Joshua Edward Smith – Gravity (Entropy Book 3)

Nice review of my third novel…

REVIEW

Sequels are difficult to write well but a trilogy is even more difficult. Gravity offers a great end to this story. There are sufficient time lapses to make things more interesting. The change in relationship status between the characters over time is done remarkably well. I didn’t find the sex factor as compelling as in the previous two books. But hey, that is simply my opinion. Nevertheless, the ending of the book was sensational. For those, like me, that need to see the resolution in characters’ lives, this is a must read novel.

BLURB

A chance meeting brings Sir and Lisa together after five years. But Sir is in a budding relationship and Lisa’s life is in chaos. Could a radical change in Sir’s situation finally let things work between them? Gravity is a complex and moving exploration of the turmoil older people face bringing romance and commitment back…

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Joshua Edward Smith – Gravity

Maggie Jane Schuler

Sir and Lisa’s journey explores the inner self and the road to a strong emotional and physical bond with a partner. Joshua Edward Smith’s final installment of the Entropy Series is a beautiful tribute to the human condition. While he uses the erotic nature of BDSM to convey the message, the Entropy Series is more of a philosophical exploration of the lifestyle. The complex themes of unconditional love, trust, and genuine happiness truly run their course through the series. From the unraveling of growing apart from one’s partner to personal tragedy, and rebuilding a life, The Entropy series covers it all and much more. Smith’s eloquent style deepens the richness of the text and leaves the reader critically analyzing the complex structures which exist among people with regards to the vulnerable acts associated with affairs of the heart. For a sophisticated and elegant read try your hand at the Entropy Series, you won’t be disappointed

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Joshua Edward Smith – Entropy

Delightful new review of my first novel…

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REVIEW

This book breaks the standard formula for a romance novel. First, the concept of an online romance is uniquely fantastic. To make things more interesting, it is a D/s relationship.  Coincidentally, I had just first heard of the concept of an online D/s relationship a few days before I started reading the book. I felt like I was reading an entirely new genre, which was new and exciting.

The ebb and flow of the developing relationship is less linear than most romance novels.  There are a number of issues that derail or set-back the progression of the relationship.

The depth of Lisa’s feelings grow incrementally throughout the book. The author never seems to make those unexpected leaps that ruins the believability of the book.

I fell in love with Lisa’s character when she starts tweeting from her hospital bed.  (Hey, it’s in the first 20% of the book, which I’ve…

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Read Me a Story, Siri

The economics of audiobooks are basically a disaster. They cost a lot to produce, the sellers don’t let you set your own prices, and the volumes are too low. So unless you have a mega-hit or you are doing it as a charity/vanity exercise, your book isn’t ever going to be an audiobook. But people love audiobooks. It’s so convenient to be able to listen to the book while you drive!

I decided to see if I could listen to a regular e-book by having my phone read it to me. I got it to work (I’ll explain how below, if you want to try). It was a little weird. The reading was completely emotionless. It so happens that I was “reading” Calculated Regrets by Thomas Jast at the time. And the main character in there is a sociopath. And it’s in the first person. So the lack of emotion fit the character and it all kind of worked together. But for other books it’s not such a good fit.

Anyway, if you want to try, first get an iPhone. I’m sure it’s possible to do this with Android, but I have no idea how.

Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Voice Over

Drag the speaking rate slider to the exact middle. The default rate is way too fast.

Now go back up to the Accessibility settings and scroll down to the bottom. Select Accessibility Shortcut. Set it to VoiceOver.

If you are in your car, do whatever you do to listen to music from your phone through your car speakers. Stop the music, obviously.

Now go to your e-Reader. iBooks and Kindle both work. Make the text as small as possible. VoiceOver doesn’t know how to read hyphenated words, and making the text tiny minimizes the number of those you’ll have to decipher as you listen.

Update: iBooks has a setting (over in the Settings app, not in iBooks itself) where you can turn off hyphenation. I can’t find a setting like that for Kindle, but it solves the hyphenation problem if you listen to a book in iBooks.

Swipe up from the bottom and go into Airplane mode. When you get a notification, VoiceOver will read it and then stop reading the book. That will drive you crazy. Going to Airplane mode is a quick way to stop notifications.

Triple-click the home button. That turns VoiceOver on.

Swipe down on the top of the page with two fingers. It will start reading and just keep on reading until you triple-click the home button again.

Let me know in the comments whether it works for you, and what you think of the experience.

Hey Bloggers, Please take 20 Seconds to do this Right Now

I just read a terrifying article in the NY Times about a mature blog that Google just shut down with no explanation. And it reminded me to do something that all you other bloggers need to do right now. I’ll give you the directions for WordPress, but if you are hosted on something else, I’m sure there’s a simple way to do it on whatever service you use.

  1. Go to the admin page for your blog. It’s something like:
    mygreatblog.com/wp-admin
  2. Near the bottom of the left column, there’s a section called “Tools.” Open that.
  3. Choose Export.
  4. You’ll see a free option with a button that says “Start Export.” Click that button.

That’s it. In a few seconds your browser will download an XML file that contains every word you’ve ever written.

You should do this every month. Set a calendar reminder. That XML file can be used to reconstruct your blog if anything tragic ever happens to it.

 

AN ACTUAL REVIEW OF ROMANTIC AS HELL

Romantic as HellYesterday I wrote my “review” of Romantic as Hell by Rodney Lacroix. Did you read it? Did you get the joke? Sheesh people. You disappoint me sometimes.

I didn’t review his book! 

Here is my actual review…

Rodney wrote an amazingly good book. It does have a little bit of a structural issue, which even he sees because he talks about it right up front. This is a book that started out as one thing, but ended up being something completely different. Both the old thing and the new thing end up in the same book, which is the structural issue I’m talking about. They are both excellent things—they are just different, and so the transition back and forth can be a little clumsy.

