Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I hate cell phones. No really. They suck. The reception is bad, they lose service at the most inopportune times, and frankly I don’t want to be connected 24/7. I have never figured out why I need a camera on my phone (I’ve tried to use it, but I hate taking pictures. I used to hate it before every phone had a camera. I had to force my self to remember my camera when we were on our European adventure this summer). I have one mostly because you can’t not have one these days, and honestly, how often do they get used in an emergency? (Parents always say their children need one in case of emergency—really? In a real emergency, they get in the way far more than they help.) I hate the new mentality that everyone MUST be perfect at all times—no more errors allowed, no misspeaking, no tripping and falling—because if you make a mistake your flaming takedown will be posted for all the world to see in a matter of seconds. Really? I though being human was about learning from mistakes, but no one seems to be willing to give anyone a second chance any longer.

I don’t have an iPad, though I crave one, because I just can’t justify it. I work at home. Why would I need a portable tablet? We don’t have 500 TV channels or Tivo or DVR. Our TV is relatively small in comparison to most that I’ve seen. I don’t have GPS in my car (although it was handy in the European rental car) and when I taught, I rarely used technology, although I will admit to looking up facts on the Internet—on those sites that weren’t blocked.

You’d think that I’m a technophobe. I’m not. I honestly think technology can save mankind. I’d rather fly in a plane with a computer at the helm. I’d rather have a robot surgeon. I’d love the see the technology of self-driving cars (keep the idiots from getting their hands on the wheel. BTW, Flying cars? No thank you. Can you imagine what dumbass drivers would be doing up in the sky? You really want that texter behind the wheel of a flying car? I don’t think so.), and smart houses. My husband has a PhD in Robotics. He’s even worse than I about gadgets. Because gadgets aren’t what will save the world. Oh, they’re fun, but is the world really a better place because we can take pictures with our phones? (Although in the case of the Arab spring, that technology was crucial, but that was a mighty powerful exception.) I have embraced Twitter, and FB, and blogging, but they aren’t as important as solar energy or wind power or wave energy.

I guess what I’m saying is I don’t have any problem with gadgets, but don’t expect me to jump into the 21st century any time soon. I don’t want to be attached to my phone. Or have my picture taken.

Books I’m reading now:
Still working on the Rita books I have to judge.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Romance is NOT porn

To all you ignorant, self-righteous dullards1:

In my last book, AS YOU WISH, the story is told in 306 pages. Of those, let’s say ten are pages of sex3. That’s approximately three percent of the novel. The sex is between two consenting adults who are attracted to each other and end in a committed relationship with each other. Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s usually how a committed relationship expresses itself—with sex. I’ve been in a committed relationship for 27 years and, yes, I still have sex with my husband. It’s the natural progression of showing affection for someone.

Porn is intended to do no more than cause sexual excitement. While passages in Romance may do that, the stories celebrate love, relationships, how those relationships form, and the characters the reader comes to love (we hope), root for, and who earn a happy ending. Most often this relationship is not with the pizza delivery boy or copier mechanic.4

For those of you simpletons who still insist Romance is just porn with a prettier name, let me apply your definition to other media:
            Bridesmaids: clearly porn. The opening scenes and then the ones at the closing credits. It’s obvious really.
            Shawshank Redemption: clearly gay rape porn. Forget the message. It’s all about the sex. And those pin-up girls...tsk, tsk.
            Schindler’s List: Again, message unimportant; the only scenes that matter are the ones with sex.
            Notting Hill: there is a sex scene, therefore porn.
            The Firm: in the book Mitch cheats on his wife on the beach, therefore, porn.
            “Afternoon Delight”: Really? Need I say more?

