Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Shopping: What Next?

Holiday Shopping: What Next?
by Jacqueline Seewald

Nothing can quite compare with the yearly ritual of holiday shopping, which theoretically begins on the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday. However, in actuality it begins much earlier, of late right after Halloween. In fact, the way things are going, pretty soon the stores will start putting up tinsel on the 4th of July.

The frenetic pace of shopping madness increases unabated throughout December. The shopping itself takes on such dimensions that with many people, the material supercedes the spiritual aspect of the holidays.

But before the shopping can even begin, there is the business of finding parking at the Mall. Holiday shoppers know when they are nearing the Mall because traffic becomes as thick as an ant colony, and jockeying for position starts in earnest. Inevitably, a type "A" personality loses patience and aggressively pulls out on the shoulder of the road, speeds ahead, then forces his/her way into the regular stream of traffic. This individual manages to gain perhaps four or five car lengths to ultimately beat the traffic light, forcing other drivers to slam on their brakes and come to an abrupt halt. A cacophony of horns proceeds to announce the general agitation.

Arriving at the mall, one is treated to a breathtaking sight—an unending sea of automobiles. There is quite literally not a parking spot to spare. And so begins the art of cruising for a space. This can be compared to the choreography of a ballet. Automobiles pirouette and arabesque around the lot.

Inevitably, there is a car waiting in each aisle for someone to pull out. Often there are two vehicles set to swoop down like vultures. The poor driver who must pull out of the spot has a serious dilemma: which way to go? One or the other of the waiting drivers must be disappointed, only to drive off angrily, perhaps offering the middle finger salute. Definitely not showing proper holiday spirit! (More like the gunfight at Okay Corral) Drivers keep cruising, ready to dive like kamikaze pilots when they find a likely target--barely avoiding fender benders--a holiday miracle in itself. No matter how many spaces exist, there are never enough.

Another technique involves following those who are leaving. Sometimes these shoppers are merely putting away their packages and return to the Mall for further exploration. Then there is the individual, fully aware someone is waiting for his/her parking spot, who decides this is a good time to sit and light up a cigarette, fiddle with the car radio, or begin a philosophical discussion on the meaning of life with someone they've conjured on a cell phone.

Most amazing of all are those who decide to grab the closest parking spot. I'm talking here about nabbing the spaces set aside for the handicapped. These artists fall into several categories. First are those who have no physical impediment whatsoever but park illegally because they don't want to continue cruising. We have no trouble spotting them as they run out when the police start ticketing. The second category: those who somehow obtained handicapped stickers yet can move like gazelles, either had some impediment but are over it and kept their stickers, or obtained them illegally in the first place. There seem to be a growing number of these talented artists who we may refer to as prima donnas.

With so many people claiming the right to place handicapped stickers in their automobiles, I am waiting for the time when non-handicapped signs will be issued instead. After managing to obtain a parking spot and reaching the Promised Land of the Mall, we are greeted by a chorus of Hallelujah from the sound system. Unfortunately, by this time, we are almost too weary to shop.

When Christmas and Chanukah come and all the gifts are finally handed out, matters are not in the least resolved, as a good portion of those gifts will end up being returned soon after. (The heaviest shopping day of the entire year is December 26th) So just when we think our holiday shopping is finally done, it's only just begun!

Then there's the matter of re-gifting. That's the most bizarre ritual of all. This refers to presents that don't come with any clue as to where they were purchased. Even Sherlock Holmes would scratch his head in perplexity. These are gifts that no one in their right mind would want to keep: purple plaid socks, perfume that would make a skunk turn up its tail in disgust. Well, you get the picture! So what does one do with such odious presents? Naturally, we save them and give them to those who have given us their re-gifts. You know you've gone full cycle when one of your re-gifts is gifted back to you.

I would like to suggest that e-books are an excellent gift to give. You don’t have to run around. You can make your selections in comfort. And you don’t have to spend your life savings. There’s a perfect book for everyone, whether a cookbook like KILLER RECIPES or romantic mystery thrillers like THE INFERNO COLLECTION and THE DROWNING POOL, my two novels just published in e-book formats by L&L Dreamspell. Check it out at:

What are your feelings regarding holiday shopping? Do you give books as gifts? Thoughts and comments welcome!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

what's happening

My publisher got the new book Trashy Gourmet a week ago. It is another Adam Thomas mystery. Also been busy with talks and conferences in Texas. Have a number of things coming up and will write abut them shortly.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Amanda Hocking: What Does Her Success Mean?

Amanda Hocking: What Does Her Success Mean for Publishing?

by Jacqueline Seewald

The New York Times has broken the story that Amanda Hocking, a self-published paranormal YA author age 26, has signed a major deal with St. Martin’s Press. Hocking who self-published her e-books and sold them for 99 cents, has become a bestselling author. Bidding for her new work rose beyond $2 for worldwide English rights in a four book deal.

Some people have used this information to declare this as proof that e-publishing will destroy traditional publishing. However, Amanda Hocking herself disagrees with this analysis. In an intelligently written essay on her own blog,
Hocking says it’s harder to become a bestselling writer through
self-publishing than with traditional publishers. That is something I would agree
with. If the writing and presentation are amateurish, readers will simply not
buy the book no matter how little it may cost.

