Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sometimes Bravery Comes in Small Packages.

My blog is late today (shocker, I know) but for once, it's for a very good reason. This morning I went with my 11 year old daughter to do the "Penguin Plunge" for Special Olympics.

Each year, on what has to be one of the coldest days in Connecticut, a group of INSANE people jump into a nearly frozen lake to raise money for Special Olympics. Now, my family has been involved in Special Olympics for 20 years, in my "other life" I'm a special education teacher (although, my students are "special" in other ways but that's a different story) and we have done a lot of work with our local Special Education organization.

I have never and will never jump into freezing water for them.

My youngest daughter has been begging me to do this for years. Her friends have done it and she couldn't understand why I wouldn't let her do it too. Never mind the fact that she just finished TWO AND HALF YEARS of chemotherapy in 2010, and that she was 9 year old when she first began the begging. Seriously, am I the meanest mom ever or what?

I finally relented, and she, along with 10 or so other elementary school children (and two insane adults) ran into a lake this morning. It was 17 degrees out. That's Fahrenheit folks, not Celsius. As we pulled into the park, there were people ICE FISHING on the lake where she was going to swim.

And swim she did. She and her friends not only went into the freezing water, they actually went all the way under. It was terrifying and amazing and very inspiring for me. She just had a lot of fun.

On the way home, she asked if she could do it again next year, even as she had her feet pressed against the heating vents and was wrapped in as many layers as I could put her in. As we drove along, she said to me, "If I can do that, I can do anything!"

I have not one single doubt it's true.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Silver Screen

A couple of weeks ago I went to see Jack Reacher. I was aware of all the uproar over the casting of Tom Cruise in the main part but since I hadn’t read any of the books I didn’t have any particular feeling about it. I wanted to go to the cinema and the trailer looked entertaining. Ultimately I enjoyed the film although the female lead was so wooden she could have made a fine statue. Tom Cruise played the part well and I was left thinking “What an interesting character.” So much so, that when I got home that night I bought and downloaded the first Jack Reacher book. I am now on book seven and have bought all of the rest of the series. I would say that that was mission accomplished for the author, Lee Child. What more could he ask for? And a legion of fans scream out, “A more accurate portrayal of the character!”

Having now read half the series I can see why it would annoy fans as Tom Cruise is about as different from Jack Reacher as you can possibly get. However I find I am still not really bothered by this. Maybe it’s because I saw the film first and the character wasn’t really fixed in my imagination. There was no desecration of a story I knew and loved. There are many more films or TV series where I’ve read the book first and been horrified by the choice in actors or the cut and slash of stories I’ve loved into manageable plots for the screen. Very few have lived up to my expectations. Pride and Prejudice is one that springs to mind that did – the BBC TV adaptation that is, not that awful film. LOL. Perhaps the length available in a TV serial meant fewer cuts had to be made. The lower budget gave them a wider scope to look for people who actually fit the part instead of a big name to draw the viewers and pay the bills. Looking back I can say that the adaptations I have liked best have all been made for TV or straight to DVD movies.

As an author how would I handle seeing a five foot four inch (?) slim guy play my 6 foot five built like a tank hero? I think I’d be thrilled to be asked but it would hurt too. I’d need to know they weren’t going to destroy my story and don’t think I’d be able to watch it watch it myself. But, ultimately if it made even a quarter of those cinema-goers head home and buy my books then I’d be a very happy author indeed.

What are your favourite book adaptations and what is it that makes them live up to your expectation? Which books would you love to see on the silver screen?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Coming over to the dark side...

Okay, I have a confession to make. I've been an ebook-published author for over nine years and, until a few weeks ago, I only read ebooks on the computer. And very few of them at that.

Yes, it's true. I read paperbacks. It isn't that I have anything against ebooks, it's just the only way I had to read them was sitting here at my desktop computer...and this chair isn't really conducive to long hours spent reading. You can't curl up in it for one thing and you can't put your feet up (well, I can balance my heels on the speaker under the desk, but it wobbles and once I'm set, I can't move).

I've never liked any of the ereaders because they're proprietary and link me to one type of file. I can't buy something from Barnes and Noble and read it on my Kindle, I can't buy something from the IBookstore and read it on my Nook. So I just never made the leap, since I want to buy what I want to buy from the place I want to buy it from and read it on the device of my choosing. I'm fussy that way.

This Christmas, however, has been a game-changer. My husband bought me the Google Nexus 7 (the "7" refers to the screen size. It also comes smaller and larger, but mine is the size of a tradebook. Perfect!). It uses the Android operating system, so I can fill it with reading apps. The free Kindle app allows me to download ebooks from Amazon and read them easily. Same with the Nook app. Okay, so they're two different programs. I'm okay with that. It's all on the same device. My entire reading library on one small unit I can carry in my purse.

My ebook library is, however, pitifully small. I have books by my fellow-Scribes, the next book my book club is reading, and a few classics just because I like them (Edgar Allen Poe, anyone?). I need to fill it up.

So I'm on the dark side now...I'm an ebook reader. Give me suggestions! What books do I need on my shelves?


Monday, January 7, 2013

To Blog or Not To Blog

Blogging has been around for a lot of years. It's a great way for an author to keep his/her fans up-to-date on new releases, upcoming appearances, important information, or something fun the author wants to share. But while going over messages on one of my Yahoo groups this weekend, I read it described as "last decade".

So what's *this* decade? Social media. In this day of instant gratification in the form of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets, maybe reading blogs has become too time-consuming for a reader. Same with emails. I used to get a lot of emails from readers. Now they post to my Facebook timeline or send a tweet.

I read very few blogs...not because I don't like them, but because I could easily spend all day reading them and social media instead of writing. I allow myself a set amount of time in the morning to read email, post to social media, and play a bit on Pinterest. If I didn't set a time limit for myself, I'd never get a book written.

What do you think? Do you still love to read blogs or do you prefer social media instead?


P.S. Speaking of social media, here's where you can find me: