All of Heyer: Simon the Coldheart

allheyericonPublished 1925

“Almost from the first her novels stood apart from the usual offerings among historical fiction.” – Jennifer Kloester

I liked Simon the Coldheart¬†well enough, but find myself with not much to say about it. Reading it between Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies* was, in retrospect, not the greatest idea. I was too eager to get back to Mantel to give Simon the attention he deserved; and he does deserve it. To be honest, I had a hard time putting it down for first half of the book. The second half didn’t exactly drag, but it lost a little momentum–and that was just when we were getting to the love story.¬† Continue reading

The Holy Grail

I wrote this two years ago and never published it for some reason…it’s been hanging around in the drafts on this blog, which shows how long I have been dithering about with getting this blog off the ground! But it’s a funny story so I thought I would share. –MCS

John Scalzi has a post on his blog telling publishers to not take his innocuous comments about the “Big Idea” posts on his blog and make them book blurbs. The “Big Idea” posts are written by various authors to publicize their books, and Scalzi’s comments are just introductory in nature, not meant to be praise or censure; yet publishers are using them as blurb comments, because Scalzi’s a big name in science fiction (and I WILL praise one of his books, Redshirts–hilarious and touching, and you can blurb me on that) and a blurb from him is worth something, even when it’s essentially meaningless, I guess. It does strike one as a violation of Wheaton’s Law, of which one would expect a reader of Scalzi’s blog to be aware.

Turning innocuous comments or outright bad reviews into outstanding blurbs has a long and illustrious history

I wonder if his blog post will do him any good, because it seems to me a lot of folks at publishing houses (and authors, when they self-publish, or are forced to do their own marketing) tend to not read the instructions carefully. Besides, turning innocuous comments or outright bad reviews into outstanding blurbs has a long and illustrious history, especially on movie posters.

I had an experience in that direction myself. Continue reading

Uptown Funk You Up

In case anyone was wondering where I got the blog tagline, it’s from my current jam. Smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy!

If you don’t like it, don’t worry–I’m going to be changing up the taglines occasionally.

Around the Square

On nice days, I like to take a lunchtime walk around Rittenhouse Square. The groundskeepers have been hard at work the past few weeks getting the square ready for spring. I couldn’t resist whipping out my mobile phone and taking a few photos. (Here is where I mention I am not a very good photographer.)


“The hardest part of doing anything creatively is just getting up and doing.” – Frances Bean Cobain

Very perceptive from a 22-year-old!

via Frances Bean Cobain on Life After Kurt’s Death: An Exclusive Q&A | Rolling Stone.

All of Heyer: Instead of the Thorn

allheyericonPublished 1923

“Theme handled with restraint, but not needed in small libraries.” – from a review in the Wisconsin Library Bulletin, May 1924 (ouch!)

Instead of the Thorn was Georgette Heyer’s first novel with a contemporary setting. Of course, she wrote it in 1922 or so, so that makes it a period piece for our purposes. In fact, it’s a year or two before the current season of Downton Abbey is set, though the characters are middle-class and the plot is darker in some ways. Not in the occasionally silly dramatic-death soap opera way of DA; this feels like real life.

“She had expected to feel a heroine’s exultation when Stephen slipped the ring on to her finger, but the ring was too big, and she had wanted sapphires.”

Continue reading

A bit of housekeeping

I’m working on a final look for this blog, so I’ll be experimenting a bit here and there, and the appearance will change. Excuse our dust!