Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Glimpse into the Mind of a Genius

Scott D. Parker

It was a purchase a year in the making.

A little more than a year ago, I made a fascinating discovery online. Levenger, that most wonderful of websites for readers and writers with all sorts of pens and papers that make a writer drool and crack open their wallets, had published a most unique book. Teaming up with The Morgan Museum and Library, Levenger Press published the original 1843 manuscript of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

Big deal, right? Wrong. You see, the Morgan Museum has, in their possession, the actual original manuscript. In the first of its kind, Levenger published a color facsimile of each page of Dickens' original manuscript--we're talking first draft here--on the right side of every page and the corresponding text, all typed out nice and pretty on the left. You can go to this link and see what I mean. If you need a little more "behind the scenes," here's another link.

While seeing the original handwritten draft is neat, what's really fascinating is to see Dickens's corrections. You can go through pages and pages of this book and see Dickens's original ideas and the corrections he made. There's nary a page without some sort of correction, but there are pages in which the corrections amounted to little. A genius at work. It's great to see that a writer of Dickens's quality still fought over words and paragraphs, just like all of us.

I discovered this book's existence just after Christmas 2012. I don't know about you, but as much as I love the yuletide season, once December 26th rolls around, I'm pretty much ready to move on. I wasn't in the mindset to appreciate this book. So I made myself a note that only toggled up on 1 November 2013. "Buy A Christmas Carol from Levenger" the note read. Well, I listened to my past self and did so. I only got it this week, but I'm looking forward to a marvelous examination of this most treasured of Christmas stories.

If you or someone you know loves this story and the process of writing, do yourself a favor and make this book a part of your collection.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Doctor a Week: Christopher Eccleston: The Unquiet Dead

Russel D McLean

11 weeks. 11 Doctors. 11 stories. Right up to the fiftieth anniversary, Russel will be reviewing one story a week for each Doctor. He will try and relate each story to a larger picture and how it relates to each period. He will occasionally make fun of them. But he will try and show you what a varied and brilliant history the show has. As well as overcoming his own prejducies about certain periods in the shows history. Each review will have spoilers and will assume a certain level of knowledge about the story in question. 

The TARDIS is a machine that can travel in time and space, so it’s odd that this series of reviews has not focussed on many historically minded episodes so far. So it seemed a good idea to focus on the ninth Doctor’s first trip into the past with The Unquiet Dead, a story that also featured a character drawn from real life; author, Charles Dickens. Who had traditionally not used real life characters, preferring instead to intimate the Doctor’s meetings with them. (Madame Nostradamus was “a witty little knitter,” according to the fourth who also seemed to have run ins with a whole host of historical figures). The actor, Simon Callow, was approached to play the part but held out until he was sure that Dickens was done justice. And certainly the script gives us an interesting look at Dickens as he was at the end of his life, slowly losing his energy, becoming a more sombre individual that one might expect.

This was Eccleston’s third story as the Doctor. The episodes were no longer multi part, and each adventure now lasted forty five minutes (with the rare two parter). As such there was an economy of storytelling required that had never been there in the old series. It was taking a bit of getting used to. The series opener, Rose, was a little underdeveloped and rushed, while The End of The World was a little uneven in tone, trying to squeeze in too much in too little time. But the Unquiet Dead was the first time the new series established itself and its own tone. There is a gothic atmosphere to proceedings that works wonderfully. The scenes where Dickens reads his work and is interrupted by what appear to be ghosts in the audience are unsettlingly well done, and Simon Callow’s performance is absolutely brilliant. There’s a lot of dark humour too. Eccleston is generally considered a very serious Doctor, but he plays the role with a massive sense of humour, too. His outright enthusiasm at meeting Dickens is marvellous to behold and plays brilliantly alongside his frustrations at humanity’s inability to accept worlds beyond their own.

This episode also sets up the idea that the Doctor is part of a wider continuing universe. There has always been a kind of continuity in Who, but more often its of the 1066 And All That variety: what you can remember. In the show’s hey-day, there was little possibility of retreats so the writers could rely on half remembered bits of information to advance their story. By the time Who returned in 2005, we were used to getting regular releases on video, and shows were often repeated on a regular schedule. So an ongoing “arc” for any character was a must. And with Eccleston that arc was his guilt over the “Time War”, an event that wiped his own people and the Daleks out of history almost completely.

