Open Thread: Are You A Winner?

NaNoWriMo ends today. Don't forget to validate your novel. The site is hinting that Scrivener coupons and CreateSpace deals will be available for the winners.

Author Interview: Eryn Lockhart on "The Hellfire Bride"

Content Note: Rape, Sexual Assault

Ana: Today we have Eryn Lockhart introducing her novelette, "The Hellfire Bride". I haven't read this book myself, but Eryn was kind enough to agree to guest blog about her book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Eryn, how would you describe your novel to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your novel about?

Eryn: It's a sensual tale of love and vengeance set in Regency London, where a hero's quest to avenge the woman he loved and lost leads him to the darkest underbelly of Society, and the heroine who can make his heart whole.

Ana: What themes does your novel explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your novel will mean to a reader?

Eryn: It explores the flaws within a society and justice system that blames the victim for sexual assault or misconduct; in addition to examining how sometimes love strikes in even the most unexpected places, and motivates people to do extraordinary things.

Ana: What prompted you to write this novel and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book?

Eryn: I wanted to take readers beyond the ballrooms to some of the darker issues plaguing the Regency period... I do love the era, but I think that sometimes the more vile aspects are left out. I also have a personal interest in the subject matter as a survivor of sexual assault. I've had people blame me for my attacker's actions, or somehow think that I was tainted or my worth was lessened as a result of my experience. It's a sad reality that the idea that a person's worth can be ‘compromised' is still around in the modern age, and I wanted to write a story featuring heroes and heroines who'd come up against that ugliness and triumphed in the end. I love writing, and I love writing romance in particular -- it's my way of affirming that hope survives, love exists, and heroes are real, even in the darkest circumstances.

Ana: If you could compare your novel to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your novel is their cup of tea?

Eryn: If you like historical romances written by Judith McNaught, Teresa Medeiros, Elizabeth Lowell, or Betina Krahn, chances are you'll enjoy my books -- they tend to feature strong heroines and heroes, witty repartee, more than a little humour, with just enough adventure, danger, and passion to keep you on your toes. I will occasionally dabble in darker subject matter, but the driving force behind my books is exploring the timeless enchantment of falling in love.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other novels? If you have published other novels, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more novels planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different novel or genre?

Eryn: The Hellfire Bride is my first novelette, and is the prequel to a series I'm thinking of calling Hell's Belles -- featuring dynamic Regency heroines who've run afoul of Society's conventions, and the heroes who love them. My debut historical romance novel is After Midnight, an epic tale of desire and intrigue set during the early Napoleonic Wars and Regency. Like "The Hellfire Bride", it goes beyond ballrooms, but it takes place on a much grander scale. After Midnight sweeps readers on a whirlwind adventure from the French Revolution to London's underground, to the front lines of international espionage and a path to true love that goes hand in hand with a mission that can make or break an empire. I'm also working on a contemporary romance, urban fantasy romance, and another regency -- I'm hoping to have two new titles released before the end of the year, but which two it will be is anyone's guess.

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your novel for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next novel comes available?

Eryn: The Hellfire Bride is available via Barnes&Noble, Amazon, Smashwords, and AllRomanceEbooks for $1.25. I love hearing from readers, and welcome any opportunity to chat with you, answer questions, or hear your thoughts. I can be reached on Twitter @Eryn Lockhart, my blog, facebook page, or Goodreads profile.

Ana: Thank you, Eryn. I understand you have the first chapter of your novel available as an excerpt for interested readers? And is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

Eryn: The first chapter of The Hellfire Bride is available on my website here. My website also contains free excerpts of all my books, sneak peeks at current works in progress, information on monthly free ebook giveways, author interviews, and more. It was a pleasure to be here today, and thank you for having me.

Deals: The Magician's Nephew

I'll be in a class today with limited internet / email access, but a quick note before I go: "The Magician's Nephew" is on sale in the Kindle Store for $2.99. The other books seem not to be on sale; apparently the publisher is still maintaining that TMN is the 'first' book in the series and hopes to use this to hook readers into the rest. (An interesting concept, because if I'd started with TMN, I never would have read any more of the series, but I was an odd child and YMMV.)

Claymore: Past Experiences, Present Motivations

Content Note: Sadism, Violence, Torture, Dismemberment

Claymore Recap: Clare has fled from the sadistic Ophelia and has split with Raki, but Ophelia is hot on her trail. 

Claymore, Episode 13: The Endless Gravestones, Part 2

If Ophelia is to be believed, her motivation isn't terribly different from Clare's and Priscilla's motivations: she says she can't rest until every last awakened being is destroyed. This doesn't, of course, explain why she tries so hard to urge her fellow Claymore into awakening. She did so when Miria was facing a difficult emotional moment, and she tried very hard to force Clare into awakening only a single episode ago. The writing seems to be suggesting that Ophelia receives an emotional and/or sexual thrill when she destroys awakened beings, but there's still quite a few ways to interpret her character as to why that is.

Deals: Amazon Cyber Monday

There are even more Kindle books on sale today, for the Cyber Monday Deals.

I purchased:


They have every Boxcar book ever, it looks like, all for a dollar each. In the #120s, there's a zombie one.


I've been looking for this in ebook form for forever. Yay!


Dreadful choice of title considering all the issues surrounding the word 'geisha', and may turn out to be utterly trashy, but I'm hoping it's Ehrenreich-style investigative journalism of hostessing and (maybe?) sex work in modern Tokyo. The read will be interesting; trying to work out how much of it is fact will be tricky.

Deals: Kindle Big Deal Sale

From now until December 3rd, there is another Kindle Big Deal Sale. A few hundred books, all under $5. More will probably be added over the next few days, if the last Big Deal sale is any indication. Get them while they're hot!

I bought:

Metapost: Book Swap

I have books. Some of them need new homes. Longer post here.

