Melanie Jackson's Blog - Posts Tagged "books"

Shoes are not something a cat thinks about-- except how to avoid them, of course. But Miz Melanie is very excited about a new anthology of shoe stories that is coming out in May. It's called These Boots Were Made For Strutting and has a story by my human, Melanie Jackson. As per usual, Miz Melanie has included a cat in her story (And They Danced). He is a magical creature called Ambrose. The story also features a pair of shoes that Miz Melanie says are 'to-die-for'. I doubt she means it literally-- after all, what would be the point of that? Better to give them someone else's life, I said, even if it's for something great like steamed shrimp laced with catnip. If you are human and curious, you can see the shoes at: http://www.melaniejackson.com/hiheelia/ and see if they are something you'd die for.
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Published on August 18, 2010 07:36 • 116 views • Tags: books, boots, cat, shoes
This seems to be the year of the dog book-- not that I am complaining. I like a good dog book as much as the next cat, but how about giving felines equal time? I mean it has been awhile since there's been a Cat and The Curmudgeon kind of book. I did find one-- The Ghost and Miss Demure that has a cool cat named Frankenstein. It also has a kinky ghost, but hey-- every novel has secondary characters. And there is always A Curious Affair for those who like mysteries.

So, order some cats books, chase some dragonflies, take a long nap in the lobelia, and before you know it the books will be there. Or, if you live nearby, you can get these books at the animal shelter. I would kiss you for your good deeds-- except cats don't do that. We leave it for the droolie ones. If you want to write to the author you can at melaniejaxn@hotmail.com. She probably won't kiss you either, but she will say thank you for helping out her four-footed friends.
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Published on August 18, 2010 14:14 • 121 views • Tags: books, cats, dogs
I resisted for the longest time. Every time someone argued the benefit of having thousands of titles at my fingertips, I argued back about the pleasure of smelling paper and ink, the tangible pleasure of holding something flexible and warm and glossy in my hands.... And everything I said is still true, but my flexible, good smelling books are starting to come apart now. And faced with having to replace them-- again-- a lot of my favorite titles are going onto the Nook instead of the bookshelf.

Does this mean our house will be devoid of books? No, there are still thousands of them in every room. But there will be fewer all the time. Because excepting some exquisite, rare and signed tomes-- antiques, often in foreign languages-- the ease of e-reading will probably win enough of the small battles to eventually win the war. Add to that the many on NY's authors are now self-publishing and their books are only in e-format and I think the trend is set.

Still, this is a little like the Christmas tree. We went artificial because I hated killing a tree every December. But pretty and practical as the tree is (woven willow branches with crystals that look like ice) nothing will ever replace all those fond memories of real trees and the wonderful way they smelled and looked and felt.
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Published on August 25, 2010 13:51 • 184 views • Tags: books, christmas, ebooks
Gentle reader, let us take a moment and talk about reviews. Reviews can be a wonderful help to books that might otherwise be overlooked because they aren't on the best-sellers list, and speaking as both a writer and a reader, I am grateful when someone takes the time to share their thoughts about a book. And if it is my book you are enthused about, I throw roses at your feet for the kindness. I know it takes time and effort so XOXO to you for doing it.

What I am less happy about is the review that dwells on things beyond an author's control. Many people don't know that in books from traditional publishers, the author usually has no say in art work, titles, or if a copy editor decided to insert a semi-colon and the word 'Excalibur' in every other sentence. And once printed, even if the publisher were inclined to change any of the above to please readers, they cannot because of the expense. Margins are thin, bottom lines are often red. So before jumping online and lambasting the book or author, ask yourself if they really deserve your ire, especially if the review suggests that semi-colons are as bad as cannibalism or nuclear war and the author is an evil as Adolf Hitler because they have a brown horse on the cover. Those bad reviews cause a lot of grief for anyone who isn't Nora Roberts or James Patterson. And remember that the book is not the person. Hate the sin but love the sinner, at least as much as possible.

Also beyond the author's control are technical problems with websites like Amazon or B&N. In e or print, an author cannot force a business to keep their servers running, to list the books immediately (even if the book is already on Smashwords so why not B&n damn it!), to download samples promptly or regulate after-Christmas traffic when everyone wants to use their gift-certificates at once. We cannot force Holywood to make books into movies. And to blame the author for this is unreasonable. Point the angry finger at customer service, not at a book or author. Blaming the author or the book for outside difficulties would be like someone driving past where you work and coming in and demanding you have your pay cut or be fired because they don't like the color of the building you're in and then dumping your desk on the floor so you have to spend time cleaning up someone else's mess. Bad reviews because a book isn't available in large print, or has a bad cover, or isn't available in foreign languages doesn't do anything but hurt the author. And seriously, if you want large print or a book in German, write to the publisher. They actually like to know that there is interest in things like this.

And please read the book before you review it. As much as I love a five star review it takes some of the joy out of the experience when the review says 'I give it five stars because I am sure it will be really good because it's sounds just like Twilight'. Though that is better that 'I give it one star because I'm sure it will be very bad and not at all like Twilight'.

Lastly, sign your name. Have the courage of your convictions. If a book is really the 'worst book of all time' then you are doing a public service by warning people and don't hide behind 'anonymous'.

Not that my readers would ever do this. The people who have read and reviewed my books are intelligent and fair-minded and generous with their time. They are real people with real problems and real lives who would like to live in a just world. Just like authors.

BTW, please write if you are inclined. It is a pleasure to hear from readers and I really do read all my email.
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Published on January 01, 2011 13:21 • 330 views • Tags: books, reading, reviews