Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's Just Another New Year's Eve

This blog post is repeated every year on this day.

Here's what I'll be listening to when the clock strikes midnight, my own little tradition over the decades. Happy New Year to everyone.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Zombie Wedding

Zombie Wedding has been uploaded with retailers and went live first on Smashwords at 12:35 AM this morning.  Literally, at 12:36 AM, someone downloaded the first sample.  LOL  You gotta love real time stats.

[Edit to add: Zombie Wedding is now live on Amazon.]

[Edit on 1/3 to add: Zombie Wedding is finally live on Barnes & Noble]

Needless to say, the rest of my Versatile Blogger List will be posted Monday.  And I'll post 'BUY' links as soon as they're available.

I had a blast writing this novel. Hope y'all enjoy it!

Samantha Ridgeway thought being turned into the walking dead by a freaky lab experiment was the worst thing that could happen to her. She was wrong.

Not only did her creation cause an uproar in the paranormal community—the fairies want her dead permanently—but her vampire boyfriend is pushing for an eternal commitment, she’s a bridesmaid in her brother’s shotgun wedding, and now a necromancer has emerged, wanting revenge on her for something she did when she was still alive. The hungry corpses he raises from the dead are relentless killers. Can Sam protect her brother’s wedding guests from becoming appetizers for the flesh-crazed zombie army? And how can she keep herself from ending up as the main course?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Recommended Blogs, Part 1

As a nominated Versatile Blogger, I must nominate fifteen other blogs in turn.

Today's list is solely for those of you pursuing a writing career. Tomorrow, I'll list the fun blogs.

Here's my must-read list if you're a writer:

The Business Rusch by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Kris has been in this crazy business for over thirty years, as a journalist, a publisher, an editor and a fiction writer in multiple genres. She probably has more knowledge in her pinky finger than the lot of NY publishers combined.

The Writings and Opinions of Dean Wesley Smith by Dean Wesley Smith
Like his Significant Other, Kris Rusch, Dean's been in this business a very long time. He's seen it. He's done it. And he's willing to share.

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing by J.A. Konrath
Yes, Joe can be a pill on his blog (and other people's). However, I admire the man for being on the cutting edge of the industry.

The Passive Voice by the Passive Guy
Passive Guy is the pseudonym of a long-time California contracts attorney. He posts terrific insights in the world of publishing contracts with a dry wit that will leave you in stitches.

Write It Forward by Bob Mayer
Bob takes his Special Ops training and applies it to the world of publishing. I highly recommend his book by the same title.

The Official Website of Jon F. Merz by Jon F. Merz
Jon is a writer/producer who really gets the concept of transmedia. He's turned his Lawson Vampire novels into a web series and is shopping the pilot for TV.

The Self-Pubber's Pub by Gerard de Marigny
Like me, G started self-publishing this year. The man has some wickedly funny observations on the business. Also, DH gave G's book, The Watchman of Ephraim a thumbs-up (which, if you knew DH, is nearly impossible to get).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

Three weeks ago, my friend and regular reader Pat O'Dea Rosen of Reading, Writing & Rambling nominated WW&W for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks, Pat! *waves*

[Edit to add: I also should never write a blog before the first caffeine hit of the day. All misspellings of 'versatile' have been corrected.]

The rules are pretty simple:

Thank the blogger who nominated you.
Add the award pic to your blog.
Nominate fifteen fellow bloggers and let them know about it.
Share seven random things about yourself.

I'm going to start with the seven random things. Then I'll split my blog nominations over the next two days.

1)  I collect Barbie dolls. I SERIOUSLY collect Barbie dolls. As in I have a storage unit for them. I've started giving them to nieces and friends' daughter for holidays, mainly to keep from having to rent another storage unit.

2)  My birthday is the day before Halloween. DH was literally born on a Friday the 13th. We tell people we're a match made . . . somewhere.  *grin*

3)  Dax is the first dog I've owned that I can't get to sit still for a photo.  I've got plenty of pictures of my other (now deceased) pets. But Dax? I just have lots of black, tan and white blurs.

4)  Some people think I'm one of those moms when I refer to my son as Genius Kid. I'm not. He officially tested at 136, but the child psychologist is sure the score should be between 150-160 because GK deliberately tanked a couple of the tests. I totally understand the character of Mary Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.

