Category Archives: blogs

Blog eMags and You

Okay, so this is my newest plan to keep up with my life. I’m picking some blogs that I definitely must keep up with–the ones that I consistently learn from and recommend on Sundays. And I’m picking a few book blogs to tell me what I should be reading so I can try to keep my head in the reading world, as well as the writer world and up my own–

Anyway, the new plan for not spending all day at this, surfing from one thing to another, was to try reading the blogs on my NOOK Color. I don’t like typing on the device a lot (maybe keeping me from some of my tome-like replies), and the browser is slow which may stop me from surfing too much. Still, must-try book samples are only a few clicks away through the NOOK shop. And I can take my daily news with me if I’m going out. Seems like a plan.

My way of doing that is to use Calibre to make a daily magazine of the blogs I’ve selected. I’ve been an ereading device owner for years now, and I’ve always used the Calibre software for ebook management. I can’t say enough about how awesome this completely free package is. I’m going to take you through how to do this. After I’m done, I’m going to talk a bit about something that may be in your blog settings that makes it harder for your readers to read you this way.

the Fetch News button in CalibreIn Calibre, there is a Fetch News feature. It’s a handy button on the top toolbar. When you click the little arrow beside it, you get a dropdown from which you can select “Add a custom news source.” This brings up the window to create your little digest, magazine, whatever you want to call it. It looks like this:

Window for adding a custom news recipe in CalibreIt calls your new source Unknown News Source. Change that to anything you like. I called mine “Blogs.” Ooh, I know. You could also create different magazines for writer blogs, reader blogs, etc. or Blogs1, Blogs2, so that you could go through your must-reads and move on to the next set of if-I-have-time-reads.

At the bottom of the window there’s a bar for the feed URL. Open up your browser, go to your blogs and start finding those URLs. Most people have the little orange RSS icon at least. When you click it, it will usually take you to the feed page where you see a list of recent articles and the option to use a service to subscribe. Just copy the URL that’s in the address bar and paste it into Calibre. Give the feed a title and click the button to add.

When you’re finished adding feeds, click the Add/Update Recipe button. (A recipe for a magazine is what you just built.) Then close. Calibre may keep asking you if you’re sure, even if you’ve saved everything. Just move on.

Click the arrow next to Fetch News again and select “Schedule news download.” You’ll see a long list of languages with numbers beside them. These are prebuilt news recipes. You’re looking for “Custom.” When you click that, it should drop down and display your new recipe. Select that and you’ll see options to choose how often and when your feeds are downloaded and your magazine is built. You can click “Download now” to see what you’re going to get.

Window to schedule download of news recipe in CalibreTo have this happen automatically, you’ll need to leave Calibre running. In order to really exit Calibre, you have to go to your system tray (that “show hidden icons” thingy with the teeny icons), right click it, and exit it. Otherwise it just keeps running even if you close the window in your taskbar. So that’s not hard. When you use Calibre to move things on and off your device, it’s called side-loading. Before devices had wi-fi or Whispernet, this is how it was done. (You know, back in the day, before the NOOK customer service people were born.)

Device buttons in Calibre toolbarUse the appropriate cable with a USB plug on one end (or however you connect) to hook up to your computer and wait for Calibre to recognize the device and sync. You’ll notice new Device and Send to Device buttons appear on the toolbar. You can see that my SD card also shows up because Calibre will let you move things from the computer to either the main memory or SD card. You can also use Calibre to delete items from your device that you’ve finished reading. If you click the device button, you’ll be able to see the items currently residing on the device. Go back to the library by clicking the Library button.

When your magazine has downloaded, it will be in your library with the title you gave the recipe and the date it was downloaded. I just right-click the entry and select “Send to device–>Main memory.” The transfer takes seconds. Be sure to go to your system tray, right-click the USB icon and choose eject so you can safely disconnect without corrupting the transfer. I dunno, I never had problems with that on the Sony Reader, but yanking out the USB on the NOOK Color seems to be a bad idea.

Once it’s set up, this daily ritual should take you about a minute, and then you can run out the door, catch the train and read some blogs. On a device like Sony Reader, I’m pretty sure it just shows up alphabetically in the title list. On the NOOK Color you’ll find it in “My Files,” “Magazines.” The rest of you are on your own.

