Browsing the Reading category...

I just got the copy of Nos4a2 by Joe Hill I put on hold at the library, and I can’t wait to start reading it. Mainly because I have no idea what it’s about. I mean, yes, I have a vague idea as to what I should expect from the story based on the title and the cover. There was a blurb that may have put me on the right path. But as for characters and plot, I’m in the dark. I did the same thing with Neil Gaiman’s new novel. With that one I had character information and I knew what it was about in the same way I knew The Avengers was about superheroes.

I really like going into books dark. I want to be as much of a blank slate as possible. I know that sometimes it’s required to read the summary an author/publisher provides because you can’t just go in based on the cover. Especially with a new author. You gotta get hooked somehow. But with established authors who aren’t likely to veer radically off-course, I want to be surprised by even the earliest revelations. Summaries have landmines. “When her new friend is murdered” makes me view the new friend as a joke from Page 1. “But a shocking twist at the first meeting” makes me anticipate the twist, and therefore it lacks as much punch.

This habit of mine to just glimpse and then ignore the summary is especially irritating when it comes time to summarize my own books. I HATE to summarize. What is too much to give away? What is too little? Can I get away with revealing this character or that storyline? Can I get away with not mentioning them?

I’ll keep on writing the summaries to the best of my ability because I know I’m probably in the minority. But if the whole world was like me, summaries would be so much easier to write. “Don’t you think the world needs more novels with female werewolves? And shouldn’t that character be a lesbian and live in Seattle? I agree!” I mean, if it was me, that’s all I’d need.

A little bit about descriptions in a novel or a short story.

When I write, I have to have an extremely clear picture in my head of what the characters look like. I picture the events unfolding in my mind as I write, so without clear faces, I’m just moving puppets around. But I try to be careful and restrain myself from getting  too descriptive. There’s a line where you have to cut off what you as the writer see and let the reader’s imagination take over. Otherwise you’re just casting the hopeful future movie someone makes of the book (cough, Dan Brown).

Of course, that’s just my stance. I thought I’d post this and see what others thought. How much do you want to know what the writer sees, and how much do you want to do the casting yourself? The basics are probably generally accepted; if a character is tall and athletic, or if they’re brunette or blonde.

This concludes Saturday ramblings. ~g~ I still have a runny nose, but I’m feeling imminently better. I would cheer the benefits of the pharmaceutical industry, but I get enough spam about miracle drugs anyway. I’ll probably get more just for using the “d” word. Oh, well.

Hope everyone is having a good day, whether they’re buried in snow or bracing for a tsunami. What a weekend…

Not really much to update in this post, I’m afraid, but I thought I would go ahead and make a post so people don’t think I’ve gone mute. <g> I managed to finish revising The Following Sea and I’ve sent it off to P.D. So expect word on that sometime in… well, judging from how long it’s been on Silence Out Loud, I would say sometime in December of this year. Maybe. But I’m not bitter. It’s a busy time. I understand. Sort of. <g> Actually, before I wrote this post (I hardly ever check my Yahoo mail because it… well, sucks), Linda from P.D. sent me an email about Silence Out Loud. They want it, but “not in the form that it’s presently in.” Which means I have to go back, rewrite a lot of it, and resubmit it to them. At which point it’s another long waiting game to see if they want it or not. ~heavy sigh~

As you can tell from above, I still don’t have any info on Gemini or World on Fire release dates. I’ll let everyone know as soon as there’s news to share, promise.

I also managed to finish my Valentine’s story for the Academy. So it’s nice to have that out of the way. I have one more story to write (which is due in March, and I haven’t even the inkling of an idea yet) before I can focus on another novel. I have two in mind, and I’m not sure which one I’ll pick to write. I may just flip a coin. <g>

In reading: This month I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larssen. It got a lot of good press, and it was being held up as some brilliant piece of literature. I mean, I first heard about it on NPR, for crying out loud. But now, having read it… it’s just a standard murder mystery. And not a particularly good one. The last hundred pages or so are unbelievably boring. It felt like the plot ran out of steam and the author just kept writing because… well, because he wanted a longer book. Yes, he was tying up loose ends, but it should not have taken that long. And it should not have been that dull. I would give this one a definite pass, if I were you.

This has been a rather long post to say… I have very little to say. Hopefully I will have Gemini news for you before too long! ~fingers crossed~

Hello, folks, and how is everyone out there in the world this weekend?

I just wanted to drop in and make an appearance. I was doing really well for a while there, updating this really frequently. But I think editing and revising have eaten my brain. I don’t have too much to comment about/on other than I’m continuing to put my nose to the grindstone to get Only Flame and Air out to the publishers. Hopefully by the end of next week. It’s taken me longer to revise than it took to write. <g>

I’m no longer planning to edit the other book before NaNo. That can wait. I’m totally edit/revised out. Besides, it’ll give the publishers a chance to breath between submissions, which is always a good thing. Can’t have them asphyxiating! At least not while working on MY books. <g> But I will write a few fanfic stories just to get into the flow of writing before the hectic month of November starts.

