Believe It or Not and #ROW80

One of the best things about becoming a writer is interacting with other writers. Published ones. With actual books.

I found romance author Tawna Fenske’s blog, Don’t Pet Me, I’m Writing, some time ago. When I start my blog reading, her site is often the first I click onto. I’m sure to find something interesting, helpful, or downright hilarious.

When I clicked one day last week, I found Tawna’s post on Share Your Flutters. She was sharing things that make her feel giddy, including opening up a box full of her second novel, Believe It or Not, which releases on March 6. In the comments section, readers were invited to share their own flutter moments with an opportunity to win a signed copy of Believe It or Not.

Here was my entry:

I’m not at my fluttierest at the moment, having been diagnosed with mononucleosis (the “kissing disease” which means I can’t kiss for a while! Ugh). But here’s the list from the sick patient’s perspective:

* My adolescent son comes in every day to ask if I’m feeling better and gives me a hug. Flutter. (Note: I have two sons, both of whom have been fabulous, but all that the older one has done for me would have required too much explanation.)

* My sister sent me a box of chicken soup mixes purchased from Soups Online. Flutter.

* My husband does double duty as hard worker by day and Superdad by night, then crawls into bed to be my much-needed body heater. Double flutter.

* I love my current WIP. When I give others the elevator pitch, it piques interest. Yeah, me. Will flutter when published and opening my own boatload box of books.

Thanks for sharing yours, Tawna. Congrats on the book. Looking forward to reading it!

The next post from Tawna Fenske was On Kissing and the Hardest Parts, in which she awarded me a signed copy of Believe It or Not! It was not a random drawing but what I wrote that got me the prize. Be sure to click on the post to see what she said. I read her debut novel, Making Waves, and enjoyed it. (I just checked and the Kindle ebook edition is currently $1.79.) Making Waves is a nominee for “best contemporary romance” in the RT Book Reviews 2011 Reviewers’ Choice Awards. I’m looking forward to delving into her second novel, just as soon as Believe It or Not arrives on my doorstep with Ms. Fenske’s lovely signature. Thanks, Tawna!

Now I believe my ROW80 update comes next:

  • Finish editing Grace & Fire mystery novel and send to reader. Check. Finished on January 19.
  • Write 2,500 1,500 words per week on young adult novel, Sharing Hunter1,242 words, all on one day. I had planned to log some words today after a short nap. But my “short nap” turned into 3 1/2 hours of “dead to the world.”
  • Blog twice a week on Amaze-ing Words Wednesday and Deep-Fried Friday, and check-in with ROW80 updates twice a week. Check. Posted Getting in Last Words and My Old Poetry and ROW80 on Wednesday and What Buffy the Vampire Slayer Taught Me on Friday.
  • Comment on at least 10 15 blogs per week (not counting ROW80 update comments). Check. Commented on a total of 30 last week.
  • Read one writing craft book. Check. Finished On Writing by Stephen King. For those of you asking what I thought of On Writing, I didn’t get as much out of it as others have. There were some gems in there, but quite a bit of the book covered King himself and his writing. I’m not a big King fan, though.
  • Read five eight fiction books. 7 down, starting The Scorch Trials (sequel to The Maze Runner) by James Dashner.
  • Exercise three times per week.
  • Read through Writer’s Digest magazine issue. No progress on this goal this week. *slaps own hand*

So what has made you flutter this week? How are your goals coming along?

As always, wish my fellow ROW80ers the best by clicking HERE!

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My Reluctant Conversion to Ebooks

 

Woman Reading Book by C. Coles Philip

I lament the loss of texture. With our touch screen world, it is becoming rarer and rarer to feel the push buttons of a telephone, an ATM, or a debit card machine; the click of a mouse rather than the flat touchpad that moves my cursor around this screen; and especially the rough or smooth pages of a yellow-paged novel.

Sitting on the beach yesterday, I considered how particular environments are best suited to having a paperback instead of an ebook reader in hand. And why was I thinking this? Because in spite of my woes about the computer screen/virtual world, I was reading from my husband’s nook and hoping that the salty air and sand wouldn’t damage my portable electronic.

I was considering the same question when I got home, settled into a hot bath to get all the sticky sand off my body, and read from my nook. One slip of my hand and splash! ereader ruined. But I was really careful.

So why am I reading ebooks instead of my preferred texture-rich novels? I have to admit that it’s convenient.

My aging eyes. Now that I’m old enough to require reading glasses, I have to hunt them down to open up a book and read the 9-point font that someone in the publishing world thought was legible. With an ebook reader, I simply click on Preferences, increase the font size, and voila! easy to read and no glasses needed.

Multiple books/one device. I can juggle two books at a time with one device. I do NOT read more than one fiction book at a time. (I get confused!) But I am often reading one fiction and one non-fiction simultaneously. In this case, I can carry around one book-sized device and go between Story Engineering by Larry Brooks and Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore with a few simple clicks.

Easy purchasing. My prior fiction purchases involved a trip to the bookstore (a favorite outing indeed) or an online purchase from Amazon.com and waiting a few days for my order to arrive. Now, however, if I don’t have time for a long browse in a bookstore or want to cater to my natural impatience, I can click, click, click on my nook and in mere moments the book appears on my screen, ready to read. Ebooks are often less expensive nowadays as well.

