Monday, September 17, 2012

Genre Favorites Blogfest

 Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh has presented the blogosphere with a new blogfest and since there's nothing I like talking about more than my favorite books, movies and music, signing up for this blogfest was a no-brainer.

Participants (all 167 of us, last I looked) are asked to list our favorite genres of Movies, Music and book— as well as a guilty pleasure from any of the three categories.  And because I live to break rules, I'm going to list a guilty pleasure for each category.  I don't know... maybe it's not breaking the rules but I like to think it is.  That's that whole 'rebel without a cause' gene residing somewhere within my DNA.

Anyway, let's get started...


Well, it's true that I'm a sucker for a period film.  If the phrase 'Merchant Ivory' is used anywhere at all in its description, chances are I'm gonna want to see it.  For example, the new Anna Karenina movie coming out some time this year...

I'm definitely going to want to see that.  Of course, I'll have to drive a couple of hours to find a theater that'll show it but still, I want to see it and am willing to drive the two hours to do so.  But, if you take a period type film and you add some fantasy type elements, then I will be first in line to see a movie.  For example, I saw a trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman that began with a row of knights drawing swords or something (I don't remember exactly what they were doing) and before the swords were fully drawn, I had turned to my brother or sister (whichever sibling was there...please don't be mad that I don't remember. There were swords and suits of armor involved) and said, "I want to see that movie!"

Even if Kristen Stewart was in it.  (I'm sure she's a lovely young woman.  I just find her to be a terrible, terrible actress.)

My guilty pleasure movie genre is action.  I love a good action (Bourne!  Bond!).  I love a bad action movie.  (Speed, I'm looking at you.)  And just yesterday, the one bright spot of the disaster that was the Patriots game (What the hell happened, Bill????) was seeing a trailer for the movie Taken 2 starring Liam Neeson.  I'm probably way more excited to see that movie than I should be but... there it is. 


I have a harder time picking a favorite genre in music because I do like most styles but I think I'm going to have to go with folk music.  I know— folk music makes a lot of people (The Man included) groan but Mumford and Sons rocks my world and I can't wait until their new album (Babel, available at the end of the month!) is released.

My guilty pleasure genre is disco.  I love it.  I admit it.  And yeah, that makes The Man groan too but I love me some ABBA.  Dancing Queen is one of my all time favorite songs.  I even manage to work in references to it in my writing (even the fantasy series).


Last, but not least, is books.  This is really a no-brainer for me and my selection isn't fantasy, as some of you might have thought it would be.  I read a lot of fantasy but I don't tend to love a lot of fantasy.  I am well documented book snob, I know.  So my favorite book genre is historical fiction— at least when it's done well.  I read this one "historical fiction" novel where the authors hadn't done much— if any— research.  And I'd tell you the name of it but I can't remember it.  Apparently, it's the one book title that I read that I didn't write down.  Bums me out though because it was quite a hysterical read.

One of my absolute favorites!
But anyway, I'm getting sidetracked.  I'm a historical fiction girl.  My favorite authors in this genre are Philippa Gregory, Bernard Cornwell, Sharon Kay Penman and Stephen Lawhead.  (Bonus points if you can spot the trend in my selections!) To me, the very best fantasy stories read more like a historical fiction novel.

So I guess that means my guilty pleasure is romance novels.  Historical, paranormal— whatever.  I don't much care about the subgenre.  I get a kick out of them so I read them from time to time.  Some months, that's all I read.  It depends on where my head's at, I guess.  I'm primarily interested in reading a good story.  The rest doesn't always matter.

And that's going to do it for me today.  Thanks for taking the time to work though my always, I'll try to do better the next time.

Until then, head over to Alex's blog for a full list of blogfest participants.  Happy Monday, all!

P.S... I'd also like to apologize for my complete overuse of exclamation points in this post.  I really don't know what's gotten into me except that I'm overtired and sometimes, I just get so damn excited...



Monday, September 10, 2012

The End of an Error

Last week was the AssMan's last week at The Store.

