Al Gore: Inventing the Net, Now Inventing the Book

April 28th, 2011 Kathleen O'Reilly Posted in Reading Matters, Techie Things Comments Off

If it wasn’t Apple-bies behind this, I would scoff at the concept of a tool to turn a book into an app.  And there is the whole “Al Gore” thing, but still…


I watched the video, and I kept picturing Al Gore saying “Lock Box”.

As a reader, I’m not that fascinated by the idea of a more interactive book, my imagination has always been better than almost anything I’ve seen on a screen.  But as an author, I do like the idea of embedded author notes, videos, character notes, maps, or Easter Eggs…


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Crystal Ball Time: Romance Novels in 20 Years

April 27th, 2011 Kathleen O'Reilly Posted in Newsflash, Reading Matters Comments Off

There has been a lot of discussion regarding feminism vis a vis romance vis a vis sex.  DearAuthor had a great discussion that raised a lot of questions and spawned a lot of passion debates.

When I was in my 20s, I wanted my own software company, a Red Porsche (911 aka the BubbleButt, not 944), and a maid.  When I was in my 30s, I wanted to see the world, have kids and have a maid.  Now, in the 40s, I actually only care about the maid.  (THAT WAS A JOKE.  KIDS, DH, I LOVE YOU MADLY).  I have always believed that a romance novel was a fairly empowering device on many levels.  In most cases, it is the heroine who is the catalyst for changing the hero.  In the best sorts of romance novels, the heroine is a force to be reckoned with.

Kathleen as CEO!

I have read and enjoyed romance novels that I wouldn’t consider empowering, the ones where the hero is all-powerful and the heroine is merely a lamp-post in the story.  By and large, I can’t glom a lot of stories like this, because eventually they do start pissing me off.   What’s fun in one book, starts making me self-analyze in Book 2, and by Book 3, I start questioning why I are still reading this and if it makes me a bad person, much like watching a Scream movie marathon.  HOWEVER, I think the reasons I can’t do a glom is because that in the 20s, I wanted a Red Porsche and my own software company.   Inherently, I recognize the disconnect between my own life goals (at one time) and what I’m reading on the paper and yes, it will begin to bug me.

So, the flipside of this is, if I didn’t have those particular life goals in my 20s, if instead I craved a more traditional life, a family, a husband, I don’t think I would question anything because there is no disconnect in who I am.

As people, we tend to grativate toward newspapers, blogs, friends, who reinforce what we believe is right.  One of the worst parts of the Internet is that we can always find newspapers, blogs, or online friends who reinforce what we believe is right, and we forget that we are all different.

Several years ago, I was talking to my dermatologist and she asked if what I did ever became boring, writing the same story over and over again.  I explained to her that everyone’s story is different.  Each person has a unique love story, because while we may share subsets of belief systems: the same set of goals (i.e. a Red Porsche), the same set of fears (sharks), or the same things that piss us off (Congress), the way these pieces come together is always guaranteed to be unique.

So, while I don’t worry too much about the feminist-anti-feminist mores of romance novels, I do wonder how things like this will shape the future.  Woman have surpassed men In Advanced Degrees.  From the HuffPost:

Among adults 25 and older, 10.6 million in the U.S. who earned a master’s degree or higher were women, compared to 10.5 million men. Women, however, still lag men in subcategories such as business, science and engineering.

In terms of finishing college, women surpass men in earning bachelor’s degrees, by 1.5 million.

In about twenty years from now, sitting in corporate america, women have better resumes than men.  In about twenty years from now, we will see a lot more women in top jobs.  In about twenty years from now, little girls growing up will see a lot more women CEOS and they will be wanting Red Porsches as well.

What I do wonder is in twenty years from now we will see more romance readers wanting career-oriented women (i.e. ‘that’s my world; I want to read about it’) or less (i.e. ‘Calgon, take me away!’).    So, what do you think?

In twenty years, do you think readers will want more career-oriented heroines or will they want less?

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Pain is a Four-Letter Word

April 19th, 2011 Kathleen O'Reilly Posted in Newsflash, Reading Matters Comments Off

According to an article in the Telegraph, swearing after hurting yourself can help numb the pain.  As a rule, I am not a swearer.  We had strict rules in our house, and I don’t know that I ever heard my parents say anything inappropriate.  As such, I never did, either.  Much.

