January 30, 2013

Buying Books in the Digital Age

Sometime last week I read an article that made me think about my book buying habits.  The article, which can be found here, reports that "new research shows that frequent book buyers visit sites like Pinterest and Goodreads regularly, but those visits fail to drive actual book purchases."  While I can't speak for anyone else, as someone who uses both Goodreads and Pinterest, I know I contribute to the non-book-buying statistics associated with these two popular sites.  

I may browse the books my friends are talking about, but I don't necessarily rush out to buy them.  The reasons vary.  First, while I can appreciate their enjoyment of a certain genre or author, I may not share their enthusiasm. Sometimes, though, I am intrigued and I have every intention of reading the book, but I'm a little short on funds at that exact moment.  This is when I add the title to my Goodreads bookshelf entitled "want-to-buy".  Take "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" for instance.  I don't know that I would have added this particular title to my "want-to-buy" shelf if not for a friend's positive review

I also use this bookshelf to keep track of the books I'm missing in my myriad collections.  The screen shot below shows two such books.  While I have most of the Anne of Green Gables books, I still need to pick up #7.   The same goes for the Xanth series by Piers Anthony; I have a great many gaps there with #23 being only one of them.  

iPhone Screen Shot 
Now, I wouldn't track this information if I didn't intend to use it.  And use it I do.  I have pulled my phone out multiple times when visiting my local B&N store.  It has aided me in picking up something I know has already met with good reviews, making me feel as if I'm taking less of a gamble than I might have otherwise done.  It has also helped me fill in some of the gaps in my series collections. 

Of course, the trick is to make sure I keep the bookshelves up-to-date.  If I forget to remove a purchase from the "want-to-buy" shelf, I may unintentionally duplicate a sale, which may not bother the publisher but certainly irritates me! 

January 16, 2013

So, What's Up With Those Girls?

So, what's up with those girls?

That's the question I always get whenever someone reads Fallen Angel or, in this case, the opening chapter of Taming the Wolf (a.k.a. book #2).  It's a reasonable question. It's apparent there's something about those three children that is central to the overarching storyline. I'm certainly convinced of it and I'm glad my readers have picked up on their importance. 

Yet, the expectations associated with that awareness freaks me out.  Why?  Well, I'm not really able to articulate why they're so important to the story.  I know they each have a major role to play.  I've labeled them in my mind as the scholar, the hunter, and the spiritual center.  I know they stop Armageddon from occurring (or do they?  Maybe I should let Armageddon detonate on the page and see where things go from there...). That's where my knowledge stops, though, and that's my problem.  

In short, I didn't plan the series out in advance.  My writing method is what some might refer to as organic - I write for discovery and am often surprised by my characters' choices and the consequences of their actions.  This makes the writing a special kind of frustrating fun.  It leads me down a dozen dead-end trails and requires me to scrap what doesn't work. It results in false starts and innumerable hours of second-guessing the validity of what I've written. 

Let me go on record now and admit this is not the best way to approach writing a novel, let alone a series.  

The only thing that is keeping me from freaking completely out over the girls' upcoming role in the series is the fact that I really haven't given the reader any major clues (false or not) on their role.  They remain a mystery to both author and reader, and this is a good thing.  It gives me room to be creative.  

Now if only the creative part of my brain would cooperate! 

  

January 14, 2013

The Plight of the Untied Shoelaces


It never fails.  Seriously.  This happens at every single game.  

Just thought I'd share. 


January 13, 2013

A Little Free Time on My Hands

It's an odd phrase: free time.  Yet, that's how this weekend has felt, full of time I am free to do whatever I please. Technically, it's not true.  Our youngest boy had basketball practice this morning, which meant we were out of bed and somewhat motivated by 8:30 or 9:00 a.m.  Okay, Ken was motivated.  I was snuggling on the couch with the boy right up until it was time for him to throw on some gym clothes, brush his teeth, and grab his new basketball shoes on his way out the door.

Then we had plans to visit my uncle in the hospital.  That took about four hours out of our day.  The drive up, visiting, and the drive home.  Luckily the visit went very well and my uncle should be coming home within the next day or two.  He had us all quite nervous there yesterday, but within a few short hours he did a 180 and was on the road to wellness.  I should say he's as well as a diabetic on dialysis three times a week can be.  

Yet, despite the basketball obligation and the hospital visit, I've felt strangely adrift.  I'm not accustomed to having all this free time on my hands!  Weekends are normally set aside for scholarly articles and paper writing.  Without school deadlines looming, I'm wandering aimlessly around the house.  

When Ken turned on the football game(s) I really felt antsy.  Lately, television has been a comfortable way to waste the hours.  Sure, I could have watched something on the TV in our bedroom, but that didn't sound like fun.  Instead, I retreated to my basement craft room.  

Before you mistakenly believe I became productive, in reality I managed to avoid crafting anything and instead managed to waste several hours on Facebook, Walgreens photo website, and Goodreads.  I may have sorted a few printed photos into their respective storage units, but I didn't scrapbook anything.  The one page I thought I might be able to finish before bedtime didn't happen - the prints from my HP photo printer here at the house didn't have the right color cast.  (I probably need to replace the ink cartridges.) 

Wait!  I did manage to finish one short story in Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novel and Stories, Volume II.  That counts for something, right?

January 4, 2013

Saying Goodbye to 2012 and Hello to 2013

I have to give 2012 some credit.  It totally outdid 2011.  It was, by far, a much better year all the way around. In honor of the fond memories I have of 2012, here are some collages I created using Picasa







Looking back through these pictures, I realize we've had yet another busy year.  Here's to 2013 being even better!