5)  I'm a bitchin' amateur cook.  Not in the league of Ivy from The Happy Whisk (who is a professional), but I make a mean chicken-spinach phyllo with alfredo sauce.

6)  I have no sense of direction. The GPS only makes it worse.

7)  Hi, my name is Suzan, and I'm a chocoholic.  My last piece was last night around 10 PM . . .

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Is It Starting?

Okay, I did lie a little bit yesterday. One prediction I did make was that all the folks who received new e-readers and pads for the holidays would start filling them.

What I've seen so far over the last month in sales:

1) A little bump over Thanksgiving weekend

2) Sporadic sales across all platforms over the next three weeks (i.e. one or two a week)

3) A nice bump just before Christmas

My guess is some folks were loading up stuff to read for the trip to Grandma's house. Even better than the sales was the lovely thirteen and a half hours of sleep last night.

So if you're not seeing bumps in sales just yet, be patient. I'm one of those people who got Amazon and Barnes & Noble gift cards, and I haven't had two seconds to shop yet.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Is It Over Yet?

I mean the freakin' winter holidays, not the indie revolution.

The management at the mall where I work thought it was a brilliant idea to open at 7:00 am. Which meant the boss and I had to be there at 6:30 am. Which meant I had to go to bed early last night and set the alarm for 5:30 am. Which means after all the festivities I didn't have time to write and schedule a blog.

No, that's not true. I forgot.

Goddess, I'm tired.

I see everyone else listing writing goals or publishing predictions for 2012. You won't see me gazing at tea leaves or a crystal ball. No one really knows what will happen in the industry between digital and print formats. The only writing goals I have are to get Zombie Wedding and Amish, Vamps & Thieves uploaded and the rest of the Seasons of Magick series written. Everything else is gravy.

I just need to get some sleep first.  Maybe for a week.

Or more.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Songs I Listen to Because . . .

For all my Christian friends, Merry Christmas. . .

Friday, December 23, 2011

Latest Industry News

Well, it's official. Stick a fork in Borders; it's done. The bankruptcy judge has signed off on the final liquidation of assets. This means the Kobo stock owned by the former bookstore chain can be sold and the remaining cash distributed among the creditors. Depending on the creditors' status, they are looking at 4-10 cents on the dollar.

Meanwhile, Amazon is claiming it's selling over a million units of the Kindle Fire per week for the month of December. If this is true (and Amazon is very reticent about letting anyone look at its books), writers are looking at some serious sales when these buyers/gift recipients start loading them in January.

Jeff Kinney, author of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series, has sued Antartic Press for their parody "Diary of a Zombie Kid." Um, Jeff, even Madonna understood that mockery by Weird Al Yankovic means you've hit the big time. It'll be interesting how this shakes out.

Speaking of lawsuits, still no word on any settlement between author Christie Craig and the bozos who comprise the Texas Department of Transportation.  You remember TxDOT? The folks who have issues with a heterosexual couple practicing safe sex in a committed relationship? The trial is currently scheduled for early 2013.  (And yes, this is how backed up the courts are over frivolous lawsuits by idiot politicians.) Hopefully, Santa brings an end to the stupidity to Christie for Christmas!

I know lots of you are traveling today and tomorrow. Please stay safe. Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rankin and Bass Rule!

DH and I have a mixed marriage. A long time ago, we agreed that we'd respect each other's beliefs and that we'd give GK the freedom to decide which spiritual path he wished to follow.

But one thing I do sincerely confounds DH. For a non-Christian, I watch the holiday specials produced by Rankin-Bass Productions, Inc. with a fervor bordering on religious.

You see Arthur Rankin, Jr., and Jules Bass were commissioned in 1964 to create a Christmas show built around the Johnny Marks' song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  That show has taken on a life of its own and has been shown on broadcast TV for nearly fifty years.

Actually, the character of Rudolph was created in 1939 by Marks' brother-in-law Robert L. May for a Montgomery Ward Christmas coloring book giveaway. They added the characters of Yukon Cornelius, the Abominable Snowman, and my favorite Hermie, the elf who desperately wants to be a dentist, not a toymaker.

