New website is under construction.

Dec 31, 2010

New Blog for the New Year!

I'm going to add a new blog to my repertoire. I will still keep this blog to discuss writerly things. The new blog will be aimed at sharing content. I'm going to offer the first book in my new series for free... 500 words a day, from now until June. (It's 98 chapterlets and I will only post Mon-Fri.) I will also offer a pdf file of the whole book for free, if people prefer.

I have no idea if anyone will be intersted in reading the book that way, but I thought it would be a fun thing to try. We'll see how it goes!

To add a little more spice, I'm also going to invite other novelists to advertise their books by posting 500 word long excerpts. And I've also opened it up to posting 500 word flash fiction from time to time.

Sensing the common theme here...? The blog will be called "500 Words."

In other news, the trade paperback versions of both Conmergence and now The Unfinished Song: Initiate, are available!


Dec 29, 2010

New Year, New Policy from All Romance eBooks for Self-Published Authors and Small Presses

Reposted with permission:
The start of a new year brings the beginning of a new policy at All Romance eBooks as they lift the requirement that sellers maintain a minimum number of titles in their online storefront.

All Romance eBooks announced today that beginning January 1, 2011 they will waive their required ten book minimum for publishers or individuals wishing to sell on the OmniLit™/All Romance™ sites. The revision in policy is designed to accommodate the ever increasing number of publishers with just a few eBooks in their catalog and authors choosing to self-publish their own work.

The move reflects ARe’s long standing policy to provide their customers with the most diverse selection of romance and mainstream titles possible, with catalogs from the major publishers (including Harlequin and Random House) as well as selections from small press and individual authors.

“Some of our hottest selling books are coming from indies,” said Lori James. “More importantly, the change in policy is in response to author and reader requests.”

The rising trend in self-publishing could be attributed to today’s digital technology which makes it possible for authors to self-publish high quality digital eBooks, whether it be a single title or their entire out-of-print backlist, in addition to readers demanding an ever broadening selection of genres, authors and titles.


ABOUT ALL ROMANCE eBOOKS

All Romance eBooks, LLC was founded in 2006, is privately held in partnership, and headquartered in Palm Harbor, Florida. The company owns AllRomance.com, which specializes in the sale of romance eBooks and OmniLit.com, which sells both fiction and non-fiction eBooks.

Dec 28, 2010

Oooooo Guess What I'm Reading....

Thirds. By Michelle Davidson Argyle.

Reading... reading... done now, in one sitting.

What can I say?

I'm going to abuse my privileged position as beta reader to take this moment to gloat shamelessly.

I pity all of you who have to wait to savor this delicious novella. I pity you.

Hee hee hee.

Yeah, it's that good!

Dec 27, 2010

Agent Stats

Some literary agents, Weronika Janczuk and Kristin Nelson have kindly shared their agently stats for the year. Most interesting!

Dec 25, 2010

Christmas and Godzilla: A True Story

My four year old son recently discovered Godzilla.

He was already a big fan of dinosaurs. He also loved dragons. But then he saw a picture of a cartoon Godzilla in the line-up on Netflix. We're pretty picky about what we watch on tv with the kids, preferring educational programs, but he begged, "That one! That one!" every time the picture scrolled by. I gave in, figuring he'd watch one show and that would be the end of it.

Clearly, I understimated cartoon Godzilla's charms. He was shaped like a dinosaur but fifty times as big! He had magical fire breath like a dragon!

"Godzilla is SUPER AWESOME!" My four year old jumped up and down with glee.

Even my two year old son latched on to the show. "I wan Wazilla!"

What have I gotten myself into? I wondered.

When my son gets on a kick, he is the most obsessive fanboy imaginable. He wanted to watch Godzilla night and day, six times in the morning, six times at night and twice again instead of nap. He suggested that he could skip preschool, the better to enjoy an all-day Godzilla marathon.

This alone would have been enough to drive a parent nuts, but for some reason my husband went further. He took a dislike to the show the first time he saw it. When my husband gets on a kick, he is the most obsessive h8r imaginable.

"What? Why didn't he call for back-up? Why does his flashlight work now but not before? No helicopter moves like that!" he would exclaim while watching the show. "I hate this show! They can't even get the laws of physics right!"

Then my husband and four-year-old son would argue about whether the show was "stupid" or not. "Is too!" "Is not!"

Really.

