Saturday, December 31, 2011


Are you ready for Hogmanay? I understand you need a torch, some coal and a bottle of whisky (no 'e'!). I think Miss Wendy and I may just have a nice dinner out. We had a lovely trip through Connemara yesterday. Here are some lovely photos to show it. Cool and misty, but the landscape was so gorgeous.


See the whole Ireland album here. Happy New Year! By the by, if you feel so inclined to vote for my story It's a Curse as one of the best horror shorts of 2011, please do! And guess what's on Kindle now (thanks to Brad!)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dublin & Miss Wendy

I tried to post from the phone and kept getting errors. I am getting the photos up online so you can see the fun we had :-)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day v St Stephen's Day

I'm packed and ready for the next journey -- meeting Miss Wendy in Dublin which ought to be a lot of fun, but makes it no less difficult to leave Dundee. A bus to Edinburgh Airport then a flight to Dublin and one more bus into the city centre. Hopefully Miss Wendy is having a chance to sleep off her jet lag as she should be there already. I leave the UK where it's Boxing Day and arrive in Ireland where it's St Stephen's Day. Will I feel the difference?

I'm over at the New England Horror Writers blog today with a little information on Dundee's Howff: drop by and enjoy!

A Writer Discovers the Famous Dundee Cemetery

by Kate Laity

The Dundee Dragon (picture by Kate Laity)

I have a lot of New England friends who enjoy exploring the graveyards of the northeast and probing the histories behind them, so it’s a treat to be able to visit an even older cemetery here in Dundee where I am spending Christmas. Of course the big holiday in Scotland is Hogmanay, but I have to be back in Ireland this year, so I’m going to miss it. Dundee also has a famous dragon as well, though it’s best known for the three Js: jute, jam and journalism. The jute mills once employed much of the population, until jute production was outsourced to India in the 1920s. Orange marmalade continues to be a staple of British tables. And Dundee remains the home of DC Thomson, creator of The Beano, The Dandy and The Sunday Post... [read the rest]

Did you get a Kindle or some other reading device for your holidays? Need something to read on it? I have some suggestions :-)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books: Riddley Walker

Russell Hoban was a singular writer; when asked what kind of a writing I do, I have generally offered up Hoban as the "genre" in which I write. Sadly, his name didn't always resonate with people -- and that includes NY Times obit writers; though most memorials mentioned Riddley Walker, too many seemed to be speaking of his masterpiece second hand. While many of Hoban's works deserve the accolade of 'masterpiece' this is the one that resonated most deeply for me. I read Riddley first in high school around the time I also read A Clockwork Orange: these books cemented my love of languages in a fictional context, though when I re-read Riddley as an adult, it was as if I had never read it before. Becoming a medievalist brought a further level of amazement, and visiting Canterbury Cathedral to see the St. Eustace painting was the ultimate pilgrimage for me.

Along with the art of "being friends with your head" Hoban's books taught me to trust in my muse and just write the stories I had to tell and trust that somewhere out there might be readers who would find resonance with them (and that they wouldn't do so if I didn't write them). Fans of Hoban might not be as numerous as those of more popular writers, but my experiences with the Kraken show me they are extraordinary and devoted.

My obsessions with storytelling and ritual feature here. The essay originally appeared in Puppetry International back in 2006, one of the first academic essays of mine to appear in a  non-academic publication that I nonetheless listed on my CV. At the time it seemed a bit radical (is it peer reviewed?!) however since then  I have continued my slide into publishing with abandon wherever my words might be of interest. No regrets there. I suppose I could blame tenure, but I only got that last year, so I suppose it's just my lax attitude. (>_<) I recommend picking up the issue of PI  if you have any interest in puppetry: fascinating publication. I think there's more I have to write about puppets, even more about Punch, but things leak out of my brain at their own pace.

Here's the opening: I've put the rest up on Scribd (restoring my original title which I prefer). Be sure to see Todd's round-up of this week's Forgotten Books (Pattii's taking a break for the holidays).

