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Conditioned Response (Phoenician #2)
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Book Discussions > Conditioned Response by Marjorie F. Baldwin

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message 1: by Marjorie (last edited May 25, 2012 06:03AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Just creating the placeholder thread for this book's discussion. As announced here, this book will be offered to the group as a Secondary Group Read for the month of June, 2012. To get the coupon code you use for your free copy, visit the original thread in Announcements.

This thread is for discussion of the book, the characters, the plot, the questions left unanswered, the answers that made no sense--wait, there aren't any of those. ((chuckle))

Please use the SPOILER tag if you want to discuss anything specific in the book. If you know HTML it's easy, just use "spoiler" in a normal tag syntax. If you're not sure how to form it, please click the "(some html is ok)" link above the comment box and Goodreads displays a list of how to form the tags it allows. SPOILER is near the end of the list. Don't forget you need an "ending spoiler" tag (indicated by the "/spoiler")

Almost forgot the WARNING WARNING WARNING Will Robinson!!:

This book is rated "M/LSV" and is intended for Mature Audiences due to Language, Sex and sexual situations and Violence which may not be suitable for younger readers. The questionable material is deliberately vivid and explicit to best serve the plot of the book. Please use your judgment if you are a parent or other guardian of young eyes foraging fro SciFi reads in this group. Thank you!

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


message 2: by Marjorie (last edited Jun 05, 2012 07:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments A quick note to share 2 things:

1) I already posted the coupon code on the Announcements thread (http://bit.ly/GR-AnnounceJun2012) so you can get started early if you'd like.

2) I created a shortened URL on Bit.ly to this discussion thread. I'm planning to tweet it lots, at least daily, inviting people to come join the discussion. Please feel free to do the same yourself :) The more the merrier.

http://bit.ly/SFHF-CondResp

The hashtag I created for the book is #ConditionedResponse which isn't very short :-( I had and should probably start using #CondResp more. Please use one of those if you tweet about the book.

If I actually see a tweet about the book, I'll gladly RT you :) but I can't RT what I don't see. I RT freely but don't follow back everyone and I rarely read my stream since it's so busy already. I faithfully check my @ mentions and usually read my hashtags (#ThrillerThursday, #SciFiChat on Fridays #SampleSunday and my book hash all the time)

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


message 3: by Fayley (new) - added it

Fayley I just downloaded it from Smash words. Just 5 pages in and it has grabbed me already. I'm really looking forward to reading this one.


Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments So glad I gave out the coupon code early. I see four people have used it already :) Also glad you're enjoying it so far, Fayley. I'm going to try my very hardest to NOT talk unless directly addressed with a question because, as the author, I might intimidate open exchanges and opinions--which I definitely WANT, even brutally honest and not "perfect" remarks :-)

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


message 5: by Fayley (new) - added it

Fayley I'm noticing definite changes in tone and I'm not yet certain if they were deliberate. The political intrigue at the start was particularly gripping then the sudden switch to a romantic tone was startling. I'm interested by the plot so far - what is it all about? What is going to happen? Raif as a character is interesting, although his self image as being a refined and superior being clash with his internal sexual dialogue. I'll keep reading ... I hope more of our group gets the coupon and downloads the book so I'm not talking to myself!


message 6: by Xdyj (last edited May 31, 2012 12:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Xdyj | 419 comments I've downloaded the book, and will start in a few days after I finish the books I'm reading.


message 7: by Marjorie (last edited May 31, 2012 03:06AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Fayley wrote: "I hope more of our group gets the coupon and downloads the book so I'm not talking to myself! "

Haha, I'm also selling the book and have invited a dozen or so people who've read and/or read+reviewed the book to come join in. Plus I'm tweeting about it. But everywhere I mention this it's a group read in JUNE so probably this weekend the conversation will kick in. Fear not!

You won't be alone. Xdyj is already on board and I think Jonathan has already started, too.

P.S. Fayley please do NOT feel inhibited to hate or dislike or disagree with anything in the book just because I'm here on the group. If you remember to keep the comments about the book (and not me, personally) then it's not a personal insult or problem of any kind for you to have negative things to say. It's your opinion. Everyone's entitled to their opinion. It's only when a reader fails to separate the person from the problem and make a reaction to a book into a personal attack on an author that authors and readers get into conflict.

