Book club – The Eye of Night

Hi and welcome to the first book club discussion. By now you should’ve gotten your copies of The Eye of Night and have read them. I hope you’re all ready for a great discussion. eye of night cover

Here are some questions to get us started:

What themes did you notice in The Eye of Night?

What did you think about the love story between Jereth and Hwyn?

How did you feel about the ending?

What was your favorite part of the book?

Do you think the author gave Hwyn such a lovely voice to compensate for her lack of physical beauty?

Did the book make you cry? *g*

Feel free to post other comments as well. I’m going to refrain until the discussion has really gotten started. I don’t want to make anyone feel they must agree with me. I’m really looking forward to hearing what you all have to say! If you haven’t gotten a copy of this and read it, do it quickly! We’ll be talking about this all week. Then on Friday, we’ll decide what book we should read next.

Nalini sings the blue(s) diablo-style

Her hot new UF, with its totally wicked blurb from Patricia Briggs, is coming out shortly. See the sexy countdown?

In honor of this, she’s got a whole lot of shaking going on. Right now, she’s giving away a BLUE DIABLO arc. How did I get so lucky? I have NO idea, but my editor is clearly made of awesome.

Go forth, ask for it! But don’t spam her blog, okay? Join in the discussion. It’s a good one.

(Well, what are you waiting for? It’s an ARC, people! I’m not giving these away myself until Wednesday.)

The Blue Diablo Blowout

Look what I made! It makes me happy just looking at it.

While I was working this afternoon, I did some thinking, and I’ve decided to launch the contest today. I want to give everyone plenty of time to enter. Why? Because I’m sweet like that! Also, this contest has two components. To enter the first won’t take long at all. The second will.

BLUE DIABLO BLOWOUT, part one

Prize packages

  • Grand Prize: $100 gift card from Barnes and Noble
  • First runner up: $50 gift certificate from Amazon
  • Second runner up: $25 gift card (or egift card) from Lush
  • Third runner up: Signed copy of Blue Diablo

Four winners. Big prizes. What do you have to do to get in on this?

Rules for entry for people with a blog:

  • Step 1: Click the Countdown graphic, where it says share. Copy the code.
  • Step 2: Post the code on your blog. It needs to stay on the main page for the next six weeks, so you may have to change the date periodically.
  • Step 3: Add something like “Check out the prizes on Ann’s blog” along with a link here. Publish blog post!
  • Step 4: Leave your link in comments, letting me know you’re done.

For those who don’t have blogs, here’s what you do to enter:

  • Step 1: Twitter about it with a link, if you’re on Twitter. Otherwise, you can post it on Facebook or MySpace. If you have no social networking at all, then tell at least one other person about the contest via email or IM.
  • Step 2: Post a comment saying you’ve done the above. Tell me where you posted, if applicable.

Feel free to ask any questions in comments. Please note, since the contest prizes are sizable, I do expect you to adhere to the rules. If you don’t, I simply won’t count your entry, so it might be worth your time to double-check. This post will be sticky until Blue Diablo releases on April 7 and I announce the winners. This contest ends at 11:59 pm CST, April 6.

ETA: If you want to post the graphic in your sidebar, instead of as a separate post, change the width and height in the code to “180” and “150.” That should go in a sidebar. Let me show you…

Blue Diablo Blowout, part two

A $250 Visa gift card.

This part of the contest is now closed. You can still enter part one, but time is ticking away on that one.

Sound good? Then let’s get this party started!

Today’s peeve?

Miracle sperm.

Not just in books, movies too. The reason I’m thinking about this — Andres and I watched Baby Mama last week, starring Tina Fey (who I love) and Amy Poehler (who I don’t hate). The movie was funny and offered a lot of laughs; don’t get me wrong.

But it’s been bugging me, and here’s why. The basic plot is this: Tina plays an uptight career woman who ignored her biological clock until she hit 37, and then all of a sudden, she contracts baby madness. She wants a baby and doesn’t care about whether a man comes with it. Fine, I’m on board with that, as far as it goes. She tries to fertilize herself at home with a spermcicle, but it doesn’t work, so she goes to her ob-gyn, who tells her she has an awful T-shaped uterus and her chances of getting knocked up are one in a million. This is why she ends up with a slightly crazy-eyed Sigourney Weaver, who runs a surrogate program. Tina gets matched up with Amy to be her baby mama, and they go to the fertility clinic together, where Amy is implanted with Tina’s baby.

As it turns out, Amy does get knocked up, but not by Tina. She’s sort of a white trash dumbass and she sleeps with her boyfriend after the test comes up negative. So she’s pregnant, just not with Tina’s egg. Amy moves in with Tina under false pretenses and they attend birthing classes together, becoming friends despite their great differences in class, education and overall attitude on life. That’s all fine and good. Amy helps Tina relax. Tina helps Amy realize she’s good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like her.

