Sunday, November 30, 2008
Lord knows that in unhealthy economies, artists of all sorts are among the first to feel the pinch. Books, paintings, and sculptures are luxury items for many people. A choice between buying food or a book, is a no-brainer. While I’ll likely buy books for Christmas and love receiving them as gifts, I also want to say that spending my hard-earned money to support certain bookstores might be too much to ask. Here’s why.
Last month a bookstore arranged a “Meet 'N Greet” for me. I’d attended one in August and it went so well that the store invited me back. A week before the event, the store cancelled on me because a scheduling snafu had a celebrity appearing the same day. Three weeks later, another date was given to me. A week before that event, another apologetic email arrived stating that all events were now cancelled for December because the store couldn’t handle the “challenge” of hosting events while dealing with the heavy volume of customers. Huh? We’re in a recession and this store (a large store) couldn’t handle the extra work of hosting a three-hour "Meet 'N Greet" (where I do all the work) during their best sales month of the year?
Look, if authors, publishers, and bookstores want to survive tough economic times, then we’d all better step up to the plate, work harder, and think outside the box. Lately, I’ve heard far more complaining about reduced sales than new ideas for selling books. And I’ve already heard about layoffs at publishing houses and fewer contracts being offered to authors. So what else is new? During thirty-five years in the workforce, I’ve been through enough recessions and bad news cycles to know that crap happens now and then. Best thing to do is deal with it and move on. But for crying out loud, don’t tell me that selling books is too much work at Christmas time, or any other time, or you’ll lose my business.
To read excerpts of Taxed to Death and Fatal Encryption visit, www.debrapurdykong.com
Best Of/Worst Of Book Lists
For your viewing pleasure, here are a few links of interest.
Check out the NYT 100 Notable Books of 2008 Strangely, my book was not on this list. (wink) However, it did not make the The UK's Times report on the 10 Books NOT to read before you die so I guess I'm happy with that.
NYT reviewers says these are books that Tower Above The Rest
And here's to John Updike for winning the Lifetime Achievement Bad Sex in Fiction prize.
View a slideshow of the Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2008 according to the NYT
Take a peek at Esquire's 7 Books They Won't Be Curling Up With - Ex. Fleece Navidad: A Knitting Mystery. Oh, how I love a punny title.
I liked this very interesting nugget about The Best Review of The Worst Book Ever.
And last, the shameless book promotion linky dinky doo, connecting you to one free chapter of a book that is neither prize-winning nor horrible, but just plain interesting.
Karen Harrington is the author of JANEOLOGY. Visit her at http://www.karenharringtonbooks.com/ or stop by her daily blog - http://www.scobberlotch.blogspot.com/
Friday, November 28, 2008
Whale Song - "mystical and poignant"
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Blog a No Day-Good Weekend
Wednesday is soon to be a No Day packed with changes of plan and God knows what else. Go with the flow. New Moon is on Thursday in Sagittarius and we love that new moon because it allows us to begin again. From just after midnight on Thursday morning until about 8pm on Friday use that moon to be generous and thankful. The Capricorn Moon shows up on Saturday but not until about 1pm. You can make lists in the morning and if you are shopping on Black Friday do it in the daylight, rest up when the moon goes off radar.
The balance of the Holiday weekend is the Capricorn Moon which has us all counting our pennies and trimming costs. Budgets will prevail, go green-go lean.
Have the best day every day. Remember: Hug someone you love.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Reviewer compares Whale Song to The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Monday, November 24, 2008
Both of these events were fantastic and I had so much fun attending them.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
TV Can Be a Good Teacher, Can't It?
I like TV, though I don’t actually sit down to watch many programs. I use it as background noise for cooking, washing dishes, or working on writing-related things like market searching and online promotion. Television as a research tool isn’t something I’ve considered much. Occasionally, I’ll watch a documentary that ties in with a piece I’m working on. But when another colleague told me to watch DaVinci’s Inquest to get a feel for how local crimes are handled, I began to think about other benefits for writers.
