Sunday, September 29, 2013

Want to win a Kindle Fire?

Sure you do! And the good news is that I'm helping sponsor a Kindle Fire giveaway over at I Am A Reader, Not a Writer. You have til the end of October to enter, but go take a look!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Like the new look?

Felt it was time to freshen up the blog, so I've changed its look and feel a bit, and also added pages for each of my books - click those to find descriptions of the books, reviews, links, and a short sample. I hope to be adding a page for Reckoning very soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

If you have a moment, let me know what you think of the blog's new look!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

5-star review of Ashes at The Bibliophilic Book Blog

The Bibliophilic Book Blog has a 5-star review of Ashes. Visit the blog and find out more!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reckoning (the Ashes sequel) on target for November publication!

Good news for fans of my suspense novel Ashes. I got the final copyedits/proofreading notes in from the editor, and have started on those. The book's well on target for its publication date in the first half of November.

I'm very excited, because of all my books Reckoning was the one that was most fun to write. I was coming off a several-year writing hiatus at the time (said hiatus was because my son was very young and I didn't have the physical energy or mental stamina for serious creativity), so I was very enthusiastic to be getting back to writing, and I think that shows in the book. Those of you who read and enjoyed Ashes will like the sequel (which can be read on its own - but it's best to read both books to get the full story arc).

Now, back to editing!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review (and giveaway!) of The Day After Yesterday

The Book Bag has a glowing review of The Day After Yesterday, and is kindly hosting a giveaway of an autographed print copy or an ebook. Go take a look and enter the giveaway!

Today's mood

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Favorite secondary characters

Secondary characters can often be the most fun to write. There's a bit more freedom to make them fun and interesting, and less worry about all the backstory and flaws you need to give a main character. One of the things that's been most enjoyable with my own books is finding out which characters people like, and I'm happy that so far my secondary character Eskimo Sally (from The Day After Yesterday) is a favorite with some fans.

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite secondary characters:

Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series (books 5-7)
Dreamy, eccentric, and surprisingly wise, Luna is also just plain fun (highlights are her roaring lion hat, and her spaced-out commentary at a Quidditch game). Her whimsy is a good thing, considering how angsty the last three Potter books become. Her combination of goofiness and insight was a big inspiration to me when writing my aforementioned Eskimo Sally character.

Partridge in The Shipping News
A well-read, well-traveled, life-loving copy editor who befriends the friendless protagonist Quoyle and introduces him to the art of journalism, Partridge does what any friend should do - help a person out when help is needed. In addition to his friendship, Partridge helps Quoyle get a newspaper job in Newfoundland that helps Quoyle transform his life. The only downside is that Partridge isn't in the book enough (would have loved a chapter in which he visits Quoyle in Newfoundland).

Will Somers in The Autobiography of Henry VIII
Henry's fool Will is the character who "inherits" Henry's journal and comments on it throughout the book, providing his own perspective (particularly valuable when Henry disappears up his own ego) and  filling in some blanks of historical perspective for the reader. It helps that Will is witty, sarcastic, and insightful, and his interludes in the journal are always welcome.

The Old Turk in Boys and Girls Together
William Goldman's underrated story of damaged souls is at its most heartbreaking with the story of Rudy, a kind child who's ultimately destroyed by his hideous parents. The one bright period in Rudy's life is when his family moves in with his maternal grandfather, a deli owner known as The Old Turk. He's a caring, sensitive, and sarcastically witty old man whose loving bond with his grandson is well realized and too, too brief.

Dr. Lilith Ritter in Nightmare Alley
All the secondary characters I've listed so far are nice people for the most part - ready for an evil one? Dr. Lilith Ritter is a psychiatrist who uses her brains and the information she's privy to from therapy sessions to help her erstwhile partner Stan Carlisle, a fake spiritualist minister. She's merciless and chilling, particularly when she robs Carlisle and uses what she's learned about him to drive the emotionally unstable man to a breakdown. And the best/worst part is that she gets away with it all.

Eustace Clarence Scrubb in The Chronicles of Narnia
I don't know if it's entirely fair to call Eustace a secondary character. He's secondary indeed in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but has a more substantial role in The Silver Chair, then is back to secondary in The Last Battle. But I'm including him here because he's arguably the only character in the series who has an actual arc. The Pevensie children start out nice and stay that way (well, except for that whole bit with Susan blowing off Narnia in favor of parties and lipstick, but that's a topic for another time). Eustace starts off as a smarmy little pill who's petty and nasty. He's turned into a dragon for a while, as a direct result of being a smarmy little pill, and after he's turned back into a human by Aslan, turns over a new leaf. The transformation isn't instantaneous and Eustace still has his douche-y moments, but overall it's quite a convincing and nice character arc.

Who are your favorite secondary characters?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Books read in 2013: August

Bit of a slow month as the primary book I read, William Styron's Lie Down in Darkness, is not something you can read at a quick clip. So here is the tally for August:

The Serpent and the Pearl - Kate Quinn
Lie Down in Darkness - William Styron
The Silent Wife - A.S.A. Harrison

Currently reading Bones of the Moon by Jonathan Carroll.

Kelly's big score: Book Ziggurat Edition

I've acquired quite a pile of books in the last few weeks. Some were purchased at The Book Loft in Solvang, some were a gift from my buddy A. J., and some were a prize in a Twitter contest held by Alfred A. Knopf publishers.

So here's the total stack:

  • The Silent Wife - A.S.A. Harrison
  • The Inquisitor's Wife - Jeanne Kalogridis
  • Cold Light - Jenn Ashworth
  • The Night Country - Stewart O'Nan
  • Bones of the Moon - Jonathan Carroll
  • The Most of Nora Ephron
  • The Wolves of Midwinter - Anne Rice
  • Longbourn - Jo Baker
  • The Lowland - Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Levels of Life - Julian Barnes
  • Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin - Jill Lepore

Talk about being spoiled for choice!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Update: The Nerd Girl's Guide to Cinema

It's been a while since I mentioned my book of movie reviews that's in progress, but now I have an update on The Nerd Girl's Guide to Cinema. I have 3/4 the quota of reviews designated for the book, so we're definitely on the downhill side. I'm already getting things prepped for the cover art.

Those of you who've read my reviews at Horrorview know that I'm fond of horror and other genre films, not to mention oddball films and cult classics. Is there a particular film you'd like to see my take on? Leave a comment and let me know!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Day After Yesterday ebook on sale through 9/8

Summer's over (or so they say - it's still 90-something and miserable here), so settle in with a book that's perfect for the cool days of autumn and winter. My novel The Day After Yesterday is available for just 99 cents through September 8, for Kindle and all other e-readers.