Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday's Interesting Links


Breakdown of a real royalty statements by Lynn Viehl, and followup comments by Jenny Rae Rappaport (not Viehl's agent):

Deciding when a glorp really is a chicken in disguise is difficult, but this laugh makes it worth it.

A good breakdown of how to add meat to a novel without padding:

A dictionary of publishing terms that might prove helpful. Tongue in cheek, but meaning is there:

An interesting, and workable, answer to the question of how long to query a book. It does leave folks like me who wrote many before they focused on editing and subbing out in the cold, but with a little tweaking the lesson holds.

A clear answer to the "money or love" question for must be for love:

And odd to be calling out a link, but I posted this article on my writing blog and it's thought provoking so belongs here:


This article just scares me. It's about how Kindle and the like will change how we read and write. If the author is correct, storytelling may be dead for the future, and that hurts:

Publishers reach out to bloggers (Though it's interesting, I think the article fails to account for Early Reader programs like EOS who made the transition from returned reviews to returned and posted a while back):


The road to Jurrasic Park is a slippy one...that we've apparently started down. But still fascinating:

Video of the archeologist who believes he has found Mark Antony and Cleopatra's tomb:

Has grammar gone to the dogs? Looking at how the brain forms sentences:

Pickled baby mammoth:

Could cooking, not fire, be the root of human evolution?

And you thought all that coffee was only good for waking you up. Scientists find answers to the universe in a coffee cup:


Funny 50s video about Facebook ettiquite:

Twitter may bring communication to physically paralyzed people with active brains:

Okay, social may be stretching it for this one, but it's the social folks who keep asking so... For those of you who'd prefer to choose your own colors and maybe use a heavier fleece, here is a relatively simple pattern to make a Snuglet (as they call it) blanket with arms. I made one for a friend, doing two for my family first as test versions. My oldest son lives in his, my husband watches TV with his, and when the days turned cold again, I finally got my own made and I have used it both on the couch and at the computer. My friend's cats even take advantage of hers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Windfall by Rachel Caine

Windfall is the fourth book in the Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine, and not surprisingly, the fourth book of hers I've read. She has other series, but I'm planning to finish this one first, especially since she just started into a companion one.

Now you might remember that I found Rachel Caine because she was recommended to me. I find her writing voice compelling and the main character, Joanne, sucks me into the story like a gale-force wind, to go with the book's theme :). This series doesn't follow the patterns of traditional fantasy, is on the outskirts of most urban fantasy I've read, and certainly isn't a romance for all that there is an incredible, epic even, love story that spans the four books.

I'm trying to come up with something to say that isn't all adjectives and doesn't give anything away, but it's hard. You've got a flippant, speed-car loving, master of the weather, who, when you really think she just wants to get on with her life, will chance everything to help someone she doesn't even like...because it's the right thing to do.

In the first book, Joanne picks up David, a hitchhiker, because he's cute and in need. That act has set her on a path so far out of her comfortable little life that with each book I wonder how this can be unique what with all that has happened before. People she'd trusted in a kind of distant, "the top dogs know what they're doing" way, prove to be much more complex than she could have imagined in both good and bad ways, and yet she keeps true to herself. Faced with unimaginable situations, where her integrity, her very self is on the line, she bullies her way through to the good side every time.

But here's the trick. These are not detective novels where the main character skates through events without being touched by them. Each new novel shows how what happened in the previous has changed, scarred, and impacted on Joanne. Her core stays solid because she's strong in that way, but everything around that core is torn to shreds, rebuilt, and torn again.

Windfall is no different than the ones that came before. Once again, there's a new aspect to her love life, a new intrusion on her efforts to do well in the fate she's chosen, and a family complication tossed in. If you were to lay these books side by side and try to explain them, it would be clear from the start that each is a separate, stand-alone book. Though I read them in order, I can see coming into this series at any point. The back story clues are enough to ground a reader, and create a voracious appetite for more.

Sorry for the rambling comments, but what Rachel Caine does is suck me in until I don't want to put the book down. Prior to Windfall, I chose a Harlequin from my to-be-read shelf because I didn't have the mentals for a story that would make me work for it. That story, due to an odd choice in thriller topics (sorry, a serial rapist does not belong in any form of romance in my opinion), proved to be a hard read. I don't know what made me pull Windfall out of my stack, but it was exactly what I needed, something to suck me in and captivate me so that my mind wanted to stir itself until I could follow this fast-paced, multi-layered thrill-ride.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday's Interesting Links

I've collected quite a grouping this week, on a variety of subjects. I hope you find them interesting. If you'd like, please drop a note in the comments to tell me if this has proved useful, or what might help make it so. I've tried to add a bit more commentary on some of the links this time.


Why Good Writers Fail

Confessions of a Contest Judge Part 1 (there are five but this is the start)

Technique for crafting a query hook/logline

Proof it isn't about you...agent form letters

Solid advice for beginning writers:

For writers...and old-style amusing look at the creative process:


How technology is undermining the tension that literature has thrived on for centuries (Had a hard time classifying this one. I'm putting it here in case readers skip over the writing links, if only to show the writing links can be darn fun and relevant even if you don't write.):

Someone else must have read the same story :D. (Thanks to jjmcgaffey.)