Why I Can’t Read Your Blog

If your feed is set to set to show only summaries, summaries are what I get in my magazine. Each entry, whether summary or full text, does have a link to the entry on the web (so you can go read more, comment, etc.), but remember that a) I don’t like my browser, b) I don’t always have wi-fi access when I’m reading blogs, and c) there are still tons of readers out there that aren’t even wi-fi enabled.

To check your feed settings in WordPress, go to your dashboard and scroll all the way down the left side menu to “Settings.” Click “Reading.” Right above the Enhanced Feeds heading there are radio buttons for “Full text” or “Summary.” Make sure full text is selected, save the changes, and I’ll be good to go for reading your blog on the go.

Wordpress page for adjusting Reading in Settings

For Kindle Owners

Kindle owners can subscribe to blogs and have them delivered right to the Kindle. Amazon charges a fee for this convenience, and that fee is shared with the blog owner, similar to the way Amazon pays royalties on books. Not that I expect people have been dying to pay for the privilege of reading this blog, but I have added it to the service.  Find it here or click that link and search for some other favorite blog.

It looks like most subscriptions cost 99¢ or $1.99, but I saw nowhere to set a price so I’m guessing Amazon decides. If you’d like to learn more about making your own blog available for Kindle subscription, check out this article from the Savvy Book Marketer and download the PDF tutorial at the end of the post. (Thanks to Kait Nolan for sending me there.)

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The quick lame post jumped over the lazy blogger…

…and commences making excuses for lack of content. My randomness is spewed below. You have been warned.

Just checking in and saying hey. I had some thoughts for you, but I gave them away. No, really. There were a few things rolling around in my brain from the series last week, so I wrote them down. And then I handed them over to Reena Jacobs who recently asked for indie-related articles for her blog. So you can read my thoughts on the parts of your listing over which you have control, focusing on blurbs and your sample. The post will be titled: Never Too Late To Change.

So that’s tomorrow (Thursday, 10/21). On Friday, I’ve got an interview with Chris Kelly. He’s a writer who’s passionately indie, he’s way into Steampunk, and he’s Scottish. I can’t imagine what more you want, people.

In awesomesauce fan mail news this week, I got an email from a reader in Spain. Yes, Spain! Ok, maybe you don’t think that’s too exciting, but it appeals to my inner need for world domination. Also, last night, yet another of those snarky thanks a lot for making me stay up until the wee hours because I couldn’t put your damned book down emails. Those make me happy.

Speaking of things that make me happy, another book blogger showed Hush Money some love last week while I was out of town and couldn’t tweet about it, so I’ll mention the Fragments of Life review now.

People keep telling me they hate Marco. There should be club. What’s the opposite of a fan club? All I’m coming up with is lynch mob.

I may reach 1000 sales this month. That would be amazing. Because of the number of copies I’ve given away, I’ll almost certainly reach 1000 downloads. But 1000 sales, 1000 people who actually paid money to read my work? I know I say awesome a lot, but come on. Not sure; I might need just a bit of a push in sales to squeak by, but we’ll see.

I’d kind of like to do something, but I’ve no ideas. And no budget. Any ideas what might be fun? (and cheap?)

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Filed under blogs, book blogs, Hush Money, ideas, Laws of the Universe, links, love, me me me, progress update, Signs, Talent Chronicles, tips, writing

Increasing Your Kindle Rank: Cover Art and Your Website

Here we are at the end of the week (well, it’s the end of the week for you; for me it’s Tuesday, I think, and while you’re reading this I’m probably spending quality time with my mom and boring the crap out of her about stuff like kindle ranks and DRM and all that stuff she listens to with feigned interest), with what I think is the last post in this series. If you’re new, I introduced this topic last Saturday, yammering about cracking the Kindle top 1000.

(Also, if you’re new to my blog and commenting for the first time, I’d like to let you know that I’ve written this post ahead and scheduled it. I don’t plan to be online to moderate comments until late Saturday or Sunday, but if you’re moved to reply, please don’t let that stop you!)