Immediately after Thanksgiving, my son put in his first request for a toy Godzilla. I figured the phase would pass, and didn't worry about. But as Christmas came closer and closer, he kept making remarks like, "I hope Santa brings me a Godzilla!" "We have to tell Santa about Godzilla, Mommy!"

"Can't you just pretend your T-rex is Godzilla?"

"T-rex is a dinosaur, Mommy, not a Godzilla." He said this as though it should be obvious.

The problem was that the Godzilla movie came out in 1998. The cartoon came out a year later. It was not exactly this season's hot toy in the stores. I checked every Target, Walmart, Toys R Us and boutique ye olde toy shoppe in the tri-state area, which is even more impressive when you consider that l live on the West Coast. I checked eBay and Craig's list and Amazon, and found a few used versions, but balked at the price. I didn't want a collector's item, and, especially given my husband's ongoing opposition to all things Godzilla, I was reluctant to encourage my son's interest.

When my son wrote his letter to Santa, he listed a number of things he had seen in a catalogue (he's already a savvy shopper, and even advised Santa on the price of things, "I want the one the one that costs three hundred dollars but not the one that costs a hundred dollars, cause that's too uk-pensive."

He didn't mention Godzilla, because Godzilla was not in the catalogue.

Thank goodness for commercialization of Christmas. A bullet dodged.

Then on Christmas Eve, out of the blue, my son asked me where his letter to Santa was.

"We mailed it to Santa, remember?"

"No!" he said. "I need it back. I forgot to add Godzilla to my list!"

I explained there was no way to get it back. His whole face screwed up like a sun-dried cranberry. "Santa isn't going to know I want Godzilla! I have to ask Santa for Godzilla! I need my letter to Santa to tell him!"

"We'll write a new letter to Santa and leave it for him with the cookies tonight," I promised, but I wondered what I was going to do when Christmas morning came and there was no Godzilla toy. Was Santa going to leave a note saying, "Sorry, your request came too late, maybe next year." I thought about what I would have thought about Santa if he'd told me that when I was four.

I had a sinking feeling this was going to be the Christmas that scarred my son's emotional growth forever.

My husband motioned me over to the kitchen. We whispered like conspirators.

"We can still get it," he said.

"We can't, it's not in any of the stores, and there's no way to order it online at this point!"

"I have one," he said.

"You found it? When?"

"I bought it when the movie came out," he said, matter-of-factly. "The movie was so terrible, I had to have one."

I stared at him. He bought a kid's toy for a movie he hated that came out twelve years ago, and kept it all this time?

Apparently, yes.

While my sons watched Rudoph the Red-nosed Reindeer, we put in a frantic call to grandparents, who searched through their entire house, found nothing, searched again and then drove over to our house with something wrapped up in a grocery store plastic bag.

This morning, as my son opened present after present, he kept asking, "Is it Godzilla?"

Godzilla was the last present. Perfect, pristine, brand new Godzilla, looking just like the movie and cartoon. It ever roars when you press a button.

"Santa is SUPER AWESOME!" cried my son.

Yes, Santa, you are.


* * *

Merry Christmas.

* * *

And these were Santa's presents to me: the print version of Conmergence and the ebook version of the first book in my fantasy series, The Unfinished Song: Initiate. Both out today!



Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Merry Christmas!





Dec 23, 2010

It began innocently enough....



I first saw this hilarious video on Kindle Nation's blog. Hehehe.

Conmergence is Available in Print!



Yes, finally! Yay!

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - To The Manger

So how many of you took part in Nativity Plays as kids, where you'd use tinsel on a bent hanger for a halo and bathrobes for shepherds' frocks? When I was a preteen, I directed a number of these, including one with a science fiction theme: the Nativity in outer space. (It was a Unitarian church, what can I say.) Were you in plays? Where and who put it on? What sets and costumes did you use? Did you sing Christmas carols or just read the New Testament as though it were a script? To tell! Don't be shy. :)





Dec 22, 2010

Behold the New Cover Art



Here it is! The new cover art for the first Dindi book, now known as Initiate: The Unfinished Song, Book One. The model is Jessica Trescott, of Faestock on deviantART. The pixie is my very first artwork done in Poser. I'm still not good enough make realistic looking people in Poser, and I don't want androids on my cover, since this isn't science fiction. But I think it works well enough for a pixie. What do you think?

Here's the back copy:

DEADLY INITIATION

A Bumbling Girl
Dindi can't do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi's clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying.

An Exiled Warrior
Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn't commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don't kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father's wars and his mother's curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her... assuming she would even accept the help of an exile.