Any war has collateral damage; innocents caught in the crossfire. And the Time War were no exceptions. So when the Doctor and Dickens encounter ghosts reanimating corpses in Victorian Cardiff, it transpires that these spooks are the non-corporeal forms of aliens known as the Gelf who only want a new home after theirs was destroyed in the war. Naturally by the end of the episode it transpires they have more sinister plans (which lead to a few complaints that the episode was heavily right wing and a thinly veiled allegory for asylum seekers. Nonsense, I think. Something that Who - especially modern Who - can rarely be accused of is being right wing).

The production values in Ecclestone’s era (with notable exceptions, including the pilot episode, Rose) are excellent. Victorian Cardiff (even with paper snow) looks amazing. Its all a bit storybook,  but then Who gave up any pretence at historical realism sometime in the sixties, so its quite all right that the whole thing doesn’t ring with grimy accuracy. There are some odd tonal moments - its easy to see that the earlier scripts were a lot darker, and some of this darkness might have rounded out some of the characters - particularly the head of the funeral home, who comes across as this odd mix of creepy quirks but otherwise jolly behaviour; you don’t quite believe he could so casually lock Rose in a room with corpses about to come to life - but the episode races by at such an enjoyable clip you don’t really mind while you’re watching. But if it had taken some of the darkness inherent in, say, the Sixth Doctor’s Revelation of the Daleks, we could have had a spectacular episode.

Also worth noting is Billie Piper’s performance as Rose; the young London woman who has decided to accompany the Doctor and who has finally started to return him to his old self after the trauma of the Time War. Piper was a controversial choice, especially for anyone in the UK. She was known mostly as a fluffy teenage songstress and the (much) younger wife of ginger radio DJ Chris Evans. But even in the tonally odd pilot episode Rose, she proved to a nation that she was capable of a convincing performance and in the Unquiet Dead she rises even more above the usual role of “the companion” as it was traditionally seen to give us a well rounded portrait of someone whose universe has been well and truly expanded and who is capable of approaching these strange and fantastic new situations with an acceptance and a wide eyed joy. But beneath it all, she is still capable of being frightened, and those scenes where she realises that she and the Doctor could die in a cellar hundreds of years before she was born are played very well indeed.

The Unquiet Dead isn’t the eighth Doctor’s finest hours (that’s the season finale), but it is the point where the new show finally established itself as being back for good.


- Callow only agreed to do the show if they got Dickens right. And they did. Its amazing to see the contrast of the man off stage with the sheer power of his performance. Dickens was like many actors; a man not complete when he was not in the midst of his own fictions. I don’t know how true that really is, but it certainly feels real here.

- The decision to have Eccleston in normal clothes re-establishes the series quietly. If they’d gone OTT instantly, I think it could have killed any hope of the series being around for a long time. His performance works wonders too. Its a pity he only had the one season, although we still have to wonder what it was behind the scenes that made his decision to leave so soon.

- At this point, the Time War is vastly intriguing. By the time we get to David Tennant’s swan song, however, it will have become mildly irritating and the final explanations a little bit of a let down.

- The episode could have done with more breathing room. Its a crux of the forty-five minute format, and I do think that the UK writers have far more difficulty with it than Americans who have it down to a fine art.

- the glory of the TARDIS set is breathtaking when you think about the old roundels and plastic walls. This feels truly alien. In fact, that’s one of the reasons Eccleston works as well. He seems quite human and then turns on you with this very alien look; this sense that he has seen and understood things you can only dream of.

- Dickens seems to understand the phrase “test drive” despite it not being in use during his time. Ahh, well, its the usual timey-wimey Who dramatic license, then... (pick pick pick...)

A Doctor A Week (double Post): David Tennant: Army of Ghosts/Doomsday and Matt Smith: The Eleventh Hour

By Russel D Mclean

11 weeks. 11 Doctors. 11 stories. Right up to the fiftieth anniversary, Russel will be reviewing one story a week for each Doctor. He will try and relate each story to a larger picture and how it relates to each period. He will occasionally make fun of them. But he will try and show you what a varied and brilliant history the show has. As well as overcoming his own prejudices about certain periods in the shows history. Each review will have spoilers and will assume a certain level of knowledge about the story in question.

David Tennant: Army of Ghosts/Doomsday

Ahhh, David Tennant. Voted recently as the most popular incarnation of the Doctor. He truly was the populist incarnation of the character. Eccentric without being threatening. Odd but recognisable human. And of course, many regarded him as easy on the eyes, something that can’t be claimed by many of the Doc’s past incarnations.

