28 May 2014
Author: CH | Filed under: publishing industry, Writer's Life
Publishers are struggling once again in the face of Amazon’s might, ruing the day that they ignored the digital world. In the latest battle, Hachette has been banned from Amazon along with all their authors including James Patterson and J.K. Rowling. Illustrating that no matter how brilliantly shining your authorial star is, you are naught but roadkill as the speeding train of Amazon rolls over you.
Or more in keeping with the resurgence of our deepest bestial fears, Amazon has stomped it’s scaly legs and crushed New York after devouring Tokyo.
The hapless author is adrift, an insignificant, unnamed extra, crushed under the monster’s toes. How bleak the tiny dreams of the author who scribbles away in a lonely room warmed by thoughts that someday a reader will discover their sparkling prose and experience a moment of joy.
How will it end? Will the hapless author’s dreams be a jellied smear on the pavement? Or will they one day escape the tyranny of roaring giants?
News article at: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/23/amazon-escalates-its-battle-against-hachette/?_php=true&_type=blogs&hpw&rref=technology&_r=0
5 May 2014
Author: CH | Filed under: Book Reading, Book Review
I picked up one of the Dresden files series one day several years ago at one of my local libraries and I was hooked. Butcher’s character Harry Dresden has many features that hit the right buttons for me as far as entertaining books go. First of all Harry starts off the series as a detective. But not an ordinary detective, a wizard who investigates unusual situations requiring the skills of a wizard. So he got me right there with both crime and the supernatural (or paranormal) mixed together. Harry is one of those guys who has a strong sense of justice (his own view of it) and doesn’t mind being beaten up (a lot) to see things right.
As the series progresses, Harry’s wizarding powers increase exponentially. We meet many interesting friends and foes. He becomes increasingly entangled in complex political games of supremely powerful beings who don’t mind eliminating a few humans (or a bunch of them) to achieve their ends. Which of course stirs up Harry’s sense of justice. Along the way he spends less and less time investigating crimes and takes on more of a protector role.
This is not a deep thinking series, but when you want to be entertained, you can’t beat looking in to see what Harry is up to. And you’ll feel much better about the set-backs occurring in your own life when you go along with Harry as he is smashed to a pulp by powerful vampire lords, bedazzled by faerie and more. Harry is the guy you’d love to tag along with if only you had a wand that actually worked, you were less squeamish around blood and far less afraid of pain.
I hope Butcher continues the series even though as an author, he’s probably thinking…”hmm…how much longer can I keep writing about this guy? I keep trying to kill him and it never sticks….”
23 Apr 2014
Author: CH | Filed under: E-books, E-readers, publishing industry
There has been a lot of controversy and waffling this year regarding e-books. In March, Tim Waterstone, a publishing industry expert, declared the day of the e-book is over. It will be nothing but decline from here on out as paper books continue and regain strength. Others are not so sure e-books can be written off. I am inclined to believe that e-books will continue with strength. The rate of rise may not be as steep as it has been. This is to be expected. Early in the life of any new desirable innovation there is usually a slow initial start then momentum is reached and sales take off. At some point, sales will slow in their growth, but not necessarily plummet unless another new technology shoulders it’s way in. So far, there is nothing to replace the e-book. E-books still have a long way to go to reach full potential of add-ins like video, photos, links and more. I would love to see truly multi-media e-books. The main hold back now seems to be distributors like Amazon, which limit what can be put into e-books. I was one of the first to put links and color photos in my business e-books (Small Business Rocket Fuel series) several years ago. In fact, initially my color photos were only viewable in black and white due to the limitations of Kindle readers. I put them in anyway and soon technology caught up to me when the Kindle Fire was introduced. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next in e-books and to being able to offer even more value and benefit to me readers. Will e-books vanish? Nah! I’ve even moved to reading my daily newspaper on my Kindle Fire. I don’t miss the messy piles of paper and I’m not going back. Here’s a link to an interesting story on the e-book trend: http://bit.ly/1noWP28
28 Mar 2014
Author: CH | Filed under: Book Review
Decided to try something new on my blog and write about some of the series I read. Rather than covering specific books in the series, I will talk about the series overall.
For my first post on this theme, I picked the #1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Last week I finished volume 14 in the series, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon. What I enjoyed in this book was what it revealed about the series progression. While this series is considered to be in the mystery genre, the books actually have a strong focus on the relationships between the two female main characters Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi. Some books also focus on the relationship between Mma Ramotswe and her husband and Mma Makutsi and her husband. All in all these relationship stories take up as much of the plot space as the mysteries. In my mind, for this reason, I categorize these books as literary mysteries.
The mysteries themselves also generally focus on relationship dynamics. Don’t look for murders and violent outbursts. The cozy-style mysteries are focused on local situations where the harm is usually reputational or economic or a love-interest problem.
This series is comfortable and rosy when you want to immerse yourself in a place where almost everyone is unfailingly polite even when taking unpleasant actions. No one seems to be poor to the point of destitution and no one is immensely wealthy either. Having never been to Botswana, I can’t say how realistic the reflection is, although online sources indicate Botswana suffers from drought and overgrazing, but has a modest standard of living that is better than a number of other African nations.