Cupcakedoll, there's a special mention of you there, plus my apologies for being so late to reply. *chagrin*

Metapost: Breaking Dawn Twitter Aftermath

I am back from Breaking Dawn! It was not as horrible as I expected! (Behold the power of Low Expectations!) And there will be a Very Serious Post in a couple of weeks that reviews the movie in depth! But for now we have Twitter feeds and exclamation points! But first!

Content Warning: Racism, Violence, and also I am going to describe the Very Horrible Pregnancy and the Awful Birth Scene. I will ROT13 that part so you can skip it if you want to. It's probably not as bad as the book, but that doesn't mean it's not bad at all. 

Metapost: Breaking Dawn Comments

This is the "snicker at Ana while she sits through Breaking Dawn" thread. I'll be (hopefully) updating my Twitter feed here -- http://twitter.com/#!/anamardoll -- as long as it doesn't distract anyone else in the theater. However, since I'm getting the 10:30 am showing at a theater known for its pizza and beer, I think it should be pretty empty.

Twilight: The Tyranny of POV

[Content Note: Dysfunctional Relationships, Taking the Abuser's Perspective]

Twilight Recap: Edward has beckoned to Bella across the school lunchroom and she's joined him at his empty table.

Twilight, Chapter 5: Blood Type

So let's talk about Point of View, or POV. POV is -- for the three of you who aren't NaNoWriMo'ing right this very instant (and how are the rest of you coming, by the way? Hugs to you all.) -- the perspective from which a story is told. A book like Twilight is told from Bella's perspective; we don't, for example, see the tense scene at the Cullen house in the aftermath of the van incident where Edward explains his actions and everyone waits on tenterhooks for Alice to determine their fate.

Metapost: Breaking Dawn Viewing

Alright, people, here's the deal. Husband is out of town this weekend and I'm bored, so I'm going to go see the Breaking Dawn movie. (It's Brin's fault, I swear.) The nearby theater that serves pizza is showing it at 10:30 CST tomorrow, so I'll probably catch that one. If the theater isn't crowded and if it won't disturb anyone and if I can see to Swype, I may end up Twittering my pain at you. Or I may not, because I don't want to be That Guy in the theater. But I'm pretty sure 10:30 am on the day after Black Friday should be pretty darn empty.

Oh, and afterward you will get a Twilight post on it -- I'll break into where we are in the book. Probably the 12/3 post, or maybe the 12/10 one.

Deals: National Geographic Stuff!


(For once this isn't an affiliate link, ha.)

National Geographic has a 10 disc series of natural things for sale at ~$30 once you take shipping into account. This bundle apparently includes the Jeremy Irons narrated "Relentless Enemies" disc which is about swamp lions in Africa and which is really freaking good. So, um, yeah. I ordered this thing and will watch the peas out of it. *grins*

Metapost: Comment Policy Change

Oh, hey, look! There's a new comment policy!

COMMENT POLICY LINK

I hope that nothing here is too surprising, and I think it should be pretty clear by now that 99.99% of you have nothing to be concerned about. If you think you do, please feel free to email me so that I can reassure you.

The new blog policy is kind of a "three strikes you're out" policy, except that (a) I'm calling it "three spoons you're out" because striking is very violent and at first I was thinking "sporks", but then I realized those are stabby, and I found a pretty picture of a spoon online, and (b) I can assign as many spoons as I feel are necessary for a post. This latter point is not because I want to insta-ban people so much as to deal with the one-time (I hope!) case where someone blusters in from the greater Internet out there and posts eighteen types of fail in one sweeping comment'o'fail. I didn't want to have to be all, "Well, here's your first spoon, please do that two more times now."

This blog has been up for... gosh... apparently my first post on Blogger was in February. So that's 9 months now. I'll be giving out a spoon today, and I hope that I don't have to give out any more spoons for another 9 months.

Please express concerns, suggestions, modifications below in thread.

(Moar!) Open Thread: How Was Your (Possibly Thanksgiving) Week?

It's a national holiday weekend in some parts of the world? How did you spend your week?

I took the week off of work to work the beta edits on my book. I'm still hoping to get it out the door in March. The only snafu so far is that I spent most of yesterday playing, of all things, the Sims 2. I think because it's so darn easy to write a book that way -- I just click on the sim, click on the computer, and click "Write a Novel". Ta-da! And remember how I said I can multi-task and write while playing MMO games? I totally can't do that with the Sims. Even though, and this is key, I think I can. *sigh*

How did you spend your week? Also, how are you doing on NaNo?

Open Thread: Safe Spaces

Content Note: Rape, Banning

An open question for the Ramblites: How much of a "safe space" would you like this place to be, and how do you define that?

I want this blog to be a popular, thriving, fun place to discuss social issues and literature and media and as many pictures of cute cats as possible. I think that many of you feel the same way and share similar visions for the site.

When I first started the blog, I threw up a quick Comment Policy because I remembered previous blog concerns that people had expressed on other boards with the lack of communication towards the rules and expectations towards members and moderators. I spent all of an hour, maybe two, putting these guidelines together and they tend to be pretty vague and tend toward the "open" end.

Now that we have a pretty well-established community, I'd like to have an open discussion about what you want. There are extra-super safe spaces out there, like Shakesville, where the moderators bend over backwards to keep the triggery posts out and the good stuff in; there are less safe spaces out there where the moderators allow the triggery posts in in the name of open communication and rare ban-hammering. Both policies have their upsides and downsides.

I struggled when writing this post between giving specific examples, versus being deliberately vague and taking the risk that people might think I'm wanting to ban folks for liking Edward Cullen, and in the end I decided that specific examples are better. So specifically, what has me thinking about this issue is this post here.