My YA novel STACY’S SONG certainly hasn’t been selling like Hocking’s books
as either a print or e-book despite good reviews; however, I still don’t believe that self-publishing is the answer for most writers. Hocking points out in her essay that she needed to get the help of editors and other professionals in publishing her work.
She couldn’t do it all by herself if she was going to create a good product. And now
Hocking has signed with a traditional publisher.

What is your interpretation of Amanda Hocking’s success? What do you see as the
future for e-publishing? For self-publishing?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars Over: Let’s Talk Books!

Book Review: Romance of My Dreams Volume 2
by Jacqueline Seewald

ROMANCE OF MY DREAMS, Volume 2, is an L&L Dreamspell Anthology which contains ten romantic stories by eight different authors. The enjoyment lies in that you get ten different stories with a variety of voices and characters.

The lead off story is Pauline Baird Jones’ “Comfort Zone.” Halle Greenfield isn’t thinking of marriage. However, Lord Keil has other ideas. The story grabs the reader from the beginning: “Marrying a man she’d met once was a bad idea. When that man was
ET it was insane.” Yes, this is a science fiction romance. It is also charming, romantic, humorous and will leave you with a smile on your face.

In Cindy Davis’ “Cuppa Jarvis” the intriguing character Detective Colby Jarvis is called in to solve the break-in at Angie Deacon’s community theatre. Needless to say, a romance develops. The story could well be developed into a romantic suspense novel.

“Pyrotechnics” by Joyce Scarbrough is more than a college romance. Jaycee Stevens is a college freshman trying to find herself. Like Jaycee, Bud Stanton is an athlete. He is also
troubled about finding his identity. Both have family problems. The two are a volatile mix. And they do combust. The dialogue is realistic and the characters well-drawn.

“Recov” by Helen Henderson is a bitter-sweet romance, touching and tender. It is the science fiction story of Eric Marten who has been chosen by the government to create
a child with the woman of his dreams, Lauren Woods. There’s just one problem:
Lauren died before her time and has been brought back to life for a brief time to create
a perfect child with Eric. At first chilling, the story becomes a warm and sensitive romance as the relationship develops between Eric and Lauren.

In “The View from the Balcony”, D.K. Christi, begins her story with a woman who is ill and has just been jilted by her fiancĂ© racing across a small Italian beach on horseback. The image of the blond-haired beauty in a white wedding dress dashing through the pounding surf on a white stallion catches the attention of a man who has also suffered losses. He rescues her from drowning and a beautiful love affair ensues. This is a lovely, romantic story that captures the reader’s attention and keeps it to the end.

“The Right Feeling” by Phyllis Humphrey is the story of Megan Taylor, an interior decorator, who has inherited an old hotel in Hawaii from an uncle. She cannot afford to
maintain the hotel or fix it up properly and has decided to try to sell it to a large corporation. The moment she sees Bart Graham who represents Condon Properties, she finds herself attracted to him, and the feeling is returned. But all is not smooth going for Megan because her hotel is hit by a tsunami. This is a well-written, enjoyable romantic story. Readers will care about Megan and Bart.

In “Son of a Sheik” by Pauline Baird Jones, a ten year old child with a giant IQ acts as matchmaker. Elle parents her dead twin sister’s child, Emma. Enter Rafiq who dumped Elle five years before and broke her heart. Em sets matters right. A very pleasing story with endearing characters.

“Manless and Loving It” by Lisa Rene Smith is a tour de force. Recently divorced Samantha Greene is walking on a deserted beach in the evening feeling her fifty years when a man comes out of nowhere and frightens her. However, Detective Nick Karras is not trying to attack Sam as she at first assumes but is actually interested in protecting her. A pithy, exciting romantic story.

“Safe Harbor” is the second story in this collection by Joyce Sterling Scarbrough.
Cal Pardue is suspicious of Jasmine Gregory’s attention to his grandfather in the nursing home. Jasmine is kind to everyone but Amos in particular because he reminds Jasmine of
her own grandfather who she hardly got to know. Jasmine’s surprising background makes her an especially interesting character, but she must overcome Cal’s hardcore distrust of women. The Louisiana locale provides an authentic setting for a sensitive yet entertaining romantic story.

“Casino Life” is my own contribution to the anthology. It’s as much a literary short story as a romance. Sara is a lonely widow whose life has lost its meaning. Her regular bus trips to Atlantic City are what keep her going. But Sara is not a gambler. Rob, a construction worker, was recently laid off his job. They meet on the bus and a bond forms between them, two lost souls in need of comfort and companionship. For them, the excitement of casino life ignites romance and hope.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Blog Talk Radio Program Reformated

There is a new place where you are welcome to promote your work—as long as your fiction/non-fiction includes a main character (or supporting cast) who is a strong woman, (hopefully of the good example type! but will consider the other if there is a lesson to learn in that of the other type! LOL)

Starting February 1, I am resuming my weekly Blog Talk Radio internet live talk show. I’m changed the format from Murder She Writes, to Writing Strong Women. The 30 minute program will air on Mondays at 1:00 p.m. CENTRAL time and is conducted over the telephone. There is no charge for this.

Please pass the word along to others, and if you are interested in booking an interview, email me at this email address. I usually go on a first come first serve basis.

I will be interviewing folks who write any genre, any time period, again, fiction and non-fiction— published--and whose work supports the topic of strong women.

If interested, let me know.