So far you're talking about the book without question so I'm just going to stay out of it entirely and let you talk to other readers without my commentary--unless you have a question. You can ask but if you do, I might answer!! Haha :) I won't unless you specifically ask (or comment on me, personally)


message 8: by Jonathan, Reader of the fantastic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jonathan (headspinningfromvagueness) | 517 comments Yes I have downloaded it Marjorie and I will get into it when the holidays kick in in June. Just have a few assignments to kick out of the way/exams. Looks good from what I've seen of it to date. I promise to post an excellent review when finished that you can take bits and pieces from to your delight.


message 9: by Marjorie (last edited May 31, 2012 05:43PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Jonathan wrote: "I promise to post an excellent review when finished that you can take bits and pieces from to your delight."

Uh-oh, because you know, if you write a quote-worthy review I shall quote you! Repeatedly (LOL). I have this page for immortalizing reader reviews.


message 10: by Jonathan, Reader of the fantastic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jonathan (headspinningfromvagueness) | 517 comments I'd like to think I could be quote worthy. Only don't do what some publishers I suspect do and use one word quotes like this "excellent work". The reviewer could have really written "this is not excellent work" or "look elsewhere for excellent work". Of course I doubt I will have to say that in my review. Looks good so far.


message 11: by Fayley (new) - added it

Fayley I think some minor editing to change the events at the very beginning would improve my enjoyment. If the personal discussions between characters and romantic elements led out, followed by (instead of preceded as current edition) the council room vote scene then the impression would be "woman, currently separated from love ... and hey she is also a kick-ass politician" but right now it's "politician, lone freedom fighter, revolutionary ... oh man why is she wasting time checking out that guy's ass".

The idea of the Phonecians energy "marriage" is interesting.


message 12: by Marjorie (last edited Jun 01, 2012 04:15AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments LOL!!! you guys are hilarious, both of you, equally. I honestly can't decide who to quote because both Jonathan and Fayley's last remarks have me laughing so hard, I'm glad I put down the coffee.

I should a very late (post-release, in fact) edit from mid-book was me, being silly, and adding the line I know you'll all recognize when you get there:

His RECORD is up here, Julia.

And yet, I don't care.


Thank you for the wake-up laughs. Had a hell of a week at work this week, culminating in probably the worst day of my 3 years there yesterday, so this timing of snarky giggles is just PERFECT :) I love snark.

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks

p.s. yes, I confess my female characters got the incredibly rude habit of checking out a guy's ass from me. I can't imagine where they got everything else from though! haha


message 13: by Marjorie (last edited Jun 01, 2012 05:06AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Now to take one of these points seriously for second (just a second, then we can be silly again) I posted the following tweet:

"I felt Shayla's pain…loneliness…need to belong" @PaulDube #ConditionedResponse #SFR #SciFi http://amzn.to/US-CondResp

which was a shortened version of a quote I'd already extracted to put here: http://phoenicianseries.blogspot.com/p/press-publicity.html which if you scroll down and find the semblance of the quote, actually links back to a comment by one reviewer on someone else's review here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/332475074#comment_51049416

So my question to Jonathan is this: I feel I've maintained the intent and tone of the reviewer's comments, but do you feel I've lost too much in the "extraction" for the purposes of quoting (not reciting paragraphs) or tweeting (only got 140 characters after all!!) or did I do okay here?

I'm picking an example of a friend of mine who was also part of the editorial team (as a proofreader not a content editor) and hopefully will come join this discussion. He really never runs out of things to say -- about anything, including this book ;-) He's just got a pretty busy day job so it might be a few days.

I also selected only a portion of his quote - the part I wanted to pair with the #SFR hashtag. The book can/is marketing to both the Romantic SF market and the Classic SciFi market given that it can/will appeal to both. This is not a romance novel, definitely not, but as Fayley already noted, there's an obvious romantic thread which starts early on (funny but this particular reviewer, Paul, stated the romantic thread takes a while to develop - see how different people have totally different ideas?) Point is I could have extracted a totally different portion of his quote to say something else. I did deliberately make it something that would appeal to people reading the #SFR hashtag on Twitter.

I did a different reviewer's quote with a different slant for the #ThrillerThursday hashtag crowd: Baldwin constantly surprises us as her characters interact...as layers are peeled away @SaintOnge235 #ThrillerThursday http://ow.ly/bd8HS so this would appeal to those looking for mystery and intrigue (which this book presumably has...I think it does...I hope it does) My favorite #ThrillerThursday tweet is this one A Proctor literally hands his life over 2 his Councillor He's property #ConditionedResponse #ThrillerThursday #SciFi http://ow.ly/bd8HR which doesn't quote anyone just quotes the book. I'm slanting it, definitely (this doesn't sound like a Romantic SF like the earlier one at all, right?) but I'm definitely not trying to misrepresent anyone or anything.

