Friday, June 09, 2006

Out of the Blogoshere and Book Report

It must be spooky week for my blog tour groups, because after yesterday's GCC post about a haunted house, today's Out of the Blogosphere book is about werewolves. It's Shadow of the Moon, the latest installment in Rebecca York's werewolf series.

Here's the scoop:
Lance Marshall has a nose for great news stories-not surprising, since he's aided by his werewolf abilities. Now he's prowling outside an ultra-exclusive Washington, D.C. nightclub-"The Castle." But he is not alone. Savannah Carpenter wants to know how her sister ended up in a coma, and she knows that The Castle has something to do with it. But when Lance and Savannah pretend to be lovers to gain entrance, they learn that deception and unbridled lust can be a dangerous combination.

(Hmm, a member of the D.C. press corps is a werewolf. You know, that would explain a lot.)

For an excerpt and more info, visit Rebecca's web site.

And now for my latest book report. An odd theme emerged from my reading this week and last week because for part of that time I was simultaneously reading two books. One, a novel, was my fun reading. The other was a book I was reading for writing research. At first glance, they seemed entirely unrelated, but then they started to play off each other in weird ways.

The novel was Going Postal by Terry Pratchett. I've had his books recommended to me for YEARS by many of my friends, and I don't know why I didn't bother trying one until now. I think I was so overwhelmed by the size of the series, but I just grabbed this one at the library and dove in. It took me a bit longer to read than books I'm enjoying usually take me because his wordplay is so clever you don't want to rush ahead. It wasn't so much about what happened and how things would work out as it was about how things were described, and there were a number of passages I re-read just to enjoy them again. For the few of you who aren't already Pratchett fans, this book is about a dyed-in-the-wool crook, swindler and con man who gets an unexpected chance when his city's ruler rescues him from a hanging (well, he is hanged, just not quite to death) to make him Postmaster of the long-defunct post office. As he wades through piles of undelivered mail and deals with the odd assortment of postal workers, he realizes that there are actually good uses for his crooked skills. I'm a fan of light, fun fantasy, so I'm glad that I have a new author to enjoy, and years worth of reading to catch up with.

Meanwhile, I was reading a non-fiction book called Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality by Dr. Henry Cloud. I read a lot of books about psychology and its practical applications because they help me with character development. I especially like business-oriented psychology books because they're usually about stuff like developing leadership qualities or coping with difficult situations or people -- the kinds of things that happen to characters in stories. This book isn't so much about the usual meanings of "integrity," such as being honest and trustworthy. It's more about the "integrated" idea of being a whole, complete character who can see reality, face it and deal with it in a way that brings about success. The writing was quite engaging for something that could be a dry topic.

Usually when I read a book like this, I get something out of it on multiple layers. I see something I can apply to the characters in whatever I'm working on. I see something I can use in my own business dealings. I also often get some ideas for my own personal growth. But this time around, what was really fun was that the journey of the main character in Going Postal was mirroring what I was reading in the Integrity book. It was almost like a case study as this character was learning to face the situation he was in and deal with it.

Last week's reading also included the second book in Naomi Novik's Temeraire series (LOVE!!!), in which our main character might also be a good example of integrated character.

And don't forget that this weekend I'm part of a panel of authors answering questions on world building at the Romance Divas Forum. You may have to register with the site to be able to read the forums.

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