Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Help An Author Out: Titles

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

I’m nearing critical mass on My Immortals Book 7, which is awesome. Meanwhile I am mulling over potential titles. I had some great suggestions at my facebook page (Thank you so much!) so I thought I’d throw together a poll with a few titles and see what people think.

If you have a suggestion, let me know in the comments, too. Once I have the title, I can finalize the cover…

Best Title for My Immortals Book 7?

View Results

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Writing, Will Write, Have Been Writing. Also: Reading

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Reading

My RITA reading is all done. Now I’m back to reading Judith Ivory. It’s a slice of reading bliss…

Writing

I attended a writing function last night where someone else paid for dinner and I got to chat with lots of Romance authors and persons in the business. But I had to drive to San Francisco and … Hey! I did find parking on the street, there’s that! My car, bought used, and now paid for, is getting cranky in its old age. I never know which key (I have two, no, no fob…never never buy a car without a fob….) will actually open the door. Any door. And now I’m never sure which key will actually start the car. One of these days the answer will be “None of them!” Sigh. Anyway, I was glad to find parking because that meant I wouldn’t have to give the valet 10 minutes of instructions about what to do if the door(s) won’t open and how to voodoo the ignition. But I didn’t get home until midnight and I had to be up at 5:15AM — I was at least smart enough to not even try for the 4:00AM workout — and so my point is I’m really tired right now.

I’ve been working on My Immortals 7 and things are going pretty well. I’m liking the story a lot and am almost at the point where the story is really essentially done and there’s not much plot left to deal with.

What the title will be, I don’t know yet. I have a few ideas, but nothing I want to commit to yet, and that is why I cannot show you the cover for Book 7 — because the cover is all done except for a place holder title from Book 5. But I love, love, love the cover.

I’m going to be writing another historical novella for a second anthology with Grace Burrowes, Miranda Neville, and Shana Galen. The anthology title should be Dancing in the Duke’s Arms. We were able to arrange a custom photo shoot and so provide some very specific requests for poses and emotions to be conveyed for our cover image. We’ve selected the image we want to use, but there is nothing to show you yet.

Also, I know the story I want to write for the anthology, and it’s an idea that keeps nagging at me.

Arithmetic

Six weeks into 2015 already! I should be doing my taxes but I’m not. Yet. ::Shrug::

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I think I have a problem with this: American Sniper

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

I read the book American Sniper shortly after it came out. I have also read several other memoirs of Navy SEALS. Chris Kyle, the author of American Sniper, as you probably know, retired from active service and was later killed by a mentally disturbed man at a shooting range Kyle owned. Now there’s a movie about the book.

FYI: I have now added a paragraph at the bottom to address yet another controversy about this movie.

The controversy I’ve heard around the movie goes like this: Kyle killed people and talked about it. He was callous and unfeeling, and possibly not a very nice person. I have seen comparisons between success of the movie with things that are unrelated that imply that Americans of the sort who would see American Sniper are terrible people. Example, juxtaposing the movie’s successful opening with people who gave Bill Cosby a standing ovation.

Today, after writing a draft of this post, I went to see the movie because, one, I wanted to see it anyway, and two, since I was so bothered by some of the conversation, not seeing the movie would leave my opinions and thoughts less informed than they should be.

The Review Portion

Clint Eastwood is a very good director. There’s no doubt about it. Great material to work with, and yet I often felt that if I’d not read the book, I couldn’t have followed the movie as well. In fact, several times, I thought, oh, right, that’s [some character] from the book, because those roles were not clear to me. Alas, and probably no surprise, Kyle’s wife was sadly one-dimensional. I don’t mean the actress, I mean the screenplay and the directorial decisions. More than once I whispered “eff you.” Because of course the woman is shown as unable to understand the man she married. So, you know, the eff.

More important, I did not see this movie as a glorification of killing or an endorsement of the war in Iraq; at times quite the opposite. One of the strengths of the movie was showing moments of internal conflict and Kyle’s (as he was shown to us on the screen) refusal to acknowledge that even his brothers-in-arms had times of profound doubt.

