Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How Well Do You Know Your Characters?

After developing an idea for a story and sketching out a working plot, the most important area to concentrate on is characterization. How much time do you dedicate to creating your characters?

When I develop my characters, I concentrate on one at a time. First, I give them their name and physical attributes: skin tone, hair and eye color, height, weight, birthmarks and scars. Then I give them their personality and demeanor: shy, outspoken, friendly, bubbly, awkward, self-conscious, confident, persistent, or overbearing. I list their talents, strengths, weaknesses, addictions, obsessions, disabilities, occupations, and education, just to mention a few. Next, I delve into the environment they live in: friends, family, home, neighborhood, job and coworkers, pets, car they drive, and clothes they wear. Some writers stop here, but I find it beneficial to the layers of my story if I go a little further. I visualize this person I have created and concentrate on writing their history: birthplace, toddler years and any defining memories, elementary and junior high years, complete with the names of friends and pets. This sounds like an easy task, but if you do it well—make them believable—it’s not as easy as it sounds. The key to giving birth to believable characters is consistency. While an occasional quirk, such as giving a huge, tough, tattooed biker type a weakness for kittens or assigning a petite grandma to a huge four-wheel drive truck with a lift kit can make a character endearing, excessive inconsistencies such as these take away from a story’s credibility.

By now, you’re thinking I’m finished, right? Not quite. There are at least three questions I like to ask myself before I pronounce a character developed. Last Sunday afternoon, where was my character and what was he doing? Next Tuesday morning, where will he be? And if someone threw a glass of cold water in his face, how would he react? When I can answer these questions, this character has become real to me, and I feel like I know him well enough to tell his story.

How do you sketch a character? At what point do they become real to you?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Graduating Seniors Out There...This One's For You!

I have always appreciated a good story, and since reading my first Laura Ingalls Wilder book in the third grade, I have dreamed of becoming a writer. Poetry, however, never quite held the same appeal for me as a cleverly weaved tale. But during my teenage years, when hormones spiked my blood like gin in a good martini, I found myself in need of an outlet. Since illegal vices, such as tagging at the local Wal-mart or dipping into my parents liquor cabinet, wasn’t quite my style, my weapon of choice was a pen.

On the cusp of my high school graduation, when I was about to go off to college and give my wings their first independent flap, I found myself cycling through a torrent of emotion so strong that it almost gave me whiplash. Knowing I was about to leave behind the only structure I’d ever known, about to be ejected from my seat as class president, editor of the school newspaper, and captain of the basketball team, there were days I literally wanted to cry. Other days, I found myself riding a tsunami wave of euphoria. My hard work had landed me a full academic scholarship, my best friend was going to be my roommate, and I would be the only person I had to consult about any decision I faced. What else could any teenager ask for?

So for all you seniors out there who are about to climb on that roller coaster and ride into the future, I decided to repost a poem I wrote before my high school graduation. And for any of you out there struggling with confidence, as I so often did, I am including a poem I wrote when I felt I was at my lowest. Reading it always makes me feel better. Both pieces were published in Weathered Reflections, Volume II, 1987-88 Edition.


Then a beautiful sound,
now screams abound.
Past pleasures to live by
cause the soul to cry.
First, anticipation,
second, desperation.
Touching on light of tomorrow,
tripping on past days of sorrow.
Moving ahead faster,
hoping to avoid disaster.
Praying everyday,
wanting the memories to stay.
For when they are gone,
the future is all alone.


My moral spirit is low,
and my confidence is on the go.
If only my simple smile
could thrill you for just a little while.
I wonder if you know,
because you don’t let it show,
that just your casual glance
makes me want to dance?
But when my confidence is gone,
and I’m all alone,
I must go on.
Yes, I must go on,
because I know someday I’ll find
someone to be by my side.
Someone to say
he loves me everyday.
I still hope you are that someone,
but if you’re not, it’s okay.
Because I am me.
It may be hard to see,
but it’s easy to say.
Yes, I am beautiful
in my own way.

My wish for all you beautiful grads out there? Hang on to the memories! Be happy! And remember, the future will be whatever you make of it!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Writing and Bigfoot

I had an electrifying experience last night that made me wonder if there are others out there who share my enthusiasm for the eclectic written word.

