Monthly Archives: June 2012

I fail at social networking

I could blame it on being an only child. I could blame it on working at home. I could simply blame it on the love of the printed word.

I did some traveling last week and this week and ended up getting a little sidetracked. I went to the home office in Nashvegas and spent some time with my department, which was a cool thing. There are a few new faces and it was nice to be able to introduce myself and meet them. We did some team activities, I managed to get out to lunch with two of my favorite people on earth and Friday was supposed to land in LaGuardia around 9:00 p.m.

Mother Nature, as you’re well aware, is a capricious bitch. There was no flying into NYC on Friday night. Of course, this is not what I was told by the friendly recording I got from American Airlines after lunch. No, they just told me I was on a flight in the morning. At 6:00 in the morning. I prefer not to acknowledge there’s one of those, thank you very much.

So, bear in mind I did not know about the weather issues, and I called AA and got myself put on a Delta flight. When I got to the airport, Delta canceled THAT flight and put me on one leaving Saturday afternoon, but at least now I knew why.

After an hour in line (or on line as they say in NY), I was across the counter with a very surly young man who didn’t want to be there. He offered to send me to Hartford, via Atlanta. How I got from Hartford to Stamford (a 2.5 hour drive) was my own problem. I took the flight, threw away my mouthwash and ran my roller suitcase through security–and a BIG thank you to all those people who let me cut in line when my flight was leaving in fifteen minutes.

I got on the plane, and once I got settled in, there was still some time before takeoff. Did I tweet? No. Did I update Facebook? G+? Not there either. No, I turned on my Kindle and downloaded $25 worth of books because I hadn’t had to spend money on the checked baggage fee.

I really need to reach out to people more. Readers, writers, reviewers. Look for me on Twitter a little more, at least during the evening hours. Since the dayjob is still supporting me, it gets my full attention during the day.

I got into Hartford around midnight and checked into the airport hotel. My boyfriend (aka nexx) drove up that night, and we drove home the next day just long enough to pick up gaming supplies. And eat pancakes. If you’re ever in CT, touch base with me, I will get you fantabulous pancakes at Chip’s.

 

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What I’m Reading and What I’m waiting for

May and June have been great months for books so far. I treated myself to another one of Kerry Greenwood’s  Phyrne Fisher novels, this one called Queen of the Flowers. Phyrne and her family are up to their necks in mystery and not a little drama. One of  her adopted daughters goes looking for her biological father, Phyrne is Queen of the Flowers in an annual parade and one of her handmaids disappears. An old love appears, a scandal brews and I can’t wait to see how this one ties together.

May has been a favorite month for a while because May is when John Sandford’s newest Prey book starring Lucas Davenport gets released.  Stolen Prey is a wonderfully  complex mystery, not just a whodunit, but howdunit, and there are conspiracies several levels deep. I love Sandford’s series–the Kidd books and the Virgil Flowers book are wonderful as well.

If you’ll pardon a couple of fangirl moments, I am having a ton of fun with Sabrina Chase’s The Long Way Home, which begins a trilogy with a promise of action, adventure, excitement, really wild things and a big dose of “how did I get eighty years in the future?”

For my other fangirl moment, I am eagerly awaiting Libriomancer,the first in a new series by Jim C. Hines. A magic system based on books, with a secret society going back to Gutenbery. I can’t wait. Hines has great style, his tongue firmly in his cheek and his characters manage to be appropriately wise without being preachy.

Speaking of book magic, at the recommendations of a couple of different people, I started on Jasper Fforde’s Thusday Next series. These are a whirlwind of literary action and espionage. My only complaint here is the Kindle versions are more expensive than the paperbacks.

Back on the mystery front, I recently picked up another Tess Monaghan book by Laura Lippman. Lippman adores Baltimore with the same passion I love New Orleans, and I just love the character of Tess. I’m several books into the series and Tess has managed to grow and change in a realistic fashion while sharpening her skills as an investigator. I’m up to In a Strange City. If you’d like to get started, Baltimore Blues is the first in the series.

A couple of indie authors have caught my eye. I”ll let you know if I consider them a good find in a future entry. Thank you for reading!

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In praise of the Unitasker (with apologies to Alton Brown)

No, I didn’t goof and put a Knives, Fire and Fun entry under bloodymurderbooks. I firmly feel that you can’t talk about unitaskers without talking about Mr. Brown. If you’ve ever seen Good Eats, you’ve heard him say that the only unitasker permitted in his kitchen is the fire extinguisher.

For the past number of years, it seems that people’s attention span is shrinking (I’m not referring to those who have ADD, I’m discussing a societal issue not a medical one). Garry Trudeau made some satire about USA Today presenting news in quick, easily digestible sound bites. News stories are rarely in-depth unless you are listening news radio. Movies, which commonly ran for three hours when I was a kid, usually top out at two these days.

The akamaireader (you may have noticed we talk a lot), sent me another article about the publishing industry. In this one, it appears that publishers are more pessimistic about future book sales and part of the blame goes to tablets. Why just read a book when you can play Angry Birds? Or watch a movie? Or check your bank balance, look up the sports scores, time your tea steeping, listen to music, you get the idea. Distraction city.

There’s a bunch of us that love our early Kindles and Nooks and Kobos (though I think Kobo,isn’t long for this world) because they do little else but provide us with reading material. I use five functions on my Kindle–the reading of books, the storing of books, the shopping for books, the changing of the font size and the dictionary. I will stipulate that text-to-speech is a great feature, though I don’t use it. I can, if I wish, update Facebook with my favorite quotes from something I’m reading, but I do not feel the need to stop what I’m doing to share a quote with my friends. Neither do I web browse while reading, or listen to music.

There is a certain joy in immersing myself mindfully while doing just one thing, whether it is meditating (which I need more practice at), reading, cooking, making love. Being THERE, totally in the moment, it’s just beautiful. I think the world would be a better place if we stopped trying to be everywhere at once and slowed down and enjoyed the moment (especially me).

So I don’t want to be distracted by Angry Birds. I’ll play it later on my phone.

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The industry

I forget where I first heard it, but every once in a while, a monolith of an industry says something like, “We fear change; change is bad.”  With e-readers becoming more and more common and considerably more affordable, the Big Bad Paper Book Industry is facing some interesting choices–adapt and continue profiting or start slowly losing money as your readers go elsewhere.

I do a fair amount of reading about indie publishing, I also try to keep tabs on the big movers and shakers. In this article from Insatiable Booksluts, I find a lot worth pondering.

Are traditional publishers going to go away? Probably not. I hope that we will eventually see the end of e-books being priced higher than mass-market paperbacks (which is seriously hampering my continued collection of Jasper Fforde). Would I jump at an offer from one? Probably. It’s hard work doing all my own marketing, finding cover art and finding time to write and revise and confer with my editor. To have, as greekgeekgirl put it, editors, cover artists, marketing et cetera all under one roof is tantalizing. Everyone working for a common goal–to make that book sell.

On the other hand, as an indie author, I maintain control over my backlist. When the fifth Bloody Murder (and yes, I have the next four outlined) is published, I will be able to offer the first in the series at any price I  want. I also get to choose my royalties. That’s a big deal to me. I like that control, even though it’s hard work. Labor of love, certainly, but don’t mistake that its labor.

I suspect I will have more to say on the subject. I’m also interested in your thoughts. First comment gets a free copy of Bloody Murder

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