Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Look! Flower Child has a cover!

I've just got my first picture from Gypsy Shadow for the cover of Flower Child. Doesn't it look great! I'm really thrilled with it. So, maybe, soon you'll be able to find out who the Flower Child really is. Meanwhile, here's a quick blurb...

Flower Child:

The story of a grieving mother and her unborn child

When Megan miscarries her first pregnancy it feels like the end of everything; instead it's the start of a curious relationship between the grieving mother and an unborn child who hovers somewhere between ghost and angel. Angela, Megan's "little angel" has character and dreams all her own, friends who may or may not be real angels, and a little brother who brings hope to her mother's world. But Angela's dream-world has a secret and one day Angela might learn how to be real.

Coming soon from Gypsy Shadow Publishing!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

With almost perfect timing... and thanks to Minnette Meador

My husband's on his way back from a trip to England, so when Minnette Meador--an author who has three books coming out this summer(!)--presented me with my surprise "grand prize" for following her online during the release of A Ghost of a Chance (paranormal romantic comedy, set in Portland, and released in June 2011) the timing seemed just perfect. I could welcome him home with a glass of Oregon wine, served in beautiful Portland and Oregon glasses, by the light of flickering tea-lights. I could serve something small, hot from the oven, with my new Portland rose-garden oven-mitt--something with blueberry and lemon preserve perhaps, and Oregon chocolate afterwards. I could even take a nice relaxing bath to get me in the mood...

Ah, but then I checked the flight status and found they'd cancelled his flight. So instead I stayed up half the night waiting for husband to wake up in England so I could give him the news. Since my husband had no access to the internet and no-one was answering their phones, I ended up rescheduling him online over here--I hope they remember they said I wouldn't have to pay. And now my husband's on his way, will "only" have a 15-hour (!!!!!) layover in Atlanta Georgia, and I'll see him tomorrow morning--not quite the right time for relaxing glasses of wine, but there again, by tomorrow morning my husband won't care.

Oh, and those books that Minnette's got coming out this year? I won the 2nd grand prize for following (and commenting on) her blogposts during the release of A Ghost of a Chance; soon you'll all be able to find lots of fascinating facts about ancient Britain when she tours the internet with The Gladiator Prince (August 2011), and who knows what The Bell Stalker (October 2011) will bring. Meanwhile, don't forget to look out for Starsight volumes I and II, the Centurion and the Queen, and The Edge of Honor as well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A sense of time

My son's been complaining about a book he's reading. He objects to the way the author introduces a situation, then spends the next few pages, or chapters, explaining how the situation came about. My son complains about TV programs too, when they start with the heroes in some unexplained danger then cut to "fifteen hours earlier," "three days earlier," or whatever...

I'm guessing the TV writers do this for a reason. Do they want us glued to the box because we want to know how the situation came about? Do they want us watching with that curious sense of dread that wonders how on earth things will fall apart so badly? Or do they just want us passively waiting to get back to the "exciting bit."

They tell us as writers that our first sentences should grab the reader, preferably by the throat (alas poor reader). D'you suppose they're right? Is my son the exception to the rule, and everyone else wants the exciting bit to come before the mundane? Or are we just substituting re-ordered information for interesting information? Wouldn't we do better to write the story forwards and make sure it's all interesting, keeping the reader actively engaged in wondering what will come next?

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Catching up on those "other" book reviews

Reading (and judging) for the Dan Poynter Global eBook Awards was really a great experience, not just for the chance to read so many good books, but also for the discipline of scoring and the encouragement to think about so many different aspects of the books. I'm taking time to write and edit now and find myself viewing my own work through the same critical eye--I'm sure it's good for me--I just hope it will be good for my books too.

But I am still reading, and here are links to reviews on gather for the latest group of books. Remember to drink coffee!

Two books coming soon from the Permanent Press:

All Cry Chaos, by Leonard Rosen, could almost have been written for me--a mystery with a mathematical victim, chaos theory and fractals reflected in nature and relationships, a French detective working for Interpol and traveling to the US--what more could I want. It's also a very satisfyingly dark, taut thriller with intriguing detail tying into current events--one to read with a 4-star rich, complex coffee.