I’m not actually over enamoured with Tennant’s run on the show. He had some amazing moments and when he was on form, he was truly, truly spectacular, but too often the scripts played to his humanity rather than his alien nature and he had an annoying habit of playing to the back of the room.

And let’s not mention the fact that two of his stories almost stopped me watching the show altogether (both co-starring that most brutally underused of all evil Timelords, the Master - - now I love John Simm as an actor, but he was woefully miscast and miswritten in his two outings). Now not all of this was Tennant. A lot of it was then showrunner Russel T Davies, who brought the show back in style, but soon lost the heart of his story amidst bombast and spectacle. But then, what do I know? Both he and Tennant had a brilliantly populist touch, and when it was on (Family of Blood, The Christmas Invasion, Impossible Planet, Silence in the Library) it was on. Nothing could touch them. But when it was bad (Fear Her, Midnight - and yes, I know its a fan favourite, but only if you haven’t seen Lifeboat or give a damn about developed characters - and the last two “specials” that just about lost me the will to live, especially that Lord of the Rings ending) it was horrid.

So why choose to write about the close to David’s first season?

Well I think Army of Ghosts and Doomsday show off the show and its best and worst. They show Russel T Davies’s soaring imagination and have a great performance from Tennant, but they also have lazy plotting and frankly ludicrous moments where characters obey plot rather than the other way round. Also there’s the interminable Rose/Doctor romance that worked very well for a while until it tipped over. The whole thing about neither of them saying they love each other is sacharine and carries more than a touch of the Mary Sue*. After all, RTD had always said he wanted to be the companion, and with Rose, he gets to fulfill that ambition completely. Of course, the end here is almost right for the story; the romance is never fulfilled and the characters are seperated by a whole wall of reality. If you’re going to do it, then make it bitter sweet. It would be two years before RTD brought Rose back and gave her a fake Doctor of her very one to play with in one of the most convoluted and unlikely plot lines of all time (Until The end of Time, that is)

Army of Ghosts is definitely big budget fan fiction. Daleks! Cybermen! Weird ghosts bleeding through reality! It all starts off well with the ghosts, and the Doctor (despite his odd Scooby Doo impression) doing his best to find out why people believe the dead have come back to visit them. Its all great fun. Rose’s mum is a great, sulky one-off companion and plays well against the Doctor (her face when he claims she’s Rose after facing the Time Vortex is brilliant). And its nice to see Mickey the Idiot (no longer an idiot) back as well. The first time I saw it, the cliffhanger at the end of Army of Ghosts gave me chills. They managed to hide the fact that Daleks were back so well that no one expected the ship from the void to contain them.

Like I said:

Daleks! Cybermen!

Its a fan’s best dreams come true.

RTD may have been great at set up, but he rarely followed through. As we would later discover, he loved cop outs and reset buttons. There’s a bit at the beginning of Army of Ghosts where Rose talks about being on the beach where she died. Her “death” is merely an administrative paperwork gag. And for all the chat about how she can’t come back through ever again, the Doctor meets her again and again on his travels. Its hardly the all consuming bittersweet frustrated romance RTD wants it to be when taken in context.

And then there’s the misplaced humour. The catty Daleks and and Cybermen “Daleks were not designed for elegance” “That is obvious.” as amusing but contextually misplaced. And then of course there’s the question of how some Cybermen slip in completely to land an invasion force while others appear as ghosts. The second half rushes towards it conclusion with bombast but it all falls apart when you start to look at it. And in the end, I’m still not sure I really care about two races whose goal is simply to destroy and assimilate. This story makes it very obvious just how similar the Daleks and Cybermen have become, except one stands on two legs and the other “E-lev-ates!” (no, really, the Daleks continue their habit of stating the obvious whenever they try and do anything).

As for Torchwood... well, at this stage RTD was setting the stage for his beloved spin off. So he wanted them front and centre. Its a great idea, that the Doctor’s actions earlier in the series make Queen Victoria decide to set up a group to stop him from ever returning. But given how long they’ve been around, its surprising they never ever caught up with the Doctor. Especially when he was Jon Pertwee, stuck on earth and working UNIT. (“Hey, hang on, this UNIT lot have a scientific advisor with a time machine. He calls himself the Doctor... do ya think...?”). But sometimes you just can’t think about these things too much.

In all though, its a bombastic end to the second season that entertains but falls apart the more you think about it. The performances are excellent, but it really does highlight all the greatness and all the flaws of an RTD run in one package. And it would prove to be the last of the great RTD end of season Dalek-taculars that really, really held together.


