USA Today Best of 2012

Friday, October 29, 2010

Borders rules; B&N drools

I've been posting special deals on ebooks on my Facebook page when I find them. Love sharing a good deal, and love scoring one even more. So last week when I spotted an awesome buy at B&N on an ebook, I snapped it up.

Unfortunately, impulse purchasing an ebook from a place you haven't used before doesn't always pay off. It's a good book--I'm pretty sure. However, B&N won't allow me to save my purchase in EPUB format and load it onto my Sony Reader. Apparently they still think Proprietary Is Best, so you can read their ebooks on Nook, Apple products, and Blackberry. Not on any other reading device besides your computer.

Lame. Makes me glad I only spent $3 on the book. On the other hand, I'm kinda ticked I spent $3 on a book I can only read on my dang laptop. I mean... trust me, I sit in front of this thing reading enough while editing and (attempting) writing.

On a positive note, Borders has awesome deals every week and I have no trouble downloading or saving their books. If you're not already subscribed to their newsletter, you should be...if you like ebooks, that is. If you don't like ebooks... what's wrong with you? :)

Have a great weekend.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy

Thursday, October 28, 2010

You know you're getting old when... use the word "contraption".

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Le movie review: Hereafter

Last weekend, we got a wild hair to go see a movie (which is something of a trip right now, because the only theater in town is under remodel construction). After much debate, we settled on Hereafter, the new one with Matt Damon as a psychic, directed by Clint Eastwood.

Now, hubby is a huge Eastwood fan, and we both loved Gran Torino (also directed by Clint) and the trailers kept showing that bit about the tsunami, with lots of loudness and scary scene-flashes. Which is all a bit misleading. I liked the movie, but hubby and son were pretty disappointed. Let's just say that one tsunami scene pretty much is the action in this flick. Period. And it's not a scary movie. Which again, was okay with my daughter and me. But it's not a guy movie. And there were some very sad parts with the little boy. I'm a romance fan and had a little trouble believing the romantic ending...

But I'd probably watch the movie again (at home, not another trip to the theater). I also really loved Marie's hair...want mine like that. So it gets a B+ from me, and I've gotta start warning hubby ahead of time that if the movie is directed by Clint, it's likely to have an artsy-literary type ending.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There oughtta be a law

My kids are "big" now, so this post is mainly on behalf of mommies with little ones.

There should be a law that if a restaurant has high chairs, they must also have kid-friendly food on the menu. Grilled cheese (who can't make that? come on!), mac-n-cheese, chicken nuggets or strips... something little ones can eat.

And pardon me, but if the restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, it's simply not "uppity" enough to get by without having a kids' menu. Period.

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Monday, October 25, 2010

An official opinion

Wow, I feel so important. I got to be the "editor" du jour for an Ask the Editor blog interview.

Check out my answers here.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

You KNOW you're getting old when...

... you refer to somebody as a "kid" and then add that he's probably about 32.

(and for the record, hubby did this, not me)

Have a fabulous Friday. I'm planning to.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

On bullies

As long as there have been humans, there have been bullies. It just seems wherever there are people, there are lousy people. And I can remember plenty of bullies back in my school days. However...

I can't recall anybody ever being bullied to the point of suicide, or retaliation a la Columbine. Are bullies worse now, or is the news hyping it more? Both, neither... does it matter? Kids are being bullied to the point of ending their lives. I'm guessing a big part of this is technology. When I was a kid, if a bully had it out for me (it did happen a few times), she/he (usually a she) really could only get to me at school, and maybe on the school bus. Once I stepped off the bus and headed home, I was safe from her. She'd never have dared phone my house and take the chance an adult would get her call.

But now... my heart goes out to victims of bullies. They can go home, but they'll still get phoned, texted, IM'd, emailed, Facebooked, Myspaced... not to mention all the little things here and there they can hear back from everybody else, that the bully spread around during the evening. It's a neverending stream of torment for those poor kids. So what the heck can we do about it?