Frankly, though I enjoyed the movie, and though it made me as sad as ever about war in general, and Iraq in particular, it’s not Eastwood’s best work. It’s a bit uneven and might have been better served by spending slightly less time on shooting and explosions and more on demonstrating the brotherhood of the soldiers. Thus ends the review portion of this post.

On War And the Warrior Trope

Here’s a fact, there are branches of the military, the SEALs being one, that have achieved a mystical standing. By definition, these men are extraordinary. They embody everything we glorify about warriors. I find it odd not to acknowledge the power of that trope and the reality behind it. Spartans. Athenians. Amazons. Roman Gladiators. Alexander The Great. Picts. Scots. The history of humans includes the history of war and warfare. Setting aside issues of the elision of women and minorities from history and warfare, this is us. As humans. We can recognize and admit the power of the warrior trope without also elevating war to heroic status.

Story vs. Truth

The movie represents Kyle at three removes. Kyle, the person, is gone and unable to speak for himself. His memoir is a writing and all writing is a remove from the person who is the writer. More, when there is a co-writer, there is yet another remove. What’s on the page are the words that convey words spoken, not the actual experience.

Writers are tricky people. They understand how and when to manipulate with words. It behooves us all, when we are reading a text, to remember that fact. It’s even more important when the writer of a memoir isn’t the subject of the memoir. And even so we cannot represent or assume the words on the page are equivalent to Kyle. They are a representation of him. And now we have a movie of the book; a representation of a representation.

The Thing that Bothers Me

It bothers me that there seems to be a conflation of Kyle, the movie, and its viewers that suggests that because Kyle killed people for a living that all the viewers of the movie are ascribed bloodthirsty motivations for seeing the movie. Further, suggesting there is some relation between a SEAL sniper doing his job and the alleged actions of Bill Cosby is offensive. How is a soldier doing what his country pays him to do anything like Cosby?

Whatever you may feel about the role the US is playing in the world, we should not be denigrating the men and women who serve in our military nor should we be making sly or not so sly insinuations about the moral worth of members of the military because we might disagree with US politics or decisions to send our military into war. Kyle, personally, did not set US policy. He did not commit crimes.

It is entirely possible for someone to read and see American Sniper while maintaining an ability to separate the actions and culpability of a White House Administration that put our country at war in Iraq under less than truthful circumstances with the actions of the soldiers who were sent to fight.

Bill Cosby is alleged to have committed several crimes. Assaults against women whom he allegedly drugged so that they could not object or consent. It is offensive to me that anyone would conflate the part-of-the-job actions of a member of the US military with actions that are a crime and suggest that viewers of the movie must also support Cosby.

Further, I have read American Sniper and seen the movie. I have not become a bloodthirsty, jackbooted conservative. Nor would I have given Bill Cosby a standing ovation. But then, I would also never have gone to see Cosby, knowing the allegations against him. I can deplore that the US went to war in Iraq at the same time that I support the women and men who are sent to fight on our behalves.

Idiots are Not an Excuse

Just now I saw tweets about the movie in which someone screen-capped several tweets in which people who saw the movie said they now hated Iraqis and want to kill “them” where “them” was a racial epithet. That tweet said with full ironic sarcasm: “It’s just a movie.”

Kyle was killed by an American, after his service was over. Not an Iraqi. Should the movie not have been made because there are idiots out there incapable of seeing the tragic irony of that? What should we do, give a test before the movie and refuse to admit people who we feel lack critical thinking abilities?

It is equally possible to see this movie and think, as I did, no wonder they hate us. Yes. That’s right. It’s not just a movie. The problem isn’t the movie. The problem lies in the hearts of minds of the people who see the movie.

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Books Prices in the EU…Continued

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

France and Germany . . .

This is a continuation of my previous post on this issue.

I can’t find any confirmation that the fixed book pricing laws in place in France only apply to books in French. What I find is this explanation of the French law as of 2011:

lesechos.fr

C’est fait : la loi sur le prix unique des e-books a été définitivement adoptée par le Parlement français. Après le Sénat, l’Assemblée nationale a entériné mardi soir, par un vote quasi unanime, la proposition de loi UMP qui autorise un éditeur français à fixer le prix des ouvrages sous format numérique, comme c’est le cas pour le papier. Et cette règle s’appliquera aux libraires en ligne installés en France comme aux revendeurs installés à l’étranger comme Apple, Amazon ou Google. Sur le papier, le dispositif devrait donc réjouir les éditeurs, les libraires et aussi les distributeurs de produits culturels établis en France comme la FNAC qui redoutaient les distorsions de concurrence.

What this says according to my French with a confirmative (sort of) assist from Google translate, is that French PUBLISHERS set the price of their books and that all French booksellers and resellers must abide by that price. It also says that online sellers “settled in France” such as Amazon, Apple, and Google, are also subject to that law. So…. Assume for the moment that I am the publisher of my book on sale in France. I set my price and Apple, Amazon, and Google must comply with that price. Therefore (and I’m not a lawyer anywhere in the world) Apple should not be rounding up my prices in France.

Does this mean that I must give all vendors in France the same price? I see ambiguity on that point. The assumption of the law appears to be that publishers do not want their books discounted ever. There’s some indication that you could discount by no more than 5%.

When I look at Amazon.fr, I can see that the publisher for the French translation of Scandal is listed as J’ai Lu which is, indeed, the company that contracted for French rights to Scandal. My self-published books on Amazon.fr show the publisher as “cJewel Books” which is the imprint name I assigned to the ISBN and gave to Amazon as the publisher.

So…. I would seem to be a publisher in France for the purposes of the price law, which also suggests that I have been thinking about this in a slightly inaccurate way. In France, it’s not that all books must be the same price. It’s that publishers get to set the price and distributors and resellers, including Amazon, must sell the book for that price without discounts.

The law appears to be silent on whether I, as a publisher, can give different prices to different French vendors, because, I speculate, that state of affairs was not the point of the law. The law was intended to prevent discounts on the publisher-set price.

I have to wonder if this means Kobo is out of compliance with French law because it does not permit me, the publisher, to set the French price. I can only set the EU price.

Germany….

Germany has a law that is similar to France’s but also more than a century older. It, too, applies to publishers setting prices. According to this 2004 document from the Legal department of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association German Book Prices – PDF Publishers must provide the same price to all German vendors. From the document (which is in English):

The law is relatively short, as it consists of only 10 articles.
§ 1 reemphasizes that it is the overall intention of this law to protect books as a cultural good.

According to Art. 2 the law applies to all sorts of books, i.e. printed works. This includes not only printed books, but also music notes, cartography products like maps and globes as well as substitutions or reproductions of books.

According to Art. 5 the publisher or importer of a book shall determine the retail price of such book for the German territory. Foreign language books which are almost exclusively sold outside of Germany are not included in the law’s scope of application. (emphasis added)

Art. 3 obliges the vendor of the book to keep this determined price. Any retailer is forced by law to keep the fixed price. Consequently also the publisher himself has to keep its own fixed prices if he sells a book directly to customers. However, the law does not prevent the publisher to change such fixed prices at his discretion. He is free to adjust the applicable fixed prices according to market conditions or any other considerations he may have. (emphasis added)


According to Art. 8 publishers may cancel the fixed price if the edition of one particular book has been published for more than 18 months.

Note the two things I bolded there. Assuming the rules set out in this 2004 document have not changed, my English language version of, say, Scandal, would not be subject to this law. Maybe. Depends how you interpret “almost exclusively sold outside of Germany.” However, my German translations would be subject to this law.

Interesting. But none of this resolves the ambiguity. Nor does any of this solve the Nook problem, or, the Kobo one, or Apple rounding up.

 

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New Cover for Free Fall!