This isn't meant to be a moratorium on my actions (although, hey, if it needs to be, then hit me with the clue-stick), but rather more of a staging block for looking at how the rest of you would like these situations handled in the future. Husband has pointed out to me that it's just a matter of time before we have an influx of rape apologia trolls and the like, and I want to vet with you -- in advance -- what level of banning policy you all would like (or not like) to have on the site.

I guess my biggest fear is that if the comments get too triggery, I don't want to lose all the awesome people and then have a site with nothing but trolls. That would make me VERY sad. And the fact that Disqus still does not have an Ignore button is not helping the issue.

Feminism: Stuff I Don't Want To Talk About

[Content Note: Rape, Animal Cruelty, Dark Humor, Ableism]

Dear Readers, may I walk you through my evening tonight? I hope you'll allow me that self-indulgence, since I hope you find my every thought, word, and deed as endlessly fascinating as I apparently do. It's a lovely November evening as I write this and I cordially asked Husband if he wouldn't mind walking with me around the school jogging path by our house. Because Husband is the nicest person I know, he immediately said 'yes' and away we went. This is a near-exact transcript of our conversation at one point in the evening.

Author Interview: Jeffrey Getzin on "Prince of Bryanae"

Ana: Today we have Jeffrey Getzin introducing his novel "Prince of Bryanae". I haven't read this book myself, but Jeff was kind enough to agree to guest blog about his book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Jeff, how would you describe your novel to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your novel about?

Jeff: In broad terms, "Prince of Bryanae" is a dark fantasy novel about Willow, an elven soldier who's obsessed with self-discipline and the fighting arts as way of suppressing the traumatic memories of her brutal past. When enemies from her past kidnap the titular Prince while she watches frozen in fear, she must confront that past to rescue him.

"Prince of Bryanae" is very much a character-driven novel, but features exciting battles, intrigue and plot twists, and even some humor and romance.

Ana: What themes does your novel explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your novel will mean to a reader?

Jeff: A major theme in my works is that of redemption: the idea that through some cathartic undertaking, one can rise above one's unfortunate circumstances. The journey that Willow takes is an exciting adventure, of course, with lots of action and humor and plot twists, but at its core it's all about the journey she takes from being a shattered shell of a woman to become a more complete and whole person than she is when the book begins.

Another theme "Prince of Bryanae" explores is how early events can shape who we become as people. How much of who we are is because of what we experience in our lives? Is change possible? Is it even desirable?

I recently learned that "Prince of Bryanae" has special significance now, while we are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. While I don't come right out and say it in the book, Willow is essentially suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To be honest, I didn't realize how topical my book was when I was writing it, but subsequent praise by soldiers with PTSD and spouses of soldiers with PTSD has been very fulfilling to me as an author. Willow's travails resonated with those readers, and more than anything, I want my readers to feel when they read POB.

Mind you, I did my best not to be heavy-handed with any of these themes. POB is first and foremost a thrilling adventure, and I want people who read my book to get drawn into the story and the characters. All these themes then are intended to enrich the adventure and make it more meaningful, not to supplant it.

Ana: What prompted you to write this novel and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book?

Jeff: While "Prince of Bryanae" is my first published novel, it's the second one that I wrote. I remember reading some advice from a genre author (I believe it was Orson Scott Card) who suggested that an author's second book shouldn't be a sequel to his first, or at least not a direct sequel.

That brought together a number of ideas. Willow figures into my first novel as a minor villain, but she was such an intriguing character! I'd frequently lay in bed at night wondering about what made her who she was. Around the same time, I ran a very successful Dungeons and Dragons game with a swashbuckling theme that involved the kidnapping of the Prince of Bryanae and subsequent attempts to rescue him.

One day, it occurred to me that if I just mixed the chocolate with the peanut butter, I'd have one heck of a story to tell. The moment this realization struck me, "Prince of Bryanae" practically wrote itself! After all, I had a protagonist I wanted to explore, and I had an initial conflict that would light the fuse. (Sorry for the mixed metaphor!) 

What made this book so much fun to write was the challenge of making a seemingly cold and brutal woman into a protagonist in whom the reader could invest their emotions. Somehow, I had to make her sympathetic. I found two things that I felt could accomplish this.

First, it seemed to me that you could sympathize with almost anybody if that person has a bad enough day. So I gave her one hell of a bad day, the kind of day that makes getting fired or divorced seem relaxing and fun by comparison.

Second, if someone intelligent and kind loves this character, well, that's enough to make us take a second look, isn't it? So I introduced the readers to Tamlevar. He's bright, and he's charming, he's kind, and he's courageous … and he loves Willow. Now perhaps that love is misplaced, but it still makes you think, doesn't it? There must be something he sees in Willow that makes him love her, and it's also that love that ultimately helps Willow become a better person.

Once I had all these ideas bouncing around in my brain, I had to write this book. I felt that I had a great story to tell: one that would resonate with readers and make them laugh and maybe even cry in places.

Ana: If you could compare your novel to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your novel is their cup of tea?

Jeff: The most common comparison my book has received has been to the works of R.A. Salvatore; in fact, R.A. Salvatore himself was kind enough to write a very positive review for "Prince of Bryanae". (You can read his review and others on my website's review page.)

Additionally, my protagonist Willow has been favorably compared to Elizabeth Moon's "Paksenarrion".
Like both author's works, "Prince of Bryanae" tends to be on the darker side of fantasy.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other novels? If you have published other novels, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more novels planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different novel or genre?

Jeff: As I mentioned earlier, "Prince of the Bryanae" is my second novel. I never published the first book one because, frankly, my skills as a writer hadn't sufficiently developed when I wrote it and while it was enjoyable, it wasn't a particular strong book. I'm currently in the process of revising that novel to make it something worth reading, but that hadn't always been my plan.

Consequently, while "Prince of Bryanae" takes place in the same world as my first novel, and features some of the original supporting cast, I wrote it to stand alone. If you've read my first novel, you might catch an inside joke or two, but you're not hamstrung if you haven't. (And in fact, most of my great reviews have come from people who haven't yet read the first book.)