Future Medieval Space: Performing “Punch” in Riddley Walker

Although he sets his novel Riddley Walker (published in 1980) in a post-apocalyptic future, Russell Hoban makes use of the medieval world to mark this future as a site of the “primitive.” For this stunted society, the most apparent aspect of the Middle Ages is the explicitly medieval legend and wall painting of St. Eustace, which still exists faintly on the wall of Canterbury Cathedral. Perhaps more important is his appropriation of the medieval mystery plays, which illuminate bibilical narratives and are traditionally performed on mobile wagons. As performed in Riddley Walker, the “Eusa Show” (a garbled version of the St. Eustace story) takes on many of the mystery plays’ aspects, transmitting the truths of the culture and entertaining people with education. This modified Punch and Judy show conveys the only narrative that remains after the apocalyptic devastation of English society. The ritual of the puppet show picks up the religious meaning of the mystery plays, but it also takes on a social and governmental function that medieval dramas typically lacked. Just as various dissenters from Lollards to Pelagians threatened the orthodoxy of Christianity in the middle ages, the young protagonist’s discovery of a real Punch puppet sets off a chain of events that destroys the carefully scripted Eusa show. Hoban’s use of Punch history gives this superb novel its authority, while the familiar art of puppetry provides a vivid connection to this bizarre future world for the modern reader...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

BitchBuzz: Making Small Talk

The light begins its return today: a relief. It was beginning to seem like the sun had gone down before I'd properly gotten up. Then again, that could be due to my lazy schedule. I am getting some good relaxing in :-) and a bit of writing, too, as well as watching Allan battle angry penguins in cars (o_O).

It's Short Story Day, I hear. May I suggest my collection Unikirja? Or if you like something more gruesome how about It's a Curse: Drunk on the Moon 7. Guaranteed quality!

My column today may seem a tad ironic: who's less qualified than me to talk about conversational skills? Ah, but those who can't do, teach or so I'm told. Better than I used to be.

Dos and Don'ts for Holiday Small Talk

By K.A. Laity

Holidays bring the often trying task of making small talk with people you do not really know, whether they are co-workers in distant cubicles, business acquaintances you've never really had a chance to develop a rapport with or relatives you can't actually recall having met before, or at least not since the age of three. While Oscar Wilde maintained that, "Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative," I say any port in a storm when faced with days of chit chat with unfamiliar people.

As a person accustomed to spending the better part of her time alone, I find it taxing to make conversation. Like most introverts, I am stressed by time spent in groups.

While I have been able to develop extrovert abilities for my professional life, the fact remains that I am not a good conversationalist except with a few intimate friends (or online -- the internet is a great gift to introverts). But it can be possible to make small talk without falling into Eliza Doolittle perils...

Read the useful tips over at BBHQ. I guess penguins are the theme of the day :-) Yes, I was pleased to work in that scene from My Fair Lady as well as The Testing of Eric Olthwaite. Black pudding at the ready!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Glorious Yule

Hello from the swirling mists of the haar. Tonight is the longest night; by the early hours of the morning the light will begin its return. May the return of the light bring you new hope and inspiration. Spring will come again. These long nights provide a great focus for contemplative work and transformation, a crysalis of dark shadows. What will burst forth from yours come the sun?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday's Overlooked A/V: Spacedog

Before the main feature, a little advert: through the 24th, Trestle Press will be offering a buy one, get one special, which means you can buy It's a Curse: Drunk on the Moon 7 or Dark Pages: International Noir and get another book the same price for FREE!

I'm cheating a bit on the "overlooked" aspect of today's choice as it's a new release. Let us say, it is in danger of being overlooked in a market crowded with Xmas product and far too many soporific X-Factor Idols of Disney uniformity annd blandness. Truly remarkable and independent voices have a hard time being heard at all, let alone getting a decent chance at finding an audience in the overcrowded cacophony that is the net.

And there was a beautiful view 
But nobody could see. 
Cause everybody on the island 
Was saying: Look at me! Look at me! 
        ~ Laurie Anderson, Language Is A Virus

I know I've written about Spacedog and Sarah Angliss before; I was so pleased to have a chance to see them perform last June (and yes, I got to play the theremin after the show :-). I'm even more pleased to say that they've released a CD Juice for the Baby.Of course I immediately downloaded it as soon as I heard about it (can't remember if that was on Facebook or Twitter) from Bandcamp.I'm happy to report it's just as wonderful as the live performance. There's the ethereal music, theremin, vintage sound clips, and beautiful vocals and recitations all woven together in a seamless waking dream of surreal affect. You can't see the robots, but you know they're there.

