Friday, December 28, 2012

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop Winner

It's time to pick a winner for the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop.  Congratulations go to....

Katie Wilkins!

Katie, please email me your mailing address (laralacombewriter at gmail dot com) and I'll send your book out ASAP!

Thanks to all who entered, and be sure to come back next month for another giveaway!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Voltaire was right

I'm trying to squeeze in some writing time while here with the family in chilly Nashville.  We've had a bit of snow, but nothing is sticking (yay!).  Between the Harry Potter marathons and gorging myself on French onion dip, I think I managed almost 700 words yesterday, which I consider a win.

As I work on my edits, I find myself getting a bit overwhelmed at times.  It's so easy to sink under and flail about unproductively, all because I'm focusing on the trees instead of the forest.  I keep telling myself to step back and look at the bigger picture--how do I need to update this scene to move the plot forward and to accommodate the changes in the story?

I also have to keep reminding myself that, as our old friend Voltaire first said, the perfect is the enemy of the good.  In fact, I should probably print this quote out and plaster it everywhere.  My book will not be perfect, and I'm only paralyzing myself if I think I can make it so.  That is not to say that I want to do a crappy job with my edits, but it's important to keep in mind that any words are better than no words, and I'm not chiseling these things into stone--they can be modified or erased at the click of a button.

Fellow authors, how are you faring during the holidays?  Making any progress?  How do you approach edits?

Stay safe! :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop

I'm pleased to participate in the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop, sponsored by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Oasis for YA.

The holidays are my favorite time of year, thanks in no small part to the widespread distribution of plaid.  Seeing plaid everywhere feeds my Scottish obsession, and I figured for this giveaway, I would share my love of the Scottish romance.

Up for grabs is a copy of Monica McCarty's latest, The Recruit.  Here's the back cover blurb:

Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce is retaking his kingdom from the invading English. To win, he’ll need all the grit and courage of his elite band of warriors, the Highland Guard, men who fight without fear and love without limits.

Fiery, aggressive, and bold, Kenneth Sutherland is a true champion—skilled with any weapon and driven to win. Now Kenneth is ready for his greatest challenge: joining Robert the Bruce’s secret army to fight among the elite. Kenneth’s best chance to attain that honor is by winning the Highland Games. Focused and prepared for victory, he is caught off guard by a lovely wisp of a woman—and a stolen moment of wicked seduction. Her innocent arousal and her shameless hunger fire his blood. He will win his place in the guard—and in Mary of Mar’s bed. 

The ruggedly handsome hero-in-the-making stirs a heart that should know better. Mary vows that her surrender will be sport only—no promises, no heartbreak, just one night of incredible passion. Nothing, she swears, will persuade her to give up her hard-wrought independence and put her fate in the hands of another powerful man. But with every gentle touch and heart-pounding kiss, Kenneth makes her want more. Now Mary wants his heart. But is this determined champion willing to surrender everything for love?

This is a great series, and the books can be read as stand-alones as well, in case you haven't read the others (but you really should as they're awesome).  I also have a ton of Scottish-romance goodies to include with the book, so the winner will be getting quite a collection of stuff!

The giveaway is open to US readers, and runs until December 27.  I'll announce the winner on  Friday, December 28.  Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

Good luck, and happy holidays!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 17, 2012

A non-Tolkien fan reviews The Hobbit

I have a confession to make: I don't like J.R.R. Tolkien.  I read The Hobbit back in middle school, at the insistence of a friend who had drunk the kool-aid, and I hated it.  Absolutely hated it.  I never went on to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I've had people tell me those books are better.  I'll take their word for it.

I saw the movie The Hobbit this weekend.  Given my history with the book, I was predisposed to not really like the movie.  While I thought it was visually well-done, with lots of special effects and action, I thought the plot was somewhat lacking.


Bilbo and the dwarves basically get into one scrape after another, with Gandalf always turning up at a key moment to save them.  Later, rinse, repeat.  Frankly, it was boring.  What are the stakes?  Where's the risk? I kept hearing Donald Maass's voice in my head saying "Make things worse for the characters."  In this case, everyone makes it through to the end of the movie.  No one dies, no one is seriously hurt--although I did think the dwarf leader was going to bite it in one scene.