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

I have a new cover for Free Fall, my My Immortals novella. I spiffied up the inside, too. Here’s the new cover:

Cover of Free Fall featuring a hot Asian demon

Cover of Free Fall

About Free Fall

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Dead Drop Print Book Giveaway at Goodreads!

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dead Drop by Carolyn Jewel

Dead Drop

by Carolyn Jewel

Giveaway ends January 20, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Interview and giveaway with Cecilia Grant!

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Interview and Giveaway!

Headshot of a smiling Ceilia Grant. She has curly hair


Cecilia Grant

Today, I am thrilled to have historical romance author Cecilia Grant visit my blog.

Woo-hoo!

I love her books more than is reasonable. I wish she wrote faster, but hey, no pressure, Cecilia!

As I put together this post, I’ve just finished reading her Christmas novella, A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong and I loved it so hard!! She’s one of my favorite historical authors and if you haven’t read her yet, you should. Really. She’s here to answer some questions, tell us about her book, discuss the Bigfoot problem, and offer a giveaway, so stay tuned! Details coming.

Cecilia Grant makes her home in the Pacific Northwest. She likes semicolons, chocolate-covered raisins, and historical sites with costumed reenactors. Her books have earned starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal, Seal of Excellence and Reviewer’s Choice awards from RT Reviews Magazine, and Desert Isle Keeper designation from All About Romance.

Where to find Cecila

Website: http://ceciliagrant.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/cecilia_grant
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ceciliagrantauthor

About A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong

Cover of A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant - A smiling young woman in bed.

Cover of A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant

IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SIMPLE. . .

With one more errand to go–the purchase of a hunting falcon–Andrew Blackshear has Christmas completely under control. As his sister’s impending marriage signals the inevitable drifting-apart of the Blackshear family, it’s his last chance to give his siblings the sort of memorable, well-planned holiday their parents could never seem to provide.

He has no time to dawdle, no time for nonsense, and certainly no time to drive the falconer’s vexing, impulsive, lush-lipped, midnight-haired daughter to a house party before heading home. So why the devil did he agree to do just that?

IT COULDN’T BE MORE DELICIOUSLY MIXED-UP. . .

Lucy Sharp has been waiting all her too-quiet life for an adventure, and she means to make the most of this one. She’s going to enjoy the house party as no one has ever enjoyed a house party before, and in the meanwhile she’s going to enjoy every minute in the company of amusingly stern, formidably proper, outrageously handsome Mr. Blackshear. Let him disapprove of her all he likes–it’s not as though they’ll see each other again after today.

. . .or will they. . .When a carriage mishap and a snowstorm strand the pair miles short of their destination, threatening them with scandal and jeopardizing all their Christmas plans, they’ll have to work together to save the holiday from disaster. And along the way they just might learn that the best adventures are the ones you never would have thought to plan.

Did I mention I loved this story?

The Interview

Cecilia was gracious enough to answer a series of the kind of probing, insightful questions you can count on from Yours Truly. So, let’s get to it.

Q:   You have pets. They are un-literary, you say. How do you know they aren’t reading your WIP when you step out? Do you have pictures? We love pet pictures here.

Louise, a black cat with gold eyes lounging on a desk top

Louise The Cat

A: I’m reasonably confident the pets aren’t reading my WiP. My (daughter’s) cat is neither brawny nor motivated enough to try to get the laptop open, and my dog, whose cleverness only extends to getting a dog biscuit out of a Kong, would never be able to crack my passwords.

They’re good pets, though! Zorra (like Zorro, only female) is the dog and Louise  is the cat.

DogZorra_CG

Zorra the Dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q:  You are given a choice of the following all-expenses paid (including taxes) vacations, including everything taken care of at home while you are gone. What do you choose and why? Which one is least appealing and why? In case you hate the traveling part of travels, please assume that you are instantly transported to your destination.