I know our local schools truly try to stop bullying, especially by electronic means. I feel fortunate, because our little area seems to not have quite the problem some parts of the country has right now. In my school years, I tended to befriend some of those kids who were picked on most, and my daughter has a soft spot for one picked-on boy in her class, who she's not afraid to defend. All you can do is hope that'll help defray the teasing, but not get it aimed at her. Kids can be so mean--but it helps for them to all know they can and should go to an adult and report that awfulness. For my part, when I'm in a classroom and see kids being rotten to another, I really let them have it. Sure, it's only one day, but hey, at least they know if an adult notices what they are doing, it's not going to go unpunished.

Maybe the media will help in this situation. Awareness is spreading, so I really hope.

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ebooks on the cheap

Like any other product, now more than ever, ebooks can come with really good prices. Thanks to a slew of email alerts (coming from all the vendors I have accounts with so I can write reader reviews), I find out about all the freebies and fantastic deals, right at my Inbox.

This week I got a sale bulletin from Borders, and they're celebrating Jean M. Auel's next release in her Clan of the Cave Bear series by selling the first book in EPUB for $1.99. I'd actually been thinking about that book, so it seemed perfect timing to buy it there. Plus, I wanted to see how user-friendly their system is. (not bad, but I did keep getting kicked off and having to log in again, which was somewhat annoying) Once I got ready to check out, I learned $5 in Borders bucks was waiting in my account... plus as a member, I get a 10% discount, so my price was actually $1.79... which came off that $5 I'd earned when I hit spending $150 for the year--never would've made that pinnacle without buying the Kobo for Mom in August. Anyway. So I decided to get our next book club selection also (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), and ended up spending a total of $4.04 out of pocket. Now... how Borders handles royalties on those "free" purchases will be interesting to learn. At Fictionwise, if a customer chooses to use freebies toward a book, that author is SOL for royalties. Which kinda sucks... for the author.

Both books, I probably could've gotten from the library, but I did want to explore Borders and see how it worked. And those bonus bucks were only good until the end of this month. :)

I recently learned from Diesel ebooks, every reader review you write--once they've approved and posted it--earns you 5000 "points". I have no idea how many points you have to earn to get a free book, though. When I figure it out, I'll be sure to post.

Happy bargain shopping.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday Funnies

This was brought to my attention by my pal eA. Very cute... I think I've had this convo with the Mr... of course, he was the one not paying attention. Not me. Not ever.

Sherman's Lagoon

Piper Denna

Romance is sexy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Would you like a little wine with that book club?

Okay, so it's past noon and I'm just getting my blog up, which is totally lame but I'll say it's not all my fault--Blogger consistently refused to acknowledge I'd tried to sign in, all morning long, until the last half hour or so. (and then took that half hour to load my compose window, but I wasn't about to try closing and re-opening after all that!)

It's one of those Get Things Done days for me--so far going well except for a dead-end trip to the Tire and Lube Express, which is a whole other gripe for a whole other day, but I would like to vent and put this out there: Walmart, you suck. Wow, I feel better already...

So. This past Saturday night was the first-ever meeting for a new book club.

We read Water for Elephants this month, and got together with a few bottles of wine, six or eight different types of appetizers and one really big cheesecake with a yummy raspberry sauce... ostensibly to talk over the book. Sometime about 3 hours in, we did discuss the book a little. LOL. With some pretty impressive, quite deep questions, actually.

Let me just say, I'm the ancient one in this club. Quite a lot older than the other mommies, and my kids are quite older than theirs, and they get together often for playgroup, so I'm not just old, but the old outsider somebody dragged along. I'd intended to do a really comprehensive blog with everybody's reactions to the book. But... when a bunch of mommies get together minus their little ones, they have social needs. Like wine, and relaxing with food they don't have to share with munchkins, and dishing, about husbands and in-laws, and kids and schools, and teams from other towns, and... Yeah. So it's only natural the book club part take a back burner.