So what’s the fly in my honey, you might ask? Well, due to relaxing, Tina meets up with Greg Kinnear along the way, and she decides to bang him like a crazy woman. And even though she’s been told she has a one in a million chance of getting pregnant, guess what happens (after she finds out Amy’s bun in the oven isn’t hers?) You got it. Of course, Greg knocks Tina up with his super-sperm. (First of all, Greg Kinnear = ultra-virile? Really??)

This is what bugs me. Infertility is a problem that plagues many, many people. They spend millions of dollars on treatments, in vitro and surrogacy. And yet in movies (and books) the woman who has been unable to get pregnant is knocked up 95% of the time before the thing is done. That bothers me, I think. Sometimes I do want the fantasy and the escape. I want the sweet feel-good syrup that makes reality a little less bitter. But y’know, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I want the book or movie to show me that this person can find love, no matter his / her issue might be.

What do you think? Feel free to put your $.02 in the jar.

A day in the life – blog Jeopardy

You shall now receive a glimpse into my psyche. If you’re not prepared, you should flee now. Go look at LOLcats or something.

Everyone else braced? Okay, good.

I Google weird stuff. I really do. During the course of a work day, you wouldn’t believe the kinds of questions I type into search bar. But for your edification, I’m going to share with you the answers to the last 5 questions I asked the internet. The fun part? You get to guess the questions. The first person to get all of them right wins a prize.
questions

Answer 1: “The total amount of radiation coming from your body is determined very simply from the surface temperature of your body and the surface area by the Stefan-Boltzman Law, which says that total energy radiated by a blackbody per unit area per unit time is sigma*T^4, where sigma is the
Stefan-Boltzman constant, 5.67E-8 J K^-4 m^-2 s^-1, and T is the temperature in Kelvin. So if you have a surface area of 1 m^2 and a surface temperature of 310 K, you radiate at a rate of a little over
500 Watts. If you were thrown naked into a freezer with a temperature close to absolute zero, you really would radiate at a net rate of about 500 Watts (for a short time). But usually, things around you are warmer than that, and so they radiate too, and you absorb some of that radiation. Also, your effective surface temperature is the temperature of your clothes, which is less than your skin temperature. 50 to 100 W is probably not a bad guess.”

Answer 2:
“A picture of a ladybug.”

Answer 3:

“Towards the end of a star’s life, the temperature near the core rises and this causes the size of the star to expand. Such an expanded star is called a red giant. This is the fate of the Sun in about 5 billion years. Stars convert hydrogen to helium to produce light (and other radiation). As time progresses, the heavier helium sinks to the center of the star, with a shell of hydrogen around this helium center core. The hydrogen is depleted so it no longer generates enough energy and pressure to support the outer layers of the star. As the star collapses, the pressure and temperature rise until it is high enough for helium to fuse into carbon, i.e. helium burning begins. To radiate the energy produced by the helium burning, the star expands into a Red Giant.

A star that has exhausted most or all of its nuclear fuel and has collapsed to a very small size. Typically, a white dwarf has a radius equal to about 0.01 times that of the Sun, but it has a mass roughly equal to the Sun’s. This gives a white dwarf a density about 1 million times that of water! It can also be defined as a type of star that is abnormally faint for its white-hot temperature (see mass-luminosity relation). Typically, a white dwarf star has the mass of the sun and the radius of the earth but does not emit enough light or other radiation to be easily detected. The existence of white dwarfs is intimately connected with stellar evolution. A white dwarf is the hot core of a star, left over after the star uses up its nuclear fuel and dies. It is made mostly of carbon and is coated by a thin layer of hydrogen and helium gases. The physical conditions inside the star are quite unusual; the central density is about 1 million times that of water.”

Answer 4:

“Different barks express different emotions, including loneliness, fear, distress, stress and pleasure, as well as a need for care among puppies and serve to alert other dogs, people or animals to changing external circumstances.

Barking also helps keep a comfortable social distance among canids. In addition to snarling, growling, [and] hissing, barking tends to be a call of warning in all three species (the mother wolf may have a distinct ‘warning bark’ with which she warns pups away from danger) … Calls used to decrease social distance, such as whining, mewling or whimpering, are generally related to calls used by infants to elicit parental care and usually express submission during courtship, greeting, or aggressive encounters.”

Answer 5:

“A light-year or light year (symbol: ly) is a unit of length, equal to just under ten trillion kilometres. As defined by the International Astronomical Union (which is the body which has the jurisdictional authority to promulgate the definition), a light-year is the distance that light travels in a vacuum in one Julian year.

The light-year is often used to measure distances to stars. In astronomy, the preferred unit of measurement for such distances is the parsec, which is defined as the distance at which an object will appear to move one arcsecond of parallax when the observer moves one astronomical unit perpendicular to the line of sight to the observer. This is equal to approximately 3.26 light-years. The parsec is preferred because it can be more easily derived from, and compared with, observational data. However, outside scientific circles, the term light-year is more widely used.”

Whew, so you’ve survived a glimpse at what I do to write these books. Take a wild guess at the questions. You might win something!