Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Reading List for 2010

Since I've switched to reading eBooks, I've found myself reading more and faster. I'm rather impressed by the amount of reading I was able to get in this year considering how busy 2010 has been.

I've read 70 books in 2010. Of course, this number doesn't include the full manuscripts I read this year or the books I've forgotten to add to my goodreads.com bookshelves. :D

  1. Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy
  2. An Improper Holiday by K.A. Mitchell
  3. Falling by M.L. Rhodes
  4. Fur and Fang by Sean Michael
  5. Lord of the Shadows (Cirque Du Freak, #11) by Darren Shan
  6. Replacement Guitarist by Lori Toland
  7. Sons of Destiny (The Saga of Darren Shan, #12) by Darren Shan
  8. Joy Ride by J.M. Snyder
  9. Caffeine for a Marine by Kiernan Kelly
  10. Sons of Destiny (Cirque Du Freak, #12) by Darren Shan
  11. Aidan and Ethan (Seeking Redemption, #1) by Cameron Dane
  12. Lift Me Up by Rayne Auster
  13. Saying I Do (Quinn Security, #3) by Cameron Dane
  14. No Fear in Love by Jamie Craig
  15. The One That Got Away - Second Edition by Rhianne Aile
  16. Exploring Limits (Exploring Limits, #1) by Nicki Bennett
  17. Tie Me, Tease Me by Reese Gabriel
  18. And Call Me in the Morning by Willa Okati
  19. Chiaroscuro by Jenna Jones
  20. Something Beautiful by Jenna Jones
  21. Making Waves by Pepper Espinoza
  22. Grey's Awakening (Cabin Fever, #2) by Cameron Dane
  23. Rules of Engagement by L.A. Witt
  24. State of Mind by Libby Drew
  25. Heat (Firefighters, #1) by Tory Temple
  26. Flashover (Firefighters, #2) by Tory Temple
  27. Tinder (Firefighters, #5) by Tory Temple
  28. Faith & Fidelity (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #1) by Tere Michaels
  29. Don't Look Back by Josh Lanyon
  30. Love & Loyalty (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #2) by Tere Michaels
  31. Duty & Devotion (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #3) by Tere Michaels
  32. The Hired Man by Jan Irving
  33. Change of Heart by Mary Calmes
  34. The Shunned by Jay Hughes
  35. Oracle by RJ Scott
  36. Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate, #1) by Gail Carriger
  37. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan
  38. The Demon's Lexicon (The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy, #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan
  39. The Demon's Covenant (The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy, #2) by Sarah Rees Brennan
  40. Never Never Land by Treva Harte
  41. One Way Trip by Rebecca Leigh
  42. 911 by Chris Owen
  43. Cry Sanctuary (Red Rock Pass, #1) by Moira Rogers
  44. Outlaw by Rebecca Leigh
  45. Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
  46. Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1) by Jim Butcher
  47. Eros, Philia, Agape: A Tor.Com Original by Rachel Swirsky
  48. Flirt (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #18) by Laurell K. Hamilton
  49. Physical Education by Louisa Bacio
  50. Bullet (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #19) by Laurell K. Hamilton
  51. Beyond Eden by Kele Moon
  52. Resistance by L.M. Turner
  53. Strawberries for Dessert (Coda Books, #4) by Marie Sexton
  54. No Quarter by Christine d'Abo
  55. Beautiful Forever by Diana Copland
  56. Fang Bangers edited by Lori Perkins
  57. Prescription for Passion: Vital Signs (Volume 3) by Jamaica Layne
  58. Sanctuary Lost (Red Rock Pass, #2) by Moira Rogers
  59. Tender is the Knight by Jamaica Layne
  60. Wicked Pleasures Anthology edited by Cecilia Tan
  61. Maverick Men: The True Story Behind the Videos by Cole Maverick
  62. Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century, #1) by Cherie Priest
  63. Sheet Music by Tibby Armstrong
  64. Sanctuary's Price (Red Rock Pass, #3) by Moira Rogers
  65. Sanctuary Unbound (Red Rock Pass, #4) by Moira Rogers
  66. Keeper by Elise Hepner
  67. Allegro Vivace by Cat Grant
  68. Sonata Appassionata by Cat Grant
  69. Miles and the Magic Flute by Heidi Cullinan
  70. Grand Jeté by Diana Copland
So what have you read this year? What do you plan to read next year?