Contests for cool books (yeah, you'll reduce my chances, but...)
Touch of Fire by Maria Zannini

Not My Father's Horseman and Dark Moon Seasons by Valerie Griswold-Ford

Not quite reading, but a source of free classical audiobooks:


There are a lot of articles/commentary about the sales ranking fiasco on, but this one stands out as looking at the socio-cultural side:

Now that there's some answers out there, this post deserves serious consideration:

Wolves in Montana and Idaho (yes, this could have gone under science, but society is more appropriate.)

A reminder that prejudgment can be so far off it's funny. (Also a note to my body language class that the body language in this YouTube video is wonderful.)

And a followup to the above that's spot on:

Analysis of Twitter as a social tool and social concept:

J.K. Rowling's Harvard Commencement speech:


First scuba dives occurring in reverse?

For those of us who appreciate camels, now they can be made to order? (just kidding.):

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday's Interesting Links

For those that are curious, my links come from a variety of sources. I get some on Twitter, others from the various forums and listservs I belong to, still more from emails and newsletters, not to mention the ones pointed out by friends and family, as well as those discovered in my own meandering through the web. These are only an excerpt of the volume I read and assess, but these are the ones I thought others might find interesting. By the way, though I categorize, just because you might not be a writer, for example, doesn't mean the things I am bringing to your attention are without interest to a broader population. Give it a try, then tell me what you thought in the comments.


What does Alaska and the Moon have in common?


Client perspective on agents

Positive fallout from queryfail/agentfail

A look at how a publicist works

Laura Anne Gilman on outlining for editors

What Dollhouse can teach

Insight into editors' interest

Agent's thoughts on book doctors (mixed into the post)

Unpublished romance novel contest

What an agent's job actually is

First Novels

Social Networking

Thoughts on blog audience

Twittered out?


Article about the impact of fiction in life

Thoughts on eReaders and the future

A blast from the past

Sharing Chores?

Deadly Pancakes?

Whether you agree with the political bit at the end, I think the overall social message here is a critical one:

The Not To Do List

YouTube Education

Friday, April 03, 2009

Friday's Interesting Links


The Terrible Truth about Secondary Characters:

On finding an agent based on the book on offer:

And a sort of rebuttal to the above, but not really if you read carefully (both provide good advice):

Authors Behaving Badly

Rachelle Gardner on what to expect from an agent:


Just when you started planning that maggot farm:

Plasma Crystals

The Bugs Bugging You?


Cautionary tales about social networking:

And for you Twitterites: (Warning: Starts with loud noise.)

Just for fun (note the similarity :)):

Tricky Technology

Note: Sorry for the silence. I took my son on a wonderful school trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and between that and the school career fair, both last week, I didn't have time to come up with something for my blog. So you get a two for one this week, with a sneaky relationship between this and the links post :).

My friends generally think of me as a technology-enabled, computer literate person. What only a few realize is that my literacy is confined to databases and programming. Simple things just do not make sense to my brain. I need front-end program aspects explained to a couple years back when tasked with integrating an affiliate program when I didn't even know what it was...and sometimes it takes me forever to figure out tools I use every day.

Well, when we decided to get each of the boys a cell phone (they had been sharing for emergencies only), I asked if I could give my oldest my cell and get a new one. The bizarre reason was that the Chocolate by LG is designed for front pockets. It's slim and without anything to snag (though I've noticed the new design isn't so much). When I tucked it into the cell pocket on the side of my purse, it delighted in slipping out at inopportune moments, and was even dropkicked once...and kept on ticking.

So anyway, I wanted a phone that would stay put, and found one in an upgraded LG after testing quite a few at the store :D. The salesman did mention that this was the strangest request for a phone feature he'd ever had.

It wasn't until I got home that I realized the one feature I used on my Chocolate all the time, a one-button access to the music, had been replaced by one-button access to picture taking. Sigh.
I even went back to the manual and tried to figure out how to reprogram the button but to no avail.

The consequences were simple. I often went out on my walk with my cell in my pocket, but no music going at all because it was just too much of a pain. (Yes, I am inherently lazy. My first programming was batch files to avoid repetitive tasks.)

Then one day, I'm walking through the dead silent house, and I can hear music. I search everywhere for a radio left on, a TV, a computer...nothing. And the music isn't any louder or softer at any point.

Just when I was about to curse some person parked outside with the radio blasting, I hear something rare that is on my cell play list. Sure enough, when I pull it out, the speakerphone is blasting out a part of the Buffy Musical.

On the front of my LG are three buttons: Rewind, Play/Pause, and Fast Forward. I'm not stupid. I pressed Play before, but it just turns on the phone. It took my genius pocket to figure out that you have to press and hold the Play button as a shortcut to turning on the music.
So there you have it. I can create applications from whole cloth based on requests, but I cannot program the video recorder, I can't remember how to set the sounds on my phone (I have to re-figure it out each time), and I can't handle a button that you have to hold down :).