Tag Archives: #administrative

Reading the Canon Online

"You realize this doesn't happen in the books, don't you, Holmes?"

“You realize this doesn’t happen in the books, don’t you, Holmes?”

Books are wonderful things. They can teach us, inspire us, make us happy, sad, or very, very…aggravated. They take us to places we could never travel in real life, either because we lack the means–or because they do not actually exist. Books are a bridge to the countless people who have gone before us–and our own connection to the descendants we can only imagine. Through print, we reach out with ideas, stories, emotions, in hopes that, with the reader as our collaborator, we can create something meaningful.  Yes, books are wonderful things.

But dang, can they be expensive!

Face it, most of us can’t just stop and buy a book just because we need or wish to read it. Landlords frown at that sort of devil-may-care spending. Nor can we count on our local library to have the book we want when we want it.* Fortunately, however, many beneficent folks around the internet realize this, and have digitized hundreds of works no longer bound by copyright. So if you’ve been prevented from reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories and novels, here’s where you can find them online:

Stories:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes–http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1661/1661-h/1661-h.htm

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes–http://www.gutenberg.org/files/834/834-h/834-h.htm

The Return of Sherlock Holmes–http://www.gutenberg.org/files/108/108-h/1tm08-h.htm

His Last Bow–sherlock-holm.es/stories/pdf/a4/1-sided/lstb.pdf

The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes--http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks/c00012.html

Novels:

A Study in Scarlet–http://www.gutenberg.org/files/244/244-h/244-h.htm

The Sign of [the] Four–http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2097

The Hound of the Baskervilles–http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2852

The Valley of Fear–http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3289

If you notice, all but one of these links is from Project Gutenberg, and if you notice further, Project Gutenberg has a “Donate” button; if you have the means and feel so inclined, I’m sure they would be appreciative.

Howard Marion Crawford and Ronald Howard

I knew I should have brought a book….

Footnotes:

*Or we may have fines. Lots and lots of fines. Thanks, son.

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Filed under Administrative, Canon Works, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

From Granada's "The Blue Carbuncle."

From Granada’s “The Blue Carbuncle.”

Some day in August or September, it hits me: There are only X number of days (and X number of paychecks) before the 12th Night Giveaway. I always plan to start the prize-gathering process well in advance, but you know how well that typically works out.

I always plan to tackle this, too.  The results of which plan are also...predictable.

I always plan to tackle this, too.

Still, I truly love scouring the internet, conferences, second-hand shops and everywhere else, looking for awesome Sherlockian gifts.  Because, let’s face it. Even when people know you’re passionate about Sherlock Holmes, they may not know how to go about shopping for you.  There may be questionable DVDs, or bobbleheads, or headwear in your stocking next week. This year and every year, as long as health and “wealth” permit, I hope to be your Sherlockian Elf–bringing just a little bit of Baker Street into your home for the holidays. *

But you gotta earn it.

The theme for this year’s trivia contest is “Straight Outta Canon,” meaning that every question is derived from the short stories and novels penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  No movies. No television shows. No pastiches, no biography and no history. They won’t be ridiculously obscure, but they will hopefully make you do a little reading. Speaking of which, here are this years’ rules.  There are a couple of modifications, so do give them a once-over.