We did learn some interesting stuff, though. Like, one pediatrician's office in the valley tells moms to put Meat Tenderizer on bee stings... (I got no idea. I'm just the messenger here!) And one hilarious bookclubber keeps a packet of dry Koolaid in her car's glove compartment (she's remaining nameless because she also stows $40 cash there for emergencies, and I've got dibs on following her around til she leaves that puppy unlocked one day! :) ). The Koolaid is for in case she breaks down or crashes in winter conditions... so she can mix it with water and write HELP in the snow with it. She gets the award for Plan-Ahead-er. LOL.

I learned something else, too. There's nothing really new going into child-rearing books. It's just recycled ideas, maybe compiled in different combinations. Which kinda made me feel old, and also made me wonder whether my mom and her friends felt the same way when my pals and I were trying to navigate the waters of toddler-parenting. Like we really thought we were re-inventing the wheel. Somehow things like sending kids to their room for misbehaving, and using "Wait til your father gets home" (a la June Cleaver) have become new. Go figure! But hey, if fashion manias can make comebacks, so can child-rearing tactics, right?

Yeah, I'm old.

So back to this book, Water for Elephants... I really loved it. It's not something I'd probably have ever picked up on my own to read. But it was a really nice change. Written from the perspective of a 90 (or 93, he can't remember for sure and it really aggravates him)-year-old man who worked in the circus when he was younger, our Jacob recalls his adventurous Depression-Era stint in a circus, when a circus comes to the neighborhood near his nursing home. The portion of the book in present-day interested me as much as the past that Jacob relived for us. I think this was because his curmudgeonly attitude, punctuated by contrition and apology, reminded me of my mom's uncle during his last couple years. Sara Gruen did a great job with Jacob's voice, in my opinion. Also, I dearly love elephants, so the Rosie storyline hooked me and kept me. We had awful villains (the best!), and super conflict, too. I give this story a Get Your Own Copy (my copy is somewhat hideous, as it was a library cast-off, damaged and all, plus once I peeled off the shiny library cover, it's just an ugly 2-tone maroon book, but I intend to keep it).

As for the book club, it'll be interesting to see whether this group gets more comfortable with the idea of discussing books, or remains an awesome excuse for a mom's night out (and believe me, either way, kudos to this group of ladies, because there is No Way I'd have gotten the little Mister to watch my wee ones so I could go discuss books, when our kids were tiny). Hell, I could barely even read books back in those days!

Next month it looks like we're doing The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Which is good. I mean, I probably should try to read it before it becomes a movie, or three.

But first I think I'm going to buy Clan of the Cave Bear in Epub from Borders to read next... Jean M. Auel has her next installment coming out in March, and I'm kinda in the mood to read about Ayla and Jondalar again.... plus it's only $1.99 at!

So, The Girl will have to wait.

Happy reading!

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Time to advertise

Since I have a new release, it really was time for me to get myself out there again. And I got a bulletin from Coffee Time Romance--just when I needed it most--about a special on their yearly Author Membership, which provides a great deal of exposure, for just $25.

So I went for it. I'll get a special chat day there, a link on their site, their blog, and their newsletter (with my Fallen Star cover), and they'll write and host a contest for me for a month--looks like at their blog, plus I get banners to slap all over my site and blog.

Seems like quite a lot for just $25, and Coffee Time is a huge review site.

That's all I got today. Off to finish hanging pics of my babies all over the walls. Have a great weekend.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happiness is...

When I was little, I had this board book, Happiness is a Warm Puppy. It featured the Peanuts gang, all with their favorite things and "happiness is" on each page. Very cute. So whenever I hear those words, I always think of that book.

But anyway. I was thinking I'd add to my cliche features and create a Happiness Is day.

So for its debut (the item which inspired today's post):

Happiness is a freshly made bed. (you know, with everything all crisp and fresh from the laundry and tucked in tight, when you're standing in front of it at bedtime) Mmmm.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sutton spells it out

On the topic of poorly-done book reviews, pal Sutton Fox said it all yesterday.