- Nice nod to Cyber history when they rip through plastic sheeting. Bit of a reference there to Tomb of the Cybermen. And that’s always a good thing.

- No, really, what’s up with that whole “Who you gonna call?” gag done in a Scooby Doo voice? Did anyone understand it? Event RTD himself?

- Aghhh, the celebrity cameos... just stop it RTD, just stop it... one thing I hate in this era of Who is the reliance on 20th century pop culture. And especially those rolling news segments to fill us in on what’s happening when the story should be making it obvious. Grrrr....

- On the other hand, I did chuckle at the ghost of Dirty Den appearing in the Queen Vic. Bit wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey, though, considering that the Doctor has visited Albert Square before during his 7th regeneration (although most right thinking people do try and forget about the terrible Dimensions in Time story that was produced for 1993’s Children in Need).

- All that said, though, what a great great cliffhanger to episode one. Totally jaw dropping the first time you see it. The void ship is a great idea. Something you can see and yet your brain doesn’t want to acknowledge it. An idea that would later be explored again in Matt Smith’s era with the creepy (if underutilised) The Silence.

*In the world of fan fiction, a Mary Sue is a character thrown into an established dynamic who is perfect, often romantically involved with the lead, and generally just the author’s wish fulfillment. This character can also be found in general fiction too but they’re far easier to spot in fan fic.

Matt Smith: The Eleventh Hour

Matt Smith.

What a thankless task taking over from the popularly handsome and dashing David Tennant. Smith could never hope to replicate Tennant’s romantic lead. Not least because he is not so classically handsome as tennant. But that face - composed of rubber, and capable of a million expression - is wonderful; just alien enough to work as the Doctor while still able to express a full range or recognisable human emotions.

Add to that Smith’s physicality. Its not just his face that’s made of rubber, but his whole body. He is always in control while looking utterly chaotic. And that’s a wonderful combination. Harks back a little to Patrick Troughton, the man who really started the kind of characterisations by which we understand the modern Doctor.

The 11th Hour had a lot of work to do. Tennant had defined the modern era of Who along with Russell T Davies. But Davies left along with Tennant and new showrunner Stephen Moffat had to establish himself and his new Doctor right off the bat. And he does so with some style. The opening scenes - following off the bat from Tennant’s bombastic finale where, for no discernible reason, his regeneration blew up the TARDIS interior - are brilliant with the TARDIS crashlanding in a child’s garden. The mysterious stranger. A little girl. Fish fingers and custard. Its all very fairy-tale ish. And Matt Smith pulls off that “old man, young body” feel that Moffat kept promising us. He’s out of touch and yet very wise. He silly and smart. He’s contradictory and yet understandable.

But all the same, I think for those who were looking for another Tennant - a romantic hero - they felt short changed. Smith’s not a dashing to the rescue type of hero. He’s darker than that in spite of all the silliness and even over the course of the 11th Hour, you can see his mood change from daft and frivolous to serious and in command. When he tells the aliens to leave Earth as it is under his protection, you utterly believe it.

Also his bow tie is cool.

Amy Pond gets a great introduction here, too. Moffat likes to play with the idea of the Doctor dropping in and out of people’s lives. so to see her here as a child and then a young woman, utterly unsure of who this man is or why he keeps appearing, is brilliant. Gillan plays it mostly straight and assured, and she feels like a real person; someone growing and discovering themselves. Its a shame her character would be messed around with in later seasons as the story got a little too muddled for its own good, but in the 11th Hour she makes a fantastic first impression.

As for Rory, her boyfriend and later husband... his introduction here is subtle and perhaps a little underplayed. He wasn’t someone we were too desperate to see return, but Darvill would grow in his performance and quickly become one of the highlights of the Smith season. But as as a supporting character here he just seems a little unnecessary in some ways; not quite fitting in yet.

Its interesting to see how Moffat plays a longer game that Davies did. And that’s been divisive. Stuff that seems odd at first soon becomes clear. While Davies liked to hammer us over the head with catchphrases (“bad wolf”, “torchwood”, “Mr Saxon”)  and then just pull something out in the season finale, Moffat teased things out further. Things that were initially irrelevant soon became important, and in his first season he seemed like a master magician as everything came together at the end, right back to small and seemingly insignificant moments from this first episode. From Amy’s house being a bit strange, to the cracks in the wall... creepy and mysterious and quite brilliant.

