Rating Romance, a Personal System

I’ve been reading a lot of romance lately, and the results have been mixed. Sometimes I get a third of the way through and everything is just annoying, so I flip to the end and then bail. Sometimes the book is so good that I race through it and then start it again. More often, it’s good enough to finish, but when I’m done, I think, “I’ll never read that one again.” Then they just stack up on my Kindle. Reader kindling. (Sorry.). While my laptop was silent this weekend, I started thinking about a personal rating system, probably not useful for anyone else but a way to identify the authors I was going to go back to and the authors I was going to metaphorically throw things at, and it seemed to me that the same things kept triggering me, points at which my brain flashed “OH, that was great” or “One more of those and I’m setting this book on digital fire.” Flash points, if you will, the reading experience temperature at which the reader ignites with glee or rage.

I figured a ten-point system. All books start out with 100 points, the C of the book ratings, the books I finish but never read again. Books get plus ten if they do something magnificently. Minus ten would be a novel that does something so annoying I want to burn it in my back yard. Plus and minus five would be things that are nice surprises or annoying but not complete deal-breakers on their own. Plus and minus one are small pleasures and small annoyances that I could absolutely overlook as long as they don’t mount up (nibbled to death by ducks). Continue reading


This is a Good Book Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020

Best book I read this week: Crosstalk by Connie Willis. Loved it, even with the quirky relatives (that whole “elderly people are just so cute” is not my fave trope, but it worked here because (spoiler) they turn out to be not that damn cute). Hyperbole and a Half made me think while I was laughing. Skinny Dip was like visiting an old friend (yes, it’s a multiple re-read). Several BookBub romances that didn’t make the cut. The instructions to my new toaster oven. The week has just been packed.

What did you read this week?


Working Wednesday, September 2, 2020

IT’S BACK TO SCHOOL TIME. Except most people aren’t going back. Still, school supplies. A new year. Two months to the election. Forget I said that last one. This week, I’m going to get my living room turned into an office and throw out most of the stuff in the kitchen. (Last week I watched the room spin and failed to recharge my laptop.)

What’s on your to-do/already-did list?


The Horror, the Horror

I’ve been without a laptop since Sunday. I thought, “This will be good for me.” NO, NO IT WASN’T.

But now it’s September which is my favorite month because it feels like a new year (I’ve spent a lot of time in schools) and the weather is amazing and I have Big Plans. Among other things:

• I keep thinking I’m going to put Nita aside and then I think again. At the moment, my qualms are two: this is no time for a old white woman to write about immimgration and this is really no time for anybody to write about a cute cop who shoots people.

• I have to do something with Lily. I don’t know what, since I never had a plot, she’s all over the place, but I either have to pat her on the head and say, “You were fun, kid,” and send her off to the archives, or figure out something useful to do with her. Probably not a book because I have enough of them started.

• I need a new blog project. Bob and I are done with HWSWA at the end of Sept. and I have no idea if he wants to do anything after that and neither do I, but I know I like the idea of having to produce something to a schedule every week. Like do another series binge, maybe. Nah. Rats. I don’t know.

• I need to throw out most of what’s in this house. It’s the only way.

• I need to figure out what’s making me dizzy. It goes away at night but today I got a real shock when the dizzy turned to vertigo. It has to be labyrinthitis, but you’re not supposed to get that twice. Maybe I’m just Special.

I did manage to get most of the recycling out today, so there’s that. And my laptop is recharged again, thank god. But mostly I’m feeling untethered. I must do something productive. Any request? I’m open here.


This is a Good Book Thursday, August 27, 2020

I’ve been reading a lot of new romances and old favorites (went back to Murderbot again). Reading the new romances is reminding me why I like the genre and why it so often doesn’t work, so that’s been helpful. And Murderbot is just comforting. Just started Allie Brosh’s book, Hyperbole and a Half and so far it’s as funny as her blog.

What are you reading?


Working Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Bob and I did another HWSWA chat last night, this one on Setting, which will be up a week from Saturday. (This Saturday is Time.). We’re almost done, I think there are only four topics left, and I don’t know if we’ll keep going after that or not. It’s not a very interactive site–problems with commenting, I think–and what we’ve found is that after years of arguing with each other about writing, we’re pretty much meeting in the middle on a lot of things. But it’s been good working on the project, so even if we stop at the end of September, it’s been worth it. I do think the process is more important than the result unless other people, say readers, are involved in the result. It’s a bad idea to waste other people’s time.

So this week I combatted dizziness and talked about setting. What did you do?


HWSWA: Scenes, Sex and Violence, Snark

The new HWSWA post is up. . (Thank you, Jinx!)

Short recap:

• I put up my bit on scenes.

• He put up his bit on scenes plus sex and violence.

• I pointed out that sex and violence wasn’t until next week.

• He said it was on his schedule.

• I gave in and we talked about scenes (a little) and sex and violence (more) and then he used his dog Gus as an excuse to bail and leave me to talk about sex.

• I did some more discussion on action scenes (aka sex and violence).

• A week later he e-mailed me to say, “So it’s sex and violence this week, right? That’s what’s on my schedule.”

• I did not kill him. I was possibly rude, but he still lives.

Next week is Time. Prologues, epilogues, flashbacks, flashforwards. That’s when he dies.