It’s not an optical illusion, it just looks like one.

Below are ten topics. Respond to whatever interests you and ignore the rest.


1. OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With the film adaptation of the third installment of the Twilight saga, Eclipse premiering this week, Galley Cat posted an article featuring some reviews of the novel that spawned the movie.  Here’s one from Dear Author.  They also cited a report they did last year on Stephen King’s controversial comments about Stephanie Meyer.  From Galley Cat February 2009:

“While promoting his new book, Stephen King Goes to the Movies, King sat down with USA Today, unloading his opinions about other popular writers.

Here’s a juicy excerpt:
“Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people. … The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good … Somebody who’s a terrific writer who’s been very, very successful is Jodi Picoult. You’ve got Dean Koontz, who can write like hell. And then sometimes he’s just awful. It varies. James Patterson is a terrible writer but he’s very very successful.”

Wow!  How did I ever miss that?

Look, I love Stephen King. He’s talented, prolific, entertaining and I’m absolutely sure he’s forgotten more about writing than I’ll ever know. BUT I would never, ever, ever PUBLICLY NAME NAMES so as to denigrate a fellow author’s writing ability like this. It’s just … not cool, ya know?  Yes, there are books that I can’t help but wonder how they ever got published, but I would never name names for the whole world to see.  Saying a writer’s style doesn’t suit you is fine, or that a book didn’t do it for you is acceptable, but to say to a national audience that somebody, “can’t write worth a darn,” or is “just awful,” crosses a line.

Would you or have you ever crossed it?

As an aside, Mr. King, I’m sure Stephanie is weeping all the way to the bank. lol



While watching Jon Stewart the other night, I learned of a fun trivia game with Kevin Bacon as the centerpiece. Here’s some background from Wiki:

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a trivia game based on the concept of the small world phenomenon and rests on the assumption that any actor can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin Bacon within six steps. The name of the game is a pun on the philosophical “six degrees of separation” concept. The game requires a group of players to try to connect any film actor in history to Kevin Bacon as quickly as possible and in as few links as possible … Here is an example, using Elvis Presley:
• Elvis Presley was in Change of Habit (1969) with Edward Asner
• Edward Asner was in JFK (1991) with Kevin Bacon

I’d like to expand the field to not only actors, but to anything you can use to link to Kevin Bacon. Be it your WIP, food, a car, a classic novel, a city or even an item of clothing. I’ll play first:

1. The hero in my WIP was inspired by Gerard Butler in Dracula 2000.
2. Gerard Butler co-starred w/Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
3. Angelia Jolie is living with Brad Pitt
4. Brad Pitt was in the movie Sleepers with :::::::wait for it::::::::: KEVIN BACON!

:-) I did it in 4 degrees! Give it a try.

BTW, you can get a little help from THE ORACLE OF BACON.  Click onto the website, type in any actor’s name, and the program promises to find a link to Keven Bacon.  It’s hilarious.



I swiped this from Nathan Bransford’s blog:

“We all have bad writing habits and little tics that creep into our writing. Whether it’s overuse of certain gestures (eye-rolling, sighing, etc.), phrases (I mean, like, now then, etc.), or lines of dialogue (“No way,” “Yes way,” etc.)”

Hmmmm…. lezzzsee…. Mine include contractions at the beginning of sentences and tags with people looking at each other six, seven or eight different times in one page of dialogue.  What are your tics?



No, not the Stephanie Meyer Eclipse. This is a horse of a completely different color:

“Michael Farr (Ciarán Hinds), a teacher raising his two kids alone since his wife died two years earlier, has been seeing and hearing strange things late at night. He isn’t sure if he is having nightmares, or if he’s experiencing a haunting. Working as a volunteer for an international literary festival, he is assigned to Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle), an author of books about ghosts and the supernatural. Establishing a rapport with one another, Michael opens up and shares his terrifying experiences with her. However, Lena’s attention is distracted by another novelist, Nicholas Holden (Aidan Quinn), with whom she had a brief affair. The trajectories of these three people lead them into a life-altering collision where the challenges of love, fear of the unknown, and release from the burden of grief are explored.”

I watched this movie the other night and I really enjoyed it. There are only three or four scary scenes, but they come as such a surprise that you’re literally jarred out of your seat. I actually had to turn the light on after the second scare. The first one is VERY creepy, but it’s more subtle than anything else. On the whole, the movie has a dark sleepiness to it and Hines’ subdued performance adds to the somber mood. The man’s a very underrated actor.  Fortunately, he won two Best Actor awards for this performance, (Irish Film and Television Awards and the Tribeca Film Festival) which means somebody out there recognizes his talent.