If you want to sit back and enjoy a mild, slow-paced mystery where you feel integrated into the protagonists lives, this series is for you. If you like fast-paced, hard-hitting mysteries with a high body count, this is not the way to go.
Here’s what I’m dreaming of right now after a day of cold rain and sleet.
The world’s best beaches… http://cnn.it/1mi0SwG
I’m putting the final editing touches on The Code and getting ready to send it out for my external edit and proofreading.
It’s been a rough several weeks working on my AdapTac Games venture like a mad woman.
No time to even think about posting. The next few months will be equally crazy. Will try to post when I can.
20 Feb 2014
Author: CH | Filed under: Awards, Writer's Life
Twitter is having their first fiction festival. I answered their call for witty and fascinating posts of the fictional sort. After reviewing my fictional tweets which twisted a well-known children’s story in a fresh way, they chose me as one of their finalists. Whether or not I am selected as a writer for the festival, it was an amusing interlude delving into one of my favorite stories and reimagining it.
I love revisiting a few favorite books from time to time. Despite the fact that I rarely re-read books in general. Most books are written to be enjoyed in the way we would enjoy a roller-coaster. One ride then I’m done. So few books trigger deep or witty thoughts that I want to re-experience them. Just as well, as not re-reading books leaves plenty of room for reading even more.
Back to writing and my other ventures. I’m learning the joys of fundraising and crowd funding. I read of one entrepreneur who lost 10 pounds while fund raising and I can see why. Who has time to cook or even shop?
My day was brightened today to see Dead Evil featured on the front page of The Lyon Review. For your reading pleasure, an excerpt of Dead Evil is published on the site. http://thelyonreview.com/
Another smile-inducing occurrence was knowing my novel gave a reader a burst of entertainment, garnering Dead Evil a new 5-star review on Amazon. “I enjoy a good thriller…and Dead Evil by Candice Hughes definitely falls into that category. This is an exciting, enjoyable, well written book that brings together a bit of history, paranormal, science, romance and whole lot of evil….” J.C. Wing. For the full review click this link: http://amzn.to/17NkgF3
If you’re looking for Valentine romance with a heavy dose of thrills and chills from a New England coven of witches, try Dead Evil.
Continuing my saga of editing novel 3. Yes, indeed, I literally spend years editing my books to perfect them before releasing them to my readers.
Over the past few weeks, I discovered an interesting research study that purported to have analyzed words in successful books versus unsuccessful books. As computers have become more powerful this seems to be the trend, downloading and sifting massive amounts of data to discover core truths. After reading this study, I decided to examine my novel through the lens of these wretched words, which now bore the scarlet “L” for loser words. Shocked, I discovered many loser words lurking in my prose. Like any good housewife, I went to work dusting and scrubbing to remove the stain of these bad words from my otherwise sparkling prose.
Without mercy I hacked away at quickly, suddenly, never, wanted, arm, body and many other bad words. Maybe I went a bit overboard. Yet, I also believe my prose has more zing. Did I remove every instance? No. Sometimes you just need to say never. Never will I distort my words, playing alphabet twister in a vain attempt to remove every bad word. Once in awhile you need that bad boy lurking in the corner, svelte body in shadows, a curl of smoke rising from his sneer. Quickly, sue me for consorting with bad words.
Now, shouldering my pick, I resume work in the word mines.
Took the opportunity yesterday to revel in the beautiful snow by going snowshoeing. After an hour and a half, I was worn out but in a good way. Tip: beating your way through brambles is not easy when wearing snowshoes.
Still editing my third novel. This novel has an unusual hero who is autistic, which is challenging to write, but I feel the effort is worth it. Editing takes a long time, but I have to polish the story until I feel it is ready and will be pleasing to my fans.
Also thrilled to be making excellent progress with AdapTac Games, my company that is developing a game to improve attention and planning for teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In many ways, games have similarities to novels in development and business terms (not exactly the same, but overlaps are clear). We will have a big announcement in February where we will invite people to join our community of those who care about ADHD. To catch up with what’s happening with my game visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/adaptacgames
Winter Stream in New England
5 Jan 2014
Author: CH | Filed under: About Candice Hughes, Writer's Life
So I’ve gotten back to editing my next novel (at least during my breaks from end of the year accounting). This is the unglamorous life of the writer. There are many more hours of this part than of ogling over your new book cover or seeing your book appear for sale on Amazon. Writing is hard work and I can well see why Robert Frost might prefer to stack stones to make a wall on his farm rather than sit in the chair day after day moving around words and wondering if anyone will notice or care if you choose walk rather than strode or chestnut rather than brown or any of the hundreds of things one mulls over. What is exactly the correct shade of brown? Is describing hair as the color of wheat or straw too clichéd? What else is yellow and can appropriately be used to describe hair? You can see what a morass one can get into, especially with the clock ticking away and piles of e-mails to respond to, client projects to work on, meals to cook, homework to help with. Sometimes I’m amazed anyone manages to write any novels at all.
I will leave you with a photo of my favorite poet’s (Robert Frost) home.