Obviously, I don't post the quotes of "I thought this was terrible" to help me sell the book or advertise on Twitter. I also don't try to hide those reviews but I can't imagine how they could be viewed as good source for marketing materials (LOL) Oh wait, I said I was being serious here. No laughing. Just asking for a reality check on my quoting habits. I did, in fact, follow the lead of what I've seen others do. I thought that was what I should do. Shouldn't I?

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


message 14: by Jonathan, Reader of the fantastic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jonathan (headspinningfromvagueness) | 517 comments I think you took the main gist of the quote and used it very well considering word limits. I think that what I as someone looking at marketing have become suspicious of is when they take one or two words like "excellent" or "good book/film" in reviews and don't give the star rating. As said that could mean anything from it really was a "good book" to the publicist is simply cutting off all the bad parts. The main required points I believe are that there is a slight explanation of why you like it to provide a slight context. If the thing was "this is...a good book" then you would feel they excluded the not but otherwise if it was "this is a good book, I loved the tension between..." you would accept that.


message 15: by Marjorie (last edited Jun 01, 2012 07:19AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments The gist I'm getting is to make sure I don't intentionally mislead or misrepresent but I'm not a liar to begin with so I think I'm covered (grin) Although I've done a bit of editing and rearranging, it's never to misstate anything, just to make it more readable/sensible in the context of the tweet. And I do always try to give a star rating whenever there's room. Even on Twitter. I like my 4-star ratings, most even better than my 5-star ones :)

Thanks for the pointers, Jonathan.


message 16: by Fayley (new) - added it

Fayley What a piece of work this woman is! Threatens her allies, cheats on her husband, cheats on the man she loves, mistrusts people working on her side, abuses her power! As the main character I have to like her, but I have no respect for her intelligence or morals.


message 17: by Marjorie (last edited Jun 02, 2012 03:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Fayley wrote: "What a piece of work this woman is! Threatens her allies, cheats on her husband, cheats on the man she loves, mistrusts people working on her side, abuses her power! As the main character I have to..."

Yep, Shayla is QUITE the piece of work! Oh and Fayley, back in 2005, she was even WORSE. (view spoiler) Okay, zipping my mouth again.


Stephen M. | 94 comments Fayley wrote: "What a piece of work this woman is! Threatens her allies, cheats on her husband, cheats on the man she loves, mistrusts people working on her side, abuses her power! As the main character I have to..."

[St. Onge:]
        Well, do remember she is a spy and possibly an agent of influence as well.  Not exactly jobs for nice people.  And it would seem that abuse of power is the norm among the ruling class, of which she's a member.

        Hmm, I have to reread this as we go, I'm reading American Gods as we go, I'm reading Sharpe's Fortress for fun, (I just discovered the series, and I have mixed feelings about it), and I have several inter-library loans and non-renewable library books to deal with.  It never rains but it pours.




message 19: by Xdyj (new) - rated it 4 stars

Xdyj | 419 comments So far it somehow reminds me of CJ Cherryh's Cyteen, though Shayla is a less ambitious, and much nicer protagonist.


Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Xdyj wrote: "So far it somehow reminds me of CJ Cherryh's Cyteen, though Shayla is a less ambitious, and much nicer protagonist."

I'm a little embarrassed to have to admit this in public but I have never read ANY of Cherryh's work. Not one word. Soooo, it wasn't influenced by her but now you've got me curious what I reminded you of here :) And thank you for saying Shayla is "nicer" (emphasis on "er" as in compared to....dare I ask? LOL)

@Stephen, I have no idea why you keep insisting Shayla is a spy. I think you're confusing some of my other stories that you read on Baen's Bar about a woman who's a sharp shooter and cold-blooded killer. That's not Shayla. She hates guns (I think I must have said that about 20 times in this book and oddly enough, not a single editorial reader commented on it as a repetitive phrase which they WERE on the lookout to identify) and Shayla doesn't enjoy killing--except Dramond, whose death, we find out in Ch 1, she wants to relish (so I'm not giving away any spoilers to mention that!)

I still don't know if I actually like Shayla. 232,000 words later and I still can't decide.

On a side note, I am absolutely loving William Harrington (whom most of you have probably not met yet) and of course, Jared the MedTech, who really needs a last name since he's a Class Three :) I'm currently working on writing When Minds Collide the short story that will take place about 400 years before Conditioned Response. WMC will "explain" how (view spoiler).