A bad review one of our fellow LPI authors got was the catalyst for her post. But by "bad", I'm not referring to a low-stellar rating. I mean it was a mess--poorly typed, lousy grammar--and these mistakes are on her permanent copy which displays on her site every day, too. Sometimes I feel like, if I didn't have a particular public persona to uphold, I'd like to create a blog site where I review other blog and web sites! This one would get 1 star, at best.

The absolute clincher, though, was when she made some reference to the book being reviewing and said the story had been "delivered in a dull manor". Whoo boy. That one made me laugh out loud. I mean, if her house is boring, that's not the author's fault.

Even when I get good reviews from some of these cut-rate sites, I don't send out links. To me, if the review is riddled with mistakes, I feel like the person writing it doesn't look all that qualified to judge whether my book was good or not. And it's just embarrassing to send other people there--like I always wonder whether they think I didn't notice all the flubs.

Let me just say this: I know none of us is perfect. Heck, I did some site updates yesterday and found a typo on my website. It happens. But when someone is trying to get people to visit her site, it's her responsibility to make that site as presentable as possible. As professional. It's her job.

I really might have to invent a new persona and start with the site reviews...

Piper Denna
Got romance?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You know you're getting old when...

You experience a true fear of falling every time you go up or down the stairs, complete with old-lady vision of such happening.

Sometimes I even use the handrail. What the heck is that about?

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sounds like home

House? Or home?
I'm almost done unpacking. It's true I've been telling myself that for a month, but now I really am. Almost done unpacking, that is. In fact, it's stuff-on-the-walls time. When I start hanging some of my familiar "favorite things", it feels more like home.

Yesterday I hung a very old, electric clock which my paternal grandma gave to my maternal grandma. And by very old, I mean... this little hummer has been running for at least 40 years. I can remember it percolating away (it's designed to look and sound like a stove-top coffee pot) when I was small and playing at my grandma's. It was part of her house. These days, the sounds it makes aren't quite the same--almost more like a coffee grinder than a coffee pot, sometimes--but it just keeps on going.
Here it is, hanging with an also-old, but not nearly as impressive (at least to my thinking, because it just sits there) corn-muffin pan. And the old things look a little out-of-place next to that fancy curtain--which is not mine, and will probably be going byebye soon so I can hang my blue gingham.

How long will the clock run? What will I do when it one day breaks down? I dunno. I'm pretty amazed the lightbulb inside has never burned out. It's hard to see in the photo, but the top glows red--and that's a little red bulb inside a clear housing. I've moved it to 8 different houses. Poor thing. At Grandma's, it sat on top of her fridge (one of those huge, heavy old-fashioned fridges that didn't so much as shiver when you shut the door) for 23 years.

Now it's grinding away in my kitchen and everything sounds familiar, I'm definitely feeling motivated to get out photos of my babies and plaster the walls.

Have a great Monday!

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday freakout

Well, it is October, so it's probably fitting for me to get up this morning and scream while reading my email...

Not one of those Price is Right screams, either--more of a Jamie Lee scream.

I read through some interview questions I received, and toward the end, one asked for my "coming soon" list.


Might be time for some self-imposed deadlines.

Have a great weekend!

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The value of ebooks

I read an interesting article online yesterday about all kinds of stuff regarding changes in the publishing industry, but some of the points about ebooks really stuck. (And I suck because I'm not going digging for the link to that article. You'll just have to trust me)

The author was discussing whether or not bestselling ebooks would eventually come with a higher price tag than their hardcover editions, and whether readers would "buy it"--sorry, pun intentional. From where we stand right now, it sounds outlandish, crazy, to pay more for the intangible digital edition of a book than for the holdable, "real" (did I mention destroyable?) paper edition. But he made a good parallel:

Remember when digital music first came out, how it felt better to have that real CD in your hand... but as the formats improved, well, obviously more music is sold via download now, than on CD. Because you can do so much, easily, with a digital file--namely for use with those handy mobile music players.