I was chatting on-line with a friend who once had a life altering experience. In 1992, while on a fishing trip in East Texas, he had an encounter with what he now believes was Bigfoot. Yes, you read it right. Large, hairy, stinky dog smelling, “Harry and the Henderson’s” type of primate, also known as Sasquatch, Bigfoot.

Though I am skeptical about anything I can’t see, feel, taste, or touch, my interest was piqued. Maybe it was the writer’s curiosity in me, or maybe it was the “OMG! I don’t live far from that area!” thought rolling through my head that had me spellbound, but regardless, I was anxious to learn more.

But the interest I had in the subject matter soon became secondary. My friend of Sasquatch wonderment spoke with such animation that I could literally feel his delight pulsing through the keyboard. His dedication, his intense passion to learn more about the growling, rock throwing creature that had ruined his chance of reeling in the big one by forcing him to retreat to the roof of a nearby cabin had me in awe.

I could feel my heart rate increase, just as I could feel his excitement sizzling through cyberspace. All I could think was, “Wow. That’s exactly how I feel about writing.” Of course, now that I was cruising in overdrive, too, our conversation became so convoluted that it would have taken a team of decoders to follow us. I was throwing a list of my favorite authors at him, which he caught quite nicely while he was gushing about meeting Smokey Crabtree, the man behind the movie The legend of Boggy Creek. I was waxing poetically about character development while he was talking about campfire friends and Animal Planet’s six part series that is set to air June 5th. I was trying not to think about the possibility that the Boogie Man could be residing in the dense trees behind my house while I rambled on about cutting scenes and building suspense. He was teasing me with the knowledge that one of the national forests near my house had the most Bigfoot reportings in the state of Texas while admitting that he likes reading romance novels, too. The whole conversation was like…one…giant…headrush.

Guess you had to be there to fully understand the impact.

A couple of hours later, when my blood pressure was back within an acceptable range, and I was relaxing in the afterglow, I began to wonder if there were others out there who were equally passionate about books and writing. Even I, a normally “gotta see to believe” kind of person, felt somewhat apprehensive when I visited the site my friend referred me to and listened to the audio footage researchers have gathered on these “manimals”. So I don’t find it unusual for someone who has actually had one of these hair raising experiences to grow a little excited when they recount the event. But is it normal to get an adrenaline rush when you go to the mailbox and discover the latest issue of Writer’s Digest? Or answer in run-on sentences, afraid you might leave something out, when someone asks you how you got the idea for your latest project?

How about helping me out here folks? Am I the only writing junkie out there?

If you’d like to hear more about my friend's Bigfoot encounter, go to


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is It Really Necessary To Be Mean?

I'd like to talk to you about your mean, malicious streak.

But first, I would like to welcome all the new friends to my page. I hope all of you find this site useful, or at the very least, interesting. Please feel free to ask me questions or offer suggestions in the comments section.

Now, let's discuss that cruel, God-like complex you have. I mean, you do have one, don't you? As a writer, it's essential, and the more sordid it is, the better off your characters will be. But don't just take my word for it. Here's what my friend, Mike Ruchhoeft, over at Cowboys and Dragons At The Cafe has to say about it.

"You have to be evil for the sake of the story. You must make your characters's up to you, as their god, to forge them with pain, disappointment and sorrow. You control their world, use that: floods, earthquakes, meteors, a rolling boulder, a toppling tree. You can arrange circumstances to rouse their greatest fears, use that: a loose lion, a raging river, an unstable rope bridge over a chasm. You can foster misunderstanding, paranoia, and hate. You can make their lives a living hell, and you must. It's for their own good."
So tell me, Great Nasty Manipulator, what is the worst thing you've ever done to one of your characters?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Determining What Works For You

When I first became serious about writing, it didn't take me long to realize I had a lot of studying to do if I wanted to master the craft. At first, it was fun, and I absorbed information like Bounty absorbs spills. But after a while, it seemed like the more I learned, the more I needed to study. I felt like I was caught up in a never ending cycle.

My head was spinning so fast that I almost missed my cue, the one that told me it was time to jump off that particular merry-go-round. The signal to stop cramming (or slow down) and start writing comes at different times for all of us, but for me, it was when I stumbled across a writing tip that had me asking, "What!? Are you serious?" (Never begin a sentence with an -ing word. I'm sorry, but to me, that's just crazy.)

