, especially in Fantasy where author’s are compelled to build a whole world from scratch. However, if you’re writing a modern story… spare me. And keep out of people’s heads just to make your work count. If it  doesn’t add the the story, loose it.

Or you’ve lost me.

You know, the reader who plunked down an insane amount for your print book?

Keep your story moving, and I’ll keep buying. I promise.