But there are times, when I’m scared or shocked or anticipating disaster that my mouth engages without the rules. 

When I write, I usually try and use the vocabulary that is appropriate for the character.  We have ideas in our head about swearing (or at least I do).  Higher class, higher education usually swear less.  Sometimes a male will use swear words to show dominance or arrogance or toughness.  A female might do the same.  Swearing as an intimidation tactic. 

There are readers who complain about swear words in books or movies.  I know I HATE movies with a whole lot of extraneous swearing.   What do you think?  Does swearing bother you in books?  In movies?  Or do you consider it authenticity?

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ARC: Ante Up for Reading First (technically should be an ARF)

October 26th, 2010 Kathleen O'Reilly Posted in Newsflash, On Biz, Reading Matters Comments Off

Forbes has an article about a book club wherein members pay to receive an advance copy of a book and then discuss amongst themselves — all in advance of publication.  In Kathleen’s never-humble opinion, this is a really awesome idea.  Think how much MORE money JK Rowling could have made by selling an ARF of Harry Potter VII.  I myself would have reached into the old pocketbook for an ARF of the newest Reacher novel.   Publishers are enthusiastic, but wary, but I think it’s a total win-win-win. 

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Turning the E-Page

October 21st, 2010 Kathleen O'Reilly Posted in Kindle, Newsflash, Reading Matters Comments Off

USA Today today has a great article on the growing popularity of ebooks (sales up 193% over a year ago), but there’s a lot of discussion about how the eboook market is a limited market.  I agree with that one, but something that Seth Godin (I think he’s the one) said a while back has stuck in my noggin.  The people who now have ereaders are the die-hard readers, the bibliophile (ebiblios?), the limited market of the population that account for (now Kathleen’s making up stats) 75% of the books being bought.  Yes, I think 80% of the population will not have an e-reader, but only 75% of the US population read at least ONE book (2006 data — there’s probably something newer and even more alarming, but I’m too lazy to get it.  Sue me.) 

The general consensus seems to be that people who get an ereader end up purchasing more books (Kathleen’s experience has shown this to be true), so all in all, to quote Martha Stewart: “It’s a good thing.”


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Kindle Changes the E-Game

August 4th, 2010 Kathleen O'Reilly Posted in Kindle, Reading Matters, Techie Things Comments Off

WSJ has a really good article on the upcoming Kindle and Amazon’s ereader strategy.  To be fair, I have a Kindle, I love it, nearly as much as my children, sometimes more.  People (publishers and a good chunk of authors) are not happy with the Amazon cut-throat pricing strategy (reminescent of Wal-Mart in its earlier years), but looking objectively, I think the world has gone very dog-eat-dog (or book-eat-book) and I don’t fault them for it (and I do LOVE $9.99 hardbacks that I would never read before).

This is my favorite quote from the article:

“For the vast majority of books, adding video and animation is not going
to be helpful. It is distracting rather than enhancing. You are not
going to improve Hemingway by adding video snippets,” he said.

At the RWA, there was a lot of mainstreaming of digital books, digital rights, e-readers.  The first time that I’ve ever noticed the the Publishing Powers That Be have openly embraced the idea with not only excitement, but legitimacy as well.

A $139 Kindle sold at Target is a game-changer.  I will most likely buy one for both of my kids.  My daughter is a selective Luddite (with two computers, an ipod, and an iHome).  She eschews the idea of reading a ‘book’ (picture hoity voice) on a device.  Of course, she can heft a 50 pound Harry Potter volume with ease.  I, now in my dwindling arm muscle years, have aches to accompany JK Rowling.  My son (who is no Luddite and LOVES tech), loves to read on the Kindle and loves the idea of instant book gratification.  I have friends who are voracious readers, who will now probably take the dip.  In my expert opinion, Amazon is going to sell a hella-lot.

There are a lot of what I deem ‘not-hardcore’ readers who poo-poo the Kindle.  It doesn’t have color.  It doesn’t play TV shows.  What if I want to browse the web?  If this is you, do not buy the Kindle, because you are not a hardcore reader.  You do not read cereal boxes at breakfast.  Your bathroom is not accessorized with a magazine rack.  Your bedside table is not invisible beneath the pile of books.  If these symptoms apply to you, then you, too may have readeritis, a serious, but non-debilitating disease that causes a slight twitch when you are jonesing for a book.  The tingle of excitement when you hear about a story that appeals.