Great plot ideas can spring up, for instance, especially from the news. And one of the few shows I did actually sit down to watch, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, inspired an interest in horror/vampire novels, especially ones that incorporate humor. And what about screen writing? I’ve often thought about trying to adapt my own stories into screenplays. One way to learn would be to study excellent screen adaptations. I read Brideshead Revisited years ago and loved it. I also watched the adaptation with Jeremy Irons and Anthony Edwards and was completely blown away by the production. Should I ever buckle down to study screenwriting, that book and screenplay would be a great place to start. So maybe I should watch more TV. Seems there's still a lot to learn from it.
For excerpts of Taxed to Death and Fatal Encryption, visit http://www.debrapurdykong.com/
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Free sample of Cheryl Kaye Tardif's latest novelette
You can now read the entire novelette REMOTE CONTROL for free on Textnovel.com.
In this dark, suspenseful and somewhat comical look at one man's desires, Remote Control by bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif delivers a strong message: Be careful what you wish for!
Meet Harold Fielding--plumber by part of the day, slacker/tv addict the rest of the day and night. Harry believes that fame and fortune will come to him if he wishes hard enough. God forbid if he should actually work for it.
Beatrice Fielding is Harry's hardworking wife. She holds down multiple jobs so her husband can laze about on his recliner, eating popcorn and drinking cola while watching his favorite shows. She has many wishes--some aren't so nice.
I hope you'll check it out. If you sign up (FREE) on Textnovel.com you'll also be able to read my suspenseful and creepy short story OUIJA.
And please don't forget to vote by clicking on the "thumbs up" icon. I need all the votes I can get. :)
~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, bestselling author of Divine Intervention, The River and Whale Song
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Well, I Had to Start Somewhere
In the world of mystery novels, lawyers, police officers, PIs, FBI agents, and journalists often take leading roles. Few authors choose an accountant as an protagonist but when you’re a beginning writer as I was when I started to write Taxed to Death, the old adage, “write what you know” was sound advice.
I was working as a secretary for a mid-size accounting firm and spent many lunch hours sharing a table with articling students. One day, I found myself talking about my writing (something I still rarely do at work) when one of them said, “How come no one writes about us?” It was a good question. A lot of the accountants I’d known we’re pretty interesting: funny, smart, cocky, shy, arrogant, kind, neurotic, lecherous. Some loved their work, others loathed it, but most were ambivalent.
The idea for Taxed to Death came easily, but the words didn’t. I’d written a few short stories, but I quickly discovered that writing a novel was completely different. Concepts like point of view changes, inner monologue, pace, red herrings, and dialogue were skills that came slowly with practice, workshops, and a helpful agent.
The book took twelve years and ten drafts to complete while I maintained a day job and had two babies. Needless to say, writing time was squeezed between feedings, diaper changes and the hundred household duties most of us have. But I finished it and Taxed to Death was published in 1995. The book received some terrific reviews, one from a CA, no less. I thought the sequel, Fatal Encryption, would go a little faster. Boy, was I wrong. But that’s another story.
To read excerpts of Taxed to Death visit http://www.debrapurdykong.com
Monday, November 10, 2008
Fleshing Out the Truth
Recently, I had the opportunity to observe a hospitalized teenager (someone I didn’t know) suffering from bulimia. It was tough to watch her eat and then regurgitate her food a few minutes later, only to slowly chew and swallow it back down again. It was even tougher to understand why this young woman looked more like a famine victim than the slender, beaming teenager she had been. (I saw a photo by her bed.) The teen seemed to have a lot of things going for her: intelligence, career goals, a loving supportive family who visited every day, and friends. She also happened to have a gorgeous face. But truly, her body was down to the bare bones. Her collar bone and vertebra protruded noticeably; her arms were merely two sticks layered in flesh.
