Alligators Overhead Trailer

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Miscellany

This is one of those pre-post posts because I'm in Southern California today enjoying some time on the beach. Nawt! I'm working . . .kind of.  Here's what happened today.

I got to hobnob with some wonderfully, talented writers at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in 
Redondo Beach 
Amazing day! Thank you, Georgia McBride for pulling us all together in this super anthology. 

L to R: Me, Nancy Holder, Gretchen McNeil, Nina Berry, Suzanne Lazear

We were told to look spooky. I think we failed.

Stuff about Books & Book Reviews


I've won so many books this year that I'm struggling to keep up with all the reading AND trying to find time to actually do some writing. Here are three that I really appreciated and enjoyed reading.

You know I loved Demon Keeper because I've said so, so many times. Thanks again, you wonderful bloggers at The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow.

Then Medeia Sharif sent me Narc, a young adult with some excellent and fresh writing.

I also won Plot and Structure. Thank you, Julie Musil. Very nice indeed. 

Also my policy on reviewing books I win is going through some major "re-thinking." I always said that I'd review any book that I could find at least *** worth to comment on, but that I wouldn't review those that I felt weren't up to that level of writing. Now I'm beginning to wonder about that policy. Is that an easy way out? Is that dishonest? I'm only one reader with one very subjective opinion, so what's the big deal if I opt out of giving a bad, but honest review? I'd love to hear your thoughts about this. What do you do when you read a book, but can't say it merits recommending to others? 


Stuff That's Writerly

Years ago I read this TIP in a magazine, and I kept it because it was wacky, but wonderful. The writer was Cindy Rieke (If you know her, tell her she's credited here and I loved her idea.) Here's what Cindy suggested: Keep one of those cardboard tubes that are at the center of a paper towel roll on your desk. 

So why? 

It's a reminder to zoom in on the details. Here's her example of how using this odd, but effective device helped her writing. She wrote these descriptive two sentences.

Mrs. Snead leaned against the doorjamb. She wore a flowered duster and faded blue scuffs. 

Then she picked up her cardboard roll and peered through. Vague was gone and specific was right there in that tiny circle. What can you do to bring that character to life? Where can you add the details to enliven her? Here's where!

Mrs. Snead settled against the doorjamb, straining even more the buttons that barely held the iris-covered duster together. She blocked the passage like some sun-bleached overgrown garden.

Thanks, Cindy. Loved the stronger verb, settled, and the image of the woman straining the buttons on her duster that's covered in irises so she resembles a "sun-bleached overgrown garden."

Do you have any TIPs that you find helpful for bringing your characters alive while you're writing descriptions of how they move and what they look like? ______________________________________________________________________________

Stuff I Found Interesting

“If you think teenagers aren’t having sex, I wish you’d been my parents.”  Laura Anne Giman when asked whether there was too much sex in YA.

“Horror is the literature of hopelessness; fantasy is the literature of hope.”  Patricia Briggs.  (Horror writer Sephira Giron disagreed!)

Any comments?
I've put Alligators Overhead up for grabs on Smashwords. Free. Free. Free. Grab an eBook. Hope you enjoy the adventure.


  1. People would really wonder why I had that empty roll of toilet paper on my desk.
    I won't review a book that I didn't like. Part of that is because I'm not slamming a fellow author, but a lot of it is because if I don't like a book, I don't finish it - thus, I can't review it.

    1. My friends would know it had to with writing. They know I'm nuts anyway.

      Thanks for the response toy review question

  2. Like Alex, I do not review books I do not like. Why bother to give a bad review. If a book is bad, I won;t finish reading it and therefore cannot give a review anyway.

    1. So it seems you and Alex agree that a poor bk will fail anyway, so writers need not weigh in

      Tks for your opinion.

  3. Hi Lee - I've struggled with a few books and have kept quiet ...

    Now the toilet roll on the desk - sounds an interesting talking point ..

    Love the photo of the five authors .. I'll get Alligators Overhead - when I get that Kindle ..

