If you’re like me and enjoy SF + Romance + Comedy in one big lumpy delicious stew, be sure to check out the comic SFR blog series at The Galaxy Express this week. Disclaimer: I’m part of it 🙂
If you’re like me and enjoy SF + Romance + Comedy in one big lumpy delicious stew, be sure to check out the comic SFR blog series at The Galaxy Express this week. Disclaimer: I’m part of it 🙂
Author: Edie Ramer
Disclaimer: I was a critiquer of this book before it was published. I interviewed the feline owner of Edie Ramer on this blog (Belle) and am doing so again in the near future.
From the Amazon blurb: It’s all in the Cattitude…
After Belle the cat switches bodies with a psychic on the run from a murderer, she wants her perfect cat body back instead of this furless human one. But she doesn’t count on falling in love with her former owner. Or that a CEO and a beauty queen want to use up her nine lives. Now is her chance to prove anything a human can do, a cat can do better.
“Cattitude is a magical tale that you won’t soon forget. Edie Ramer has a writing voice that charms, and she pulls the reader right into Belle’s amazing world.” -Cynthia Eden, author of Deadly Fear and I’ll be Slaying You
Why I’m recommending this book besides the fact I know Edie:
1) It’s about a CAT! Who turns into a PERSON!
2) NO BEST*ALITY was involved. (Starred out to avoid pervy spammers)
3) It’s funny.
4) The plot gives the hero and heroine ample time to fall in love before they proceed as scheduled, if you know what I mean.
5) There are other characters in the book who are likeable too. I mean, obviously the cat character is the BESTEST but the others don’t suck.
6) The cover is cute.
7) Humans in the book learn that cats are awesome, although a few of them already realized that.
8) Several less heroic humans in the book are made to look foolish by awesome cats, although a few of them may have managed that on their own.
9) Love conquers all in the end. Also, tuna. And peanut butter. But NOT at the same time, for heaven’s sake! The book isn’t in BAD taste.
10) There is no deus ex machina to make everything okay. The plot has its own answers.
11) Meankitty approves.
12) Edie is a good speller and knows her way around commas. HEY, it’s important to ME.
Buy it at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cattitude-ebook/dp/B0040ZN224/
1) Do you live with any cats? Please state names, ages, appearances and temperaments of the cats.
I DO! I live with Kitty Chesney. He’s 5 years old and has his own song. His song answers the rest of your question, Mean Kitty.
Orange and White
Orange and White
He’s a little meanie.
He’s a little meanie.
Watch him bite.
Watch him bite.
2) If you want to tell us about any humans in the house, that’s okay too. But you don’t have to.
It’s just me, Kitty Chesney and The Man. The Man doesn’t empty litter or buy food. He does however, take Kitty Chesney for rides around the neighborhood in The Man’s truck. Kitty Chesney likes to sit on the center arm rest and look at the squirrels as they dart in front of the truck.
3) How much do you desert your cats (leave the house for things like “jobs” and “school”)?
Luckily for Kitty Chesney I work from home all but 2 days a week. The Man works from home EVERY day.
4) How much do you read and what do you usually read?
I read every day. Usually one book a day. I read almost all genres of romance. I love a happily ever after.
5) Does your reading detract from your time spent worshipping cats or running a cat sanctuary? (If you don’t worship cats or run a cat sanctuary, perhaps you should consider cutting back on reading, working that day job, sleeping and cleaning to make time for more important things.)
Actually, I don’t run a cat sanctuary. Unless you consider my home for Kitty Chesney a cat sanctuary. I adore Kitty even though he bites and makes me get up during the night to replenish his food dish.
6) Why do you think cats are better than dogs? (Since you call yourself a lover of words, I trust your answer will be eloquent.)
I love cats because they prove that their owners are total badasses (Can I say that?). Who else other than a badass would take on a pet that is super smart, self centered to the point of being a sociopath, narcissistic AND has claws and fangs?
7) Tell me about the felines in your favorite books. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play in the narratives?
Kitty Chesney had a cameo role in Lora Leigh’s book Dangerous Games. Lora and I are friends and she clearly recognized Kitty Chesney’s superiority to all others when she was adding a pet to her book.
8) On the off-chance you have yet to read books about cats, when do you plan to rectify this egregious error and demonstration of poor literary taste?
9) Perhaps you’ve read a few books about cats and perhaps you haven’t (but will). Chances are you haven’t read the perfect book about cats yet, but even if you think you have, cats are so awesome there’s clearly more than one perfect book about cats. What narrative elements or plot points do you think a perfect book about cats would have in it?
A book about cat’s would need to be a psychological thriller. The kind that after reading it you wake in the middle of the night screaming.
10) What are your favorite works of cinema involving cats?
I have never seen a movie that really showed proper respect and adoration for cats…
11) Do you have any amazing or humorous real life cat stories you’d like to share?
12) Can you pet one cat while you read?
13) Can you pet two cats while you read?
14) Can you pet three or more cats while you read?
Trick question! No cat would share a petting hand.
User submitted questions:
How goes the discussion about discipline in your house?
When he thinks a swift swat of the claw is deserved, Kitty Chesney won’t hesitate to deliver it.
What one thing would you change about your pet/human?
He’s perfect. (I’ll let you decide if I am referring to my pet or my human.)
Do you believe pets and humans come to resemble each other over time?
No. Absolutely not.
Can you type with a cat stretched out across your wrists? If not, why not? Otherwise, how’s the carpal tunnel?
Kitty Chesney has no desire to drape himself over my person. He prefers to drape himself over my freshly laundered clothes.
Wednesday we’ll be hearing from Kitty Chesney to see if Mean Marie has been honest in all her answers. Do you think he has a little song he likes to sing about her?
Meankitty & Typing Slave
As promised yesterday, here is the other and more IMPORTANT (aka feline) half of the Jennifer Yates interview. The participants are Mattie and Dipstick. The other cats who run Jennifer’s life declined the invitation…something about being private felines.
1) So, your human is an obsessive reader of books. Does this mean he or she is home all day and easy to access? Elaborate if necessary.
Mattie: She is pretty easy to access although we sometimes prefer the others in the household because we know they won’t ignore us if we whine…err…meow loud enough. Not that the human with the books does that, but she doesn’t seem to like some of our interesting quirks. She actually pushed me off her shoulders the other day…and I couldn’t help it if I “accidentally” knocked over a stack of books on her floor.
Dipstick: Food…did someone say food?
Mattie: No, Dipstick, no one said food. Forgive him…he has a one-track mind and it’s not the track you would expect.
2) How large a proportion of her income does she devote to books instead of your gourmet tuna, cat beds, toys and other basic necessities?
Dipstick: Gourmet tuna?!?!?! They have GOURMET tuna????
Mattie: Snap out of it, Dipstick! We get fed pretty well. To answer the question, we have no clue. As long as we have food and love we are happy. And as long as she is happy, we are happy. Reading, if that is what it is called, seems to make her happy.
Dipstick: Although, I could be happier with gourmet tuna.
Mattie: *smacks Dipstick with paw*
3) What are your techniques for distracting your human during crucial reading moments, just because it’s fun?
Mattie: *evil grin appears* Well…don’t tell her, but I have been known to “accidentally” jump in her lap or on top of her book. And I did mention knocking over a large stack of books the other day. I have also laid down on her laptop a couple of times…while she was using it. It got her attention.
Dipstick: See, I am much nicer. I wouldn’t do any of those things.
Mattie: Yeah, because you think they’ll stop feeding us.
Dipstick: Well, there is that…
4) What indignities and neglect have you suffered because of your human’s reading habits?
Mattie: I don’t think we have been neglected at all. If she doesn’t feed us or love on us, someone will.
Dipstick: Although, I wouldn’t complain if she wanted to give us extra food.
5) What works of cinema involving cats does your human enjoy sharing with you?
Mattie: She watched this one scary movie where the cats and dogs were fighting. The brilliant cats were out to take over the world, but those vicious dogs were out to stop them.
Dipstick: That one was scary! Oh, and so was that other one she watched…Beethoven or something. Gave me nightmares for weeks.
6) If you could make one change to your human, what would it be?
Mattie: I don’t think I’d change her. I am pretty happy with her as she is…oh wait, I know, I’d make her more receptive when I jump on her back and onto her shoulders. The view from up there is wonderful, but she doesn’t seem to like it. Of course, I guess I shouldn’t bite her ears when I am up there.
Dipstick: I’d have her get us some of that gourmet tuna! But other than that, she’s a pretty cool human.
Question for pets: Are you happy with your human?
Mattie: I love my humans so I am very happy with them.
Dipstick: Same here. They are awesome.
If you could tell your human one thing, what would it be?
