Friday, October 29, 2010

Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Private came out earlier this year as the debut for a new series featuring the main character Jack Morgan. His father gives him the files for a private investigation firm named, you guessed it, Private.

There are three cases in this story: a serial killer, a friend's murder, and an NFL game rigging, um, plot.

The book was pretty good. Like most Patterson books, it wasn't Shakespeare but it was alright for a read. My only complaint was the rather large cast of characters. By the end of the story, I kind of adjusted but at first, I thought -holy crap I need a chart!

That's all I have for this week. Have a lovely weekend and good night.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

book working and such

Agh! This week is just barely slogging along.

I finished transferring on-paper changes for the first edit on the novella yesterday. The quality of the story is approaching the level I'm aiming for, but it isn't there quite yet.

There's still something missing from the story, and I really want to take the time to figure out what it is. I never thought I would put so much effort into something I plan to give away for free (the digital version anyway).

I'm starting to think about the cover art too. It may involve at least one jackal.

I saw the other day where an author posted five versions of a cover for her upcoming novel and had readers vote which one they liked best. That was pretty cool. I might do that here if I can get motivated to create more than one version of the cover.

What else is going on?

Oh yeah, I have been on the Project Gutenberg website like crazy since getting the Kindle. They have SO many classics I want to read. I downloaded another round of them this evening.

Little kid me seriously would have loved that website. Hell, grown-up me loves it. Although, I am starting to feel like I owe them a donation.

I have to quit though. I'm quickly reading and writing myself closer to mental exhaustion. That usually means it's time to draw something and watch Dr. Who reruns for a while.

In the spirit of Halloween, I'm posting a link to some truly awesome cemetery photograph slideshows. They really make me want to dress up like the ghost whisperer and lurk about the dead and snap photos.

Anybody I know wanna go with me? Hm? Hmmmmm???

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

is really a lovely evening for a rant

I read a quote one day recently that might have been from Katy Perry. She said something along the lines of - there's room for everyone (as in musical artists) on people's ipods.

I thought of that today as I read this article written by a crusty dinosaur. He was lamenting the loss of the customized rejection letter in lieu of impersonal e-mail rejections. He goes on to lament other losses as well.

At one point he said the world needs fewer writers and ‘smarter’ readers. Um, excuse me? I am both a writer and a reader, so I take offense on two levels.

First off, no one I know who reads books on a regular basis is unintelligent, just the opposite in fact. They may not be pompous ‘intellectual' jackasses, but they still have brains in their heads. They are perfectly capable of selecting their own reading material without the assistance of a corporation.

He thinks there are too many books. Maybe there are, so freaking what? I don't apologize for wanting to express myself creatively in that way. I'm not sorry that your publication gatekeepers are losing their relevence.

Not that I would by any means count myself among them, but how many brilliant writers have been rejected into oblivion or worse, discouraged from writing altogether because some editor or agent or whoever didn't find their book marketable?

Traditional publishing is only romanticized by people who suffered and overcame those obstacles. Good for them. Thankfully there are other options, which I plan to continue pursuing. Life is too short to waste my time knocking on firmly locked doors.

There's room for all of us on everyone's shelves, kindles, nooks, ipads or whatever.

Here's the link to the article if you would also like to be offended by a crusty dinosaur.

I do not plan to read his books.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

technical difficulties

Whattup internets? Long time, no see, primarily due to the massive software failure on my beloved laptop.

I had a weekend that was filled with equal parts awesome and suck.

Awesome? My mimaw bought me a kindle for my birthday! Wooo! I am very excited. I read ebooks before but did so on my ipaq or my blackberry. Both have miniscule screens compared to the kindle. I already have like 15 books on the thing. Reading on it is way cool.

I had two large meals - one fried chicken and one steak!

Gifts included moola, wine, a book, espresso, pie, and a jacket and shoes and (sing it now) these are a few of my favorite thiiiiiings! I am an immensely spoiled girl.

My boy made several cards for me. He's such a sweet pea. He also wrote a play, which he planned to act out with husband and daughter. Unfortunately, he didn't get the participation he hoped for. He didn't seem to mind too much though. He is the happiest little creature I've ever met. I hope he stays that way.

