In which I introduce my newest book available April 26.
Ta-da. I could probably hook up some sort of music file here to produce a fanfare, but music erupting from a web site can be pretty obnoxious, so I will refrain. However, you can help me. Right now, imagine a trio of horns blasting a triumphant fanfare as I introduce …
The Stone Key is my latest book, and it will be available April 26 as both an ebook and a print book. You can preorder it now at Amazon. (Or if not at this moment, any second now)
If you can’t tell from the cover, The Stone Key is a time travel novel.
Sworn to protect a powerful artifact, Arden of Throckmorton is reluctant to carry out her duty until the relic whisks her nearly eight hundred years into the future. Her only way home is to find it. Modern England is no place for a medieval maid.
Hawkins Arlington is a prominent medievalist and just the man to help her, once he gets over the whole time travel and magic nonsense. Besides, the chance to study a real medieval woman is too brilliant to pass up.
But when a villain from the past appears, Arden and Hawk race to find the artifact first, risking their lives, their homes, and their reputations. And if they find it, can Arden discover what her heart wants and will Hawk be able to let her go?
I hope you will check out this newest adventure of mine. More inside stories will follow.
In which I look at rebranding, revitalizing, and renewal. Perhaps a fitting post for the day after Easter?
I promised that you’d be seeing changes in me. Well. they are arriving. First, my website is being overhauled. Right now (today) if you visit my website, this, as in this blog, is what you will find. More is coming, but we’re not there yet.
Second, I’ve decided not to let the Gabi Stevens name die. After my three WISH books, it looked like Gabi Stevens was through. Not true anymore. Gabi Stevens writes paranormal (a lighter tone with heavy subjects–the kind of book and stories I like to read) and the voice that I love. I have big plans for her. Starting with …
…(Third) a reboot of THE FALCON AND THE WOLF.
I had released it under Gabi Anderson, but it didn’t fit with the non-magical historicals I’d written under that name. It is now available from Amazon and –this is the biggie–CreateSpace. That’s right! You can order it as a print book. Here is the link (I always find it wierd to create a link with the declaration of a link–it’s so meta.). A bit more expensive than the ebook, but what can you do? The link to the ebook is the caption. And I’m giving you a heads up–the listing hasn’t quite caught up with the changes yet; while, the author is now Gabi Stevens, it still is linked to Gabi Anderson, but you can find it on the Gabi Stevens author page, not the Gabi Anderson author page, but if you look up Gabi Anderson, it will still list it there too (Lots of buts). I figure it will take a little while to catch up. Maybe a few more emails.
And there’s a new cover. Looks much more fantasy, huh?
So keep watching. There will be another Gabi Stevens book before the end of April. Brand new, never seen before. I’m excited about this one.
Just because I have written Romance, why would you think I have an opinion on Fifty Shades of Grey?
I know the phenomenon that has hit the big screens this weekend. I remember it when it hit the book shelves a couple of years ago. I can’t give you an opinion on it. Why? Because I have neither read it nor seen it, and I have no plans to change that status any time soon. Usually when a book hit phenomenon stage I will pick it up. I figure that’s my job as a writer. I need to be familiar with the phenomena. That’s why I first picked up Harry Potter (back when there were only two books out there). I became a huge fan. Yes, sometimes the run-ons bothered me, but the book was so much more than that. I became one of those people who lined up at midnight to get the next volume. (Thank God I had children so I could use them as an excuse. I even made them dress up for one.) That’s why I read TheDaVinci Code (loved the concept, hated the execution). I read The Hunger Games for the same reason. And Twilight. And then came Fifty Shades.
I didn’t read it, and I won’t. And here are the three reasons I won’t:
First, it’s just not my thing. Yes, I read and write romance, but BDSM is not my thing (I have a friend who calls herself the queen of vanilla sex. If she’s the queen, then I’m the empress.). Neither is erotica. I won’t read it. Sorry. I know I’ve excluded a lot of books from my reading list with that pronouncement, but I don’t enjoy it, so why should I subject myself to it? I will fight for your right to read and write anything you want, but in the same way, you shouldn’t force me to read something I don’t want.
Second, I’ve heard, and, mind you, this is not my opinion because I can’t give one, never having have read it, that the writing is terrible. Not just bad. Worse. This from reliable sources, friends, people I respect. My nerves become tied up in knots when I read bad writing, so I don’t want to put myself through that.
Third, I know it started as fan fiction for Twilight, and I’ve read (and seen–talk to me about the things I will do for my youngest daughter) that book. I am a fan of plot. I reached page 295 (or so) of the novel and yelled out, “Finally, something happens.” I know there are people who loved Twilight, but I wasn’t one of them. I like action, movement, not self-reflection or self-awareness. I read far too many books where the characters have so much angst and carry so much baggage I don’t believe in the happy ending. I don’t enjoy books that have so much introspection that I need therapy afterward. Thus if Fifty is basically Twilight with a twist, I don’t need to read it.
And there you have it. I truly don’t like to give an opinion on something I haven’t judged for myself. I know what you’re thinking: For not having an opinion, I sure can write a lot of words about it. I truly can’t say Fifty Shades is terrible or trite or wrong or abusive or mommy porn or whatever the heck else has been said about it, but I can say I won’t be finding out first hand.
Books I’m reading now:
Just about to start How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove. Still have a few more chapters to go in my last RITA book.
When my children were small, in fact pre number three, some called to ask if we’d be willing to have a couple of graduate research students come to our house as part of a study on parenting. We said sure. Two lovely young ladies showed up with clipboards, and as they walked from room to room they just smiled. In each room their smiles grew bigger until they laughed. At that point we asked what was going on? They explained that their study was about books and the reading habits of parents and whether babies were exposed to books. Our house had books in every room.
I don’t know what the data proved; we were never visited again. I think they just wanted statistics about how many homes had books in general. I know New Mexico is pretty bad about books in households. I was thinking about this visit just recently. With two of our daughters out of the house, we are trying to fix up the house. Bathrooms were done last year, but we need new carpet, new tile, new paint, etc. And I’m insisting on getting rid of the extraneous furniture that we’ve collected over the years. Which means however we have to get rid of books.
It’s difficult to get rid of books. I know I’ve advocated not finishing books if you don’t like them, but books we’ve kept are here for a reason. Just this week I took our entire collection of hardcover Tom Clancy novels from the eighties (dating myself?) to Goodwill. My husband and I both read them (except Red Storm Rising–I couldn’t get into that one). But we’re still stuck with more books than we have room. There are books we will never re-read, but keep them for memory’s sake. When I glance at my shelves, I can remember exactly where I read them and the feelings they evoked. We once read a John Grisham book aloud to each other on a camping trip and long drive. We had so much fun. I’ve always wanted to do that again, but I am so over camping.
The books have to go. They simply must. And it’s heartbreaking. But on the other hand, now someone else can bring them to life. Meanwhile Robot Guy and I have just finished reading/are reading The Merchant of Venice so we can better enjoy Christopher Moore’s A Serpent of Venice. Together. Yup. I’ve decided that reading the same books will be one of our hobbies now that the kids are essentially gone. That and bird watching.
1. Do you have a favorite author? Terrific. A new release from them, or re-reading a special book, can cause a celebration. But what do you do while you’re waiting? How about checking out that author’s web page and seeing if they mention any authors that inspired them? Or pull one of their books from your shelf and see if they mention any authors in their acknowledgments or dedications. You never know. You might find another favorite author and have a larger pool of books to keep you occupied.
2. Decide what kind of reader you are. Do you keep books pristine as they taught you in elementary school or do you like to have a conversation with your books and mark them up with questions, comments, and annotations? If you like to have books pristine for your collection, consider buying two copies. If you like to make notes, you might want to consider buying the book for your e-reader, so you can take notes on the device. Personally, I buy books to enjoy. I own a few autographed copies of favorites that I don’t touch, but for the most part, you can tell my books have been loved. I like a book that shows its age, that has had a full life.
3. Don’t be shy about speaking about the books you love. Tell your friends. Leave reviews. Write the author. I can tell you that nothing makes my day like receiving a note, a tweet, a message, an email from someone who had a fun time reading one of my books.
4. You don’t have to finish a book. I give you permission, right here, right now, to put aside a book you aren’t enjoying. There are so many books out there; why would you want to waste your time on something you aren’t enjoying? A caveat: I am not speaking about a book you must read for a class or an assignment. If you’re not enjoying one of those, you still have to suck it up and read it. Sorry. But if you’re reading for pleasure, you don’t have to finish. Really, you don’t. Find something you will enjoy. The world won’t end if you don’t finish a book. Honestly. I’ve not finished a lot of books. Time continued forward and societies didn’t collapse (at least not from not reading). Okay, if you absolutely must finish everything you pick up (and I understand; I was once like you), learn to skim. Jump ahead by several chapters. Most of the time you can keep up.
