Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Harry Potter Got Me

I've had the Harry Potter books lying around my apartment for a few years now, and I'd never gotten around to reading them until this weekend.

I'd watched all of the movies and skimmed the beginning of the first Harry Potter, then put it away.

Well, this weekend, I started reading, and I got hooked. As much as I liked the first movie, the book is even better, with more detail and more setup so I now understand more of what was going on in the movie. I totally get why it's so popular--it got me to drop the James Patterson book I was reading.

What it all means: I think I'm more into kids' fantasy than crime thrillers, and being that my time is so limited , I'm going to try to focus more of my reading energy on books I really enjoy. Right now, that's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Kindle E-Book Giveaway

In conjunction with the Goodreads' paperback giveaway, I am giving away 10 digital copies of RATS ON STRINGS that can be read on the kindle or with a kindle app to the first 10 requesters.

Leave your email in a comment below or email me at guyjamesfiction@gmail.com to enter.

Note: If you don't have a kindle, you can download the kindle app for pc here:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

James Patterson

Now that I'm done with DON QUIXOTE and my zombie movie, I've moved on to JACK AND JILL, the third in the Alex Cross detective series by James Patterson.

I've only recently begun to read James Patterson, and I think that considering his immense success, his stories can't be ignored. JACK AND JILL is my fourth James Patterson book, and like the three I read previously, it has a very strong beginning, and keeps up at a fast pace--at least so far.

So I'll be reading that today, and, if the jackhammers outside my apartment let up, I'll put some time into working on the zombie novel.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The "Rules" of Dialogue Attribution

Books about writing often put forward rules about how to attribute dialogue to characters. One of the prevailing rules advises the avoidance of dialogue tags other than "said."

The arguments for avoiding terms such as "replied," "retorted," "exclaimed," "burst out," and so on are that (i) the reader should be able to imagine the way the characters are talking from the dialogue and setting itself, (ii) tags other than said can be distracting, for example, "he prevaricated," rather than "he said, knowing it to be false," or "he lied," and...there are probably other arguments that I can't think of right now, but that's not really the point.

In reality, most bestselling authors use tags other than said all the time, and tags such as "whispered" or "asked" or "cried" can help to describe the scene in more detail and paint a more vivid picture in the reader's mind.

Books on writing aside, I was talking to a friend of mine last night about what it is he likes and dislikes in fiction. One of the things he said (without my prompting) was that he hated when authors only used the tag "said," instead of changing it up with some variety. Coming from a reader, that might be an important comment to consider.

Despite all the disagreement with regard to proper dialogue tagging, I don't think it's that big a deal whether you change up your tags or just stick to "said." It never bothers me as a reader unless the tags get overly long or start to fill up with adverbs. I certainly don't enjoy "he castigated belligerently," but mild-moderate variation with reasonable tags is, in my opinion, desirable.

And that was my first substantive-ish post. I apologize, and promise to return to zombie discussion in the next one.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What I'm Reading

I finished BRAVE NEW WORLD last night. I liked it, it was a quick read, and an interesting look at character perpective and viewpoint.

I moved on to DON QUIXOTE, another classic that I've neglected, and I like it a lot so far. Reading it, it makes me think of the main character in CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES.

I've been concentrating on how authors switch character perspectives and the different ways in which they do it, in a general effort to improve my own use of viewpoint.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Long Day of Work Ahead...With Possible Undead Reward

I'm mentally prepping myself for another long work day (that started 1.5 hours ago), and maybe, just maybe, if I'm home in 14 or so hours, I'll pop in the American Zombie DVD that I'm expecting from Netflix and see what I can glean from it.

I have very low expectations, but I fear that I may still be disappointed.

Starbucks' Vise-like Grip

I'm a big coffee drinker. I drink at least a few cups a day, and more when work demands it.

In my cafeteria, we have a variety of complimentary Starbucks flavors. They are all horrific. I sometimes am given Starbucks gift cards, so I've tried their in-store coffee as well--equally terrible. I don't know if it's just me, or if we have a very low standard for what is drinkable coffee here in America, but I've tried a lot of different coffees, and Starbucks is by far the worst as far as flavor is concerned.

What's the point of this post? The point is that for those of you who agree with me, and who know more about coffee flavor than I do, I'd like to ask you to tell me what it is that's wrong with Starbucks coffee. There's a flavor to it that might be a preservative or just old age or a very bad bean mix, but it tastes kind of like "old" to me. It's a distinct flavor that I only, and consistently, encounter in Starbucks coffee. If you know what I'm talking about, do you know what that flavor is? I'm not even sure how to describe it, but it has a very "off" taste and aftertaste relative to other coffees.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I'm most of the way through the first draft of my zombie novel now. I'm going to brush up on my zombie awareness with a few flicks and a rereading of Max Brooks' World War Z before I finish and move on to the rewriting/editing phase.

If you have any zombie movie/book recommendations, I welcome them.

What I'm Reading

I just started reading BRAVE NEW WORLD. Believe it or not, it's my first time reading it. I also read the beginnings of John Saul's THE CREATURE and Mary Higgins Clark's THE SHADOW OF YOUR SMILE, before replacing them in favor of BRAVE NEW WORLD. I will likely come back to them later.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My First Zombie Novel

I am currently working on my first zombie novel, set in Charlottesville, Virginia, which is an outgrowth of RATS ON STRINGS.