One interesting thing - a couple of the cards he made for me were decorated with stars of David. I'm not sure where he picked those up because we aren't Jewish!

I did get birthday wishes from my girl too, although nothing as enthusiastic as what the boy did.

Now for the suck - I spent most of my three-day weekend working on the damned computers.

My laptop crashed. Boo. I managed to back up most (if not all) of my important files.

I did some research online and discovered the cause of my technical woes was a microsoft update. Thanks a fricking lot, microsoft.

So I located the software patch needed to fix it but my computer kept locking up before it could finish the installation. There was a lot of salty language thrown around.

I finally decided that I had to restore and start completely over. That was a drama in itself. I won't get into it because that would probably be boring. Let's just say it was a pain in the ass.

I also had to work on the boy's computer and some on the desktop. Being the geek squad of the house is sometimes very trying and time consuming.

I didn't get to work on anything I actually wanted to work on - no drawings, no writing. I should have finished the current round of edits on the novella on Saturday. I am now days behind! Argh.

But the good news is, I have fixed all computer issues and am up and running again. Everything seems to be functioning for the moment.

And I breathe.

I might not be on every day this week (obviously I missed monday) due to playing catch-up and various parental duties.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010


I don't have much to talk about today.

Here is the illustration though. Click it if you want to visit the website and print it.

The words in the background are from a public domain novel - Bulldog and Butterfly, by David Christie Murray. The ebook is available on the Project Gutenberg website.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

birthday and other ramblings

My birthday is this weekend! Woooooo!

I await saturday with all the patience and restraint of a six year old.

I got early birthday gifts last weekend - a jacket and a pair of shoes that I've been stalking for like a year. Glorious times.

I have already made demands of my husband for this weekend which include (but are not limited to) a steak dinner with corn, potatoes and Hawaiian rolls. Dessert will likely be cheesecake, but I haven't decided all of the way yet.

And my mimaw is going to buy me a fried chicken lunch! Wheeeeeeeee!!! I truly love fried chicken. It's salty and greasy and kind of crunchy - all at the same time.

And my baby boy has some grand scheme he plans to execute. He has expressed a desire for me to get up super early on birthday morning. The scheme is not contingent on my early rising. He just really wants me to be awake when he's awake. We'll see how that goes.

As for the girl? She's a teenager. I don't think she has any grand mom birthday schemes. I do expect to at least receive a hug and positive birthday wishes.

Whiplash subject change. I don't think I'm doing an October indie review. I have too much reading to do right now. I'm reading Private by James Patterson and then, if all goes according to plan, American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

I poked around for an indie title but didn't see anything that struck my fancy. If anyone has a suggestion for a November indie title, please hit me up via e-mail, include synopsis.

Oh yeah, one more thing. I am going to start sending out release dates for novels and short stories to people who wish to receive them via e-mail. If you would like to receive such updates, please send a blank e-mail with the word 'subscribe' in the subject line to the e-mail address listed above. I promise not to bombard anyone. I really don't write all that quickly.

Tomorrow - illustration plus, um, some words about something. Probably.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Iron Man 2 and How to Train Your Dragon

There were two movies this weekend. I'm just going to do short bits about each.

Iron Man 2
Robert Downey Jr. returns as the superhero. I love the Tony Stark character because he’s equal parts ego, intelligence and eccentricity.

Anyway, in this sequel, we find that the reactor thingy in Stark's chest is killing him because it's unstable and pumping poison into his bloodstream. Too, the government is breathing down his neck about the suit because they consider it a weapon, which it is.

Then Mickey Rourke's crazy ass Russian character, Ivan Vanko, shows up. His father was wronged by Stark's father, so he's out for revenge. Like Stark, he is brilliant. He makes his own iron man suit and attacks. There's more but I'm not going to sit here all day and type this shiz out.

Bottom line - Iron Man 2 is totally awesome. The action is intense, the special effects are amazing, acting is glorious, and the plot is complex but in a wonderful way that adds depth to the story. Iron Man 2 gets A+.

How to Train Your Dragon
Yea, it's a kids' movie, so what.
We actually bought this one for the children, so I guess it's a good thing we liked it!