A Riddle and a Doll
Dindi discovers a strange corncob doll that could hold the secret to the riddle her grandmother couldn't answer...or could doom Dindi, Kavio and all of Faearth.

Is it clear? Enticing? Let me know if there are sentences that scan awkwardly or something that could be improved!

An earlier version was much shorter, but it was too short, and also, I feared it made the book sound like it was Middle Grade fiction:

The Tavaedies, powerful warrior-dancers, guard the secret magics of Faearth.

Dindi wants to be a Tavaedi. No one in her clan has ever passed the test. Her grandmother died trying.

But Dindi has a plan.

I'm still looking for taglines. For the print version, I'm thinking of using just, "No one in her clan has ever passed the Test. But she has a plan."

Suggestions are very, very welcome....

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Last Minute Gift Ideas

Christmas is about shopping and shameless self-promotion, so this is a good time to remind you that you can give ebooks as presents! (Hint, hint.)

If you've already given all fifty of your friends a relatives gifts of my ebooks, and yet you are still frantically running around, trying to buy last minute presents, as I am, I humbly offer some suggestions in the songs below. There are a lot of good versions of Santa Baby. I chose Madanna's because it has a cute video. And who better than the Material Girl to represent the material side of Christmas?

Wait, you're objecting that Christmas is not just about shopping and self-promotion?

Weird.

You mean maybe what we want often bears no resemblance whatsoever to what we need...?

Nah.

I REALLY DO NEED A HIPPO!





Dec 21, 2010

The Three Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in the Mystery Genre

In a dream, I received the answer to the problem with my Nano novel (Xenophile): make it a mystery. It's hard sf, and a lot of the issues I want to explore in this series are pretty esoteric, and I was looking for a way for readers to connect with the characters on some familiar ground to make the harder sf elements easier to swallow. I decided that making them a detective/law enforcement team for hire out on the frontier of human settlements could be a good way to go.

I've been reading and watching more Mystery lately. All the subgenres. Police procedural, cozy, thriller, science fiction, history. Gee, this is great stuff, I thought. Why don't I enjoy mystery stories more often?

Then I tripped over a story that made me want to throw things, and I remembered. Oh, yeah. That's why.

The number one problem with the mystery genre? The entire genre. Yes, I'm going there!

The number one problem with the mystery genre is caused by trying to avoid the number two problem. The number two problem is caused by the number three problem. So let's go over them in reverse order:

3. The murderer comes out of nowhere.
This is a noob mistake, right? You can't have four suspects through-out the story and then suddenly pull a fifth suspect, a character the reader has never even heard about, out of the hat in the final scene. The problem is that if you bring all the suspects on stage, you run into the Problem#2.

2. It's really obvious who the murderer is.
When I lived in Africa, there was only one channel on TV, and even that channel only aired shows a few hours a day, mostly old re-runs of oddly chosen foreign series. One of the shows was a West German detective show. It was great to watch, because, unlike with American shows, I could never predict who the murderer would be. After a number of episodes, though, that changed. Pretty soon, I could predict which suspect would be guilty with fair regularity. (The murderer was usually a jobless young man, whose motive was always greed.)

With American mysteries, especially on TV, a lot of candidates can be eliminated based on politically correct stereotypes. If a poor, black man is accused of committing the murder to get drugs and an old, white Senator with a Southern accent is accused of doing it to cover up an arms deal, you can bet it's going to be the Senator.

Most people would say that writing an obvious murderer is the biggest mistake a mystery writer can make. But I think there is something worse.

1. The murderer is absurd.
To me, the biggest mistake a writer can make is to distort the characters for the sake of being unexpected. Credibility is sacrificed to surprise.

Myster writers have pulled off genre-changing surprises. All sorts of creative ideas have been tried. "The butler did it!" was at some point, new. Everyone did it; no one did it (the death was faked); the detective himself was the murderer! And so on.

That's fine, as long as the writer has paid their dues and planted their clues throughout the story. But you can't just explain a motive into existence. Sure, if you have two suspects, and one is an angry young man and the other is a sweet old grandma, you can write your story giving the young man an alibi and the grandma an extreme jealousy of her knitting partner's Christmas cookie recipe. But that is not going to convince me grandma would poke her partner through the eye with a knitting needle. Because, in real life, angry young men commit the majority of violent crimes, whereas jealous grandmas just bitch on the phone to their granddaughters (oh, do they), and I need more than a writer's need for a surprise ending to convince me otherwise.

