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S.G. Cardin
Monday, 22 December 2008
Honest Scrap Award
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Life

  I got the "Honest Scrap" award from WDC member Vivian Gilbert Zabel.

You can visit her blog at:http://vivianzabel.blogspot.com/

 

 
Scrap means left overs, fragments, discarded material, and many times truth and honesty is discarded material, considered fragments and left over. So, we need to tell it like it is, and let the scraps fall where they will.

The guidelines for winning this award include the following:

1. List 10 honest things about yourself (make it interesting, even if you have to dig deep)
2. Pass the award on to 7 bloggers

My 10 Picks:

#1 - I was married in Denmark, in a city called Nykobig. A Justice of the Peace married us. I'm still married 17 years later to the same guy.

#2 - My mother was abusive toward me when I was a teenager. That's why I joined the army.

#3 - I was an MP in the army from 1986-1997.

#4 - My first published poem was in my high school's literary magazine. The poem was called, "It Didn't Hurt Too Much."

#5 - I grew up drawing superhero comics.

#6 - In 1995 I received the "Outstanding Evening College Student" award from California Baptist Universary. I graduated with Honors with a BS in Political Science.

#7 - I was 33 when my first son was born.

#8 - My youngest son, Joseph, who is two, has developmental delays, specifically speech. It's very demanding and hard work to get him to his therapies, but I manage. They are working. Joe now has a vocabulary of at least ten words and it's expanding everyday.

#9 - My short story, "Spontaneous Decision," scored 8th in the Mainstream/Literary category in the recent Writer's Digest Annual Competition.

#10 - My novel, "Destination:Berlin," was inspired by my own visit to Berlin on the Berlin Orientation Tour in 1988.

Steph's 7 Honest Scrapers:

Kelly's Journal: http://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/1016769

Niki's Journal: http://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/1214476

Debi's Journal:  http://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/1369145

Maggie's Journal: http://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/1011455

Jennifer Jackson, Literary Agent Journal: http://arcaedia.livejournal.com/

Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent, Journal: http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/

Lorraine's Blog

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=30504353&blogID=457781826

 


Posted by sgcardin at 1:01 PM
Updated: Monday, 22 December 2008 1:03 PM
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Sunday, 21 December 2008
Thoughts on the Publishing Industry & These Tough Economic Times
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Writing
I belong to Mike's Writing Workshop on Yahoogroups and there were a couple of News articles I wanted to bring here and share my thoughts with you:

1ST ARTICLE

Got this off a news website.

NEW YORK – Another book publisher is cutting jobs: Macmillan, where
authors include Thomas Friedman, Rick Atkinson and Janet Evanovich, is
eliminating 64 positions, just under 4 percent of its work force.

"Going forward we are tightening our belts in response to the current
recession, but we are also reorganizing and rethinking our business to
position ourselves for the long term," Macmillan CEO John Sargent
wrote in a company memo, a copy of which was obtained Monday by The
Associated Press.


ME: Yes, I definitely think reorganizing is a MUST in today's tough economic times, but what will it mean for the publishing industry? How do you reorganize? What are the priorities?


Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Thomas Nelson also
have announced layoffs in recent weeks. Staff reductions are likely at
Random House Inc., which is undergoing a significant consolidation.
Other publishers, including Macmillan, have frozen wages or deferred
raises.

Sargent said Monday that it was "necessary to adjust our company and
become more efficient in the face of the market we are dealing with."
He added that there would be no cuts in the budget for acquiring books.

 Me: That's good for us aspiring authors hunting for the traditional publishing contract.

"That's 100 percent unchanged," he said in an interview.

In a move Sargent said he had been looking into for months, Macmillan
will combine its seven children's companies into a single division,
the Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, effective Jan. 1. Macmillan
also plans reductions through a "centralized business and production
group for its adult and children's publishing companies," according to
the memo.

Other changes include the increased use of digital technology and
reducing Macmillan's presence at BookExpo America, the industry's
annual national convention. In the Internet age, other publishers have
questioned BookExpo's role; the show's manager, Lance Fensterman, has
said he is looking at ways to make the show more affordable and more
productive.

