Thursday, July 31, 2008

One more step to reading green

It shouldn't have come as any surprise that when the newest iPhone was revealed, one of the apps available was to use it as an e-reader. Of course, it was from a third-party developer, available as an add-on, because Steve Jobs has stated that reading is passe.

Steve Jobs, while a visionary in many ways, is clearly not a reader. What he is, clearly, is a marketing guy. Mind you, I bought my first Mac in 1985. The stores offering IBMs wouldn't deal with me; they actually ignored me while they catered to the men. If they had paid attention to me, maybe I wouldn't have walked into a store selling Macs, played with one, and promptly shelled out $3,000 for a Mac and a printer. I'm a longtime Machead, and because of this, I'll forgive Steve's brashness and lack of reading ability (well, I'm sure he can read).

He decided that people weren't reading anymore, and that's not true. They're not reading the way he expects them to be, and I assume that's what he's referring to. That app for the iPhone is sort of a limited device for an ereader, but I have full confidence that it's going to get better, and it's going to catch on. And Steve -- dear, dear Steve -- is going to realize that people are still reading, and the iPhone, among its many possibilities, will be a wonderful device to read with, and much more useful than the Kindle. Because it'll be just one thing to carry instead of many.

The iPhone is cheaper now (although it comes out to be the same thing when you account for the rates and the fees), and it may get cheaper yet, faster yet, with more doodads. The reader thing will be right up there. I have faith.

PS. If you're bored and you're not going to a conference or something, come on over to www.loveisanexplodingcigar.com and see why I'm complaining about The Dark Knight!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When July Isn't Conference Time

I belong to an organization that holds its annual conference in late July. I
have in the past gone to that annual conference many, many times, in many
different locales. I have fond memories of many of those conferences -- I love
talking books to others who also love talking books -- and less than fond for
other conferences. I'm sure you understand.

In my case I have less than fond memories for conferences for a reason
completely unrelated to the conference itself. No, for whatever reason, when I think
of July I think of conferences I have gone to, conferences I could have gone
to ... and my teeth. I don't know what it is, but every July my teeth act up.

You know how this works sometimes in families. Some members of your family
have great eyes, while others may have lousy ones, or some may have great teeth,
while others have teeth made of tissue paper. Anyway, every July, whether I
go to conference or not, something with my teeth go wonky. Most of the time
it's something innocuous, like a chipped tooth. Sometimes it's less innocuous,
like two infected root canals that have you sitting in a daze in the middle of a
workshop, unable to talk to editors or agents without looking drugged. I have
yet to go to New York for this conference that didn't end up with my hunting
down a dental painkiller. And this is NOT the way I want to think of New York!

Some Julys you stay at home, because the conference timing just didn't work.
Such as it was for me this year. San Francisco. I was looking forward to San
Francisco, a lovely city on my coast! But with one thing or another, I couldn't
get the timing to work, and so I stayed home.

Just as well. Yesterday, the day most of the conference-goers would have been
getting into the conference hotel, I spent at the dentist. This time it was
another infection, and a molar had to go. My only consolation was at least I
hadn't shelled out money only to be wandering the conference in pain this year.
Well, no, I have another consolation. I'm getting some reading done, putting
my feet up and not eating solid food.

So conferences and the dentist is a strange connection to make. Do you have
something familiar? You probably do. And for your sake, I just hope it's not
something quite as painful!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Topsy, meet Turvy

At the moment, HELLBOY 2 is the top-grossing movie in the country. HANCOCK is
second. THE DARK KNIGHT debuts in a day. IRON MAN is still in the theaters.
San Diego Comic-Con is coming up fast, and if last year's attendance is any
indication, there's going to be enough geeks, fanboys, and popculturati hanging
around to populate a small city. Or take over part of a larger one (ever try to
get a hotel room near the convention? Book FAR in advance). I heard 125,000
were in attendance last year; I'm afraid to find out what it's going to be this
time. These are not numbers that indicate a minority, a fringe element.
Somewhere along the way, comics went mainstream.

