Sunday, May 27, 2012

Blog tour wrapup, and superpowers.

I'm home now from my two-week run of blog tours (and boy, are my fingers tired, oh haha).  Thanks again to Goddess Fish Promotions for setting everything up, and a really special thanks to all the nice people who handed their blogs over to me for the day.

Congrats to Marybelle, who won the $10 Amazon gift card from this week's tour.  Enjoy!

For anyone who has wandered to my corner of teh intarwebz lately, whether from the tour or not -- welcome!  I hope I don't bore you silly.

So...during the two weeks of touring, six bloggers reviewed Seized.  Five of them gave the book 4 stars (well, in one case, it was 4 coffee mugs), and one gave it 3.5 stars -- for an average rating of 3.9167.  (The 6 repeats to infinity, so I rounded it off to save space. ;) )  Whoo hoo!  Nobody said it sucked!  (I'll admit I had a dream one night about that....)  Lots of people commented on the cool cover; I have to say that I'm partial to that owl myself, and rest assured that other fractal animals will adorn the upcoming books.

On Thursday at Reading Reality, we got into a discussion about Naomi's "gift" from the goddess.  It's not a spoiler to tell you that White Buffalo Calf Pipe Woman boosts Naomi's innate ability to get people to see things her way.  If Naomi phrases something as a command, the person to whom she's directing the command does it.

Sounds like a great superpower, huh?  Just think:  you could move to the head of every queue ever; you could talk your way out of any traffic ticket; you could get your boss to pay you exactly what you think you're worth (at least six figures! maybe seven!); you could get your teenager to cut the grass without complaint -- every time.  But Naomi realizes, early on, the drawback to such a power.  For one thing, you have to police everything you say. The first time she realizes she's got a problem is when she accidentally sends another driver out into oncoming traffic.  For another, just because you wish for something doesn't mean it would be good for you to get it.

And too, it's not the sort of power you would want just anybody to have.  What if the goddess had made a mistake and granted the power to someone who would take advantage of it?  What if that person used the power to (dramatic pause) turn to a life of crime?

I dunno.  I think extra-persuasive power is pretty far down on my list of Superpowers I Would Want to Have.  Admittedly it's a short list to begin with, although I wouldn't mind being able to eat anything I wanted without gaining weight.  A magically replenishing checking account would be okay, too, I think.  But all those Marvel Comics-type powers?  Thanks, but no.  They just seem to get people into trouble.

Comments?  What would you do if you had Naomi's ability?  What superpower would you rather have instead?  Operators are standing by....

Oh, happy Memorial Day to my U.S. readers.  And a shout-out to all the veterans, and to our troops still fighting and dying for us around the world.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tours, reviews, and stuff.

Last week's virtual blog tour was a success!  Well, I thought so, anyway.  I had a good time meeting the bloggers who hosted me -- a HUGE thank-you to all of them! -- as well as talking with the people who posted on each blog.  I hope at least a few of you read the book and turn into fans.

Also, as you can see by the owl to your left, this week is my "virtual book review tour."  Five book bloggers have agreed to read Seized and post a review.  Dates, and links to the blogs, are on the "Tour Dates" tab above.  I'll be stopping by each of the blogs to say hi, so feel free to come on by and post questions or whatever.  To make it worth your while, I'm giving a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly-drawn poster from this week's tour.  Good luck!

Which reminds me, congratulations to the poster named MomJane, who wins the $10 Amazon gift card from last week's tour.  Enjoy!

Okay, so because I have no better ideas this week, I'm going to inflict colons and semicolons on you.  Please don't run away screaming.  ;)

M. Edward McNally did a great post on the colon this week at Indies Unlimited.  His question was about the next word after the colon -- should it be capitalized or not?  He did a little survey of his colleagues, and discovered that everybody thought they knew a rule, except that the rules didn't jibe.  Then he checked a few style guides, and sure enough, they didn't all agree, either.  Does this sound familiar to anybody?  It turns out that it's kind of a style question -- and as long as you're consistent in your usage, you're probably okay.

Earlier on the same blog, Cathy Speight posted about the semicolon.  Basically, as she points out at the link, there are only two situations in which a semicolon is required:

1.  As a way to link two related sentences that are not joined by a conjunction (and, but, or).  She words the rule more elegantly -- she calls 'em "closely-related independent clauses" -- but really, they're two sentences.  The phrase on each side of the semicolon needs both a subject and a verb.  You could replace the semicolon with a period, and neither phrase would be a sentence fragment.  So:

I have a puppy; she is adorable.

 works, because you could cleave the sentence in two at the semicolon and lose nothing.

I have a puppy.  She is adorable.

My puppy is adorable; with her floppy ear.

doesn't work with a semicolon because you can't split it into two complete sentences.
2.  In a series that consists of some (or all) complex elements, many of which contain commas:  Our  compensation committee consists of Gene, the CFO; Jane, the president; Fred, the board chairman; and Sharla, the union rep.  This rule is all about clarity.  Without the semicolons, your reader might have to puzzle for a while over which title goes with which name.

See?  Only two rules.  Easy enough to remember.

And totally unlike the colon, where apparently anything goes.

See ya on tour!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

News! and: saved by Mom.

First, an FYI that I'm kicking off a book tour tomorrow.  The wonderful people at Goddess Fish Promotions have organized it for me.  First up tomorrow is a review of Seized, and then the rest of the week I'll be posting various musings on various other blogs, a different blog every day.  I'll post the links on Facebook, and tweet them, too, each day.  But in case you'd like the whole list in one convenient place, I've added a tab called "Tour Dates".  Please stop by and post a comment.  And tell your friends! There's a $10 Amazon gift card in it for some lucky commenter.

The following week, Goddess Fish has arranged another tour for me, this one for book reviews.  I've put up links for those dates, as well.  One blogger is already talking about it.  I'm pretty pumped.

So...I was going to annoy all y'all (that's the plural of y'all) with another punctuation rant this week.  But then I remembered it was Mother's Day (in the US -- the UK celebrated theirs last month).  So I'll save my semicolon spiel for another week.

I had a lovely Mother's Day today, thanks.  My daughter Amy got me flowers and a card, and took me out for breakfast.  My daughter Kat, who lives a few hours away, called, and we had a nice chat.

On the way home from running errands this afternoon, I reflected on how different my Mother's Day was than the ones we celebrated with my own mother.  Mom's been gone for a few years now.  She made it past 90 (I should be so lucky as to live as long...) and saw a stunning number of changes in her lifetime.  When she was born, in 1915, horses were still numerous on Chicago's roads.  She and my dad often called the refrigerator the "icebox" because when they were young, that's exactly what it was -- an insulated box that held a block of ice, which was delivered daily by the iceman.  Electricity was just being installed in homes when she was a kid; my mom's siblings used to reminisce about having fixtures on the wall for two types of lights -- a socket for a light bulb, and a gas jet.  The telephone not only hung on the wall, but you shared the line with other families.

She lived through the Great Depression, which instilled in her a kind of crazy frugal streak, and through World War II.  Then she got married to my dad and had three babies, one of whom died in infancy.  (Yes, smartypants, I'm one of the two who survived.)  And then the world accelerated:  faster cars, men walking on the moon, laptop computers, phones you can carry around in your pocket.  She never quite understood the internet, and she never gave up her manual typewriter for a word processor.  Heck, my brother and sister-in-law bought her a microwave, and had to pull it out of the box and plug it in for her, or she never would have used it.

But getting back to Mother's Day: I looked around in the restaurant today, at all the husbands who had taken their wives out for Mother's Day so that Mom wouldn't have to cook, and thought about how my family never would have done that.  My mother was always on KP.  A vacation for her was feeding us somewhere other than at home -- either out of the cooler in the trunk of the car or, later, in the RV.  If Dad ever cooked, it was an egg sandwich for himself, and then Mom would scold him for leaving her a mess to clean up.  So if we ever had a special meal for Mother's Day, chances are that Mom cooked it herself.

It's too late to make up for it now.  But Mom, wherever you are, happy Mother's Day.  I love you.

And happy Mother's Day to all the moms reading this.  I hope you've had a great day.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Greetings, OMG more yarn, and pet peeves.

Kind of a hodgepodge this week. 

First, thanks and welcome to the nearly 700 people who downloaded Seized during last weekend's Beltane Blowout.  I gave away a few copies of "Lulie" as well.  Hope you enjoy them! 

Second, I've been off the grid for pretty much the whole weekend.  I spent Friday night and all day yesterday knitting, mainly to finish a top for my daughter so that I could start on one for me.  :)  Then today, I went with a friend to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  It's the first time I've ever been to this festival and it was pretty much mind-blowing.  Who knew there were so many yarn shops and yarn makers out there?  It takes place at a county fairgrounds.  The shops filled stalls in the Main Exhibition Hall and four or five other buildings, and were also set up in tents for several more blocks.  Needless to say, we did a lot of walking, and I am pretty well tuckered out.

I didn't fully realize how tired I was until I cast on for a sweater for myself tonight, managed to twist the work when I joined it to knit in the round, and didn't realize I'd done it until I had almost finished the seventh round of knitting.  If I'd kept going, I would have had a lovely Moebius strip, but the sweater would have been quite impractical to wear.  So I've ripped it all out and have promised myself that I will try again once I've gotten some sleep.

I also got another knitting book while I was at the festival.  Looking over it while eating dinner tonight, I was reminded of one of my pet peeves.  Granted, English is a living language, usage changes, and all that good stuff.  But where was I when we did away with the word "knitted"?  Because at some point when I wasn't looking, people dropped the "-ed".  Knitters are no longer making "knitted fabric," we make "knit fabric."  "She had knitted" has turned into "She had knit."  It's crazy-making, I tell you.

In the same vein, why is Microsoft Word insistent that I conjoin the words "any more"?  And the words "some time" too.  Okay, "sometime" is a legitimate word, if you're talking about, say, a guy who occasionally drives racing cars ("a sometime race car driver").  But there are also circumstances in which "some time" ought to be two words -- for instance, in the phrase, "some time later."  "Sometime" means "occasionally"; "some time" means "some vague or uncertain amount of time". 

But "anymore"?  That just looks wrong to me.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure Microsoft Word would not accept "awhile" as a legitimate word until added it to the dictionary.  That's despite the fact that "awhile" has been in common usage for at least a thousand years.

Anybody else got any other examples?  Or an explanation for why we haven't knitted in awhile?

Have a good week!