Why Cover Art Is Important

Before releasing my book, I was definitely of the mindset that cover art was not a deal-breaker. I was in the process of getting professional cover art, because I seriously lack graphic design skillz, but I didn’t think it was such a big deal. After all, if people I trust tell me a book is great, I’m not going to care what the cover looks like, and that’s the biggest factor for me in reading new-to-me authors.

But I finished Hush Money, it was all edited and shined up, I was learning about formatting, and I was almost ready to go. It was time for me to start talking about the book, what I’d been doing, getting people interested in the release, and I had nothing to show. (At that point I ended up leaving the artist who wasn’t able to get the job done, and going to Robin Ludwig.)

While we do a LOT of reading words on the internet, it’s also very image-oriented. You see that, right? Think of one of your virtual friends, someone you chat with, a Twitter friend, maybe a blogger or a regular commenter to your blog. What image comes to mind? Their avatar. When I was very active on LJ, I had all these dear friends whom I really thought of as Star Trek alien girl, funny old man girl, and Joan Jett. And I’d be kinda shocked when people changed their long-standing avatar. When we think of people and things, we sort of need a visual placeholder.

I didn’t have that for Hush Money, or for me, as a writer. I think it helps to have that, and to have it as early as you can create it so you start building that graphic representation in the mind of your future reader. Of course, it helps to know what the book is going to end up being about before you run out and make the cover for it.

Thoughts That Went Into the Hush Money Cover

In my mind, cover art should be:

  • Professional quality
  • Genre-appropriate
  • Unique in some way
  • Related to the book
  • In some way intriguing to the reader
  • Able to tie into future books in some way to create a brand appearance

It’s not always going to be easy to do all these things, but they’re things that Robin and I were trying to keep in mind as we developed the cover together.

Robin sent me a few mockups early in the process that I rejected on the basis of genre-appropriateness. They were great, very professional attempts. But they were not the kind of covers that I would expect to see when browsing Teen Paranormal. I was looking at a lot of vamp books:  Twilight, Vampire Academy, House of Night..dark covers, soft edges, attractive girls. I told Robin, “I don’t want another white-throated young female vamp cover, but something with similar elements.”

I think it helps when a book stands out without looking out of place. Two things help my cover in that way. One is the Talent Chronicles stripe. When I talked about elements I had seen and liked, I mentioned that I was sometimes drawn to covers with that colored band element with the author and/or title on it. I had also mentioned branding, that I’d like to have a way to tie the books in the series together. Robin’s red, vertical stripe gives me that way to brand going forward, but it’s also pretty eye-catching, isn’t it? The other thing that’s kind of unique is Joss’s “hush” gesture. You’re like wait, why do you want me to be quiet? or What’s the big secret? And the “hush” gesture relates to the title. And to thence to the book. So hopefully, that makes you want to know more, maybe enough to read the description.

So I hope that gives you some things to think about when developing covers, and gives you some ideas you can take to your artist. [cough]go to Robin[cough]

Because Robin is so full-service, she also made my website elements that match my book cover: background, header, avatar. They’re very pretty. I don’t actually know enough about web design to really talk about them beyond, ooh pretty, though. What I think is most important in the look of a website is: can I read it?

Some website Do Nots, IMHO

If you want me to hang out on your site, do not make it hard on my eyes. You may be 22, but I’m not.

  • Avoid putting lots of text on dark backgrounds, especially colored text.
  • Avoid like the plague putting text on a patterned background.
  • Don’t assume everyone’s running at your speed, you don’t need every widget ever made
  • On a related note, don’t assume everyone will wait for your pages to load
  • When choosing security/anti-spam features, remember that no one wants to fight to leave you a comment

Remember to include

  • Easy ways for me to subscribe. Give me choices. Do you know I don’t subscribe to most blogs at Blogspot because most don’t offer an email signup? (Of course, I’m also turned off a lot of Blogspot blogs because they have every widget known to man, so pages take forever to load, and leaving comments is often a struggle.)
  • All your information. Make it one-stop info shopping. Do you know I’ve visited author blogs, where the blog is not integrated with the website, and the blog doesn’t even have a link to the website? And the website is where the rest of the info is.
  • Descriptions of your works. I’m at your site, checking you out. I see three book covers with no descriptions or anything. I click the most interesting one, and it takes me to Amazon (and uses the same window!). Now I have left your site and am wandering Amazon. What if I never come back to check out those other books? One of them might have snagged me, but we’ll never know. It’s your website. It’s all about you. This is not the place to be shy about talking about yourself.
  • Tell visitors you’re a writer. No, really. You don’t know how they stumbled on your site. A while back, someone asked for opinions on a blog/website they had just set up. I went to look at it. A lot of work went into that thing, but nowhere on the landing page had this person made it clear to the visitor that the site was about a series of books he was writing.

