Friday, July 30, 2010

I Have to Read That

June at Writing is a Blessing just posted a Minder review and giveaway.  Check it out here:

Junes Button

There's another one at The Bookish Type, which is a great blog written by a fellow Yalie:

I mention both of these specifically because they each read for detail at several levels. I started thinking about what part of a review makes me click over to Amazon and throw a copy into my shopping cart. My "saved for later" section's got about 80 books in it now--I'll buy them when I have the time and money.


So tell me, what flips your "I have to read that" switch?

Great characters? Unique premise? Fluid prose? Emotional pull? Intricate plot? Heart-stopping action? Page-turning suspense? Snappy dialogue? Powerful narrative voice? Something I didn't mention but probably should know about?

Back to the galleys--I think I should have some burly, sweaty guy sitting in front of my desk and pounding out the cadence on a big drum. Proof...proof...proof...

(Get it? Galleys? Like the old rowing ships in movies like Ben Hur and-- oh, never mind).

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Hi, I'm deep in a galley-proof right now, so this'll be a short post.  Talk amongst yourselves, of possibly do a little shopping:

How cool would it be to have a telekinesis machine? It really exists, and it's available here:


Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Buy this book.  Read it.  Enjoy.  Soooo good! 5-star good. 

I'm semi-coherent from the power of its awesomeness.  But first read book one, Shiver, if you haven't already. 

I need a "Team Sam" shirt. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Has anyone seen INCEPTION? I'm intrigued, but, since an evening at the movies is wicked expensive when you add in the babysitter, I haven't made plans to see it.  But, since lucid dreaming plays a big part in Minder, I think I may have to go see it anyway. 

So, my question today is: writers, have you ever used the content of your dreams in your work?

Monday, July 26, 2010


We've talked about superpowers before, given the nature of the Ganzfield books.  This video keeps popping up in the suggestions next to the Minder book trailer on YouTube, so I felt the need to share. 

Warning: please don't play the audio of this in front of small children, your boss, or my grandmother.

Happy Monday! 

Friday, July 23, 2010

TV to Movies

Segueing from yesterday's topic, I can count the movies made from TV shows that should have been made on one hand. Movie-to-TV is okay--M*A*S*H and Buffy both stand out as incredible examples. But TV-to-movie almost never works.

However, I just saw a trailer that might prove me wrong:

Thanks to Beth for the link.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Book was Better

We've all said it--I think it's because reader-types have strong imaginations. Most of the time, we reduced our expectations and enjoy the movie if it can get over that lowered bar. Sometimes we avoid seeing the movies because the experience might diminish the impact the book had in our lives (which is why I haven't seen THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE). And WHY do some screenwriters and/or directors insist on changing the ending on us?

So, what's your favorite (or LEAST favorite) book-to-movie?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Character Names

"I KNOW What You're Thinking."

If my regulars are wondering why this is appearing in comments, it's because Miss Vicki over at Rambles & Randomness is dissing 'Jersey and sending folks over to win a copy of Minder. I can recommend her wonderful blog as well as her excellent taste in books. :)

And, BTW, it's always okay to mock New Jersey. Thanks for linking over, Vicki!

Welcome, all you new folks! Not to shamefully self-promote (it's like shamelessly self-promoting, but I apologize for it afterward), but here's some info for Minder:
The website has a book trailer, tons of info about the series, and a free PDF excerpt. Amazon has best price online (as far as I know), especially for the e-book ($2.99), and the sequel, Adversary, will be out next month.

I'm sorry for such blatant self-promotion. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming:

Character Names

"Maddie Dunn"

She sounds plain, right? Like "matte" (not glossy) and "dun" (brown). I gave the extraordinary main character of Minder a simple name. It simply fit her--a girl who hides in plain sight, almost as though the name was a form of social camouflage.

And, as much as I loved reading Twilight, the name and the character are somewhat the opposites of "Bella Swann."

In many novels, character names have special meaning. The Harry Potter books are full of them. For instance...

*Spoiler Alert*
(but if you haven't gotten around to reading Harry Potter by now, you deserve a spoiler)

...I knew "Remus Lupin" had to be a werewolf as soon as I saw his name. "Remus" was one of the mythical twin founders of Rome and was raised by a wolf, and "Lupin" is from the Latin "lupine," meaning wolf.