It's about a kid in a Viking village. The village has a big problem with dragons doing nightly raids on the village, so most of the townspeople spend a lot of time and effort repelling the raids.

When name befriends a dragon he shoots out of the sky, he discovers that the dragons aren't the monsters the Vikings thought they were.

The dragons are kitties!

Now there's a sentence I never thought I would type.

They are reptiles, but there are some major kittyish behaviors such purring and swatting at moving objects, and a catnip-like love of a type of grass. The main dragon, Toothless, even has cat eyes.

How To Train Your Dragon was sweet and funny and filled with action. A+ too!
Yay we all win.

I don't have a set plan this week. I'm flying by the seat of my blog pants.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday working updates + Halloween illustration

The book working has been somewhat erratic this week due to my efforts to finish reading the Lincoln book.

I didn't start actually start editing the novella until yesterday. I nearly forgot one of the most important rules of self-editing - distance yourself from what you wrote (rule knowledge courtesy of DM). I had to put it down for a while.

The week away from the novella also gave me some time to think about the story in a broader sort of way. I changed a character's name and a couple of other things.

Approximate time of finished project: December 1st? That is a reasonable time frame, I think. And the lucky dogs who receive ipads and kindles and similar e-reader devices for christmas will be looking for ebooks shortly thereafter. As always, I reserve the right to change my mind.

I started writing book 2 in the annabeth series too, just a few pages. The first chapter is always the hardest for me. Working everything in, important information and background, is sometimes difficult. I'm not doing a prologue this time. It will be my first novel with no prologue.

What else? Ah, yes. I got a new drawing book! I am finally trying to learn to draw comic book style. I've wanted to learn for years, and I finally committed to buying a book about it. I chose this one.

I don't actually want to draw comic books. However, I would like to do some comic book style illustrations. We'll see how that goes.

Having three projects going is kind of nice. I find my anxiety level is lowest when I have a lot to work on but no looming business deadlines.

And now, here is a Halloween illustration. If you want to print it, click the picture to head on over to my website. It's a freebie.

That's all I have for now.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
By: Seth Grahame-Smith

The novel is a fictional rewriting of Abraham Lincoln's life to include vampires - vampires vicitmizing various members of Abe's family, feeding on slaves, fighting in the civil war, vampires in politics and so on.

I have mixed feelings about this book.

First, what I didn't like.

When I picked up this book, I didn't realize it was written by the same author who wrote Pride Prejuidice and Zombies. If I had noticed, I might not have been interested at all. I don't dig the idea of literary mashups. Stealing mass amounts of someone else's work and changing it around a bit does not consitute writing.

I don't know how much of Vampire Hunter is lifted from other works.

I did notice some less than subtle cues taken from Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire.

We have a Lestat type vampire named Henry Sturges.

We have a vampire who contacts the author (in the story) about writing a novel about Abraham Lincoln’s vampire hunting. He provides the narrator with information. Sound familiar?

We have New Orleans as a hotspot for vampires.

I would be a little pissed off if I were Anne Rice. Please believe that if someone ripped off my story ideas in such an obvious way, I would have zero couth or diplomacy.

Now, what I liked about the novel.

Intriguing premise. Abraham Lincoln is an interesting real life character. You throw some vampires in there and the story gets even more exciting.

I also liked the appearences by famous, historic figures like Virginia Dare and Edgar Allan Poe. I know the stuff about vampires is fictional, but there was enough actual history mixed in that I looked up some of the names to see who some of the people were. Most of the lookups were Lincoln's friends like Ward Hill Lamon. Don't worry, I already knew that Poe and Virginia Dare were real.

The novel was reasonably good, despite the story dragging on a bit toward the end. I wouldn't buy the book (I checked it out from the library) but it was good for a read.

tomorrow: random updates plus a halloween illustration.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the book reviewer/critic rant

A lot of professional reviewers, do not review indie/self published books. They don't just choose to avoid some indie books; they outright refuse to accept any and all review submissions for indie books.


Some of them think they would be inundated with too many submissions.

I don't know about anyone else, but I can figure out if I want to read a book in about 30 seconds to a minute.

And if they don't want the books, they could donate or sell them. Isn't that what they do with the extras anyway?