However, I am preparing that first book "King of Bryanae" for publication. Since it's a comparatively short novel, I'll also be including my novella "Shara and the Haunted Village", which again features some crossover in the world and cast, and again, stands on its own as a complete work.

I'm also tossing around the idea for a third and final novel in the Bryanae series, but it hasn't fully gelled yet, the way it did with POB. When or even if this book will see the light of day depends entirely on what my subconscious can come up with. If the story solidifies tonight, I may start writing the novel immediately; or it might take years before I write it. Whatever I do, I don't want that third book to be a disappointment to those who have loved "Prince of Bryanae". I'd prefer to write nothing at all than to disappoint my readers.

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your novel for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next novel comes available?

Jeff: Readers can buy "Prince of Bryanae" in soft-cover for $12.99, for the Kindle for $2.99, and for the Nook for $2.99.  You can also buy the eBook at Goodreads and, of course, on Google Books. (I work for Google, after all!)

In addition, readers can learn more about me and my books on my website, where they can also contact me for questions and/or to leave feedback. Or send me money. I'm big on the idea of people sending me money! (Hey, a fellow can dream, can't he?) "Prince of Bryanae" also has its own Facebook page.

Ana: Thank you, Jeff. I understand you have the first chapter of your novel available as an excerpt for interested readers? And is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

Jeff: Indeed, I have the first four chapters available for reading on my web site. In addition, users can read longer excerpts on Amazon.com and Google Books.

Thank you, Ana, for this wonderful interview. I hope that it helps pair my book with readers who are likely to enjoy it.

Narnia: Endangering Girls For Fun And Profit!

Content Note: Violence, Deadly Natural Disasters, Small Animals

Narnia Recap: Peter, Susan, Lucy, and the Beavers are traveling to the place where they expect to find Aslan. Edmund has been taken captive by the White Witch, who is attempting to intercept the other children.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 12: Peter's First Battle

   WHILE THE DWARF AND THE WHITE Witch were saying this, miles away the Beavers and the children were walking on hour after hour into what seemed a delicious dream. Long ago they had left the coats behind them. And by now they had even stopped saying to one another, "Look! there's a kingfisher," or "I say, bluebells!" or "What was that lovely smell?" or "Just listen to that thrush!" [...]
   And after the thaw had been going on for some time they all realized that the Witch would no longer be able to use her sledge. After that they didn't hurry so much and they allowed themselves more rests and longer ones.

Metapost: Beta Reader Check-In

Are you now, or have you ever been, a Beta Reader for Pulchritude?

If you answered yes, please be sure that you've sent me the name that you want credited in the Acknowledgements section of the book. Even if you've not finished the novel, I still want to credit you for trying! That takes your precious time, which I so very much appreciate, and you absolutely deserve kudos for being part of this process!

For those of you with what look suspiciously like Real Names (i.e., "Bob Johnson") in your emails and/or Twitter screennames, if I've not received a definite "accredit me thusly" answer from you for whatever reason, then you'll be accredited as First-Name-Last-Letter (i.e., "Bob J.") unless I hear otherwise from you.

Thank you again, so much! Remember, to email me for any reason, you can reach me at AnaMardoll @ Gmail.com.

Recommends: Amarie's Dreamjournal

Peoples, I want to announce -- although you'll see it in the Blog Bounce bar, but just in case -- that Amarie has debuted her blog and the first post is really cool and also ties into the Twilight "true love waits" themes we've been exploring. Go forth and comment!

Link!

Also, these reblogs are things I'd like to do more of but -- and this is so crucial -- I have a hard time noticing things until days after they go up. So do please email me if you have anything you'd like reblogged, because I love reblogging but I love it even more when people do the work for me!

Metapost: Forum Fun

Do you know who's not wasting enough time? YOU are not wasting enough time. True, true.

So to solve that problem, there is a new Forums link up at the top of the page that takes you to a nice sandbox area for chatting. How does this accomplish anything more than chatting in threads? It doesn't! Except you can make your own threads, so that's kind of cool. If anyone feels an urgent need to make threads, please do so. This is sort of an experiment to see what people do/don't want on the site. If it gets used, great; if not, we'll scrap it. If nothing else, I have a place to post my own personal randomness because I feel oddly guilty using the actual site for that. As if you all want to hear my randomness. The very idea.

Also. J.D. made me promise not to tell too many people, but ya'll are practically family. J.D. and I (mostly J.D., because she's so much smarter than I in this regard) are working on a more "writerly" forum. It's kind of a mini-NaNo because I find the actual NaNo forums a little ginormous and overwhelming. J.D. and I are also using the forum to collaborate on some author anthologies we'd like to put out -- it's a great way to get writerly toes wet and increase brand name -- and you're all invited to pitch in if you're interested. The forum is here, and though J.D. says it's very much under construction, I think it's pretty sweet. I've got my NaNo first chapter up (the new new one) and I encourage all the Nanites to post the same if you want.

Now back to your regularly scheduled posting.

Deals: Some James Bond Novel!

One of you -- was it Will? -- mentioned thinking about deconstructing the James Bond novels, and I note that the second novel in the series is today's Kindle Daily Deal for $1.99. So there's that.

Link!

Twilight: I'm So Sad (by Crash and the Boys)

Content Note: Eating Disorders, Power Fantasies

Twilight Recap: Edward has approached Bella in the parking lot at school and asked if he can take her to Seattle on her planned day-trip. Bella has agreed, but is puzzled by Edward's behavior.

Twilight, Chapter 5: Blood Type

   The rest of the morning passed in a blur. It was difficult to believe that I hadn't just imagined what Edward had said, and the way his eyes had looked. Maybe it was just a very convincing dream that I'd confused with reality. That seemed more probable than that I really appealed to him on any level. 