5. Don’t let anyone tell you what to read. You don’t have to apologize for anything you enjoy reading. Or justify it. You can read what you want. When I taught, I often had parents ask me to recommend books for their children. I told them to let the kids pick. It didn’t matter if they chose classics, genre, or even comic books. All reading is good for you. (I hate making absolute statements. There is some reading material that is awful—for society, for humanity, etc.—but I don’t even want to acknowledge them…even though I just have.)
6. Taking time to read is NOT a waste of time. Escape is good for the soul, and if the dishes don’t get done for an hour, who gives a flying fig? (That’s right. I don’t cuss much. It doesn’t offend me, but I can’t pull it off comfortably. On the other hand, when you do hear me cuss, then you know I really mean it.)
7. And yes, you can judge people when they say they never read. I do all the time, and not just because I’m an author. I don’t understand people who don’t read. Or say they don’t have time to read. I can’t imagine a good life without books. I might have some acquaintances who don’t read (and some family members, but I’m stuck with those), but they’ll never reach the friend stage. Call me shallow, but, yes, reading means that much to me. My youngest is intellectually handicapped, and for years my greatest tragedy was that she hated reading. I’m happy to say now that that has changed. She reads a lot now—oh, at a very low level, but she’s reading. And writing too. She writes fan fic. And reading and writing has helped her language skills in ways that therapy and special ed classes never did. So, yes, I’m willing to judge people who don’t read.
Books are brilliant, dangerous, enlightening, educational, entertaining, elucidating, and a relatively inexpensive big bang for your buck. There’s a reason dictators get rid of intellectuals first when they take over. Books contain ideas, and ideas create greatness and wonder and curiosity and freedom. So read a book.
Books I’m reading now:
Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin
The most interesting thing about having written a collection of short (short) stories is how everyone has a different favorite. I like them all but even I have a couple that stand out as my favorites. The people who have previewed the stories all told me they enjoyed the entire collection, but X is their favorite. X has been different for each person. One friend like the first in the collection; my husband liked a totally different one. I find it so interesting that our tastes can vary so much. I also find it wonderful.
Why so wonderful? There are books people rave about that I couldn’t finish. (You know the one I’m talking about, Monique.) There are books I obsess about that I can’t get others to read. What it shows is that there is room for everyone out there in the world of books. You may not like my books, but you’ll rave over someone else’s. Some author might leave you cold, but my books will carry you away to that magic world where you forget yourself. It’s all good.
If we all liked the same thing, we’d all have to read (and eat, and view, and furnish our houses with) the same thing. Yuck. How boring. While I believe there is value in having common experiences in a culture , i.e., certain books, films, etc. that everyone has read or seen, you are still allowed to pick your favorites. And pick your unfavorites. Taste and sharing them or arguing over them makes life interesting.
I’m torn. If a book intrigues me, I love to find out it’s a series. I don’t mind waiting for each book to come out. That was part of the fun in the Harry Potter series. The anticipation for the next one. Re-reading each one before the next came out. Speculating about the plot. And how much fun we had getting the midnight release. I’ll never be able to read those books again for the first time.
Sometimes, however, reading a complete series can be too much. The reader has to slog through recaps so that new readers aren’t lost if they start with book two or three. And frankly, I miss stand alone books. I’m willing to follow an author even if the books aren’t connected.
I recently read a series where the author’s voice was amazing and sucked me in, but I didn’t like the story enough to get lost in them. I still read them all (I guess we’d have to count that as a success for the author), but I found myself criticizing rather than enjoying. By the end the list of things that didn’t work for me was long, and yet I wanted to finish.
And then there are the series that don’t finish. It happens a lot in publishing. An author’s numbers aren’t good enough, so they drop her, or her editor leaves and the new editor doesn’t want to keep her. With self-pubbing, the possibility exists that the author might finish the series on her own, but on the other hand, one has to move on as well.
If you’re the type of reader who likes to wait until a series is complete to read it, you’re in luck. My Time of Transition series is now done. The three books, THE WISH LIST, AS YOU WISH, and WISHFUL THINKING, are all available now. Spread the word. I could use your help in keeping this world alive.