Why the blog-centered website?

When I visit author websites, it’s usually because I want to know the reading order of books in the series because the geniuses at the publishing house listed the authors works freaking alphabetically at the front of the book. Destroying any chance that I would pick up that book while it was in my hand at the store, btw. Seriously, that kind of information is generally my only reason for looking up an author site.

When an author keeps a blog, there are two things going on. One is that the author is attempting to engage the audience between books, on another level, about different topics. The other is that the author is potentially being discovered by other citizens of the internet, some of whom may become readers. Changing content and varied topics, make it more likely that posts will get picked up by search engines, and bring in those new readers. Lots of them? Probably not, unless you’re a fab blogger like Mr. Konrath. And even for him, lots of us love his blog but don’t buy too many thriller novels. So becoming a fabulous blogger should not be the totality of anyone’s marketing plan. But every little bit helps, right?

Another reason is that developing at website, at least with WordPress.com, is really easy. I mean, really. You have your blog, but you can also make all kinds of static pages for whatever you want. You can make one of those static pages your landing page, just like a lot “regular” websites.

If you want to have your own domain name, you register and pay for that through a separate company, like GoDaddy. Then you come back to your WordPress.com blog and you pay WordPress $10 a year to associate your content with that name. Not necessary, but also not hard.

This, by the way, totally covered in @kristenlambTX’s We Are Not Alone.

You can still decorate a WordPress-based website all pretty, with a header that establishes brand, and you can use lots of widgets in your sidebar (though there are a lot of widgets that don’t work, grr, but then see above about Blogspot blogs) to advertise and direct traffic elsewhere, etc. It’s always easy to add pages and make changes.

I have another website, fairly dormant at the moment, for my doll stuff (which I need get back to someday). That’s one I’ve built, with website design software (hopelessly outdated, but still), pay for monthly hosting, and it has a self-hosted blog attached to it. It’s not rocket science, but doing this site through WordPress.com has been a lot simpler, it looks more professional, and it leaves me time to write and stuff.

This was another one that probably could have been two posts, but hey, why wait? Now you can go get back to work. I hope this series has been helpful for you. Thanks for stopping by.

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Filed under blogs, books, Hush Money, Increasing Kindle Rank, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, tips, tools, writing

Blueprint Series Part 4: Story World

Welcome back. And, if you’ve just arrived, I’m doing this series explaining the story blueprint I use. I’ve got a link to the file on my download page–see tab above. Click here for Part 1.

So today we’re on Story World, which is pretty straightforward in terms of understanding my questions. Which are:

Step 4: Story World

  1. In what time period is your story? (Current day, historic period, future, alternate reality…) Jot down some things you know about the time period in which your story takes place and how that will affect the story and/or characters.
  2. Where does your story take place? (Town, country, planet, school…) Jot down a general idea of the world in which your story takes place and how the world itself will affect the story and its characters.
  3. Are there background or details about your story world that will impact the story and/or characters? (Politics, regional history, layout, flora/fauna, ethnic influences, socio-economic differences, wars, tech…)
  4. What season is it? Are there any weather events, climate, or holiday details that will impact the story?
  5. Location, location, location. Jot down some of the locations you can already envision in your story, and any details you see as important.

You can spend as much time on Story World as you want. You can get incredibly detailed here. The thing of it is that the more brilliant stuff you come up with, the more you’ll be tempted to put it into your story, whether it actually enhances it or not. So BEWARE.

