by Christine | Observations
I love authors who touch my heart and soul, who make me think and grow with their words. One day I was hunting around the Boroughs Publishing Group’s website, checking out their products and looking for something to read, and I stumbled onto in the place where she fell by Mary Beth Bass. It being a Lunchbox® romance, it was bound to be short and at only .99, affordable.
But having bought it, I forgot about it until a few weeks later when I was perusing my Kindle, and the cover caught at me. And so I read this story on my lunch hour, and found myself so moved, so changed, that I had to write a review of it. And then I had to talk about it on my blog.
That’s when Mary Beth and I got to talking and becoming friends through Facebook, and through both of us being published by Boroughs. So I want to share my beautiful, talented, soulful friend and the magical world she inhabits.
CA: On your website, you talk about walking through the woods and memorizing poetry on an almost daily basis. How does poetry influence your writing?
MBB: When I first started hiking I used to think, this is great, but wouldn’t it be awesome if some beautiful-voiced, English-accented man was following me and reciting poetry. Kind of like a lyric lady’s maid with a voice like Benedict Cumberbatch. Needless to say I couldn’t quite make that happen. So I became my own Benedict Cumberbatch (without the butter-and-whisky voice). The cool thing about hiking and reciting is that concentrating on steep terrain and not tripping over rocks means I don’t worry that I’m doing the poem wrong. I found that I understood the poems much better than I would have from a place of stillness on the couch. Hmm, I didn’t really answer your question. Probably because I’m not sure how to answer it. I think poetry influences my writing the way everything influences writing. Something grabs a corner of your brain and makes a home there until it pops up in a book. Maude, the sister of the heroine in my young adult fantasy, everything you know, loves poetry. She was born in part from one of my favorite Keats’ poems The Eve of St. Agnes. Maude’s story doesn’t exactly follow the story of that poem but it echoes elements of it. The Eve of St. Agnes is gorgeous and sexy and deceptively dark. You should go read it right now, and imagine your voice-of-choice is reciting it. Over red wine in an old inn. In a snowstorm.
CA: I love Keats, but haven’t read him in a long time. I’ll get right on The Eve of St. Agnes, though… So, I’ve noticed on Facebook that you’re often championing local theater productions. I used to be an actress/dancer/director, and my husband is still vital in the business. How did you become so involved?
MBB: I wanted to be an actress and studied in some fancy-pants theatre schools but I realized soon after I graduated that I didn’t want that life. I love theatre. And I really love supporting other artists. Theatre is my favorite art form. It still feels like actual magic to me. I started occasionally acting again a few years ago. Last summer I was in an amazing production of The Tempest in the woods in a huge nature preserve. The show ended as night fell. Almost every actor I went to school with is a writer now. Or a lawyer.
CA: Oh, don’t I know it – acting, show biz, is a tough business and crumbles a lot of young people’s dreams, especially if they come out to Hollywood. Very few of the people I acted with 30 years ago are still doing it…okay, moving on or we’ll be here all night talking about theater! Tell me how being a parent has influenced your writing.
MBB: When I first started writing my kids were very young. On the way to the bus stop one morning my youngest son told me he couldn’t wait to see my name on a book someday. I decided then to write under my own name. People still assume if you’re writing romance you must be writing under a different name. My first book came out when my youngest was in kindergarten. He gave the book to all his teachers and his bus driver!
My daughter edited my first book when she was still in high school. (Don’t judge. If you’d seen her insightful peer-editing of her classmates’ work, you probably would have made her stay home from the Halloween party until she finished editing the manuscript you were submitting.) She interned at Soft Skull Press in college and is a freelance editor now. She also manages a restaurant in New York City and is awesome.
CA: Wow, how wonderful to get such support from your kids! Now, tell me. You call yourself a writer of “dreamy, lyrical, science fiction and fantasy romance novels for adults and teens.” The words dreamy, lyrical, and science fiction don’t usually go together. How did you come to realize that was a strength of yours?
MBB: Well, I’m pretty dreamy and lyrical by nature. I didn’t realize I was writing science fiction-ish stories until readers started pointing that out. That being said, I have a huge crush on science. My fantasy jobs are hacker or virus hunter. The hero of my work in progress, The Language of the Thread, is an eighteenth century astronomer who is working towards the discovery of Neptune, using mathematics. (Neptune was the first planet to be discovered that way.) The heroine of my first book, Follow Me, is a medical researcher and works covertly as a doctor in the early nineteenth century. I read medical journals from that time period and made up a disease. It was kind of awesome.
CAA: Okay, now I just want to sit you down with a margarita in your hand and talk science, lol! With all that going on, what is your next book about, and when will it be out?
MBB: My next book is All That We See. It’s the sequel to everything you know and picks up right where that story ends. Emma and Joe’s story continues in this book but the heroine of All That We See is Thalia Salic. I’m super excited about this book. It comes out this December.
CAA: Very cool! I have everything you know but, in my typical fashion, haven’t read it yet. I’ll be looking for All That We See. Thank you, so very much, for letting me pry into your life.
MBB: It was my pleasure. Thanks for the great questions!
Okay folks, so here’s where you can find Mary Beth Bass around the Internet. And do yourself a favor – do pick up in the place where she fell. You won’t regret it!
by Christine | Life, Observations
I know, I’ve been AWOL from the blog lately. Lots going on in my world. Here’s a bit of it all.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Yeah, so the last couple of weeks I’ve immersed myself in the Harry Potter world (again). What a joy! What an absolute vacation from the world! I’ve had to borrow them from my sons (both boys have the set), and each time I got close to the end, the next book would show up on the edge of my bed. (They are SO good to me!)
