Tuesday, January 17, 2006

In Which PBW Cracks Wise, and Caridad Needs a Cover

Is the publishing industry just like high school? God, I hope not, but PAPERBACK WRITER, aka author Lynn Viehl, goes out of her way to convince us.

Now I know what to put on the wish-list for my upcoming birthday:

"Slinky, black leather ensemble."
"Bullhorn for more efficient assembly disruption."

My husband will be so...confused.

In other news, my buddy and wonderful crit partner, Barb Ferrer, writing as Caridad Ferrer for the Young Adult market, has her own page on both Amazon and SimonSays. What she doesn't have is a COVER for the book in question,

"Does a seventeen-year-old from Miami have what it takes to be the next big Latin superstar? And does she really want it?

As a talented singer-guitarist with a dream of going pro, Alegría Montero is getting fed up with the endless, boring parade of Quinces and other family party gigs. She’s longing for something bigger. And Oye Mi Canto—a new reality TV show that’s searching for the next Latin superstar—is definitely that. Ali figures she’ll never make the cut, but auditioning seems like a good way to get her overprotective father to take her ambitions seriously.

To Ali’s complete shock, she passes her audition. Next thing she knows, she’s dealing with wardrobe fittings, cameras, reporters, vocal coaches, and websites designed by lovestruck fanboys. She’s also dealing with jealousy, malice, and sabotage among the contestants, all of which has her wondering: Is it really time to shoot for the stars and try to win the whole competition, or is it time to say 'Cut!' and become a normal teenager again?"

I've read this book. Parts of it, two and three times. It never got old, and I haven't read YA fiction since I was a YA, and even then...

Good book. Sharp, funny, poignant, sassy, with a lead character you'll wish you'd been at seventeen.

So let's all take a moment a say a short prayer to the Goddess of Good Covers, shall we? Any day now...

And while you're at it, consider pre-ordering, either for yourself or for the teen in your life.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Moon, She Waxes...

...and the chicas, they brawl.

Over stooopid shit, like "do Amazon reader reviews matter?"

And "should romance readers review romances?"

(Say that five times fast with a mouthful of Sucrets Cherry Throat Lozenges. Without drooling. Can't be done.)

And "does MaryJanice Davidson suck?"

My humble (yeah, right) opinion, if anyone cares:

Amazon reader reviews matter to the extent that they are part of "word of mouth." A large part? Beats me. I understand that Amazon sales account for only a small percentage of overall book sales, but I also know that folks read Amazon reviews before going to bricks-and-mortar stores to make purchases. So.

I believe the author in question was unwise to request that the negative review be taken down from her book's Amazon page. Also, I think she was unwise to publicly plead with friends and acquaintances to "bump" the review with glowing praise for the book. Do I think this makes her SPAWN OF SATAN?? Of course not. Get a friggin' grip, people. This is a first-time-in-print author who overreacted to a negative review. She needs to toughen up. The rest of us need to lighten up.

Romance readers SHOULD review romances, without a doubt. The reviews themselves will be of varying value, just as the readers themselves are of varying tastes. You learn to pick and choose amongst the wheat and chaff of reader reviews, just as with anything else.

As to the original review (for Kate Douglas's WOLF TALES) that initiated this conflagration, I have issues with it not because it isn't an honest opinion of the work in question, but because it goes beyond criticizing the book and suggests that the reviewer is disgusted by anyone who DOES or MIGHT like the book. That, to me, crosses the line from offering fair-minded criticism to just being unpleasant and seeking to damage. (I offer this as my opinion only. I assume the author of the review will respect that, as she's been so staunch in defending HER right to publish HER opinion.)

On the subject of MJD, I must recuse myself. I've met her and found her utterly charming and hilariously self-deprecating. Even in disagreeing with her, I cannot call her motives into question. I can only assume those who are reading nastiness into her snark are missing her humor, which is sad. For them. See above, re: lighten up.

The January full moon, which comes upon us at 4:48 tomorrow morning, is known as the Wolf Moon. Get that Alpha Bitchery out of your systems now, chicas.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Behold the Whiny Loser

I'm cold, I'm hot, I'm sweaty, and everything seems sort of out-of-focus, even when I remember to wear my glasses.

If you squozed me, bad oozy green stuff would shoot out every hole in my head.

And tick...tick...tick...the sound of a deadline approaching. Only three days away now -- the Amber Heat Wave Contest, which I'm determined to enter, even if my entry itself turns out to be incoherent, TheraFlu-overdose induced drivel.

At any moment, I expect my husband to threaten to hide my VICKS™ Sinex™ 12 Hour Nasal Spray if I don't stop hitting it like a crack pipe. Ha. Let him. Like any good addict, I keep a stash.

I'm looking forward to the moment when I hit "send" on this puppy and can indulge in a shot of the good stuff. That's right, you heard me: Original formula NyQuil™, complete with full alcohol content. The stuff of legend. Got a bottle with an unbroken seal in the back of the linen closet, just waitin' on me. Yeah, it's so far past its expiration date that it's probably toxic in full-dose form, but I'm not afraid.

Though I do wonder how much I could get for it on eBay...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

"Busy old fool, unruly sun..."

The sun is shining.


How can I be expected to concentrate on my current WIP with all those bright little beams bouncing off the shards of ice that cling to the brown, barren branches just outside my window?

What's that you say? Draw the shades? But I'll still know it's there -- and do you KNOW how long it's been since I've SEEN sunlight unfiltered by pearly gray clouds?

Conventional wisdom has it that Seattle, Washington is the Gray/Drizzly/Rainy Day Capital. But statistically speaking, my particular corner of my particular region of my particular state is, in fact, the Depressing Weather Champ. And in winter? Let's just say the local pharmacies never let the Prozac and Zoloft stock run low. No, indeed.

Generally speaking, I loves me some December/January/February/March/first-half-of-April. Not because I'm a masochist (although...well, that's another story for another day, isn't it?) but because there's very little to distract me from my given agenda. I can hunker down and get something accomplished, with no well-intentioned soul suggesting, with a sprightly smile, that I go out and get some fresh air and sunshine.*

But the past month has broken local records for lack of light. Driving the kids to school in the pitch dark, twenty minutes AFTER scheduled sunrise...clouds that hang seemingly six inches above our heads...fog banks that rise up around our cars out of nowhere...rain that hardens into ice that melts back into rain...

I'm checking the children for signs of scurvy.

You think I'm kidding.

So that glimpse of pale light struggling between charcoal-bottomed clouds is precious, I tell you. Makes me wanna strap on my boots -- the ones with the spikes, because it's seriously slick out there -- and go for a stroll. Or, at the very least, open the drapes and stand in front of the windows and just...bask. But I can't, for a deadline fast approacheth. And like John Donne, I flatly refuse to be distracted by that busy old fool, no matter how insistent his rays.**

So. Here I go. I'm eating an orange to ward off the skin rash and bleeding gums, drinking a glass of milk for the Vitamin D I'm surely missing, and getting back to work. See me going? Bye-bye, sunshine.

I leave you with my favorite poem from one of my favorite poets:

THE SUN RISING by John Donne

Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late schoolboys and sour prentices,
Go tell court huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rages of time.

Thy beams so reverend, and so strong
why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long.
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and tomorrow late tell me,
Whether both th' Indieas of spice and mine
Be where thou left'st them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, "All here in one bed lay."

She's all states, and all princes I;
Nothing else is;
Princes do but play us; compared to this,
All honour's mimic, all weath alchemy.
Thous, Sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world's contracted thus;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere.

*Other than my husband, of course, who regularly suggests that a long walk in ten degree weather is just what the doctor ordered. And he should know, being the doctor.

**Unlike Mr. Donne, I won't profess that myself and my lover -- in this case my WIP -- are the center of the universe. There are limits to my arrogance. Don't look so shocked. One of my New Year's resolutions is to practice humility whenever possible.