Monthly Archives: January 2013

Publication News!

I am very excited to share this news, on a night that is not my usual for posting. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve resubmitted and published my first full-length novel, “Agent Alpha”, on Kindle and Smashwords. It is available now at those websites – through the links at the side of my page here – for purchase. If youย do purchase it, or have read it before, please do me a BIG favor and write a review on either website. It makes a huge difference to those looking for something to read or buy on Kindle. I know I check reviews, especially for books by authors that I’ve not read before.

I’m not sure when it will become available on the other websites but as it is released everywhere, I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for sticking with me and to those of you who haven’t read it, go ahead and give it a try. ๐Ÿ™‚

Take care and happy reading.

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For the Love of a Good Book

You all know how much I love reading. It’s second only to writing as one of my great passions in life. Hmm, maybe third, because number one is… Well, none of your business. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do love to read. What I love to read is a varied selection. Romance, obviously, but I also enjoy fantasy, some science fiction, I love reading historical dramas and some adventure stories. I know I’ve mentioned some of the classics before and I do love reading author’s modern takes on the classics. Basically, just like trying new foods, I’ll read anything new once. It’s very rare that I’ll come across a book I just can’t finish, either because it’s boring or bad writing or whatever the reason.

I did enjoy very much belonging to my book club. It’s been some time since we all got together โ€“ almost a year now โ€“ but it was a fun activity and it forced me to try reading new or different books that I might not have selected for myself. In the end, I found several good books and/or authors through book club that I would suggest to anyone asking for a recommendation.

I also love to share books that I’ve read and enjoyed. The thing I miss most about the book club gatherings was discussing the book. No one in my close acquaintance reads as much as I do โ€“ probably because their lives are all busier than mine, what with all their offspring and such. ๐Ÿ˜‰ โ€“ and I miss talking about what we loved about the books or didn’t love. I also enjoy discussing writing and all that goes with it. There are even fewer people I know who also write but I do still converse regularly with certain people about that โ€“ *cough, cough* Eve *cough*. ๐Ÿ˜€

I was thinking about why I love discussing books so much with people who have read the same thing. I suppose I’m always hoping someone else loved the same things that I did about it. I don’t know if it’s just me, but when a book is really good, I am completely swept away. I disappear into the scenery and plot, I relate to the characters and desperately want to see them through whatever conflict they’re wrapped up in. After I’m done, I want to talk about it. I want to gush about the language or discuss the ending. I suppose that’s why I sometimes will review a book on my blog. At least that’s one outlet for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, in discussing the book, even rereading passages from them, I get to relive it all. I’ll never get that feeling back of discovering each moment or phrase for the first time, but I can feel like I’m back in the story. When it’s a really good book, I want to share it with everyone, so they can maybe feel just as involved as I was with it. Sometimes my friends enjoy the books as much as I did, and sometimes not. If not, I move on and try to push the book โ€“ ahem, I mean, recommend, the book to someone else. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Is there anyone else out there who loves sharing books as much as I do? I love knowing I’ve shared a book with someone who might love it as much as I did. I wonder if any of you have read books or authors I’ve recommended on my blog in the past couple years. Did you enjoy them?

Let’s see, here’s a quick list of recent books I’ve enjoyed enough to share. They’re from all different genres, as you’ll see. Maybe you can find some of these in your local library or in digital form for your ereader. If you read any of them, let me know how you like them. I love to hear that my recommendations might have been as enjoyable to someone else as much as they were for me.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone, by Laini Taylor

This is a young adult fantasy story but it’s so much more mature and wonderfully written than a lot of offerings out there right now. I was amazed at how detailed and involved this story was, without bogging the story down. The cliffhanger ending made me wish I’d already had the second book in the series in my hands.

Alice, I Have Been, Melanie Benjamin

This is an historical fiction, based on the actual life of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” I picked up this book in the bargain section of Indigo one day, and I loved it. It was touching, and engaging, and a wonderful fictionalized biography of someone who’d once lived.

Midnight in Austenland, by Shannon Hale

Although this book is a sort of follow up to another, (“Austenland”, which I also loved very much) you don’t need to read the other first to enjoy this one. It’s not a retelling of an Austen story but it has qualities you would find in Jane Austen’s novels. Humor, romance, a good story. I finished reading this story in about two hours. I just could not put it down.

The Map of Time, by Felix J. Palma

It’s difficult to classify what kind of book this is. Part historical fiction, part science ficiton, part mystery. All good. It was written in a different sort of style, but that may have been partly due to the English translation, from the original Spanish. This is almost three different stories, rolled into one, but they’re intertwined so closely that you don’t know until the end what is really true. A great story.

So there you have it. Let me know if you ever get around to checking these books out.

Take care and happy reading!

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Book Club Recap – “The Help”

This past Tuesday evening was the first gathering of the Book Club I proposed several months ago. The book selection was “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. I had seen the movie some time last year, loved it and read the book when someone loaned it to me. I loved the book even more, and so I selected it for the first book club. I hope that even if you weren’t a part of the Book Club, you might give that book a try. It was quite good, in my opinion.

Today I wanted to share some of the opinions and observations that were discussed in book club. I think the overall thought was that it was a good book, interesting and original. That’s not to say there hadn’t been other books about servant/master relationships but for this particular time and place, it was original.

“I liked how the narrative was told by different people. It gave the story lots of dimension.”

I agree with this and we discussed for a short time after the difference in language from each point of view. There were three main characters, Abeline and Minny, two black maids, and Skeeter, a white college graduate recently returned home to Jackson, Mississippi. I’d heard the comment made before that following the narrative of Abeline and Minny was difficult, as opposed to Skeeter’s but for me personally, I had no difficulty once I got started on the story. I didn’t notice the difference in grammar or anything after I’d read the first couple of chapters.