Anyway, every year DH points out that it's a Christmas special. But if the show is about the Christian religion, why doesn't Santa (aka St. Nicolas of Myra) exhibit any Christian ideals? He rejects Rudolph outright for being 'different'.  Yet, it's Rudolph, after repeated isolation and verbal abuse, who saves Santa's ass. My counter-argument is Rudolph is the representation of the Horned God. Maybe, both Christians and Pagans should take the real message to heart--that we all need to work together to make the world a wonderful place.

[On a side note: By the time I got to college, the show had evolved into a drinking game involving downing shots everytime the reindeer's nose lights up. I don't recommend using anything stronger than wine because you really DO NOT KNOW how much that freakin' nose glows in the course of an hour until you play this game.]

With the success of Rudolph, Rankin-Bass produced more holiday specials. Except for Aaron in The Little Drummer Boy, the Christian heroes in Rankin-Bass usually can't succeed without a little pagan help.

Kris Kingle needed the Winter Warlock's magic corn to give his reindeer the power of flight in Santa Claus Is Coming to Town. In the Rankin-Bass version of L. Frank Baum's The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus, the producers stick with Baum's explanation that Claus was given the Mantle of Immortality by the Spirits of Nature. After a fierce debate, the spirits grant Claus, a lowly human, this amazing gift due to his kind and giving nature so he may continue his service to children.

But the best Rankin-Bass special ever is The Year Without a Santa Clause.  C'mon, the Miser Brothers, the avatars of winter and summer? How can you not sing along with them? And even better is when Mrs. Claus has a little woman-to-woman chat with Mother Nature to get the boys to cooperate.

Yes, Messrs. Rankin and Bass are too much! (And not a little pagan as well!  *grin*)

Happy Yule, Everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Book (Not Mine)

My non-lesbian partner, Nina Cordoba (her words, not mine) has a new book up on Amazon. Mia Like Crazy is not her usual romantic comedy.  While Mia has a few of Nina's trademark quips, the story is a gut-wrenching look at the aftermath of child abuse and its effect on two people's adult lives. Please be assured that the story does have a heartfelt HEA.

I hope you'll take a look.

P.S. Nina has some extras on her website.  The extras contain major spoilers, so don't peek until you've read the book.  You've been warned!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Marketing Experiment

In all the holiday/life brouhaha lately, I totally forgot that I didn't talk about the new cover and title for what was Seasons of Magick: Summer until Friday's blog. I went to link to a post I thought I wrote. Except I never had written it.


Not only that, but I accidentally left the old cover up on the 'My Books' slot on the right. LOL Sometimes, I swear, I'd lose my head if it wasn't attached.

So anyway, as I said on Friday's post, my marketing person thought my cover and title were too plain. She also thought the title wasn't indicative of the storyline: a summer affair between two long-time friends interrupted by her zombie ex.

On the other hand, Seasons of Magick: Spring is my best-selling title even with its equally plain green cover and equally misleading title. My second best selling title is Creating a Business Plan for the Indie Writer also has a relatively plain cover, though the title does tell the reader exactly what they are getting.

So seriously, I don't get it when it comes to attracting readers. I follow the folks who've tried various things. I've watched what works and what doesn't. I'm confused about why some books with not very professional covers attract lots of readers, but others with equally good writing and marvelous covers do not.

Maybe it's taste. Maybe I'm just that visually clueless. Maybe readers approach enticing cover art the same way U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart approached porn--they know it when they see it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Status Update - December 2011

It's that most crazy time of year where we're all so busy with family and holidays that we barely have time to breathe, much less read. Those facts have been reflected in indie book sales, lots of of other folks' sales according to the gossip, not just mine.

On the plus side, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble are reporting 400% increase in e-reader sales over the same period last year. Anecdotally, I was wrapping 1.5 iPads per shift at the Day Job (there's an Apple store down the hall from us) until the boss had to nix gift wrapping because we are just too busy this year. And from my experience this Christmas, customers are definitely wanting more bang for less moola, which is a plus for indies since the NY publishers don't appear to be lowering their e-book prices any time soon.

Personal opinion - we indies should see sales sky-rocket in January and February as folks redeem their gift cards and have more time to read.

Anyway, on to the actual numbers for November:

Blood Magick -1
Zombie Love -2

Seasons of Magick: Spring - 3
Die for Me (formerly Seasons of Magick: Summer) - 7

Creating a Business Plan for the Indie Writer - 1

Total - 14

Final note: My marketing guru suggested a change in cover and title for SUMMER. She thought the cover was too plain, the title unimaginative. Sales dropped after the new cover/title went live, but I'm not sure if it's relective of the overall e-book drop, the fact that it's not really linked with SPRING any more, or if the plainer cover did attract more readers. I'm going to leave Die for Me alone until the end of January or when AUTUMN is ready to be uploaded (which ever comes first). Hopefully, I'll have some more data for y'all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Lovin'

Today's holiday blog is brought to you by NWHRWA president emeritus and pirate wench, Jennifer Bray-Weber.

Some believe Valentine’s Day is the holiday of love. According to my husband, Valentine’s Day should be renamed Commercialism Day, meant to test men’s adequacy at expressing their feelings while draining their wallets. But I digress, and this post isn’t about the February holiday. It’s Christmas, and Christmas is the holiday of love.

Sure, Christmas is the season of giving, celebrations, and good will towards men. It’s a time of magic, twinkling lights, and the much anticipated 24 hour A Christmas Story marathon. Did I mention it’s a time for love? Not the kind of love shared with family and friends. The other kind.

Let me explain.

On Christmas Day waaaay back in ’88, I met a boy and before the day was over, fell in love. Stupid, head-over heels in monkey love. We were starry-eyed eighteen-year olds and soon, we were engaged. I didn’t marry the boy, but that didn’t diminish the special memory of him and that Christmas Day.

A couple of years later, my heart played tug-of-war between two mischievous guys on the naughty list. That was the Christmas my stocking was filled with professions of love. My open sleigh runneth over, and like any spooked female filly, I ran the other way—far, far away, with bells on bob-tail ringing.

Fast forward a hand full of years to a Christmas party. Picture if you will a rowdy office shin-dig. And as all rowdy, butt-Xeroxing, drunken office parties go, things got a little out of hand. Most especially when the man I was dating got on bended knee and asked for my hand in marriage. See the trend? There was definitely something in the eggnog. I had to put a stop to this madness. So I married him.

Now factor in a couple of children into the equation, both born in the month of September. What does late summer babies have to do with Christmas? If you do the math you’ll know that both children were conceived during the season of giving. Boy, was he giving. Because child #2 was a complete holiday gift (a.k.a. surprise!), my husband has decided to become a religious man during Christmas, specifically a celibate monk, not even breathing in my general direction for fear of getting me pregnant.

Now you see why I call Christmas the holiday of love. It’s also the season for traffic tickets. But that’s a topic for another blog.

Jennifer's latest Romancing the Pirate Adventure BLOOD AND TREASURE is available at Amazon and other find e-book retailers.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ooh, Shiny!

Please welcome today's guest blogger: writer, editor and rock'n'roll goddess Susan Helene Gottfried.

"Ooh, shiny!"

It's become a catch-phrase in today's Internet culture. Back in the Disconnected Ages, I had a shiny of my own: Rock and roll shows.

You know: concerts. Pyro. Lighting. Men sitting behind drum sets and with guitars slung over chests. Live music, baby. There's nothing else like it.

Then comes the ultimate in shiny: one splash of light in a dark arena, even if that puddle is the stage or if it's the singer bathed in a narrow spotlight. There's magic in those lights. There really is.

It stands to reason that I'd love Christmas, right? It's the same spectacle: lights cutting through a dark night.

I do love Christmas lights, don't get me wrong. I may not be the world's biggest fan of those trendy synchronized light shows, but I simply adore the sight of a tree in someone's front yard that's been well strung with a set of white lights, a trunk whose beauty has been emphasized by what looks like blankets of bulbs.

The problem here is that, unlike when I was intending to work in the music business and be part of that onstage shiny magic, I can't be part of Christmas. Not really. Not without feeling like I've betrayed something essential within myself -- and that's before I consider how fast my parents would disinherit me if I strung up lights in the spirit of the season.

So I stare at the gorgeous yards of my neighbors. And the neighbors who live two, three, four neighborhoods over. After all, why limit yourself to an annual treat you truly love to gaze upon?