I'm not saying the characters didn't have to make sacrifices or encounter hardships, but with Gandalf always there to save the day, I was never really worried about how things were going to turn out. Likewise, I guess I didn't really connect with any of the characters because it seemed a foregone conclusion that things were going to be okay in the end.

Granted, this is the first movie of a trilogy, so maybe things get worse for them before the end.  I have to say though, this movie didn't exactly leave me clamoring for more, and I'm certainly not about to pick up the book to refresh my memory.

Has anyone else seen the movie yet?  What did you think of the movie or the book?  Am I the only person out there who never really liked Tolkien?

Friday, December 14, 2012


So I was checking out Etsy the other day, and I ran across a site that makes and sells book purses.  Have you guys seen these?  You take a hardcover book and re-purpose it as a handbag.
My first reaction was delight.  I love books, I love purses--the perfect marriage, yes?  But then I got to thinking about it. How are those purses made?  Oh, that's right.  The books are destroyed.  Their pages cut out and discarded (or recycled), leaving the shell behind.

Now, a book is more than it's physical presence.  The story lives beyond the printed word, and no amount of physical manipulation will truly destroy the book.  It's just...  It's a book.  Something that is, dare I say, almost sacred to me?  Destroying a book like that feels awfully close to book burning, even though my rational mind knows they're nothing alike.

On the other hand, a book purse is an unusual thing.  I'm sure it would inspire a lot of comments.  Is that such a bad thing?  Maybe someone sees your book purse and is intrigued.  Why did you pick that book? What is it about that story that made you want to carry the book around all the time, advertising your literary taste?  Maybe they get inspired to pick up the book and get lost in the story.  Maybe you bring another reader into the fold....

I still haven't decided what I think about these bags.  Unusual? Undoubtedly.  A good thing?  I just don't know.

What do you think?  Am I being irrational?  Would you buy a book purse (or do you have one already)?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Insecure Writers' Support Group - December edition

It's time for another edition of IWSG posts!  For a full list of participating blogs, be sure to check out Alex Cavanaugh's blog.

Can you believe it's already December?  I thought for this month's post, I'd take stock of my year in writing and tally up where I made progress and where I fell short.

Good things:
--I finished Edge of Trust.
--I submitted Edge of Trust, and the editor requested some revisions, which I am currently working on <yay!>

Needs improvement:
--I started 2 books and made progress, but I really wanted to have a second book in the can by the end of the year.  That's not going to happen.
--I participated in NaNo (twice, if you count Camp NaNo during the summer), and failed to win.

I think the biggest lesson for me is that I need to work on my daily writing progress.  I can't just plan to write for large chunks of time on the weekends, because that doesn't always work out.  I need to do a better job of taking advantage of the odd 30 minutes that pop up every now and then.

I also need to learn to ignore my internal editor.  I think that's my biggest roadblock to using the aforementioned spare blocks of time I have--I start writing, and wind up deleting because the words 'aren't good enough.'  Really though, any words are better than no words, am I right?

There are still a few weeks left in the year, and I'm coming up on my winter break at work.  I hope to take advantage of the time off and finish up the revisions for Edge of Trust and make additional progress on Edge of Danger and Edge of Truth.  The holidays are already a crazy time of year, but I think I can do it!

Good luck to everyone on meeting your writing goals during the holiday season!

Monday, December 3, 2012

How much time do you need?

It's the holiday season, which means life is all kinds of crazy. Still, many people have time off from work, which means more time for reading <yay!>.  I was on Facebook the other day, and I noticed a woman had commented that she had read 24(!) books during her Thanksgiving break. How's that for a reading binge?

My first thought was 'Good for her' but then I started wondering about the quality of her reading experience. I don't know about you, but there are some books that I love to linger over, to really take my time and enjoy them.  These tend to be the books that give me a 'reading hangover.'  You know what I mean: you finish the book and the story lingers with you, making it so that you are at a loss as to what book to pick up next.  It can't possibly live up to what you just finished, so why bother?

I don't want to sound like a reading snob.  I won't deny that I read plenty of 'potato chip' books, those that are tasty and fun and go down quickly.  I love those books, but they don't make me pause.  I don't take those characters into my heart or find myself thinking about them in an idle moment as if they were my friends.  The 'potato chip' books are great, but it's the 'steak and potatoes' books that really make reading worthwhile for me.

How about you?  Do you move from book to book to book, or are there some stories that really make you stop?