On its own, though, the 11th Hour is great fun. The main plot - the escaped prisoner from another dimension - is just engaging enough on its own without overshadowing the real business of getting to know Matt Smith’s new Doctor. Amy is a nice contrast to Rose and feels less of a Mary Sue and more of a growing character. And Smith himself owns the part from the moment he climbs out of the wrecked TARDIS.

The 5th season on new Who will remain one of the highlights for me. Despite a couple of dodgy eps, it reintroduced the Doctor with flare and panache. And despite criticisms of the seasons beyond 5, the fact remains that Smith’s performance has never been less than brilliant.


- I don’t think we ever did get an answer as to why Rory’s nurses badge had a date that was different to the year they were in... mysteriouser and mysteriouser...

- Smith’s Doctor has a real thing for food. From whipping up his fish fingers and custard to making Omelettes for Craig in the lodger, he seems to be a Doctor of the senses; out to experience as much as he can.

- Smith is the youngest person ever to take the role. The worry could have been that he wound up like Davison; a little overwhelmed by the character or forced to play it too young. But Smith channels an energy that is decades - maybe centuries - older than his body. Its an incredible feeling to look into those eyes and see something unexpectedly alien looking back.

- One of the reasons I like Smith so much is that he harks back to Troughton. The odd little man in the blue box. The cosmic hobo.

- I’m still perturbed by what happened to Amy in later seasons. It feels like there was a whole story to be told but production schedules messed with it. Its a shame because if she got the chance to continue to develop as a full person she could have been one of the greatest companions of all time. However, her journey in season 5 is excellent..

- Its a great title, too. The 11th Hour. Its about the 11th Doctor. He’s arriving to save the world at the 11th Hour. It invokes a feeling of heady danger. I just really like it.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Country Hardball: The Launch

By Steve Weddle

So here's something I hadn't anticipated with last night's launch of COUNTRY HARDBALL at Fountain Bookstore in Richmond. (Signed copies available, thanks to Kelly and crew.)

I mean, I'd been prepared to have only three people show up. Kinda prepared. I'd been prepared to have a thousand show. And, I'd been prepared to have it be somewhere between those two numbers, which it was.

I hadn't know that friend-of-the-blog Dana King was going to go to all the trouble to drive 150 minutes each way for the launch. How nice is that?

I hadn't been prepared to bring leftover wine -- even cheap wine -- home from a book event.

I hadn't been prepared to get three pages into reading a five page story and completely flake, trying to count the minutes I'd been reading and attempt to math in my head to figure out how long was left.

But the thing I really wasn't prepared for was not being able to talk very long to everyone who was there. I stood up there and talked, sure. When people came up to get a book signed, though, there I was trying to carry on conversations with people while other people were waiting and all I wanted to do was say how much I liked a blog review they'd done a couple weeks back about a book I wouldn't normally pick up but sounded great or ask them about the book I'd heard they were working on now or tell them how great it was to see them for the first time in ten years and did that rash ever go away. And on and on. I don't know how authors do it, standing up there and wanting to talk for 30 minutes with each person and just not having the time. People go to all the trouble to come out on a Wednesday night to pay money for sheets of paper with my words on them because they want to read this thing I did. And I don't even have the time to talk to each person for more than a few minutes? When they've given up all this time and effort to come see me? It just seems damned ridiculous is all.

So thank you so much to everyone who came out and to everyone who is coming out Friday in New York City.

I'm sure I'll have everything figured out by then and, as KV might write, everything will be beautiful and nothing will hurt.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Guest Post - Juliet Conlin; Minding Your P's & Q's
In my novel ‘The Fractured Man’, the protagonist, Elliot Taverley, is a young psycho-analyst in 1920’s London who is using the new and controversial field of graphology in the psychological diagnosis and treatment of his patients. When he receives a visit from a man who seems to change personality when he copies others’ handwriting, Elliot is intrigued and soon becomes obsessed with the man and his mysterious disorder. But the patient is not quite what he seems, and dark and disturbing things follow …

Graphology – the study and analysis of handwriting – assumes that certain aspects of the psyche, or specific personality traits, are projected onto a person’s handwriting. Closed “e’s” signify secrecy, large capital letters in a signature imply self-importance, handwriting sloping to the right indicates extroversion etc. More sophisticated graphological theory looks at clusters of stroke formations or symbolism within the handwriting. In the case of the mysterious patient in my novel, the opposite appears to be happening: the personality traits displayed in the writing are absorbed by the patient when he writes in the handwriting of others.