Oh, but it gets worse. Mysteries are usually written in series. I'm willing to suspend disbelief about the number of times a sleuth can encounter murderers, even serial killers (though they aren't actually that common), the number of times a sleuth can be shot and survive with no discernible long-term health issues, the number of times the sleuth can innocently date the murderer before she realizes his true nature while thinking deeply on the matter tied up in the trunk of his car.

But what I cannot forgive is when the writer takes a major supporting character, who, up until now has shown every sign of being endearingly quirky but in no way murderous, and suddenly makes that person the murderer in the latest case. For the sake of surprise. The old "Watson is really Moriarty!" trick. Right. That is surprising. But it's also stupid. Because crap like that happens only in mysteries.

That's not say that major characters can't be suspects or murderers. But don't confuse motive with character. Someone can have amble motive to murder, yet to murder would be a violation of their character. I would rather guess the murderer in a mystery before then end, but be kept guessing about how the characters will deal with it than sacrifice characters for a cheap twist.

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Peace on Earth

There is a great version of Happy Christmas (War is Over) by the three tenors, Pavarotti-Domingo-Carreras, but the You Tube version has terrible sound. I heard this version of I Heard The Bells for the first time when searching for songs on You Tube. I was looking for the older version, but I fell in love with this one.






Dec 20, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Jolly Joy

I've looked over the songs I've posted, and wow, did I find every sad Christmas song in the world? Time for some holly jolly joy and all that.

Burl Ives Have a Holly Jolly Christmas is one of my all-time favorites. I will always imagine him as a snowman.

I don't watch soap operas, and I have no idea who these people in Jingle Bell Rock are. What I do know is that they can't sing, which makes the whole song remind me of a drunken office party. In a good way. (They aren't actually as of bad singers as your co-workers, don't worry.)

I love Carol of the Bells, and I couldn't decide which was my favorite version. I went with The Bird and the Bee, but Trans-Siberian Orchestra is also very cool.





Dec 19, 2010

Conmergence (print version) and Reflections on Self-Publishing

I thank all of you who have patiently waited for the print version of Conmegence. After numerous delays, all of my own accidental and unwanted contrivance, I have finally managed to approve the print version for sale. It should be up on Amazon's site in about a week.

I will also be selling autographed copies, if anyone wants one. These won't be available before Christmas. (I know this will disappoint the vast hoards of people wishing to give autographed copies of my book as gifts, but just think, you could buy it in January and avoid the rush next year.) You can put in an order now, and not pay until it is ready to ship in mid-January. Just let me know, in a comment or a private email to: tara@taramayastales.com

It's taken me awhile to work out all the kinks of this self-publishing business. It's not that hard; it's not that easy, either. It's been worth, and a lot of fun, but given the hiccups I've experienced, I'm glad I eased in with my anthology, Conmergence, which I felt less nervous about "ruining." I now know that even if it takes me a while to get things out there, even if my schedule is not as fast-paced and coordinated as I would like, it's still worth doing. And I've reached the conclusion it's worth doing again, which is why I will be bringing my fantasy epic, The Unfinished Song, out as well. As with Conmergence, I will bring the ebook out first, and the print version will be available a few weeks later..

The hardest thing about being an indie is the fact that since you CAN check your sales day by day, or minute by minute, it's very hard NOT to. If there is a day, or even an hour, that I don't make a sale, I feel very depressed. Joe Konrath has said one shouldn't compare oneself to other writers, but of course he says this because as writers we compare ourselves to other writers all the time. Most of the time, comparison makes me feel quite despondent, because I can list, with a fair amount of certainty, indie writers who are doing much better than me. Other times, it reassures me, because they've written about how slow things started out in the beginning, and built up slowly.

It's winter and it's cold and wet, the baby has a cold and so do I, the baby was up all night and so was I, and I can get gloomy. I feel that no one will ever want to read my books, even if I publish my whole fantasy series. I will be compulsively checking my sales page, and see no change hour after hour. Then I remind myself that after all, even if that should come to pass, I will have lost nothing. I will not be worse off than I was before. I will be writing, which I always knew was in my hands, but sometimes lost sight of. I will be publishing, publishing, which I always thought was in someone else's hands, but now need not be.

I have had trouble in another area of my life because, I was told, my interests are too wide ranging. I try too much, and often cannot chew all that I bite. I feel frustrated because I don't have the time I'd like for writing, and publicizing, and I wonder how I'll ever build up my sales if I don't have time to let people know about this book or the ones to come.