Call me when you land, by Michael Schiavone, tells of a single mother falling apart, a lonely teen running away from his problems, an elderly man with nowhere left to run, and a Harley Davidson motorbike. A fateful year threatens to tear everything apart, but this novel lands quite beautifully among very real threads of hope. Read it with a 5-star bold dark intense cup of coffee.

Another really enjoyable literary read is Uyen Nicole Duong's Postcards from Nam, a short powerful tale painting a heartbreaking picture of human inhumanity and endurance; one to read with another 5-star intense cup of coffee.

Then there's a couple of science fiction novels:

Lost, by E.G. Lewis, is set in Oregon and revolves around the mysterious invention of an Indian scientist brought to US by unscrupulous defense contractors. With exciting adventure, nicely underplayed science, high finance, politics, and even some trips to London, it certainly kept me intrigued as I drank my 3-star balanced, full-flavored coffee.

And finally, The Hidden Goddess, by M.K. Hobson, is a very satisfying sequel to The Native Star, set in a fascinating alternate history with west-coast witch set to marry high society east-coast magician against a background of looming apocalypse--a very enjoyable cross between steampunk, romance and historical social commentary, to be enjoyed with another 3-star smooth cup of coffee.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Suspension of Disbelief

It's over. The awards have been presented. And there's something really neat about looking at those lists and thinking--hey, I read that one and I loved it! (Yes, I picked some winners!) I read many books and loved many books this last few weeks, and I'd like to offer my hearty congratulations to all the winners, the finalists, and all the entrants of the Dan Poynter Global eBook Awards contest. (Follow the link to scroll through a presentation of finalists and prize-winners, and find some great books.)

So, what did I learn, besides that I can read even faster than I'd imagined...

One thing I really found myself thinking about was that willing suspension of disbelief that keeps a reader glued to the page. After all, this is fiction--well, most of the books I read were fiction anyway. We know it's not true. Why do we care?
  1. We care about the characters: If they become sufficiently real to us, concern for them will keep us reading, even when we hit a place where we think, "No way. It couldn't happen like that. He wouldn't do that."
  2. We trust the author: If the plot's sufficiently well-constructed, we'll keep reading even when we think the author's missed something out, trusting it all to make sense when we get to the end.
  3. We want to solve the puzzle: Not just in a mysteries, but in sci-fi we want to believe the science makes sense; in fantasy we want the world to hang together believably, in romance we want to know their love finds the depth to make it real--it all goes back to trusting the author I suppose, but also to the writing being compelling enough to have made us want to believe.
Good characters and good plot will keep me reading. But my son believes it's good scenes that make that final difference. If the author skips a vital scene, the reader's left thinking, at least temporarily, "they couldn't do that, because..." and second-guessing. If the author includes an unnecessary scene, the reader starts wondering "why do I care about this when I want to know that?" Either way, for a moment, the reader's back in the room instead of the book, and that suspension of disbelief has, albeit briefly, been suspended.

In a really good book, a finalist, a potential prize-winner, poor scenes are like hamburgers offered during a 5-course dinner... So says my son, which isiInteresting, since he's  vegetarian.Me, I'm wondering if he's  spotted one aspect of that elusive "je ne sais quoi" that makes the difference between four-star and five-star ratings.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What Questions would you ask?

The Dan Poynter Global eBooks Awards Ceremony is tomorrow (Saturday 20th) in sunny Santa Barbara. I know I can't go, but still, it's nice to feel I've had some part in it this year. I've really enjoyed reading and reviewing the books; I've even, almost, enjoyed generating scores--the score-sheets certainly made it much more interesting than just applying 3 stars or 4 or 5. It's got me thinking I should maybe make my own score-sheet for book reviews, or at least, for reviewing and editing my own work... Could be depressing, but I think it might help. But what questions would I ask? Dan Poynter offered 15 categories in 5 sets of 3, which seems a pretty good number. Of course, I wouldn't score covers and format if I'm just editing... so here's my personal 15...

  1. Story structure: Does the beginning grab me? Does the middle keep me interested? Does the end satisfy?
  2. Words: Are words spelled wrongly or misused? Are words repeated? Are words appropriate to the characters and story?
  3. Sentence structure: Are sentences overcomplicated? Are sentences oversimple or repetitious? Is the grammar appropriate to the characters and story?
  4. Dialog: Can I tell who is speaking? Is the dialog boring? Is the dialog plausible?
  5. Overall effect: Is the story confusing? Do the separate parts fit into the overall theme? Were the scenes well-chosen or were their vital pieces missing?
 What do you think? Have I missed something important? What questions would you ask?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

When is a series not a series?