I come home from that light-gazing to a menorah, which I'll light for eight specific days. Candles, not electric lights. They burn down in an hour or three; they seep in around curtains and blinds and blaze all night long. They may flicker and dance and fill me with a sense of peace that Christmas lights never can, but ...

They're not Christmas lights. They're Hanukkah candles. They're a shiny of their own, they probably save my electric bill hundreds of dollars every year (Maybe it's only ten bucks. What do I know? I've never done it, remember?), and they set me apart.

But at the same time, they remind me that even if I buy blue and white lights and tell everyone they're for Hanukkah, I still won't fit in. This time of year, I'm an outsider, driving past, imagining the time spent decorating, the good-natured arguments between spouses, the mad dash to buy presents, the happy faces on Christmas morning.

Yes, it's an idealized version of how it probably unfolds. And yes, every year at this time, I'm glad I don't have to face the mad rush of grumpy shoppers or fight with my family over whose house we'll be going to, when and for how long. There are a pittance of benefits to being an outsider this time of year. I'll take them.

To all you who decorate for Christmas, thank you on behalf of us whose beliefs don't allow it. Thank you for your shiny, shiny lights.

Susan's latest short story, Mannequin is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.  If you're an indie writer in need of a quality, affordable editor, contact Susan through her website West of Mars.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Songs I Listen to Despite . . . Things

I remember when this first aired (my mother is a Crosby fan). There's so much subtext in this duet, much of which I didn't understand at the time. I'll let y'all puzzle it out.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Amazon Introduces KDP Select

If you self-publish through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, you should have the e-mail from them by now.

If you don't, here's the scoop: Amazon is extending to self-published authors an offer to be included in the Amazon Prime Lending Library ("APLL").  Payment will be made from a pool of money based on the total number of self-published books borrowed from the APLL versus the number of times your particular book was borrowed.

In other words, if no one borrows your book regardless of total borrows, you make nothing. The pool for December is $500,000. If there are a million total downloads in December and your book is borrowed once, then you'll make $0.50.

The other side of this little offer is the exclusivity clause. Your book can only be available for sale only on Amazon, no other retailers, while it is part of the APLL.

For those of you who have jamming sales on Smashwords, the iBookstore, or Barnes & Noble, it doesn't make much sense to jump on this offer.

Something else to consider is that you may have 100 borrows from the APLL, but no sales.  You'll be gambling that your ratio in the pool is high enough to offset the lack of sales.

On the other hand, if you're simply looking for visibility, this might be the program for you.  If anyone tries it, I'd love to hear how it worked for you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

De-stress the Holiday Madness

Today's December mental health post is brought to you by romantic suspense author Melissa Ohnoutka.


As I sit and write this, it is finally feeling like the Christmas season here in my little part of Texas. The highs for this week are forecasted to stay below 60! After the blistering hot summer months and drought we had this year, it’s a really nice change. Shoot, even the cold rain didn’t bother me all that much. We even ventured out on Sunday when the rain slowed to a chilling sprinkle to cut down our Christmas tree. And what a tree it is. It sure didn’t look that tall or wide out there in the open field with the others. I think we may be having an ornament shortage this year. LOL

Ah, Christmas time. The time for compassion and sharing. The time to get together with friends and family to make those precious memories and play catch up with what everyone’s been doing. The time to reflect over the past year and be thankful for all the blessings.

So what the heck happens to my plans for a peaceful joyous season?

I love this time of year. It’s my favorite holiday. All the hustle and bustle that comes along with it, not so much.

Every year I tell myself I’m going to get better prepared. Make lists, shop early, get those Christmas cards printed and sent out before the 15th. And every year, it never fails. I’m always shocked at how fast the season sneaks up on me. Organization plays a key role in everything we do. I don’t know why I can’t get this through my thick skull. LOL It sure would make my life a lot easier.

I think it has a lot to do with procrastination. In my head, I’ve got plenty of time to run out and buy those gifts—-tomorrow. Or decorate that Christmas tree, or address those envelopes. Laundry, house work, writing. You name it and I’ll procrastinate before doing it. Time is just not on my side that’s all.  What’s a frazzled mom to do?