I don’t know what drew me to read them this time around. Maybe a bit of turmoil in my professional life? At any rate, I’m glad I did. I needed something to “take me away”, and even Calgon can irritate delicate tissues. If you know what I mean.
Last night, I finished off Book Seven. This morning, I found myself needing to re-read the last fifty pages or so. Fred’s death is heartbreaking; Molly charging up the stairs to get at Bellatrix gives me that “yay, you GO girl” feeling. Neville, becoming a hero, warms my heart, and through it all are Harry, Ron and Hermione fighting the good fight. Even when they save Draco (“that’s twice, you git”) it’s heartwarming. And the very ending, seventeen years later (or is that nineteen)? Melty goodness. I loved that Ron had to Confund the driving examiner, lol! So that’s what I’ve been reading.
I’ve been seeing a lot of plays lately (and with the Los Angeles Fringe Festival coming up, I’m betting I’ll be seeing a lot MORE plays very soon). But I don’t review plays, generally. HOWEVER: For a glimpse into the play I saw last weekend called The Accomplice, go to Tameri Etherton’s blog for a rundown (plus photos – too fun!). She calls it “The strangest play I’ve ever ‘seen’.” It helps that my hubby is in it. Plus, hello – San Diego! Absolutely beautiful. They’re looking to run through July, so if you can, do go see it. Tameri has the details.
and Driver’s Tests
So my youngest has passed his driver’s test this week. Not only that, but he drove himself to school yesterday (on the freeway – both ways!!!) to take a final. At 19, he’s pretty steady, and I’m very glad he waited to start driving. Now both my boys can drive, we’ll see who gets out of the house more.
Cal State Northridge logo
Plus, they’re both accepted into California State University, Northridge. Which kind of takes my breath away – I have no idea how we’re going to afford it, so this will be an interesting summer as they figure out financial aid. Youngest son has a summer job, oldest is still looking, and in the meantime $2 to play the Powerball doesn’t seem like too much money when you look at the return (if you win, of course).
So, that’s been most of my month of May. Oh, and I’m planning a revamp of the blog/website, which always takes time.
What are you reading/seeing/testing for lately? Anything good? I’m in the market for new books (HA! Not really, and yet again, I’m always looking for new stuff…) so please give me your recommendations!
Thanks for dropping by. Until next time, cheers!
by Christine | Writing
There has been some kerfluffles between book bloggers and writers recently. I don’t know all the details (and I really don’t want to, either), but from what I could discover, errors happened on both sides. But I’m here to champion book bloggers.
For me, I totally heart book bloggers. These people review books for readers, but they also do writers an incalculable service (whether or not that is their intent). Most of the book bloggers will put their reviews up on Amazon (I think – I could be wrong about that!), which gives a boost to the writer (no matter the rating). When you consider that the “magic number” of reviews on Amazon tends to be 50, those bloggers often make up the bulk of a writer’s reviews.
Whether it is a person who only reviews, or a blogger who tosses out an occasional review, it doesn’t matter to me. I have learned a very important lesson from a reviewer that I took to heart. See, she loved the first book in my Caine Brothers series, but she was pretty unhappy that the hero and heroine didn’t take down the villains together.
When I read that, I immediately understood her reasoning, and sympathized. But at the time, the ending kind of had to happen the way it did – the heroine had to win and win big, and then the hero also had to win and win big. They both had a lot to prove to themselves, so for that reason they couldn’t fight together.
But when I was writing book 2 in the series, I remembered this review and I knew, without a doubt, that my hero and heroine would have to take down the bad guy together. They were both strong people; their journey, though, meant they had to learn to let someone else in to help them. In fact, the only way this bad guy could be taken apart was by the two of them letting down their protective walls and working together.
Would I have come to that conclusion without that reviewer’s lament? Maybe. But I can tell you that bringing that up in the review made it impossible for me to forget; which ensured the outcome of book 2.
Reviewers are golden. Writers should, in my opinion, always thank the reviewer whenever practical (though I understand that some reviewers feel kind of creeped out when a writer thanks them for a bad review). Writers should also take bad reviews in stride, and not ever take them personally. In this market, to an extent, every review has value.
And then we get the other side of things: here’s an entertaining blog about the 5 meanest book reviews from the Huffington post. Now, I’m not encouraging book bloggers to write mean reviews, and neither is the HuffPost; as they say, sometimes any publicity is NOT good publicity.
But for the most part, book bloggers go into this game with a wide open heart and an insatiable love of reading. And because of that, I heart you all.
Do you have a favorite Book Blogger? Enquiring Minds want to know!
DEMON SOUL, BLOOD DREAMS, and DEMON HUNT all available now!
by Christine | Life, Observations
Happy Day 1 of 2012!
I’m not one for goals. I don’t do resolutions anymore. Why? I don’t want to feel like an abject failure when I look back, 12 months from now, to see my goals and resolutions as I had originally set them, not yet crossed-off my list.
I much prefer looking forward. So in that frame of mind, here’s what I’m looking forward to for 2012.
I look forward to an active, healthy life and lifestyle. I look forward to writing, and publishing several books. I look forward to hearing the plays I wrote read aloud this year.
I look forward to meeting new people and making new friends, whether in person or online; for I firmly believe you can never have too many friends. I look forward to opportunities to expand my knowledge – of myself, of writing, of the mysteries in the world.
I look forward to celebrating my friends’ successes and to watching my sons spread their wings. I look forward to laughing, and reading, and watching the fire in my hearth. I look forward to another year of a deepening love, one I couldn’t have imagined 35 years ago.
And I’m really looking forward to dealing with whatever life decides to dish out to me this year. Now, to begin my year on a solid note, I shall go for a jog. And when I return, I shall make healthy pancakes for the family.
Happy New Year. Sending much love and many hugs from my home to yours. What are you looking forward to this year?