Open Thread: This Is A Thing

@ graphjam.memebase.com
My first job was working at a bookstore (dream come true! only I rarely took home actual money!) so I was tickled to find this chart. I actually have taken the phone call from someone looking for a book that "had a green cover". Of course, one of the funny things about my brain is that I realize things WAY later than when I actually needed them. I still regret that when the poor woman came in looking for the book "with the mice on the cover and maybe a boat or something?" that she probably meant the Redwall books. I can't be sure.

On the other side of the equation, I did spend a few pre-Amazon years calling up bookstores and asking if they had books in stock by ISBN. At least a few clerks were confused by the whole ISBN thing which confirmed my own experience that while working in a bookstore can be great, there's a very good chance you won't be trained in anything relevant. Ah well.

One of the best days of my life was realizing that there are whole forums devoted to finding old, vaguely remembered books, seeing as how my brain literally keeps me up at night remembering old books and fervently wishing I could find and read them again. This is, of course, all for the best because now I don't have to troll bookstore phone lines pestering the employees if they remember the name of a book from the 1980s that was about a boy and there was another boy that looked like him and there was pie. Not that I would be tempted to do that.

This is an Open Thread. Starting topics: working in a bookstore, experiences with bookstores, and books that you can't find or remember. Derail away!

Tropes: False Accusations, Ruined Lives, and I Do Not Recognize Your Fictional Reality

[Content Note: Sexual Assault, Law & Order, Murder, Pregnancy, Power Imbalance]

So let's talk about a touchy subject today: false accusations.

False accusations are bad. False accusations hurt innocent people by claiming that those innocent people have said or done wrong things that they haven't actually said or done in that given context.* False accusations hurt innocent people by giving their loved ones, their employers, and society in general a false reason to doubt their innocence. And false accusations hurt genuine victims by contributing to a social bias against victims in general. False accusations are bad.

Author Interview: Coral Russell on "Amador Lockdown"

Ana: Today we have Coral Russell introducing their novel, Amador Lockdown. I haven't read this book myself, but Coral Russell was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Coral, how would you describe your novel to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your novel about?

Coral: It is a paranormal/horror story based on a real ghost hunter lockdown I went to with my stepson in the real Amador Hotel. But more than that, it is also a story about a father and son. Hector, the father, tries to keep his personal and professional lives separate, but what is haunting the Amador Hotel has other plans.

Ana: What themes does your novel explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your novel will mean to a reader?

Coral: Family and how a parent attempts to 'make it right' after a messy divorce. I've always believed if you want something bad enough, you'll get it. Of course, that can be carried to extremes and it is for one person in this story.

Ana: What prompted you to write this novel and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book?

Coral: I love the horror genre. Not only in books, but also movies. I like the anticipation and tension in a horror story, but not necessarily being grossed out. I was introduced to the Ghost Hunter series on TV when they were running a holiday marathon and was hooked. I loved the idea of using scientific equipment to 'find' or 'contact' ghosts. I had plenty of weird experiences myself. When I moved to El Paso to be closer to my family, I was excited to learn about the El Paso Ghost Tours. They offered a lockdown at a supposedly haunted hotel in Las Cruces, the Amador Hotel, and I jumped at the chance. My stepson agreed to go with me. Then I knew that would make a great story if something like that all went horribly wrong.

Ana: If you could compare your novel to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your novel is their cup of tea?

Coral: Oh that's hard and I've thought about that. But to be honest, I haven't run across a fiction book that deals with ghost hunting. So the most I can say is that if you like Ghost Hunters, Paranormal Activity, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal State, anything like that, you'll love this book. I did actual ghost hunting research so the details are real. As far as writing style, probably Cory Doctorow, only horror, not science fiction.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other novels? If you have publishedother novels, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more novels planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different novel or genre?

Coral: I wrote non-fiction exclusively before a year ago. I lived in Korea for a year and a half in the 90's. Peace on the Peninsula was written when I won the McCaleb Peace Initiative to study the reunification of North and South Korea. I hope to travel back there in 2013 to continue my 20 years of covering that process. I jumped to fiction (a hard process) with the release of a horror anthology, Playing with Fire. In that anthology, you'll read two ghost hunter stories with the same Paranormal Posse from Amador Lockdown. I also contributed a story to the anthology for charity, Twelve Worlds. Before making the leap to self-published author, I did a ton of research. When a fellow Indie author, Mike Cyra, Emergency Laughter asked for my advice on how to market his book, I put together all my research in a The DIY Guide to Social Media Marketing and eBook Publishing. I thought I would take a small break from writing after finishing Amador Lockdown, but a couple of great ideas came to me and I hope to publish a sequel to Amador Lockdown and a detective story based in El Paso in 2012.

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your novel for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next novel comes available?

Coral: I put together something I like to call, My Stalker Package. There a reader can connect with me. Also on my blog. My books are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords and links to everything are on My Scrawl page on my blog. Everything, including the DIY Guide, is $.99

Ana: Thank you, Coral. I understand you have the first chapter of your novel available as an excerpt for interested readers? And is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

Coral: More than just the first chapter on the book's website. Of course on Amazon and Smashwords you can download a sample anytime as well.

Deals: Nation by Terry Pratchett and Ebates and B&N

I noticed today that "Nation" by Terry Pratchett is available as a Nook Book for $0.99. It's $6.99 on Amazon, so this is probably an error. Get it while it's hot... I guess? I bought it because one of you emailed me about it something like three months ago, and I've been watching it ever since then. LET IT NOT BE SAID MY FOG-RIDDLED BRAIN DOESN'T LISTEN TO EMAIL SUGGESTIONS. I do apologize for having no idea off the top of my head who it was that made the recommendation, though. I really hope publishers don't catch on to this fact and get hold of my address...