A few weeks later, I was reading a novel as I always do before sleeping. A couple of times, when I put the book down, I thought of the emaciated teen, though I wasn’t sure why. The novel was a sci-fi thriller and none of the characters had an eating disorder. Food was scarcely mentioned in the story. But when I began to analyze the writing, I realized something was missing. Here was a book with an intriguing concept, memorable characters, and a fast pace, yet there was almost no narrative description. The story moved forward on dialogue, a trend I see more often all the time. A trend I’ve also followed.
These days, there’s a certain amount of pressure to tell a quick-paced story to hold readers’ short attention spans. The downside is that the strive for fast, thrill-a-minute reads can take a toll on one’s work. Certainly, there are readers who love the heavy-dialogue style and habitually skip narrative descriptions, and I was one of them. But I’ve begun to look at things differently. Now, I want to flesh out of my work, especially in short stories where the goal to tell a story in as few words as possible can pare a story down to the bare bones, and that’s not always a good thing. I now want to achieve a better balance between narrative and dialogue, and take time to tell a story.
Life is all about balances. And when something goes out of sinc, it reflects on the quality of life and the quality of one’s writing. Sometimes, it’s almost impossible not to succumb to pressure, whether real or imagined. And it’s really tough to look at your work and yourself as a writer, in a different way. But look we must. Painful as it might be. In the long run we’ll be better for it.
To read excerpts of Taxed to Death and Fatal Encryption visit www.debrapurdykong.com
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Preparing for winter hibernation
- Chai tea mix (hot for winter, cold for summer)
- white hot chocolate mix
- apple cider that I'll heat up
- bread and cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches
- lots of coffee, flavored and Tim Hortons
- towels for when I take breaks in my hot tub--yes, even when I'm surrounded by snow
- lots of books--my to-be-read pile never seems to go down much
- my seat cushion that has heat and massage modes
- my Starbucks card for when I just need to get out
- and of course, my laptop
Sunday, November 02, 2008
REMOTE CONTROL is now featured on Textnovel.com
For those of you who were following the progress of my serialized novelette titled REMOTE CONTROL, I am not updating it on my website at this time. I was contacted by the founder of Textnovel.com and was asked if I'd consider posting a story there. I've decided to post REMOTE CONTROL from beginning to end, with a new chapter every day.
So if you've been reading about Harold Fielding and his wife Bea and want to read about what happens when Harry's wish for fame and fortune is granted, please visit my novelette's page on Textnovel.com. It has been selected as an Editor's Picks.
I hope you enjoy. Please sign up for Textnovel (free) and then you can subscribe so you don't miss a chapter, plus you can leave a review or vote by clicking on the "thumbs up" symbol. :)
~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
Learning to Recognize a Gift When I See One
Tuesday night's "Mystery Author Visit" at my local library didn't have a huge turnout despite the library's great publicity efforts, but because I'm an unknown writer, I didn't expect a large number of people. There were about nine attendees in all -- one with an infant who started wailing while I was reading. But the small turnout didn't worry me. I spoke a little about white-collar crime and how my books came to be. I then read the first two chapters of Fatal Encryption which take place on Halloween night. The head librarian asked questions about my work, which prompted more questions from the audience. Afterward, we were served a lovely platter of chocolates from the new shop down the road, plus refreshments.
A short while later, the woman with the baby came up to me and apologized for the interruption, but I told her the truth. I have children and know exactly what it's like. When my kids were babies, I read my work aloud as part of the editing process when they were nearby, and tears and fussing often erupted.
A gentleman and his wife who were seated before I even arrived stayed for the reading. Because of the open area, I thought they might be just resting, but it turned out they came to see me. The gentleman had already read Fatal Encryption in the library and liked it enough to buy a copy plus a copy of Taxed to Death. Another woman approached and said that her daughter wanted to be a writer and asked me how she could help her, so I provided a few tips.
I don't know why the niggling keeps coming back when good things happen so often. Maybe it's just a sign that I should stay on my toes and never ever take any promotion opportunity for granted. Maybe I need to appreciate these moments as the gifts they are. And maybe I should learn not to complain about all the time promotion and marketing takes.
To read excerpts from Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death, visit www.debrapurdykong.com