That said, there’s a lot of stuff that goes on in a novel. In addition to your plot, your subplot, your characters, their relevant backstories, their interpersonal relationships, you’ve also got to be a director, dialectician (possibly not a word), a costume designer, and, yes, a set designer. So don’t forget that we do need to have a sense of place in your story. Sometimes working through your locations outside of the story will keep those details at your fingertips to be inserted when you need them, rather than the info-dump that often occurs when you’re designing on the fly.

Let me know when you’re done describing the curtains so I can get back to reading your story…

Yeah, just don’t go there.

For some of you, story world is everything. And I’ll confess that I LOVE a good world-building. I love the endless surprises that can happen in a fantasy world. While I choose books for character development and relationships, the books I remember are most often the ones that also delivered a richness of place.

Author Larry Brooks has a nice article about thinking of the concept of “Arena”. It’s about how thinking of telling a story from a specific time and place, one that has critical impact on its events and characters, can really elevate a story to greatness. (This is an awesome blog for writers. Subscribe while you’re there.)

And that’s kind of what I want you to take away from this part of the series. When you’re developing these places for your story world, really give thought to how those details may be relevant to the story you plan to tell. Sometimes details are just there for the sake of detail, and that’s ok. Often that’s your subconscious at work, and those details are picked up and made relevant later on–in the story or in the series. Finding the balance between a rich sense of place and boring the crap out of your reader with your inner Martha is something to strive for. Part of that balance can happen at this stage by finding ways to connect story and place at this stage.

If you need more help with world-building, you might check out that section of Lynn Viehl’s Novel Notebook.

In our next episode, we’re going sketch out your Main Plot Points. I’ll be doing an overview on some story structure basics to get through it.

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Series Update

Book 2 just keeps coming at me. 

I came up with a supporting character for this book who I figured would probably get a bigger part later on. 

While I was out grocery shopping the other day, because driving is often good for my head, I had an idea for a hero.  Just a sense of a guy, what he looked like, and what his ability was.  I had to text (I’m really lousy at creating text messages, btw) the idea to Kettle to make sure I didn’t forget it. 

In notes from forever ago, I always knew there would be a child in the series.  One about whom I knew almost nothing and called “special child”.  The other night when Kettle and I were brainstorming, I decided that the child was someone they encountered on this mission that’s been giving me so much trouble.  But because the mission was failing, they weren’t able to rescue the child, so s/he would become the focus of another book.

Then I said hey, let’s put this character and this character together and have them go after the child in the next book.

And that’s how we got to doing that sort of overview of Book 2.

Last night I blogged as the heroine of that story and loved what I got from it.  I was really pleased with the complexity of the relationship.

Last night I said that I wished I was as excited about Book 1 as I am about Book 2.  This morning Kettle suggested that I just write Book 2 first.  With only a week to Nano, I just don’t know if I’m ready to jump into it, and I think it will be even better for my spending some time in their world in Book 1.

 Today, while doing that exercise thing, I got a huge amount of backstory on the hero.  Came home and spent an hour writing it down and am so excited about it.

I’m supposed to be sewing a gorgeous Halloween costume for my daughter.  In the immortal words of Dante Hicks:

“I’m not even supposed to be here today.”

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Filed under blogs, COD, ideas, love, NaNoWriMo, progress update, Sweat 2, writing

Write What You Can Sorta Relate To

Cliches.  Sometimes as a cliche matures, it kinda takes on a life of its own.  Not too long ago I read:

They’re often tired similes and metaphors that no longer inspire comparative thought (“a drop in the bucket”). 

Thing about it is, when a phrase is carelessly tossed around enough, people stop talking about what it means.  And they carelessly assume that everyone knows or that it’s perfectly obvious.  And, can you imagine, people sometimes do this when providing instruction and advice?

This came up recently when Kettle and I went back and forth on the topic of Write Like You Talk, and in the end what I had to say was that it’s like that chestnut: Write What You Know.  It may not be the simple, straightforward advice it seems, and maybe one ought to think twice before dispensing it without explanation.  No drive-by, hit and run advice for impressionable writers. 

So after that, Kettle said: you should really write a post about your issues with the whole Write What You Know thing; she said she had some thoughts on that herself.  And I filed it away and tried to forget about it, and I can’t tell you how many times it’s popped up since.  Ok.  I give.  Here’s the post.

