Thursday, September 15, 2011

Moving On To Bigger And Better!

I'm back again and yet I'm gone. Let me explain.

I am back to blogging, but the time has come for me to leave Blogger behind.

I've totally redesigned my website and merged it with my brand new blog at: I'm also planning on using my official Face Book page more for our discussions. Oh! And my new website has tons of new it's pretty. ;)

So, please, do come find me. I've missed you all and I'd love to chat some more!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Suspension

No, I haven’t been expelled from an educational institution, nor am I dangling from a ceiling Mission Impossible style. (That was the first thing that came to mind when I thought about the word suspension. ;)
Anyway, I am simply announcing a temporary suspension of this blog. :(
You may have noticed over the past few months that I’ve been struggling to keep up my usually posting schedule and frequently apologizing about that. Well, I have a feeling I’m going to continue that trend for a while, so in order to spare you the monotony of my need to beg forgiveness I decided to just take a break for a while. ;)
Just to explain how bad things have gotten, I actually wrote this post two weeks ago.
I can hear all the professional bloggers who have tried to suggest ways to create a successful blog yelling, “You’re going to lose all of the readers you’ve worked so hard to build up if you stop now!” But the fact of the matter is the way you get readers is reading other people’s post and that is something I haven’t been able to do for weeks. A fact, I assure you, I’ve felt quite guilty about. You all deserve readers! :)
I’m not sure how long of a break I’ll take. There are just lots of things going on in the real world right now that I need to pay more attention to. Plus, I'm really tired of answering my e-mails with the words “I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you.” :P
So, now that I’ve rambled long enough, I’ll simply say, have a lovely rest of your summer!
Miss and love you all!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Once Upon A Time…We lost the originals…

The book is always better than the movie, right? But sometimes I find that it’s not just better. It’s outright wildly different.
Personally, the most interesting cases I find are original fairytales. All of us have probably seen Disney’s version of them somewhere close to a hundred times each. ;) But haven’t you ever wanted to know what the original Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, or Cinderella was like? Okay, so maybe that’s just me. You might be interested, however, to know how different they are and what we lost in translation.
The differences can be quite amusing in their weirdness. The older and more obscure version of Cinderella sports a number of unique moments. For instance, she didn’t just have two wicked sister. She had a Cyclops and a Triclops for sisters. The Cinderella character’s name is actually “Two Eyes.” She was very common looking. ;) “Beauty” from Beauty and the Beast, wasn’t an only child taking care of her father. She was the youngest of six children, several of whom are turned to statues by the end of the story.
Often the most striking difference is the motivation and desires of the main characters. A fairy godmother didn’t show up to give Cinderella a beautiful dress just in time for the dance. She came to provide her with food. Cinderella, as it turns out, was starving to death. And the Little Mermaid didn’t want to become a human because a prince was waiting for her on the beach. She was distraught over the fact that humans can go to heaven when they died whereas mermaids became nothing more than sea foam.
I can naturally see why Disney changed things. After all, singing mice probably work a whole lot better than the goat in the real Cinderella story…Let’s just say he didn’t make it to the end. And it’s much nicer to say the price for the Little Mermaid to achieve two legs was simply her voice…Instead of severe pain with every step. But too often when changes were made the point of the original stories was lost in the hustle of all those colorful ball gowns.
“Love conquers all” is never really the issue. “Happily-ever-after” in the sense we say it today actually seems vacant next to the originals.
The real Beauty and the Beast ends with the line, “and their happiness, as it was founded on virtue, was complete.” The Little Mermaid’s happiness only comes when the angels whisk her away to heaven.
As for “Cinderella?” Well, going off to the live in the castle with the prince is not the end of the story. Before the final page could turn she forgave her sisters for all the horrible things they’d done and took them to live in the palace with her. Only then, could she really say, “And they lived happily ever after.”

Monday, July 19, 2010

To Negative Review Or Not. That is the question…

In previous posts we’ve discussed how important it is for readers to put up reviews for the books they like because people do buy based on word of mouth more than anything. But what about negative reviews?
Inevitably, when you read a lot of books you will read plenty of bad ones. Some books start well, but by the time I hit the end I feel like saying, “I read 300 pages for that?” Other books are so bad I can’t make it past the halfway point. That’s just the way the book universe is.
But I should I leave a negative review on those book? My answer more often than not is, no. I might have very definitive tastes on what is and is not good writing when I’m reading, but when it comes to criticizing that writing publicly I tend to look at the situation as a writer.

After all, I know firsthand (and from the mouths of several of my fellow writers) that we can get very emotionally attached to our work and negative reviews tend to hit hard. But even more than the emotional side, I have to think of in terms of their sales too. Why should I threaten another author’s sales by publicly saying I don’t like their books when there are plenty of people who would read that book and like it just fine? Some of the worse books I’ve ever read are bestseller. If people like their books, that’s fine with me. Just don’t ask me to agree. ;)

Now, I am NOT talking about books that I dislike because they are immoral. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with bringing up those issues. But in general, if it’s just a personal opinion I have about the type of writing or story I find it better to leave it alone. I might discuss what I don’t like about the book on this blog, but I try not to name the title or the author.
HONESTLY, the reviews that irk me the worst are the ones that boil down to, “Yeah, I liked it, but it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read.” Sorry, but that’s just lame! It’s like talking for the sake of talking without thinking about what type of an impact it might have. I often want to ask those people, “If you were the author, would you appreciate that comment?”
So, I simply say, if you don’t have anything nice to say just leave it alone. ;)
What about you? Do you think we should leave negative reviews? If so, why?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Smile for me this week.