Change happens. I grew up in a family that was usually the first one on the street with a new gadget. We had a microwave very soon after they came out, even if it was the size of a small truck and cost the same as a Mediterrean cruise. But for myself, I’m usually in the middle — not the first one out, not the last one in. What I am not, though, is the person dragged kicking and screaming into modernity. You know, those people who just recently bought a cell phone or booted up their first computer. Like it or not, a lot of books are only available in ebook form and more and more authors and publishers are moving in that direction every day. So I have my nook, and I’m ready.

I suppose I can stroke a rough sponge, rub blank pieces of paper, or feel my legs right before I shave if I get an extreme desire for texture. I have a feeling I will be getting texture less and less from my fiction. Thankfully, the content is still enjoyable, no matter what the form of delivery.

(Note: I have extreme doubts about ebooks for children’s books, however. How do you present Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt or The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle in ebook form?)

Here are the fiction books I have recently read on my nook:

Making Waves by Tawna Fenske.  A quirky romance novel with corporate castoffs, a pirate mission, a beautiful stowaway, and a great Battleship game scene.  This is not my usual genre, but I enjoyed the book immensely.  Fenske’s protagonist is sassy, savvy, and sexy all the way through.

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs.  A young mermaid lives with her aunt and attends “terraped” high school.  But her 18th birthday is looming, and she needs to find a mate so she can attain her rightful place as heir to an undersea kingdom.  She’s got her target in sight, but can she reel him in?  Childs has written a wonderful young adult novel with relatable characters and believable mermaid behaviors (loved all the fish references).  I will also be checking out her sequel entitled Fins Are Forever.

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore.  I’m in the middle of this one, but so far it’s hard to put down.  A college-aged girl and her sister, both kitchen witches, housesit at their quirky aunt’s Texas ranch.  When some bones are uncovered at the neighboring ranch, they get more than the usual easygoing ghost.  If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I have truly enjoyed Rosemary’s books.  Her writing is right up my alley.

How do you feel about the switchover from traditional books to ebooks?  Do you own an ebook reader?  How do you like it?  Do you think moving to ebooks is a good trend overall?  How do you think that ebooks will affect readers, the publishing world, or authors?

Friday Fiction: What to Read Next?

My Next Reads Stack

It’s a toss-up for whether my Netflix queue or my Next Reads stack is larger.  My husband recently said, “I could have three lifetimes, and never get through all the books I want to read.”  I agree:  There simply isn’t enough time to devour all the books I want to read.

Since I can’t get to everything, what causes a book to land in my three-foot tall stack of Next Reads?  For me, here are some criteria:

Book Club Choice.  I’ve been in a book club for years, and if we choose a book, I try VERY hard to read it.  Every now and then, I have been caught at a meeting having no idea why Charlise chose to leave Steve for the plumber and become a missionary in remote Africa, since I don’t even know who Charlise is.  But, for the most part, Book Club books get moved to the top of the stack.  There is, after all, some accountability for whether I’ve read the selection.

Reading with My Kids.  I have participated in programs with my kids for which I needed to read middle grade or young adult books at the same time they did.  This is also accountability because they know if I’ve read the book, and once I read it, I know if they’ve read the book!  I have truly read a lot of fabulous novels this way.

Next in the Series.  If I’ve started a series that I like but haven’t made it through or the author recently published another one (keep writing, Rhys Bowen), the next one goes in the stack.  I definitely read novels sequentially and want to know the whole story of characters I fall in love with.

Recommendation.  If a friend with similar taste highly recommends a book (or loans it to me), I usually get to reading.  This word-of-mouth advertising is what authors rely on!  I’m far more likely to grab a book suggested by a close Facebook friend than a New York Times book review.

Authors I Like.  If I loved your last book, I’ll probably like the next one.  It’s not always true.  For instance, I love Charlaine Harris’s Aurora Teagarden series, but I honestly don’t enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse novels.  Still, it’s as good a bet as any.  And just like we order the same menu item in our favorite restaurant over and over, people like the certainty of reading an author they are almost certain they will like.

Classics.  I admit to feeling internal pressure to read the greatest literature of all time.  I have made it through works by Tolstoy, Austen, Hardy, Dickens, Steinbeck, Brontës 1, 2, and 3, and many more.  However, I still haven’t read Willa Cather, William Faulkner, Victor Hugo, and others.  Somehow, I feel that I must make it through a good number of the classics before I leave this world.

Authors with a Personal Connection.  There is a mystery author in my hometown, and I happily picked up her books (Leann Sweeney, author of Yellow Rose and Cat in Trouble mysteries).  I have also become acquainted through conferences, groups, and social media with other authors who make it far more likely that I will read their tomes (e.g., We Are Not Alone by Kristen Lamb and Making Waves by Tawna Fenske).  I could mention quite a few that fall into this group.  And they keep publishing more!  Which will keep me on my toes.

Catches My Eye.  This is the least likely way to get on my list, but it is often what authors are hoping for.  Sometimes, I do browse bookstores or libraries and find an interesting title, an eye-catching cover, and a book jacket description that makes me want to read the contents.  Once again, I have come upon some wonderful reads this way (e.g., A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson).  However, it is a crap shoot.

So what are your methods for deciding which books to read?  How big is your Next Reads stack?  Do you want your book to make it into my stack?  Let me know the title!