Books read for GBA: 31

I think I've finished reading for the Global eBook Awards. The ceremony's coming up soon, and I need to write comments on the book pages and start posting all my reviews. Two of the books I read most recently were parts 1 and 2 of a series; several others came from series too, so they got me wondering, what makes a series work?

Have you read The Hunger Games? I read the second book first and was so hooked I had to go out and buy book one and pre-order book three. I guess that means the series worked for me. But there are other series where I feel like I've only read half a story and I'm not sure I'll bother with the rest. Then there are those semi-infinite series where I can pick and choose a book and wonder, have I read this one yet?--Tony Hillerman's Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee books for example--I'd love to read them all one day.

I think, for me, a series works best if I learn to trust the author. If a story feels complete while the background's still growing, I'll want to read more and learn more. But if the story doesn't feel complete, maybe I'm reluctant to trust the author to complete the overarching story. Of course, there are exceptions... I love Lord of the Rings, but none of the books, or the parts, are complete in themselves. Still, the characters are very real, and the sense of direction is clear. The world becomes so vivid I have to know what happens next. But Tolkein's special--not many of us can claim to write that well.

So, if I'm going to write a series, I'll try to write it for myself--a story that's complete, with beginning, middle and end; and a world that's growing in depth as I learn to see more. Will I buy book two if book one leaves me hanging and lost?--probably not.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Aubrie Dionne, and Sci-Fi's Powerhouse Couples

I'm delighted to have Aubrie Dionne, author of Paradise 21, visiting my blog today with this fascinating guest post about Sci-Fi's Powerhouse Couples. Check my last post for more information about Paradise 21. And I hope you'll leave a comment with your answer to Aubrie's question when you've read this.


Thank you Aubrie, for this post, and for an enjoyable read (click here for my review of Paradise 21)

 
Powerhouse Couples in Sci fi

A great science fiction romance has a hero and a heroine that are both strong, independent characters that ultimately conquer the bad guys and fall in love. In Paradise 21, I wrote my own powerhouse couple: Striker and Aries, and you’ll have to read it to see how they become a couple and if they are successful.
Below I’ve found three of the greatest power house couples in sci fi. Two of the pairs succeed in their endeavors, and one pair are the bad guys themselves!

Sci fi Couple #1

Hans Solo and Princess Leia from Star Wars.

He’s a smuggler, she’s a princess and the secret daughter of the ruler of the Empire. She thinks he’s in it for the money, and he thinks she’ s a spoiled rotten snob that only cares about herself. Boy are they both wrong. Together, they take over the control station on Endor and bring down the shields for the fleet to attack the Star Destroyer. 

  
Sci fi Couple #2 

Daniel and Sha’uri from Stargate.

Daniel is a scientist from our time, and Sha’uri is from the alternate desert planet, displaced from her home planet of Earth thousands of years ago by a selfish alien who wanted his own race of slaves. Sha’uri is betrothed to Daniel, and he isn’t aware of their pairing until much later. He rejects her not even knowing her intentions, and later learns that she didn’t tell the tribe about his rejection. When she tells him, he kisses her, in my favorite scene.

Sha’uri teaches Daniel their ancient language, which, in turn, helps him bring his people back home and defeat the alien. She leads a rebellion in her village, and Daniel decides to stay with her at the end. This is a sweet, yet powerful and successful sci fi couple that shouldn’t be underestimated, especially if you’re an alien!

Sci fi Couple #3 

Dame Vaako and Vaako from Chronicles of Riddick.

Out of all three couples, this one looks the most intimidating. Dame Vaako is a power hungry wife that plans her own husband’s rise to power. She encourages him to get close to the leader of the Necromancers, and find his weakness, so he can kill him. Because, if you’re a necromancer, you keep what you kill, and if her husband can kill the leader, he, in turn, will become the new leader, and they will be the ultimate powerhouse couple of them all.
If it wasn’t for Riddick, they would have succeeded! 


