Apropos of Nothing #MondayBlogs #MerryChristmas #HappyHolidays

I’ve been lurking offline of late, infrequently skating by a few blogs or Facebook status updates or tweets.  I’ve several reasons for my grayish absence, and only a few of them may redeem me.  Guess which.

Reasons for being absent from social media:

  1. In a pre-holiday funk, which seems to always come around this time of year
  2. Post-NaNoWriMo funk which coincides with pre-holiday funk
  3. Reading
  4. Workplace funk, which is not unusual (pretty much my steady state) but this month particularly funky since my coworkers and I have been scheduled to move back to the building they moved us from two years ago.  There may be something positive about this when it’s all said and done, but the process puts me into a funk.
  5. Major funk because the office move is scheduled for the days between Christmas and New Year, when I had scheduled time off.  So instead I will go to work for at least for the time it takes to ensure that my furniture is moved and reassembled properly.
  6. Christmas shopping online
  7. Knitting
  8. Combing my cats for fleas (damn you, global warming!)
  9. Heat and humidity putting me into an itchy funk
  10. Facebook funk because, well, facebook.

So you could say I’m in a funk, but I’ve managed to be somewhat productive with reading, shopping and knitting.

Some good news is my husband and I have entered the 21st century and finally bought iPhones.  Granted, they are iPhone 5S but we got them at a steep discount, and we’re still using a pay-as-you-go plan (no two-year contracts for us).  Interestingly, this came about because my husband was recently prescribed hearing aids which are bluetoothed enabled.  With a iPhone app, he can listen to podcasts through his hearing aids.  Finally, we found a good reason for him to buy an effing iPhone.  (I have to bite my tongue because, although I’ve wanted one for a long time, I never would have gotten such a good deal as what my husband found us.)

Now I’m scheduled to get new hearing aids (after 10 years of running my old ones into the ground).  At the moment I’m wearing a demo pair.  Unfortunately the brand is different from my husband’s.  With mine, I would need to buy an accessory ($$) to “link” my hearing aids with my iPhone.  That’s disappointing but since the hearing aids are quite small compared to the ones I used to wear, I can actually wear earbuds at the same time.  Ah, modern technology.

And by the way, my husband says people can now stop thanking him for his military service.  His hearing aids are coming to him free, courtesy of the VA.

Okay, enough of the funky personal stuff.

In reading the Sunday NY Times, two articles stood out for me (as a writer) …

  1.  From Fashion’s Gaze Turned to Joan Didion in 2015:  “I think she very early on carefully crafted an image for herself and understood that personal style was all part of the package of being a writer.”  And the article goes on to note that these days, people fascinated with Ms. Didion’s style might know nothing of her writing.  Is that okay?  A good thing?  A bad thing?  Inconsequential?  What if you have no style?
  2. From Garth Risk Hallberg, the Literary Wunderkind of 2015: the take-home message seems to be that hype does not always equal success.  Yes, more than 30,000 copies of the book have sold, BUT, according to the Wall Street Journal, the novel “would need to sell about 75,000 hardcovers, 75,000 paperbacks and 150,000 e-books to break even.”  Would I want this to be my introduction into the literary world?  My book touted as being the “Great American Novel,” before the tome (900-plus pages) is even out, and then seeing my Amazon ratings hover around 3 stars?  Would I be laughing all the way to the bank, or worried that my lack of expected success will result in a dropped contract and an undesired lengthy tenure as a writing professor?  (Nothing against writing professors.  I just imagine most of them would prefer to make their living solely off their writing.)

I continue to muse about these and other issues relevant to the world of publishing, and, no doubt, such musing does nothing to alleviate my funky moodiness (or moody funkiness, whichever you prefer).  My friend, Kevin Brennan, got me off on a good rant with one of his posts about the economics of writing.  Read it and weep if you think  all you need to do is pour blood, sweat, tears, and some $$ into your work and the fame (even modest fame) will come.  It’s a crowded field, and failed bets for the Great American Novel only make it harder.

And speaking of Kevin Brennan, part of the reading I’ve been engaging in was Town Father, his latest novel.  And I’ve posted a traditional review, which you can read here.  Yes, you have to go to Amazon to read it because, you know, you’ll want to buy the book.

Now, see, given the funk I’m in, I was thinking I probably shouldn’t post at all until after the holidays.  Just call me “Debbie Downer.”

To make it up to you, here’s one of my favorite holiday songs sung by one of my favorite singers.  Have a very Merry Christmas, everyone, and a Happy New Year.  See you all in 2016 (hopefully, with bells on).



Welcome, Readers!

Honest book reviews are necessary for any writer’s success, definitely more so for independently published writers who don’t have the luxury of a marketing department for support. But honest book reviews are also necessary for readers. We (yes, I am a reader, too) need book reviews so we know what we’re getting into when we buy a book. So this is exciting news from Susan Toy. I imagine it will be a great resource for readers looking for their next great read!

reading recommendations reviewed

In an attempt to provide Readers with more information about books I promote on my blog, Reading Recommendations, I’m following through on an idea I spoke about on my main blog and have created this new blog, Reading Recommendations Reviewed. I will post honest, positive reviews of books that are written and published by Authors who have been promoted by me these past two years on Reading Recommendations. The reviews will be written by READERS, be submitted to me first for vetting and editing, be positive and honest, and don’t need to be lengthy or academic in nature (unless the book itself warrants an academic-style assessment). I will link back to the Author’s promotion that was originally posted on Reading Recommendations.

Let’s keep this simple! If you read a book written by any of the Authors listed here or here, and you really enjoyed reading…

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