  • Nepal
  • Manhattan
  • Glam-camping
  • Narnia
  • Tahiti


A:
You know, I’m not a fan of camping and I was all ready to say that I suspect there’s no such real thing as “glam-camping” and that it’s just a scheme to trick people who should know better into going camping…

…but then I remembered this episode of Oprah I saw where Oprah and her friend Gayle went camping in Yosemite. They opened up a bottle of wine and toasted marshmallows and invited the people from the next campsite to come hang out, and I thought if I could sit around toasting marshmallows and drinking wine with Oprah, it would be about the best day ever. So I pick glam-camping, as long as you can guarantee Oprah will be next door.

Worst vacation would be Narnia, hands down. Anyone who thinks it would be fun to go to Narnia must never have read the books. Half the time your life’s in danger and the other half it’s like being in Sunday school. What kind of vacation is that?

NOTE From Yours Truly, Carolyn: There is such a thing as glam-camping– Glamping as I was reminded when I looked for this link. I want to go glam-camping in this yurt. It’s in the Trinity Alps here in California. It has wi-fi. Writing Retreat is written all over it. You in, Cecilia? Who else?

Q: You live in the Pacific Northwest. How do you deal with the Bigfoot problem?

A: What is this Bigfoot “problem” of which you speak? Bigfoot is a feature, not a bug.

Q: If someone messed up the space-time continuum such that the Regency period never happened, what historical period might you write in instead, and why? Assume that all other historical eras remain unchanged.

A: This is a surprisingly tough question! I grew up reading the Little House books, and I love reading memoirs of life in that era/setting. But any story of US pioneers is also a story of Native people losing their land and way of life, and for me that would cast a pretty big shadow over any HEA I might write.

Maybe mid-19th-century Boston and environs, when Hawthorne and Emerson and the Alcotts and Margaret Fuller and Frederick Douglass were all around. That seems like a time of so much exciting fermentation and cross-pollination, with lots of ways for women to be active out in the world.

Q: Your lovely Christmas novella features falconry. Can you talk a bit about why you chose that? What research did you do?

A: My local zoo has a raptor exhibit, with a rotating cast of whoever they happen to be rehabilitating at the time: I’ve seen owls, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, gyrfalcons, and even a turkey vulture. If you’re there at the right time, a docent will come out and talk about the birds, and maybe even give a flying demonstration. (And no, they don’t always come back! A few years ago a gyrfalcon took off and two weeks later they found her scavenging at the city dump.)

It’s just a super-cool thing to see, so when I started writing Regency I knew I’d eventually want to write a character who had that hobby.

As far as research, there are lots of falconry clubs in the UK that maintain helpful websites, and lots of history sites that cover falconry too. I wish I’d been able to work in more details, like the stylish leather hoods they wear when they’re being trained. Maybe in some future book.

Q: Fun fact about your book?

A: I came up with the opening scene – he encounters her on a road and is poleaxed at first sight – long before I knew what hero and heroine it belonged to or what their story would be. It’s sort of a mashup of two movie scenes that stuck with me:

1. At the beginning of The French Lieutenant’s Woman, when Jeremy Irons first spies Meryl Streep out on the seawall at Lyme Regis. She’s got a hooded cloak on, she’s got her back to him, waves are splashing dramatically over the wall and then she turns and looks back at him. The camera zooms slowly in on his face and you can see he’s a goner from that moment.

2. God forgive me for this problematic source material, but Captain John Smith’s first sight of Pocahontas in the Disney cartoon. Disney Pocahontas is about six feet tall, broad-shouldered, standing with her feet apart, fearless, in her minidress with her long dark hair wafting on a convenient breeze. And you know that this guy, whose experience of women up until now has probably been of dainty corseted types with hair pinned up and floor-length skirts, is in that moment having the doors blown off everything he thought he knew about what a woman could be.

So, yeah. I dialed it all down a bit, and the story headed off in its own direction, but those two threads are definitely in that scene.

Q: Best and worst thing about writing books?

A: I think the best thing is finding out that something you wrote connected with someone. It’s this sort of sidelong style of communication that just really appeals to me.

