January reread challenge

Okay, I admit it, I didn’t know I was going to join this challenge. But I like to reread, and I do quite a bit of it for some reason (I think it gives my brain a break) so when I saw Nath’s monthly reread challenge, which just happens to be today, and I was wondering about blog content anyhow, I knew it was fate.

I actually reread a couple books this month: Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn, Devil’s Bride and A Rake’s Vow both by Stephanie Laurens.

However, since I only reread Kitty and the Midnight Hour because I decided I wanted to see if I liked it better the second time (I didn’t really) and to read the books that followed in the series, I won’t talk about it here. Except to say that all this time I remember liking but not loving the book, and when I went back to read my “review”, it looks like I said I liked it more than I remember. And it’s not that I didn’t like the book, just that I felt kind of “meh” about it (and increasingly so about subsequent books). Enough meh that it took me three years to decide to read follow up books.

So, Devil’s Bride is one of those books that I can turn to for an enjoyable comfort read. While I was rereading it this past week, I was actually trying to figure out exactly what it is about the book that I like so well, and I finally decided it’s because I love a hero in pursuit story. I think it’s odd, but many of my favorite rereads (Stephanie Laurens, Catherine Coulter, Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsey) are all historical. The reason that’s odd is because, if you look at my current reads, very, very few are historical. I don’t edit a lot of historicals either (though I do like them, but I only have a couple of authors who write them, including Gia Dawn and Lynne Connolly). Historical romance used to be one of my favorite genres, but that was probably over ten years ago and sometimes I wonder if I read so many of them because they were what’s available. Like, if paranormals and urban fantasy had been more prevalent then, would I have been reading less historicals?

But regardless, I return at least once a year to Devil’s Bride and I always enjoy it. I particularly like the first chapters of the book, the setup, where they meet for the first time, and she comes to realize who he is. Perhaps it’s politically incorrect of me, but I enjoy his bossy, domineering ways. And hello, the descriptions of him are positively delicious!

For me, the book is an easy read, always entertaining with both the main character interactions, the story, love story, secondary plot and secondary characters.

I enjoy the setup for future books with other Cynster relations, and though I haven’t read all the books in the Cynster series, I have read quite a few. I’ve moved on to rereading A Rake’s Vow , Vane’s story, and will probably read a few more in the series. I will tell you one odd thing about my rereading of this series, though: I never reread Richard (Scandal’s Bride ) story. I’ve never cared for it so I always skip it.

Anyhow, if you’ve somehow never read these books (Erin) and you’re looking for a historical romance read, I suggest trying out Stephanie Laurens and starting with Devil’s Bride.

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Friday Confessional 1-30-2009

Confession: I’m completely exhausted and only the thought of failing out only the second week of the Friday Confessional kept me doing it. Brianna has the flu and was up all night last night throwing up. After the second time (and second bedding change) I slept with her, nearly got barfed on the third time (and third bedding change) but after that she figured it out and managed to tell me with enough time I could get the bucket under her. I don’t either of us slept more than an hour straight at any given time. I’m just a little groggy. She had a spurt of energy for a few hours this morning but has since collapsed back to the couch and is now upstairs sound asleep. Poor thing.

I was going to post about how I think seeing other people vomit is the grossest thing ever (I’m a sympathetic puker). I worked as a nurse’s aid to put myself through college. I could deal with anything, any bodily function. Just not puke. I once discovered a body after the person had been dead for three days in the Arizona summer heat. No one but me was able to enter the apartment without a mask. I’ve dissected a number of cadavers. I can handle disgusting things. But vomit gets me. I was going to post all that and then realize there’s one thing that gets me more than vomit: maggots. I can’t handle them, not to think about, not to look at on TV, nothing. Ew ew ew ew. Now you know my weaknesses. Vomit and maggots.

Moving on!

Quick question. I’ve been using a new Firefox addon called Zemanta to help add links to my content. Some things you see (like Zemanta) are linked for me by them, just by clicking on something on my dashboard. The program will also add related content links of my choosing to the bottom of the post, have you noticed them? It does other things, but so far those are the two most useful. Oh, the “Reblog this” that you see at the bottom of the post also comes from that. What do you think? Useful or intrusive?

For Readers:

I’m sure everyone has seen this, but just in case:Harlequin is giving away 16 free books as part of their anniversary celebration. This is very cool. There’s something for everyone! You can also download them via Stanza (also very cool).

Leah (Madame Butterfly) has a rant about DRM and why one publisher has lost her business because of it. I’m not a fan of DRM from the publisher side, and Leah’s post illustrates why.