The original thing this book was going to be is a whole bunch of really cool romantic craft projects. Seriously. Crafty things that even a person cursed with a Y chromosome can probably manage to do. And since the projects are romantic as hell (as advertised), it doesn’t even matter if you do them well. You spend a few hours doing a thing and give it to your wife/girlfriend/sidepiece and she will totally melt. Then she’ll put pictures up on Facebook (unless she’s the sidepiece, I hope) to make all her friends go “awww” and kick their men in the shins for not doing that stuff.

The projects are creative and clever, and as I said in my Amazon review, not exactly what you would expect from a straight man who likes going to hear 80s metal bands. They aren’t particularly funny, though. Just really good ideas. In fact, at one point I got a little sad, because I’ve done stuff like this for my wife, and it hasn’t always gone over the way I hoped. Rodney had one case like that, but it turned around for him. But I digress. Romance involves risk. And if it always pans out, it’s not risky. So I say: try this stuff.

But, as I said, that’s the original thing the book was going to be about. Except I’m sure after he finished it, he realized that while it would make a great series on TLC, it’s not a comedy book. So he went back and wrote a comedy book. And this book totally rocks as a comedy book. It is mostly a long series of hilarious anecdotes of stupid things the author has done in his life. Rodney is a story-teller of the first degree. You feel like you are there. You have that “OH NO!” feeling at least once in every tale.

Going back and forth between the comedy and the craft projects is kind of clumsy. I think I would have rather he had just written two completely different books and stuck them together. Like those kids books where they print half of it upside down, so you can flip it over and have a different book. Except I guess they can’t do that with e-Books, so yeah, that’s probably a stupid idea. But anyway, one book of funny stories with references to the craft projects, an another book of craft projects with references to the funny stories.

But it’s really not that big a deal. This book is a really quick read, so you can just trip over the transitions and keep going. You’ll plow through the stories, and make mental note of the craft projects. And then months later, when you are stuck trying to decide what kind of teddy bear to get your sidepiece for her birthday, you’ll remember the book and go do a craft project for her instead. It’ll become a reference book. You can store it next to your copy of the Chicago Manual of Style.

You can get the book here: getbook.at/RomanticAsHell. I highly recommend it. It’s funny. It’s clever. It’s well written. If you like my blog, you’ll like Rodney’s book.

Book Review: Romantic as Hell by Rodney Lacroix

Romantic as HellJust as I was getting my own book ready for release, Rodney Lacroix, who I know because we both collaborated on a funny tweet book a while ago, asked if anybody had a blog and could talk about his book. That’s it over there on the right. I saw this mostly as an opportunity to get to read his book without paying for it, so I jumped at the chance. (See, Rodney didn’t know this, but I actually intended to buy his stupid book, but now I don’t have to, because that dope sent it to me for free.)

I read it in just a few hours. Pretty much plowed through it. I laughed a bunch of times. And one part made me kind of sad. But overall, it’s a hell of a good book. But let’s focus on the thing I didn’t like: the indentation. So here we are, on a blog, and it does that thing where each paragraph starts with no indentation and has a gap of white space above it. That’s cool, but for some reason, print book are never done that way. In print, you are supposed to have no gap, and instead start each line with a half inch of blank space. Because that’s how Gutenberg intended it, or some shit. I don’t know. But that’s what they do.

And Rodney’s book kind of does that, but the indent is tiny. Like, two ems or something (an em is the unit of measure with the stupidest name ever—it is literally the size of the letter “m” in the font you are using; no, wait, I take that back. “en” is the stupidest, because they clearly were just copying the whole “em” thing, so it’s like a bad imitation of a stupid idea). Anyway, the indents are too small.

And every now and then he’ll have a little pull-quote kind of thing where they indent a whole bunch. But they left the text full-justified (which means the letters spread out so they cover the whole line). Except because of the giant indent on the left, the line is really short so the justification causes the kerning (space between letters) to often get r  i  d  c  u  l  o  u  s. Ugh.

Whoever did the text layout for Rodney’s book should be shot.

Also, he does this thing where he uses asterisks around words as stage direction. You’ve seen this in tweets:

*stops car* "Yes, Officer?"

It’s fine in tweets. It has no place in a book. In a book you have italics for that. (Quick aside: Why do we use * for that anyway? *word* is an old plain text usenet trick that meant bold. _word_ was used for underline. And, of course, underline is an old typing trick that you’d use when you didn’t have italics. So technically, shouldn’t we be using _ for stage direction, as in:

_stops car_ "Yes, Officer?"

Clearly we should, although it looks terrible, so yeah, never mind about that.) [That close parenthesis I just used is closing “Quick aside” up above, by the way. It turned out my aside really wasn’t all that quick.]

So, to summarize, this is a great book with annoying typography.

I could talk about the book content I suppose, but this is part of a “blog tour” (that term was probably invented by the same guy who came up with “em”). That means a whole lot of people have already talked about the content, and they probably did it better than I would do anyway. Quick summary: lots of funny stories, silly exposition, and creative romantic craft projects.

You can find it on Amazon at getbook.at/RomanticAsHell. I recommend it. It’s good. Except for the indentation.

Update: For heaven’s sake people. I was kidding! I wrote an actual review of his book. Go read that now.

Hiatus

You may have noticed I am not posting much these days. For a while I had just felt like the well was dry. But now I have a much better excuse: I’m writing a novel! It’s coming along quickly. I think it will be finished sometime this summer. And then you will all buy it and make it a viral sensation and make me rich. Sound good? Cool, thanks.

Update: I wrote it.