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Showing posts from September, 2012

THE CASUAL VACANCY by JK Rowling

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Peyton Place meets PG Wodehouse. (Yes, I read it. No, I haven't read HP.), 

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?) This review is from: The Casual Vacancy (Kindle Edition) Throwing in my two cents as one of the few people on the planet who hasn't read the HP series. (My kids were the perfect age as the books came out: young enough to love them, old enough to read for themselves.) I pre-ordered THE CASUAL VACANCY and inhaled it the minute it hit my Kindle mainly (I will admit) because it's a remarkable moment of publishing history, but I was quickly drawn into the story. The characters are people I already know, because they are the people we all already know. In the end, I liked this book on its own merits. And I liked it a lot.

Rowling is a terrifically strong writer; you can't fault her on craft, and I like that she doesn't feel the need to do any acrobatics or post a billboard - THIS WAY TO THE BRILLIANT WRITER - on every page, as is the irritating case in a lot…

Inside Out Art: Halvor Aakhus' BOOK OF KNUT

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Okay, how brilliant is The Book of Knut? Answer, based on what I've seen: Very. The book comes from Jaded Ibis, a tiny publisher that's recently won me over heart and soul.

The premise, according to an interview with author Halvor Aakhus: "A mathematician finds a novel (Book) written by her dead lover (Knut Knudson) and subsequently transforms it into an annotated mathematical textbook, complete with homework problems. Aside from oil paintings, musical scores, mathematical graphs, etc., it’s got 216 footnotes."

Padgett Powell (author of The Interrogative Mood) says: "Halvor Aakhus should be paralyzed from depression and knowing too much. He has two or three doctoral dissertations, never consummated, in his head. The truly arcane stuff in Book of Knut is from his memory. This book won a prize getting to this point, and the judge said it was so outrageously complicated he could not not give it the prize. The reader should gird his or her loins if loins can be in one…

"When you can't create, you can work." Writerly Advice from Henry Miller

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The Author as Mimic

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This very short and absolutely amazing video about the mimic octopus started me thinking this morning of the mimicry skills of the successful writer. There are definitely authors out there who cultivate such a distinctive style that their work would never fit anywhere but in their chosen mode/genre. If they're successful doing only this, more power to them, but often, an author who's versatile enough to learn to adapt to other forms or genres is the one who stays busy and employed. I first learned this lesson when writing for the magazine market. I was striking out left and right because I expected the editors to recognize my distinctive "genius" and mold their magazine around me. (*Snorf!*) Instead, I soon learned, I had to carefully study the magazine I was targeting and learn to emulate its tone and style. The same held true when, as a normally-single title author, I wanted to expand my audience by delving into the world of category fiction (shorter, "s…

Nina Simone + Typography Animation = #nerdgasm

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Nutshell Version: Adrenaline Shots for Plots!

Ever get bogged down in the middle of your manuscript? Have you lost interest, tempted by a shiny new idea just over the horizon? Or perhaps you've finished, but your rejections have comments such as "Didn't live up to its promise" or "I couldn't finish this." Before you shove the project in a drawer forever, ask yourself these three questions, gleaned from my recent "Adrenaline Shots for Plots!" workshop and tighten up the sagging middle with an infusion of fresh new energy. 1. How can the protagonist's (hero's/heroine's) situation go from bad to worse? Can you alter the goal? Make the consequences of failure more dire? Create a ticking clock and then allow it to unexpectedly spring forward? 2. How can the antagonist (villain) be strengthened? Can s/he find the "magic bullet" the protagonists been searching for? Can s/he come into a position giving him/her power over the protagonist? Can the antagonist's motivation …

Have a Question? Win a Copy of RELENTLESS PROTECTOR

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Have a question about my books or writing? Visit me today at the Kiss and Thrill blog, where you can win a copy of my new release, Relentless Protector (or an alternate title, if you've already gotten a copy!) Colleen Thompson RELENTLESS PROTECTOR, Harlequin Intrigue, 9/12 PASSION TO PROTECT, Harlequin Romantic Suspense, 11/12 www.colleen-thompson.com

Nina Simone "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"

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Thanks, dumb@ss, for reminding me why I wrote this book.