The songs range from the eerie "Electric Lullabye" and the somehow comfortable "My Death" to the heartbreaking  "For Laika" as well as the captivating (and favourite at the moment, because it's owls) "Owl Club" featuring guest Professor Elemental.And how can I resist a song channeling Tommy Cooper? I can't, of course. Besides, 25% of the procceeds from that song's downloads will go to the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund, jus' like that!

This collection is magical: it manages to feel both like a seance with a lost past and an ultra-modern dream. Angliss and her co-horts (which include sister Jenny on vocals and percussionist/composer Stephen Hiscock as well as the guests) bring a sense of wonder to the mechanical and electronic, a glitter of the uncanny which makes the coldness of technology seem warmly alive. Highly recommended! 

Be sure to catch all the Overlooked A/V recommendations at Todd's blog.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rocking with The Cundeez

Awesome to finally see The Cundeez in Dundee and talk to Gary and Stevie in person. I even got a shout out from the stage. Alas, we were too late to have a chance to sing back up (we just missed the bus!). Doubtless there will be other opportunities in the future. Headliners TV Smith and the Valentines did a great set of Adverts tunes. And I got a signed copy of the new CD. Wonderful night out!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Forgotten Books

Normally, I'd try to have an offering for Patti Abbott's blog but as I am writing this from the comfort of Dundee where I am relaxing, I will just reiterate my birthday wish to request your help in keeping my books from being forgotten by liking, rating and reviewing them on Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari and so forth. I would be most grateful!

Do it in the name of today's birthday kids, Jane Austen and Philip K. Dick, both of whom have been an influence on me.

This is the first blog post I've written on my phone. Let's see how it goes! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Scotland Bound

Doubtless my column will post some time today at BitchBuzz. I am dashing off shortly, though: planes, trains and automobiles on my way to Dundee. Doubtless tweeting and FBing along the way. Wish me luck. Oh hey, a short story up at A Twist of Noir, too! Sorry -- in haste!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Goodbye, Russ

Sad news today that Russell Hoban has died. The author of Riddley Walker and so many other wonderful books has left this world without me ever having the chance to say how much I loved his books and how much I learned from them and from him. He taught me to trust being "friends with your head" and believing an audience would find you. If you are unlucky enough to be unfamiliar with him, drop by the Head of Orpheus and find out more. My thoughts go out to his family and to my fellow Krakenites.

I am that astonishment from which you write in those brief moments when you can write.
      —The Head of Orpheus in Russell Hoban's The Medusa Frequency

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday's Overlooked Films: The Long Kiss Goodnight

I got into a discussion on Twitter with Anne Billson about Finnish music and films, and we both lamented the lack of love in Hollywood for Renny Harlin when people like Ridley Scott continue to be trumpeted. I suppose I have a weakness for a Finnish director who always manages a little nod to his homeland in the midst of a blockbuster, whether it's a pirate ship flying the blue and white flag in Cutthroat Island or the Finlandia vodka prominently served in Deep Blue Sea. I find it hard to believe that I have not written about this film here before, but I searched the blog and turned up nothing, so let's assume it's true (yes, I did mention it in a column on holiday films for BitchBuzz).

I love this movie.

A lot of this is down to Geena Davis' winning performance as the amnesiac suburban mom who discovers she's really a lethal weapon. Davis has done a lot of work behind the scenes since then with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and while promoting the film she spoke about how her then-husband Harlin would balance the punishment she took on screen with therapeutic massage at night. She takes a beating in this film, but she's also warm and funny as well.

Samuel L. Jackson is great fun of course: Shane Black's script (written before repeating Lethal Weapon films sucked a lot of life out of him) sets him up as fairly hapless and yet always hopeful, though he can't get song lyrics right (heh!). Brian Cox is terrific (of course) in a small role and utters one of the funniest lines in the film (although the humour is due as much to his dry delivery as to the line). Craig Bierko makes for a fetching psychopath. David Morse and Patrick Malahide offer terrific performances as well in supporting roles. But this is Davis' star turn and she makes the most of it.

Chefs do that.

