Bargains that are bad for my budget (with a giveaway)

You guys all know about BookBub, right? Because if you don’t, you’re missing out.

Basically it’s a site that lets you know when e-books go on sale—you know how sometimes a book will drop to .99 or so, but just for a day? Great for the author, great for the reader. But how do you make sure you don’t miss these specials?

Go to BookBub.com and pick the genres that interest you and you’ll get an email every morning telling you what bargains you may want to check out. You can follow particular genres and also get alerts for specfic authors.

And Then There Were None Book Cover.jpgANyway, I’ve been planning to blog about it for awhile, but finally bumped “sometime” to “today” because Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None is on sale for $1.99 . It’s probably one of Christie’s most famous novels, maybe because it’s had a lot of movie adaptations (like the  most recent on Lifetime TV, which was deliciously creepy), as well as the stage play. (The current edition of the play changes the “Ten Little Indians” poem to “Ten Little Soldier Boys.” I think the book still uses the less PC version. Some of the characters voice some not so policically correct observations, but some of the characters may also be murderers, so, you know… there’s that.)

I love Agatha Christie’s mysteries, and they are on my regular reread rotation. They’re like comfort food in book form. (I feel the same way about Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters.)  I enjoy reading new things and discovering new authors, but there’s something soothing about sinking into something you already know you’re going to enjoy.

ANYway. Bookbub can save you a ton of money…but it’s actually cost me money because at less than $2, I’ll buy something that I would normally look for in the library. (All hail the library. Don’t torrent ebooks, please! That’s piracy and it does not help your favorite authors. It does help us if you go to your library. Here endeth the PSA.)

Wait, where was I? Oh yeah. I fall right into the marketing plan here, because I’ll discover a new author this way (or an old author I haven’t read yet) and then I’ll have to buy their new stuff (even if I don’t get around to reading it until it’s old stuff). And of course at that price I’ll put the trigger quickly, as opposed to how I usually spend my book budget. Curse you One-click.

Oh well. It’s still cheaper than a daily Starbucks habit. And less calories, too.

The YA book bargains today include: (link) Kody Keplinger’s (The DUFF) new book Lying Out Loud for $2.99, and also (link) Megan Shepherd’s (The Madman’s Daugther) new book The Cage for $1.99. Yes, those are also my purchases today. *sigh*

I try not to sign up for all the newletters in the world, but Bookbub it totally worth it. I get a really loooong email every morning because I have wide reaching tastes. I’m on a mystery/thriller binge lately, though. (I would love to find another twisty mystery like Gone Girl, but maybe with more likeable characters. Any recommendations?)

So, what genres or authors are you going to put on your watchlist?  Post your favorite type of books (cozy mysteries? thrillers? paranormal romance?) in the comments and I’ll pick a name out of a hat for a $5 gift card to the ebook retailer of your choice. 

So, what have you taken for that?

 

I don’t go to the doctor unless my mother makes me.

Let’s be clear on this. It’s not that I’m afraid of the doctor. I just need hard evidence that there’s something wrong with me before I feel professional intervention is justified. It’s the only way I can be sure I’m not just being a wimp.

Doctor Who.jpg

Picture is not related. I just like it.

This doesn’t mean I’m stoic about pain or sickness. I’ll whine about it plenty. Well, I’ll whine until Mom says, “Have you taken anything for it?”

So, last week I’m trying to work but I have this mosquito bite (or something) on my finger that’s very distracting. And then it’s very painful. And then it’s very red and puffy. But no way am I going to the doctor just because I have an owie on Mr. Pinky. Pass the ibuprophen and the Neosporin.

Yeah, I also have a hard time admitting I can’t just fix everything myself.

Only it’s like I’m suddening in Zac Snyder’s DC verse, and I’ve got this germ  like General Zod, and the Neosporin is like the army tanks, and my white corpuscles are like Superman, and my finger is Metropolis.

And Mom is like, “You need to go to the doctor.”

And I’m like, “Pshaw. I’ll just look up how to treat this at home.”

And WebMD is like, “You have a flesh-eating bacteria and your finger is going to fall off.”

And I’m like, “Hello, doctor’s office? I’d like to make an appointment, please.”

 

 

Besides, I couldn’t wait anymore for it to get better on it’s own, because I couldn’t type. Or write. Or sleep. Or do anything but hold my hand up in the air to keep it from throbbing.

So what’s the moral of the story?  I really really hate to say it, but…the moral of the story is listen to your mother when she says go to the doctor. Some things aren’t meant to be DIY.

 

The (Cookie) Monster in All of Us (Movie Monday: Blooper Reel Edition)

The only thing that makes pop culture iconography better is when it involves Cookie Monster. Like the Siri/iPhone commercial where CM is waiting impatiently for Siri to count down the timer for his cookies in the oven. I have this theory that as adults we love CM as much as (or more than) we did as kids, because we’re all a little bit Cookie Monster, really, deep inside.

Apple just released the outtakes from the filming of that commercial. I have a bad feeling this is exactly how I’d be on set. Or in real life. Or all the time. So, enjoy.

