Category Archives: Books

Wednesday Ramble and a ROW80 update

English: A photo montage protesting censorship.

Image via Wikipedia

 

While you probably don’t want a rant starting out your Wednesday reading, for writers and readers alike, this stuff matters.  Perhaps some of you use Smashwords to get your ebooks.  Do any of you read erotica?  Do you write it perhaps?  Does this erotica include “questionably explicit content”?

 

This shouldn’t be news, but it is… again.  PayPal (and supposedly its backers) want to know so they can stop allowing transactions for such books.  Now Smashwords claims that PayPal is working with them, however, given the financial company’s history (links included below), I smell a rat.  PayPal has frozen accounts for many sites on its own moral ground and has not, before this, made a point of blaming a third-party (indeed, there is no actually stated third-party, just “credit card companies”) for most of these things.  I could go on about this seems to coincide with the recent attacks to disband most of the Occupy Camps that have been discretely noted on the news so that almost no one knows of them.  Personally, I’m sure there is connection, just as there is probably a connection with the careful ignorance to studies about health issues caused by GMO products and the sudden media attention to the assumed nuclear threat from Iran.  But this isn’t a conspiracy theory blog, and for now, I’ll just use those things as inspiration for my fiction about alien worlds and how characters who have suffered severe childhood trauma still achieve great things (complete with all the questionable elements that will make it unpublishable on Smashwords).

Even without any other factors involved…  Censorship stinks!

 

Censorship Relevant Links:

 

However, let me add one more thing here…  I, personally, have had very few problems with PayPal.  One, once, long ago when I lost $20 that I’d had in a former X.com account before PayPal bought them out.  And perhaps I could have been more aggressive about demanding my money, but life was interfering and it seemed less important than finding a place to live and a job at the time.  But that doesn’t mean I like their treatment of others.

But that’s enough ranting for now.  Let’s move on to some….

Fun Stuff!

 

Here’s a general mash-up of (some!!!!) things that caught my fancy this week… stuff that I hoped you would enjoy with me:

Do you like illusions?  My son does.  And as luck would have it, I found a whole blog of illusions to look through with him.  This one looked particularly nifty being a papercraft project we could work on together in the near future. (from Mighty Optical Illusions):   And here is a neat video of a similar project:  See through you, I can.

If you are anything like me, reading is second nature and sometime more important than eating and breathing (though almost always more important than sleeping).  Well, thanks to Lloyd Shepherd and the Guardian here are 10 interesting “alternative history” books to explore.  (And here I’d hoped to trim down my Amazon wishlist this month….)

Jeff Goins often makes a stir online with his blog and Tweets, many of which I find myself reviewing on occasion.  His recent Writer’s Manifesto is out, and he’s asking people to read it and to write their own.  Bring somepassion back into your fiction.  (And, could someone, please tell me why I cannot seem to write the word manifesto without wanting to add an ‘r’ at the end?)

 

Introverts…  Extroverts…  Perverts (added because of the rant above)…  All these ‘verts’ out there!  So what kind of Vert are you?  If the stereotype is true, many writers are introverts.  I consider myself one, especially given this commonality with other introverts: while I love being around people, I get easily drained and happily enjoy staying on the periphery where I can watch, but not be directly involved  Do you think Introverts should be taught differently than Extroverts?  Would it encourage those things that define introversion and make socialization more difficult? (I often think ‘The Experts’ believe that; you wouldn’t believe the regime that we’ve been directed to use with our son because of his mild Aspergers.  Then, again, perhaps some of you would.  What do you think?  And should I start a whole post about this on A Garden of Delights about this topic so you can share you experiences?  I would love to hear them.)

 

Good world building comes not just from designing pieces of a society according to your desires, but through making these pieces into something other people can relate to.  While this doesn’t directly involve writing, a lot of world building involves giving accurate impressions of different social classes–a fascinating slide show on what a $1 a day really means in survival and food.

When Expectation and Truth clash the Heart is often the loser.  The pain in Ingrid’s voice here is so very clear, and so easy to relate to.  While we all know that real love and universal acceptance of each other’s foibles is difficult for everyone (if not impossible for some), we seldom consider how difficult and heartbreaking it can be to realize that the person we love is who they are because they will NOT give into our desires.

I found this post delightful, mostly because I write stories like this.  My characters are who they are, and they don’t want to compromise what has made them who they are…  at least not just because they have fallen in love with an ideal, not a person (yes, I assume one could say that all characters are cast as “ideals, not people”….

 

Making a blog into a real author’s platform doesn’t come naturally to the medium, and it’s probably something that many of us not have considered (I certainly hadn’t, but then I was in it for the social experience at the time).  But like most people who love to write and write stories, I do have aspirations of eventual publication and some small amount of money coming from my writing.  It’s a good idea to consider how that will best happen.  So using this page at Jane Friedman’s site, I hope to revamp both Many Worlds and A Garden of Delights.  I also am looking at some of Jane Friedman’s other pages on blogging and authoring, starting here with the (what else) Get Started Guide.

 

Has anyone else heard of Dirty Fighting in Writing?  Well, if not, head over to More Cowbell by Jenny Hansen and get yourself a piece of the action.  Now with MORE words!

 

And lastly, because, while I don’t write romances (as in no “happily every afters” guaranteed), I do write about characters who fall in love (and out of love) and about love that must be because of the Fickle Finger of Fate or something, I wanted to share this post from Alien Romances.  (I’m not sure about the author quoting an article about violence and video games that states professional organizations but links to no actual studies.).  What are your opinions on strong characters?  Does being unwilling to change one’s behavior in an emergency necessarily make one strong or simply stubborn?

Did I just say “And lastly“?  Oh, no, no, no…  I still have to give a…

Row80 check-in

Writing and Editing:

  • 500 words a day on my WiPs — behind somewhat, trying to finish other obligations
  • Typing 5 pages per week — 6 pages done already
  • Edit 2 full pages a day — behind today, made other days
  • prepare and post one full blog post per week on each of my blogs — on track

Social Media:

  • #teamsprinty and #ROW80 word sprints at least 3 times a week — did it!
  • check new blog posts1 (one) day a week–Thou shalt not live on the computer! — failed
  • stop Facebooking and other time killers after 1/2 hour once in morning; once at night — did “okay” (45 minutes), still needs improving
  • exception– to return direct messages (I’ll still have email and Tweets on in the background) — getting batter at this, am going to try to set up Tweetdeck again and see if that helps

Lifestyle:

  • Get out of the house and enjoy life!  — Didn’t really “get out of house”, but took some personal time to read and relax, be myself and catch up on things that make life easier.  Tomorrow is my son’s birthday, and several school events are coming up over the week…  Sunday’s check-in could be interesting
  • Keep dancing! — Been doing a happy dance at least once a day because of my wonderful family
  • Take pictures  — no pictures
  • Hug and savor my family…  especially my family. — of course I did this!  😉

There it is…  LOTS of stuff.  Hope you were happily entertained.

 

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Tuesday Snippet and Globolinks needed

Help,  Help,…

Once upon a time, many, many years ago, I had a very strange book.  Or at least I thought it was very strange….in that cool “I don’t know what it’s about but it weirds out my parents, so I’m keeping it” way.  It is called Help, Help, the Globolinks!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to keep it back then.  My mother was very adept at making certain books disappear.  Of course, now that I’m older and know about the opera it was based on, I sort of understand why she did it.  Not that I agree with her reasons, but I understand them.  And fortunately I did just find it via Amazon and Google, and now it’s on my wishlist for anyone who might be interested!

But I’m still looking for a few other books from my childhood that I would love to have.  And unlike the Globolinks, I don’t have a cool name or title to search for.  But if anyone recognizes a story that sounds something like this summary, please let me know:

A family of four lovebirds. The birds, from le...

Image via Wikipedia

The main character is a lovebird, kept by an old man.  He’s sad, wishing he had a friend.  Then one day lovebirds from the moon come and he wants to go away with them, but the old man cages him out of fear of losing his friend.  Eventually the bird gets away.

I wish I could remember more of it.   I do know that it was because of this book that I fell deeply in love with the idea of someday having a pair of lovebirds.  Never a solitary bird…

So, if you have a clue as to what this book was called, please…  Please let me know. Continue reading

Sunday, Sunday, Monday Morning 12am

Well F***

This about sums it up

This is almost a “nothing to report” report.  It’s not as if I didn’t do anything since Wednesday.  Actually, I did a lot.  I even did a lot of writing.  This is actually a “I can’t think of what I did now and put it into coherent words at the same time” report.

Ever have days like that?

Instead of getting frustrated with myself or spending my entire evening trying to get my head together, I’m going to leave it at “I have a feeling that some things got forgotten, but that things probably aren’t even close to as bad as they seem right now“.  I know I got stuff done.

I got a lot of writing done, including that so very valuable “intimate time with my characters” I needed to get.    Not as much as I’d hoped, but enough to fuel the fires for the future.

I’m plowing through my reading material (five books in progress at the moment, since I added my collection of Unabridged Grimm’s Fairy Tales for another challenge and The Fiction Writer’s Workshop to add a “craft book” balance to the list).   Add that to reading blogs and news and general research…  It’s a good thing I love to read.  It’s a bad thing that I haven’t figured out how to fit enough hours in a day for all the reading I would like to do.  I’m thinking of experimenting again with books on tape for those long drives I have to make to bring my son to school.  We’ll see.  It’s not a choice that will be popular with the five year-old voting public, but we’ll see. Continue reading