The fact is, there's a lot of writing advice out there, and most of it is worthwhile and helpful. But some of it isn't. And some of it may improve one writer's style while it destroys another's.

So how can you decipher the good from the bad? Determine what will improve your writing and what won't?

I have found a system that often works for me, and it's a version of the indisputably best writing advice out there: read. Read what you like, read what you write.

When I have a writing question, I go to my bookshelf and randomly grab five or six books by different authors I love to read. Then, one by one, I open each book to the middle and read until I figure out how that author approached the issue I'm curious about. You should pick a number you're comfortable with, but if five out of six of my favorite authors are doing something a certain way, I feel it will also work successfully for me.

While this may not answer every question that comes up, I think it's a technique that can benefit a lot of writers. Not only can it help with writer's block, but it also helps personalize the information we take in to help us with our individual needs, especially if we are reading what we write.

I am not telling you to question all the advice out there. But should you come across a tip that doesn't sound quite right, I am suggesting you put it to this test, and determine its true value to you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day and Chocolate Pie

My Kids are so great! This year for Mother's Day, they have given me the kind of gifts I absolutely adore.

Don't get me wrong; I love getting all kinds of gifts. When someone thinks enough of me to present me with a token of their affection, large or small, it always makes me feel special. But for me, one of the greatest expressions of someone's love is the gift of time. My life is so hectic. Time is one of the things I never seem to have enough of, and I bet all you writers out there who work by day and write by night can relate to a shortage of time. So when someone spends their time to make me something, it just makes my heart sing.

And today, my heart is singing a very happy tune. Loudly.

I can't share all my totally awesome gifts with you (breakfast in bed and a spotlessly clean house), but there is one I can spread around.

This year, my first grader presented me with a cookbook entitled "Recipes for Mom", and I know all you mothers out there will appreciate it as much as I do. It is a humorous reminder that our children do pay attention to what we do (at least a little bit). Below is the recipe my daughter, Leo Conner, added to the book.

Chocolate Pie

Sometimes we make chocolate pie.
We get those round things.
Get pans. Get the dough.
Mom makes it. You can make it.
I don't know how but you just do it.
She puts the dough then she puts the chocolate in the pan.
Then she cooks it. Probably like, I don't know how long.
Then she puts the whipped creme that is supposed to be little poked things.
Then you put the cherries beside it.
My mom just does it this way because she likes it.
You can put the cherries any way you want to.

My thanks go out to Mrs. Powers for coming up with this wonderful idea and for taking the time to bring it all together. If anyone would like to see more of the recipes in the book, let me know.

What totally awesome gifts have you received this year?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Is Patience Overrated?

I was browsing through one of my favorite stores this weekend and came across a display of refrigerator magnets. Amid the humorous and opinionated ones, I found one that made me think "ain't that the truth"! Afraid of what it might say about me, I left it in it's place and continued looking at the others. But my attention kept coming back to the same one.  Finally, I gave in and bought it. It was just so me.

As I slipped out of the store feeling like a teenage girl buying her first personal care item--afraid of being seen--I asked myself, "What's the big deal? It's a refrigerator magnet!" It took me a few minutes to realize my discomfort came from the fact that the view the magnet expressed, "patience is such a waste of time", went against everything I'd ever been taught. Have you ever heard the saying "good things come to those who wait"? Or "patience is a virtue"? And have you ever read a glowing recommendation about someone, whether personal or professional, that included the attribute of "patient"?

But when you get down to it, is being patient always a good thing? Sure, I understand the importance of it when you're teaching a kindergardener to tie his shoe, but should the same courtesy be given to a teenager who has been told three times to pick up their shoes?

I'm not advocating being rude here. Being respectful of others can go a long way toward a peaceful existence, toward getting what you want. But when I think about all the time that is wasted in the name of patience, I can't help but feel it's overrated. Have you ever stayed on hold on the telephone for an obscene amount of time because you felt you had no other choice? On a deeper scale, have you ever been on a non-productive path but stayed the course because you thought being patient would pay off in the long run?

It's a fine line, but there comes a point when being patient becomes lazy and gullible. Lazy because you don't want to make the effort to do what's necessary to ensure "good things" come your way when there's still a chance that waiting patiently could bring them to you. And gullible because you have bought into the belief that, other than being patient, there is nothing you can do to make things turn out the way you want.