The Thrill of the Hunt

Back in the days I had an allowance and few financial responsiblities, I briefly became a collector of things. The seeds, I suppose, were planted by my childhood collection of Star Wars action figures (which met a tragic end in an alluminum storage building one blistering Texas summer), and the all star cast of Barbie and friends who acted out my early storytelling efforts, before being relegated to the attic where a family of squirrels nested in their Interstellar Luxury Cruiser, aka Barbie Dream Mobile Home.

Funko Pop Boromir.jpgBut in general, I collected things to use, not things to put on a shelf. (Books, obviously, being the exception.) But like many youngsters with money and time on their hands, I fell into bad company. By which I mean the best company, but a company of enablers.

There were four of us, who met in a fan fiction chat room, as one does when you’re in school and procrastinating that term paper. Two were already master hunters and gatherers of collectibles, and they soon showed CM and me the ways of the Force.

See, it wasn’t just about owning the thing. It was the stalking of the prey and the tireless pursuit once started. Trips to every Toys R Us in Birmingham, crawling under independent toy store shelves to see if just maybe they had that one Breyer Arabian way back behind the others. And eBay. Good God, eBay. You never saw someone so good at the Gamesmanship of the Snipe as my friend S.

At first I was content to come along for the ride. But I’m a nerd, which means there is a larger than average world of things for me to collect. First there was that Eowyn action figure…and so I had to get Aragorn. And Legolas came with a horse. And speaking of horses, there are Breyers, where the only grooming required is a bit of dusting now and then.

Obviously you couldn’t have a Rogue action figure without a Magneto Gambit action figure, and that Victorian Christmas Barbie’s green velvet bustled gown is exactly what you would wear if you were a Victorian lady at Christmas. Other people gamble. I played to find a gem at a price that fit in my grad student budget.

But collecting takes time and money and space, and when you chuck everything to become a starving artist, you don’t really have any of those. You have way better things—but you have to clear out temporal, financial, and emotional space for them.

And let’s face it. Keeping things Mint in Box takes up a lot of room.

Long story long, my toys collectibles now have a size and monetary limit. Because I’m an adult that way.

So, back to eBay, in the circular way of things. I’ve just gotten back from the post office where I said a nostalgic farewell to 1998 Portrait Edition Princess Leia in the Medal Ceremony Gown from the end of Star Wars.

In the end it was less painful than immediately saying farewell to the money she brought me, as I sent it off to pay my taxes.

In the immortal words of Sir Paul McCartney: “Hello Goodbye.”

Accio Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

I’m not saying I’m lazy, but sometimes it’s a lot of trouble getting up off my couch.

For one thing, it’s an old couch—well, love seat, really—and it doesn’t look like a sinkhole, but like a lot of older things, it’s not as springy as it used to be. Especially when you’ve been smooshed into the corner for a few episodes of Agents of Shield on Netflix. And by “a few” I mean long enough to get the “Are you still watching?” message. (Don’t judge. We all have our days.)

tea earl grey Also, I’ve got an ottoman pushed up against the front of it. This isn’t for me–my legs are short enough that I can sit comfortably sideways. It’s for the dog, who insists on being next to me whether it’s convenient or not. Usually not. But because I don’t want her (or anything else, like my snacks) to fall into the crack between the ottoman and the couch, I put this very specific quilt over both, and my legs hold it in place. And then Penny insists on being covered up by another very specific blanket. And then I often have my laptop on my, well, lap.

Which is all to say that every time I have to get off the couch, even just to pour another cup of tea, I have to set aside my laptop where it won’t get stepped or sat on, kick off one afghan, swing my legs over the dog, over the ottoman, which pushes me further into the La Brea Cushion Pit so that I have to shove myself up and out, somehow managing not to scoot the sofa back, the ottoman forward, or dislodge the quilt-hammock and drop Penny into the couch chasm.

That’s assuming she doesn’t jump up and start bounding around the sofa trying to grab the afghan and pull it back over herself, or just generally make a nuisance of herself.

I tell you all this because it is not at all infrequent that I wish I had a house elf to bring me a cup of tea. Then I feel guilty for wishing I had a house elf. So I wish I had Mrs. Weasley’s domestic spell skill set so I could just accio a nice cuppa without it becoming a whole production. Because of course once the dog is disturbed, there’s no guarantee she’ll settle down again soon. (In fact, it’s almost a certainty that as soon as I’m ensconced once more, and have rearranged the ottoman/quilt/afghan/laptop to their original positions, she will ask to go outside.)

Anyway. This is what made me think about the conveniences of magic. (I mean, more than I usually think about how cool it would be to have magic.) Yeah, it would be something to be the Dark Lord and take over the world and all, but enough

Penny Undercover

Shhh. I’m undercover(s).

money will let you do the same thing. What intrigues me–and this is why I’m a writer, I guess–in any fantasy or high-tech science fiction world is the way it would affect daily life. The way you brush your teeth or make your bed or call for a taxi.

The fact that (other than the ability to apparate or the invention of a transporter, and even then maybe not) the spell I find myself wishing for most is the “accio” spell. You know, for those times when the remote control is…just…out…of…reach.