If anyone out there isn’t participating in NaNoWriMo… consider it. It’s a lot of fun and, win or lose, you get a feeling of having done something great, and been a part of something huge. Try it, you’ll like it!

What I’m reading: Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. It’s really a surprisingly good read. It’s Young Adult, so it reads very quickly, but it’s a good story. It’s renewed my love of Peter Pan! So that’s a plus. I used to love Peter Pan when I was a kid, so this is a great series of novels.

What I’m watching: Amanda Tapping’s new series Sanctuary and the final season of Stargate Atlantis. I’ve started watching Chuck, House continues to be good (in my mind, anyway. Your mileage may vary depending on how you feel about the new Ducklings), and I cannot wait for 30 Rock to start up again.

What I’m hearing: Josh Ritter singing Potter’s Wheel at this particular moment.

Do you have a question you want to ask me? A story you want a sequel to? Characters you’d love to see again? Drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do for you! I love hearing from fans!

It’s already September? Wow, how did that happen? August was a slow month for blog-posting, apparently, but not for me writing-wise. I danced a submission tango with PD, withdrawing Following Sea and exchanging Silence Out Loud, finishing up Tilting at Windmills to give their editors a crack at it and then working with the amazing Medora to finish edits on Gemini (which is, as of now, out of my hands entirely. I think. I still need the blurb and dedication, but that’ll be easy enough to come up with).

On top of all that, I amazed myself (and some of my friends) by tossing out a first draft to a new novel in six days. It’s only 50,000 words and needs to be bulked up (it’ll be easily bulked up; my muse seems to think I left out a ton of important stuff) before I submit it, but I’m very pleased with how it looks. I love two of the characters in it so much, don’t be surprised if they show up in another story before the novel even becomes a “Coming Soon.” <g>

For right now, I need to be focused. I need an NCIS story for an auction winner who paid mightily for the honor of having a story written by me and has been supremely patient for it, and a Halloween story for the Academy of Bards (I just love that place).

My recommendations for September: Get out and read! It may be rainy where you are, or maybe you’ve just turned out your lights in solidarity with those in the path of Hurricane Gustav, but either way, it’s a good time of year for books. Laurie R King has two great series: a modern-day mystery series that focuses on Kate Martinelli, a lesbian detective in San Francisco. The other deals with Mary Russell, apprentice and partner to the great Sherlock Holmes. Both series are very well-written and worth a look!

Be well!

My biggest fears about going to a convention as an author – which isn’t going to happen any time soon, but it’s always at the back of my mind when someone asks if I’m going – are readings. The idea of taking my book, standing in front of a group of people and reading words I wrote terrifies me. Terrifies me.

When I was in high school, I was in drama. I could perform in front of a class, and I performed on stage (some thought I was the definitive Mr. Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol. They were all related to me, but it still counts <g>). But senior year, I remember having to read an oral report in English class. I could barely get through it. When I sat back down, my friend said he thought I was going to pass out. Pale, shaking, nervous… yeah.

If I ever do go to a convention, I may just hire someone to do the readings for me. I wonder how much Teryl Rothery would charge…? <g>

Lastly, two questions from Feral. She gave me a whole list, but I decided to just answer two because my other answers were too boring (“Don’t know,” “don’t drink,” etc ;-D). So! Her first question: You can have only one book in the world to read for the rest of your years. what book? Ideally, a book of short stories. That’s the most bang for your buck. But if I have to be specific, I would say The Time-Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It’s a brilliant novel and I try to reread it at least once a year. So I think that one would definitely be one of my top picks.

Her second question: What can one possibly float in jello that makes it worth eating? I personally feel that Jell-O is always worth eating. But fruit is always a good choice. I don’t know what kind it is… I can practically taste it right now, but I fail at identifying it. Not pineapple… a lot of people insist on putting pineapple on stuff like pizza and cottage cheese and I say NO. ~wags finger~ But yeah, I’m of little help because I like Jell-O too much by itself to be a good judge on how to improve it. 😀

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Well, my new years resolution to post twice a month here has failed. Tsk, shame on me! I was distracted, I think, by writing a new novel (now submitted to PD Publishing, wish me luck!). I will make up for my absence. I think if I have 24 posts at the end of the year, I’ll call it a win. And you all can call it a win as well, you few, you proud, you readers of my blog. 😀

I kept up for more than a couple months, though! That’s something!

Right now, I want to complain a bit. I bought a new book a week or two back called “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.” It’s by Michael Chabon, a brand-new release… so why does the edge of the page look so raggedy? A friend whose judgment I trust told me that this was the style now. Seriously? Publishers seriously do this on purpose? What on Earth for? It makes turning the pages harder, it looks hideous… it makes the book look cheap. And I’ll admit it, it might be the deciding factor on whether I buy a book or not.

