Don’t go down that dark road.

Writer Beware! Resist the temptation.

orphan black
Sarah, Helena, Alison, Cosima.

Those of you who know me know that I’ve been obsessed with the BBC America show, Orphan Black since the very first episode. (You know, back when it was scraping the bottom of the barrel for advertisers.)

I held my breath, my baited breath, waiting for this season.

I’m so sorry I did. What a waste of good air.

While the show has always been dark, the writers have decided to take the show in a dark’er’ direction, down an, in fact, unrelentingly dark road. Oh, they’ve made minimal attempts at comedy, but they are nothing like the off the wall hilariously funny ironic deeply disturbed comedic moments of the last three seasons.

Of all the story lines from which the writers had to choose, choosing to feature the Neolutian psychos and sycophants was the worst possible choice- IMO. It’s the story I least want to see, find the least interesting and, unfortunately, most disturbing in a stomach churning makes me want to vomit sort of way. Of course the other issue this  season is the increasing number of clones, which, in turn, causes the writers to give short shrift to the clones about whom I actually care.

***Note to writers: Never a good idea to add a clone with a terrible awful weird-ass no-good-reason haircut, who sounds like a garbled version of one of my favorite clones, Helena, but who speaks in such a low whisper I, the viewer, can’t understand a word she says.

Even the best authors sometimes make the same mistake. Get the reader invested, really really really invested in your characters, then backlist said characters and try to get readers invested in new characters. Rarely works. Or rather, it takes a rare talent to make it work. Not. Happening. Here.

The only character worth watching thus far? Ferdinand. Orphan Black fans know who and what I’m talking about.

Ferdinand

I realized after this most recent episode that Orphan Black is no longer entertaining. It’s depressing. With a capital D. As in, Depressing. I’m done with the show for now.

Ah well. Orphan Black had a moment. Now it’s gone. Happens to the best of ’em.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with Vikings and Game of Thrones. Oh, and when it returns next season~ Lucifer! (Such a guilty pleasure!)

Lucifer

 

Been reading. Recommends.

Thanks to my friend, author Anny Cook, I read my first official Regency. LOL! Seriously – LOL! The book was off-beat, atypical, laugh out loud funny and no – there was essentially zero sex, which I very much appreciated in my current nonpron mood. Rake’s Ransom by Barbara Metzger.

Rake's Ransom
Entertaining as all get out.

My dear friend, author Penny Watson, introduced me to Cecelia London, author of The Bellator Saga. I read the first book, Dissident. Cecelia brings her characters to serious life. They are no holds barred, alive. I can see and hear her protagonists speak. They speak to me. If you hate a series, well, all I can say is don’t read it– the book ends in a big old cliffhanger. If you love a series, go for it. I’m on my way to Book Two.

Dissident
Pretty cover!

If you want to be all sad and inspired and, well, simply feel, read When Breath Becomes Air, by (the late) Paul Kalanithi with an introduction by Abraham Verghese. It will make you cry. I’m not sorry for that- there’s no avoiding tears.

When Breath
A beautiful book.

So now you got some good recs. Go! Read!

 

A One Act Play About Sugar: Mr. Goodbar Will Still Make You Fat

An Ecomodernist Mom

Originally Published on Huffington Post. Co-authored with Julie Kelly who really did all the hard work and research. I just added the dumb jokes. Also, we think Hershey’s is a great company and we feel a little bad about making fun of them, especially since some activists are still calling for a boycott even after the announced change.

Exciting news, candy lover! Your Kit Kat will now contain sucrose molecules from Latin America instead of Minnesota.

That’s right, an anti-GMO group has been hard at work, fighting for your right to eat a new peanut butter cup that is exactly like the old peanut butter cup. For two years, they unleashed a cabal of angry Facebookers and Tweeters to tell Hershey’s that they better “Break up with GMOs” or else! And break up Hershey’s did, meaning they’re dumping American sugar in favor of imported sugar.

For decades, some Hershey’s…

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Tables of Contents in Ebooks: Yes!

I especially like the block format.

QA Productions

There’s a big brouhaha going on now with Amazon. Scammers and other crooks have flooded Kindle Unlimited. Amazon is making one of their sweeps in an attempt to root them out. As per usual, when automation is unleashed, innocents get caught up in the net–sometimes with very expensive consequences.

One of the ways publishers are being dinged has to do with the tables of contents. Crooks are manipulating them to game the Kindle Unlimited page reads, so Amazon is going after ebooks that lack a standard (in form and in placement) ToC. Amazon highly recommends that every ebook has an active (publisher generated) table of contents, and requires an internal table of contents (this is what you see when you use the Go To feature on a Kindle). For more information on Amazon’s policies, start here and don’t forget to read this.

ToC Blog 1

The two most common arguments I…

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The Ugly Truth of Publishing & How BEST to Support Writers

Please follow the link to the original post. Thank you, Kristen Lamb, for your efforts.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri

Well, I figure I have one more day to drunkenly torch my platform. Sad thing is I don’t drink. I am apparently this stupid when sober 😛 . Actually I am writing this as a follow up for my rant from the day before yesterday, because knowledge is power.

Writers need this. Your friends and families need this. Readers need this. The more people get how this industry works, the more everyone can start working together for everyone’s benefit.

In my book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World, I go into a LOT more detail and I highly recommend you get a copy if you don’t have one. I spend the first chapters of the book explaining how the various forms of publishing work so you can make an educated decision.

All types of publishing have corresponding…

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To Review Or Not To Review, That Is The Question.

I’ve been busy reading nonfiction. Recently I finished (couldn’t stop reading) an engrossing work of nonfiction. I was so enthralled with both the quality of the story-telling and the writing that I ran over to Amazon and left a five-star review.

The next morning my sister recommended a book on the same subject. She hadn’t read it but a friend of hers had recommended it to her. This was a much shorter work, 71 pages to be exact. A little pricey at $2.99, but I figured, eh, 71 pages. I can read that in an hour or so. I did. Yeah, same subject matter, awful treatment of said subject matter. I found the author’s voice offensive and disingenuous, and her sloppy unedited style off-putting to say the least. In fact, the quality of the book was so poor, especially in comparison to the beautiful book I’d just finished, that I headed over to Amazon in a huff, prepared to write a one-star review so other potential readers would beware.

I stopped myself- for two reasons. First, regardless of how bad the book was, I decided that writing a one-star review was a waste of my time. Second, I noticed that every reader/reviewer who had given the book less than four stars had been deluged by mean-spirited, nasty, snarky, insulting comments regardless of how well-written the review. Even if I hadn’t already decided to skip the review, boy, those bullies would have stopped me in my tracks.

You know, it’s ironic that the subject of both books is, get this… unconditional love. Seriously. So book A is actually about unconditional love. Book B, which is supposed to be about unconditional love, comes complete with a posse of conditional bullies.

Sheesh!

Herein lies the problem… I appreciate a solid review, regardless of whether the review is positive or negative. A review written by a screaming fangirl is of no help when determining whether or not I might enjoy the work. So those of us who are inclined to write legit reviews are discouraged, nay, terrorized, into not writing a review by roving gangs of bullies.

I’m not telling Amazon what to do. But I am saying there are consequences.

The consequences?

A. I’ve heard from other real readers that they no longer leave reviews.

B. I no longer trust any four or five star review on Amazon.

Just sayin’…