My long time readers will know the AssMan was the assistant manager and, all too often, a giant pain in my you-know-where.  She's gone off to work somewhere else, somewhere (one hopes) less demanding because she truly was ill-equipped to deal with The Store's particular management requirements.  But maybe she shouldn't feel so badly.  A lot of people would be.  The Store's quite ridiculous that way.

So it is with mixed emotions that I said goodbye to the AssMan, torn because she really was a miserable person with which to work but she was always good for a "you'll never believe what happened at The Store now" post.

Here now, in a tribute to the AssMan, are some of the highlights from those posts:

—the time she wanted me fired because I wasn't on the schedule frequently enough.   I couldn't decide when the right moment was to remind her I wasn't the one who made the schedule.

—the time she then pretended she didn't want me fired because she didn't think I'd hear about it.

—the time The Man came to pick me up from work and The AssMan and I had this conversation:

Her:  (coming into the stockroom where I am feverishly working to finish up) You'd better get out there.  Your husband is talking to another woman.
Me:  First of all, I'm not married.  Second of all, so?
Her:  He's talking to another woman.  You have to get out there.
Me:  Why do I care if he's talking to another woman?
Her:  What?  You mean you want someone else to have to deal with him?
Me:  No, I mean we have one of those healthy relationships where I don't care if he talks to other people.

—The time she complained really loudly about our Canadian customers.  Within earshot of all our Canadian customers.  (Thanks for coming in.  And now it's once again safe to return.)

—The time she complained really loudly about every other customer.  Within earshot of every other customer.  Seriously.

—This conversation:

Her:  I need sleep pants.
Me:  (pointing) I have a box of them over there.

The AssMan then proceeds to dig through the boxes right next to me, not the box I indicated.  This brings my productivity to a screeching halt.

Me:  What are you doing?
Her:  Looking for men's sleep pants.
Me:  In a box labeled 'women's outerwear'?
Her:  Well, what box are they in?
Me:  Personally, I'd try the one labeled 'men's sleep pants' if I were you.
Her:  (laughing) Oh.  Am I annoying you today?
Me:  It's adorable how you think it's just today.

—The time she wanted to write me up because I had a bad attitude because I didn't go on my lunch break when she told me to because I was in the middle of helping a group of (Canadian) customers.  (She never did write me up.  Must've been my 'go ahead, make my day' expression when she told me)

—The time she gave me a hard time for putting the overflow of women's jeans on a shelf located directly across from the rest of the women's jeans.  I apologized for having put them in plain sight and promise to hide them better the next time.

—The time she called and begged to me come in on my day off and then when I got there, looked at me and said, "What are you doing here?"

—And last but not least, these haiku:
I do remember
how a hanger works, but thanks
for the refresher.

Yes, that last haiku
was chock full of sarcasm.
So glad you noticed.

Good bye, AssMan.  We hardly knew ye.  Well, that's not true.  You did tell us waaaaaaaay too many personal things about yourself.  They're called 'personal boundaries', AssMan.  You should check into them.

I work with her replacement for the first time today.  He's a guy whose name  I don't remember.  I'm pretty sure it starts with a P so I'll just call him that.  I'm curious to find out what P will be like.  I'm sure we'll get along just fine.  Just as long as he doesn't try to tell me what to do.

Here's hoping they covered that in orientation...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How Is A Raven Like A Writing Desk (An IWSG Post)

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of blogger extraordinaire, Alex J. Cavanaugh.  Click on the picture to the left in order to find out more about this group or see a list of all participants.  And in the event that clicking on that picture doesn't take you anywhere, click HERE.

So, here's the thing.  I've got nothing.  I've been sitting here in front of this computer for a couple of hours now, trying to hash out an IWSG post that makes a little sense and has some semblance of a point.  And it's just not coming.

I've tried writing about my failing quest to write a back of the book blurb.  That looks like this:

Hey, buy this book.  It'll make you cool.  You do want to be cool, don't you?

But I already know it needs work.  Peer pressure should be more subtle, don't you think? 