My question to you is: Who are your favorite powerhouse couple? (Doesn’t have to be sci fi!) 

Thank you Aubrie. I've chosen Han Solo and Princess Leia, based on the rather large collection of Star Wars books chronicling their romance and decorating my bookshelves. What about you?

 
About the Author:
Aubrie is an author and flutist in New England. Her stories have appeared in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, A Fly in Amber, and several print anthologies including Skulls and Crossbones by Minddancer Press, Rise of the Necromancers, by Pill Hill Press, Nightbird Singing in the Dead of Night by Nightbird Publishing, Dragontales and Mertales by Wyvern Publications, A Yuletide Wish by Nightwolf Publications, and Aurora Rising by Aurora Wolf Publications.  Her epic fantasy is published with Wyvern Publications, and several of her ebooks are published with Lyrical Press and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. When she’s not writing, she plays in orchestras and teaches flute at Plymouth State University and a community music school.








Saturday, August 13, 2011

Introducing Aubrie Dionne - 1

Aubrie Dionne's visiting my blog tomorrow with an interesting guest post and a question for readers. I hope you'll visit and join the conversation. Meanwhile, just to whet your appetite...here's an introduction to Aubrie's new sci-fi novel, Paradise 21.

Aries has lived her entire life aboard mankind’s last hope, the New Dawn, a spaceship traveling toward a planet where humanity can begin anew—a planet that won’t be reached in Aries’ lifetime. As one of the last genetically desirable women in the universe, she must marry her designated genetic match and produce the next generation for this centuries-long voyage. 

But Aries has other plans. 

When her desperate escape from the New Dawn strands her on a desert planet, Aries discovers the rumors about pirates—humans who escaped Earth before its demise—are true. Handsome, genetically imperfect Striker possesses the freedom Aries envies, and the two connect on a level she never thought possible. But pursued by her match from above and hunted by the planet’s native inhabitants, Aries quickly learns her freedom will come at a hefty price.

The life of the man she loves. 

Excerpt:

“Might as well stay here and make camp for the night.” 

His casual tone stung her composure. How could he talk of such mundane things when they’d almost been captured, when she’d touched him so tenderly? 

“We’ll let them get farther away,” Striker explained, reasonable as always. “We’re going in their direction tomorrow.” 

The sting of rejection grew, burning a hole in her heart. “Why?” 

“Why what?” 

Her lips trembled. “Why not kiss me like you did before?” 

“I can’t.” He shook his head, and the air cooled between them; so much so, Aries wondered if the desert had turned into deep space. 

He’d teased her with such affection before, it was cruel to take it away. “I don’t understand,” she said, wishing she didn’t care, wishing she could stop all the emotions he’d started in her heart. 

Aries caught a glimpse of pain etched in the wrinkles around his eyes. Striker turned away and started pulling supplies out of his backpack. “I can’t do this.” 

“Do what?” 

Striker shook his head and Aries prompted, “Can’t kiss me, can’t trust me? What?” 

“I can’t allow myself to get tangled up with someone. Not again.” 

The thoughts of Striker with another woman confused her. On the New Dawn, everyone had one lifemate and that was it. “You mean you loved someone before?” 

Striker’s hand tightened on the backpack. “I trusted someone a long time ago, allowed myself to love, if you will. She hurt me so much I lost my entire life and ended up here. I can’t experience that kind of pain again.” 

Aries clasped her hand over her heart. “I’m so sorry.” 

He waved her apology off as if it meant nothing. “It’s a tough world, Aries. And it’s dangerous to love. If I were you, I’d keep my heart well-guarded, because you never know when it will affect your decisions, when it will make you weak.” 

Aries couldn’t take his advice. Watching him talk about his past made her realize she’d already given up her heart. 

He had it. 

About the Author:
Aubrie is an author and flutist in New England. Her stories have appeared in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, A Fly in Amber, and several print anthologies including Skulls and Crossbones by Minddancer Press, Rise of the Necromancers, by Pill Hill Press, Nightbird Singing in the Dead of Night by Nightbird Publishing, Dragontales and Mertales by Wyvern Publications, A Yuletide Wish by Nightwolf Publications, and Aurora Rising by Aurora Wolf Publications.  Her epic fantasy is published with Wyvern Publications, and several of her ebooks are published with Lyrical Press and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. When she’s not writing, she plays in orchestras and teaches flute at Plymouth State University and a community music school.