In other news, if you're buying Nook Books from B&N on a regular basis, I should point out that you can get your own referral fees back to the tune of 4-8% (depending on yearly fluctuations) by signing up with Ebates and visiting the B&N site through their link. I've been using them for about 6 months now, and they're really good about cutting a check and sending it to you every couple of months. The difference is change, but you're almost making back what you paid in taxes on the ebook.

Referral link if you want to give me $5 for signing up. Oddly, you don't get anything extra for being referred, I don't think, so it's a pretty lousy referral link, but it's here anyway: LINK.

Claymore: Monsters in Many Forms

Content Note: Mental Illness, Sadism, Violence, Torture, Sexualized Violence

Claymore Recap: Clare, Miria, Deneve, and Helen have parted ways, but have promised to look out for one another as they go about their daily lives trying to quietly undermine the Organization from within.

Claymore, Episode 12: The Endless Gravestones, Part 1

I need to point out that this is the beginning of the Ophelia arc in the Claymore anime, and that the Ophelia arc is one of the most disturbing, triggering things I've ever seen. This episode in particular is intensely violent, and not recommended for all viewers. If you've been following the Claymore series thus far and aren't sure if you want to continue, I can assure you that you can safely skip the Ophelia arc and come back to the Northern Campaign arc later if need be. And, of course, these deconstructions can fill you in without some of the more violent imagery.

Twilight: Heads He Wins, Tails She Loses

Content Note: Victim Blaming

Twilight Recap: Edward has approached Bella in the parking lot at school and asked if he can take her to Seattle on her planned day-trip. Bella has agreed, but is puzzled by Edward's behavior.

Twilight, Chapter 5: Blood Type

So we're finally out of the "Invitations" chapter. Bella has successfully fended off three unwanted requests to the school dance, and has accepted one incredibly-unlikely-and-probably-unsafe request for a day-trip date to Seattle. Not, in my opinion, a winning record, but that is coincidentally the subject of today's post. Let's follow Bella to English class.

Open Thread: GoodReads 2011 Choice Awards

There is a vote going on! Vote!


Choice_logo_90x107

Vote now for your favorite books!

Depressingly, I have access to about half of thees books via NetGalley but haven't read them yet because despite my continual complaints, I still only get 24 hours in my days. The customer service for Real Life is not good at all, I tell you.

I did vote for Never Knowing in Mystery and Cinderella Ate My Daughter in Nonfiction. I noticed that Girls Like Us is in Biography, and I really want to read that one. There were actually several books that I would have liked to see but weren't available and I was too lazy to do a write-in. Who did you vote for?

Open thread below!

Tropes: The Best Day Of My Life (and Hollywood's Assumptions about Women)

[Content Note: Body Acceptance, Domestic Violence, Violence, Sexism]

So today -- November 4th, for those of you who wonder how far in advance I write these things -- is the best day of my life. Not because it's a Friday, although that's part of it. But because I woke up this morning and realized that in addition to being behind schedule in NaNoWriMo, I also needed to come up with a Thursday one-off deconstruction for next week (and yes, that is "behind schedule" in Ana's mind).

Deals: Reverse Sexism Calendar!

Courtesy of a link round-up I subscribe to (and which will not be named here for reasons that will soon become evident), there are a bunch of Kindle daily calendars free today in the Kindle store for your Kindle reader/app. Most of them are "joke a day" deals for various animals and professions, but one stuck out at me as my cuppa:


Believing in Ourselves: 2012 Day-to-Day Calendar, with quotes from women about women. Awesome! Maybe I can riff off a few over the next year and write positive deconstructions instead of ones railing against Stuff I Don't Like. And while I'm not always a quote person, I really liked the Jan 1st quote in the sample, and the Jan 2nd quote is by Michelle Obama. It's current and not entirely full of white people!

Alas, the link round-up writer was less positive:
Believing in Ourselves: 2012 Day-to-Day Calendar. A special quotation from a renowned woman on each page. For women who look to other women for inspiration and motivation and comfort. Not sure what to say about this – Are we now filtering quotes based on whether they were said by women or men?
Will no one think of all the men out there who have wonderful quotes about how women should live and work and think and play? Why must we discriminate against those great quotes, and why should those male minds be denied the non-existent proceeds for a fair use quote included in a free daily calendar? Can't we all just get along?

I was going to let it go as sheer ignorance -- I mean, yes, why would women want a collection of quotes by women, or why would Christians want a collection of quotes by Christians, or for that matter why would all those professional people want a profession-a-day calendar written by people with experience in that profession? I mean, I could churn out good lawyer jokes, too, despite having pretty much zero experience with being one! Here's one, based on my extensive viewing of Law & Order: "The hardest part about being a lawyer is when the police uncover startling new evidence right before your summation and you have to manage to convict someone else in your summation instead!" Haha! -- but they just couldn't stop harping on it:
The Shopaholic’s Daily Calendar 2012. This is more like it. Plus here’s a quote that’s hopefully doesn’t get recruited by Gloria Steinem -

Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.

640 pages – That’s my kind of Daily Calendar.
I was initially confused -- Gloria Steinem is making calendars now? -- but then I remembered that some people like to use "Gloria Steinem" as short-hand for "feminists", despite you know there being several waves of feminism and feminism being a fairly complex ideological movement and possibly not best characterized in short-hand by a single person born in 1934, but you know what, whatever.

So. Anyway. There's a calendar! It's free! You can use it on your computer! And it's got a few nice quotes in it! So you might like it! But remember to hide it when company comes over because you are a reverse sexist who hates men and worships Gloria Steinem. Or something.

(And if you just want a printable calendar, I like this place here. They do try to wring a yearly subscription from you, but the first one is free and clearing the cookie cache or switching browsers seems to do the trick if you want to test more than one format.)

Open thread below, as always.