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments I just read the description of Cherryh's Cyteen when I added it to my "to-read" shelf and I think I figured out why this book reminds you of it. A-genetic engineering is part of the plot, B-plot/characters are a complex cast and assortment, C-series book so there's references to "history" and probably, clear unanswered questions that set up another book in the series (that's a negative by the way but many of us do it)

I also think I figured out why Octavia Butler (whom I had also never read before this spring) and Cherryh and I were all writing similar books in the late 1980s. The Human Genome Project was huge, at least to anyone in the SF/F community who was interested in reading Science journals and learning actual science for purposes of writing speculative fiction :-) I'd like to think my voracious reading of non-fiction in the 70s, 80s, and 90s classed me in there with them ;) Could'a been something else but I can't imagine having any of the same influences as those two women otherwise. I really don't write their kind of stuff...erm, well, I didn't think I did!!

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


message 22: by Fayley (new) - added it

Fayley I was so glad that Shayla realised how hurtful and selfish she was. Now I can forgive her and feel ok about enjoying her story! I especially enjoyed from 60% to the end. I'm very curious about this planet now, and the story of the original "invasion". Why did Joshua say that the 7 chiefs didnt work in the best interests of their people? What was the story of the original invasion? Then back to the future - how did Shayla and Charlie end up. I would buy that.


message 23: by Fayley (new) - added it

Fayley Oh ... and I've decided that I don't like Shayla but I understand why she acts and thinks the way she does.


Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Fayley wrote: "Oh ... and I've decided that I don't like Shayla but I understand why she acts and thinks the way she does."

Kewel!! Now explain it to me because really, I just do not get her. I write what she tells me but I seriously don't understand her half the time. I mean *I* wouldn't do what she does and most of the time, an Author can kind of figure out why a character's doing something but this chick? Not a clue. It's funny, right? Even funnier is that I'm totally serious. Explain her to me, please!


message 25: by Marjorie (last edited Jun 04, 2012 07:21AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Oh and Fayley, please do me a favor and edit your first post where you give away spoilers to hide them using Goodreads' special spoiler tag? It's easy, just add a "<" and ">" surrounding the word "spoiler" to start hiding it and then same thing with "/spoiler" to end it. I mean it's only June 4th :) You're clearly a super fast reader! I'm hoping there'll be people reading and discussing the book all month tho'

If you didn't notice already, I'm working on a short story called When Minds Collide which is set about 400 years in the past of Conditioned Response, from back during the time when (view spoiler) And see? I got to demonstrate the spoiler tag (haha, method to my madness)


message 26: by Fayley (new) - added it

Fayley (view spoiler)


message 27: by Xdyj (new) - rated it 4 stars

Xdyj | 419 comments By "nicer" I mean nicer as human beings. Up to now Shayla seems to be a 100% good & moral person, while some of the stuff Cherryh's Ariane does are at best morally ambiguous, at worst downright creepy. Some other coincidental similarities between her book & yours might be:
1) both have Huxley reference in it (although yours seems to retain more elements of BNW while Cherryh's has the look & feel of modern democracy on the surface)
2) both involve slavery (Proctor & Azi)
3) similarities btw Shayla/Raif & Ari II/Florian
4) MC (Shayla & Ari I) was abused in the past but can not bring the perpetrator to justice due to political reason
5) "Adjustment" is roughly equivalent to Cherryh's "Tape", and both are heavily used in the story :)


message 28: by Marjorie (last edited Jun 04, 2012 08:43AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Fayley, I'm not sure I actually agree with your interpretation of Shayla so I'm going to decline to comment but thank you for explaining to me how you understood her character, her motivations etc. I definitely had very different ideas in my head when I was writing (forex I definitely felt/planned/intended to communicate that Raif was always there for Shayla, from day one, as her "father figure" role model. I shied away from stressing that since i ALSO wanted to establish a romantic thread early on.)