See the round-up of overlooked films, television and other audio-visuals over at Todd's blog. And if you haven't seen this film? Do. Look, it's really cheap. And it totally kicks ass.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Obsession: Guest Post at Trestle

I'm up on my publisher's blog today with a piece on obsession. Yeah, you wouldn't imagine it, eh? Me? Obsessed? Nah. Here's the first part of it. Read the rest over at Trestle and feel free to share.

K.A. Laity- "Obsession"- Guest Post, author of "Drunk on The Moon-It's A Curse"


I seem to have two speeds: obsessed and don't care. The greater part of the world falls into "don't care": politics, fashion, television, sports -- I just don't care. For that matter, add cooking and cleaning and talking to people who don't amuse me. Obsessions: writing, Peter Cook, The Fall, writing, myth, magic, folklore, writing, travel, theatre, film, writing and classic British comedy. And writing. I completely understand P. G. Wodehouse's comment, "I never want to see anyone, and I never want to go anywhere or do anything. I just want to write."

My ex once accused me of having hypergraphia. It's a clinical disease where people obsessively write anywhere, anytime, on anything they've got in front of them. Most people who suffer from the little-studied disease write nonsense: it's the action of writing that comforts their manic sprees, not content. I have a head bursting with stories that want to be written and I spend a lot of time in front of my black Mac going tappity-tappity. I also go out to the pub with friends and go see plays and walk along Galway Bay and think nothing at all but what a wonderful world this is. But writing is what I do. Writing is how I see the world. When something terrible happens to me, I struggle through it by finding the right words to describe it in my head.

Read the rest over at Trestle Press and if you haven't checked out It's a Curse, well criminy! It's only 99¢ -- it's not going to break the bank! Hee hee, and this is the beginning of my birthday week, so don't forget about my birthday wish. I appreciate your help.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books: Young Men in Spats

"I never want to see anyone, and I never want to go anywhere or do anything. I just want to write." 
-- P. G. Wodehouse

There's some kind of fundamental perversity in my nature that made me choose at the library this week a 5 CD unabridged set of Beckett's Malone Dies as well as P. G. Wodehouse's Young Men in Spats, but I'll leave you to sort out what that means.

Wodehouse's prose delights. A simple yet profound pleasure, one that most Americans in particular seem immune to -- a phenomenon I cannot comprehend. I suppose I can grasp there are those who dislike spending time with the (mostly) rich young things idling their time in (mostly) frivolous ways, as does Wodehouse's most well-known creation Bertie Wooster. More folks became enamored of them when Bertie and the inimitably shimmering Jeeves were brought to vivid life by Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry (who seemed born to take the roles). But it's also true that Wodehouse has never received the acclaim more dour writers regularly do, because he makes everything seem so effortless. The key word there is seem: as Oscar Wilde could tell you, there's nothing that takes more effort than creating prose that feels effortless.

Wodehouse is a genius. While his topics may be nothing earth-shattering, his prose captures a crystalline brightness that seems impossible to replicate. It's so deft. So I will just share some of the delights from this volume detailing the exploits of some of the young men of "a little group of Eggs and Beans and Crumpets" who often regard women as a separate species:

"It saddened him, he tells me, when he opened his illustrated tabloid of a morning, to have to try to eat eggs and bacon while gazing at a photograph of Mae Belle McGinnis, taken when she was not looking her best because Mr. McGinnis had just settled some domestic dispute with the meat-axe."

"The foundation of the beverage manufactured by Mr. Silvers seemed to be neat vitriol, but, once you had got used to the top of your head going up and down like the lid of a kettle with boiling water in it, the effects were far from unpleasant."

"And on the morning of which I speak they had strolled into into the Thorpe and Widgery emporium to lay in a few little odds and ends, and there, putting in a bid for five pounds of streaky bacon, was a girl so lovely that they congealed in their tracks."

"The first intimation Barmy had that the binge was going to be run on lines other than those which he had anticipated was when a very stout Mother in a pink bonnet and a dress covered with bugles suddenly picked off a passing cyclist with a well-directed tomato, causing him to skid into a ditch, Upon which, all sixteen mothers laughed like fiends in hell, and it was plain that they considered the proceedings had now been formally opened."

"Already the barmaid's ears had begun to work loose at the roots as she pricked them up."

