Tag Archives: twitter

When your karma needs a swift kick in the rear

A few days ago, I said something stupid and thoughtless and inconsiderate to a fellow writer on twitter, a writer whose work I admire greatly. I was trying to tell her how much I loved one of her books and instead . . . well, it was graceless to say the least. And I’m ashamed of myself. I know better than to try to say something complicated on twitter, let alone anything negative. Idiot. I considered deleting it, but it’s out there and I need to suck it up and own it. It’s not the first time and, knowing me, it won’t be the last. Nature of the beast.

But instead of dwelling on it, I decided maybe it’s time to remind myself to focus on the positive and recommend a few books I’ve read in the past several months and truly enjoyed. (Yes, that writer’s are among them.)

Keep in mind, these are NOT book reviews. I don’t do that anymore, partly because Amazon thinks writers shouldn’t be allowed to review books [really, Amazon? REALLY?], but also because on the rare occasions I’ve done a review over here I get a bunch of requests to do more. So please don’t ask me. I’m not a book reviewer. I’ll hate saying it, but the answer will be no.

I’ve been reading (and writing) a lot of romance lately, so these recommendations are all in that genre, although that might be the only similarity among them. Some are sweet romance and others are . . . a good bit darker. Or steamier. The links are all to Amazon but probably you could get these books elsewhere as well.

81HL-pHEgTL._SL1500_First is Jackie Ashenden’s TALKING DIRTY WITH THE BOSS. Don’t let the title fool you into thinking this book is about, y’know, talking dirty with the boss. Okay, fine, that’s part of it. But it’s so much more than that (hence my dislike for the title, but we just won’t talk about that) (any more). The hero has OCD issues, which is a spectrum and not the same for everyone, and Ashenden handles it so well and this guy comes across as troubled but also gruffly sweet and charming, and the relationship felt genuine. I loved this book and didn’t want it to end.

Besides being incredibly gracious when you say stupid things to her on twitter, Ashenden has become as close to an auto-buy as I get. I’ve purchased the first two books in her Nine Circles series — I loved the excerpts — and am saving them to read as a reward for finishing a project, but other books of hers I’ve read and would recommend are:

HAVING HER (Lies We Tell Book 2)
TAKING HIM (Lies We Tell Book 1)
NEVER SEDUCE A SHEIKH (International Bad Boys Book 2)
THE BILLIONAIRE’S CLUB: New York boxed set

Next up is Rebecca Zanetti. I read the first three in her Sin Brothers series and then pretty much gorged on her backlist while waiting for the fourth book, which recently came out. She writes the kind of ridiculously strong alpha male heroes that you’d want to strangle in real life and, if you like that (I love that), you probably can’t go wrong with any of her books. But this particular series is a “highly recommend” from me. It’s listed as paranormal, but it’s not your standard witches and vamps and were-things. It’s more that the heroes all have enhanced abilities (hearing, strength, etc).

FORGOTTEN SINS
SWEET REVENGE
BLIND FAITH
TOTAL SURRENDER

81WeEVt9H+L._SL1500_Carolyn Crane is another auto-buy for me. Just go to her Author Page and pick anything, but I especially love her Undercover Associates series. She also writes as Annika Martin and the book she co-wrote with Skye Warren, PRISONER, is one of the most disturbing yet well-written books I’ve read in a long time. But seriously, heed the warning about dubious (or complete lack of) consent. This book isn’t for everyone.

Let’s see, who else? I guess I’m really recommending writers more than particular books at this point, so I’ll just go ahead and link to their Author Page over at Amazon or I’ll be over here all day listing books.

Sarah Morgan is another auto-buy (the O’Neil Brothers trilogy is wonderful) and the first in her new Puffin Island series was delightful as well.

81NyUmbtEfL._SL1500_Victoria Dahl, of course. I’m a huge fan of her writing and, really, of everything she says on twitter (when she’s not taking an ill-advised well deserved extended break from it) (ahem). She has a new book coming out in July titled TAKING THE HEAT, which you can pre-order now (I sure did and I don’t even know, or care, what it’s about).

Oh, and Kelly Hunter is another terrific writer with an extensive backlist. She has recently started publishing with Tule (so have a bunch of other talented writers) and I’ve loved those books — SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL and THE HONEYMOON TRAP, for example — as well as the ones with Harlequin, especially the ones subtitled The Bennett Family (strong heroes, stronger heroines).

Kat Latham has become a favourite as well. I absolutely love her charming rugby players and have read all of her books, including her latest that just came out in May. So good.