I am SO confused. I would ask when it happened, but I know darn well it
wasn't overnight. What I notice are familiar names in credits in TV and the movies,
producers and writers who were comics fans way back when before they went
pro. One example that pops to mind is Frank Miller, who's best known for movies
like SIN CITY and 300, who was a comics fan way back when. He's the mastermind
behind an upcoming movie called THE SPIRIT, based on a classic comics work
from the 1940s by Will Eisner. I understand the anticipation to this movie is
strong enough that it currently has a Christmas Day release. That's not a fringe
element, not a minority behind that.

So what does all this mean? If I were uncharitable (and not an old comics fan
from way back), I would say that the inmates are in control of the asylum.
Having been an old comics fan from way back, I have to say, FINALLY! Movies I
actually want to SEE!

Now I want superheroines. REAL superheroines. I'll be waiting!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Interdependence Day!

For those of us in the US, today is Independence Day, celebrating the day we
as a nation decided not to be ruled by England. In other parts of the world,
though, it's just July 4. But wherever we are, no matter what culture we're
currently in, today is Interdependence Day for my husband and me, because
it's our anniversary.

We got married on July 4 in Brooklyn, NY, 24 years ago, in the restaurant in
the tallest building in Bay Ridge. We chose that spot because that's where we
lived; we loved the area (the southernmost tip of Brooklyn, right before the
Verrazano Bridge, which leads you to Staten Island), and by having our
reception in that building, we could see the fireworks over in Manhattan. It
was one day that we knew most everyone we wanted to invite would have off, and
surprisingly, neither the church nor the restaurant were booked. It was a
lovely, sunny day (okay, it was summer in New York: It was scorching, the church
wasn't air-conditioned, but the sky was a beautiful blue), and we remember it fondly
still.

Eventually, we moved away -- across the country, even, to Washington state --
but we had the opportunity to go back to New York a few years ago, just in
time for our anniversary. We had dinner at the restaurant at the top of that
same building, and watched the fireworks over in Manhattan again. We remember
that fondly, too.

How is any of this relevant? Well, I write romances. And our wedding was
romantic. And it's Interdependence Day. So Happy Interdependence Day, one and
all!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008



As others in the blogosphere have noted, models are often used for book covers, and mine are no different. While FESTIVAL OF STARS has no one recognizable, THE SLEEPER AWAKES has someone who looks like a hungover bleary-eyed Colin Farrell (or is that redundant?) and INTRODUCING SONIKA has a blonde who, from the moment I saw the cover, looked very, very familiar. I wasn't the only one who looked at it and had the same reaction. We all said, "Haven't we seen her in something? Who is that?" But no one could come up with a name, just that we knew her from somewhere.

Now, the way things go, the answer might have dropped into my lap. There was a TV show a few years ago called SPECIAL UNIT 2, which lasted no more than twenty episodes. But they were a good twenty episodes. It was gleefully cheesy, about how those monsters and things that go bump in the night were all real and had to be contained and policed by a part of the police force called Special Units. Michael Lande starred. Now, Lande is an actor I've often assumed will be as big as George Clooney when he's older, but right now, he's just too ridiculously good-looking to be taken seriously. In SU2, he hit just the right combination of cheese and tongue in cheek as tough cop Nick O'Malley, who is reluctantly partnered with another cop just introduced into the unit, played by Alexondra Lee.

I've watched this show over the years. We watched when it was on, back in 2001 (I think that's when it was), and we've watched episodes from time to time. I must confess, my eye immediately went to Michael Lande, sort of skipping over Alexondra Lee. Until last night, when we were watching episodes recorded during a SciFi Channel minimarathon, when The Hub said, pausing TiVo at an opportune moment: "Take a look. Doesn't she look like Sonika to you?"What could I do? I wrenched my eye away from Michael and looked, actually looked, at poor overlooked Alexondra (sorry, Ms. Lee!). And then I ran upstairs and grabbed one of the oversized postcards I ordered of the cover to compare.

"Holy Toledo, it does look like her," I said (well, I didn't actually say "Holy Toledo"). Then I corrected myself: "Well, it looks a lot like her, but it's not." Then I looked again: "Yeah, it's got to be her. A little change here and a little shift here—it's got to be her! Well, maybe not."

Through the rest of the episode I scrutinized Alexondra Lee, nearly ignoring Michael Lande for the first time. Afterward, I looked again. Yeah, she very well might have been the model for Sonika. I will never look at an episode of SPECIAL UNIT 2 the same way again.

What does this mean? Nothing, really. But it's good to put a name to the face.