"Well, Freddie, as you know, has never been the dreamy meditative type. I would describe him as essentially the man of action. And he acted now as never before. He tells me he doubts if a chamois of the Alps, unless at the end of a most intensive spell of training, could have got down the stairs quicker than he did."

"He had studied Woman, and he knew that when Woman gets into a tight place her first act is to shovel the blame off on to the nearest male."

See the rest of the overlooked books at Patti Abbott's blog.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

BitchBuzz: Penguin's Vanity Press

Great night out with colleagues at the tapas restaurant and then the French bistro. It's supposed to get very cold tomorrow, so an excuse to hide inside. At least we're not getting the much worse storms that are hitting Scotland -- take care up there!

Today's column takes up the latest cynical move to fleece would-be writers:

Vanity-Publishing vs Self-Publishing

By K.A. Laity

The digital revolution continues unabated, or perhaps it's just the grumble heard round the world as writers feel their words devalued again.

Penguin started up their very own "self-publishing" business. The "self" is optional, of course. As the coverage in The Wall Street Journal describes it:
In a sign that major book publishers are now recognizing the potential of the digital self-publishing industry, Penguin Group (USA) on Wednesday is launching a service to help writers publish their own books. For a fee of between $99 and $549, plus a cut of any sales revenue, Penguin's subsidiary Book Country will offer an array of tools—ranging from professional e-book conversion to a cover creator—to help a writer make their work available through digital book outlets and print-on-demand services.
So, it's the kind of "self-publishing" that you actually pay for, between $99 and $549. This is the kind of thing that's generally known as vanity publishing, not self-publishing. It's fine—there are all kinds of reasons to pay for publishing like wanting to see your work in print even if no publisher wants to print it. It might be too edgy and revolutionary for them, or it just might be crap, but you're an adult. You can make choices...

Read the rest over at BBHQ.

I have a couple of acceptances, but they're a ways off: one is reprint news for "Fear and Loathing in Deptford" which hasn't really got enough of an outing, I think. One of my favourites anyway, but that usually means it's something that only makes me laugh. There have been a couple of reviews for It's a Curse but as one was written by someone close to me, it may not be entirely dispassionate. :-)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Converting Galway

Thanks to Michael, there's a photo of me giving my talk at the Moore Institute yesterday. There was quite a good turnout! I suspect it was the sandwiches. The audience seemed to be receptive and laughed in the right places, always a good sign.I will put the talk on line when I get a moment. I went out to the pub with Leslie and Michael after the talk and then ended up tagging along to dinner with some of Michael's colleagues later. They're sad as their time in Galway is nearly over. I'll miss them.

They're asking me to teach a creative writing course in the spring, so now I will begin brainstorming about what tack to take for that. I suspect I will use it as an excuse to get some of my colleagues to Skype with my class :-)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Krampus and Digital Monks

Did the Krampus visit you last night or did Saint Nicholas fill your shoes with gifts? Happy Independence Day, Finland (let's have a little Värttinä for that).

My talk is today at the Moore Institute. It's an update of my keynote address from April; I wanted to hit a lot of the same issues, but I've also cut it a bit as well. Mostly the jokes: different audience. Not all of the jokes, of course. But I figure some of the offhand popular culture references won't travel well.

Writers: have you taken my survey about writing in the digital age yet?

No idea what kind of audience there'll be. Some friends have promised to show and there will be sandwiches. We'll see. And no, I didn't go through with my plan to graft a Guy Fawkes mask onto the Moore Institute logo for one slide. Coward.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Publication: It's a Curse

 Whoohoo and hoooowwwwwwl! It has arrived. My contribution to Mr B's fine Trestle Press series Drunk on the Moon: IT'S A CURSE. Yes, of course of course, it takes its title from a song by The Fall and yes, there may be a few references to other Mark E. Smith lyrics in there.

You're shocked, I can tell.

Here's the synopsis:  

Roman Dalton’s woken up in the wrong place again, but he can’t blame it on the moon this time. Finding himself in a tug-of-war between two lovely women might sound like he’s landed in clover, but one wants to ‘save’ him and the other—well, he’s got a feeling she’s a whole lot of trouble wrapped up in a designer gown. As far as our favourite werewolf PI’s concerned, IT’S A CURSE.