So back to our parallel. Say you wanted to take 1500 songs along with you on a plane trip. Are you gonna load up your carryon with, say, 150 CDs? Or put the music on you iPod? Now say you wanta take along 50, or 100, or 1000 books....(or even 10. Even 10 books is cumbersome, especially hardcover ones). Load up your entire carryon with 10 books, or load 10 books onto a mobile reading device?

It's a different way of thinking for us "old people". But for the newer generations, I can see how they'd feel there was more value in the digital format. Plus, if they spill a soda on their hardback book, it's a mess forever. But if (in the unlikely event it can't be wiped off) that same soda messes up their ereader, yeah, it's a pain to replace... however, all their books are still on their computer, and also on their vendor account where purchased.

I visited a number of ebook vendor sites yesterday while writing some reader reviews, and one thing they all had in common: they pushed value. Good deals. Save money, membership discounts... so do I think readers at this point buy into certain publishers' attempt at pricing those bestsellers so high? Nope. Not sure it'll fly now. But maybe, if they make the change gradually, one day it might. I still have a hard time swallowing it, because the pubs are saving the print costs, and online vendors aren't taking a bigger cut than the discount treebook wholesalers get. So we'll see.

Would I pay $4 or $5 for an ebook version of a cheaper mass-market paperback (you know, the kind that fall apart after 1 reading) the same price I'd pay for it at Walmart? Probably. If it was from an author I like. At least I know the pages aren't going to fall out! Would I rather check out an ebook from the library, than its hardback or paperback edition? Certainly. At least I know if the last patron was doing something gross while reading it, they didn't leave any traces of it behind on the file...and the file isn't going to smell like... well, a number of things, but especially an ashtray. So yeah. There's definitely some value in a digital file.

Oh, and the author of that article made one more very valid point: How many music stores do you see around town these days?

Ouch. (this is where we old folks cringe, and the young folks shrug, which is what makes this post part You Know You're Getting Old When)

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Inspiration comes in nice packages

I think I've successfully snagged that much-needed inspiration to get my next book rolling. In the form of a song, Coming Home, from Enrique Iglesias' new album. (I could stare at that album cover all day...)

It's rife with angst and a very pretty song--doesn't a piano just do "sad" better than any other instrument? Expresses quite well the feelings my hero (one of Brady's pals/personal security guys from Fallen Star Trouble) is having, generally about his life on the road, but particularly about the heroine (Cara's younger sister Katie from Fallen Star Trouble)--and her two little girls, who he's fallen for just as hard as he has for their mommy. Their biggest problem? Age difference. But I think they'll get over that, because she's had to grow up and be responsible at a young age, so she's an old soul, whereas he's lived the wild-n-crazy bachelor life for quite a long time, and is just now feeling like a grownup who should settle down--although it is really hitting him hard. :)

Anyway, here's the video for the song at YouTube, a take-out from Dear John. I might have to see that movie now too. Those dudes are pretty easy on the eyes too, and it looks like quite the tear jerker.

Have a great day.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

There oughtta be a law against

Another new feature to complement "You know you're getting old when".

There oughtta be a law--well, see for yourself:

Dump Like A Truck

A friend told us about that site (, and it's kinda one of those guilt pleasures now, something akin to reading tabloids, I suppose. Or looking at trainwrecks...

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Things that suck less than Mondays

Wow. It's been 2 weeks since Fallen Star Trouble released, and I got my first review over the weekend. (actually, the review also released on 9-20 but I'd neglected to add this book to my google alerts, so I just found out about it from my review coordinator)

So, here's the review, from Manic Readers. I was especially pleased that the reviewer liked my secondary characters, as I'd like to do a series based on this bunch.

Definitely not a sucky Monday. Hope yours goes well!

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, October 1, 2010

You know you're getting old when...

I think this will be a new feature. We'll kick it off with:

You know you're getting old when... You hear yourself complaining about the grocery store getting rearranged. "Where did they move it now? Why did they move it? I hate when they move things. Then I can't find what I need." (especially if you are alone while muttering these words)

Have a Fab Friday.

Piper Denna

Romance is sexy!