Not too much original thought this week, my friends. :) I'm taking the week off from the blogger world because there's just too much going on for me to hold onto my sanity if I tried to do it all. (Please no additional comments about my sanity;)

So, for this week I'm just sharing some of my smiles with you. ;)

Yes, all these angels belong to my family. :D What makes you smile?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fan Fiction

Yes, fan fiction. Ever heard of it? Anyone else find this subgenre as enjoyable as I do? ;)
Before I go on, I guess I should define the term itself, because there can be confusion on occasion. An author inspired by a particular book who consequently writes something similar is NOT a fan fiction writer. Fan fiction occurs when an author takes a classic novel and expands on the original story and characters.
It can come in the form of sequels to a famous novel, like Stephanie Coles The Phantom Returns, modernizations, like Debra White-Smith’s Romance and Reason (originally Sense and Sensibility), remixes that suggest the story was told wrong, like many of the stories suggesting the “wicked witch” was misunderstood, or retellings of the original story from a different character’s point of view, like Janet Alymer’s Darcy’s Story.
I have become a great fan of fan fiction, particularly the Jane Austen version. Why? Because I want more! Jane only wrote six novels…that’s it! But through the world of fan fiction I can experience Austen again in whole new ways. :)
The genre actually started in 1914 when Sybil Brinton wrote Old Friends and New Fancies. She basically took all the characters left unmarried at the end of Austen’s novels and twisted them into existing Austen plots. So, for instance, Georgiana Darcy finds herself in the position originally occupied by Emma, as she tries to set up a romance for a friend, only to end up the object of affection. The Fitzwilliam Darcy; Gentleman trilogy by Pamela Aidan is considered by many in the fan fiction world to be the pinnacle of the genre. It is another retelling of Pride and Prejudice from Darcy's point of view, but adds a unique layer by weaving in the historical context of the time area. England, it seems, was a much more volatile place than the originals portray. ;) This is not to say that all fan fiction is good. Authors who turn Austen’s stories into erotic novels still boggle my mind. :P
Fan fiction is of course not limited to the Austenphiles. ;) As of yet I have not tried out Phantom of the Opera fan fiction, but I am tempted, partly just because I love that they call it “Phan Fiction.” Oh, come on, you know that’s cute. :)
I’ve also discovered that there is a great deal of fun in writing fan fiction. Yes, I’ve given it a shot. I picked out a small character in a famous novel whose ending I did not find satisfactory. It was both fun and challenging to look at the world from her eyes.
So, have you read or heard of any good fan fiction lately? Or, more importantly, have you ever read a book and found yourself thinking, “I would have done that differently.”

Friday, July 2, 2010

Oh, no! The eBooks are coming for me!

I'm considering renaming this blog "Things I thought I'd never do" since that particular topic comes up so often. ;) So what did I do this time that I was once sure I wasn't ever really going to get into? One word. Ebook. :P

We've talked about eBooks here before. My book is available as an eBook and on Kindle, so I’ve looked into the concept...but I'm a book person! I love the look of full bookshelves as much as I do reading itself. ;)
That's not to say that the idea of the eBook hasn't slowly been edging into my brain. I've read a bit in an eBook form. A serial here and there. But never a full book experience. It seemed so wrong, part of the reason being I do not like excessive scrolling on a computer screen. I think I have scroll-sickness (It's a recognized disorder, right?). And all the "eBook readers" have screens so small my eyes strain at the very thought of trying to use one, not to mention the heart attack my wallet would have if I thought of buying one.
Well, then along comes a co-worker of mine, extolling wonders of eBooks. She showed me the free eBook reader software anyone can download from Barns and Nobles' website. It's set up to read left to right so that when you are looking at the computer screen you are in essence looking at an open faced book.
Sure, it looked a lot more comfortable to read and how can you beat free, right? But still, we're talking eBooks and I like real books....
...I was firm in my belief until last Saturday. Then I suddenly found myself wanting to read a particularly book, but:
1.) I did not have time to go to the bookstore.
2.) I did not want to spend much money on the book because I wasn't sure if it was any good.
3.) I really did not have time to go hunt for it at the library in hopes that I wouldn't have to spend money on it.
So what was my solution? I downloaded it from B&N for $2 and started reading it immediately.

Now I'm wondering if this is how all those book people out there fall down the rabbit hole of eBooks. I use to think eBooks were something non-book people got into, but I can thoroughly see the appeal at the moment. :P Don't worry too much. I still love owning books. A part of me kind of wants to go out and buy a copy of the book and just put it on my shelves. ;)
So, have you fallen into the eBook world yet or do you still insist that you are a through and through traditional print person?

Just for the record, my very first eBook was (drum-roll please) The Phantom of the Opera. Haven't you ever watched a movie and wanted to know how the book compared? ;)