But on the other hand, when I look over what I am doing with my life, there is nothing that I would excise. Not my children--I don't care what anyone says, I don't think I have too many--not my soul mate, not my academic career, not my love of travel, or social activism, not my curiosity about a million things that have no obvious purpose. If I cannot do as well at any one thing as I would like, at least I am glad because I tried too much--and loved too much--and not too little.

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Lost and Found

One of the paradoxes of the holidays is that they don't always bring us joy. Sometimes they make us feel more lost, depressed and alone than ever.

Or maybe winter does that on its own. The winter holidays are ancient, older than any of the religions we practice today, and I think they were meant as an antidote to winter blues. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

If you are feeling alone or depressed this holiday, please reach out and let someone reach you.





Dec 18, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Candy, Cake and Cookies

Today's theme is Christmas treats. I looked for the muppet song, Christmas Smorgasbord, but couldn't find a version I liked. Hard Candy Christmas isn't really about candy, but it's a great song and it always makes me want candy, so here you go.

Candy. Cake. Cookies.

What could be better?!





Dec 16, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Reindeer Behaving Badly

Sock puppets singing karaoke. So silly, but too cute.

I love this version of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. I never realized Cousin Mel was so sexy, for one thing. It looks like she and grandpa were plotting, doesn't it? But it's all good, because Grandma turns up ok in the end, relieving my deep childhood trauma over her fate.

Just for the record, I do not endorse reindeer violence. Vixen, the first step is to admit you have a problem. Lay off the booze, buck. No wonder you stampeded grandma. You shouldn't drink and fly.





Dec 15, 2010

Three Announcements



First, I have an announcement. The first book in my fantasy series, The Unfinished Song, will be out as an ebook in time for Christmas. The cover is a surprise which I will reveal sometime in the next few days. Look out for it!

Second, speaking of covers, now that the stories are in for the Notes from the Underground anthology at The Literary Lab, I expect to be working on that cover soon too.

Third, one of my stories is a finalist to appear in an another anthology. I'll keep you updated as I hear more news on this.

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Welcoming Christmas

These are what I think of as welcoming Christmas songs. The first one, We Need a Little Christmas, was a favorite of my mom's when I was growing up. It was the first song she would put on when we brought out the Christmas records each year. She would sing the line, "I've grown a little older and I need a little angel sitting on my shoulder," and smile, and it was always a bit bittersweet. Silver Bells is another wonderful, "getting into the mood" song. Alan Jackson's Let it be Christmas became a new favorite of mine the first time I heard it, which was last year.





Dec 14, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Winter Songs

I'm feeling festive, and wanted to offer some of my favorite Christmas songs over the next twelve days.

Normally, I would also offer up one or two token Hannukah songs, if nothing else, for the sake of my Jewish grandma, but you know what? Hannakah and I are not on speaking terms right now. That's right, Stupid Lunar Calendar, I was still in school when you came and went, thanks for nothing.

Anyhoo...moving on to the Spirit of Christmas...ho, ho, ho...

What could be more Christmasy than the doomed adulterous love between Lancelot and Gwenivere? Besides, you know, pretty much anything? Consider it my hat tip to Winter's Solstice. Which has not passed yet, I love you Solar Calender.

So here are two wintery, sad, romantic songs that I love, even if I'm not sure how they are really related to Christmas, Hannukah or anything else. And by two, I meant three. Clearly, at this hour of the morning, I cannot count. Enjoy!





Dec 13, 2010

Dec 7, 2010

WWII Is So Cliche

In honor of the anniversy of the attack on Pearl Harbor.....Here via here.


Let's start with the bad guys. Battalions of stormtroopers dressed in all black, check. Secret police, check. Determination to brutally kill everyone who doesn't look like them, check. Leader with a tiny villain mustache and a tendency to go into apopleptic rage when he doesn't get his way, check. All this from a country that was ordinary, believable, and dare I say it sometimes even sympathetic in previous seasons.

I wouldn't even mind the lack of originality if they weren't so heavy-handed about it. Apparently we're supposed to believe that in the middle of the war the Germans attacked their allies the Russians, starting an unwinnable conflict on two fronts, just to show how sneaky and untrustworthy they could be? And that they diverted all their resources to use in making ever bigger and scarier death camps, even in the middle of a huge war? Real people just aren't that evil.