    Cheers Hilary

    1. I just thought the rp roll was kind of wacky and fun--just a writerly diversion during bland periods.

      Understand what you mean about struggling with some books.

  4. I don't review books for the reason's Alex gave but I don't review ones I like either because I don't want someone to feel left out. I know it is weird, but there you have it.

  5. If it is a book that I had quite a few troubls with, I tend not to post a review. Just a personal choice. Heck, there are some great books I need to get out and do reviews for :-)

    The TP roll tip is pretty cool. Have to see about using it.

  6. The bookstore event looked fun! Good "papertowel roll" tip too.

  7. The bookstore event looked fun! Good "papertowel roll" tip too.

  8. i dont like so much sex in ya. just because it happens IRL doesnt mean it's good. but the drama that comes with it does make for good stories...difficult topic!

    love the focus on the tp tube!

  9. This is probably lame, but I usually give 5 stars to my friends because I want to help them on their journey. Amazon is about to make this mute for us by no longer allowing authors to review. But we can still review on other sites. On Goodreads, because it's for readers, I usually only give a star rating. I think it's a sticky widget, honestly.

    I hope you had a great time at the signing. I love the photo and wished I could have popped in.

  10. I loved your whole post, but I'm shocked by Patricia Briggs' quote about Horror. I love Horror because the stakes are so high and yet the hero overcomes everything and wins in the end. Horror expresses the simplest delineation of good vs evil available in literature. There are no shades of gray. They're like modernized westerns--white hats vs black hats--and the white hats almost always win (in the ones I love anyway).

    1. Great response. I'm always interested in how writers view writing categories they don't write v those they do.

  11. I'm loving all your responses to the questions. Tks Mary re the Amazon/author review issue. That's very comtrolling of them. I think I'm sticking with my rule of thumb on reviews.

  12. So awesome that you all were able to get together! Love that.

    I decided over the summer to revamp my reviewing policy as well. It gets tougher with the more of our own work that gets out there.

  13. Ooh, you ladies look like you had fun! :)

    About reviewing books: I find it hard to review books that I had a hard time reading. I rarely review them. I'm starting to rethink that policy because I keep asking myself, how will the author know what didn't work, especially if the author reads the reviews.--I think some don't read reviews. I don't trash the books though, just what didn't work for me.

  14. Great pictures! Looks like it was a blast : )

    Regarding reviews, Stephanie and I only review books that we like- it's like my mom always said, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything- lol!

    Thanks for mentioning us : ) Fun post! ~ Jess

  15. Love the TP tip, I think I have one I can get now.

    I don't review books I don't like either. It saves the reader from buying a book they may not like and making me responsible for that mistake. It also allows me to stay friends with the author.

  16. And to think I've been tossing the tool that may be the key to a break out novel every single day!

  17. Cindy's idea is actually a Barry Lane technique of using the binoculars. I used to teach 8th grade English ten years ago, and used that with the kids. I recently shared it with my son's teacher. It is great stuff! He didn't suggest the TP roll, however :-)

    Book reviews: Since I am also a writer, as well as a reader, my personal policy is that I do not review or feature books on my blog that I don't truly like. I won't write a bad book review b/c, for me, it's bad karma. I do find something positive to tell the writer personally, but I won't share my thoughts publicly. That's just me, though. If I was only a book reviewer, I'd write good and bad reviews.

  18. sounds like a great time---i am like susan--although i haven't officially reviewed at all, but if that is what my job was, i would write the truth

  19. So great that so many Two and Twenty Dark Tales authors were able to get together like that. :)

  20. Hmm, Alex's comment makes me think maybe I should stop finishing the books that I can't stand, just so I have a good reason for not reviewing them. :) But I have this obsession with finishing any book I start and recording my thoughts about it on GoodReads. :P

  21. I've written a few bad reviews, but only for big name, best selling authors who don't care what I think. I would rather not say anything if I don't like a book because of respect for their work, and fear of revenge if I ever get published!


Please say something to me, anything. Well, not anything, but a kind word will do.