Friday, January 27, 2012


I find myself between books at the moment. In the evenings, I've been feeling a little lost. My next book is pre-ordered for my Kindle: The Qualities of Wood. I first stumbled across this book on Authonomy, before it was selected by Harper Collins as the first title for its new digital list.

I didn't have time to read the whole book before HC discovered it, but I read enough to know the author was going places. The book will be available January 31st. Until then, I'll have to cruise Authonomy for other masterpieces as yet undiscovered.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Review: A Scattered Life

Karen McQuestion's debut novel was the first self-published Kindle book to be optioned for a movie. And here's why: her characters are like real people.

The plot of A Scattered Life moves a bit slowly. I got the impression that nothing was really happening. But the characters are so believable and likable that I didn't really mind. I was content just to be in their company, listening to their conversations and finding truth and familiarity in the more mundane dramas of real life: A husband who doesn't really understand, but is trying. An annoying mother-in-law whose meddling almost makes sense. A loving, under-protective mother of a slew of active boys. There are no heroes or villains, no black and whites.

This is not a predictable story. Some things happen toward the end that seem to come out of nowhere, the way these things do in real life, and it was only then that I realized how invested I was in these imaginary people and their imaginary world. (I won't be any more specific about it, because I don't want you to be prepared.) I had a good cry while I was reading, which I NEVER do!

I enjoyed this read and will be looking for more of her books to read in the future.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Killing Time

I had hoped my next blog post would be an update on my housing situation. The last closing date was January 13th, but that came and went without a word and I'm beginning to hate long weekends.

Here's how I've been keeping busy:

Reading A Scattered Life, a self-published book that was picked up by a bigger publisher. I'm almost done and will post a review when I finish.

Critiqueing books on Authonomy.

Learning how to use Spotify to listen to music for free.

Following the story of three-year-old Amelia Rivera, whose parents claim she was denied an organ transplant due to a cognitive disability.

Watching the Golden Globes and adding to my Netflix list.

Playing Words with Friends on Facebook.

Getting frustrated over our screwed up electoral system and the fact that two tiny states have enough impact to force Huntsman out of the race. Now there is not a single person in either party that I can vote for.

Researching third party candidates like Rocky Anderson and Gary Johnson, and Americans Elect, a nonpartisan presidential nomination movement.

Searching the real estate listings for homes that are for sale traditionally, and not through a bank.

Hopefully, my next blog will be a housing update. Until then, if you have any more ideas of things to do to keep busy, leave me a comment.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Titles have never come easily to me. In general, when I finish a story, I wrack my brain and end up settling for something I don't hate.

The exception to this rule came with the completion of my first novel: Monsoon Season. Not only does it have both literal and figurative significance to my story, I think it's pretty catchy. It's been my title for several years and I've gotten attached.

So I was pretty disappointed when my editor told me she'd like me to think of some other possibilities. Part of her reasoning makes sense: "monsoon season" is not automatically associated with the American Southwest, at least not internationally.
Lulu Titlescorer gives it a 69% chance of being a bestselling title. Can you help me think of something better? If you do, I'll put your name in my acknowledgements!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

As Is

I’ve got no illusions about you.
Guess what? I never did.

I love Ani Difranco. Her songs feel like a soundtrack to my life. I continue to find new parts in old favorites that speak to me.

I am in the process of buying- or trying to buy- a house in Tucson that’s an “as is” sale and while I wait it out with my parents in one state, all my earthly belongings in another, and all my friends in a third and fourth - my life is feeling a bit “as is”. Here’s the part of the lyrics that resonate today:

“When I look around, I think this-this is good enough,
And I try to laugh at whatever life brings,
Cuz when I look down, I just miss all the good stuff,
And when I look up, I just trip over things.”

There are other parts of this song that have always resonated for me. The chorus, mostly. Give it a listen:

Friday, January 6, 2012


This is the first time I've had to really answer to anyone about my writing. I can't disregard my editor's perspective the way I could dismiss some random reader. Luckily, her suggestions have been really helpful, often echoing things I feel myself. So far, we're working on structure and sections that could use a bit more development. It's exciting to feel someone is so invested in my story and helping me get it just right.

Since I have a British publisher, I'm neutralizing my more obvious Americanisms. My characters are clearly American and I'm not doing anything to obscure that fact, just smoothing out language that might make British readers stumble. For instance, I'm getting rid of the "gottens", since that is a term British speakers don't use and find particularly awkward. I've heard it likened to nails on chalkboard.

The one I'm struggling with is the suggestion that I change "oatmeal" to "porridge". Now I don't know any Americans who use the word "porridge" so I'm trying to find a word that works universally. So far, I haven't found one. If you have any ideas, please leave it in my comments!