“I was absorbed by the book too. I read it very quickly. The language wasn’t hard to follow, and it helped set the story.”

We also discussed the way the maids were treated by the white women who employed them. The employers discussed the maids as if they weren’t even in the room. It seemed very likely that they just didn’t care that the maids were present, since they were considered lesser beings. It was also mentioned that the employers almost viewed them as non-existent.

Always been the way people have treated “the help”, not just a southern thing. Also common in the way women have been treated in general.”

“I read somewhere that the French Queen would have male servants while bathing, but wouldn’t think of exposing her ankle in public.”

Interesting thought, isn’t it? And amusing, at least for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Discussion of how this treatment of servants and maids wasn’t singular to the American South led to examples of other novels, movies or TV shows that outlined the same issues. As I mentioned above, “The Help” is not necessarily a brand new concept overall, only representative of one era and setting.

“I agree it is not just a South thing but indicative of servant/employer relationships.”

This is very true. America is a young country in the grand scheme of things and slavery and servant/master class systems have been in place all over the world for thousands of years. I’ve always found it interesting to read novels about the differences in social classes. As someone privileged enough to be living in a country that gives all citizens equal rights โ€“ though I don’t claim that it’s a perfect system, here or anywhere โ€“ I am fascinated by how things were in the ‘olden days’ and how it took so long to change things, and how many lives were taken in the struggles, all over the world.

Discussion of the different class systems everywhere led to recommendations of a few other stories. There’s the currently very popular TV series “Downton Abbey.” I’ve never seen it but I have seen, and consider it a top ten favorite of mine, “Gosford Park,” the movie.

“I also loved ‘Gosford Park’. And like most Yanks I was enthralled by ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ and forget about calling me on Sundays while I’m enthralled with ‘Downton Abbey’.”

“There was a book called ‘Ladies Maid’ I believe, a fictionalized account of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s maid.”

By this point, we’d veered away from any discussion of “The Help.” However, it was not an unwelcome change, as now I have a new book recommendation to try and perhaps at some point, I might seek out this much talked about “Downton Abbey.”

Has anyone else out there read “The Help” or seen the movie? Any observations you might like to point out or similarly themed books or movies?

For now, I’ll be heading off to try and get some writing done. I hope you’re all having a nice weekend.

Take care and happy reading.

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New Year’s Update

Well, it’s been a little over a week since the New Year and I’ve sort of settled back into a routine. I was away from the day after Christmas until last Sunday and it’s taken me a lot longer than usual to get back into the swing of things. It’s always hard to come back to the usual routine and a full-time job. I enjoyed my time off and the escape from the frigid weather we had here right before Christmas.

Part of getting back into a routine has been getting back into writing and โ€“ gasp! โ€“ editing. I know, it’s hard to believe, but I have spent most of the last week editing my work. I’m trying to get a story ready for posting on Lit. It’s the new, mysterious story I’ve been working on, that’s in a brand new genre for me and I’m guessing quite a few of my regular readers will not read it when I post it. Not because you think it’ll be bad, but just because it won’t be your cup of tea. And that’s fine. It’s not mine, either! I wrote it as an answer to a challenge from someone close to me. If I don’t ever post it though, I’ll never know what others think of it so in spite of my back and forth thoughts on posting or not posting, I think I’ve come to the decision to post. Check back to my Lit page over the next couple of weeks for that to come out.

I’ve also been working on getting my finished novels back on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords for sale. I’ve hit a bit of a stumbling block, trying to get new ISBN numbers for them. Once I get that sorted out, I’ll let you know when “Agent Alpha” and “Undercover” will be available for sale again. I’ll be taking another look at my contributions to the hockey romance anthology “Melting the Ice.” While Eve McFadden and I have decided to separate the stories and no longer try to find a publisher for the whole compilation, I’m looking over my stories and I want to publish them as stand-alone stories as well. Again, stay posted to hear any news on that front.

As for other stories and postings, I don’t have anything close to being completed. Once I get those novels available for sale, I’d like to get the third and fourth books in the TAITS series polished up and published as well. Those will take some more time, especially since I’m only about 2/3 of the way through editing the third novel, “Double Vision.” I’ll let you know when I have more news on that.

For short stories, or anything else for Literotica, I again don’t have anything close to being ready to post. I’ve started several different things and perhaps once I get back into a real routine again, I can finish something. I have a couple of non-human stories that I’ve started and I’d like to get through, but it’ll be a few months at least before those are done. I also am working on another one or two Ice stories. Now that hockey is back, I might be able to find some new inspiration to finish those this year. ๐Ÿ™‚ Again, none of those are close to being done. I hope you’ll bear with me as I make my way through all my works-in-progress.

I don’t have anything else exciting to share at this point. Like I said, I’m just trying to settle back in after my time away. I can’t believe it’s been a week since I’ve been home already. I feel sometimes like I’m still gone. In a way, I suppose I am. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope everyone else is recovered from the holidays now. I am looking forward to the coming year and any changes that are on the horizon. I’m glad you all still keep up with me here and on Lit, and I hope you’ll stay with me through the new year.

For now, take care and happy reading.

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Happy New Year!

Hello and welcome to 2013! All right, all right, I’ve obviously missed the bus on that one. ๐Ÿ™‚

I just wanted to write a quick hi, how are ya? to everyone out there. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and that you are over your hangover – whether it was from all the libations or all the nosh. I’ll write more again this weekend, at my usual time but I just wanted to touch base. I was on holidays, did some traveling and am now back to work and the same old routine. I may have some publication and writing news later this week as well.

Anyway, I’m off for now. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll catch up with you soon!

Take care and happy reading!

 

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