Sunday, August 28, 2011

MUSCADINES

I can't believe it's time for muscadines and scuppernongs again!

On our way home from the beach recently, we passed vineyards on both sides of the road along with homemade signs saying muscadines for sale 1500 feet on the left, then 1000 feet, and so on. Sure enough there was a teeny, tiny roadside stand.

One of my favorite childhood memories is of my father holding me up to pick scuppernongs and teaching me how to eat them. My guy, bless him, pulled in without hesitation when I yelped, and I bought a couple of pounds of the black muscadines.They were wonderful. Just finished them. Wish I had more.

Friday, August 26, 2011

EDITS FINALLY BEGIN

I had word from the editor on my tax office mystery, TAXED TO THE MAX (I hope they'll keep the title; you can't always tell) that she's about to start her editing. This means she goes through, picks out things that are wrong, scenes that need to be strengthened or omitted, and stuff like that. Then she sends it back to me and I have to try to give her what she wants.

I'm excited because this is a book dear to my heart. All the funny (and not-so-funny) stuff that happens in tax offices gave rise to it. Like when some assessors got locked in the courthouse attic one time and had to throw down toilet paper rolls to get someone to come let them out. Like how tag customers refuse certain tags. And other stuff about a lot of customer types tag/tax clerks deal with every day.

I hope it's funny enough that people will enjoy it. But I mostly hope it'll give everyone a new respect for the public employees on the front lines.

Course, it doesn't come out till December of next year. But at least it's getting worked on now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

CURRENT LITERARY FASHION

I have noticed, thanks I suppose to Cormac McCarthy, that some writers are foregoing quote marks.

I tried to read one of McCarthy's books but decided after about thirty pages it wasn't for me. I did read another one recently, THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE by Aimee Bender, that omitted quote marks.

I kept trying to decide if someone was talking or not. And if so who it was. It distracted me and took me out of the story (which I did finish although it's not one I'll ever reread).

Is this the new fad? A way to separate literary from genre fiction since the two seem to have become so closely entwined in the past few years? I'm dismayed because I prefer zipping through stories without having to worry about who's speaking or whether they're speaking.

Guess I'm old-fashioned. Doubtless I'll learn to like it if it catches on.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

REMEMBER ME

REMEMBER ME is by Sophie Kinsella, who also wrote the SHOPAHOLIC books, and  is a romance in that same comedic vein.

The heroine wakes up in the hospital, thinking she's the same twenty-five-year-old office worker who took a fall and hit her head. Not so. She's in the hospital because of an auto accident. Three years after the fall she thought she had the night before. She's missing three years of her life. And boy howdy, what those three years must have been like!

Her crooked teeth are straight, she's lost twenty pounds, she's now a director of her company, and she lives in a large loftstyle apartment with a gorgeous millionnaire. Who happens to be her husband.

Of course there are drawbacks. She's on a carb-free diet, she wears nothing but beige business suits, she instinctively knows how to pin her hair into a severe bun, and she's been nicknamed the Cobra or the Bitch from Hell by her department. She's also lost the friends she loved, one of whom she's known since she was six.

Between trying to adjust to her new persona and keep from breaking any more three thousand pound glass leopards (that her husband invoices her for), she's not prepared for the cute man who knows all about her life during the past three years..

If she can't remember her husband, how can she expect to remember her lover?

Cute book.

Friday, August 5, 2011

DEATH OF A TROPHY WIFE

This is the first Jaine Austen mystery by Laura Levine that I've read, but it won't be the last. Jaine is a wonderful heroine who scoffs at designer clothes and health food. She'll keep her elastic-waisted pants, thank you very much, and chomp her way through fast food places without regret.

In this book, her neighbor and friend, the gay Lance with impeccable taste, is latched onto by the universally disliked Bunny. Bunny loves his fashion expertise and she has money to support his style advice. Of course, she got it when she snagged her rich husband by convincing him to leave his wife of thirty years. Now she's busy spending his money and lording it over the peons. The ex-wife hates her, her stepdaughter hates her, her cook hates her, and a woman whose boyfriend she stole hates her. Oh, and she's having an affair with her step-son-in-law.

Pretty evil person.

Then someone murders her and Lance is accused. On leave from his job till the murderer is found, he cooks healthy meals for Jaine that she's forced to eat and donates her clothes to a thrift store that makes her buy them back.

She's got to find out who murdered Bunny and fast, before she starves to death and her clothes disappear forever.

Adding to the fun is her snobby cat,Prozac and a suitor from Uzbekistan who thinks she's the next best thing to his goat.

Very entertaining book. I didn't see the ending coming. Nice cozy for anyone who likes their mysteries with a dab of humor.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

50 CENT BOOKS AT BIG LOTS

Sure, the books were 2-3 years old. But they were hardbacks. By Janet Evanovich, Brad Meltzer, Patricia Cornwell, and even some Frank Herbert Dune books.

What's more, the shelf above them had $3.00 hardbacks by similar best selling authors.

This is what happens when the big publishers send out a hundred thousand books and they don't all sell right away for twenty-five dollars. Out of all the money poured into making a print book, it gets down to three dollars and then finally fifty cents.

There's something wrong with this picture. Three dollars, much less fifty cents, won't pay the costs of shipping. No wonder the traditional publishers are quaking. No wonder ebooks are paying their bills (partly because the royalties traditional publishers assign authors for ebooks are pitiful).

The publishing model used for years and years and years is sadly out of whack. Though some people say it's cheaper to print fifty thousand or so books the regular way (even if they get scads of returns) than it is to print a thousand or so POD books (on demand books that won't be returned).

I can't see it. I'm wondering whether, when the publishers get through scrambling, they can't find a better way to print and distribute their books. I hope so.

Not that I'll turn down a book for fifty cents. If it's one I want to read.