Deals: Some R.A. Salvatore Novel!

Today's daily nook deal (scroll down) is a novel by R.A. Salvatore! is it any good? I don't know! I've honestly never read anything by him! But I'm told I should! So I'm going to! One of these days! Why am I shouting? I DON'T KNOW!

Author Interview: Dee Ernst on "Better Off Without Him"

Ana: Today we have Dee Ernst introducing their novel, "Better Off Without Him". I haven't read this book myself, but Dee was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Dee, how would you describe your novel to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your novel about?

Dee: This book is about Mona Berman, a successful romance writer, wife, and mother, whose husband walks in one morning and announces that he's leaving her for a younger woman. Mona may be crushed, but she's also lucky - she's got great friends and a supportive family who help her make the journey from abandoned wife to triumphant single woman with humor, spirit and dignity. And more humor. This is a funny book.

Ana: What themes does your novel explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your novel will mean to a reader?

Dee: I wanted to write a book about a woman who is NOT twenty-something, skinny, with lots of clothes, but is more real - older, wiser, with a history of work, family and friendships to support her when the going gets tough. I think that sort of experience happens all the time - women of 'a certain age' are tough, funny, and aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty. Pulling yourself up and reinventing yourself happens all the time, and it doesn't have to be the worst thing that can happen - sometimes it's the best thing.

Ana: What prompted you to write this novel and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book?

Dee: I liked the idea of a writer whose life parallels her work. The original idea was for Mona, a romance writer, to end up writing a non-fiction book, true stories about women who have been left by their husbands but built better lives because of it. Mona's story would then run counterpoint to the stories of those other women. But it was pointed out to me that, in the real world, a non-fiction book like that would take years to write, and I wanted the story set within a certain timeframe, so I changed Mona's book to fiction, but totally outside her usual genre. Then I added the little 'Romantic' flashes to balance her real life and her fantasy life.

Ana: If you could compare your novel to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If  you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your novel is their cup of tea?

Dee: One of my reviewers said my 'voice' was like Susan Isaacs, and I was thrilled, because I've been reading her forever and she's one of my favorite writers. So I feel comfortable with comparing myself to her - without the mystery element. Or maybe Jennifer Cruise without the sex.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other novels? If you have published other novels, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more novels planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different novel or genre?

Dee: This is my third novel written, but the first published. I'm currently working on a sequel to Better Off Without Him, and a Young Adult novel. The YA is for my daughter, because although there are teen girls in my book, none of them were actually based on her, and she was a little upset by that. So the YA is all about Carrie!

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your novel for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next novel comes available?

Dee: My book is available everywhere: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Smashwords. And I have a blog where I'll hopefully be posting excerpts of the new books, as well as announcing release dates.

Here's the first chapter - if you don't laugh at least three times, you don't have to buy it!

Narnia: Good Kings, Bad Laws (and why Lawful Stupid isn't a valid alignment)

Content Note: Physical Abuse, Slavery

Narnia Recap: Peter, Susan, Lucy, and the Beavers are traveling to the place where they expect to find Aslan. Along the way they have seen proof that the Witch's spell is weakening, in the form of Father Christmas who supplied them with food and presents.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 11: Aslan Is Nearer

Edmund fans will be disappointed to note that this is the last chapter in the book where Child!Edmund will be allowed a voice. Say your fond farewells now.*

Metapost: Technical Difficulties Coming!

Folks, I going to attempt to transfer my domain name ("anamardoll.com") from the current registrar (Weebly) to something a little more customer-focused (probably GoDaddy unless ya'll have better suggestions) and this will probably occur sometime in the next few days. I do apologize for any disruption in service, but some of our Canadian readers are having trouble accessing the site in Canada and it *appears* to be a domain name issue, but I've had zero luck in dealing with my Weebly contacts.

If anyone has done this already and has advice, speak up!

Otherwise, if you have any trouble accessing the site this weekend, that's why. What can you do to minimize the pain? If all goes badly, I may need to back off to the blogger address for a day or two -- that would be anamardoll.blogspot.com so have that bookmarked and ready. Also, make sure you have a way to contact me -- once everything is working fine, I'll be tweeting and facebooking that *I* can see the site and then it'll be up to ya'll to chime in if you can't.

And, again, this will be over the weekend -- probably Thursday or Friday when I start working it. Stay tuned, and I do apologize in advance. Hopefully this will be so smooth, you won't even notice the transition.

Deals: Free Books on Writing

Free Kindle books tonight, all of them having to do with writing and self-publishing, apparently. Are they any good? I don't know yet! But they're free. If you're in the U.S. anyway. I'm not sure about other countries.

Deals: November Kindle Sale

There's a Kindle sale going on right now. Link:


I bought the Roger Ebert book because I liked "Your Movie Sucks", and he seems like a good writer.

Apparently this is a monthly thing on Amazon now, so it'll be a monthly thing here except in all the months where I forget. Which is pretty often, admittedly.

Metapost: Homepage Widgets, Postpage Widgets

Good morning, and welcome to another episode of "Ana messes with code".

I've been wanting to reinstate the Google ads on the site because the page-refreshes do add up and every time I make $10 a month on the blog, I think I'm that much closer to quitting my job and talking about Twilight all the time. I have humble dreams, I know.

But! I didn't like having the Google ads on the actual post pages because Disqus takes long enough to load without having to get animated shinyies from Google each time. So! I figured out how to have the Google ads only show up on the main home page. Yay.

Of course, with that bit of knowledge, I couldn't leave well enough alone, so now everything on the side bar has been divided up into Homepage / Postpage categories.