Not because I’m lazy, though.

Just because it would be cool.

 

Expectation vs. Reality (To Do List Edition)

Things I planned to do today:

  1. Get up early.
  2. Have coffee on my porch surrounded by the plants I planted this weekend.
  3. Write a blog post.
  4. Exercise.
  5. Buy a watering can.
  6. Pay the electric bill.
  7. Figure out what’s the deal with my porch light.
  8. Write a bazillion pages.
  9. Mind map ideas about my “Brand” and Social Media Strategy.
  10. Review two books.
  11. Zero my inbox.
  12. Eat a healthy lunch.

Things from this list I have done today:

  1. Had coffee.
  2. Ate lunch.

Oh, and I can check off #3. *high fives self*

(High fiving yourself looks pretty much like giving yourself applause, but slightly less embarrassing to admit.)

corgi in circles.gif

My Actual Day

Thor vs. the White Whale (Movie Monday: seafaring edition)

I am a total geek for maritime history. I’m a total geek about a lot of things, but my love of all things Tall Ship related goes under the radar because it hasn’t come up in a book yet (which is about to change). There’s actually a long seafaring tradition on both sides of my family–with Dutch pirates privateers and East India Company merchant marines on one side and captains in the Texas Navy and WWII Gulf patrol boats on the other. CH Heart of the sea.jpg

I, on the other hand, get seasick at the IMAX and am sort of afraid of drowning. So much line my love of ballet and swordfighting, my love remains theoretical rather than practical.

Which is all to say that I was really geeked about The Heart of the Sea movie, directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth. It’s based on a book about the real life whaling ship Essex, and its bizarre encounter with a monster whale that attacked the ship and sank it like a son of a bitch (link). As the trailer points out, it’s “the true story that inspired Moby Dick.” Which is a terrible tagline, because I know how 99% of my English class felt about reading Moby Dick. They should have tagged it: “Chris Hemsworth fights a giant whale.”

01-heart-sea-lead-image.jpgIf only.  I mean, that happens, and it’s cool. And leading up to that is about 30-40 minutes of topgallants and capstans and fo’c’sles and gales and a whole mess of money shots of badass sailorific seatasticness.

Then the whale sinks the ship, leaving our crew adrift and marooned with no food or water in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which might as well be Mars. Only without Matt Damon to science the shit out of things. So it gets grim.*

And that’s the main flaw of this movie—not that things go to a dark, Donner party place. But that it happens about halfway in, and that’s a lot of movie time to spend with your characters literally adrift. Heart of the Sea Hemsworth.jpg

It’s a “man’s will to survive” story from there, and so the hardest decision they make to survive should be the climax of the movie. In the framing story where the last living crewman of the Essex relates this story, Brendan Gleeson sells this reveal in a fantastic bit of acting, one of those two minutes of a movie where the veteran basically gives a masterclass to rest of the cast. (See also, Peter O’Toole asking Brad Pitt’s Achilles for Hector’s body back in Troy. Also, Michelle Fairley plays Gleeson’s wife, which made my nerd heart so happy.)In-the-Heart-of-the-Sea-Brendan-Gleeson-Ben-Whishaw.jpgWhere was I?  Oh yeah. Basically, once you find out what’s haunting Gleeson’s character, the story should have wrapped up as quickly as possible.

So from a movie-watcher standpoint, the first hour or so was really satisfying to watch. The rest was a bit grueling, but Gleeson gives some payoff there. And I got knitting done.

On the other hand, I thought about the movie for a long time, because there were a lot of great ingredients that should have made a more delicious stew.**  How would I restructure this? Some deeper characterization would have been nice, and if the actual sinking were moved to the Act III break instead of the midpoint, that would allow for that plus more white whale action.***  Then recognize where the story really ends, and bring it home from there.

Or, we could just make a movie of Mad Eye Moody and Catelyn Stark play a married couple running a tumbledown boarding house full of eccentric characters who pay their rent in chickens and gillyweed.

So, this a wait for Netflix one, I’m sad to say. There’s some good stuff here, it’s just kind of out of balance. Everything aboard the Essex delighted and excited. When the story turns dark, it’s simply spread over too much screen time.But Gleeson gives some payoff there. And I got knitting done.

In the meantime, rent Master and Commander. That one has beat to quarters in the first three minutes, takes it’s lull in the middle, then gets all broadsides and boarding party again for the end.

 


*Here’s where I discovered that I have this ability–maybe it’s a talent, maybe it’s just a bad habit–of mentally glossing over the stuff I don’t like about a story, either ignoring it or completely rewriting it in my head. (Like the movie I talked about last week. Something happens to the little dog offscreen, and in my head, I’m like, oh, the dog totally got away, to the point where I convinced myself that actually happened, not just maybe happened if you’re in serious denial. So, sorry about that if anyone was traumatized. But it lead to my discover of the site Doesthedogdie.com. So that’s a plus.)

**This is kind of an unfortunate analogy for this movie.

***This is not a euphemism for anything dirty.