Fictionista, Foodie, Feline-lover

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Whipping Boy--My Mystery Novella debuts next month

I write short stories.
In fact, I write SHORT short stories.
Up until last month, the longest story I'd ever written was my entry in Paul D. Brazill's Drunk on the Moon compilation of stories set in his Roman Dalton world. I think it topped out at a little ore than 5K. I am in awe of my friends who find it easy to whip out 70 or 80K in a month or two, and think nothing of writing a novel every few months or so.
For me, writing at length is hard. (Well, I suppose if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.)
But Whipping Boy is a story that's been percolating for a long time. The protagonist is an L.A. criminalist named Lark Riordan, whose father Jack is an actor who has recently been nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in a "come-back" role. Lark's low-key love interest is a homicide detective named Max Siwek, who is also her stepbrother. Yes, it's complicated, but the book isn't a romance, it's a mystery. It's also a longish novella, coming in around 45K right now as I begin my final edit before handing it over to beta readers. I'm rather pleased with the book, and now that I know I can actually write something that's longer than 1200 words, I am back to working n Misbegotten, my long-in-development novel about paranormal L.A. and the crime reorter who chronicles illegal doings in the city.
i have a few thousand words to go before it's a novel, but it's getting there. the cover is by Joy Sillesen of Indie Author Services.

Kattomic Energy Geektastic Holiday Gift Guide--Part Two

 I haven't set foot in a shopping mall--except to go see a movie--in years. I am in walking distance of two excellent bookstores--one an indie, another a Bookstar--and for everything else, there's online. and I do mean EVERYTHING else. Last year I bought almost all my Christmas presents online. This year, the figure is 100 percent. (And don't hate me, but I'm already done.) In addition to picking just the perfect gift for friends, I also usually pick up half a dozen gift cards for stocking stuffers, and last-minute presents. Gift cards have a bad rap, but honestly, I'm always thrilled to get one. (I don't drink coffee, for instance, but a Starbucks gift card will buy a lot of oatmeal cookies and/or hot chocolate.) Amazon gift cards can be redeemed for pretty much anything you can think of. You can even get them in a box if you want to put them under a tree or in a stocking instead of just mailing them.

Practically every supermarket and drug store now has a display of gift cards you can buy for everything from movies to iTunes, but you can also buy gift cards to use on Etsy, eBay,Redbubble, Zazzle, ans SpaFinders. (right bow they're running a deal for two $50 gift cards for $80.) Not feeling the gift cards? Well, here are some other suggestions, arranged by category.

S is for Shakespeare, Science, Star Trek, Star Wars, and Scents

I admit it. When it comes to Shakespeare, I am a fan girl. If you know a like-minded person, there are a lot of terrific presents that celebrate the bard, items that go far beyond the ubiquitous quotation  t-shirts and mugs. (Not that you can't always use another t-shirt or mug.) My favorite Shakespeare-themed gift this season is the Shakespeare flash drive ($25) available on theBroadway Cares site. This fundraising organization now funds  more than 450 groups and has raised $225 million to fight AIDS. So you can give a double gift when you buy anything from their online store.

The Folger Shakespeare Library's "Luminary Shakespeare apps" for Macbeth, Othello and Romeo & Juliet are downloadable from iTunes. From solitary reading to generative thinking, from the classroom to the theater, Folger Luminary Shakespeare apps offer an interactive reading experience to enhance our pleasure and understanding of Shakespeare's extraordinary works. ($11.99)

The Geektastic Holiday Gift Guide

Continuing the tradition born back in my Dark Valentine days, I offer my very unofficial and totally personal gift guide for holiday gift giving. I've divided it up into categories this year and the first one is:  ETSY gifts.

I love Etsy. Now that the items on the site have expanded beyond the home-made and hand-crafted, I love it even more. You can find some of the same things on eBay but you have to go through the whole auction nonsense, and risk paying way over the money for something or losing out at the last minute to a buyer who swoops in and tops your final bid. So along with one-of-a-kind items and products made to order, you can also browse the best of vintage items in dozes of categories. And for those looking for three G gifts--Geek/Goth/Game of Thrones--Etsy is a one-stop shopping portal for everyone on your list.

Winter is coming...and that means Christmas is nearly here!

Are you Team Lannister or Team Stark?  Or are you rooting for Dani to sit on the Iron Throne?  Show your allegiance with one of the hadsome medallions created by Pieces of II. All the great houses of Westeros are represented.

There's actually a lot of GOT swag on offer at the Etsy site, as well as some whimsical items like a button that says, "The Lannisters send their regards" and another that says, "Not today." Both items are available from Quid Pro Quote.
 There is also a beautifully illustrated deck of cards with the sigils of the great houses dividing up the suits of cards and illustrations of the characters on the face cards. (GOT playing cards $25 a deck, available here.)
Phunky Junk Jewels has created some beautiful jewelry inspired by Game of Thrones. I am particularly fond of this "Fire and Blood" bracelet made with lava rock and Czech glass beads. It's just $12.75.
Dozens of people are offering t-shirts with GOT-inspired designs and graphics. The warning, "Winter is Coming" is a popular slogan. Adage Screen Printing offers a fabulous "Dire Wolf" graphic design shirt, for a bargain $15. Better be quick though, there's only one of
this shirt available.
There are some terrific George R. R. Martin goodies available as well. The most whimsical is probably this knitted GRRM doll from Socks Knit Palace. It's $30 but for a hard-core fan, it's priceless.
Anise Press, meanwhile, has produced a broadside with Neil Gaiman's immortal words, "George R. R. Martin is not your bitch."
Find it here, for $32.  and finally, Red Deer Grove gets points for the most inventive Game of Thrones tie-in, the Game of Thrones Perfume collection (Six bottles, $50.75), each scent named in honor of one of the series' female characters. (Not quite sure I want to smell like Arya, much as I love the character, but I love the idea.) The scents are available separately also.

Seriously Steampunk

"Steampunk" is one of those labels that has been over-used and over-exposed of late, but I still love the aesthetic. It's so much more than just slapping a bunch of gears and clock parts onto an object, though.  The artisans displaying their wares on Etsy have taken the term to its artistic limits and the results are often absolutely fabulous.