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Puerto Rican Christmas

parranda
Christmas Music Traditions


When I think back on my childhood, the memories are coupled with music. In fact, most of the time, I can remember "eras" in my life when a song plays on the radio or someone sends me a song to hear. I was born and raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico where music is as much a part of your life as coffee with buttered bread. Music is such an integral part of life on the island that it's odd to drive through any neighborhood and not hear music. Women sing while sweeping the sidewalks. Men whistle and sing as they push their carts to the market. Children sing songs as they play games on the playground. Grandparents sing while rocking on the porch or just pull out their guitars and start playing. Music is part of every festive event and a HUGE part of the Christmas celebration.

In Puerto Rico, the holidays start the day after Accion de Gracias, Thanksgiving Day and end on Dia de Reyes, Three Kings' Day (or Epiphany). We celebrate with food, family and TONS of music. The parties start after work on a Friday (usually after 7 PM) and last through to the next morning (if not the entire weekend). This Christmas traditions known as the Parranda or Asalto is one of my favorites.

Here's a glimpse of the traditional Parranda:
Puerto Ricans are known for their unforgettable "parrandas or trullas navideñas". A parranda is when a small group of friends gathers together to "asaltar" or surprise another friend. It's the Puerto Rican version of Christmas caroling. Most parranderos play some sort of instrument, either guitarras, tamboriles, güiro maracas, or palitos. And they all sing. A parranda tends to be more secular than religious however many of the traditional aguinaldos (Puerto Rican Christmas songs) retain the holiday spirit.

parranda The parranderos arrive at the destination and then very quietly gather by the front door. At a signal all start playing their instruments and singing. The parrandas usually begin after 10pm in order to surprise and wake the sleeping friend. The parranderos are invited in and refreshments, music and dance follow. Of course we don't surprise unsuspecting victims. The parranderos are given plenty of "hints" before hand by the homeowner that he is ready to receive a parranda.

The party goes on for an hour or two then everyone, including the owners of the house, leave to parrandear some more. The group grows as they offer their parranda at several houses during that night. At the last house probably around 3 or 4 in the morning the homeowner offers the traditional chicken soup or asopao de pollo. The party is over at dawn. —From ¡Por Fín Llegaron las Navidades! PuertoRico.com Discussion Forum

My children were born and raised in the United States but we still maintain some of the traditions, including the Parranda. Thankfully we live in an area where many Latinos have moved to so it's not uncommon to hear a loud party going on all night at any point during the holidays. What are your Christmas music traditions?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why do I need an ePub agent?

I was talking with my colleague Louise Fury a few nights ago about general work and sundry and when I mentioned the deals I've recently negotiated for my clients she said, "See? This is why people need ePub agents!" Then she asked me to write a quick paragraph on the why of an ePub agent. Doing one better and using it as an excuse for a blog post when I should be sleeping, I decided why not kill two birds with one stone. So here goes:

Not all contracts are the same and all of them are negotiable. How do you know if you've secured all of the rights you're entitled to if you don't know to negotiate for them? Do you even know which rights to request? This is a huge issue with traditional publishers at present as they are all requesting eRights with every contract. If your contract with your digital publisher has those rights tied up for seven years, how will this affect your "print" contract?

Why should I pay someone to do what I can do myself? Love hearing this! I really do because after spending four to six hours every day negotiating contracts, editing manuscripts, drafting pitch letters, going through royalty statements, talking authors down from ledges, brainstorming and career planning with my clients, I think... wouldn't it be easier to just let the author do it all herself so I can get some sleep? Is it worth my time to get a 15% commission? Then I get an email from one of my clients thanking me for helping her find a home for "her baby" or for the $1500 royalty check they've received and I'm suddenly pumped and working hard to help them continue to grow. It's not just about sending your submissions in. I think many people erroneously assume that I send in your work to the same submission queue authors do and have to wait just as long. I've established and cultivated relationships with editors at the various digital presses and by creating these contacts, I have the opportunity to send your manuscript directly to an editor I know is looking for a story just like yours. Does that mean you'll get an acceptance simply because it's coming as an agented submission? No, of course not, but the chances of sitting in a slush pile are greatly reduced.

It's about the BUSINESS of publishing. In her blog post, Rebecca Leigh talks about how she handles the craft of writing and allows me to manage the business of writing. It's a win-win situation for both of us. It's also about having someone in your corner who can traverse the muddy waters of the ever-changing publishing landscape with a clear head and sense of direction. Someone who is vested in your success and therefore will guide you to make educated decisions. But, it's also about having someone who will be a voice for you and your book to the digital publishers who receive thousands of submissions daily. As an ePub agent, I wear an editorial hat, a marketing hat and a publicist hat at various stages of my journey with my clients through the publishing process. Most authors in the digital market will tell you they have to do their own marketing and some will even tell you how much they hate this aspect of their career.

So do you need an agent? I don't know... do you?