Then I tried writing about this whole waiting thing I'm doing while my manuscript's with the copy editor but even that fizzled out.  Here's the condensed version:  I'm only good at waiting when it comes to midnight Harry Potter movie releases.  But isn't that every writer?  Maybe not the Harry Potter part but waiting's hard and we all have to suck it up and do it.  And I am doing just that.  Really.  Even if, in this moment (or any other moment), it doesn't seem like it.

What I think is happening here is more of the same.  I am getting close to running out of excuses to not publish my book and I am freaking out about it.  I don't know how all of you do it.  How you just so calmly publish your novels with grace and ease.  And I know it's not easy but damn, you make it look easy.  Seriously, kudos to you, all of you.  I am in awe.  I am not worthy.

Because I am freaking out.

And I can't even articulate it well.

I'll try to do better the next time.  Until then, happy writing all.  I'm off to go to some yoga.  Or maybe just hit myself in the head with a baseball bat.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

In Which I Review Books

Here's what I read in August:

Game On- Kyra Lennon- A fun summer beach read.  Which I actually read on a beach.  It took me a very long time to understand why Leah would ever be interested in Radleigh because he spends a lot of time being a real jerk.  A major jerk.  And while I love a bad boy, he didn’t seem to have a lot of redeeming qualities and it made me feel that much worse for poor loveable Miguel.  I liked Radleigh a little better by the end.  Overall, this book offers a great character voice with a nice combination of drama and laugh out loud moments.  I will happily read the next book in the series.

Spill Over­- Jolene Perry- THIS REVIEW CONTAINS A MAJOR SPOILER.  Overall, I liked this novel.  I wasn’t thrilled with the ending but I really enjoyed the rest of the story.  Antony was a character I wasn’t sure about.  I didn’t like him— I didn’t not like him either— I was just undecided about him.  But he had an interesting voice that got much more interesting when his mother dies.  The scene where he’s back in the New York apartment, in his mother’s room, was particularly well done and really made me feel for him.  It was emotional and raw and I always appreciate it when an author does that well as was the case here.  Amber is a good character and I liked her from the start. I just didn’t care for the “two years later” part.

Slipstream- Michael Offutt- I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the amount of imagination required to create a world such as the one created here.  Seriously, I think this book is a fantastic example of world building. Such a detail rich environment.  I'm impressed.  Unfortunately, I didn’t respond to the characters as well.  Jordan was more or less fine but I really didn’t connect to Kathy at all.  Kolin was, by far, my favorite, even if he does spell his name with a K.  There are a surprising number of typos/grammatical errors but I’m still interested in reading the next book when it comes out.

Monday, September 3, 2012

In Which I Fail To Create A Clever Title (an AYWN Update)

 Happy Labor Day, all.  This is the first Labor Day in quite some time that I haven't been... well, laboring at The Store so I'm not quite sure what to do with myself but I'm thinking a Firefly marathon is in order.  It'll be my reward for after I tell you just how well I did with my goals last month.

That's right.  I said well.

But don't take my word for it.  See for yourselves... these are the goals I set for August:

1.  Finish editing those 37 (or so pages).
2.  Get entire manuscript into the hands of a copy editor.
3.  Do not go crazy while waiting to hear back from said copy editor.
4.  Stop putting off the whole cover artist thing.

And here's how I did with those goals:

1.  Done.

2.  Done.  I even sent along some special pet bakery treats for the copy editor's dog.  That's right.  I am not above bribes.

3.  Done.  Maybe.  I'd like to think that I'm holding it together well but those surrounding me in my day to day life may feel differently.  But, just to be on the safe side, let's not ask any of those people...

4.  Done.  The cover artist has been contacted and has (possibly) forgiven me my complete lack of cover designing knowledge and saved me from having to go with my rockin' stick figure idea:

So there you have it.  A 100% success rate for August... because really, how are you going to prove I'm crazier than I already was?  So that just leaves setting my September goals.  And that's easy.  Well, the goal itself is going to be crazy hard but knowing what it is is easy.

September Goal (because there's just the one):

1.  Publish Effigy.

Hope y'all are doing well with your own goals...