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In 1999, Sugarland, my second novel, was published by Spinster's Ink, a brave little feminist indie press, in the USA and by Bertelsmann in Europe. It's a modern retelling of the Psyche and Eros myth, expanding on some of the feminist ethos I think is beautifully present in that story.

The lives of the two protagonists, sisters Kit and Kiki, are quite similar at first blush: they both have two small children and all the dreams and frustrations quickly understood by most young mothers. But Kit is married to a gentle salt-of-the-earth working man, and Kiki is married to a man who beats her. The complexity of the story arises from an incident that is described in succinct emotional and physical detail very close to the beginning of the book: Kit is raped by Kiki's abusive husband.

There is absolutely no question about the fact that she is not a willing participant in this act. Later in the book, this guy violently beats and rapes his wife, and the language purposely echoes the…

Thank you, Todd Akin, for reminding my why I wrote this book.

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In 1999, Sugarland, my second novel, was published by Spinster's Ink, a brave little feminist indie press, in the USA and by Bertelsmann in Europe. It's a modern retelling of the Psyche and Eros myth, expanding on some of the feminist ethos I think is beautifully present in that story.

The lives of the two protagonists, sisters Kit and Kiki, are quite similar at first blush: they both have two small children and all the dreams and frustrations quickly understood by most young mothers. But Kit is married to a gentle salt-of-the-earth working man, and Kiki is married to a man who beats her. The complexity of the story arises from an incident that is described in succinct emotional and physical detail very close to the beginning of the book: Kit is raped by Kiki's abusive husband.

There is absolutely no question about the fact that she is not a willing participant in this act. Later in the book, this guy violently beats and rapes his wife, and the language purposely echoes the…

Meet the League of Extraordinary Authors

Ask Dr. Kat: Can Two Characters Tell the Exact Same Story and it Not Be Boring?

I named this post a bit ironically--"Ask Dr. Kat," because today I want to address a question from one of my former students, Angela Garza Douglas (follow her on twitter--@amd6841!).  She has a great question, and I think it's worth answering here, because I'm not sure there's one simple answer.  She writes:

I am reading a book and one chapter is in first person POV from one character and describes a scene and everything that happens including dialogue... then the next chapter is in another character's POV (the other character from that same scene) and describes the same scene from the same point in time the other chapter started.... I am totally put off by this... have you ever read this successfully??? I mean, even the dialogue between the two characters is repeated... My answer:

Yikes--even the dialogue is repeated???  Without reading the book myself, I'd have to say it sounds painful. One of the first rules of narrative (if there can be rules these day…

Gloria Estefan "There's Always Tomorrow"

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I heard this song the day I was diagnosed with lymphoma, and it still brings tears to my eyes. Can't begin to express what these words meant to me in that moment and all the years since.

If you're hanging by a thread today, please know that you're not the only one. And there's always tomorrow.

What Release Day Really Feels Like

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Back before I was published, I assumed that every book release day came with a huge launch party, the kind you see in movies, where all the swells (and with any luck, George Clooney) showed up in tuxes and you, your editor, and everyone who ever mocked your ambitions or gave you a hard time on the schoolbus wore diamonds and carried around darling little cocktails and clever hors d'oeuvres (all the former bullies secretly seething with jealousy.) I supposed that party came the night before they sent you on the grueling but gratifying book tour, where you always stayed in swank hotels and had brilliant bon mots on hand at all hours. And you look awesome the whole time, thanks to the brilliant stylist (who doubles as the chaffeur of your limo) the publisher sent with you. And, really, after all those dreams and all that effort, a person could at least be greeted with a parade or a pony or a bouquet of peonies. But in the reality of the working, non-celebrity writer, it starts the…

BALD IN THE LAND OF BIG HAIR to Benefit Blood Cancer Awareness Month

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September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, and I'm doing what I can to spread the word. Please be aware: BLOOD CANCER SUCKS.

This month, Bald in the Land of Big Hair, my memoir about surviving non-Hodgkin's lymphoma when my children were small, is priced at just $2.99, and 100% of the royalties will go to the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

 The hardcover was originally published in 2001 by HarperCollins, so last year, I did a 10th Anniversary Ebook edition with bonus content, including a foreword by Elizabeth Berg.

 Help me raise a good chunk of cash for blood cancer research! If you haven't read it, grab it! If you loved it, gift it! If you hated it, gift it to someone you don't like! Here's a link to the Lymphoma Research Foundation.