I’m also really enjoying Laura Kaye’s HARD INK series, even though I’ve gotten a couple books behind. The ones I’ve read have been fantastic.

Oh, and a relatively new-to-me writer, Karyn Lawrence, has two books out, KEEP and STAY. I read and enjoyed both and it looks like a third, SURRENDER, is coming out later this month. There’s a good bit of violence, so be wary if that offends you. Although, thinking about it, that’s true of many of the books mentioned above.

I think that’s enough for now. Pretty sure I’ve included enough links that this will go directly into the spam folder of those subscribing by email. Ooops.

Mind you, these are just a handful of writers whose books I’ve enjoyed recently. No one paid me, or even asked me, to recommend these books and I didn’t get any of them for free. Well, unless it was a free-to-everyone kind of deal. That’s entirely possible. It’s not an exhaustive list of favourites or even of All-Time Best reads. I’d never be able to come up with such a list. There are just too many.

But don’t take my word for it. My reading preferences are pretty varied and just because you might like my writing* doesn’t mean you’re going to like everything I read. So read the description and sample pages, peruse the reviews, make up your own mind. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new favourite.

Got any recommendations of your own? Leave a title or a link in the comments, all genres welcome. I’m always looking for new ways to procrastinate good books to read. I read fast and devour a LOT of books when I’m not writing, or embarrassing myself on twitter. Which I will go back to doing now. The writing, not the other thing.

*Reminder: if you want me to send you an email when I have a new book available, sign up here for my mailing list.

10 Comments

Filed under book reviews, twitter, writing

New ways to procrastinate

Friend and fellow writer Ann Marie Gamble has included me in one of those irritating flattering online challenges with nearly incomprehensible arbitrary entertaining rules that encourage you to post a portion of your work-in-progress on your blog so others can ridicule admire your deathless prose.

As I understand it:

Go to page 77 of your manuscript

Skip the first 7 lines

Copy and post the next 7 lines, no editing allowed

Tag 7 other writers to do the same

My gut reaction was not just “No” but “Hell no.” That particular portion of this manuscript hasn’t been touched since I first wrote it, um, well, a long time ago. It’s on the list of sections that still need heavy editing. Or deleting. Or purging by fire.

But then I decided maybe I was being a bit too sensible insecure ornery. I mean, it’s not like I’ve never posted unedited crap writing on my blog. Like, every time I post. Sigh.

So here it is:

Disgusted with himself for getting so involved in his own thoughts, JT’s response was less than gracious. “Be glad you still have enough blood circulating to leave a mark, darlin’. A few feet in the other direction and you’d be headed for the hospital right about now.” If not the morgue, he thought angrily.

“Oh please, that car didn’t even come close to hitting me.”

“My point exactly, and you’re welcome.”

But since I’m still feeling a bit sensible insecure ornery, I’m not going to tag seven other writers to do this. And honestly, if I did, I’d be likely to tag seven writers who: a) don’t know me and would ignore the challenge, b) are grumpy and humourless and wouldn’t participate, or c) are way too busy writing to indulge in this kind of nonsense fun and games. Because someone has to be sensible insecure ornery enough to put a stop to this irritating time suck flattering request to share unedited crap shining samples of fiction.

Instead, since most of you reading this are readers and not writers, I challenge you to find a book you truly enjoyed and go to page 77 and skip the first 7 lines and select the next 7 lines and paste them into a comment. Giving proper attribution, of course. Really. Because I suspect that seven random lines, out of context, even from a really good book that you loved, are going to sound like crap kind of silly.

And that will cheer me right up. Or, you know, depress the hell out of me if they don’t. One of those.

21 Comments

Filed under just for fun

Pass the syrup, I’m waffling

After a month with minimal exposure to the internet, it seems as if I should be able to make some profound observations. And yet, I don’t have any. Maybe this would be different had I denied myself ALL access to the internet. But that’s not what I did.

I still checked email and read news stories. I browsed a couple blogs intermittently, but mostly ignored the comments. I (finally!) started using an RSS feed, which was extremely helpful in terms of deciding which blog posts I wanted to read and when, as well as removing the temptation of wandering into the comments.

Mostly what I denied myself was the time-consuming interactive aspect of the internet. I didn’t comment on blogs and I didn’t “tweet,” nor did I read the comments and tweets of others. For the first few days, I really did feel like something was missing — well, obviously, something was. But once I got used to the different routine, I didn’t miss those things. Maybe because I was too darn busy with other things. In fact, it’s hard to believe it has been a month already. It was a busy eventful month.

