Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How Do You GoodReads?

How many of you are on GoodReads? Or any of the few other sites that allow you to keep track of what you've read and share your reviews with friends?

I'm on GoodReads and I've got a question for ya:  Do you only rate books you've read recently? Or within the last, say, 10 years? Or do you not have a cut-off point, and rate even books you read as a little kid?

I ask because I rate everything - and it has been brought to my attention that some books I loved as a teenager might not stand the test of time, and some books I hated at one point I might actually enjoy today -- so my star ratings might not be an accurate snapshot of my current reading tastes.

Does that matter? I suppose it would if you were interested in GoodReads' new if you like such-n-such, you'll like that-n-this matching program. I might miss out on a book I'd like based on an opinion I formed back when I thought boys had cooties.

I have a To Be Read pile taller than my dresser, though, so getting more reading material really isn't a problem for me.

But I'm curious how other people approach this conundrum. How far back do you rate?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tree Canopy of the United States of America

From Hardwood Floors News
This is a NASA map of the Tree Canopy of the United States.

It took six years to create, and lead to the determination that about one third of the US is currently forested.

First thing that struck me - Wisconsin. Only the far northern part, next to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, is heavily forested.

Well, of course, you say. Wisconsin is dairyland. Farmland.

It is NOW. But if you'll remember, Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods is set in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin used to be massively forested, which led to a booming lumber industry and "lumber barons" who became rich off it and built mansions like these below:

After the trees were gone, then agriculture was promoted.

For more about Wisconsin's logging history click here.

How about your state? Are you surprised by its canopy, or lack thereof?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Zaftig is Sexy Too

Here I am, in my long underwear because winter is chilly, waiting for my coffee to awaken me of a morning.

Well, no, obviously this isn't really me. It's Hilda, the recurring character drawn by artist Duane Bryers.

I found these images on tumblr but I'm pretty certain they came from HERE and I recommend you check that website out.

What I particularly like about Hilda is the fact that she is plump and yet presented as a pinup girl.

Maybe it's only me, being as I'm fat errr I mean zaftig myself, but I think this image is sexy. Wish there was more art of plump women in popular culture today.  What do y'all think?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kitty Eyes Are Watching You

Kitty eyes  are watching you  they see your ev-'ry move...

- to the tune of Hall & Oates' Private Eyes

What is it about cats and drawers?  You guys have cats that like to nestle in drawers, too, right?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Theory on How Sherlock Survived *Spoilers*

If you haven't seen season 2 of the BBC's Sherlock, don't read this. Unless you like spoilers.




Okay, this is my theory of how Sherlock survived the fall from the building in The Reichenbach Fall:

He never jumped.

We see John get out of the taxi, and Sherlock directs him to stand in a certain place and look up and says he's on the roof. So when John looks up, he would assume the figure on the roof is the one he's talking to on the phone.

Sherlock also tells John specifically to keep his eyes on him. Which means there is something elsewhere that John cannot see for the trick to work. 

I'm guessing Sherlock is on the roof of a building nearby, perhaps behind John. That is where the confrontation with Moriarty took place.

The other rooftop is where Sherlock arranged with Molly - when he asked her for help earlier - to have Molly standing with a body from the morgue of Sherlock's approximate height and weight (it wouldn't have to be perfect, the angle from ground to rooftop would skew perspective) and dressed in Sherlock's clothing.

On Sherlock's signal (he could do an arm wave, since John can't see him), Molly would drop/push the body off the ledge and splat.

Then that bike-rider (part of Sherlock's network) knocks into John as he runs to the corpse, not only delaying him so a crowd has gathered and he can't actually touch the corpse, but the rider has injected him with project H.O.U.N.D stuff (borrowed from Mycroft? since he owes Sherlock) so John is bleary and disoriented when he gets to his feet. And then sees precisely what he expects to see, what he most fears when he catches a glimpse of the corpse.

And then Molly can do the paperwork to say it's Sherlock in the morgue now, sign him officially dead.

That's how I think Moffat & Gatiss did it. :D

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review Etiquette

Every once in a while, you hear about an author who responded nastily to a negative review. This is generally regarded as a good time to get popcorn and lurk for the lulz, because those situations never end well for the author.


So my advice to authors is ignore bad reviews. Even if it's a totally unfair opinion or you just want to correct this one little thing ----

NO.   Let it go.

Because, however sweet you think you are being, telling someone their opinion is wrong only makes you look like a jerk.

What about the other side of the coin, though? What if you get a really fantastic review that warmed your heart and made your day/week/year?

Is it okay to thank the reviewer? Tell them how much you appreciate it?

Or will that look smarmy, like you're trying to ingratiate yourself with them for future good reviews?

Would it freak the reviewer out, to hear from you, and make them self-conscious about their writing? That could lead to resentment.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Books, Scotland & More in Chicago April 2012

Online registration for the RT BookLovers' Convention in Chicago, April 11 - 15, 2012 is open!

Are you going?

There's tons of panels and chats and parties for writers, readers, booksellers and librarians, YA fans, everyone!

And of course, book-signings, like the one pictured here.

The hotel is the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, which looks beautiful - and convenient for the airport. 

As always, I am on the Faery Court, hosting the Faery Ball. This year we're doing a Magical Scottish Fling and encouraging our guests to attend in a Scots-themed costume. Something out of Scottish myth and legend, a character from your favorite Scottish historical or person from Scottish history, or even the embodiment of your favorite Scottish song or poem! 

You love Robert Burns' Red, Red Rose? Come in a gown of red rose blossoms and petals! 

There will be a costume contest, of course, and - new this year - a drawing for three mega-baskets of gifts. Not just promo stuff. Actual cool gifts.

It's going to be fantastic. 

This year I am also hosting a readers' panel and, as you can see, I have awesome company (panel info below). Please join us for the Naked Truth about Scotland!

Hope I see y'all at the Convention!


Everything you ever wanted to know about Scotland. Not only what a gentleman wears under his kilt, but also: If the rebels supported Bonnie Prince Charlie, why are they called Jacobites? Are Bloody Mary and Mary, Queen of Scots the same person? What is a Burns supper and is haggis really as disgusting as it sounds? If you love Scotland, join us for an interactive chat about this unique land.
Hosts: Loretta Chase, Donna Grant, Sahara Kelly, Kimberly Killion, Cathy Maxwell, Susanne Saville, Veronica Wolff