Don’t want to read Romance? Fine, but don’t parade your ignorance. You’re embarrassing yourself.5

1In general I have nothing against nor am I offended by cussing or stronger words, but I don’t use them much myself. I like the extra sarcasm offered by non-profane vocabulary. Shakespeare had insults down to an art without the crude language. As for those words, they have appeared in my books, but not too often; only when I found them appropriate and convincing, as when my two Guards in WISHFUL THINKING are yelling at someone and drop the f-bomb. These two men are essentially military. I doubt they would say, “Gosh darn you.” But feel free to replace “dullards” in your head with any appropriate synonym you might think of.2

2And yes, it is okay to end a sentence with a preposition. That’s one of those fake grammar rules that teachers plague their students with because it’s easy to remember. Others are never start a sentence with a conjunction (I can think of many sentences that are just fine grammatically even though they start with a conjunction) and never split an infinitive (that one goes back to Latin and German construction.)

3I counted the pages and it works out to less than nine if we count actual lines, but I’m being generous here and counted the paragraphs leading into and out of the scenes.

4 I didn’t mean to single out you pizza delivery boys or copier mechanics, but those are the clichés that pop to mind. And now you know how it feels to be judged on clichés and not substance.

5By the way, your parents had sex. At least once. Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.


Books I’m reading now:
It’s RITA time. I’m reading, but I’m not telling you what. I’ll continue with Discovery of Witches after I’m done judging.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Error Proof?

Here in the middle of January with the sky gray, the air cold, and the day too short, I have finally finished the last iteration of fixing WISHFUL THINKING. I've pored over the galley proofs, corrected errors and sent it back. I'll be receiveing ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) next to send out for review and then the final product, the book itself. The scariest part is that in 320 pages of galley proofs, I found 147 errors. Oh, most of them were commas instead of periods, or periods instead of commas, or missing end quotes (and a couple of missing beginning quotes), but I also found repeated words (I fixed those--and some repeats are on purpose), or awkward syntax, or outright mistakes, like a character standing in one line, then three lines later he stands again.

Collector's card
What's scary is that this book has been through so many reads. Not only by me while revising, but also by two beta readers, then me again, then my editor, then me again, then by the copyeditor, then me again, the typesetter (or person who puts it into the way it looks when printed form--they don't really set type any more), then me again. And yet in that last step I still found 147 errors. Now it goes to print. I honestly believe that no manuscript (of any significant length) can be error-free. There will be typos, wrong punctuation, and other mistakes. That's the reason why I have never read one of my actual books. At that point there's nothing I can do about it, so I don't want to know. I've had another author tell me in one of my early books (pre-Gabi Stevens) that I have envelope rather than envelop. Not helpful. I can't fix it. Maybe if it went back into print, which it won't, but in any case not helpful.

Now, in TEMPTATION'S WARRIOR (now available on Kindle and I'm working on the other formats) if I find errors, I can fix them. That's the nice aspect of self-pubbing.

I know some readers get very annoyed with errors in a published book. Every book will have errors. Especially after writing the thing and reading it umpteen dozen times, you can't see your own words. I guess I'm asking readers to be a little more forgiving. Oh, not if the book is error-laden (and I've read a few of those--that's just wrong) but you really need to overlook a few misplaced or missing commas, periods, and quotes. And I'm not talking about the ebook versions of books. I've had more trouble with the format of books than I care to deal with. (Not my own, other books)

Of course, WISHFUL THINKING will be clean now. I hope. :)

Books I'm reading now:
11/22/63 by Stephen King
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The new year

This is the second year in a row that I haven't celebrated New Year's because I was sick. I'm still coughing, but at least I'm healthier now. Except for cancelling our annual game night (we don't party, we play board games...with incredible competitiveness), I don't mind much because, honestly, it's just a date, but it is a traditional party date and I missed that. Twice now. So I think I'm going to throw my New Year's Eve party next week when I'm healthy again and ignore the calendar.

Speaking of calendars, it's 2012.  Are you worried about the end of the world? Me? Not so much. As I used to tell my students when they'd mention that the world was ending this year, it's just the end of a calendar. We don't panic when we throw out our calendar and put up a new one. The Maya Calendar is just a longer calendar. (Don't harp on my accuracy, folks. I'm making a point). So I fully expect to drink champagne Dec 31, 2012, and see January1, 2013 and have my annual party.

Unlike this year.


Books I'm reading now:
Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James
11/22/63 by Stephen King