Books, blogs, & other entertainment

I should be working on a conference proceedings paper due on Friday but I needed a break from that task. Beta reading 2 novels has been on my to-do list these last couple of weeks. I sent comments off on one a couple of days ago. The other is an epic tome that will take me a bit longer. When that’s done I’ll be off in search of some new ‘fun’ reads.

My ‘research’ books will remain nearby – at least until I have to take those I don’t own back to the library:

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
& numerous other books on colonial history. Never hurts to start researching that 1776 time travel novel I want to write.

I’m also surrounded by Weir’s Eleanor of Aquitaine, Lionheart by Penman, Chronicle of the Third Crusade, translated by Nicholson, Life in a Medieval Castle by Gies & Gies, Crusaders and Crusading in the Twelfth Century by Constable, and a handful of other books I’m using as reference books for my novella, Battle Scars.

Blog highlights
Here are a few blog posts I’ve read recently that stand out as keepers:

Janice Hardy: The Spit Shine: Things to Check Before You Submit
I’m bookmarking this one. When I complete my current round of revisions, I’ll go through the manuscript looking for things Janice points out.

Joel Friedlander: 4 Quick Tips for Authors to Get Website Traffic Fast!

Jami Gold: Writing: Where Less Can Be More
One of my betas suggested I wrapped up the ending of my novel far too quickly & neatly and didn’t show the characters healing after traumatic events. Jami’s post, which highlights thoughts from Jason Black’s post, leaves me thinking that my denouement is appropriate. It allows the reader to imagine how the characters’ lives will play out.

Jaye, @CalliesHand, continues her great posts: More About Ebook Formatting, Source Files and Tales of Tagging 1

@DWWilkin: Where Do I Write? Does A Scenery Change Help Your Creative Juice Flow?  (And yes, it does for me!)

I don’t believe I’ve mentioned that I don’t subscribe to cable TV and have no antenna to pull in the nearest network stations, which are some 60 miles east.  After years paying ridiculous amounts to have a steady diet of mainly HGTV, TLC, and the Food Network, I gave up cable. That was almost 3 years ago. I stream Netflix a few hours a week these days to catch up on old television shows or movies. Every now & then, I break down and buy DVDs. My most recent purchase: Game of Thrones.

On my TV menu the last week or so:

Downton Abbey season 1 – because I was off last Monday & Tuesday, I re-watched 4 episodes with a friend I was visiting in Texas. She hadn’t seen the show. I think she’s hooked now, and I’m ready to watch season 2 again. Why isn’t it on Netflix yet?!

Star Trek: the Next Generation 1×01 & 1×02 – I’ve had TNG in my queue for ages. I used to catch episodes occasionally when it was in reruns on cable, but I know I’ve missed many of them. I may need to watch the entire series cover-to-cover. That could take me years…

  1. Marie Loughin Avatar

    Wow, no cable. Who’d a thought anyone could live without cable 😉

    Actually, if we had American Netflix up here, I’d be tempted to get rid of cable, too. As it is, I don’t think I’ve watched more than 2-3 shows since the season finales. My daughter and I have been working our way through Bones reruns on Canadian Netflix. Since 5 seasons are available, it’s been all Bones all the time for weeks.

    On second thought, we’re stuck with cable for a while. There’s football and soccer to watch. I haven’t figured out how to stream American sports on the computer up here.

    1. Char Avatar

      I’ve had so many friends tell me the pain of sports withdrawal keeps their addiction to cable alive. 🙂

  2. Jami Gold Avatar

    Hi Char, Thanks for the link! 🙂

    Yes, we don’t have cable either. We get over-the-air signals, but never watch TV. (Who has time? I’d rather be writing.) Like you said, when we hear of a good series, we can always catch it another way.

    I did want to comment about your denouement issue too. I’ve seen some books where the denouement was all of about a paragraph or a half page after the climax. *That* is too short. 🙂 Humans’ emotions don’t switch instantly, and we need time to adjust from emotion A to emotion B. So as long as yours isn’t so short that it doesn’t allow that emotional equivalent of “catching our breath,” and as long as you do *start* the characters on the path of healing, I think that’s enough. We don’t have to see them completely healed, but we do have to get the sense that it will happen.

    That’s my opinion, anyway. 😉 Take from that what you want. LOL!

    1. Char Avatar

      Thanks for visiting, Jami! I can assure you that “too short” is not the problem, not when the story continues for another 6,000 words beyond the climax. At one point I thought that was too long but I had a number of plot points to wrap up! I am in the midst of editing the manuscript after beta feedback and I’ll take a hard look at those 6,000 words but I don’t envision any major changes at this point. 🙂

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