Monday, February 29, 2016

Reading now: Lisa Shearin's new book

You might remember that I'm a fan of the Lisa Shearin books. Turns out the most recent Raine Benares book just came out.

At B&N here.

Also, no post today, because someone spent all of yesterday afternoon reading a book.

It was good. I enjoyed it. I really like where the story is going... can't wait to find out what's in store next for the characters. It's setting up for another multi-book story arc, so I'm happy!

Although now I need another book signing to complete my collection.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Favorite geek toys?

ThinkGeet,,, they all have geek toys that every good little geek drools over a bit and then usually wanders away from while protecting her or his wallet... usually...

(ice dalek in cherry juice)
But sometimes you see something you just have to have.

That Death Star tea ball, the d20 earrings, the life-size BB-8 lamp, a fishtank with a TARDIS, a brown coat, a dwarven axe cheese knife: all those lovely little goodies that you just can't help but want, and sometimes wind up buying despite your best reasoning.

What's your favorite geek purchase? And what's your favorite place to buy your geeky goods?

Barbarian tea
(sword tea strainer)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Flowers and Butterflies

The thing about winter is the long, cold, dreary days where it's too frigid to turn your face to the sun and let the day warm you.

But if you're willing to drive a bit, you might find yourself by the Durham Museum of Life and Science. And if you wander in and out and into the cold, and then inside again, you may find yourself in a tropical paradise filled with flowers butterflies.

It'll be easy to find on the museum map, since it's called the butterfly house.

And once you've enjoyed the flowers and the butterflies, you can maybe climb the giant treehouse. Yes, it's still cold outside, but come on. Giant tree house.

Museums are often aimed at kids, but there's no reason adults can't drop in and enjoy the flowers, too. Makes a nice break from winter, at least.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Publishing Industry News

This week's publishing news and industry blogs post covers 1/30-2/19/16. With a couple of possible Supreme Court cases in the works, the publishing industry is probably keeping an eye on the possible candidates for the new Supreme Court seat.

Publishing News

Sherrilyn Kenyon sues Cassanda Clare, claiming that Clare's Mortal Instruments series, with its shadowhunters, is a case of copyright infringement against Kenyon's darkhunters.

Publishers, authors, and organizations support the Authors Guild's bid to have the Supreme Court review the Google bookscanning project.

The Supreme Court will be deciding whether or not to take the Apple e-book price-fixing case on 2/19; the Second Circuit Court of Appeal affirms the previous judgement in preparation for the Supreme Court to consider whether or not to take the case.

Industry Blogs

Agent Janet Reid answers questions and offers advice. How long should an already-signed author expect it take an agent to read a manuscript and get back? (Keep checking in once a month or so, but it does take a while for a first read.) When an agent says they'll send a manuscript to 10 editors and then revisit, and then steps aside, is that normal and can the book be re-marketed? (Not a good sign about the agent; sorry, yes, you'll have to a write another book.) Always use the same e-mail address for your queries/agent talk/etc. And why don't big-name authors just self-pub to get more profits? (Opportunity cost.)

More advice and answer from Reid. Is it okay to use a bestseller as a comp title? (Yes. Don't use books in their own category, but otherwise, just because it's on a bestseller list doesn't mean it's off-limits.) What questions do agents ask authors before signing? And what questions should you as a writer not ask? You get an offer; what do you do? And what do publishers pay for? How do you reference #MSWL-based queries?

Agent Jessica Faust offers her opinion on the first five pages: Think of them in perspective as part of the whole book, because page 6 on also has to be great. Also, she give advice on handling an offer of representation.

Agent Nephele Tempest posts Friday links for 1/29, 2/5, and 2/12. One of these includes the always-valuable Opportunities for Writers for February and March. She also reminds you to craft a professional image.

 On Writer Beware, why to avoid termination fees in your publishing contracts. And if you hear from "Raider Publishing International," beware, it's another name for a publisher already black-listed by Writer Beware for bad behavior. Also, and definitely not a "beware," Victoria Strauss explains the components of the Authors Guild's Fair Contract Initiative (and not coincidentally points out things that you should be wary of in traditional publishing boilerplate contracts anyway, and try to negotiate out).