It makes me think of my senior year in high school when we were taking pictures for the yearbook. Our Journalism teacher asked each of us, "Of all the students, whose picture is the most important?" The honest answer, of course, is "mine". And when it comes to being patient, I think the same scenerio applies. Whose time is more important?

Sorry for the rant, but I appreciate your patience.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

15 Reasons An Agent May Pass on Your Manuscript

If you are at the stage of looking for literary representation, as I am, you are probably familiar with the following advice. But I find reviewing it occassionally keeps me on my toes. I hope you can benefit from it as well.

1. Story starts too slow. It should start on the day that is different.
2. Story does not match your query letter.
3. You introduce too many characters too quickly.
4. There is no clear cut POV. (point of view)
5. There is no distinct main character.
6. Too much bio/background information is presented too early.
7. Flashbacks are used too often or too early.
8. Opening scenes lack enough tension to pull the reader along.
9. One or more scenes do not advance the plot.
10. Reader cannot connect emotionally with the main character.
11. There are too many seemingly unrelated plot threads.
12. Narrative is description heavy--needs more dialogue.
13. Description is loaded with purple prose.
14. Dialogue is not interactive enough/not realistic.
15. Story starts too quickly. The reader needs a little time to get to know the characters before they can care about them.

Happy agenting!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Let's Discuss Edward...

I have a confession to make. I'm old enough to have a fifteen year-old daughter, and I'm in love with Edward Cullen (sigh), Stephanie Meyer's hero in the Twilight Saga. For all of you rolling your eyes and thinking I must be delusional, this post is for you.

Normally, young adult novels are not something I would choose to read, nor is science-fiction, fantasy, or anything else I can't close my eyes and see really, really happening. In fact, regardless of popularity, I wouldn't have read these if it hadn't been for my daughter--who usually limits her reading to the instructions on the back of a Hamburger Helper box--pushing, prodding, and begging. Hoping to encourage her reading habits, I gave in. (Okay, I wanted her to hush about it, too.)

For me, this was a big concession. Despite knowing the shelves at Barnes and Noble wouldn't be overflowing with vampire tales if someone wasn't reading them, I felt like I was being led to the guillotine, like I was being forced to fall in line with what big publishing (and my daughter) was telling me I had to read. I mean, vampires? Please!!! (Sorry, Edward. You know I love you.)

Even now, as I make a stand to defend Edward (be still my beating heart!) and Meyer, I have to admit, I laughed to the point of hyperventilation through most of the first book. (Mind reading, foretelling the future, mood control, Emmit fighting with a bear?) And yes, part of the second one, too. (Getting a paper cut and looking up to see "six suddenly ravenous vampires"?) But shortly after that, just as I'm starting to catch my breath, Meyer sneaks Jacob in, creating a love triangle. This is where my facination skyrockets, because under the weirdness (not you Edward, never you!) is now something tangible, romance and competition. Suddenly, I'm no longer laughing, but silently rooting for Edward. (my hero!)

So, can you imagine my shock (GASP!) when my daughter announces she's for Jacob? Even before Taylor Lautner lands the part in the movie?! What could she possibly be thinking? When I made the mistake of asking her that question, I was forced to endure a seemingly never ending list of "Jacob" attributes. Of course, I promptly responded with a sterling "Edward" review of my own.

I think, by now, you can see where I'm going with this. My daughter and I have had a LOT of fun with these characters. We still have fun with them.

That, people, no matter how you look at it, is entertainment.

And isn't THAT the point? I know that's my goal as a writer. When I can take the reader away from the hum-drum of their everyday life for a while, and entice them to really care about the fate of my characters, I feel like I have succeeded. To all you Stephanie Meyer critics out there, I have to say, so what if you don't think her writing is all it should be. As far as I'm concerned, she has done her job and done it well.

That's why I'm so facinated with Edward and his creator. And I bet you thought it was just because he's HOT!

Can You Say The Words?

 I am a writer.

Four simple words. Should be easy enough to say, right?

Well, they are easy for me to say, but it hasn't always been that way. A few years ago, when I first became serious about writing, I couldn't have said those words if my life depended on it. Not only was I afraid I hadn't earned my stripes by reaching the qualifying milestone--publication--but tagging myself with the label made me feel like I was painting a bullseye on my chest, like I was making myself a target for naysayers, skeptics, criticism, etc. And I'm betting there are a lot of beginning writers out there who feel the same way I did.

But after an intense, neverending study of the writing craft and the publishing industry, and after completing one manuscript followed by numerous edits, I have no qualms about telling you I'm a writer. Here are a few reasons why:

I realized I've always been a writer, even before I started writing. Writing is more than putting words on paper. It's more than having a general knowledge of grammer and a talent for making words flow smoothly. It's more than an overactive imagination that makes it possible to plot and create. It's more than having the courage to put myself and my thoughts under the microscope for others to judge and dissect. Though writing is certainly all those things, it is also a state of mind, a way of life, a part of who I am. Whether or not I take the time to record the words, they are always there waiting for me, and always have been.

My skin has thickened, giving me staying power. When I finished my first draft, I was terrified at the thought of letting anyone read it. In fact, the day after I left it with a published friend to read for the first time, I went back to get it (unread) and did a full revision before I relinquished it again. Criticism is scary, and it hurts. So does rejection, no matter how often we are told it's normal. But both, I now realize, are necessary to improving my work. So I have come to expect them, to welcome and learn from them.

I like chocolate. You like vanilla. And I now understand that's okay. Tough guys tend to like action. Techno-geeks tend to like science-fiction. Scholars tend to like an intellectual challenge. And the list goes on. So I have come to not let it bother me when a friend who loves Louis Lamour doesn't show enthusiasm for my sappy love story. And I no longer let it hurt my feelings that my sister who hasn't read a book in ten years, won't read one now, even mine.

I have earned the right to say I am a writer, and chances are you have, too. But if you find it difficult, I'll leave you with some helpful advice:

Say it is so, and so it will be. To feel legitimate, declare yourself outloud, first to yourself and then to your friends and family. Saying and hearing the words build your self-esteem, and therefore, have a direct impact on how others see you. And your work will benefit from the confidence that comes with saying the words. Try it. It works.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ten Reasons Agents May Reject Your Query Letter

1. typo's, misspellings, grammar, and punctuation.
2. lacks basic information such as what your book is about, who you are, word count, why you queried them as oppose to others, etc.
3. contains irrelevant information such as education, job, hobbies, travels, family pet, what you had for lunch, etc.
4. fails to state genre (romance, mystery, children's, etc.).
5. fails to differenciate your book from other similar books.
6. fails to show how your book is similar to other books.
7. fails to identify basic character goals and conflict.
8. is too flat in tone--query tone should match book tone.
9. lacks creativity, or fails to excite.
10. reads like an advertisement.
Remember: A query should have a respectful nature (Dear Ms. Agent). It should not be longer than one page. And resist, resist, resist including your rejection history.
Happy Querying!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is It Worth It?

I was reading Michael Hyatt's Blog entitled "Three Reasons Every Author Must Develop Their Own Platform" and, for a moment, it made me question my sanity.

Did you know there were more than 1 million books published in 2009? (According to Bowker, the service that assigns ISBN numbers to books) 2010 numbers, yet to be released, are expected to be higher.

Then Hyatt goes on to point out that not only is there an increase in books available, but also with other media: movies, tv channels, radio stations, etc. In other words, there is ALOT of competition for potential reader attention.

So I asked myself, as a single grain of sand on the endless beach of book choices, is writing worth this much of my time? Work by day, write by night--even when I should be sleeping. Proof read on my lunch break--ignore that mustard stain! Tote a notebook with me EVERYWHERE because I never know where my next idea might come from--yes, make a faux pas and you might see a version of it in my written words. Read the latest best seller on the drive home--oops, did I just admit that? Create a social network that requires more knowledge than I possess and more time when I should be writing. Research a topic for hours so I can write two knowledgeable sentences about the subject. Search for agents and publishers, then search some more...whew!!!

I said all that, to say this...

Thanks to all my wonderful friends who have read for me (you know who you are and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart) and supplied me with ample support, praise, and constructive criticism, I already feel successful. While I would never turn away fame and fortune (who would?), my first goal has always been to entertain. I love to hear that something I wrote made someone laugh or cry. I love to hear "I couldn't put it down". ( Thanks Amy) I love it when I can make you concerned enough about my characters for you to say, "Don't mess with Pat". (Thanks Mary C) And I love to hear "I want to know what happens between Sam and J.J.". (Sorry, Pam, that's book two in the trilogy).