I'll have to think about whether or not I can figure out how you got to where you did with her...might take my backbrain a few days to really absorb it, too :) Just because I don't immediately respond doesn't mean I didn't listen; it usually means I listened a lot and need to really give it careful consideration because it made me stop and think. The stopping is why I don't always respond at length - and I seem to have replied at length anyway ;-)

Xdyj, Now you REALLY have me motivated to read Cherryh's book! I had no idea Cherryh also had an Adjustment-like concept in her book. Wow, she really packed it all in there, too, huh? REALLY glad I didn't publish this in 1989 ish. I would have been called a copycat even though it was totally original and created in a vacuum (had no knowledge of other similar works' existence) Thank you for turning me onto Cyteen. I've been meaning to try one of Cherryh's books for a number of years and now I know where to start :)

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments I'm blogging the opening of the aforementioned short story, When Minds Collide, over here on Goodreads. Check it out if you've finished Conditioned Response and want more "reader crack" as they say at Baen's Bar ;-)

http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/2541015-when-minds-collide

WIP so no clue when it'll be done. I need to find a place to live first. Maybe end of June, maybe not 'til July? But definitely Coming Soon!

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


message 30: by Stephen (last edited Jun 05, 2012 03:59AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Stephen M. | 94 comments Marjorie wrote: "@Stephen, I have no idea why you keep insisting Shayla is a spy."
[St. Onge:]
        Well, she was sent into the human community by the Seven Chiefs, she observes them, and she frequently goes back to report to them.  That more or less fits the description of "spy" from where I sit (the side of the bed not near the door).


Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Stephen wrote: "Marjorie wrote: "@Stephen, I have no idea why you keep insisting Shayla is a spy."
[St. Onge:]
        Well, she was sent into the human community by the Seven Chiefs, she observes them, and she fr..."


hahha, okay, okay. Shayla's (technically) a spy. I just never thought of her in "espionage" terms. Funny, that.

You know it occurs to me I don't think you and I ever spoke this much back when I was on the Bar daily. It's nice to reconnect with you again!


Stephen M. | 94 comments Marjorie wrote: "You know it occurs to me I don't think you and I ever spoke this much back when I was on the Bar daily. It's nice to reconnect with you again!"

[St. Onge:]
        No, there were so many posts then, on so many conferences, that we didn't interact all that much.  Thanks for getting me over here to Goodreads.


Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Stephen wrote: "Marjorie wrote: "You know it occurs to me I don't think you and I ever spoke this much back when I was on the Bar daily. It's nice to reconnect with you again!"

[St. Onge:]
      No, there were so many posts then, on so many conferences, that we didn't interact all that much.  Thanks for getting me over here to Goodreads.

I absolutely love Goodreads! It's not as blindered or limited and it's much more polite :) I actually have to watch MY language here! haha

Tell your Barfly buddies to come on over. The water's fine :)

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


message 34: by Xdyj (last edited Jun 05, 2012 03:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Xdyj | 419 comments Just finished it. I like Raif as a character and how (view spoiler) sets everything in action. The ending is pretty satisfying also. Shayla is a compassionable character imo though she doesn't seem to have enough self control to be in her position & doesn't seem to know what she is doing and who she works for half of the time, & I hope she will have some character growth if she is going to appear in its sequel. The story of Joshua & seven chiefs sounds interesting & I hope it can be elaborated more in other books in the series. Another interesting element that I wish can be explored more in other books might be Shayla's cult following. Maybe it's a personal taste thing but I do find the description of constant sexual tension between Shayla & everyone else mildly repetitive & sometimes skim through them.


Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Arghhh!! No!!! You gave away that he dies??! LOL :)

Yeah, okay, that's not really a spoiler since I foreshadow it in Ch 1 and pretty much 20 more times before he dies but I'm gonna have to give up on trying to keep you people from spoilering, aren't I? *pout*

Hey, Xdyj, glad you finished it (wow you people are reading quickly!) and I have to admit, even *I* started getting bored with the sexual obsession going on in Raif's head but hey, the guy had been Adjusted. It wasn't his fault ...and I'm just the author. I do what those characters tell me because some of them are dangerous!! :)

Thanks for the feedback Xdyj. Since you were interested in Joshua's story, be sure to check out the snippet of the short story I'm writing (When Minds Collide which I'm blogging here on Goodreads.

I'll have to set it aside while I find a place to live (eep! still looking!) and move in the next 2 weeks but I'm about half done and it's only a short story so I should be able to finish it in a week or 10 days after I move.

WMC is the story of how Joshua Andrew Caine became Joshua Andrew Caine :) I explained it in summary / reference at the end of Conditioned Response (when Joshua is sitting in the car with Shayla, talking and...stuff)

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


message 36: by Xdyj (new) - rated it 4 stars

Xdyj | 419 comments I thought you mentioned somewhere in this group that he is supposed to be killed, (view spoiler). :) I know all the sexual tensions are essential to the plot, but maybe I personally prefer a less detailed treatment. Another thing that might be interesting to explore might be the life & thought of Proctors & lower class citizens etc.


message 37: by Marjorie (last edited Jun 05, 2012 04:45PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Xdyj wrote: "I thought you mentioned somewhere in this group that he is supposed to be killed, [spoilers removed]."