On Friday I had a chance to chat about it on the G-Zone with fellow Trestle Press writer Edith Maxwell. Mr B called in too and well -- to be honest, the two of us kind of hijacked the rest of the show, hee hee. You can listen to the whole thing from the archive. Great fun.

I've already made a trailer for it. Tell me what you think. And help spread the word! The page could use tagging, liking and of course, reviews! It's at B&N, too.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Kipper Lost! and Found!

UPDATE: He's been found! Now being spoiled with some tuna -- a neighbour let him in and then he was retrieved. Whew!!

Poor little guy! He got out of Barb's house. We're hoping he hasn't gone too far and can be lured back in. She saw him on the porch, but he ran off. She's putting out the have-a-heart trap and hoping for the best. Fingers crossed. I feel so helpless, so far away.

UPDATE (Sun night): Barb says that some of her neighbours have seen Kipper around so he hasn't left the area -- a very good sign. The hunt continues. Keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, December 02, 2011

My Birthday Month Wish

I mentioned this yesterday, but I'll provide helpful links today. I'm claiming the whole of December for my birthday. Why not? I already have to share my birthday month with both Markos, Jane Austen, Hannukah and Xmas, so there's barely any month left for me!

But I'm not demanding to be showered with gifts!

All I want for my birthday is for you to like me -- well, not me really: my books.

The most difficult thing for a writer is not to get published (especially now with ebook publishing) but to get noticed once you are published. People are eager to find new writers they might enjoy, but they are reluctant to try things blind. How do they know my books are great if someone else hasn't read them first and said, yes, these are good? Reviews help with that.

So if you're feeling kindly toward me, head over to my Amazon Author Page and like, rate, tag or review my books. I'd be especially grateful for any attention to Kit Marlowe over at All Romance eBooks (only The Big Splash is on Amazon, though The Mangrove Legacy is supposed to be there soon...), but any help would be appreciated.

I've also got profiles on GoodReads, LibraryThing and Shelfari if you spend some of your time there. Sadly, not all my books are even listed under my name! If you see one missing and feel like adding it, I would be ever so grateful. I've got a new profile on CrimeSpace, too; if you're over there at all, friend me. If you actually do book reviews on your blog or website, let me know: I'll be happy to give you review copies of books you're interested in reading. I have confidence that my words are worth reading. I just need to find ways to let more people know that!

Thank you for your help. I appreciate it greatly! With luck I will have news about It's a Curse later today -- whoohoo! Now I shall get back to dancing.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

News, a Wish and BitchBuzz

Criminy: it's December! How the time has flown by this semester, even though I haven't been in class. My sympathies to my colleagues knee-deep in exams and grading. I know how it feels -- and couldn't be happier that I am not.

Sorry! But it's true.


It's a Curse: Drunk on the Moon, Book 7 by moi should be about tomorrow from Trestle Press. Thanks again to Mr B for inviting me to have fun playing with his werewolf PI, Roman Dalton. I hope I did him justice -- it sure was fun :-) I will have a book trailer up soon: just waiting on the cover art.

I'll be on the G-ZONE blog radio show, AKA Gelati's Scoop tomorrow night to talk about It's a Curse. You can listen live and call in, or listen to it later online. I'll be on about 4.30 pm Eastern time, which is about 9.30 pm here.

I'm interviewed in the latest Broadly Speaking from Broad Universe which is about mentors and teachers in literature, so I talk about Owl Stretching and Pelzmantel a bit and my own teaching experiences a little bit.

Next Tuesday is my talk at the Moore Institute at NUIG. I keep thinking about trying to add a Guy Fawkes mask to their logo just for a lark, but I lack the requisite skills.

My column for BitchBuzz this week is on gifts that won't steal your soul. Give something genuine if you're gift-giving this holiday season.


It's my birthday month, so I want to ask you for a gift. Nothing expensive -- all it costs is a little of your time. I don't need stuff: I spent some harried weeks this summer trying to get rid of a lot of my stuff. What I would really like is some attention: not for me, for my books. My wish is for any who have the time to "like" my books on Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing etc. and offer them reviews. They need not be elaborate; they need not be glowing. But books without reviews seem chancier to potential readers. No one wants to be the first to do something; they want to see that others have trod the path before them and it's safe. So if you have a few spare moments, can you help out a fellow American who's (okay, not really) down on her luck?