Mattie: I love you!
Dipstick: Buy gourmet tuna! *Mattie smacks him* Oh, alright, I’d tell them that I love them too and thank you for everything they do.
What things does your human do that would mortify it if known?
Mattie: Hmm…not much, but she has been known to stay in her pajamas all day. Although why humans feel the need for clothing at all is beyond me. Guess it is because you lack the fur that we have. But if she ever even thinks about putting clothes on me, she’ll have to watch more than her back around me.
Dipstick: I kind of like her clothes…especially the pajamas with the cats…makes it easier to grab onto her when I try to climb up. But I agree, I wouldn’t be caught wearing them!
Mattie: I guess you have a point about the climbing thing…hmm. I’ll have to experiment and see which outfit allows for a better grip the next time I am in a climbing mood.
What does your human do that most annoys?
Mattie: That iPod thingie she listens to annoys me. Because when she wears the headphones, she can’t hear us. Also, she doesn’t let me ride on her shoulders.
Dipstick: Doesn’t buy gourmet tuna.
Mattie: *sighs* I give up!
MK & TS
Anyway, here’s an interview from Jennifer, and be sure to check back tomorrow when we interview Jennifer’s cat!
1) Why did you decide to be a reader/blogger instead of a cat sanctuary owner?
Well, it was a tough decision *g*, but honestly I became a reader/blogger because it is something that I enjoy. It actually started on a whim and a way for me to blog about my fave authors and books. I really didn’t think anyone would even read it so imagine my surprise when a couple of years later it has become a frequent stop for some readers and authors.
In a way though, our home sort of acts like a cat sanctuary as the cats keep inviting their stray friends to show up for some grub.
2) Why do you think cats are better than dogs? (Since you call yourself a reader, I trust your answer will be eloquent.)
I am not so sure on the eloquent part, but I believe cats are pretty smart and self-sufficient. They are able to take care of themselves pretty well. They don’t require constant attention like dogs do (although they are quick to let you know when they do) plus they are pretty quiet or at least ours are. No getting awakened in the middle of the night by constant barking…although we once had an outdoor cat who knocked on the window when it was time for us to get up.
3) Tell me about the felines in your favorite fiction. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play in the narratives?
You know, I am not sure if I have ever read a book where the cat makes a big appearance. If I have it has been a while. Usually the focus is on those human folks rather than the animals.
4) On the off-chance you have yet to read books about cats, when do you plan to rectify this egregious error and demonstration of poor taste in literature?
Well…I guess that will be right away…any recommendations?
5) What are your favorite works of cinema involving cats?
I enjoyed the movie Cats and Dogs, but they made the cats look evil in that one. Although, I often wonder if my cats have secret plans to take over the world. Other than that I can’t think of that many cat movies.
We currently have a cat named Mattie who seems to believe she was a parrot in another life. She loves to ride on shoulders. It was cute the first couple of times, but after a while the claws in your back as she unexpectedly jumps on you to climb up kind of hurt. You can’t turn your back on her.
7) Multiple choice. What is your preference and why?
A) Long hair
B) Short hair
C) No hair
— Note: I am not, of course, referring to the hirsute qualities of the hero or heroine in your most recent read.
B — They are easier to groom…although we have a long-haired that is gorgeous.
Last year I read 67 books (or stand alone novellas). This year it was reduced to 57, but at least it was more than 52. I like to average a book a week or I feel like I’m not participating in the very action that made me want to be a writer in the first place — reading stories.
I “grade” my reads on a score of 1-5, with nothing getting below a 1 unless it gets a DNF. Anything that’s a 3 or above I would say that I liked. Anything that’s a 2.5 or below, I would say that I had reservations about it and was more likely to send it to Goodwill than give it to a friend.
26 of the books I read were ebooks, most read on my lil ole PDA. I picked from a bunch of genres, everything from straight category romance to chick lit to sf/f to Southern fiction to mystery to nonfiction (but only 1 of those). I did not count things I critiqued for friends, comic books (Buffy Season 8, Angel and Gang After the Fall, a couple Firefly things), short stories or kid’s books, because then my total would have been more like 5692, and 5000 of them would have been rereadings of Winnie the Pooh, Skippy John Jones and Go Dog Go.