Reviewing Romance

GBA books read to date: 25

It's interesting how so many books from different genres include some romantic relationship. And now I'm trying to "judge" what I read, it's interesting to wonder what makes that romance work. We've all read about (or watched) movies where the lead actors had no "real chemistry" between them. But what makes that elusive chemistry real, and how do we write it on the page?

  1. The element of surprise: Whether it's love at first sight, or love slowly developing over time, it's going to seem more convincing if the characters don't immediately assume it's real.
  2. More than skin-deep: Honeyed skin and hair and eyes can only take you so far; if we're only told how beautiful the characters look, why should we believe any love between them is more than superficial?
  3. Not just physical: I guess love wasn't described in quite such physical terms in the past, but now it is. Still, I'll probably be more convinced by the feelings if I'm drawn to believe the characters, rather than drawn to imagine those responses in myself.
Some of that chemistry has seemed very real--I'm really enjoying these books. Meanwhile, one book I read a while ago (therefore can't judge in the contest) is Aubrie Dionne's Paradise 21; if you come back to my blog tomorrow you'll be able to see Aubrie's guest post on Sci-Fi's Powerhouse couples.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Time for some Book Reviews

GBA books read to date: 24

I'll start posting reviews of them once the reading stage is done. Meanwhile, here's a few reviews of other books I've read while not glued to the computer: (as usual, click on links for reviews on Gather)



Bones beneath our feet, by Michael Schein is a beautiful historical novel of the Pacific Northwest, bringing the clash of tribes and Bostons to life just as Nathaniel Philbrick did for tribes on the Eastern Coast. Highly recommended; pair this rich elegant complex tale with a 4-star rich elegant complex coffee.

In contrast, Corduroy Mansions, by Alexander McCall Smith is a modern-day ramble through quiet residential streets of London, accompanied by a rather cute dog and many fascinating people--the perfect bedtime storybook with chapters complete in themselves and short enough they won't keep you from feeling awake in the morning. I suppose I should recommend decaf coffee for bedtime, but that would be heresy, so read it with a 3-star balanced full-flavored brew.

I reviewed K.M. Daughters' Left at the Altar a little while ago for Nights and Weekends, and this week was able to read the second volume in their Gospa Journeys series. Just the Way you Are is a very pleasing story of a young woman seeking inner healing after burns have scarred her face. She meets a doctor on her pilgrimage who offers outer healing instead, but how do you tell which miracles truly come from God? My review should appear on Nights and Weekends soon. Meanwhile, if you want a good lunchtime read, enjoy this one with a 2-star bright, lively, easy-drinking cup of a coffee.

And finally there's Excuse Me, My Brains have stepped out, by Pandora Poikilos, a book that reads like a cross between blog-posts and letters but ends with a haunting surprise. Read with a 1-star mild, light, crisp coffee to balance the dark-seeming prose.


Time to go back to reading for the Global eBooks Awards, with thanks to Dan Poytner 'cause I'm really enjoying the experience.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Drama and melodrama

GBE books read to date: 21

I've been enjoying reading in the mystery section of the Dan Poynter Global eBooks Awards. You know how it goes... ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, dodging danger, solving clues and saving the world... Of course, not all mysteries involve saving the world. Sometimes it's saving a child, saving a name, saving a farm. But in other books the stakes are high and it's down to someone just like you or me to stop a terrorist attack. That's where melodrama creeps in.

I read and reviewed a mystery a few months ago where protagonists  investigating possible murder stumbled on terrorism. The murder mystery was satisfyingly dramatic, but terrorism felt like melodrama piled on top of fun, tugging the story to a different level and leaving the reader stumbling on the step. Yesterday I read another mystery with drama and melodrama mixed. This time both were introduced near the start of the story. I was free to think "What's this doing here?" while still eager to read on; the drama had only just begun and I was truly intrigued. Soon the plots were inextricably intertwined. Soon it didn't matter that the bad guy was two-dimensional. I was reading for three-dimensional good guys, longing to see them rise above their problems , desperate to see the bad guys' plan thwarted before he could destroy all that lay in store. And I loved the book. The threats were huge and melodramatic, but the characters under threat were people I knew; people with the possibility of change; people who deserved to succeed.

