Month: June 2010

Under The Tuscan Gun: My Favorite New Web Site and TV Show

I recently had verizon fios installed after years of dealing with comcast cable. I don’t have any huge complaints about comcast, like so many people I know. I only changed because verizon was doing great offers and I like saving money.

It wasn’t easy…getting used to verizon. The channels are different, the menu is different, and everything else is completely different from comcast. The first few days I felt as if I’d lost a best friend. And I don’t even watch that much TV…about two hours at night…and it’s usually The Golden Girls reruns.

However, the one thing that got me through the transition was an On Demand segment titled, UNDER THE TUSCAN GUN. One night I was searching through the On Demand section and saw the title. As it happens, I’m working on a new novel right now where there’s a Tuscan themed restaurant in the sub-plot, and I tend to get carried away while I’m writing and I become involved in everything that my characters are experiencing. If I see anything associated with Tuscany and food, I’m there.

UNDER THE TUSCAN GUN got me through the transition. Basically, it’s a cooking show, On Demand, with real endearing people, wonderful hearty recipes, and natural charm that never stops. Gabriele Corcos seems to do most of the show, but his adorable wife (couldn’t find her name on the web site, but she’s in the photo above.)I can’t recommend this show more. And there’s also a web site, too. I’m even thinking of trying out some of the recipes myself. Though I’m not much of a cook, there are a few I think I can handle. So stay tuned for more posts…with possibly a few cooking pics to go along with them.

An Annoying Thing About Facebook

It takes a lot to get me annoyed…it really does. But this is something I’ve been dying to write about for a while and haven’t had time. And the reason for this is because I work every single day, sometimes on weekends. I write a new novel every six to eight weeks, depending. And I’m usually editing and writing short story stand alones in my spare time so I can release a new one every month. This takes time and concentration. And because I love what I do I often put everything else aside to concentrate on my work.

But I have e-mails to read, bills to pay, and everything else that everyone deals with on a daily basis. It’s called life; it’s a good thing. Right now, while in the middle of a new novel, I’m going back and forth with an editor about a new stand alone. On top of that, I’m renting a small guest apartment I have on my property to a brand new tenant and I’m e-mailing him and pulling the lease together so he can get in there a few days before July 1st.

Facebook is fun. It’s a place where I like to relax and meet new people and connect with old friends. I love reading my blogging buddy Ryan’s posts. I can’t wait to see what Lori Perkins and other authors and editors I know are having for dinner or what they did over the weekend. But the one thing that truly bothers me is when authors I don’t know and have never been introduced to start hawking me with their books, and their events. It clogs up my e-mail and takes time out of my day. Sometimes they do it in groups, and I get an e-mail that sounds like this: “Hughy, Dooey, and Yahooy have invited you to the event…” And I normally just click delete and ignore them. If I see this happening several times of day for a period of weeks, I then go to their profile and de-friend them. It’s nothing personal. I have nothing against them. But I’m too busy with my own life to deal with e-mails that aren’t important. And I’d rather spend that time communicating with the wonderful readers who are always sending me e-mails about my own books.

I have this feeling many of these authors think they are doing the right thing. They believe that if they go after fans and readers aggressively on social networks like facebook it will help sell their books. Only it doesn’t work with me, and I have a feeling most people feel the same way I do. I’d rather they send me a nice simple e-mail and tell me about their books. I’d even be okay with a private message on facebook. Author Matt Bartloff recently sent me a private message about his book, TORN FROM NORMAL, and I was more than happy to get to know him this way.

But these cold, aggressive, annoying facebook events and unsolicited sales pitches run along that thin line of desperation, and writers run the risk of turning more people off than on.

Lori Perkins Literary Agent Wins Golden Apple Award

I just heard Lori Perkins, literary agent, has won this year’s Golden Apple Award. The New York City chapter of Romance Writers of America just made the announcement this week, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for Lori. Though I’ve never worked with her in a client/agent relationship, I have worked with her as an editor and a guide. I’ve even seen it mentioned that Lori is referred to as a “Fairy Godmother” because she’s always helping writers achieve their dreams. And I know first hand how true this is.

In the past few years, she’s helped me with a great many projects, from beginning to end. I’ve never met anyone who can come up with a great book title in seconds, edit three books at the same time, handle the demanding job of being a literary agent, and raise a great kid as a single mother. And this is only the tip of Lori’s talents. There are far too many to mention. She’s a delight to work with, she’s always an inspiration, and she one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. And I’m not surprised she won this year’s Golden Apple. She deserves it!

A Nice Amazon Review for the GHOST AND MR. MOORE

I don’t usually post reviews from amazon because people can read them there and it always seems like a waste of time. Readers know how and where to find reviews without my help.

But this review captured exactly what I was going for with the book and that doesn’t happen often. A while back, there was a post on a well known review site about whether or not readers want to know what the author was thinking when he or she wrote the book. Some readers wanted to know what the author’s intentions were, others didn’t seem to care…they believed it was the author’s job to show their intentions in the book, without having to explain them ahead of time. I’m on the fence about this.

But when a reader gets what an author was trying to do, without having any information before reading the book, it’s always nice.

M. H. SMITH “mykelsf” (SACRAMENTO, CA USA) – See all my reviews(REAL NAME)
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Ghost and Mr. Moore (Kindle Edition) A re-telling of “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” with a gay lead. This was a fun read with an almost identical story to the original Mrs. Muir movie. A lonely parent of one child, a housekeeper, a dog, a New England sea cottage and a damn fine looking, however dead, sea captain haunting the home. Updated to modern times and told with a lively cast of extra characters, it still stuck true to the formula. Mr. Moore ‘ghost-writes’ a book narrated by the Captain in order to save his home and never gives up on the love between them. The ending, although known to anyone who saw the movie, was sweet and tender nonetheless. An old story, to be sure, but re-told with wit and a deft hand with the narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed the read.