 ME: Consolidation and increase digital technology. Use of Internet Marketing, I wonder? Streamlining BookExpo of America.  I think are good moves, considering the times.

"I think it makes more sense to funnel our marketing dollars
elsewhere," Sargent said, referring to the book convention.

Macmillan's publishers include St. Martin's Press, Henry Holt & Co.
and Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Macmillan is owned by Verlagsgruppe Georg
von Holtzbrinck, based in Stuttgart, Germany.

"We will remain a loose federation of publishers producing and selling
a remarkable collection of books by exceptional authors," Sargent
wrote in the memo.

************

2ND ARTICLE

Layoffs at Random House, Simon & Schuster

By HILLEL ITALIE – Dec 3, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — The economy has crashed down on an industry once
believed immune from the worst — book publishing — with consolidation
at Random House Inc., and layoffs at Simon & Schuster and Thomas
Nelson Publishers.

"Yes, Virginia, book publishing is NOT recession proof," said Patricia
Schroeder, president and chief executive officer of the Association of
American Publishers. "It's sad day."

At Random House, the country's largest general trade publisher, the
man who helped give the world "The Da Vinci Code" is in talks for a
new position, while the publisher of Danielle Steel and other
brand-name authors is leaving altogether.

Stephen Rubin, who released Dan Brown's blockbuster thriller in 2003,
is negotiating for a different job after Random House eliminated his
position as president and publisher of the Doubleday Publishing Group.
Bantam Dell head Irwyn Applebaum, whose many authors have included
Steel, Dean Koontz and Louis L'Amour, is departing, effective immediately.

Ouch. The guys the authors trust is leaving? Is he that expensive? 

Random House, under the leadership of chief executive officer Markus
Dohle, announced the changes Wednesday as part of a "new publishing
structure" that will "maximize our growth potential in these
challenging economic times and beyond."

Spokeswoman Carol Schneider would not say whether Applebaum, 54, was
leaving voluntarily; Applebaum and Rubin, 67, have more than 40 years
of combined experience in publishing. She said that layoffs are
possible as the company's many imprints and divisions are shifted and
split up.

"There may be difficult decisions to make and if layoffs are necessary
they will be done as fairly and as quickly as possible," she said.

Simon & Schuster has been helped by President-elect Barack Obama's
embrace of Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals," but not enough to
save some 35 positions, about 2 percent of the staff. CEO Carolyn
Reidy said in a company memo Wednesday that "today's action is an
unavoidable acknowledgment of the current book-selling marketplace and
what may very well be a prolonged period of economic instability. "

Reidy added that "the entire publishing industry is coping with these
truly difficult circumstances. "

On Tuesday, a top executive at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt resigned as
the publisher faces a credit squeeze and possible sale. Meanwhile, the
head of Thomas Nelson Publishers, a Nashville, Tenn.-based company
that releases religious books, announced that about 10 percent of the
staff, "54 of our friends and co-workers," had lost their jobs.

"This will affect nearly every department in our company," CEO Thomas
S. Hyatt wrote on his blog, http://www.michaelh yatt.com.

An overhaul has been expected at Random House ever since Dohle was
hired last spring by parent company Bertelsmann AG, a German-based
conglomerate, and began a planned months-long review of the publisher.

Last month, Random House said it would freeze pensions for current
employees and eliminate them for new hires.


Me: Ouch! No pensions for new hires? 

Under the new alignment, Random House will reduce the number of its
principal divisions from five to three: The Random House Publishing
Group, the longtime home to E.L. Doctorow and Maya Angelou; the Knopf
Publishing Group, a literary institution that includes Toni Morrison
and John Updike; and the Crown Publishing Group, known for such
political authors as Obama and Ann Coulter.

Applebaum's Bantam Dell Publishing Group and Rubin's Doubleday
Publishing Group will be dispersed among the three divisions. Bantam
has long been in trouble as sales for mass market paperbacks dropped,
while Doubleday has been hurt by the absence of Brown's long-awaited
follow-up to "The Da Vinci Code" and by disappointing sales for a
highly publicized debut novel, Andrew Davidson's "The Gargoyle."

Dohle said Wednesday that he is hoping to "create a new role" for
Rubin at Random House, working directly with the CEO.

"As you know, Steve has successfully led Doubleday for almost two
decades and is universally respected and admired throughout the
industry for both his publishing expertise and management skills,"
Dohle said in a company memo.

Rubin, through a spokesman, declined to comment Wednesday.

Applebaum said in a statement he had been "honored to work with a
long-standing team of extraordinarily skilled colleagues at Bantam
Dell who, book by book, year after year, consistently have brought to
the marketplace more top-level best-sellers than any other group of
Random House."

Asked if he had been offered another position at Random House,
Applebaum declined to comment.

Dohle is retaining at least one Random House tradition — allowing the
divisions to bid against each other for books, a practice far more
welcomed by authors and agents than by those worried about expenses.

Me: This sounds good, considering the purse straps are tightening.

"I want to stress the fact that all the imprints of Random House will
retain their distinct editorial identities," Dohle said Wednesday.
"These imprints and all of you who support them are the creative core
of our business and essential to our success."

Also, Wednesday, The New York Times announced its 10 best books for
2008. Nine of them, including Toni Morrison's "A Mercy" and Jhumpa
Lahiri's "Unaccustomed Earth," were published by Random House Inc.

TRENDS: (Thoughts from me)

What does it mean for the future of publishing? Look at the last 10-20 years. 2 Big things have happened:

# 1 - Publishing has moved to BIG publishing houses and away from medium sized firms.

#2 - Publishers spend outrageous amounts of money to support just a handful of books they think will be successful.

Print books are here to stay, I firmly believe that. Yes, there's been an expansion in self-published books for about 10 years since IUniverse and other self-publishing firms developed, but the digital media used here, is not the same digital media traditional firms want to tap into. I think we're going to see less money thrown at traditional marketing strategies and more cost effective marketing via the Internet.

People still like to sit down and rip into a meaty book.  I do think the publishing industry is going to re-examine how they do business and MARKETING is a big area they are going to look at next to layoffs. They need to tighten the purse straps.

MY PREDICTIONS:

I think you're going to see less money thrown at a handful of books. I think you're going to see publishers and agents be very selective about who they represent.

That said, it becomes very important to establish writing creditals. Without name regconization it will be that much harder to break into traditional publishing, I think.  Attend the Writing conventions and conferences if you can.  Making personal contacts with agents and publishers might give you a foot a door esp. now.
 

Anyone care to share thoughts?

Posted by sgcardin at 4:49 AM
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Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Final Thoughts on Gothic Lit
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Writing
Here are the elements for a "Gothic" tale...

To have a novel known as "Gothic," its got to follow a set of rules. First, the setting takes place in a castle, or if the story is set in America, an old family estate. That's what makes Southern Gothic appealing, because an old plantation can be used. The estate, be it a castle, mansion, or plantation, can sometimes be abandoned, or sometimes occupied. It can be near caves to augment a mystery and may often contain secret passages, trap doors, any mysterious rooms.

Next the novel has to carry an atmosphere of mystery and suspense. In "The 13th Tale," there's an atmosphere of mystery built up around the parentage of the twins, Emmeline and Adelaine. Also, there's usually an ancient prophecy involved along with omens and visions.

There are usually supernatural events which occur. It doesn't matter if they are given a natural explanation or not, the event is what's important.

Other elements include high emotion, women in distress, a powerful or tyrannical male figure and metonymies - metaphors like rain which is used to represent something else, like sorrow.

If you're thinking of exploring this genre, read a couple of books or short stories first.  The plot and pacing must be "tight" for your story to be successful.

On  different note:
Has anyone read "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer? Any thoughts? I read the first two chapters so far - Bella has been Edward but his reaction to her has been frigid to say the least.

Posted by sgcardin at 10:15 AM
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Monday, 15 December 2008
More thoughts on Gothic Lit & Holiday Life
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Writing
Just a few more thoughts on Gothic Lit...

Another influential author in the Gothic tradition was Edgar Allen Poe. In "The Fall of the House of Usher," he explored such classic gothic themes of decay, death, and madness, but he added his own twist - and looked into the terrors of the soul.

Also writing along with Poe, was Emily Bronte. "Wuthering Heights," explored gothic elements on the Yorkshire Moors through the brooding Heathcliff character.

With Bram Stroker's "Dracula," the most famous gothic villian ever was created - Dracula. Stoker also established Easter Europe as a favorite locale for the genre. More recently, in the 1930's HP Lovecrft has been connected with the genre, blending gothic elements with horror, setting a new bar for writers.

Romance has also been blended with the gothic genre. During the 1950's, 60's, 70's, such authors as Victoria Holt, and Dorothy Fletcher focused on the female and her connection to a "gloomy" castle.

Another sub-genre is known as "southern" gothic. This sub-genre takes traditional gothic elements and plants them in the Southern United States.

Next final thoughts on Gothic - what are the elements?

Also - you can find this article on Gothic Lit in my official monthly newsletter. You can sign up by visiting my website at sgcardin.tripod.com and going to the bottom of the page.


*******
Life

As usual, life is keeping me busy.  I had the usual slew of appointments for Joe.  He did better at his group last week.  He sat down in the chair longer and attended to tasks longer which was nice.  The ladies at group say it will take him 3 weeks to settle in so we've got another week.  

I've been working on my novel, "The Wolf's Kiss." I'm officially half-way down now. I'll be starting the "Hungary" section of it now.  I've also developed it's official title - The Hungarian. It's a very different story from the Short Story I wrote in 2006, but I believe it's a lot more developed.

Later on today, I'll be working on my official newsletter and I hope to have that out within a day or two.

I'm currently reading: Alison Weir, "The Wars of the Roses." If you love history, esp. British history, you'll find her look at this complex time fascinating. She writes in a very engaging way that, for me at least, brings history to life.

It rained last night, but it looks to be clearing a bit now. I need to mail my sister's Christmas gift off today so I'll probably tackle that once I pick Andrew up from school if it doesn't start to rain again.

Anyone else have any thoughts on Gothic Lit? Love to hear them.  Does anyone have any good gothic short stories or novels they can recommend?

Smiles,
Steph

Posted by sgcardin at 8:43 AM
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Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Life & Writing Thoughts on Gothic Lit
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Writing
Life

I know it's been a while since I've written - the Christmas rush is on! Not only that, Joseph started his "group" on Thurs and Fri and it's from 1030 to 1230 which makes those days very hectic for me. As for Christmas, I did a bulk of my shopping yesterday.  I took Joseph to the mall with me and he was great for being 2! He waved "hi" to everyone and every so often even said "hewlo" in the soft little voice of his.  He was smiling and happy.  I kept him occupied with popcorn and milk which seemed to work. Mind you, I had to know where I was going and what I wanted.  Joseph is not for "browsing," but considering he's two, I thought he did great.  I was able to get the ornaments for our ornament exchange and some and ends stuff.  I went to the "Candleman" with Andrew (he loves to go there) and we sorted through Yankee Candle scents until we settled on "Red Berry and Cider" for our home Christmas scent. I thought at one point they had bayberry but the lady they hadn't carried bayberry in at least 3 years.   After that, we went to Costco to grind the coffee beans I forgot to do last week and when we got home, Andrew and I decorated our Christmas tree.  He had a blast. Joseph was a little impatient with us...
Writing

Now onto the writing thought of the day. I thought I'd tackle the different genres in couple of my upcoming posts and today I thought I'd look at Gothic Lit.  A GREAT book that really captures the flavor of Gothic writing that's very recent is "THE 13TH TALE."



Gothic Lit got it's start in 1764 when Horace Walpole wrote "The Castle of Otranto." Walpole's story contained all the elements to define the gothic genre. Throughout the years, many authors have taken their stab at writing gothic lit, putting their own unique spin on it.

Ann Radcliffe, writing in 1794 gave the genre a sense of legitamcy when she questioned the supernatural elements, explaining them away as natural causes. She also introduced the brooding villain, who by the end of the story, is revealed to be the hero.

Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, was definitely influenced by Gothic elements, but her novel is considered one of the first science fiction novels to be written.

I'll have more thoughts on Gothic Lit tomorrow.

Smiles,
Steph

Posted by sgcardin at 11:21 AM
Updated: Tuesday, 9 December 2008 11:21 AM
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Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Internet Book Signing Today - 2 DEC
Mood:  bright
Topic: Writing
Just wanted to remind you all that my Internet Book Signing is going on today for my novel, "All That Remains." Pop on over to my messageboard to check it out.

http://therogerhowarthphotogallerycommunity.yuku.com/topic/1149

Yuku isn't taking my html code and I don't have all day to figure it out, so if you want a copy of the book send $15.95 to my PayPal account at Botrinarocks@hotmail.com

You'll get an autograph, bookmark, magnets and pens.  It's a steal. hehe. 

All That Remains was written in 2002 and is a contemporary romance. Darrin Banning is a widower who is being sued by his in-laws for custody of his daughter.  Darrin hires a lawyer, Kristina Rivers, to represent him.  The sparks fly between Darrin & Kristina. Will a romance between the two ruin his chances of retaining his daughter's custody?  You'll have to check out the book.

Steph

Posted by sgcardin at 12:10 PM
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Sunday, 30 November 2008
Writing Stuff & A Book Review
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Writing
Just wanted to drop a quick line.  Every genre has it's "rules" and in order to be successful in that genre it's best to follow the rules.  Now, sometimes you can break the rules and it works out great, but the best way to break the rules is to know them well.  Here are a couple rules for the romance genre:

Thinking of writing a romance novel? There are a couple of rules and guidelines that writers should keep in mind when they start out.

The traditional structure of a romance novel starts with the introduction of the characters and the problem. The writer can then begin to expand the characterization and intimacy of the story. At the mid-point of the novel there's a culmination of physical intimacy. The characters are then introduced to a new problem and the story should end with the resolution of the relationship.

Once the structure of the story has been plotted out, there are several plot points to consider, one being "happy ever after." A romance isn't a romance unless there's a happy ever after. This is a pretty set rule. If you keep to the traditional structure of a romance, but don't allow for a happy ever after, you have a relationship novel, not a romance.

Another pretty firm rule is known as "I've only got eyes for you." When the heroine and the hero meet, the story is about how they come together as a couple. There's no room for a third party love interest because then someone doesn't get happy ever after.

A third rule of romance writing involves point of view. The main point of view should be written using the heroine's perspective. Readers enjoy the hero, but he's not the one who is going to give the emotional content the story needs to reach the reader.

The romance genre, however, is very forgiving when it comes to multiple character points of view in a scene. This is commonly known as the "Lonesome Dove" point of view. This perspective switches between characters within a scene. Most professional editors/readers tend to shy away from it because it's also "head hopping" and that can be confusing.

Once the writer has established a plot that follows the above rules, then they incorporate the other rules which allow for a little leeway in the story. These rules encompass readers coming to care about the characters, identifying with the heroine and falling in love with the hero.


And now... another review.
Enjoy {e:bigsmile}
Steph

*********************

Book Review for: “A Woman in Berlin”
Written by: Anonymous
259 pages
Picador
ISBN: 0-312-42611-9-51400
$14.00
5 Stars


“A Woman in Berlin” tells the amazing story of the fall of Berlin in 1944 and the subsequent Russian invasion before the allies arrived.  The Anonymous author paints a riveting picture of the war’s aftermath and chronicles in brutal detail what she had to do to stay alive.

The novel is told in a journal format and starts on Friday, April 20, 1945. The story is by an anonymous woman who describes herself only as a thin, pale blond who wears the same overcoat. Her first entry presents a graphic scene. Berlin is under siege by the Russians. The author knows the Russians are about to liberate the city and she’s dreading it. They don’t have a good reputation as liberators. She lives in an apartment building with several other residents. The rations are poor, there’s no radio, and there’s no electricity. Gas stoves, central heating, and hot plates are all “gifts of the modern age,” but ineffectual if there’s no power.

The bombs intensify around Berlin. The fighting heats up and then nothing. An eerie lull settles over he city. The author writes with unflinching honesty noting how the German society was built around the strength of their men, but now shattered, their men are miserable and powerless, leaving the German women at the mercy of their conquerors.

On April 27, the author notes that the Russians have entered Berlin. They’ve quickly earned the nickname of “Ivan.” She realizes that in order to be safe, she had better find a Russian officer to watch over her. She knows that in order to earn his favor she’ll have to be intimate with him, but it’s a risk she’s willing to take.

The author is candid. Having worked as a reporter previously, she can speak Russian. The initial Russians she meets are surprised by her. She seeks out a Russian lieutenant, Anatol, and becomes involved with him. He’s good to her and she gets used to him. Their relationship is short-lived. He’s soon transferred and a man known at the Major comes into the author’s life as her new lover and protector. The Major is tender and respectful of her, something that is stunning to her.

Slowly, but surely, Berlin starts to come alive. Basic services are beginning to be restored. By the end of the novel, which ends on June 16, with her own announcement that she intends to stop writing, the author meets with her fiancé, Gerd, who after discovering how she’s slept with several Russian men after the city’s fall, leaves her a final time. The novel concludes with the announcement of American and British forces taking over the southern part of Berlin, giving the author a sense of hope after the Russian misery she’s endured.

One of the main themes throughout the novel is the rape of Berlin after the city falls – not only of it’s possessions, but of it’s women. The author chooses to give her body to Russian officers, (the officers have a reputation of keeping a woman relatively safe, whereas an enlisted man was known to rape a woman) but she still feels no better than a whore. After a pregnancy scare, she wonders how many other women have done what she has only to end up pregnant by a Russian soldier.

The author humanizes a slice of history that is slowly fading from our view. The book is raw and honest, discussing uncomfortable truths that today are still uncomfortable. Rich in history, “A Woman in Berlin,” is a stirring and poignant read.

Posted by sgcardin at 9:24 AM
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Saturday, 29 November 2008
Thanksgiving Thoughts & A Book Review
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: The Bangles, Doll Revolution
Topic: Life
It's been a couple of days and I just wanted to touch bases with you all.  We celebrated Thanksgiving last Thursday.  My son, who is in first grade, came home about two weeks ago and told me Thanksgiving was "lame." Well, I couldn't have that. I got him involved.  First we planned a menu and compromised a little.  We had "White Castles" on it and Turkey of course.  I also whipped some banana smoothies for him which he enjoyed.  We baked cookies, cake, and a blueberry pie.  And I got us some matching Turkey Day aprons. Soon, Thanksgiving wasn't lame anymore, but cool.  I had him help decorate the dining room and we went to the candle store and sniffed candles, picking "spiced pumpkins" from Yankee Candle. It was a little extra effort on my part to get him involved but it was well worth it. He had a great time on Thanksgiving but it was because of the prep work.  

The moral of my story:  A little effort and quality time w/your kids go along way.


Yesterday, we took advantage of Knott's Berry Farm's Police/Fire salute and took the family.  All Fire/Police got in free and brought in a guest for free. Andrew, my 6 year old, rode the log flume and liked it. He's a bit conservative in what kind of rides he picks so I was glad he was a little daring with the Log Flume. Joseph traveled, rarely any fuss until he passed out toward the end of the day.  We saw the Knott's Berry Farm parade. It was kind of busy yesterday - heck, I thought more people would be at the stores shopping for sales.

That said, my husband Brent was actually at Target when it opened at 6 am! I couldn't believe he was game to go, but he was.  He didn't get anything we talked about though.  He didn't want to wait in line for the Wii accessories, he couldn't find the Wii pajamas we wanted to get Andrew and play tent we wanted to get Joseph was sold out. He sent me a text message from Target "It's a zoo."  No kidding, Sweetie. You had to expect that.  We'll look for that stuff a little later on in the week. It just might be work paying the few extra bucks for our shopping sanity.

Anyone have any good Black Friday tales they want to share?
And now...a review. Enjoy.
Steph

*******

Book Review for: “Fangs for the Memories”
Written by: Kathy Love
285 pages
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 0-7582-1131-7
$14.00
4.5 Stars


Kathy Love enters the realm of paranormal romance with her first book in the Young series, “Fangs for the Memories.” Love paints wonderfully romantic yet surreal scenes in this juicy offering which fans of the genre are sure to enjoy.

    Rhys Young is a brooding, moody vampire trapped in a human world. Filled with compassion, he rarely feeds from humans, preferring to get his blood in other ways. It’s not as satisfying, but it serves his conscious. He owns part of a nightclub with his brothers, Christian and Sebastian, and has chosen to seclude himself from the world due to his nocturnal nature. Part of his decision is due to his personality, and part of it is due to his background, having been an English viscount over 200 years ago.

    The story opens with Rhys coming to the aid of a young woman, Jane, who is being assaulted in an alley. Jane’s attacker gets away, but not after pistol whipping Rhys. Jane stays by his side and helps Rhys to his apartment with the assistance of his brothers. When Rhys comes to, he’s suffering from a bout of amnesia. Rhys mistakes Jane for his “intended,” and wraps her in an intimate embrace. Jane guilty enjoys Rhys’s advances, but assures him they aren’t engaged. It’s Sebastian who realizes that for the first time in his brother’s life, Rhys has unlocked the gate around his cool heart. Sebastian encourages Rhys to win Jane’s affections. Jane, who has lived a lonely life and was looking for a little direction is vulnerable to Rhys’s charms.

    Jane finds Rhys’s accent and old style mannerisms enchanting, but she has concerns over his habits. She notes how he only goes out at night and doesn’t care for mirrors. The chemistry between them is undeniable and Rhys’s hot kisses soon lead to nights of sinful passion.

    Jane and Christian soon notice the puncture wounds Rhys has left on her body. Christian, who has always harbored a deep seated resentment against his brother, conspires to keep Rhys and Jane apart. It soon comes down to the fact that Jane is dying from Rhys’s bites, bites he’s been unaware of because of his amnesia. The only way to save Jane is to make her a vampire. After Christian’s deception is revealed, and Rhys regains his memory, both he and Jane have tough choices to make. To save her life, will Jane allow Rhys to take the ultimate bite? The ending will satisfy those enjoy the paranormal romance genre.

    Love’s storytelling easily engages her readers. Her characters are interesting and dynamic. Love does write in a “Lonesome Dove” perspective, which switches point of view with no clear divisions or line breaks. This might be disconcerting to the reader. There’s a good blend of dialogue and narration.  Her love scenes are erotic and tender. “Fangs for the Memories,” is a story that allows the reader to deliciously escape in its romantic fantasy.

Posted by sgcardin at 8:11 AM
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Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Housekeeping Stuff
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Nickelback
Topic: Writing
I just wanted to spiff up my house before Thanksgiving hit and I'd be off line for a bit. I have a couple of announcements:

My Official Online Newsletter is back up! After a time demanding summer, I finally budgeted it my time to put together my first newsletter in six months. Now that it's back, it's back for good.  My newsletter covers a variety of topics.  I usually touch upon:

A main writing topic
Any holiday that the newsletter fall into
A character study and how to put together character bios
Weight Watcher recipes
Thoughts on the Writing World,
& Upcoming Events

I also list the organizations I belong to, my writing credits and how to get copies of my books.

DECEMBER'S UPCOMING EVENTS:

NTERNET BOOK SIGNING


I'm hosting an Internet book signing for my book, "All That Remains." The book was released in 2002 and is a contemporary romance that takes place in Manchester, NH. Visit my official site's messageboard on MONDAY, DEC 1 and order my book. I'll be giving out a discount. The book will cost $15.75 including shipping and handling and will include my autograph, a bookmark, magnets, and a set of pens.

NOV/DEC WRITING CONTEST

Visit my official messageboard on my site and enter your poetry in this month's contest.  Prizes include Amazon gift cards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

Here's a link to my Official Messageboard:  http://therogerhowarthphotogallerycommunity.yuku.com/forum/view/id/3

You have to have a user account for Yuku, and the accounts are free. If you need any help signing up for one, send me an email and let me know.

If you'd like to subscribe to my official online newsletter visit my website at:

 http://sgcardin.tripod.com

and scroll down to the bottom of the page. It's got the sign up for the newsletter there. Come on over and check it out. I'd love to add you to the list.

{b}A little more about THEME{/b}

I just wanted to touch a little more on theme, something I mentioned yesterday. Theme was the concept that held the story together. It was the journey the main character took to change and grow. Some common themes are:

finding ourselves,
fulfilling our calling,
betrayal
justice vs injustice
loyalty
sexism
racism

I'd love hear your thoughts on theme. Also, if you've just read a great book or heard some great music - share. I'm always looking for new stuff.

Smiles,
Steph

Posted by sgcardin at 10:47 AM
Updated: Tuesday, 25 November 2008 10:48 AM
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Monday, 24 November 2008
Steph's Writing Thought of the day and A Book Review
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Writing
It's been a busy morning. I was putting together my Official Online Newsletter and my two year old wants me to play with him.  Sigh... I've been meaning to get here sooner, so forgive. My writing thought of the day is: THEME.

What is theme?  Well, it's like the glue that holds your story together. It's the story arc that your main character takes.  Some examples of theme are:

Greed is not good
Coming of Age
Love wins out in the end.

Can you think of any stories which highlight those themes?

In my novel, "The Wolf's Torment," the main theme is a coming of age story. Prince Mihai is 18 years old and must soon learn how to govern a kingdom, but as the prologue, and his father, King Stelian, implies, Mihai is still a boy chasing a girl's skirts.  As the book continues, Mihai realizes he has to "grow up," because so many people depend on him.  Since he's the main character of the novel, he takes on that journey with him. Without a strong or steady theme to keep your plot steady, all you have are scenes, really.  Unless you know where you want to take your main character (that's what the theme gives you) he'll just go from scene to scene and the growth or development of him will be lacking.

Anyone want to share some themes they're tackling in their writing?

And now... another book review. Enjoy
Smiles,
Steph

Book Review for “John”

Written by: Cynthia Lennon
Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 0-340-89511-X
404 Pages
20 pounds
5 Stars

Cynthia Lennon starts her autobiographical tale reflecting on the death of her famous ex-husband, John Lennon and within the first chapter reveals two insights into John’s personality that haven’t really been discussed before in books about the Beatles. It’s a catchy start to a heartwarming, sweet, yet tragedic tale.

As the book starts, Cynthia is a teenager beginning art college. Shortly thereafter she encounters John Lennon. The two make an unlikely couple. She was raised in a nice neighborhood to be a “good” girl and John Lennon is a teenager rebel with only one cause – rock and roll.

Cynthia points out they had several things in common in the book – they were both short sighted and bonded over losing their parents when they were seventeen. (Cynthia lost her father when she was seventeen and John lost his mother.) Soon, Cynthia and John embark on a relationship. Her love is what John needs. She’s a steady constant in his life which is filled with uncertainty.

Cynthia is there before John and the Beatles make it famous. She talks of their humble beginnings and John’s family. We learn John’s Aunt Mimi, the woman who raised him, is a very totalitarian matriarch who very rarely showed John small, simple, loving gestures. John also has two younger sisters who adore him, Jacqui and Julia. There are so many sides to John. He’s in love, yet has a ferocious jealous side to him. He can be kind and tender, yet John dislikes confrontation. An example of this is how Pete Best is told to leave the band. Brian Epstein breaks the news to Pete and John never sees him again.

Cynthia and John had been with each other four years before their son Julian is conceived. John marries her right before the Beatles begin to take off. As the Beatles ride the wave of fame, Cynthia is by John’s side. It isn’t easy for the couple, but their love gets them through.

The book shifts when Cynthia begins to talk of John’s drug use. It’s his use of drugs that drives a wedge between them. John’s decline and destruction is sad to read about in such a personal way. The way he cuts Cynthia and Julian out of his life is quick, deliberate, precise, and very hurtful. Cynthia must find her own way with little financial support from John.

It’s hard to put this book down. The beginning draws you in and the reader barely has a chance to catch their breath. Happiness quickly turns to misery, pain, and despair much in the same manner as the Beatles overwhelming success turns sour at the end of the sixties.

Cynthia offers fresh insights on a musical history that has been practically hashed to death by the number of books written by the Beatles. Her thoughts and impression on Yoko are not put out there in a mean-spirited way – instead Cynthia presents the facts as is and lets the reader come to their conclusions. This is a wonderful read for those who are true fans of the Beatles and John Lennon.

Posted by sgcardin at 11:39 AM
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