The idea that a person’s handwriting is unique dates back to Aristotle, who remarked that “all men have not the same writing”. And the notion that handwriting might be linked to character can be traced to the 17th-century physician Camillo Baldi. But it was only with the emergence of psychology as a science in the late 19th/early 20th century that a professional interest in graphology began to spread through Europe and the United States. 

Graphology was just one of a whole number of schools of psychology and was a very popular technique for personality assessment in the 1920s, with several profitable graphology practices located in London at that time.

I was interested in exploring two aspects surrounding graphology: firstly, the belief that the technique possesses a mysterious ability to see through individual pretences and posturings, enabling one to discover the “true” nature of the writer. Much like astrology, most people know that it has no scientific grounding, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to give it an inkling of validity (“he is a typical Gemini!”).

I was also fascinated by the interaction between the development of society and of science, and the idea that particular forms of medical/psychological treatment must be socially accepted in order to work. In the words of one of my characters: “It is not enough to cure the sick. One must cure them with methods that have been endorsed, accepted, understood by the community.” In 1924, the New Statesman magazine claimed, “We are all psycho-analysts now!”, indicating the general flavour of popular interest (and putative lay expertise) in psychoanalysis. 

It is not surprising that the popularisation of psychoanalysis coincided with Europe’s struggle to come to terms with the aftermath of the Great War and the damage to society and individuals. During the time the novel is set, there was an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the fact that human beings can suffer not just physical injury, but also psychological injury (shell shock – today known as post-traumatic stress disorder – was first described by doctors and psychiatrists in WW I). 

With regard to graphology, my novel offers no criticism of the method as the pseudoscience it is considered today (it offers no endorsement, either) – instead, I wanted to portray a man situated in the context of his place and time who sought to “heal” others with a particular method, much like medieval witch doctors or South African shamans, whose methods may not be considered scientific, but which worked or work nonetheless.
In ‘TheFractured Man’, graphology proves a useful tool for Elliot Taverley to come closer to discovering the truth about his strange patient. But that’s fiction. In reality, graphology never quite made it. For any new idea to become scientifically acceptable, it has to be in the right place at the right time, as was the case for psychoanalysis. Graphology just wasn’t that lucky. It failed to gain a foothold in mainstream psychology, and although there are a number of groups and associations that still practice it today, it is generally restricted to the occult sections of bookshops or quirky quizzes in magazines.

For more information on my novel or the story behind it, visit

Monday, November 18, 2013

What should "The Best" include?

With the proliferation of great stories in so many mediums: video games, TV, movies, songs, comics, books, short stories....

When we* talk of the best of a genre are we obligated to include other mediums to make sure the picture is as accurate as possible?

(*We meaning all of us -- readers, reviewers, readers, editors, readers -- you know, all of us.)

For years I said that Scalped was one of the best crime story being told. But because it's a comic I'm not too sure how many radar screens it is on.  So, is it fair to say that a comic is better then most of the novels being written?  I think so.

Or another example.  When The Wire was on TV wasn't it one of the best, if not the best, crime story being told?  And let's not forget the recently ended Breaking Bad, one of the most original crime stories to come down the road in awhile.

One of the most striking crime shorts I've heard in recent years was actually a song.

So again, the question is simply this:

When we talk of the best of a genre are we obligated to include other mediums to make sure the picture is as accurate as possible? Should our lists and discussions be more blended?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming!

by: Joelle Charbonneau's that time of year again. When I desperately attempt to juggle shopping, decorating, family events, baking and all things writing.  (This year I also get to juggle some remodeling that is occurring due to a broken pipe, too.  I know how to party!)  I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays.  I love everything about them...which is my problem.  Because I want to jump into the holiday fun with both feet, which leaves me fighting to carve out time to write.  That's always an issue.  And with the INDEPENDENT STUDY tour fast approaching, I have to write. an effort to streamline my holiday efforts, I am looking for help from you - the DSD reading public.  Books are among my favorite gifts to give for the holidays.  Normally, I spend hours browsing through the bookstore looking for the perfect story to give my family or friends.  And while I have a few ideas about what I might give this year, I am hoping you can help me cross some gifts off my shopping list.

What are the books that you have loved and are interested in giving this holiday season?  Kids books?  Adult?  Crime fiction?  Historical?  I want all your recommendations.  Tell me why it would make a great gift...and if it is your own book, so much the better!  Pitch me your favorite reads and help me (and anyone else looking for gifts) cross one of my to-do items off my list this year.