Tips I’ve found to be helpful over the years to de-stress during this time and still get stuff done:

1. Call a family meeting before December hits. And then delegate, delegate, delegate. Especially with the chores and normal daily routine activities. (I like this one a lot!)

2. Make those lists the night before. Keep that list close while you sleep. I always remember something I forgot around 1:00 a.m. And when I wake up the next morning, I have no idea what it was. Drives me crazy!

3. To tackle those things that need to be done at home, get out your handy dandy kitchen timer. Pick one thing. (Yes, just one!) Set the timer for 30 minutes and don’t stop till it goes off. You’ll be amazed at how much you actually get done in those 30 minutes of uninterrupted focus.

4. For those Christmas gifts, plan out your shopping trip a few days ahead. Draw maps, add stickers, smiley faces, etc. to your list to indicate priority, get those coupons organized and be sure to schedule a much needed break for coffee, tea or my favorite, one Route 66 Sonic Dr. Pepper. (Oh, you might put in a potty break as well.)

5. Finally, don’t forget to breath. Have fun. It will all get done. The main thing I try to remember each year is to not let all the chaos steal the true meaning of Christmas. Enjoy each and every moment and know that the most priceless gift of all was given out of love and didn’t cost a single penny.

Wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas and Joyous New Year filled with lots of love and laughter!

Melissa's latest release, Target of Betrayal, is available on Amazon as well as other fine online retailers this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Mind Got Boogled

I'm sorry I'm late with today's blog. I should have written it last night, but I made the mistake of . . . wait for it . . . checking my Amazon numbers. Yeah, I know. Bad Suzan.

Except I found that Creating a Business Plan for the Indie Writer was listed at #55 on Amazon's Top 100 New Business Enterprise List for Kindle books.

I was shocked. Flabbergasted. Totally amazed!

I turned to DH and said, "Would you look at my screen?"

He groaned and rolled his eyes. "Don't tell me it's acting up again." He came over to the loveseat and looked at the screen. Then he tried to give me a high five. I was too stunned to lift my arm.

I tried to be good today. I went to the coffee shop and cranked out a few pages on the current wip as well as going over the edits for the first fifty pages of Zombie Wedding.

When I got home, I check Amazon again, figuring last night was a dream. (Because I've been having some freaking weird ones lately.)

Only to discover, not only was last night NOT my imagination, but Creating a Business Plan for the Indie Writer was now #85 in Amazon's Top 100 for ALL New Enterpise books (that's the list that includes hardcovers, paperbacks and e-books). It's currently #19 in the Kindle New Enterprise category.

This just blows my mind.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my readers for all your support!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Penguin Has Entered the Vanity Arena

I voiced my concerns back in September when I questioned Is Traditional Publishing the New Vanity Publishing?

Penguin has answered with a resounding "Yes!" Apparently they learned nothing from the Harlequin Horizons fiasco two years ago.

Book Country is their entry into the vanity publishing field. $549 to ONLY FORMAT your book plus 30% fucking per cent of each book sold?

People, do me and yourselves a favor--just say "NO!"

Remember Yog's Law--Money flows to the writer!

The ONLY exception is if You the Writer is also You the Publisher!!

If you don't know how to format, then learn. There's lot of free advice among the indie gurus. If you really feel the need to pay someone, go read the how-to books by David Gaughran, Scott Nicholson, Jon F. Merz, etc., and spend the effing $5 these guys charge. Hire J.A. Konrath's formatter who's a hell of a lot cheaper.

But for the love of Murphy, don't pay Penguin for life for something you can do yourself!

Just don't!

Angry Sheep
Who Just Broke Her Fucking Soapbox

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Latest Industry News

Don't know if you heard about this?  Three weeks ago, execs for Kobo inked a deal with Rakuten, a Japanese internet company, to take over the e-book seller.  Indigo Books and Music out of Canada holds the majority of stock, but now-defunct book giant Borders Group Inc. still has their shares tied up in bankruptcy court.

For now, it doesn't look like the judge or the trustee in the Borders case will sabotage the proceedings. The Borders crditors are only getting seven to ten cents on the dollar, so they need this sale to through. The sale should boost Kobo's stock price so the trustee can sell the Borders shares and get the creditors a few cents more.