Yes, I am a great source of obscure data. Few dare challenge me at Trivial Pursuit.

Ooh--wouldn't a Hogwarts version of Trivial Pursuit be incredible?

But I digress.

So, what makes a great character name? Which ones really stuck with you? Fellow writers, how did you come up with your MC's and/or other character's names?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Literary Therapy

Ooh--there's a new review for MINDER over at Books Complete Me. They just posted a giveaway and interview today, so stop on by and comment for a chance to win MINDER SWAG.

Do you have any books or authors that work as "comfort food" for your mind? I find that what I'm reading flavors my life--like I'm looking at the world through book-colored glasses, and I tend to grab for "word chocolate" when I'm feeling down or stressed.

I personally recommend authors Rita Mae Brown, J.K Rowling, Douglas Adams, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Stanley Robinson, Connie Willis, and Orson Scott Card for this, as well as Charlotte Bronte. I think Lisa McMann may eventually join this group--I really liked the WAKE trilogy, and her new book CRYER'S CROSS comes out in February.

So, what's in your literary cookie jar? Which books or authors make you feel better when you read them?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Link-O-Rama (Part 2)

Hi folks,

Thanks for the good wishes--I'm feeling better today (it must have been one of those 24-hour leprosies). I've got a few links for you today, including another review for Minder that compares me to a, in a good way.

I also have two new book events to report: Pi-Con in Enfield CT (August 20-22) and Borders in Concord, NH (August 25th).

I love how international everything is--Minder is now available in Kenya.

Finally, I've got two links that made me laugh out loud:
Zombies (thanks to a friend-of-a-friend on Facebook) and Tough Love (via You Suck at Craigslist).

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Think I'm Coming Down with Something

Short post today--I think I'm coming down with a summer cold or leprosy or something.

Here's a fun way to kick off your weekend:

Thanks to Bookshelves of Doom for the link!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Hi folks,

Quick question--what's IMPORTANT to you? What have you been doing with your time online? Making new friends on Facebook? Blogging? Watching the oil spill news from the Gulf? Reading about child product safety? Making or watching great things on YouTube? Twittering about how gorgeous your cat is?
Oooh--Mustafa is so beautiful!

Shamelessly promoting your new novel?
This is your chance to promote your interests, your passions, your pet projects, etc. Comment below with a link to a relevant site.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Convention Panels

I really enjoyed Readercon. Now Arisia and some of the others are calling for new panel topics. I have an idea for one: would you go to this?

School of the Supernatural

Harry Potter had Hogwarts; Ender Wiggins had Battle School. Fantasy and SF stories with adolescent characters need places to train them. What makes a school a compelling setting in speculative fiction? Which ones stand out? How has the new resurgence of YA spec-fic changed the concept of these "special" schools? How have they diverged from the standard of the European boarding school?

What would YOU like to hear about?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Do You Want to Know?

The final panel at Readercon addressed gender and sexuality in speculative fiction (aka, fantasy and sci-fi). The discussion became intense when it came to letting the reader know in advance that a story contained "controversial" material. For example, many romance novels now carry "warning labels" if they contain explicit sex scenes.

What do you think? Should books have some kind of warning labels, much like TV shows now rate themselves and warn of issues with sex, violence, and/or language?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wicked Busy

Hi folks,

Short (and late) post today--I've been running around doing some family stuff. I'll have a recap of the con tomorrow or Wednesday. In the meantime, here's a link to the book crazy review:

Friday, July 9, 2010

ReaderCon--Day 1

The first events started last night -- two hour-long sessions of our choosing. I attended one on the cross-over influence of music and other art forms with writing, which made me feel like a dork because I didn't recognize half of the band names people threw around.

"What do you mean you're not familiar with French-Canadian indie fusion bands of the 1980's?"

The second session was on creating characters based on people you know (which is 80% of the people in the Ganzfield books). The discussion was diverted into the use of historical figures (Da Vinci, Abraham Lincoln, etc.) in speculative fiction, but it led to the quote of the day:

"There are terrible people--and then there's Wagner." - Barry Malzberg

Interestingly, in the soundtrack of my mind, this is accompanied by Wagner's music.