The bad: This year I had more DNFs than last year. Last year I only had 3. This year, 9, which reduces my total books read to less than 52. Boo! On the bright side, the sooner I put down a DNF, the sooner I picked up another chance at a perfect score. Wait, scratch 2 of those DNFs. I would have finished them if I’d owned them, but they were Samhain’s free partial downloads, intended to get you hooked by the first third of the book so you’d buy the rest. These were both read in December so it’s quite possible I’ll get them soon. (Bettie Sharpe, Like a Thief in the Night; Maria Zannini, Touch of Fire)
7 books received what I would consider a “failing” grade and which I would not recommend to anyone. Most of my dislike was due to poor worldbuilding or characterization. Two of the failing grades were of the “OMG, why is this so popular??” ilk that made me question my ability to assess good prose and storytelling.
The good: 2 books got a perfect score — Harris’s Dead to the World and Shinn’s Mystic and Rider.
11 books got a close enough to perfect score that I can recommend them to fans of their particular subgenre here: Heart Dance by Robin Owens; California Demon by Julie Kenner; Dogland by Will Shetterly; Mistborn by Brian Sanderson; Dixieland Sushi by Cara Lockwood; Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin; The Paid Companion by Amanda Quick; Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn; Stray by Rachel Vincent; Not Quite a Lady by Loretta Chase; and Through Wolf’s Eyes by Jane Lindskold.
My biggest glom of 2 whole books by the same author (aside from the Shinn) were Unbound and Wild Hunt by Lori Devoti, both of which I quite enjoyed, even if they were shorter than I wanted (sometimes a curse of category romances!) The worldbuilding was unique and wasn’t at all the same old/same old vampires and shifters.
Yeah, I’m not much of a glommer. I don’t know why. Probably because I have so many books to choose from and so little time?
Another read worth mentioning was Midnight Sins by Cynthia Eden. One thing really stood out for me: this was one of the few romances involving a cop I’ve read where the cop actually passed on sex or angsting about the relationship in order to GO DO HIS JOB. I just loved that touch of realism in a book about a secret paranormal underworld full of succubi, shifters and demons! While it’s true I don’t gravitate toward cop novels, I was happy to see it in Eden’s book.
Leigh Wyndfield’s Secret Obsession was hot, as Wyndfield books typically are, but it had a solid, contemporary feel with a touch of Romeo and Juliet. Sometimes in lusty books, the protagonists hook up because the author is writing erotic romance, if you know what I mean, but in Secret Obsession, I totally bought the attraction between the hero and heroine.
One last fun book. Sharron McClellan’s Breathless was an action-packed romantic adventure with a satisfying touch of the paranormal. It’s part of the Athena Force continuity published by H/S, but I didn’t have any trouble picking up the concept. However, I had read some of the Athena Force novels back when the yummy Bombshell line was being published. I liked the fact the whole book was from a single POV, since that’s out of the ordinary for a romance, and that the characters were both likeable.
Here’s last year’s reading stats, if you’re interested: http://blog.jodywallace.com/2008/01/my-reading-year-2007.html
I hope I’m able to surpass 52 books this year without as many DNFs. I won’t make it a goal, but it’s a touch of wishful thinking. Hey, at least I didn’t watch as many movies in 2008 as I did in 2007! More on that in a later post.
Now available at Red Sage: MEGAN’S CHOICE–You pick the adventure!
Why? Because I’m working on a short “prologue” story for a Samhain project. It covers an event mentioned briefly in SFS and takes place during the early days of the King and Queen’s marriage. It should contain few, if any, true spoilers. If you would be interested in beta reading this story for me, please email me at jwallace [at] meankitty.com
The situation. You’ve bought a book that’s supposed to be, that should be, right up your alley. It’s a book you’d have chosen based on nothing more than the blurb, it’s a premise yourself wouldn’t have minded writing, it’s a world that stimulates your own imagination. In short, as far as you’re concerned, it’s a Good Idea.
It has been publicly praised by most who’ve read it, or at least the ones inclined to blog or tell their friends or review it in some fashion online. It has been personally recommended to you by several people. It is not, as with J.R. Ward’s ph-series, considered a “guilty” pleasure by many readers almost ashamed to confess their love; it does not receive night/day reviews. No, it receives consistent approval from disparate sources, even if some of the approval is more of a 3.5 instead of 5++.
In fact, you have saved this book, this sure thing, for a time you can really enjoy it, not a time when you only have 5 minutes to read.