It sounds like Rakuten plans to reach into the West, just like Amazon is shooting for the East.

And yes, another publisher is "restructuring." Houghton Mifflin Harcourt plans to eliminate the Emerging Markets division and close their D.C. offices. Remember, kids. Everytime a corporation uses the word 'restructure', people lose their jobs. Merry Christmas, ex-employees.

And if you read this blog, then you know why I support the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Movies for GUYS . . .

Since the All Hallow's Read Week was such a hit, I invited my writer friends back to tell us about their favorite December holiday stories. I told them the format doesn't matter. Pick a Rankin-Bass special, a movie, a book. The holiday doesn't matter either. Hannukah, Christmas, Saturnalia, Yule, Kwanzaa.To start us off is thriller author Will Graham!

As long time readers know, we take a great deal of pride here in being different from the rest of the world. None of this "It's a Wonderful Life" or "White Christmas" for us, and "A Christmas Carol" is for eighth grade English classes, pallies. The offbeat, the avant-garde, the unusual, that's what we're all about; conformity is for the rest of the world. Therefore, whereas, and because of all that, below is the Official Will Graham Guide to Holiday Movies for Guys:


The heartwarming story of two police officers, one white and one black, who come to brotherhood over the holidays while solving a series of vicious murders and simultaneously shutting down an international drug smuggling network. Lots of clever dialogue, tons of guns and explosions, including a shootout and chase down Hollywood Boulevard on Christmas Eve, plus a highly unusual use of the Family Christmas Tree to defeat the villains. The flagship of action movies in the 1980's, it's still more fun than it should be today.

DIE HARD (1) AND (2)

This is one for the ages: a lone cop single-handedly foils the plans of not one but TWO groups of Serious Bad Guys on Christmas Eve, both times to save his wife’s life; is that Love or what?!? Single Best Line of the series: in DH2: “How can the same shit happen to the same guy TWICE?” Excellent question, but ultimately who cares? (I always liked the DH series more than most other series, and yes, I saw the last one, LIVE FREE OR.... My reaction when asked was "I want that computer room; hell the FBI wants that computer room!") Take 'em for what they are, kick back, and just enjoy the ride. Here is a wickedly funny spoof from Ben Stiller: DIE HARD XII


James Bond saves the world on Christmas Eve. So what if it’s got George Lazenby in his one shot at the role? (Frankly, he wasn't all that bad, and I firmly believe had he given it a chance, he'd have grown into the role quite well.) It’s Bond, it’s Christmas, it’s Diana Rigg in mini-skirts and…… whoops, sorry about that one, ladies. But still, the former Mrs. Peel in a mini, well……… (One has to wonder if it would preferable to find Ms. Rigg in one's stocking Christmas Morn, or find her IN stockings Christmas Morn.... but I digress....) There were rumors floating around at one time that of all of the previous 007 stories, this was the one Pierce Brosnan wanted to re-make. Had Jane Seymour been cast as Tracy, well....


Just because. Tom Hanks stars as Charlie Wilson (D-Texas (of course!)), a swingin', singin', Rat Pack type of Congressman who actually made some things happen. There's a brief shot of a Christmas Tree in it, which makes it close enough to be included. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, as he usually does, almost steals the show. Favorite scene? "That's why you're the Press Secretary, Boo-Boo!" Everyone needs to see this one on general principles.


The Ultimate. The Gold Standard. The Big One. The All-Time Classic. Given the above four movies mentioned, this one is particularly ironic as it concerns a young man, a BB gun, and the running imprecation, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Any guy of a certain age can relate to Ralphie, nodding and smiling all through the movie. Darren McGavin was proudest of his role as "The Old Man" in this, of all his career, and he should have been. Melinda Dillon was Everyone's Mom, and Ralphie even had a Kid Brother to deal with. A wonderful story about being a kid and trying to figure out how Life really works. An annual tradition here (the Widescreen Collector's Platinum Edition,of course) but a staple of TNT/TBS networks, with TNT running it for 24 hours straight starting Christmas Eve. The A-Number One Hall of Famer for Guy Holiday movies.

Will Graham is the pseudonym of a licensed private investigator specializing in computer forensics. His latest book is Spider's Dance.