As a reader, I rarely review books, unless they are very good (Ben Winters’ The Last Policeman, anyone?) or very bad (an unnamed author whose female characters are less realistic than blow-up dolls, but he’s mega-popular so my review doesn’t matter anyway). There are two reasons. First, the practical: I live in a place where internet isn’t easily accessible, and even getting a cell phone signal involves Cirque du Soleil-esque contortions perched on the highest object in your line of sight. I think of advanced communications on a triage basis: these are the 7 things that must be done in the 18 minutes that the wind is blowing in the right direction or the satellite gods are smiling on us. Then, and only then, can I move on to things that … [Read more...] about Book Reviews and Ratings: Grade Inflation or the Teacher you Just Can’t Please? Part I
Just a quick update for those of you (all three) who have been watching and waiting--my mystery novel Back to Lazarus is now live on Amazon for Kindle. Yay! (In my best Dancing Kermit voice.) I have to say, the technology hasn't been as painful as I feared it would be.The novel was originally written in Microsoft Word, but when I decided to self-publish, I imported it into Scrivener. I cannot say enough good things about Scrivener, although I did have a few heart-stopping moments when I was afraid my Bad Tech Vibes had managed to overcome even its resilient functionality. The conversion to .mobi wasn't awful either. I had Ed Ditto's How to Format Your Novel by my side, so that helped. There was only one little thing I could never quite … [Read more...] about Back to Lazarus is now available on Amazon for Kindle
I’m about to wrap up the rough draft of a novella, so of course I’m writing a blog entry instead. But, as I like to preface many of the things I tell my closest friends, “This [blog entry] is not a total non sequitur.” (Which implies that it is at least a partial one.) I was prompted to try a novella that follows my private investigator Sydney Brennan by two things: resistance in writing the second Sydney Brennan novel, and the Black Orchid novella award, a contest put on by the Wolfe Pack and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine for unpublished novellas that fall within the loosely defined tradition of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series.It sounded like fun, but things came up. I missed the deadline, overshot the word count, and let myself go … [Read more...] about Book Chi: Is there an EReader App for that?
I’m old enough that web design was not part of my primary education. I did some basic programming as a kid. You know, the kind of thing where you spend a couple of hours writing a “program” to do something that takes four seconds on a calculator. We had a computer class in high school using some now-defunct word processing program, but we also had a mandatory typing class. It was taught by a large elderly woman with a broken arm who meandered around the room yelling “KEY!!” whenever someone goofed off. Somehow I landed in the “bad boy” section with all the guys who liked high school so much they decided to stick around an extra year. Every day, they’d try to provoke her off just enough to make her yell “KEY!” but not have a heart attack. It … [Read more...] about Web Design and Writing: When a Little Knowledge can be Dangerous
I love Game of Thrones, but Season 3 has been staring at me from its box set for weeks, calling me names, daring me to lose several days of my life to its narrative of bloody vengefulness. I’ve sidestepped any real spoilers, but it’s impossible to avoid the pervasive sense of “bad shit’s gonna happen” that permeates the Internets. And I’m just not quite ready for that right now. I need to build up my reserves before I watch them impale a kitten on a baby unicorn, or whatever it is they have in store.In the meantime, there are certain stories I return to when I don’t feel like watching or reading anything else, stories that make me smile involuntarily with the opening notes of the theme or first words of the prologue. Stories I Love. And … [Read more...] about Stories I Love: Heat of the Sun