Some reviewers assume that all self/indie published books are unprofessional garbage.

Last time I checked, indie authors were fully capable of hiring/utilizing editors. Not all of them do, granted. But like I said before, 30 seconds to a minute to choose a book. A reviewer should be able to tell pretty quickly if a book was edited.

These reasons are antiquated and bogus.

What are you afraid of, reviewers? That you might like something out of the ordinary? That your friends and colleagues will scoff at the fact that you read something they didn't? Maybe they won't let you sit at the "cool" table in the cafeteria anymore?

Or are the traditional publishers paying you off? Ah, that is an interesting thought.

Indie novels deserve as much consideration as traditionally published books. I fail to understand how any intelligent person could completely disregard the work of an entire group of creatives based on assumptions.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

movie: The Losers

The Losers is about a team of ex-military guys seeking revenge on the CIA criminal guy who messed up their lives. The movie is based on a DC Comic of the same name.

The Losers is action from start to finish with plenty of shootouts, explosions, and crazy driving. The team: Clay, Jensen (played by human torch guy), Roque, Pooch and Cougar are targeted in Bolivia. Their boss "Max" (also my cat's name) attempts to kill them and assumes they're dead when a helicopter they were supposed to be on is destroyed.

Months later a mysterious woman named Aisha (Zoe Saldana of Avatar) contacts them with a business proposition that involves them killing Max. Of course, they agree.

This movie was great. It was stylish without being snooty artistic, and most of the characters were appealing in various unique ways.

The only aspect of the movie that bugged me was the bad guy. There is zero character development for him, and he comes off more annoying nerd than ominous villain.

Overall, the movie is quite awesome. It gets an A-.

The end of the movie set the story up for a sequel, but I don't think that's going to happen. It made 2 mill less than it cost to make. Boooooo....

Later this week: a rant, book working or random updates, and perhaps a review-ish of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter if I finish it.
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

look what I can do!

Hey there, internets.

Today is kind of a weird post. First we have two instances of Look-What-I-Can-Do.

Please note tabs at the top of the blog. That's right, I learned how to make extra pages on the blog! Yay me! There's a new bio in the About section and information about my writing on the other tabs. I feel quite fancy.

For my next Look-What-I-Can-Do, I hooked up Search Inside the Book on Amazon! Weeeee!!!

Ok, I'm out of look-what-I-can-dos.
I have winners for the giveaway, I promise. I am sending out e-mails shortly. There is one winner of a print copy. I decided to give everyone who entered the drawing a smashwords code for a free copy of the ebook. Everyone is winner winner chicken dinner!
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010


There is this concept in marketing called Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. It's a theory that splits the basic human needs into categories – physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem needs, self-actualization.

Then we take various types of industries and distribute them into the need that they fulfill. Entertainment fits into the belongingness category.

Reading books counts as entertainment. So, we read books to fulfill our need for belonging. That's why a lot people read what everyone else is reading, even if it's garbage. That's why people read what Oprah tells them to and why we have book clubs.

Crowds follow crowds because they say to themselves, hey look at that crowd, there must be something interesting over there!

This is my theory - Traditional publishing creates a crowd using various resources at their disposal. They have the best reviewers and other people in the media who write articles or talk about books.

Marketing isn’t just about visibility; it's about creating a crowd. The book buying crowd follows the reviewer/media crowds. We are all happy, together consumers.


How does an indie author create a crowd? Especially an introverted author like me?

That's the marketing problem I'm working on at the moment.

In other news, I finished the rough draft of the novella today! YAY me! The word count hit just over 12,000, which s not as long as I wanted it to be. There are some parts I need to expand a little - a fight scene here, some character development there. It might hit 15,000 words, but I don't foresee it being any longer than that.

It's not long enough to put on authonomy, alas. Authonomy is for full manuscripts. I might have been able to pass it off if it were, say, 20,000 words, but 12-15,000 is just too short, I think. It barely qualifies as anything more than a really long, short story. Yes, I said 'long, short'. I can say whatever I want because this is my blog.

I do still want to put something I write on authonomy because I think the concept is really cool. I will keep all my luscious readers posted if/when I do.