I think the Kindle is here to stay in some form or fashion.  I think Amazon is going to rule the ebook market, and I do believe we are in for some wild roller-coaster e-swings.

You heard it here — not exactly first — but probably two-hundred-and-twenty-two-second.

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Kindling a Little Nookie

April 8th, 2010 Kathleen O'Reilly Posted in Reading Matters, Techie Things Comments Off

Or, how the big-box retailers stopped worrying that reading wasn’t cool and learned to love the e-reader.

It isn’t a huge surprise that less than a week after Apple released the AWESOME, SPECTACULAR, HOLYMOLYTHISTHINGWILLCHANGETHEWORLD ipad, Target and Best Buy have drunk the e-Kool-Aid. Not that I’m implying that there is something *hinky* about e-reader luv. Not that I haven’t been known to lovingly caress my Kindlicious (it’s a pet name). But it is fascinating to note the timing. Seems that Best Buy is getting the Barnes & Noble Nook, and Target (who is sometimes known to strangely and mysteriously know my purchasing decisions even before myself) is selling the Kindle.

Woot! (and no, neither device can be found on woot — yet).

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At the Blaze Blog Today

August 24th, 2009 Kathleen O'Reilly Posted in Blogroll, Reading Matters Comments Off

I’m posting at the Blazeauthors blog today. Taking an informal survey on the whys of reading romance and has the why changed and why the why has changed….

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What Makes a Hero? – Beyond Her Book – Blog on Publishers Weekly

July 7th, 2009 Kathleen O'Reilly Posted in Cool People, Reading Matters, Uncategorized Comments Off

Check out the full Barbara Vey link on Lady Jane.

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Focus in a Twittering World

May 22nd, 2009 Kathleen O'Reilly Posted in Newsflash, On Biz, On Writing Miseries, Reading Matters, Techie Things 12 Comments »

New York mag has a fascinating article on focus v. distraction and how it’s affecting the brain.  There’s a lot of really cool insights in the article, which is sort of a hodge-podge of anecdotes (Malcolm Gladwellian style).  A few tidbits:

Only in the last ten years—thanks to neuroscientists and their functional MRIs—have we been able to watch the attending human brain in action, with its coordinated storms of neural firing, rapid blood surges, and oxygen flows. This has yielded all kinds of fascinating insights—for instance, that when forced to multitask, the overloaded brain shifts its processing from the hippocampus (responsible for memory) to the striatum (responsible for rote tasks), making it hard to learn a task or even recall what you’ve been doing once you’re done.

And this little bit:

The only time multitasking does work efficiently, Meyer says, is when multiple simple tasks operate on entirely separate channels—for example, folding laundry (a visual-manual task) while listening to a stock report (a verbal task). But real-world scenarios that fit those specifications are very rare.

I knew that!!!  Laundry days at the O’Reilly household are planned around TV watching nights.  The scenario plays out where Laundress O’Reilly dumps all clothes on the couch, in which laundry-drone O’Reilly members must actually fold in order to — get this, it’s the really strategic one — find a place to sit on the couch in order to watch TV.

Anyway, I wanted to share.  Wired had an article on the future of reading in this month’s issue (I’m not sure there’s a link to this, the website seems to link to last month’s issue, not the current) , and they also had an interview with Guillermo del Toro on moviemaking, and the common link on both with the desire to make the creation/experience of movies and books more of a collective experience.  This makes a lot of sense to me because when a person *owns* something, the emotional response is higher than if they have no ownership investment in the process.  I remember a writer friend talking about Diana Gabaldon posting pieces of what would become Outlander on the web and get comments and criticism.  I sometimes wonder how much that little piece of the process affected the outcome of Outlander.

I’m not sure how a collective book could be written or reviewed.  As a writer, I know what paths work best for a story, which paths I’m most invested in, and I’m not sure if Readers Group chose Plot Pathway B as the route to proceed along, that I would care as much about *my story*.

Anyway, I’m mulling it over, and if anybody has any ideas about how the collective could work, I’d love to discuss.  I think it will be some sort of the future, but I’m not sure how to get there…

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