Showing posts from 2007

I Need a Romance that Satisfies

On the eHarlequin boards earlier this week we were talking about satisfying romances. In my opinion, (This is my blog, do I even need to say “in my opinion?” It’s pretty much a given, right?) it's harder for me to be satisfied by a romance than by literary fiction.

I read a lot. All the time. I'm one of those reading-and-walking people who are always bumping into stop signs. Luckily I work at a college and the sidewalks are kept up so I haven't broken an ankle. Yet.

I read a lot of literary fiction, some fantasy, and, of course, romance. (Thrillers give me nightmares and mysteries make me feel stupid.)

I'm much more willing to keep reading literary fiction even if the book isn't working for me on some level. For example, I’ve been satisfied by great writing without much plot. (See Ford, Richard. The Sportswriter.) I’ve been satisfied by great characters even when they aren’t people I’d ever want to meet. (See Bukowski, Charles. Factotum.) I’ve been utterly satisfied…

Pandora, Bad Taste, and Romance

Pandora is an online radio service. You tell it some songs or artists you like and then it creates a radio station for you based on your taste. It matches songs based on their musical qualities, as opposed to Amazon where the matches are based on what you buy.

Dear, I bought that poker book for my brother-in-law. I do not like poker books. It's been two years now, can't we just forget the whole poker purchase and move on?

Ahem. Sorry.

I started a Pandora station and I was so excited. Until it kept playing Waylon Jennings. Yeah. That's right. I don't have anything against Waylon Jennings, per se. I was just surprised. And dismayed. I called my friend and she pointed out that I was feeling offended by my own taste.

Hmph. I should say, I called my former friend...

Luckily you can persuade Pandora to stop playing Waylon Jennings an artist by giving the thumbs down. My station is now better educated and plays just the kinds of music I love. My husband is appalled by m…

Contest Winners

Well, I'd pretend I put names in a hat to pick a contest winner, but that would have to be an awfully small hat...

Patricia, Ellen, Rita, Sam, Carrie-- if you'd like a signed copy of "Wanted Man," send me your contact info. My email is ellen (at) ellenhartman (dot) com.

Thanks for stopping by. I'm taking my kiddos for haircuts and then straight to the bookstore to spend my coupon on some nice big books!


Calling All Big Books: It's a Contest!

A friend went to see Salman Rushdie speak at Cornell last week. She mentioned that he advised the writers in the audience to write shorter books. According to Mr. Rushdie, you get paid the same amount of money for shorter books and can write more of them.

To this I say, "Whah!"

I love long books. Long, good books. Long, deliciously written good books with characters I can really care about. I'm looking at you, Miss Scarlet O'Hara.

I don't need to go into the reasons for this. A quick, top of the list survey would include "lazy" and "cheap." Those aren't the only reasons, though, I swear. I like to settle in and enjoy a time and place and people. My astrological sign might be a factor in this--we Aquarians prefer a few special people rather than hordes of acquaintances. Huh. Anyway!!

Recommend a long book! Who knows a good one? I'm rereading a favorite right now but I have a coupon for Borders burning a hole in my pocket. I'll send a co…

Two Ladies

I went away with my friend, Stephanie, to Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. Why do people go to Wellsboro? To visit the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, of course. (Yes, there is SO such a thing. Didn't I just say I went there?) As a matter of fact, I heard the other canyon is changing it's name to the Grand Canyon of Arizona to cut down on the confusion.


I didn't go to Wellsboro to see the GCOP, partly because I'd already Been There, Done That. (It was my second honeymoon. What can I say? We went all out...)

I went to Wellsboro because the hotel was $50 a night. Sweet.

Stephanie and I had no agenda. (Before you ask, no, we were not planning any hiking. Just because a canyon exists, you're not obliged to trudge to the bottom of it.) We were hoping to see a movie but the available options were less than inspiring so we did what any good Scranton* girls would do--we went to a bar.

We had dinner at the bar (also on the list of Things Scrantonians Do On Vacation) and talked abou…

Romancing Green Bay

Rick Reilly wrote an essay for Sports Illustrated about season tickets for the Green Bay Packers. I'm not a fan of Green Bay in particular or the NFL in general,* but the essay made me cry. I'm a sucker, I know. Packers fans, man. They are true romantics.

Evidence? Oh, yeah, I've got evidence. Here are the top three.

1. I love you all day, every day, no matter what, even when you suck: You can't buy a single game ticket for the Packers. It's the whole season or nothing. Not so bad, right? Except it's Green Bay. Football is a winter sport. Lambeau Field is outdoors. Season tickets for this team sounds like a bigger commitment than 'til death do us part. At least if you're married you can snuggle your honey indoors in the winter.

2. I love you now and forever: If you put your name on the Packers Season Ticket Wait List, (What? They capitalize it on their site.) you can have your tickets after the 74,000 people on the list in front of you. By the time you get…

Who's That on the Cover of My Book?

A funny thing happens when you tell someone you've written a romance novel. (Well, any number of funny things can happen, but we're only talking about one right now.)

Scenario 1: Tell it to a Woman
Me: I just turned in my newest novel, His Secret Past.
Woman: Really, what's it about?
Conversation ensues.

Scenario 2: Tell it to a Man
Me: I just turned in my newest novel, His Secret Past.
Man: Am I on the cover?

Before you ask, no, I don't hang out with men who should logically be expecting to grace the cover of a romance. They're nice enough looking, but I think if you can model for a living, you probably do model for a living. (Full disclosure: I write technical documentation for a living. You do the math.)

That's beside the point anyway. If they want to be cover models, by all means, they should go for it. The thing I think is funny is it's always the men who make this joke. Never the women. Not once.

I, of course, have many theories about this. Some are n…

Begin at the Beginning: A Haiku

Introductions. Eek.
First lines. Opening scenes. Boo.
At least this is quick.

(Yeah. I thought the blog needed an introductory post and then it seemed so fraught that I chickened out.)

Ellen Hartman, romance novelist. Pleased to meet you.