So you’re reading it and… No. Just no. Awkward prose. Extreme infodumping. More infodumping. OMG the infodumping! Plot contrivances. TSTL characters. Possibly unintentional bathos. Weak worldbuilding. Uninspired setting. Stereotyped characterization. Meandering narrative. Cliche after cliche, in both the writing and the storytelling. All you can think is, “Dude. Why?”
It’s not that you’re a person who knee-jerk disses things other people love. You don’t turn your nose up at things because they’re popular, not if you try it and like it. You’ve gotten your hot little hands on well-received books before and loved them, had your high expectations met and surpassed. You don’t have “guilty” pleasures. If you love it, that means it’s awesome, so there’s no reason to feel guilty, unless your love drives you to devour a particular food product you were supposed to save for the children.
You also have no qualms loving books that are Good Ideas in the sense they are what you might have written yourself, had you been so inclined and a lot more efficient about producing fiction in general. You have no qualms loving award winning books or books you can’t seem to find any information about at all. You have no qualms loving books that are by authors you have gotten to know and dislike for whatever reason. You have no qualms loving books by authors who got published in your chosen subgenre with what seems to be the greatest of ease, while your road to success has been rockier.
So your “just no” response (as opposed to a “just say no” response wherein you’ve tried that author and been burned before) doesn’t seem to be subconscious professional jealousy.
It seems you simply don’t like the book. And you can’t for the life of you understand the universal appeal. Even with authors others like and you don’t, you have a broad enough grasp of human nature, of readers, to see why it’s popular. But with this particular book — just no. It doesn’t even rouse prurient interests, which is the case with a number of authors others love and you do not.
When this happens to you, does it make you question:
1) your sanity?
2) your ability to judge “good” (or at least marketable) writing?
3) your grasp of what readers want?
4) your own writing ability?
5) your understanding of your own psyche?
6) the honesty of the glowing reviews from online sources that seem to be “friends” of the author?
7) the honesty of the glowing reviews from random people?
8) the sanity of other readers?
9) the sanity of the whole publishing industry?
10) what you ate yesterday?
How do you feel when this happens, if it happens?
Today is the last day of the official “Read an Ebook Week” over at http://www.domokos.com/readebookweek.html , and if you didn’t know this week was happening, you’ve got another chance! Samhain Publishing, one of my publishers, is extending Read an Ebook week as Reader Appreciation week from March 9-15, and they are giving away all sorts of goodies (including non-ebooks) on their chat loop. You can find the loop at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/samhaincafe/ .
Ebooks, as you probably know, are electronic versions of books, just like audio books are aural versions of books and hardbacks are really heavy versions of books. They are, indeed, ‘real’ books, with the added attraction of not requiring trees for production; as they say at the Domokos site, they reduce one’s carbon footprint in the world. They’re greener and more earth-friendly than hardcopy books and I love them. I love the fact I don’t have to find shelf space for the ebooks I own and so does my husband, whose biggest gripe with me is probably my tendency to packrat us out of house and home.
Now the Samhain Cafe can be a very busy and entertaining loop, so I personally keep it on “digest”, but this would be a great week to try it out, if you haven’t already. There’s going to be an ebook given away **on the hour**, as well as other goodies, including a grand prize of an ebook reader! I don’t know if Samhain authors are eligible for the prizes, but I’d love to win some free ebooks and a reader! I read ebooks on my little old PDA, which is great, but an actual ebook reader is so tempting.
I’m going to be participating on and off through the week, sharing excerpts, random comments, contests, jokes, and general observations from the peanut in my gallery. Hope to see you there!
I have been participating in the Mavens’ wacky round robin (recommended!) this week and also had the urge to research the branching story structure as it appears in today’s literature. In case you like that kind of thing, here are some links to newer books that have interactive plots:
First off, “Choose Your Own Adventure” is registered term, and here is the site for the original books, currently being republished: http://www.cyoa.com/
There are two, count them, two Jane Austen themed interactive books:
There were a couple that seemed to be somewhat more “serious” in nature, insofar as I could determine:
Then there were some classic spoofy ones, full of silliness but also adult themes. I ordered the Tijuana one and it’s a hoot:
Another area in which the branching story is enjoying a little refurbishment is YA:
And lastly, I did find some links to books that seem to be bona fide erotic stories:
Here’s a short article about the new breed of grown-up CYOAs: http://www.temple.edu/ispr/examples/ex03_10_22.html
Ok, I’m taking off the research hat now. I have some mangled pacifiers to photograph, courtesy of Meankitty.