Sunday, June 24, 2018

Audible or Inaudible?

Audible books are all the rage these days, revenues are up 22% so far in 2018. A friend and I were talking about books on tape a week or so ago, and she said she had to pull over to the curb when the book really got good, because she wasn't paying attention to the road. Listening has become the new reading. And it seems, to some people. audio books elicit a bigger emotional response than merely reading the words ourselves and giving our own voices and emotions to the words.

Most of the time while I'm driving, my mind wanders to the story I'm currently working on, or the new story that's talking to me. If I'm playing the radio, it's merely background music and I couldn't tell you what I just listened to. Perhaps because I wasn't listening to it. Instead, I was inside my head, with various characters telling me their tales. I'm afraid the same goes for audible books. I've had people offer to give them to me for free, so I could give an opinion on the voice delivering the tale, but so far, I've resisted. Because I know I wouldn't be able to concentrate on the road, on the voices in my head AND an audible book, however riveting it might be.

But maybe I'm selling the phenomenon short. Trevor Noah gave his voice to his book "Born A Crime." I love his accent, so I probably could listen to it. English accents have always been a weak spot. On the whole, though, I think I'll keep devoting my driving time to the voices in my head rather than on tape.

How about you? Audio books or no?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The In Between

Often, when I was living in Ohio and starting my publishing career, I felt I was between a rock and a hard place. My house was a huge financial burden, the proverbial money pit, and my publishing career was growing, but not to the point where I could afford to pull money out of the business and put it into the house.

My move to North Carolina helped get rid of the huge financial burden, but the publishing career is in the process of being retooled. I now have an agent I trust, I've finished a book I truly enjoyed writing, and I'm sliding into the next one. Yesterday, I drove my 15-year-old Jeep into Pinehurst to go to the library and parked on the street, between a Land Rover and a Mercedes.

A rock and a hard place or a Land Rover and a Mercedes. Even with a 15-year-old Jeep, I'm sitting pretty right now. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018


My favorite Carl Sandburg quote is about my favorite weather element–Fog. 

"The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on."

In my case, it's not the harbor but the golf course behind my house where the fog sat yesterday morning. As I stared out my window lost in my usual morning fog, waiting for the coffee to kick in so I could start writing, I stopped and focused the fog for a moment. It was moving gently across the ground, mirroring my thought pattern. I'm at the stage of my manuscript where I'm just reading the story and massaging it a bit, moving through the story slowly, beefing up the important scenes. My mind started thinking of ideas, possible scenarios that I'd live through if I was on a wagon train headed west. I climbed on board the wagon with my ladies and got to work.

When I got up to grab my second cup of coffee, the fog had moved on. As had my brain fog. I made it through half the manuscript by day's end. Lots done, lots still to go.

On a personal note, I'd like to say farewell to one of my Crimson Romance sisters. Peggy Bird was a bright light in the early days of the Crimson brand and will be sorely missed. She was always posting pictures of buff men in teeny swim trunks saying they had just washed up on her beach. This is for you, Peggy. I hope there's a beach where you are now.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Best Selling Lists

PBS recently posted a list of the 100 most popular American books of all time, called The Great American Read. I took a look at the list, which was filled with best-sellers. Since I spend most of my time reading romance novels, it came as no surprise to me that I was only able to cross off maybe 30 of the PBS list. Determined to expand my horizons this summer I went to the library and picked up one from the list.

Shouldn't have started with The Handmaid's Tale.

As most of you know, I've been rereading Stephen King's great book On Writing. One of his mantras is that in order to become a great writer, you need to write a lot and read a lot. Given the man's schedule, I was surprised to find he reads about 80 books a year. If he can do it...

But not with The Handmaid's Tale. Too depressing. I like happy endings. I write happy endings. But I don't think Margaret Atwood would appreciate me putting a happy ending on her book.

Fortunately, Stephen graciously supplied a list of the best books he's read. I'm taking back The Handmaid's Tale and selecting one from Stephen's list instead. Maybe The Secret Life Of Bees. 

How about you? What are you reading this summer?