I'm not sure if your "he" here means to refer to Raif or Joshua Andrew Caine. Both men die...eventually :) Some sooner than others...neither one of them "goes" easily (this guy is just not that easy to kill... LOL)

Personally I prefer a less repetitive treatment of the sexual tension (the sex scenes were actually skimpy compared to the tension stuff) but seriously, that's how it came "from Raif's mouth to my AuthorGod fingertips" It wasn't really a deliberate or conscious choice on my part IOW. I do prefer to write explicit sex, rather than euphemisms, but I don't have trouble skipping in a fade to black (like I did with Shayla and Joshua) It all depends on what's relevant to the development of the plot and/or characters. If it's useful, it's in. If it's just there, it's taking up valuable words that I need for more important things--like blowing shit up and killing people. :)

See? With all that space taken up by sexual tension in Raif's head, I never even got to blow ANYTHING up this book! Ugh. Such a waste.

Oh, you're going to like Book 1 - I get into the lives and thoughts of several Proctors in Book 1...and several die :-( but you already met a few who survive so that'll be good to know going in, sorta. Might take the tension out of Collier's sex/death "accident" though. Hmmm...


message 38: by Marjorie (last edited Jun 08, 2012 03:39PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Fayley and Xdyj, you people are way too quick on the reading speed :)

Anyone else reading Conditioned Response? Jonathan, didn't you start it? Still reading or did you lose interest? It's okay to say you lost interest ((grin)) I'm just checking in!

There are only 6 people who've shelved it as "currently reading" but 21 have now added it "to read" and lots of Goodreads members never actually move a book or enter statuses (too busy reading *hee hee*) I'm sure at least another handful are reading because 18 more downloaded it with the coupon in the last night before the coupon expired (yesterday). A total of 41 downloaded it IIRC what my Smashwords Dashboard said so obviously some takers who aren't here or aren't reading or aren't trackable. I hope they enjoy it :)

I did hear from one reader the day before the coupon expired that the EPUB was corrupted. Smashwords had to fix that for me but they have now regenerated the book so you can get an updated EPUB if you need to - it'll be a "new version" or the most recently "published" link in a list of 2 links when you click to download again.

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


message 39: by Jonathan, Reader of the fantastic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jonathan (headspinningfromvagueness) | 517 comments I'm about to start. I'll probably begin tomorrow since I've got a few things out of the way. Won't be as fast as the others since I have exams and a part time job interview happening this week.


Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Jonathan wrote: "I'm about to start. I'll probably begin tomorrow since I've got a few things out of the way. Won't be as fast as the others since I have exams and a part time job interview happening this week."

TBH, I'm kind of amazed ANYONE (let alone both Fayley and Xdyj) was able to finish in days, not a week or two. I mean, it's one thing for an editor or proofreader to go through it that quickly and I know I write "easy reading" material but still...wow, I'm daunted by the speed!

Look forward to reading your comments as you have 'em. I'm still tweeting the link and hopefully some of the other SF/F fans who downloadaed it will come by to chat.

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Ooh, just remembered, I forgot to share the link to the Soundtrack to this book. It's the music I listened to while writing and makes for really good listening whilst reading :-)

Soundtrack to Conditioned Response

It's also just plain good music. Three very different groups but all good in their own way :)

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


message 42: by Marjorie (last edited Jun 10, 2012 04:21AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments I just wanted to let everyone here know, from now until the end of the month, I've reduced the price of the book at Smashwords by 25% so while it is not free anymore, it is at least less :)

I'm running this 25% off promo exclusively at Smashwords.

I confess, I'm doing this both to support the group read and sort of as an experiment to see if the price propagates to my distributors (as it should). I don't think Amazon will pick up on it and drop the price but you never know. If people report it lower elsewhere, they might.

If you haven't got a copy already, get Conditioned Response for only $5.99 at http://bit.ly/SW-CondResp. The price will change (go back up to $7.99) in July when the Smashwords site-wide blowout sale starts.

This now ends your public service announcement ;-) Got another nice review last night. Wish I could figure out which 2 plot points that reader felt I left unresolved though :-( He liked the book, just felt it was too complicated a plot. You know, so did I!! LOL

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


Kerry (bkmcavoy) | 9 comments Marjorie wrote: "Fayley and Xdyj, you people are way too quick on the reading speed :)

Anyone else reading Conditioned Response? Jonathan, didn't you start it? Still reading or did you lose interest? It's okay t..."