Now I’m feeling ambivalent about resuming that interaction. I commented on a blog yesterday and wrote a few tweets, but was surprised that it felt as awkward to do those things now as it did when I was doing them for the very first time. I’m not sure what to make of that. Or whether I want to continue with the effort.*

Certainly, it all would feel comfortable and routine again fairly quickly. I’m adaptable. But I wonder whether I want to engage in the same ways. Or at all. Some people would say, “If it’s fun, do it. If not, stop.” Yeah, well, sometimes it is and other times, not so much. It doesn’t seem clear-cut to me.

What I’m pondering is whether those things are truly important to me and what benefit I derive from them. Are these activities enriching my life or merely distracting me from it? Am I investing time or procrastinating? I don’t know. I have no answers.

Maybe I just need some more quiet time to sort it all out.

*Please note, for the purposes of this discussion, I am not referring to the CB blog. That’s different.

4 Comments

Filed under deep thoughts, social media, twitter

Turning it off

I’ve written and deleted this post several times now, because it keeps emitting these irritating high-pitched noises that sound a lot like whining. Well, damnit, I’m in the mood to whine. Here, I’ve filled a glass just for you. Help yourself to the cheese and crackers.

This summer has been difficult on all fronts and has left me feeling depressed and discouraged and fatigued and, yes, whiny. The unrelenting excessive heat and humidity have made everything that much more miserable, and combined with increased stress at the day job and the looming possibility of unemployment, the decision not to attend conferences and feeling left out of meet-ups, the inability to travel to faraway gatherings of imaginary friends, trying (and mostly failing) to concentrate on writing, watching the slow implosion of traditional publishing, worrying about BEARS . . . and attempting to be outwardly cheerful and upbeat and entertaining through all that has taken a toll on my optimism and ability to concentrate.

I need a break. I need “a piece of quiet” as my daughter used to say when she was little. I need to reduce the distractions that are sapping my energy and cluttering up my brain. At least for a while. Hell, I need to pretend I live in Europe, where August is optional.

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.  ~Albert Camus

The coming month will see some big changes in my life. More specifically, in the lives of my children. After two years of job demands keeping them in different cities, my son and his girlfriend are now employed in the same city (my city, yay!) and will be moving into an apartment together next weekend. I’m delighted for them, especially since they’ve said I’m not allowed to lift any of the heavy boxes.

My daughter will be coming home that same weekend, after an exhausting but exhilarating summer spent taunting BEARS, to pack up the rest of her belongings (and The Intruder Cat) and will spend a couple weeks here before relocating to New Orleans, where her boyfriend is starting med school and where she will (we hope) find a job in her career field. I’m delighted for her too, even though I hate that she’ll be so far away. I figure if I tell her BEARS have been sighted in the wilds of the back yard, she’ll visit often.

Also during the next month or so, I suspect the economic fate of my employer will be determined, for better or worse. And during this same month, I hope to finish the final draft of my manuscript so I can send it to beta readers. Yeah, I’m not holding my breath on that one, but it’s a goal. Putting it in writing here makes it seem like it might even happen.

That’s a lot of stuff. It’s going to require, and it deserves, my attention and energy. Quite honestly, to retain what’s left of my sanity, I need to stop doing the things that are not strictly required of me. And most of those things involve the internet.

Escaping the Web*

I’ve already told people on Twitter not to expect to hear from me for a while. In fact, I’ve shut down TweetDeck and don’t plan to re-open it anytime soon. I’m also going to stop reading blogs. All of them. Yes, even the CB blog. For now, anyway. If anyone really truly desperately needs me, the form on the contact page goes straight to my email inbox. Use it wisely.

I don’t know whether I’ll continue to write posts over here in August. Most of my blogging “breaks” have been unintentional — every time I say I’m going to take a break, I find fifteen things I just have to write about. We’ll see how that goes. Probably I’ll post more of Aunt Mabel’s letters. Meant to do that earlier this summer and . . . got distracted.

So that’s the plan. I don’t expect it to be easy. The thought of closing my browser and not opening it except to check email and the weather is, well, scary. Plus, I’ll miss everyone. But right now the internet is not my friend. I’m sure I’ll resume the addiction relationship once life calms down. Believe me, you all will know it when I come back.

In the meantime, behave. Badly or well, I’ll leave up to you.

*Isn’t this cute? (well, for a spider) For more fun badges (and to see which ones you might have “earned”), visit the Merit Badger blog.

Bookmark and Share

15 Comments

Filed under blogging, creativity, goals, health and well-being