I just finished catching up on my email, which took over an hour. Only one of the emails was a friend email; the rest were action items—bills to pay, items to note/track, etc. However, one of the things that simply had to be done was some Amazon book shopping. I've had a few Amazon gift cards sitting around in my inbox for over a year! They needed to be used.
For simple reading pleasure, I selected Kim Harrison's White Witch, Black Curse because it'll finally be out in paperback next week. I can't wait. Harrison packs so much story and character development into each novel, I'm always impressed and awed.
For some writing advice, I chose Janet Evanovich's How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author. I saw this book many months ago in Borders, and my first thought was it was going to be tripe. Yeah, that's not exactly nice, considering that Evanovich is one of my favorite authors, but a lot of the "how to be a writer" books out there are more about how the author made their success, not filled with applicable ideas for new authors to try. I picked it up and thumbed through it. Yes, Evanovich draws a lot on her own experience, but she uses it to explain the lessons, not just to show how she succeeded. Helpful stuff. Still, I set the book back on the shelf, but it's been popping up in the back of my head a lot lately, so I thought it was time to get it.
The other book I got is a new names book, Baby Names Made Easy: The Complete Reverse-Dictionary of Baby Names. (I think that all name books are amusing by going under the title "baby names" as if somewhere out there is a book floating around called "adult names.") I have a 15-year-old name book right now, and this one looked like it could offer a different way to search for character names. Since I'm in the middle of writing an entire novel worth of new characters and trying to come up with names almost daily, I thought this could be useful.
The rest of my time in which I was supposed to be doing chores was spent reading about all the stuff happening with Harlequin and the RWA. Check out Pub Rants and Jackie Kessler's blog for explanations and a breakdown of how Harlequin has stepped into murky water.