An interesting blogpost on the Kindle, what it is and how it might affect trends.

SciFiGuy lists the February 2009 paranormal, fantasy and urban fantasy releases.

Agent Nathan Bransford asked: will you ever buy mostly ebooks? Only 10% of the almost 1000 respondents said absolutely yes. I wish I knew the demographic breakdown of people voting. That would be interesting!

Twilight fans will enjoy this: Twilight done by bunnies (in 30 seconds) via Katiebabs

For Kindle owners. MakeUseOf.com tells you how to read feeds on your Kindle device for free.

In the Kitchen:
If you’ve ever had any questions about using your bread machine, you must read this post, Bread Machine Basics. I stumbled across it Googling for something and it’s an amazing source of answers for all your bread machine questions!

What do you get when you combine a pound of bacon and two pounds of sausage (besides a non-kosher heart attack?): the bacon explosion. This horrified and fascinated me so much I had to share it. via Tastespotting

How to make Skittles Vodka
from tipnut.com You know you want to. Heck, I KNOW *I* want to.

For the Crafty:

Lisa begins a series of bag making for beginners. The first post is about sewing terms. Part two is choosing fabric and interfacing. I’m really excited about this series because when I sew, purses are one of my favorite things to make. I actually thought about making something and donating it to the Brenda Novak auction but that hasn’t solidified in my head.

How to make an old cupboard door into a serving tray.
I love their finished product.

For Authors:

Epublishing and traditional publishing compared by an author published with both.

Agent Rachelle Gardner did some posts on the “elevator pitch”.

Agent Jessica Faust discusses the form rejection letter. It’s a fantastic post and she lists many of the reasons we use a form letter at Samhain.

Author Ilona Andrews is doing a series of one paragraph critiques. It’s interesting to see how she tears down and rebuilds each paragraph. The first one is here and she does a terrific job of relating POV to camera angle.

Anyone who’s seen my workshop on epublishing or read the articles I’ve written has heard me talk about Yog’s Law. Agent Jennifer Jackson takes this time to remind you: money flows toward the author.

For everyone:

Domino, Wondertime, Country Home and Realms of Fantasy magazines will all be shutting down or have shut down. Ouch.

Interested in politics or what President Obama has been up to? Follow the new White House blog. It’s been interesting for me, to get updates on what’s going on. I like it.

Agent Rachelle Gardner wrote a post about Twitter. She doesn’t want you to use Twitter to try and do business with her. I feel similarly. I wish I had written this post. I almost reposted the entire thing here. I might still. I like Twitter, but it’s not where I conduct business. Like Rachelle, I rarely discuss business related things there and anyone hoping for brilliance from me on Twitter is going to be sadly disappointed.

SuperBowl Sunday is this weekend (I can’t believe it’s going to be February already!) and whether you’re staying at home with just your family, having a big bash or attending one, you must check out these two posts full of delicious-looking dishes to make. The first is from Cathy at Noble Pig and oh man, did this post make me hungry! I think I’m going to try a few of those. The second is from Pioneer Woman *insert fangrrl squee* who also has a post full of dish ideas. Both posts have photos, and I dare you to go look and not drool.

Something fun: Karen Scott posts the best complaint letter ever. Ewww is all I have to say!

Picture of the week:

I’m going to give you a couple. This one, because I saw it last week and immediately marked it to use for today. The emotion of the moment is so beautiful. via Huffington Post


Then this one from Paperback Writer’s blog because, hello, who doesn’t love a picture of a cute puppy?


And from Brianna’s photos this week. This elephant is no bigger than a tennis ball but the perspective on this one makes it look much bigger. I love this picture.

Mr. Elephant

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From the spam files

I had to clean out my spam email today (over 3000 of them) and as I scanned the titles to make sure nothing legit got caught in there, I was amused by some of the subject lines. So courtesy of my spam email I give you:

5 things you’d like to hear/see (just not in your spam mail):

1. So big it can’t be real

2. She will beg to give head after this

3. Your request has been approved.

4. So huge she nearly fainted

5. I need you, urgently!

And 5 things you never want to hear, whether it’s spam or not:

1. 3 inches can be yours

2. Your wife always mentions your little dimensions

3. You feel like a pig because your tool is not big

4. Hey, are you the guy who cannot make love?

5. Your member will grow like a flower but will never fade

Questions from the comments

I’ve had these two comments flagged to answer in their own post, so I thought I’d better get to them!

Wyzwmn asked

a question if you please

why would you buy an e-reader over a laptop or notebook?
wouldn’t it just be one more tool to haul around?

