This is a Good Book Thursday, November 5, 2020

I read a set of three linked books and I’m still bemused by them. They were well-written books about complicated people, technically romances I think, but I realized when the male lead from the first book died at the end of the third book and I thought, “Yeah, we could spare him,” that I’d become annoyed with all of them. I think it might be because the writing was detached, almost cold, even though the characters were emoting all over the place. It might also be because I couldn’t get a grip on the romance contract; there were triangles in two of the books and I didn’t care.

Then as an antidote I read a very, warm, sweet romance where the contract was clear with a good quirky cast of supporting players, but since everything was lovely all the time, at the end the author had to pile Big Misunderstanding on top of Big Misunderstanding and that was just annoying: if you people don’t trust each other any more than this, if you can’t TALK to each other to find out the truth, then I don’t care if you’re pregnant at the end and beaming at each other. Not to mention all the protagonist’s problems fell away at the end because all the other characters made such great decisions that accomodated her . . .

All of which is to say, I was difficult to please this week, although thanks to somebody on here, I read A Deadly Education, which had a protagonist I loved, and I’m reading the new Bloom County collection and laughing like a loon, so there is hope.

But the best thing I read this week was the NYT’s essay on Durer and the self-portrait by Jason Farago.. And I’m thinking maybe it’s time to try another self-portrait. Or maybe Anna will.

What did you read this week?


Working Wednesday, November 4, 2020

I’m making fettuccine (shallots and rosemary and mushrooms and tarragon and tomatoes and basil and garlic and lemon and baby peppers and possibly some steak but not much) and throwing things out (why did I think there was going to be a shortage of cardboard boxes?). Also working on Anna, which I shut down on when reality became a real bastard and refused to leave my brain. I’m thinking it’s time to bake something; there’s work and then there’s work where you get to eat something chocolate warm from the oven when you’re done.

What did you work on this week? Brag here.


The Importance of Breathing

It’s 1:37AM on Tuesday, and I was sitting here working on finances and trying to figure out how to keep a stray cat in my house and keep out the fatass raccoon who keeps coming in to steal her food, and neither of these things is especially stressful–although that raccoon and I are going to have a come-to-Jesus shortly–and I realized I was tense, tense enough that I wasn’t breathing. Took a couple of lungfuls of breath and felt better. Remembered the fate of my country gets decided today. Took several more deep breaths. Returned to plotting against the raccoon.

I’d address this just to the American Argh People, but I’m fairly sure most of the rest of the world is watching in horror, too. Deep breaths. Extinction burst. Nothing but good times ahead.

Jokes, cheery news, comfort reads, and anything else you can think of to get us through this day, in the comments below, please. Argh.


Happiness is 2021 Approaching

Welcome to November, the penultimate month in the Year of the Rat Bastard. As I pulled my garbage can to the curb at 6AM, I saw my neighbor Allan doing the same thing. I said, “We have to stop meeting like this.” He said, “I heard they’re cancelling daylight savings time this year.” I said, “Really??? Why?” He said, “Nobody wants an extra hour of 2020.”

2021 is going to be better and it’s only eight weeks away. Plus there are gift-giving and getting holidays in there, and I might even finish writing a book or at least get closer to the end of one. And maybe Emily the stray cat will stop looking at me like I’m a limb of Satan and come into the warm. Once I get the heat fixed. Nothing but good times ahead.

PLEASE let there be good times ahead.

What made you happy this week?


HWSWA: Chat about 5/6ths of Anna Act One

Bob and I talk about Anna and her plot problems.

My questions after this 5/6ths of the first act first draft is done:

Why is all of this happening now?

How does the Anna/Nate relationship affect/echo/contrast with the crime subplot and vice versa?

What happens at the turning points and what do those things mean?

What the hell is this book about? (I usually can’t answer this until I have an entire first draft done, but I always try anyway.)

And then Toni read then first five chapters and pointed out the Elephant in the Plot: Anna has no positive goal which is why I don’t know what the book is about. I said a very bad word and then went back to cogitating.

Also, Happy Halloween! Candy is on sale now.


And Anna Staggers On

I spent an hour yesterday on Spark with Bob trying to sort through my non-plot for Arresting Anna (chat goes up tomorrow on HWSWA), then woke up today to two e-mails from him that solved most of my back story problem. The man is a genius. He also read and made notes on the first five chapters, so he’s a hardworking genius.

Below are some of his notes on the latest iteration of Anna: Continue reading


This is a Good Book Thursday October 29, 2020

So I have a question.
I was reading a book and got to a page where two people were going out to dinner . . . and the book ended. Turns out if I want to find out what happens next, I have to buy the author’s second book. And third. I think I read that there were five books in all. Please note: This isn’t “buy the next one if you want to find out the best friend’s story.” This is one book cut into five parts and sold as separate books. The other odd thing was that the heroine of the story was reading a book by the author who wrote the story. You know, like if Min was reading Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation.. I know a lot of current authors are writing multiple books a year and doing other things I wouldn’t (which doesn’t mean they’re wrong, just not my cuppa), but both of these things seem . . . odd.
Is this common now, or is this author just strange?

I didn’t read anything else but the odd book and Anna this week. I’m WORKING. What did you read?