As soon as the old detective starts talking about buying a boat and all the fish he’s going to catch, or what the view will be like from his back window when he retires, you pretty much know he’s not gonna make it. Or maybe he will, but not without taking a bullet in the gut first just to psych you out. It’s not because he’s not a good guy – in fact he’s often the most genuinely decent, likeable character. It’s because life isn’t fair, and bad guys are only clearly bad if they hurt good people. And, like a bad boyfriend/girlfriend, the movie wants to hurt you so it can be the one to make you feel better. Continue reading…
For someone with a well-documented history of cowardice, I really like Hallowe’en. Yes, the holiday comes replete with ghosts and ghoulies, and a porous boundary between the living and the dead. It produces scads of creepy costumes, and an endless supply of horrible slasher films. But to all that I say: candy! There’s more to it, of […]
I own several shares of a cat. It’s not a weird as it sounds. A friend with a cat travels travels a lot, so the kitty spends a fair amount of time with me. She’s spending this week with me in fact, while her owner is off swimming, running, and cycling hundreds of kilometres at a triathlon […]
I always enjoy writing a ‘Best Of’ column, and this year it’s particularly timely. Not only do I work in retail (which is category 5 insane right now) but my week also included a bicycle accident and a broken water main. Frankly, I needed some happy time. It did me good to think about and/or […]
In April, the Guttersnipes like to mix it up a little. This month, Comics Editor Carol Borden writes about romance. “You hit him with a frying pan,” he said to her. “How come you didn’t grab a knife?” “The frying pan was closer.” Her eyes slid away. “It’s not like I had time to pick […]
Ah, mid-February. That time of year in which Romance authors are hounded by the media for sound bites and wink-wink, nudge-nudge style “advice” for hackneyed articles about Valentine’s Day, most of which will appear under headlines made awkward by ham-handed double-entendres*. I’m all for Romance writers getting some press, but the box-checking, paper-thin nature of […]
Alex’s excellent article last week prompted Gutter Overlord Carol to suggest we each use this month to write about masculinity in our own particular capacity. Having been by odd coincidence right in the middle of reading The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine (a fascinating look at the physical and hormonal characteristics unique to, um, the […]
It’s the end of the year; I work in retail; I have the flu. All of which means that for the past couple weeks I’ve been re-reading rather than reading. Mostly Eva Ibbotson, whose warmth reminds me not only that I love reading, but why. Which makes this a good time for a retrospective list. […]
I’ve been thinking about heroes and archetypes again (which is not actually news: story archetype is a sandbox in which I happily spend a lot of time). Feels like it’s everywhere these days. A few weeks back I was on a panel at the World Fantasy Convention that discussed love and monsters. Alex and Carol […]
As I said this time last year, I like back to school season. I love the energy of it. I miss the sense of anticipation, of knowing I had lots of new things to look forward to. At least, usually I do. Perhaps I’m just feeling particularly curmudgeonly this season, or maybe summer was just […]
Recently, I’ve been thinking about danger. Specifically, the kind of danger that runs through a certain subsection of Romance, often called ‘romantic suspense’. These are the stories that drop the hero and heroine into physical jeopardy in addition to exposing them to all the emotional risks of falling in love. When done well, they share […]
I make a conscious attempt to not repeat myself with this column. It would be easy to do: my favourite writers are my favourites for a reason, and yay, they keep writing great books. But I figure that wouldn’t be terribly interesting for anyone but me. Besides, there are so many Romances published every year. […]
Publishing powerhouse Jackie Collins explains her decision to self-publish and the business of books.
Computers and I are not the best of friends. We’re more like work colleagues who really don’t care for one another. We may act all professional, but secretly we’re each making sarcastic comments about the other’s hair, clothing, and annoying personal habits. Okay, maybe that’s just me.
Several years ago I went to Disney World with friends who had a small child. The three of us adults were almost enough to keep the little one from exploding in all directions, but afterwards I needed a vacation from my vacation. So I headed off to Daytona Beach, intending to spend a few days […]
In a lovely meditation, William Goss sees continuity between The Grey and Oslo, August 31st: “I found myself reminded of the great beauty that movies can have, the universal truths that they could capture, the emotions that – if we’re lucky – they will convey and elicit.”
Last February, I had a chance to talk to Julianne MacLean, a USA Today bestselling Romance author from Bedford, Nova Scotia. We discussed her career development, her move to a new publisher, and her connection to the writing community. Julianne was about to see the release of a brand new trilogy, all three books of […]
I was a little disappointed by how many Romances I liked this year. Mostly because I wanted to love so many more of them. But as always, some titles managed to rise above the rest. Here are some of my favourites from this year.
Did you ever bounce off a book when you first picked it up only to discover later that you loved it? Back in high school that happened to me with To Kill A Mockingbird. Really. I’d picked it up during the summer to get a jump on the next semester, but it took until the […]
I always get a boost of industrious energy this time of year, and a renewed sense of purpose. All those years of back-to-school excitement have left me with a nigh-Pavlovian response to Labour Day. I’m one of those (apparently rare) few who actually liked school from kindergarten onwards, so the beginning of a new school […]
Like many in the book business, I get most of my books for free or at cost. While I rarely have the patience or skill to bargain for any other object, when it comes to books the thought of paying retail is, to me, rather absurd. The major exception to my self-imposed rule is in […]keep looking »