Yes, I am reading it along side Gaiman's American Gods. I am about 40 percent done with Conditioned Response and am thoroughly enjoying it. The characters are definitely more fun than Gaiman's Mr. Wednesday and Shadow. (I am NOT liking that book!). Thanks for the free e-book!!

I have been following this thread and finds others' impressions/reactions to Shayla and Raif interesting. I find myself liking both characters, although I don't know if I would choose either as a friend. I am looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds.

When I started the book, I found the title intriguing. "Conditioned response" is a common psychological term used by behaviorists specializing in classical conditioning. I was very curious to see what you, as the author, intended it to mean. I can't wait to finish.


message 44: by Marjorie (last edited Jun 10, 2012 12:23PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments I asked Anyone else reading Conditioned Response?

and Kerry wrote: Yes, I am reading it along side Gaiman's American Gods. I am about 40 percent done with Conditioned Response and am thoroughly enjoying it. The characters are definitely more fun than Gaiman's Mr. Wednesday and Shadow. (I am NOT liking that book!). Thanks for the free e-book!!"

You're quite welcome. Tell your friends it's marked down (25% off at Smashwords)for June to keep supporting this group read.

I'm so glad I'm not the only one not connecting with Gaiman's characters! Since I had a handful of readers say the same thing about mine, I was feeling a little odd making the complaint about his, you know? LOL

You also said, I have been following this thread and finds others' impressions/reactions to Shayla and Raif interesting. I find myself liking both characters, although I don't know if I would choose either as a friend. I am looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds.

Well, I don't think I'd want to be friends with Shayla but I'd take Raif in a heartbeat--as a friend or, um, anything he wants? haha I really love Raif's sense of humor and his joie de vive. He's quite the Uber Alpha but he's also just plain nice. I think the comments here have been super interesting to read--but I'm probably biased ((grin))

Finally you commented When I started the book, I found the title intriguing. "Conditioned response" is a common psychological term used by behaviorists specializing in classical conditioning. I was very curious to see what you, as the author, intended it to mean. I can't wait to finish.

I do try to make my titles (chapter and book) mean something, and often, more than one something. I like having multiple layers of meaning so one of the meanings is the machine--Conditioned Human Response Series--of which Charlie is Rev E (you read that in the first or second chapter, I believe)

But yeah, the other one of the two meanings I intended was definitely like Pavlov's Dogs and the so-called "conditioned response." When I actually used the term late in the book, it was almost accidental. I'll assume it was a subconscious deliberate insertion but I did stop after typing that sentence and smiled to myself, having finally found the second meaning of the title. You'll know it when you reach it but it starts out something like They all took one step back. It was a conditioned response.... I loved studying "conditioning" when I was in high school and studied psychology as a hobby of sorts. I've always been a science geek. I love that I was able to work that kind of stupid little detail into a book and have it be central enough to the plot I could title the book for it.

Then I found out that there's a BDSM Domination Instruction book titled the same thing, darnit! (see Conditioned Response) oh and there are a few horse-training books that pop up at Barnes & Noble (seriously, too funny) Mine, however, is the one with the pretty green eyes on the cover :-)

Thanks for chiming in, Kerry. Looking forward to more of your thoughts as you get further into it.

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


message 45: by Xdyj (last edited Jun 10, 2012 05:48PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Xdyj | 419 comments Marjorie wrote: "I don't think I'd want to be friends with Shayla."

I would like to be friend w/ her when I only finished the first 1/3 or 1/2 (when I posted message #27), but would hesitate after I finished the book b/c she is probably not so nice to her friends & allies after all & has some self control issue, which adds some nice ambiguity to her character. :)


message 46: by Marjorie (last edited Jun 11, 2012 01:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments "Marjorie wrote: "I don't think I'd want to be friends with Shayla."

To which Xdyj replied: I would like to be friend w/ her when I only finished the first 1/3 or 1/2 (when I posted message #27), but would hesitate after I finished the book b/c she is probably not so nice to her friends & allies after all & has some self control issue, which adds some nice ambiguity to her character. :)"

TBH in my mind, I think of Shayla as a lot more dysfunctional than she came across in the book. She's obviously one character a lot of people comment on and over the years (since 1986, in fact) I have gotten more commentary on her and her likeability (or lack thereof) than on any other single aspect of the entire (then) 4-book series. I changed her a lot in 2005 and like night and day in the 2011 edits. She's super likeable now--by comparison.