Agent Kristin Nelson admits that sending rejection letters is a part of her job she really hates. That said, she also reminds writers that a rejection is not a commentary on your writing talent, and you shouldn't take rejection of your writing as a rejection of you as a person, or even of your ability.

Agent Rachelle Gardner explains the publishing terms sell-in, sell-through, earn-out, and returns.

Author Kristine Kathryn Rusch compares the changes in the book industry today to the changes brought on by cable and Netflix to the television industry, and why she expects indie publishing will continue to expand while traditional publishers will continue to contract. And have you lost your unique voice to "serious writer voice"?

On the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal blog, why you should research even fantasy and sci-fi, and some advice on how to research.

Amazon plans to begin a brick-and-mortar bookstore chain; people speculate about their expansion plans.

Debate ensues from antitrust experts on whether the Supreme Court should take the Apple e-book price-fixing case or not.

What books have people (at least in Britain) only pretended to read

What other publishing news have you encountered in the past couple of weeks?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Chocolate Eating!

Happy Chocolate Sale day!

Hope you all have a great weekend and are enjoying the spoils of a post-Valentine sale.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Long day-job days and short night hours

No publishing news today, sorry! Check back next week.

In the meantime, enjoy this pretty flower!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Flea market treasures

I hit the flea market this weekend to pick up some beads at the bead vendor, and came home with nice set of teacups.

When I find some hidden treasure, be it at the flea market or local thrift shop, I can't help but feeling like some archaeologist-action hero, like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft, who just found an amazing treasure. Sure, it's just a set of teacups. And yeah, they're probably worth exactly what I paid for them--they've, uh, been loved to the trim-rubbing-off point. But they're pretty, so I feel happy.

What's the best hidden treasure you've picked up at the flea market or at a thrift store?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Shoe shopping: fun or chore?

You know when you really like cute shoes, but you're just not in the mood for a few hours of rubbing your feet raw by shoe shopping, yet your favorite work shoes have worn out until the steel spikes showing out the bottom are the most photogenic part of the shoes?

And likewise your second-favorite pair?

And your third-favorites... well, let's just say best not spoken aloud what shape they're in...

And then there's the fourth and fifth pairs, which had to be chucked due to external structural failure. And the sixth favorite pair in which one heel gives the support of a weak sponge, and the other a brick, due to internal possible disintegration.

Maybe one of those first three favorite pairs can hold out a little longer.


Okay, maybe it's time for this author to go buy a new, less-accusing pair of work heels.

What activities do you consider chores that most other people enjoy? How far do you go to avoid them?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Tea Review: Earl Grey Moonlight

Adagio: Earl Grey Moonlight

Reviewed by: Rebekkah
Type of tea

black, loose-leaf
Flavor aspects

Floral, vanilla
Where I got it

Adagio Teas
(online here)


$7 / 3 oz
How I brewed it

2 tsp for 2-3 minutes with water from the coffee machine, slightly cooled, in a 12-ounce mug
Rebrewing notes

Reasonable for 1 rebrew; fairly weak by 3rd cup; don't recommend past 2nd rebrew

Holy heck did it take me many tries not to ruin this tea. Take it from me: brew it cooler and shorter than the rest of your black teas. This tea goes bitter fast, and it goes bitter hard.

That said, it's a good drink as long as you don't burn the leaves. It's earl grey, except with a floral, creamy, vanilla-ish touch. Brewed correctly, it's actually quite mellow, and I like the twist on the standard earl grey. Mornings are hard for me, and this tea does make them easier. It also smells really good, and is pretty with the touch of bright blue cornflower, both of which add to the sensory experience.It's sweet and creamy, and on the whole I do rather like it.

It's an advanced-skill tea due to how quickly and how strongly it gets bitter: I would not recommend it for someone just getting into tea unless you make it for them or get them a timer. However, it's also inexpensive, so if you like earl greys with a twist and are willing to take the effort to not overbrew it, I'd say you do get a good value.

It also makes a nice base for blending with other floral teas (rose/lavender especially), and because you have to be careful with it anyway, and because it brews well at lower than usual temps for black tea, it would blend well with even green teas.

In other words: A nice take on earl grey, inexpensive, but you may wind up with a bad cup or two before you get it right.