...Probably the worst part was the ending. The British/German story arc gets boring, so they tie it up quickly, have the villain kill himself (on Walpurgisnacht of all days, not exactly subtle) and then totally switch gears to a battle between the Americans and the Japanese in the Pacific. Pretty much the same dichotomy - the Japanese kill, torture, perform medical experiments on prisoners, and frickin' play football with the heads of murdered children, and the Americans are led by a kindly old man in a wheelchair.

Anyway, they spend the whole season building up how the Japanese home islands are a fortress, and the Japanese will never surrender, and there's no way to take the Japanese home islands because they're invincible...and then they realize they totally can't have the Americans take the Japanese home islands so they have no way to wrap up the season.

So they invent a completely implausible superweapon that they've never mentioned until now. Apparently the Americans got some scientists together to invent it, only we never heard anything about it because it was "classified". In two years, the scientists manage to invent a weapon a thousand times more powerful than anything anyone's ever seen before - drawing from, of course, ancient mystical texts. Then they use the superweapon, blow up several Japanese cities easily, and the Japanese surrender. Convenient, isn't it?

...and then, in the entire rest of the show, over five or six different big wars, they never use the superweapon again. Seriously. They have this whole thing about a war in Vietnam that lasts decades and kills tens of thousands of people, and they never wonder if maybe they should consider using the frickin' unstoppable mystical superweapon that they won the last war with. At this point, you're starting to wonder if any of the show's writers have even watched the episodes the other writers made.

I'm not even going to get into the whole subplot about breaking a secret code (cleverly named "Enigma", because the writers couldn't spend more than two seconds thinking up a name for an enigmatic code), the giant superintelligent computer called Colossus (despite this being years before the transistor was even invented), the Soviet strongman whose name means "Man of Steel" in Russian (seriously, between calling the strongman "Man of Steel" and the Frenchman "de Gaulle", whoever came up with the names for this thing ought to be shot).

So yeah. Stay away from the History Channel. Unlike most of the other networks, they don't even try to make their stuff believable.

Dec 6, 2010

Google Opens A Bookstore

Google's Bookstore

Previously thought to be called "Google Editions", the "Google eBookstore" is live and offering hundreds of thousands of titles for purchase. As opposed to other e-book providers, Google's e-books are entirely cloud-based.

"Google eBooks stores your library in the digital cloud," writes the company, "so you can read all of your favorite books using just about any device with an Internet connection."

For those of you worried about reading your books on the go or up in the air, where there might be no Internet connection, Google says that "once you open your book using our mobile reader apps, your book will sync to your device and you can continue reading it online or offline."

As for accessing these books, Google supports a number of devices, from Android and iOS smartphones to any e-book reader that supports the Adobe e-book platform to any device with a Javascript-enabled browser. Along with reading e-books, there is a Google Books app for both Android and iOS devices, which not only let you read the books, but make e-book purchases on the go.

Oh, and here's Google's own promotional video:



Here's the site: http://books.google.com/ebooks

Dec 4, 2010

Diagnosis of Writer's Brain

"People with mental illness are very much like people without mental illness only more so." -- Mark Vonnegut

Mark Vonnegut (yes, Kurt Vonnegut's
son) has an interesting article in The Journal of Mental Health about being diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Have you ever wondered if there is some connection between madness and art? The connection has been alleged for millennia, and I personally believe there is a link between whatever genetic quirk causes writer's brain and other forms of mania, delusion and depression.

I hide my emotional state from most people I know. This includes those closest to me. I don't lie, I just don't talk about it. It wouldn't really serve any point. I know I'm abnormal and I'm okay with that. Actually, I have nothing to complain about, although when I was younger it bothered me a great deal. Many of the things I have done--you'll find some of them discussed in the author's notes in Conmergence I always felt a little guilty, because I engaged in a lot of things that some people would call "selfless," like working in a homeless shelter or in a war zone, but for selfish reasons, from this need to bring more balance to my life.

This also struck a chord:

During my recovery from my last episode a very wise friend told me that other people’s business was not my business. I felt insulted that he bothered to tell me such an obvious thing. He then said that what other people thought about me was not my business. Harder but still not earth shattering. He then went on to say that what I thought was not really my business either, which has kept me puzzled ever since. I have come to believe that I am at my best and that it is a beautiful world when my feelings are like the weather and that what I think is not my business.

This is the same approach I try to take, to observe my inner strangeness as if from the outside. And this is how writing helps, because I write it down, which sharpens my focus and enables me to view it more clearly.