12th Night Give-Away Rules

  • The quiz and giveaway will be conducted via this blog and FaceBook only, although I will also refer people to the question once per day via Twitter.
  • The questions will (obviously) have to do with Sherlock Holmes, and can be found in the Canon. I may or may not provide the story title, but you can find free copies of the novels and short stories online. I will put up a separate post with links.
  • The contest will begin on December 24th, 2014 and continue until January 6th, 2015, when the last winner will be announced. And yes, this is more than twelve nights. Because Christmas Eve is my favorite.
  • In order to encourage people to answer more questions, this year people will be allowed to win TWICE during the regular phase of the give-away, and all will be eligible to try for the grand prize, no matter how many times he or she has won previously.
  • If I receive only one answer for a question and it’s wrong…ok, that person wins. But next time, do your research. If I am wrong, well, I will be very happy to have it pointed out!
  • I will post the questions by 1 am EST every morning. Sometime during the day, as life permits, I will gather the names of those who answered the previous day’s question and place them in a box. One of my children will then draw from the correct answers to determine the day’s winner, and I will announce it on the blog and FaceBook sometime during that day.
  • To answer a question, please leave a comment here on the blog, PM me on FaceBook, or DM me on Twitter. Blog comment answers will be kept private. In this way, I hope to avoid concerns some might have with others simply “copying” answers. :)
  • For questions with two winners, you must specify which prize you want when you submit your answer. This keeps me from having two winners who want the same prize. If you do not specify a prize on your entry, I cannot place you in the drawing. I know that might be harsh, but hunting everyone down to see which prize they want before the drawing would be time-consuming, and allow for a greater chance of error.
  • If you win, I will ask you to message me privately  with your mailing address. After I mail your prize, I will delete the address. Please let me know if you do not receive your prize.
  • The daily prize will be announced, so that you can decide if it’s something that appeals to you.
  • If a prize has no takers, I will use it for a future giveaway.
  • I will do my best to contact winners. If, however, I do not hear from a winner, that prize will be used for a future giveaway if unclaimed by February 12, 2015 (Mycroft’s birthday). I cannot tag some of you on Facebook, so PLEASE check back to see if you have won. I CANNOT EMPHASIZE ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS!!!
  • At this point, I can’t see that geography will be a factor in anyone’s ability to participate. However, unless otherwise specified, videos are all Region 1 only, so please make sure your DVD player is either Region 1, or an All Region model.
  • I will ship prizes starting the week of December 29th. Be patient, because shipping can take time, depending on where you live.
  • We’re not talking blue carbuncles, here, just small tokens. All decisions are final. If your prize is damaged in shipping, contact me privately.
  • If you’ve already won twice, you can, of course, continue to answer questions. You can also answer questions and specify that you don’t want the prize on offer, or that you never want a prize. This happened a lot last year, and it was fun!
  • Brett and Mom–sorry, immediately family are not eligible. Also, as always, no Napoleons of Crime.
From BBC's "Sherlock." S2E1, "A Scandal in Belgravia"

From BBC’s “Sherlock.” S2E1, “A Scandal in     Belgravia”

*”Wealth” being my husband.  Who is really the greatest sport ever.

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Filed under Administrative, Giveaway

And…We’re Back

Don't faint, or anything.

Don’t faint, or anything.

Well, it hasn’t been three years, although it certainly seems like it. Jaime Mahoney (of Better Holmes and Gardens fame) and I have finally finished our book! When we first came up with the idea, in February of 2012, we had no idea how large an undertaking it would be, but finally, last week, we delivered all 580 pages, plus illustrations, to our publisher, Wessex Press.*

And none too soon. The Clean Police are here.

And none too soon. The Clean Police are here.

It was, excepting the occasional day of frustration and panic, a wonderfully rewarding experience in which I learned how little sleep I actually require, and the kids learned that clothing can, in fact, be reworn. For weeks. I also discovered what a remarkably patient, supportive, and tolerant husband I have, and how thankful I am that his job provides work clothes.

One of the most excellent benefits of writing this book is that, while conducting research, I had the opportunity to read or sample dozens of wonderful Sherlockian or Sherlock Holmes-related books. Through them, I gained a much greater appreciation of how incredibly broad our niche can be, and of what it means to be a “well-read Sherlockian.” There is so much great stuff out there, guys!!!! 

And I cannot wait to share it with you.

A Note on Policy:

I first conceived of this blog as a place to review pastiche, and that’s still going to be its primary focus.  However, be prepared for a good deal more non-fiction and Doyleana in the coming year. I have several series I need to catch up on, and there were some review requests which came in during the little hiatus that I will try to fill, although I have no idea when those reviews will appear. If you have a book which you would like me to review, feel free to send a request, via comment, but at this time, I am not really sure that I can promise to meet a particular time frame. Also, please be aware that a review is not a promotional service. Every reviewer walks a tightrope between being fair to the writer and honest with the reader, and in the end, our loyalties must lie with the latter. If you request a review from me, and I feel that, for whatever reason, the book will not appeal to most Sherlock Holmes fans, either due to quality or content, I will not run a piece on it.

I have also decided to revamp the “star system.”  Most of us, I think, are not static as Sherlockians; we grow and change, both in our knowledge of, and our appreciation for, certain topics. Although I don’t review it here, I am ridiculously obsessed with fanfiction, which has given me a greater appreciation of AU; I have also become more aware of some Canonical debates. At the same time, I realize that many people who read Sherlock Holmes pastiches are looking for continuations of the Canon, Watson-Voice included. Therefore, I am going to review each book with a dual star rating, like the one I used for Margaret Park Bridge’s My Dear Watson. One star will be for general content, story elements, pacing, interest, historical accuracy, etc–the quality of the story itself. The second star will be for Canonical content and accuracy (as far as I can determine). In this way, the reader who is simply looking for a good story and does not care about chronology or who Watson’s wife is will not be dissuaded by a low star rating, while the person who will have a stroke if the jackknife is not in its proper place will be warned off. I think this approach will better serve both writer and reader, as well as saving me hours of hair-pulling angst.

I will be starting off the new review season with a look at two series we’ve been following in the blog. An October-esque anthology will follow, along with a new essay collection. After that, who knows?

It will be a surprise.

It will be a surprise.

Footnote:

*I am not going to use this blog to promote the book.  Because I love you all. However, I will say that we are anticipating that it will be released in January–or (given its size) sometime in the spring.

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Filed under Administrative, AU (Alternative Universe), Canon Works

The Vaguely Minor Hiatus: Admin Note

Awww, now, don't worry, it's not that bad! Save those tears for Mofftiss and the Season 3 Finale!

Awww, now, don’t worry, it’s not that bad! Save those tears for Mofftiss and the Season 3 Finale!

Well, now that the Giveaway is complete, there is another pressing matter to attend to. You may remember that, in the spring of last year, I mentioned that this blog would be slowing down a bit, due to a long-term project that would be taking a great deal of my time. As it turns out, that project–a reference book co-authored with Jaime Mahoney, blogger at Better Holmes and Gardens–was accepted for publication with Wessex Press. And I have found, over the past few months, that it truly requires all  of my time.

Not far off the mark.

Not far off the mark. I am looking into disposable clothing for the children.

Just about everything not necessary to sustaining life has had to give, this blog being one of them. Books are still coming out, however, and I have had several review requests from authors. So, until circumstances permit, this will be blog policy….

For Authors:

With the exception of a review I have already promised, I will not be able to review any books until sometime in the Fall. However, I would be happy to feature you in an interview. This would consist of about ten e-mailed questions centered around your book, your experiences with Sherlock Holmes, and your writing process. Your responses will be edited for mechanics and (if necessary) profanity or adult content, but other than that, the content will be unaltered.* Publishing an interview will not constitute an endorsement of your book, nor is it a promise of a future review. As I won’t be able to give books the attention they deserve, I also won’t be able to provide a star rating. That being said, I really do hope to go back and review any book whose author does a review–I just can’t make any promises as to when. If you would like to do an interview, just contact me via the blog comments and leave your email address!

For Readers:

When I review a book, it’s typically a lengthy, in-depth process involving lots of note-taking, canon-researching and fact-checking, as well as the usual attention to story, characterization, and style. I like to try to give you enough information to know whether or not the featured book is something you would want to spend time and money on. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do that for awhile. If I interview an author, I will not have read his or her book with my typical thoroughness. I will try, in the interview questions, to give you an idea of what type of book it is–strictly Canon or alternative universe, for example–and a basic sketch of the plot, but I won’t be able to tell you whether or not I think you will enjoy it, although I hope to do so eventually.

So–thanks for reading, commenting and following!  I hope to post interviews every once in awhile, and look forward to getting back to reviewing sometime in the fall!

It will be here sooner than we think.

It will be here sooner than we think.

Footnote:

*Yeah, I know, I can’t imagine it, either, but bases must be covered.

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Filed under Administrative

Review Policy and Interview Questionnaire

“I can’t believe “Creeping Man” got only three stars, Holmes!”

Unfortunately, due to the demands of career, family, and my rather-too-thorough way of reviewing, I cannot personally review every book with a connection to Sherlock Holmes. I have therefore come up with a system which I hope will allow authors to share their books with potential readers in a more timely fashion. Just follow these easy steps to have your book featured in this blog:

1. Ask yourself: is this the right blog for my book? 

  • Is it about Sherlock Holmes?
  • Does it contain exceptionally violent scenes?  I’m sorry, but while some violence is obviously expected in a crime adventure, extremely graphic gore is really not what a lot of readers are looking for in a Holmes story. Certain exceptions are possible, for non-fiction or “Holmes v. The Ripper” stories, as no one should be surprised by either.
  • Does it contain graphic sex scenes, or is it erotica? I know a lot of people enjoy reading and writing these, but if so, this is not the blog you’re looking for. Again, most of my readers don’t look for much sex at all in a Holmes story, and would rather it be implied if it has to be there.
  • Have I made my book the absolute best it can possibly be? This is important. When you’re putting your work before the public, you want to be sure you’ve edited and revised it–not just for spelling and punctuation errors, but for factual mistakes, continuity problems, pacing issues, character and plot believability, etc. It’s so tempting to rush your first or second draft to Amazon, but it’s not usually wise. Even though books featured this way will avoid a “star review,” you may receive reader reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, IHOSE or other places, and you want those to be good.

2. It is? Yay!  Now answer these interview questions. They cover your book, as well as your life as a writer. Please answer at least 10, but feel free to answer as many as you wish–or to add one of your own. You answers may be edited for spelling, grammar, or comprehension, or to get rid of sweary language, but you shouldn’t see much change. The order of the questions in the interview may be adjusted for flow; here they appear in no particular order.

Interview Questions

1.  How did you “meet” