Friday, September 28, 2012

Coming Up For Air

I just printed out the first draft of India #4.  The working title is India Black and the Gentleman Thief.  The last word of the book?  "Zulus."

I like to get out of the house occasionally and write in a different environment.  My favorite hideout is The Mudhouse, a coffee shop downtown.

Here's where I wrote the last scene of #4.  That's my open laptop on the table in the corner.

My second favorite place to sit (but the guy in the blue shirt got there before me):

A couple of miscellaneous pics.  The coffee's great, the magazine selection is awesome, and the music is eclectic.  They were playing something tribal on Thursday, heavy on the drums and ululating women.

Come back Monday, when I post a review of a new thriller I think you'll enjoy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Crunch Time

I'm two weeks away from wrapping up the first draft of India #4.  I've reached the point that every ounce of creativity emanating from my brain (which ain't much) is devoted to producing the last 18,000 words of the novel.  I could post cute photos of puppies and funny stuff I find on the internet on here for the next 14 days, but instead I'll take a break, returning around the first of October with cogent, witty, amusing and riveting blog posts.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Need A Lift?

Time for a book review.

Dee De Tarsio is one of the funniest women on the planet.  I’d love to see her do stand-up, but until she opts for a career change I’ll just have to read her books. 

She excels at writing hapless heroines, wacky characters and situations that spiral delightfully out of control.  Her latest, Haole Wood, is a standout novel featuring Jaswinder Park, who has had orgasms that last longer than some of her jobs.  When her Korean-Hawaiian grandmother Halmoni is arrested, Jaswinder is dispatched to Maui by her family to extract the old woman from jail.  Since granny is an “herbalist” (yeah, right), keeping her out of trouble is a challenge for Jaswinder and one that she fails when Halmoni is arrested again.

But this time, the charge is murder.  A handsome developer who has tried to buy Halmoni’s property is found dead and Halmoni was the last to visit him.  If only Jaswinder could provide an alibi for her grandmother, but our heroine needed to blow off steam and spent the evening (a) getting wasted, (b) meeting the developer at a local bar and licking salt off his palm, and (c) hooking up with a handsome young doctor.Can Jaswinder save her Halmoni?  Can Jaswinder save herself?  You’ll just have to read this utterly charming book to find out.  But beware, you’re liable to spit out your daiquiri when you do.  I had to read it behind closed doors because I got tired of my husband asking “What’s so funny?”

Read this book if you need a laugh, and read it if you need a vacation.  Dee brilliantly evokes the lush island atmosphere.  You can practically smell the sunscreen.  It’s been years since I’ve been to Maui but this book made me wonder why I haven’t been back.  I do have one regret:  I wish I’d saved this book for January.  It would be the perfect antidote to the winter blues, but honestly, you’ll enjoy it whenever you read it.  Treat yourself.  It's available in paperback and via Kindle at

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekend Miscellany

I've been working hard on India #4, so I took off the past weekend.  Washed the car (ooh, shiny).  Looked at Cat Saturday on Chive.  Picture No. 3 on there reminded me of that famous website. "Cats That Look Like Hitler."  Read something intellectual, Lives of the Mind  by Roger Kimball, and something fun, The Detachment by Barry Eisler.  Worked on a short story which features this:

Ate one of these this morning.  Shouldn't have.

Now I'm going to watch a rugby match and have one of these.

That is all.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I Wish I Could Have Met Her

Occasionally I'll take a break from writing and do some surfing.  The other day I stumbled upon a site that includes some interesting information about female Victorian authors.  I've never heard of Rhoda Brougham, but two paragraphs from the website made me laugh.

Although often referred to as a sensation novelist, her work is notable for being slightly risque, rather than sensational.  Anthony Trollope commented in his Autobiography that 'she has made her ladies do and say things which ladies would not do and say.''

Anthony, of course, being the final authority on what Victorian ladies said and did.

In later life....she established herself as something of a society wit.  Oscar Wilde is said to have felt intimidated by her, and she apparently had a voice that could be heard from the other side of Harrod's Food Hall.

Intimidate Oscar Wilde?  One of the wittiest men who ever lived?  Wow.

You can read the entire article here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Self-Publishing - Is the Stigma Gone?

TC and I had interesting conversation over dinner the other night.  I've been reading a lot about the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing.  The future of publishing is being hotly debated at the moment, and the issue of self-publishing is coming to the forefront.

Several years ago, when I was first beginning to write and hoping to land an agent, I would never have considered self-publishing.  At the time, that activity consisted of paying several hundred dollars to a small publisher for a print run of a few hundred copies.  Digital publishing was in its infancy, as were ereaders.  Self-published books were considered to be inferior and their authors lacking the talent to find an agent or publisher.

Things have really changed.  For one thing, there's a new nomenclature out there.  Now a self-published author is an "indie author."  The Romantic Times Convention has a book fair devoted to e-books, indie publishers and graphic novels.  Some famous authors (Barry Eisler) are jumping out of traditional publishing to sign deals with Amazon, or to self-publish.  Of course, there are a couple of authors going the other way (Amanda Hocking and E.L. James), but this illustrates the fluidity of the industry.  What's your view?  Has the stigma of self-publishing disappeared?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The British Sense of Fair Play

In connection with last week's post about writers buying reviews, here's an even more disgusting story about a celebrated British crime writer who wrote his own and then trashed his competitors on Amazon.  His apology gives new meaning to the word "lame."