Novella editing activities begin tomorrow, so I might disappear from the blog for a minute, either that or my posts may dumb down a few notches. Editing really drains the brain.
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Prioritizing Brain and Unrelated Sleaze

Soundtrack of the Day: The Black Keys, Brothers
Planning to Read: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Holy crap. I need to focus.
Lately, my brain is just everywhere. I keep trying to take the writing and the art in all these different directions. I need to slow my roll because I am seriously burning out creatively, and I am way too young for that.

I decided against the separate blog for the art stuff. That's just too much. It creates another obligation that I don't need. I will just draw when I feel like it and post some stuff here occasionally. I have notes for like four novels, which is what I should devote most of my creative energy to.

Anyway, I saw something today that sort of disgusted me.

I am studying book synopses because I’ve decided I want mine to be better. I was on Amazon, researching James Patterson specifically. When I searched his name, the following novel came up in the results.

The Vampire with the Dragon Tattoo

Um, seriously? So, let’s see, we are 1. using James Patterson’s name as a keyword (so this other author comes up when someone searches for JP), 2. ripping off the title The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and 3. capitalizing on the vampire trend.

# 3 is the least disgusting. The other two? Damn, man, have some shred of artistic integrity.

The saddest part is that the kindle edition was in the top 5,000 for sales. That means he is kicking ass when it comes to sales.

It irks me when sleazes win.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Resident Evil

Exploding zombie heads - check
Shit blowing up - check
Annoying characters getting chomped - check

Resident Evil: Afterlife is AWESOME! I loved it, more than 2 and possibly more than 3, but not more than 1.

The beginning of this installment finds Alice invading the Umbrella Japan headquarters with a bunch of robot versions of herself. The robot clone thing is never really explained.

She hangs out with Alan Wesker for a while (fighting and such) and he injects her with a serum that removes her ability to kick ass in an efficient manner and her ability to heal quickly. That change in her character is another aspect of the beginning of the story that doesn't really come up again. Or maybe I need to watch 3 again. I did only see it once.

Anyway, after Alice finishes hanging out with Wesker, she flies a helicopter to Arcadia in Alaska. That was the town Claire Redfield and company were heading for at the end of 3. Someone in Arcadia has been transmitting a signal offering solace from the zombie-ridden rest of the world. I'm not going to run through the whole story. Let's just say, things don't work out as she expected.

So, there weren't many of your regular, run of the mill zombies this time around. Most of them were the crazy looking squid-faced specimens prevalent in the Res4 and Res5 games. Glorious.

There were several television stars in the movie including Ali Larter (Heroes), Wentworth Miller (Prison Break), Kim Coates (also of Prison Break), and Boris Kodjoe (Undercovers).

I didn't think the choice of Wentworth Miller for Chris Redfield was right. In the games, Chris is a huge muscle-bound cop/army guy. I like Wentworth Miller just fine, but he's the wrong type. He doesn't come off as a bad ass.

The effects in the movie were very cool, especially the few slow motion shots. I don't usually like slow motion because it has a tendency to over dramatize. In this case it worked very well.

The few slow motion sequences were also the only parts of the movie in which I think the 3D added to the experience.

I could go on, but I won't. Afterlife was great - A.

I'm feeling a little stuck, creatively, so I don't know if I'll be on much this week. Or maybe I just have Monday feelings. We'll see.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

novella writing update

I hit 10000 words on the novella yesterday! Woo, yay me, all that.

It's going pretty well. I figured out that I can hit about 1000 words a day during the week if I really get going and work through lunch breaks and some in the evening. Editing always takes me 5 times longer than the rough draft though, so it still won't be ready for a while.

I'm considering uploading the novella to authonomy before it goes to amazon and smashwords, etc, just to see what other people think. is a website on which an author can upload manuscripts for reviewers to read and critique. The idea is that a major publishing house might find your manuscript and publish it for reals, like through traditional publishing.

That's not really my end game, but hey, if it happened, I would be a-ok with it!

Anyway, so that whole process will delay the release to smashwords and amazon, but getting input from a completely new audience may help me to improve the writing before it's officially out. And of course, if you register for authonomy, which I'm pretty sure is free, you would be able to read it there earlier, and see whether other people like it or if they rip it to shreds. Exciting!
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