Monday, January 31, 2011

Timing is everything

Just a quick note this week. A few events made me think about timing. The first is that job I told you about. I applied and within a few days of applying the job was pulled. When I inquired, the school said that they have filled the position for the year and if the position will be open for the fall, they would let me know. Yeah, I don't buy it. Really, I was highly qualified for this position and I didn't even get consideration. But it's not all bad. I will be a full time writing come the end of May, and that's good.

Second is RWA National. Because of hotel rennovations (that's what I heard, the conference this year is being held nearly a month earlier. Because of the change in date I won't be attending for the first time in years (I chose not to attend one other national conference for reasons that I don't want to get into right now.) But I'm missing the New York conference because--and this is a GREAT excuse--I'll be in Europe. Yes, one of the twins will be studying in Budapest starting in March, and we'll be flying over to join up with her in June, so I won't be back in time. (I know you're feeling sorry for me right now)

Third, my other daughter (they're twins, you know) came home from her study abroad program Dec 23, 2010. Why is this a matter of timing? She was studying in Cairo. I wish the people of Egypt the best in achieving a democracy and a government they can admire and support, but I'm glad she's home.

Books I'm reading now:
Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz
Fat Chance by Rhonda Pollero
Catch of a Lifetime by Judi Fennell

Friday, January 21, 2011

The adventures of electronic reading.

I got a Kindle for my anniversary from my husband. I was afraid of it for the first couple of days. This is not unusual behavior for me. When I get new clothes, I can't wear them right away either. But I downloaded my first book (Pride and Prejudice) with ease (but I didn't read it), and then I bought another and read it.

My reaction? Meh.

I wasn't blown away. It was comfortable enough to read-- not too heavy--and it looks sleek and new and pretty, but the reading experience itself troubled me a little. The page buttons are not where I wanted (I think I may just hold my hands in a strange position), and too few words appeared on the page for me (Yes, I know you can adjust it-- I did--but it wasn't quite right no matter the adjustment). I like knowing what page number I am on, and flipping to the end, which is what I do with EVERY book I read (and I am not opening this to discussion--some people do read the end first; I am one of them), wasn't as easy as in a book. The chapters seemed short without page numbers. And the typos...they were glaring in the Kindle format. I don't know why, but they jumped off the page at me. I googled typos on Kindle and discovered that typos are an issue with the Kindle. I don't understand why unless someone has to type in every book they publish. Shouldn't they have some sort of electronic file from the publisher for the Kindle? Maybe they do, and it was the publisher to blame. Honestly, I don't know, but I found so many typos. For example, the hero's name was misspelled twice in a few lines and then correctly a couple of lines later. (Can't say on the same page because who knows if they were on the same page. They were when I viewed it.) The word torque was used instead of toque by an author I know wouldn't make such an error. Misplaced commas, misplaced italics in several spots, and others (and yes, I know this is a fragment). I make many, many typos myself, but I do try to eliminate them. I guess I just expect better quality when I've paid for something.

On the plus side, I love not worrying about trees. The book I read was not a keeper, so I'm glad no tree was harmed in the production of my book (Yeah, yeah, I'm sure the author did use paper in the writing--I'm being figurative). I do enjoy technology, and it feels cool.

Honestly, I haven't given the Kindle enough of a chance yet. I need to read more on it to get used to it, but I had some gift certificates to a book store and bought paperbacks, so reading book number two on the Kindle will wait for this weekend. And the work I have to finish. But I'm sure many of my complaints will disappear over time. I love the idea of reading on the Kindle. I just haven't gotten used to it yet.

Books I'm reading now:
Changeless by Gail Carriger
Blameless by Gail Carriger

Saturday, January 15, 2011


The past two weeks have been filled with surprises--not the unexpected gift kind; the kind that life throws you when you become too complacent. First I was sicker than a dog (cliche) for New Year's. Didn't stay up to midnight for the first time since I was an infant. Then my husband drove my daughter out to Atlanta for school. She's moved into an apartment and needed her car out there, so they took a road trip to get it there. And then the STORM hit. Hubby was supposed to be home Monday night. Forty-eight hours later, he finally made it home, which meant I had to take the other daughter to the airport before work which threw my whole day off. But it all turned out well.

But the biggest surprise of all is an opportunity that opened up. I had planned on leaving teaching at the end of this school year. I could go into the political reasons for my quitting (not retirement--everyone keeps saying I'm retiring. I am NOT retiring. One cannot retire before one turns 50 with only seven years of work), but suffice it to say that NCLB, while a beautiful idea in theory, doesn't work in practice. Kind of like communism. I was jumping into writing full time. Full time writing made the household monetary situation a bit iffy, especially as we head into the daughters' last year of college. Then I discovered that the German teacher at the local high school quit over the winter break.

I have always wanted to teach German. I love the language, the way you can play with it, the sound, the music of it (unlike French which sounds like you're moving around phlegm--just kidding. Anyone who knows me knows I always make jokes about French--the language, not the people). Best poetry ever. So I have applied for the job.

I don't know if I'll get it. If I don't, this will be the last five months of teaching for me. If I do get it, I can see myself teaching for a while longer. My youngest is at the high school where the job is, we'd be on the same schedule, and it's GERMAN. Having a job will help with the twins' final year as well.

The interesting part of this whole drawn out story is that life throws you surprises--some good, some not so good--but I believe that's the joy in life. Not knowing what's coming. Oh yeah, you make plans, you SHOULD make plans, but life happens. So life is happening now and it makes me appreciate it all the more: the sweetness when my husband finally did make it home; the excitement and good fear of new possibilities; the uneven and unpredictable turns of the path we're all on.

Go out and find life. Oooo, and I have a kindle now too. I'll report on that next time.

Books I'm reading now:
Salvation in Death by Nora Roberts
The Lady Most Likely...: A Novel in Three Parts by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I've decided I'm tired of trying to defend my genre. I have more important things to do than try to convince those who denigrate romance that there is value in the reading of our books (I'm sure this stance will change in time...again). But a recent conversation made me chuckle at the irony of reading snobbery.

A friend (and if she reads this, I hope she realizes that I'm not insulting her; she just made me think) read a "literary" book for her book group. She said that most of her group, including herself hated the book. So I started wondering why they would choose such books to read if they end up hating them? Because someone told them they have "value"? Because someone told them the such books are "good"? Why would I want to waste time reading something I hate?

I keep going back to the so-called "books that are good". I read one last year. It was a horrible painful story that featured, not one, but two child rapes. Yes, I know such things happen; yes, I know horrible things happen in the world; but when the novel couldn't even offer the hint of a triumph of the human spirit, I felt rotten and cheated.

Because I want to believe in the triumph of the human spirit. Whether or not it's real or possible is irrelevant. I want to believe in the triumph of the human spirit, so by God, I will, if only because it should be so.

So I will keep writing my HEA (happily ever after) stories where my characters have to triumph over evil, because that's the way life should be. And if it can't be so in real life, then, damn it, I'll make sure it's that way in the books I read.


Books I'm reading now:
Crazy for Love by Victoria Dahl
Earth by Jon Stewart