Not too long ago, I was participating in an online group for amateur writers and the subject came up: I want to write, but everyone says Write What You Know and I feel like I haven’t got enough experience to write anything yet.  And others chimed in with yes, they had that same issue, and since they only wrote from their own experience, it made them feel trapped, and like they were so limited on what kinds of stories they could tell. 

I totally related to what they were saying, because I used to feel that.  Everyone says that, and for some people, on some basic level, it sinks in in a very literal way.  I don’t know at what point I got my head straight on it, but I think it came during a period in which I read a lot of fantasy and it hit me: Anne McCaffrey has never been to Pern nor had dragon hormones influence her sex life.  Yet here’s this incredibly detailed world with a complex society and an entire history and development of the society and it’s people–and she’s never been there!  How can this be? 

[I don’t want to discuss how people “see” or “live in” different worlds in their heads.  I don’t discount that by any means, but it is not the topic I’m on here, ok?]

For some people, it’s always been obvious.  Write What You Know never gave them pause.  Others have found themselves shackled by a simple misunderstanding.  So I’m going to try to explain what it means to me now.

I think what makes Pern or any other story world real to us is the author’s ability to allow us to relate to it and the characters who inhabit it.  This is true, not just for fantasy worlds, but for stories set in our own world as well, not just for worlds, but for characters.  The more relatable–er, accessible is probably the right word–the elements of the story are to the reader, the more the reader is going to connect with the story, suspend disbelief, feel with and for the characters.

And here’s where Write What You Know comes in for me.  If you want to write a story about someone being stalked by a psychopath or chased by a killer or hunted by a demon, does that mean that if those things have never happened to you, you can’t write it?  No.  When you’re writing those scenes, what does your character feel?  Fear.  We’ve all felt fear.  Maybe we don’t know bone-deep, life-and-death, stone-cold, insert other hyphenated cliche terror here, but we know what fear feels like.  And, as writers, we remember that, we allow ourselves to experience that again, and we describe it as vividly as we can through the eyes of our character in his or her current situation.  Same thing goes for embarrassment, hate, love, longing, grief…  You write your character into the situation, and you feel it for them.  Remember how your heart pounded, how you felt dizzy, how you thought you’d never make it through the moment or didn’t want to or didn’t want it to end.  And make us feel it too.

Write What You Know is about emotions.  Because emotions are what is common in the human experience.  We all have our different histories, stories, backgrounds and experiences that we bring with us every time we pick up a book to read.  But the feelings we’ve felt when X happened to us are very similar to the feelings that Jane Doe had when a very different and yet sort of the same Y happened to her.  So we can pick up the same book and, if it’s done well, we’re probably going to be able to feel the same feelings for the character as well.  Cool, huh?

While we sometimes think that imagination in books is all on the shoulders of the writer, it kinda isn’t.  The writer built the exhibit, and the writer’s your tour guide through it.  But as the reader, it’s up to your own imagination to experience it, isn’t it?  It’s a joint venture, from her head to yours via your shared experience.

There’s no question that experience can enrich your writing.  It’s only logical that the more you bring with you, the more you’ll have to work with.  But it’s not necessarily true that whoever comes with the most life experience will write the best book.  After all, people are walkin’ around all over the place, having all kinds of experiences they can’t possibly begin to put into words.  (Read a few random blogs today, see you if you don’t get what I’m saying.) 

Don’t let youth and/or inexperience stop you from writing, and telling the story you want to tell.  And don’t ever let anyone tell you that you haven’t done enough to be a writer.  You’ve survived this life this long, you’ve got stuff inside you.  Make believable characters others can relate to by writing your own experience into them.  Now go Write What You Know.

Kettle’s written on the same topic today.  Go check it out.

