From the "Wha...?" file: Mongrel already has a page at Goodreads. Publication date is December 8. You can read about it here. (By the way, this is more a category-length novel than a novella. The book is several thousand words shy of Dreamspinner's minimum for their novel category -- hence the designation "novella.")
The cover for Fugly has made it into the ELEVENTH ROUND of voting at Elisa Rolle's Rainbow Awards Cover Art Competition. It's been up against some stiff competition, so I'm really, really proud of Christine Griffin.
Still working on Visible Friend (or Keeping Tink Alive -- a title that may or may not stick, depending on what turns the story takes).
I've been getting in some reading lately -- heaven! -- and discovering chapter by chapter what I like and don't like in terms of style. (It's amazing how stuff jumps out at me when I've had little or no time to read for an extended period. I also seem to pay closer attention when I have a print book in front of me rather than a desktop monitor.) So my reading jag hasn't just been a treat, it's been something of an education.
It really bugs me like a swarm of flies when characters continually speak the names of the people they're addressing, especially when the dialogue involves only two individuals.
"You might not want to go there, Bob."
"I can take care of myself, Dick."
"Bob, don't make me call you stupid."
"Don't make me call you stupider, Dick . . . head."
I never thought I'd be particularly bothered by quirky constructions or modes of expression--I'm not a slave to grammatical convention--but when they're used repeatedly, I am indeed bothered. This one, for example, drives me crazy. Batty. Insane. Encountering it once in a while is okay. Tolerable. Acceptable. But overuse renders it annoying. In the extreme. To say the least. (Kid you not, I'm ready to tear at my hair just thinking about it!)
I've noticed, too, that character exposition and development sometimes suffer in stories that are heavy on action sequences. I've read a couple of books in which moving about is described in meticulous detail, down to the last slapping footfall, yet the characters' motivations and psycho-emotional makeups leave me puzzled. What's this guy about? Why does he have that attitude? What exactly is the nature of these men's relationship, and how did it get to this stage? If I don't grasp the dynamic between the heroes, I don't find the story satisfying.
Sex in the midst of or right after trauma, terror, or trouble serious enough to provoke scrotum sweat also has me mystified. I appreciate resilient characters, but not the ones who can sprout wood during or immediately following one hell of a scary and/or tragic event. Leaves me feeling kind of cold.
Then there are stories that seem to start in the middle rather than at the beginning, and stories that end so abruptly, I keep wanting to turn pages that aren't there.
I've come upon some delights, too -- smartly, sharply written fiction in which the authors' creativity, language skill, intelligence, wit, and sensitivity shine through. I just wish I could find more. (Oh, for another Wicked Gentlemen. It had me in readerly rapture after the first two pages.) But I have a mile-long TBB list, so there's hope!