I actually have a laptop. And an Asus EeePC (mini laptop) that only weighs 2lbs. And an iPhone. And an iPaq (which doesn’t get used at all anymore, but I’m just using it to illustrate my point). When I want to read, I immediately reach for the Sony Reader (I also own a Kindle and an Ebookwise, but the Sony is what I use right now). No other device has been able to replace, for me, using a dedicated reader, no matter how small, portable or otherwise useful it is.

I tried to think of a good analogy, but the only one I could think of was pretty weak. Let’s say you have some sort of ongoing problem with your skin. You could go to your general practicioner but if you have the option, wouldn’t you rather go to a dermatologist? Because they specialize, you know it will be better.

That’s how having a dedicated ereader is for me. Yes, it’s a specialty item but it’s a specialty item that can’t be replaced. Yes, I can read on other devices, but the experience isn’t the same, it’s not as convenient and I don’t care to do it if I don’t have to. One of the things about the newer eink devices (not the Ebookwise) is how easy on the eyes it is to read on. As much as I love ebooks, I’m like many people who say they don’t want to read on the computer. I spend probably an average of 12 hours a day looking at a computer screen. I already notice the effects of that. So when I’m ready to read for pleasure at night, it’s a huge relief to be able to reach for an eink device and be able to read on that.

Now, that said, I’m still a fan of the Ebookwise, which isn’t eink technology but is grayscale and a little less harsh than reading on the computer. Dedicated reading devices still have other advantages, such as the size (close to reading a book), the ease of holding them (easier than holding a book or a laptop) and ease of portability (which no computer or laptop can compete with, not even an Asus Eee PC).

I really love my dedicated device. If something happened to the iPhone, the Eee PC and my readers all at the same time, and I had to choose which to replace, I’d replace the dedicated reader first!

Kerry asked:

Since you mentioned the Kindle and other e-devices, I’d love to ask a question about Samhain books. Is there a schedule or specific timeline for Samhain books to be released for the Kindle? Are *all* books at some point available for Kindle, or only ones that are “proven sellers” on, say, My Bookstore and More first?

I’m also curious about the availability of Samhain books at fictionwise. I prefer to buy some books for my iphone at fictionwise because of their rewards program, but apparently Samhain books on fictionwise are only availabe in secure mobi/lit format. I’m kind of on a book-buying diet until my credit at fictionwise is gone, so it’s a bummer.

We do have a deal with Amazon/Mobipocket to release all books in mobi and Kindle formats, but it’s really up to Amazon when they appear. There are people at Samhain who have put a lot of time and effort into making sure all the books are available, but we’re dependent on Amazon to actually get them there. All we can do is keep emailing and keep asking. That was the long answer. The short answer is that all of our books should be available at all online retailers, if the retailer chooses to carry them.

Fictionwise is a little different. We have not had a contract with Fictionwise until very recently, because we were unable to reach an agreement of terms with them (I have commented on this in the past on other blogs). So Fictionwise was getting our books from Lightning Source, where the majority of online retailers get the books from. Lightning source puts the DRM on them (not Samhain) and makes them available in only a few formats. This was Fictionwise’s only option for carrying our books at that point.

Now that we’ve just reached an agreement with Fictionwise and recently signed the contract, our office staff has been working with Fictionwise to get it up and running. Going forward, very soon, Fictionwise will be offering Samhain books starting with new releases in a variety of formats (I believe unsecured formats). Backlist will hopefully be gradually converted, but that won’t happen right away.

Hope that answered both of your questions and I’m sorry it took me so long to respond. Does anyone else have any pressing questions they’ve been wanting to ask?

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Help an editor out

I have a question for all the authors and aspiring authors reading along. When you send in a submission to an editor, is there a period of time that you think an editor responds too quickly? No, don’t laugh, seriously!

I’ve been reading a lot of slush submissions recently, trying to find some shorter length books to fill holes in my schedule. As we’ve discussed before, editors and agents rarely read the whole of a submission they’re going to reject. So if I’m going to reject a book, I can tell quickly (that means if you’re waiting to hear from me and have been waiting, it’s a positive sign because I take longer with acceptances, on the whole, as I have to read the whole manuscript once, maybe twice and then contemplate it). But I’m not sure if it’s better to send a rejection the day or a few days after the book has been received, and put the author out of their figurative misery, or to wait a certain amount of time to give them the warm, fuzzy feeling that their book has received due consideration (the book has received due consideration either way, but I know how perception can play a part in this).

So, what do you think? Rejection letters as soon as I know, regardless of whether it’s the day after submission, or wait a week or so to let the author revel in that nerve wracking feeling of waiting to hear?

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