She's still totally clueless as to how to behave (view spoiler) <<< Please remember to use the spoiler tag if you reply to that spoiler, as there are definitely things given away in that discussion and new people coming to the thread (I hope!) each day.

I like ambiguity in a character, but Shayla is so damned complicated sometimes....I dunno. Personally, I prefer Julia Travis, kickass redhead - all self-sufficient, confident and unafraid to take on the world. Julia is my #1 favorite human character in this series. William and Brennan both endear themselves to me at various times throughout the series but Julia grabs me in Book 1, amuses me anytime she's on stage and gives me hope for humanity by The End of Book 4 (or whatever the numbering ends up being!)

I seem to have a lot of redheads in this story, don't I? haha, I can't imagine where they came from! <<< sarcasm (view spoiler) I'm loving writing the origins of things (writing When Minds Collide right now) and definitely will enjoy writing some prequels after I finish editing the series to its "end" book. It's almost more fun to explore where things started than it is to see where they go!

I really love that spoiler tag and wish more sites I visit had one! It makes talking about books sooooo much easier!

-Friday
@phoenicianbooks


Stephen M. | 94 comments Marjorie wrote: "Then I found out that there's a BDSM Domination Instruction book titled the same thing, darnit! (see Conditioned Response) oh and there are a few horse-training books that pop up at Barnes & Noble (seriously, too funny) Mine, however, is the one with the pretty green eyes on the cover :-)

        That cover, I must say, left me confused, as you repeatedly mentioned that Shayla has BLUE eyes.  WTF?

        I hadn't thought about it, but you're right that spoiler tag does make things much easier, assuming people actually use it.  I'd suggest it as an addition at the Bar, but there's already a whole spoiler conference that people don't always use.


message 48: by Xdyj (last edited Jun 11, 2012 09:41PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Xdyj | 419 comments I do not like the cover design very much, but OTOH, since I almost always read e-books I don't really care about covers either. :)


Marjorie Friday Baldwin (marjoriefbaldwin) | 191 comments Stephen, you really seem hooked on Shayla. The cover of Conditioned Response has RAIF'S GREEN EYES just like the blog image:



I think I mention Raif's green eyes, Brennan's green eyes and Joshua's "eyes" (about which I repeatedly had him say No one has my eyes but me.) about 15 or 20 times (mentions of the 3 of them and "their" eyes combined) WTF, indeed. Why do you think Shayla's eyes are on the cover when the eyes on the cover are (a) obviously male, (b) obviously green and (c) obviously (to me) the Hero's?

@Xdyj - I wanted a cover layout I could easily "theme" for the series. I had mixed feelings about the floating eyes layout but it's very easy to theme and "eyes" are definitely a meme that pervades the entire series.

Book 1 will have Shayla's eyes (and Stephen will no doubt ask at that time why "Raif's" eyes are on that cover as blue even though they'll be absolutely female and young, slightly vulnerable and hopefully have a little glowy special fx applied)

Didn't I just discuss these eyes? I could'a sworn I just went through this somewhere.


message 50: by Stephen (last edited Jun 13, 2012 01:49AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Stephen M. | 94 comments Marjorie wrote: "Stephen, you really seem hooked on Shayla. The cover of Conditioned Response has RAIF'S GREEN EYES just like the blog image:

I think I mention Raif's green eyes, Brennan's green eyes and Jos..."


        On the cover images I saw, the eyes looked female, not male.  At least, they looked female to me.  If the picture at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/150558 is intended to be a pair of male eyes, well, "EXCUSE ME!"

        Oh, and I once had a little chat with Steve Barnes, a black author, about his novel Steetlethal and the cover of the first edition.  Said cover featured a picture of a big, muscular white guy, obviously the protagonist, who is a big, muscular black guy.  Barnes told me he asked the artist about this, and the artist said he drew what he was told to draw.  The editor thought the book would sell better with a white guy on the cover.  Since then, no disconnect between cover and text has surprised me, but sometimes they interest me.

        But I gotta confess to paying paying more attention to females than males.  I'm not quite as bad as Asimov, who said he could walk into a large room with one female and a hundred males, walk up to her, look around blankly and ask 'Where IS everybody?', but for some reasons I focus more on women than men.  So far, I've been able to convince the wife that I don't need blinders and a leash, but I tell you it ain't been easy.


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