I went ahead and bought “Yiddish Policemen” because it’s Michael Chabon. But if it had been anyone else, anyone at all, those raggedy-ass page edges would have made me put the book back on the shelf and walk away. I can’t think of an uglier trend. The reader should have the right to make their own books look raggedy by years of reading and thumbing through them to favorite passages and spitting drinks on them from spontaneous laughter. You shouldn’t MAKE them that way to begin with. That’s like those stupid jeans you can buy with the holes already in the knee.

Rant over. 🙂

And I shall definitely try to be around here more often. I may not have many readers, but those who are here deserve to have something to look at. 😀

A bit of doings in my writing world this month. Well, this weekend, really. I did a bit of revising on my newest novel and submitted it back to the publishers to see what they think of it. Hopefully it’ll be good news! *fingers crossed* I’m really proud of this one, and they seemed to like it beyond a few minor quibbles (minor but kind of hard to fix… you know how it is), so… I am cautiously optimistic.

I also got a second email from them introducing me to the editor for “Gemini.” One step closer! Once she finishes up with it, I’ll give it my go-over and we’ll see what we see. There’s still six months before their projected release date, so hopefully it’ll come out on time! 😀

In other news… I am about 3/4 done with “Antarctic Navigation,” by Elizabeth Arthur, and the end could not come soon enough. The book is very tedious and over-long. I think the author became too enamored with her own command of language and, therefore, could… not… shut… up. It’s another of those books where you wonder if an editor even got close to it (or, if they did, how bad it was before they did their work).

The only 700+ page books I have EVER really enjoyed have had the name Stephen King on the cover. Books like Antarctic Navigation and Mists of Avalon… I like them, but by the time I finish it’s a joy to finally be able to put it down. Most authors tend to stick to 350-400 pages, and that’s a nice manageable size, I think. Trust me, I’m trying to work my way up to those kinds of numbers. ;-D Every author’s first couple of novels are always on the thin side. I am unconcerned. Mostly. *cough* 😀

Just got around to seeing “Gone Baby Gone” on DVD. I really rode the roller coaster on this one, even before it was released in theaters. “Ben Affleck? Really?” I was wary, since Dennis Lehane is one of my favorite authors (I own all of his books except for the short story collection), so I didn’t like the idea of one of the books being some vanity project. But, it was released, and by some miracle he apparently didn’t screw it up. One of the ‘best movies of the year’! So I decided to give it a chance on DVD.

And… well… it’s the same problem I had with ‘Mystic River.’ I can see why people like it. I get that it’s a good movie. But… compared to the book, it just pales in comparison. It’s like the book ruined me for the movie. There’s no way I can enjoy it as much as everyone else because I have a much better version stuck in my head.

The two problems I had with the movie that had nothing to do with the book spoiling me… Angie and Bubba. That was not the Bubba I see in my head. Some smirky, mumbley guy… no. He wasn’t big enough to be Bubba and I never really got a sense of danger from him. Bubba, in the books, scares me. This guy just looks like he had too many hot dogs and robbed a jewelry store. Bad casting, or maybe Bubba would just be impossible to cast correctly.

Secondly, Angie. Did she really do anything for the entire movie? If I hadn’t read the book, I would be wondering why Patrick was dragging his girlfriend around on cases with him. I saw no reason to think she was his partner in the agency. She was just… there. In the books, she’s a force to be reckoned with. The scene in the bar, where the guy locks the door and threatens to rape her, is not only much better established in the book, but she gets to act human about it. Afraid, but not destroyed by it (She has a great line in the book which is actually in the deleted scenes about it: “They weren’t going to rape me, Patrick. They were going to try.”).

Not to mention the fact this is Book Four in the Patrick/Angie series. The fact that Patrick didn’t have a beard makes it impossible to film books 2 and 3 the way they were written (not to spoil <g>).

All that aside, I don’t want to un-read the books. I just wish I was better able to separate the two things so I could enjoy the movie the way everyone else does.

All things being equal, though, I would rather read the books again. <g>

Continuing my new year’s resolution to update here more often, here I am!

This year, I have written a lot of fanfic and a good chunk of a new novel. I’m going to go back and revise the original story, beef it up, polish some things that my initial beta readers had issues with, and then see if it’ll appear in print or on the Academy of Bards. ;-D With any luck, PD will buy it and love it, and it’ll be the first book in a new series. I’ve been very excited about the prospect of starting a series, so… fingers crossed!

The main thing right now is deadlines. I have two deadlines bearing down on me – one in February and one in April, for original and fanfic respectively – so I’m focusing on those at the moment before I begin revising. But the novel (with a Don Quixote-related title) is beckoning to me. Not only am I seeing flashes of revised scenes, I’m picturing scenes from the second book in the series. My muse is great, but… a real bitch sometimes.

(PS. I can say bitch. It’s my blog; I’m the censor. :D)

For now, I’m just trying to cut down on checking my Amazon ranking (there’s no harm in it, as I don’t get mad or depressed if it drops, but it’s kind of obsessive).

I just finished “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman. My second reading, and I enjoyed it far more this time than the time before. Really epic novel, by far my favorite work of his. Including Sandman. Never got into Sandman, to be honest.

Stay tuned for more news as it develops!