Even if "The Third Time" is never read again, it has all been worth it!

You Are What You Read

I've always heard you are what you read. So...what does that make me?

I'm the type person who can't be idle. No, I'm not talking physically. I can sit still, well...fairly still, for as long as I have to. But my brain? NO WAY. It's going full speed 24/7. (Yes, this does make sleeping difficult, but the up side? When I finally do crash, I have dreams that people would pay good money to see.)

T.V.? Out of the question...unless I also have the latest Diana Palmer paperback in my lap to keep my brainwaves up to speed.

Driving? For most people, there's road signs, advertisements, and bumper stickers...but for me, if the checkbook is balanced, Nora Roberts is looking pretty good.

Waiting rooms? Most would be satisfied with checking out the weird shoes on the person next to them, or take a chance that the magazine on the table was printed sometime after 1999. Me? Fully prepared with the second book in the latest Brenda Novak trilogy should I be anywhere near the end of the first.

Eating? The newspaper or the back of the cereal box will do in a pinch, but, my preference? Fork in one hand and Linda Lael Miller's latest in the other.

So...I guess that makes me a combination of....useless information...and emotional diarrhea.

Oh, well. At least I'm a HAPPY combination of useless information and emotional diarrhea!
So tell me, if you are what you read, what does that make you?

Ever Play The "What If" Game?

Ever play the "what if" game?

What if I woke up tomorrow and discovered my best friend had posted my darkest secret on her Facebook page? Yikes!
What if the hunkiest guy in the world walked past me with his nose in the air, and despite trying really, really hard, I lost the battle with my self-control, and stuck my foot out just in time to topple him? What if his prosthesis slipped off and he flailed around on the cement until he found his cell phone and called his brother for help, his brother who had to leave his best friend's funeral, in a wheelchair, to help him up? (Um, did I do that?)

What if I won the lottery?  What if the owner of the store where I bought the ticket called to congratulate me and fell madly in love with me, offering me his hand in marriage? What if I had a last fling with the stripper at my bachelorette party, only to discover a week later he's my new brother-in-law? What if one month later I find out I'm pregnant? (oops)

What if I gave birth to a warewolf? (miraculous conception, of course)

What if I gave birth to Edward's son (no miraculous conception here!). What if he grew up to help me remind his sister everyday that their mother had the hots for his father? (BRAHAHAHAHA)

If you ever find youself bore, lost in the direction your heading, give this game a try. I can't gaurantee it will lead to the next best seller, but I can gaurantee, that if you do it right, you'll have a little fun.

Back To The Drawing Board


I finally finished the synopsis--summary--I've been working on. I didn't realize it would be so difficult to reduce a 350 page manuscript to 5, but after it was complete, after I'd shed ample blood, sweat, and tears, I was quite satisfied with the finished product. But before I could wallow in happiness and pronounce it ready to go, I was informed it was too long. I have to reduce it to 2 pages.

Hmmm, maybe my next one will read...

Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy and girl live happily ever after.

Think I can get away with it?

When Life Gets You Down

When, with socks in your mouth and shoes in your hand, you're running late for work and hurriedly lock the door before realizing the keys are still on the microwave.....

When your tempermental boss approaches you at deadline to request a moment of your time and you distractedly tell him "yes, ma'am".....

When you go through the super carwash, paying extra for wax and a spot free rinse, and it rains before you get home.....

When, while sitting at a redlight, your best friend calls you on your cell phone (probably to bore you with the details of her latest breakup) and you toss it aside without answering only to look up and see her glaring at you from the car beside you.....

When your daughter flushes a cherry Poptart down the toilet (when it clearly prefers blueberry) and it protests with a seemingly never ending gurgle before spitting it out with a vengence.....

When life gets you down, take my advice and laugh at your problems.

Everyone else does!

What have you done lately that was worth a good laugh?

Is Big Publishing Broke?

I recently read a blog by J. A. Konrath were he did an interview with Smashwords CEO, Mark Coker. In this interview Coker says he feels Big Publishing is broke.

It makes me wonder...are the bookshelves at Barnes and Noble overflowing with Vampire novels because that's what we want to read, or is it because that's what we are being told to read?

What do you think?