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Filed under blogs, ideas, insecurities, Kettle chat, love, rant, writing

Thursday Thirteen #3: 13 Kick-Ass Fictional Females

Thirteen Kick-ass Fictional Females
(an incomplete and imperfect list in no particular order)
1. Eve Dallas (JD Robb’s –in Death books)
2. Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series)
3. Wonder Woman (TV series)
4. La Femme Nikita (TV series)
5. Queen Aeron (Kennealy-Morrison’s Keltia books)
6. the Anita Blake who was (early books in the LK Hamilton series)
7. Max (Dark Angel TV series)
8. Zoe (Firefly TV series, Serenity movie)
9. Rhapsody (E Haydon’s Symphony of the Ages books)
10. Lyra (Pullman’s His Dark Materials books)
11. Lessa (McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books)
12. Isabeau (K Forsyth’s Witches of Eileannan books)
13. Ripley (Alien movies)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, click Mr. Linky to leave the link to your Thirteen.

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Filed under blogs, books, thursday thirteen

Interesting Bloggy Stuff

I’ve been reading a bunch of interesting things lately, and was thinking: hmmm, maybe I’ll post them.  Then I was thinking, damn, wish I’d been saving them all along. 

This led me off on a tangent about how Lynn Viehl has to be the most organized person on the planet.  She often posts lists of interesting and helpful links a PBW, leading me to believe she must be some kind of born-organized (BO to flybabies), natural note-taker.  I suppose she’d have to be.  The other day I said to Kettle: “[expletive-heavy phrase deleted]! She writes nine books a year and restores quilts too?”  /tangent

So anyway, here are some interesting things I’ve been reading lately:

Kettle pointed me to this post at Women of Mystery which lists a number of interesting, writerly blogs.

That lead me to 101 Reasons to Stop Writing, so funny, and this post in particular which, after the hilarity faded and I dried my eyes, left me with a nervous suspicion about subconsious Star Wars fanfic themes in my writing.

The other day, Alison Kent excerpted from and linked to a post at Access Romance about graphic violence in the romance genre.  It was both interesting and intelligent without being highly intellectualized, as such discussions so often are.  Hurray for that.

At Murder She Writes, Deborah LeBlanc posted Madeline L’Engle’s acceptance speech for the 1963 Newberry Award.  I’m not even going to try to tell you what’s in it.  If you’ve never read it, go.

And shopping!  I know some of you don’t even want to think about Christmas.  So don’t.  But maybe when you’re ready you’ll remember ThinkGeek for all those geeks in your life whose vocations and hobbies you can’t even begin to comprehend.

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Thursday Thirteen #2: 13 Stories I Want to Share With My Daughter

I think I’ve mentioned around here somewhere that I have trouble making myself finish books outside of a particular genre. And yet, when I make myself stick with them, there are so many stories I’ve loved outside of my reading comfort zone. I have it in my head that when my daughter starts sitting still for longer stories or starts reading on her own, that I’ll be able to find some discipline and share some of these books with her. So a list of 13 of the books or series on my shelves right now that I want to read with my little girl.

Thirteen Things about books I can’t wait for B to read
Some I’ve started and have yet to finish:
1. L. Frank Baum’s Oz books
2. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series
3. Susan Cooper’s Dark Is Rising Sequence
4. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
5. Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl books
6. Arabian Nights
7. Kipling’s The Jungle Book
Some I’ve yet to even start:
8. JM Barrie’s Peter Pan
9. Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story
Some I look forward to rereading:
10. Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women
11. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time series
12. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden
13. Johanna Spyri’s Heidi
Have more favorites?
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
Don’t forget to click here and leave you name with Mr. Linky

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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The Seventy Days Goodie Box

You may remember that a few weeks ago I won the 70 Days drawing for a goodie box from Jo Leigh.  It came yesterday, but I’m just now getting a chance to get pictures uploaded and show it off.

all itemsIt was a box packed with stuff- books, bath stuff, tea stuff, journal stuff.

mug journal penThere was a mug with a tea-brewing insert, a leather bound journal, and fountain pen…

bath stuff…a bunch of bath stuff, including a pillow, four, pretty, butterfly-shaped soaps, a bathball–Romance in a Stone–and one of those scrubby things I’m sure has a name…

 books

 …and what you want to know about, books.  Autographed copies of Viva Las Bad Boys by HelenKay Dimon, Discarded Promises by Candice Poarch, Closer and Kidnapped! by Jo Leigh.  Also a pocket-sized version of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones

This was really above and beyond, Jo!  Thank you so much!

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