So what do I conclude about melodrama and drama in mystery? That I'll feel cheated if melodrama intrudes on my attempts to understand the drama; that I need enough regular drama and genuine characters to keep me engaged; and that, done right, it can make for a pulse-pounding, totally absorbing read.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Trick of the Dialog

The books I'm reading for the Dan Poynter Global eBook Awards today have got me thinking about dialog and it's effect on story--will this book score high or low in the "distracting dialog" column? And why?

Attributions: He said / she said. We all know we mustn't overuse these, but how about when we under-use them, or use them unhelpfully? In a dialog scene with lots of characters, it might matter which person says what, but leaving the attribution till after he's spoken can leave the reader puzzled and needing to reread... "You silly child," said the little boy, and there was I thinking it had to be his mother speaking.

Accents: Sometimes it's hard to believe in a character who speaks perfect English (or perfect American) when we know they ought to have an accent (or they're too young to speak clearly). But sometimes it's hard to read what someone's saying if the author renders the accent too meticulously. " 'Wan' ca'.' 'Oh you want candy,' said Dad," works well, but "Wa-wa-wa-ca-pup-pup," is hard to translate into "I want candy please," even if it's accurate to that delightful child the reader's portraying.

Colloquialism: This is the one I where I'm having the most difficulty. If a scene's set in Victorian England, it's probably best to avoid modern Americanisms. But what if the scene's set in medieval Scotland and the writer happens to know certain American words were in common usage then? Does the writer avoid the words because they'll have the wrong connotations for the reader, or use them and explain his research when questioned? Still more complicated, what if the story's set in pre-historical Bible lands? Should the author give dialog in American (for simplicity), or would King James' English work better? And does the author's intention make a difference--a desire to help children relate to Biblical times might require American words, while a desire to render the story with due reverence and faith might use the KJV.

And finally, what about the amount of dialog in a story. I've found my first drafts often have much more dialog than my final drafts. That leaves me wondering if I might judge a story with lots of dialog unfairly by imagining it's a first draft. But the score-sheets help. Is the dialog distracting me? Not really; it's telling the story. But is the character development good? Maybe not; I've only ever heard them talk, and have no feel for how they think, see and move.

Ah well. Back to the books...

GBA books read to date: 18

Monday, August 8, 2011

Still enjoying those GBA books

GBA books read to date: 16

but some of those were children's books, so a little shorter than others :) Some of the books were non-fiction too, and got me wondering, how do I make sure the score I give a non-fiction book isn't biased by my feelings on the subject.

Imagine two such books. I agree with both authors in some chapters, and disagree in others. And I'm keeping score...

One score is given for whether the book keeps my interest. It's hard for an author to keep my interest when he tells me my opinion (still worse my education) is value-less. Another score comes from dialog (fiction) and distraction (non-fiction). If a non-fiction author moves into lengthy diatribes against something which is not part of his thesis, it might count as distraction. "Coherence" might lose points if opinion is argued as fact. And then there's the score for "Is this book applicable/useful to self/others." It's probably a bad sign if I couch my answer with "only applicable if you never disagree."

Don't get me wrong. Both books are good and I enjoyed reading them. But one treats me, my background and my experience with respect while the other doesn't. I value much and disagree with some of what I've read in both, and I think the scoring chart gives me a way to quantify that. So... I still don't like ratings, but I do like being able to base them on a well-chosen list of questions.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Reading and Judging

GBA books read to date: 6

I'm really enjoying reading the entries for Dan Poynter's Global eBook Awards. Judging is a little harder--like I've said before, I really don't like ratings. Luckily the process is simplified with a table of factors to consider. Each item is scored on a scale of 1-10, with space for comments too. And everything starts at 10, so it's quite simple to knock points off whenever I feel a complaint coming on. The scores are summed and a nice little comment reminds us if we gave 10/10 for everything this must surely be the best book ever, so score carefully. The result is then multiplied by 7 (?) with the reminder to recheck if the result's over 1,000. So far I've scored two books at over 900. Now I just need to decide if I should submit them as finalists. But I haven't read everything in a category yet, so I'll see what else I find.

Now back to the washing and cleaning, real life intervening on my reading life. Perhaps I should eat some lunch too.