Homepage

  1. Current Comments (High Priority)
  2. Labels by Post Type (Site Navigation)
  3. Labels by Review Type (Site Navigation)
  4. Hierarchical History (Site Navigation)
  5. Blog Bounce (High Priority)
  6. Google Adsense Ads
  7. Shiny eBook Seller Ads
Postpages
  1. Current Comments (High Priority)
  2. Random Rambles (I see this has not taken off in popularity. Should I dump it? It adds to load times.)
  3. Blog Bounce (High Priority)
Basically, anything that isn't high priority isn't being displayed on the post pages. I *hope* that this will make the post pages load faster, although it's possible (I don't know for sure) that the widgets are still being loaded in the background but just not displayed. This may be browser-dependent, I don't know.

Weigh in on the changes in the comments -- I love to hear if people hate things so I can make them better!

    Twilight: Emotional Abuse Workshop

    Content Note: Emotional Abuse, Rape, Victim Blaming

    Twilight Recap: Bella has successfully fended off invitations to the dance from Mike, Eric, and Tyler, by organizing an all day road trip to Seattle and clearing her plans with Charlie.

    Twilight, Chapter 4: Invitations

    So today let's return to the subject of gaslighting. The Standard Repository of All Knowledge and Wisdom defines "gaslighting" as "a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory and perception. It may simply be the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, or it could be the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim."

    Open Thread: Princess Vader

    Those of you who follow Shakesville have already seen this, but it's worth seeing again: The Best Halloween Costume Ever.



    Open thread below!

    Recommends: Hyperbole and a Half and Depression

    Content Note: Depression

    For those of you who don't follow Hyperbole and a Half, Allie has a wonderful post up today about depression. I thought it was very touching and wanted to share it with everyone else.

    Feminism: Trigger Jokes

    [Content Note: Rape]

    Another week, another deconstruction post about rape and rape culture. I'll apologize in advance in case these are getting too heavy for everyone, but this is something of a 2-part post piggy-backing off of the post from a few weeks ago.

    A few weeks ago, I found out I was the last person on earth to hear about the Penny Arcade "dickwolves" debacle. Considering that it lasted for the better part of a year and I usually consider myself pretty plugged into gaming culture and internet feminism blogs, the revelation of my ignorance was a bit of a shock to me; time to start paying better attention. But in the meantime, let's use a year-old controversy as a hook to talk about trigger warnings and why they're useful. Part Two.

    Author Interview: Jason Matthews on "The Little Universe"

    Ana: Today we have Jason Matthews introducing his first novel, The Little Universe. I haven't read this book myself, but Jason was kind enough to agree to guest blog about his book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Jason, how would you describe your novel to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your novel about?

    Jason: This is a character driven story that gets into very deep issues in a fun and lighthearted way. The next sentence may scare some, but it's really an easy read. It's an alternative way of thinking about the universe, the creation and evolution of life on this planet as well as others, and our human experiences. Are we all (unknowingly) connected in a bigger picture?

    Ana: What themes does your novel explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, what do you hope your novel will mean to a reader?

    Jason: My first hope is that the readers will lose themselves in the story by getting caught up with the incredible series of events the characters experience. My second hope is the readers will reflect on their own amazing lifetimes and how their own experiences fit into the bigger picture. Overall, I hope readers have a lot of fun and pleasant surprises they'll want to share.

    Ana: What prompted you to write this novel and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book?

    Jason: This idea came after years of frustration wondering about all the amazing life that must exist on distant planets in the universe. The problem with space is that it's so enormous, beyond comprehension, that our chance of connecting with those planets is very low. What if there was a way to bridge the gap and find a myriad of other worlds? This story solved the problem by creating a miniature self-enclosed universe that can be searched with powerful lenses. Imagine finding planets with life, thousands of them, and all the incredible societies and inventions that might be out there.

    Ana: If you could compare your novel to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your novel is their cup of tea?

    Jason: This story is hard to compare; many readers report comments like, "nothing I've read before" and "I usually stay clear of anything resembling sci-fi, but this was really different." Ultimately there are elements that might remind readers of Richard Bach and parts that feel like Carl Sagan since those authors influenced my thoughts on life and the universe. There are also elements Edgar Cayce fans should appreciate, people who enjoy psychic connections and strange wisdom coming from unexpected places.

    Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other novels? If you have published other novels, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more novels planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different novel or genre?

    Jason: This was my first novel, and there is also the sequel. I've published five titles, two novels and three how-to guides, which are all available as ebooks and paperbacks. I've also published short stories and two screenplays. The sequel to this story, Jim's Life, was a natural continuation of one of the characters from this story.

    Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your novel for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next novel comes available?

    Jason: Five of my books are available as both ebooks and paperbacks at major retailers. "The Little Universe" can be found on Amazon in kindle and paperback format, on B&N in nookbook and paperback format, and on the Apple, Smashwords, Kobo, and Sony ebook stores.

    I enjoy connecting with readers. Here is my contact and social media: email, website, Google Plus +1, Facebook, and Twitter

    Ana: Thank you, Jason. I understand you have the first chapter of your novel available as an excerpt for interested readers? And is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

    Jason: Yes, the first and other chapters of both The Little Universe and Jim's Life are freely available at my website. Specifically, the introduction and first chapters are here

    Thanks to you, Ana, for the opportunity to guest post today. Thanks to any readers who check out my books. I hope to hear from some of you.

    Claymore: Never Knowing When

    Claymore Recap: Clare, Miria, Deneve, and Helen have defeated the male Awakened Being, but are badly wounded for all of their efforts. 

    Claymore, Episode 11: Those Who Rend Asunder, Part 3

    Episode 11 is something of an exposition chapter to bring everyone up to speed in the wake of the Awakened Being battle.

    Miria is a tactician, so she immediately hones in on the suspicious aspects of their battle. The four of them were sent to battle an Awakened Being, despite their rankings being (except for Miria's) unusually low for such a difficult task. This could perhaps be excused if the Awakened Being was particularly weak, but this one was not: he was one of the oldest and strongest of the monsters, simply by virtue of him being a male.