I love conventions, because I have no problem approaching interesting-looking green-haired people and striking up a conversation on the merits of Connie Willis' body of work as an exemplar of the logical handling of time travel in fiction.

Wish You Were Here...and, if you are, say "Hi!"

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ah, Publishing

The good news: Amazon UK and Amazon Canada are now listing Minder.

The bad news: It's wicked expensive in the UK, and Canada is out of stock.


I'll work on fixes for both problems.

If you're in the Boston area this weekend, I'll be at ReaderCon. Come find me (I'll be with the Broad Universe people) and introduce yourself! I'll tell you all about it next week. If you attend a convention that you think I might like, please comment below and tell me about it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Separated at Birth?

I can only hope I get a movie deal like he did, too.

BTW, I'm getting some new reviews in places like Amazon and Goodreads. I wanted to say "Thank you!" to everyone who bought, read, and posted so far. Yay! Last year, I felt an intense push to get this book published--"If I don't publish Minder, Maddie and Trevor will DIE!"

Yes, I know. I have issues.

The point is, with every person reading the book, I get the inverse reaction--Maddie and Trevor are no longer just in my head. They're out there, touching other people's thoughts.

And that's

On a side note, we now have several retailers selling Minder in Canada and the UK. There are links at Spencer Hill Press for some of them. And one company offers free shipping worldwide.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Watch Your Language!

What's with all the potty mouth, people? I keep finding or being told about these GREAT blogs, but I hesitate to sign up as a follower because they have names like "F*** You Penguin," but without the decorative asterisks.

How can I, a respectable-ish author of YA paranormal romantic thriller(s), have "F*** You Penguin" listed in the "Blogs I Follow" section of my profile? I like penguins. I mean, not that way, but--well, you know what I mean.

So, today I give you... some wicked funny stuff you probably shouldn't read if you're under 18. Seriously, don't click on this sh- um, stuff if you're easily offended (see how I did that? You don't need to spell it out to get your point across).

F*** You Penguin

Sleep Talkin' Man

...and this one is clean, but still LOL funny.

Catalog Living

Got any more to add to the list?

Monday, July 5, 2010

"You Gotta Read This..."

How do you discover new books? Do friends recommend them? Do you read about them online? Do you wander the bookstore until something catches your eye? Does Amazon understand your buying habits and recommend just the right things? Do you pick them up at BJ's from the table next to the bags of socks?

All of the above? None?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Romantic Love in YA

"Their eyes met, and the heat scorched their souls. They drew together in a tender kiss that soon became more urgent. He pulled the fabric of her shirt, and she gasped as his hands slid across the bare flesh of her back. And then they... "

How far can writers take romantic and/or sexual scenes in YA novels? Should physically consummated relationships simply be implied (e.g., waking up in someone's room in Uglies and the whole feathers thing in Breaking Dawn), like the old movies in which the two lovers lowered out of the frame and the scene faded to black? Or should the scenes be clearer, like in the first House of Night, in which the act itself is arguably the worst mistake in a long string of bad judgments? On a side note, don't even get me started on the bad judgment of Ever, the MC in the Evermore series. I love the suspense and the tension in this series, but I can't help but think that most of Ever's problems are her own making, and that annoys me.

But I digress.

Back to today's topic. In the immortal words of Salt and Pepa, "Let's talk about sex, baby!"

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I've got to say, I really like the way that author interviews have evolved over the past decade. No longer are we "um"ing our way through the wilderness of public radio. Actually, maybe some authors still do radio interviews, but I can't remember the last time I heard one. I have, however, read a ton of them online. Many of them convinced me to buy the author's book, too--although getting me to buy books isn't much of a challenge. :)

Anyway, I woke up to find that the interview I did a few days ago with Lua Fowles at Bowl of Oranges had been posted.

Check it out:

Lua's an aspiring writer with great potential! I had a chance to read some of her work, and I'm still mentally marinating a particularly delicious paragraph that illuminated her MC's relationship with her father. I think she'll be published within the next few years, so you should go become followers of her blog now, so you can say that you "knew her when."

BTW, any interest in reading interviews here at The Disgruntled Bear?