I’m a horror/paranormal junkie so it takes a lot for a movie to get to me. I’m mostly creeped out by films that use the viewer’s imagination against them (Blair Witch as an example), but this movie uses both the imagination and downright FRIGHTFUL images. Scared the crap out of me.  If you rent this, watch it with the light off.  Here’s the trailer:



Moonrat explains why the FIRST page of your ms is sooooooooo important:

“When I read submission after submission after submission–which, let’s face it, is everyday–my mind starts to dull. My eyes begin to glaze from all the white on black. My butt begins to hurt from sitting. I’m pretty hungry (because I’m always pretty hungry), and this is making me cranky. As the day wears on, I get irritable. The reading gets faster, and the disappointments stack up more quickly. I don’t want to reject books–I want to buy them! But I can’t buy something that I’m not passionate about. So many of these manuscripts are only 60% of a book I’d want to read. There are different reasons they don’t fit the bill–maybe the content doesn’t interest me personally; maybe I don’t like the writer’s style; maybe there’s nothing special about the book, it’s just adequate. Maybe the agent didn’t do a great job of pitching it, and I was expecting something other than what I got. …. There are different ways to create a crappy first page. Boringness. Cliche. Too many fancy schmancy words. Immersing your audience too quickly into the action. Immersing them too slowly. Yeah, I know, it’s basically impossible to win at this game. But YOU MUST TRY. Above all things, YOU MUST BE SPECIAL. Assume whoever is reading your submission is going to be in a terrible mood when they look at page 1.”

Then a reader posted the following:

Anonymous said…
“I have never, ever purchased a book based on the first page. I base virtually all my purchases on word of mouth, reviews, even the jacket copy — basically, once I hear what the book (the entire book) is about, I decide if I want to buy it. Obviously, when querying, the query has to be stellar. The first pages have to be stellar. But cautioning writers that “your first page better rock my world” just seems so contrary to how people choose books.”

I too don’t buy a book based on the first page, but then, I’m not an agent or an editor who is inundated with hundreds of manuscripts and query letters per day. I don’t have to worry about deadlines, or clients whose manuscripts I still haven’t read, or contracts that have to be reviewed, or editors/agents I need to touch base with. Agents and editors don’t have the luxury to sit back and wait for word-of-mouth. They have a limited amount of time and resources. YES, I’m absolutely sure that they miss out on a lot of great manuscripts, but that’s just how the cookie crumbles. It is humanly impossible to give each submission out of the five or six hundred they receive a month the same consideration that a book reader gives random books. When I’m judging a contest, I’m often cranky after the first three submissions because nine times out of ten, there’s nothing there to compel me to read after the first page, except that I’ve signed on as a judge so I have to. An agent/editor doesn’t. It’s as simple as that.



London, England (CNN) — A new study has suggested that cell phone radiation may be contributing to declines in bee populations in some areas of the world. Bee populations dropped 17 percent in the UK last year, according to the British Bee Association, and nearly 30 percent in the United States says the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Parasitic mites called varroa, agricultural pesticides and the effects of climate change have all been implicated in what has been dubbed “colony collapse disorder” (CCD).  But researchers in India believe cell phones could also be to blame for some of the losses.

I’ve been following this story for a while. The whole cell phone thing makes me crazy because my kids use them constantly, putting them up against their heads for long periods of time. The things have been linked to brain cancer in the past, however now they’re saying cell phone use poses no risk to kids.  I remain skeptical. There’s a signal being beamed into that phone, and there is some radiation involved. Having something that close to a child’s brain just doesn’t seem healthy to me. I don’t care what the so-called experts say.  So now I have another reason to hate cell phones. They may be killing off the bees!


7. F*****G FABULOUS!

Isaiah Mustafa is back with an all new Old Spice commercial!!! It’s even better than the last one!



Hey writers, how much would you pay for author memorabilia? Wouldn’t it be great if your stuff fetched as much a hundred years from now?

This dog collar once belonged to Charles Dickens and netted $11,590 at auction last year.

This unpublished manuscript by Mark Twain netted $240K at Sotheby’s.

A lock of Jane Austen’s hair netted 4,800 British pounds at auction.



Amazon just announced that they would up the royalty rate to 70 % for e-book authors who self publish with them. According to Google News:

“The online retailer in January had announced plans to offer users of its e-book self-publishing program, the Kindle Digital Text Platform, book sale royalties of 70 percent after delivery costs. Those costs generally amount to less than 6 cents per book, meaning authors will be able to earn $6.25 per copy on a book that sells for $8.99, nearly double the old rate of $3.15.  The offer comes with conditions aimed at keeping book prices low for consumers, a step Amazon hopes will allow it to remain on top of the growing e-book market against rival stores like the one rolled out by iPad maker Apple Inc.  To get the better rate, authors and publishers have to meet various criteria. The book’s list price must fall between $2.99 and $9.99 and be at least 20 percent less than the lowest price of the physical edition. Some major book publishers have demanded that Amazon allow them to raise prices on e-editions to as much as $14.99.”

Sounds good to me. What about you?



A funny new take on WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE.