Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chatting it Up

Good reviews are always something to celebrate and today "Ring of Desire" had that reason.  Here's what I discovered in the early hours of the morning only minutes before the coffee finished brewing.
"Not being an avid romance reader did not stop this story from grabbing my attention with the first few paragraphs, and I'm still caught. I love all the action starting at the beginning, the mysteries, the magic, the sense of danger that the villain brings with him. Ryshia Kennie has done a superb job keeping my attention from beginning to end. When life forced me to stop reading, I couldn't stop thinking about the story until I had the opportunity to return to reading it. Read the book. You'll be happy if you do."  Lucille Perkins Robinson

I've got to admit this is an up and down business.  And the downs, well they can really be down until you learn the fine art of the bounce.  Which involves much psychological foolery of self.  Seriously, to get a review like that first thing in the morning was a brilliant start to the day. 

Now if a good review isn't worth a chat, I don't know what is?  Either way Monday, February 22 I'm over at the Night Owl Romance chatting from 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST for one hour.  Three authors including me - lots of fun, lots of prizes, come on by ask questions or just chat, have some fun and maybe win a prize. 

That's my news.  And you - Any good news make your day?


Friday, February 19, 2010

Even Frankenstein was an Experiment

Experiments can change the world and they can also be deadly. Although there are different degrees of the word deadly – Frankenstein, deadly. What I experiment with – not quite so deadly.

Take websites for instance. Sometimes maintaining your own website can be while not deadly, traumatic. Especially when html and web design programs are not your expertise! The other day was proof of that. For that was the day when I lost most of my book page on my website. The push of a key and voila - something is no more. Before you shake your head and say poor me – let me tell you I have hopes that I’ll build something better out of the fiasco – another experiment, just not today.

Isn’t life an experiment of choices? Rather like fiction. The experiment is key. That's one of the joys of writing you get to do what you would never consider in real life - play with peoples lives. Not to say that there aren't people that do that in real life but that would be another post, another opinion and... I've swerved far enough.

Seriously, experimenting with fictional characters can have some interesting outcomes. Push the limits of your character’s abilities to see what they’ll do. Make it difficult – but how difficult? When the push works it can be awesome. Stretching for something you never did before or something you never originally visualized for your character can be both daunting and exciting. If you're right things shift and change and the character grows before your eyes or, like the other day, things aren't quite that smooth and you're left shaking your head with a muddled screen or a troubled story. But when it works, the experiment is a beautiful thing.

Today my heroine has surprised herself and the story has deepened.  And the website - that now shortened book page? That experiment is not going as well, it’s still short a few details.

So anyone waiting for the winner of my latest contest to be announced - stay tuned if not today, I promise tomorrow.

In life or fiction, when do you push the envelope, hop a different boat and experiment? And when do you call it a day?


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bits, Bytes and a Book

Quick, take my e-reader away.  It seems I've become addicted! 

At first when I began my e-reader voyage, hubbie accused me of just liking to shop online and not actually reading what I was buying.  And you know, to begin with he was right.  The novelty of just picking out a book and plopping it effortlessly through the nethersphere onto my e-reader was too tempting to resist.  Now not to say that I bankrupted the family in book purchases.  Let's just say I'll make it through the remainder of a Saskatchewan winter.  Although, let's be clear - that could pessimistically mean somewhere near the end of April - it's been known to happen.

So I've settled in to begin working my way through all my purchases and no, I haven't divorced myself from paper.  There is still nothing that compares to a paper book.  And yes, I bought a few of those too.  Not to be repetitious but what the heck - it's been a cold winter.  And I'll be well entertained right through to the end and possibly well into spring.

Back to the e-reader.  What a lovely gadget.  It's not that I haven't read books electronically before.  After all, I read my own over and over again on my trusty little laptop.  I know, not quite the same.  The first time I transferred a pdf version of my story onto the e-reader - wow!  It was like a sneak preview.

Now I'm digressing.  Where was I going with this?  Just that I'm surprised that I'm this comfortable with an e-reader and that I don't love it any more nor any less than a paper book.  It's just different.  I won't take it to the beach, or the bath, or eat a solitary breakfast with e-book in hand.  Somehow it just wasn't made for that.   But it's good almost everywhere else and for purchasing books that I may enjoy but don't need to see resting comfortably on my shelves.  It's handy for travel and journeying back and forth to work.  And it's dandy for shopping for books - of course we already covered that!

Yes, me and said e-reader are getting into a routine.  Although, I must admit that a paperback book will never tell me that it's about to shutdown because it's run out of power.  And after getting tired of issuing warnings, a paperback will never just close its cover in mid sentence and shut down like my e-book did the other night.  The nerve!

What's your preference - paper or paperless? 


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Superbowl - Please Pass the Squid

Superbowl XXXVIII - while it was played on February 1, 2004, in our part of the world it was already the morning of February 2.  We were in Sihoukville, Cambodia for some rest and relaxation after days of  traveling through Cambodia.  So I didn't think there was much chance of seeing Superbowl but first thing in the morning there we sat in a little beachside hotel watching the game on a tiny television screen that I'm pretty sure was built prior to the advent of big screen TV.  And for once the size of the screen didn't matter, the game was on!  It's the only Superbowl game that I watched only the main half-time event, the remainder of half-time  was spent in an open-air restaurant where breakfast consisted of  pancakes accompanied by rice and pineapple.  I passed on the eggs - that was also the year of the Avian Flu scare.

But it was after the game where the day really got interesting.  A day on a quiet beach soon found us adopted by a group of enterprising vendors.  First there was the woman who patrolled the beach and seemed to keep order among a multitude of teen vendors.  We soon learned her story.  She left her husband and came south with her kids because he drank and "boxed her".  Her English was learned on the beach and she was making sure her children learned English even though that meant two sessions of school for them everyday.  A girl selling sarongs was our next visitor and she persisted in her quest to have us buy one.  Soon a game of x's and o's was in progress - again at her insistence.  And if she won, well you guessed it - we bought a sarong.  That transaction complete, a woman with a barbecue balancing from a pole across her shoulders, complete with all utensils, stopped by to sell us barbecued squid.  And right behind her was a Vietamese girl with a red floppy hat, fashionable dress and bare feet with a basket full of nail polish and accessories, another character with a story.  She was selling manicures and pedicures and no one was leaving the beach without one.  We went home that night nicely manicured.  But not before we had feasted on fruit, more squid and prawns.  If we wanted a drink there was someone ready and willing to run for it for a small price, cheap by our standards - good pay to them.  We were all happy! 

The vendors, all girls, would disappear from time to time, heading down the beach to sell more goods but would always return, plunking down in the sand beside us with their goods and their stories. And so went the afternoon as the vendors adopted us.  We ate our fill of barbecued seafood, washed down with ice-cold beer and we laughed and listened to their stories.

It was unplanned, unexpected and the most memorable day of our trip.

What's one of your favourite travel memories?


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Buckle Up - It's Romance

Sometimes life is just hard.  I've heard a different variation of that statement many times from different people and in many ways.   And it's true, sometimes life is more an endurance test, a marathon run than a sprint.  And there's not much we can do about many of life's bumps and jolts.  The only thing we can do is buckle up and cushion ourselves for the ride.

That's where romance comes in.  We all want to believe in the intrinsic good of mankind even when the nightly news is showing us exactly the opposite.  We'd prefer to believe that there's a chivalrous knight available for every lady in distress.   And that for every knight whose dropped his sword in battle, there's a lady ready to pick up a sword and have his back.  Bear with me, my latest venture into the publishing world, "Ring of Desire", seems to have thrown me temporarily into medieval times.

Anyway, back to romance.  Romance is many things but I also think it is the balm for life's difficulties.  Even if we currently don't have that special someone, there are few of us that don't just feel good after watching one of the epic romances.  And while some of us might not sigh and say "wasn't that romantic",  I bet you have that feel good feeling. 

Romance - love it or leave it?

I'm blogging at the Manic Readers today, February 3.  Click here to come on over and check out  my version of "Isn't it romantic" and give me yours!  

Ring of Desire
From the Dust

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ground Hog Day and Details

Today is the day - the answer to how long winter is going to be.  Will Mr. Ground Hog see his shadow or won't he?  Fingers crossed everyone.  It's a small thing I know but as a good ground hog knows you've got to pay attention to those shadows for if you don't you'll screw up weather prediction world wide!  Maybe not such a small thing.

Like writing, if you don't pay attention to those little details the whole thing can fall apart.  In fact yesterday I was told about a great travel story.  A tour through India which came with a recommendation and a caveat - there was no mention of food!  That fact left the story a little flat for the reader.  Now maybe that's a bad example - for not to mention the food in India is not a small thing.   When I travel, food is a major part of the experience.  It's got to be mentioned.  So a small thing to the author was obviously a big thing for others and there was a pall over the story as a result.

Small details paint the bigger picture, give you three dimensional characters and lush settings.  It's something to remember as I wait with breath bated to see if that darn shadow appears - hopefully not!

Today I'm over at Night Owl Romance Reviews - come on by and comment for a chance to win an e-copy of "Ring of Desire".