The worst is when it’s not working. Not being a plotter, some days I feel like a rat in a maze, coming up against a dead end and not knowing at what point I made a wrong turn, where I should have gone instead, or whether there even is a way out of this one. When it’s not working I wake up in the middle of the night feeling sick.

Q: Favorite dessert? You can name up to three because sometimes dessert is contextual. So, the context might be important along with your answer.

A:
3. Trader Joe’s cookie-butter candy bars.

2. Really good creme brulee in a creme-brulee-appropriate context, like Paris.

1. A friend of mine makes chocolate lasagna. She actually makes chocolate pasta, and layers ricotta cheese and chocolate chips and other stuff I don’t even know in between the chocolate noodles. It’s to die for. At one point in my life I moved 1400 miles just to be closer to it.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m superstitious about discussing specifics before a project is locked in. But I will say I’m working on several related books, they’re all Regency-set historical (no desire to venture into contemporary or erotica at present), and as of now they don’t feature dukes. So, more of the same, I guess

Thanks again for having me, and for compelling me to spend time contemplating my favorite desserts.

Giveaway!

Cecilia is giving away a Kindle version of her novella and a backlist book of the winner’s choice in print or eBook format of choice. To enter, read and follow the rules below:

The Rules and How to enter

No purchase necessary. Must be 18 to enter. Void where prohibited. Family and/or employees of Carolyn Jewel or Cecilia Grant may not enter. Winner randomly selected from among the qualified entrants. The winner will be notified by email. An alternate winner will be selected if the winner does not respond within five (5) business days. Contest closes at 11:59:59 PM PST on Saturday December 20, 2014. International OK.

To Enter: Leave a comment to this post before the contest closes. It would be awesome if you completed the following question, but any comment will do:

Glamping sounds like it would be . . . .

Go!

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Dead Drop is On Sale Now!

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Dead Drop, My Immortals Series, Book 6. Demons and Witches for your Reading Pleasure

A hot, sexy, shirtless demon against a blue background. He's awesome. Dead Drop by Carolyn Jewel

Cover of Dead Drop

Palla is a demon warlord’s deadly assassin who has no idea how to behave around humans. Wallace Jackson is a pacifist street witch with power she can’t access. He’s desperate to unlock her magic because only she can help him rescue his former lover from unending suffering. Their unlikely, volatile partnership transforms their lives and their hearts.

This is NOT the novella version. This is rewritten, reordered, and significantly expanded. Go forth and buy. And read. And enjoy. The print version is ready, too. Who wouldn’t want demons and witches to read about over the holidays?

All Romance | Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Nook | Print

 

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Miscellaneous Whining and a Contest Over There

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Where else can I whine if not here at my blog?Last night we had a huge enormous rain storm that was actual weather with thunder and lightning thrown in just to scare the bejeebus out of all the dogs, all the cats, and all the people. At 11:00 PM onward, which is well past my bedtime, I’ll have you know. Then the lights went out which had the extremely ironic effect of waking me up because when the lights came back on, the lights in my room came on. Because the Hue lights mean the switch is in the on position all the time. So, electricity goes out when the lights are “off” no change. It remains dark and I sleep blissfully on. But when the electricity comes back on?  My lights turn on and I am no longer sleeping blissfully. And then KA-BLAM!!!!!  More lightning and thunder.

So, yay for lots of rain because we need it. But I had to drive into San Francisco today for a conference thing and …. flooded roads. sloooooooowwwwww traffic and rain coming down so hard the windshield wipers were essentially useless. But no worries! Traffic was moving at a nice, safe 2.3 miles per hour.

But now I’m home and hey. Over at the Riskies I giving away some books. Click here to go enter.

There. I’m done whining.

 

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Updated Cover for My Darkest Passion

Thursday, November 27th, 2014
Hot Southeast Asian (Indian) man with no shirt. He's a demon.

New Cover for My Darkest Passion

Here’s the new cover for My Darkest Passion. This brings the cover in line with the new look for the series. Woo-hoo! I’ve loaded updated files everywhere.

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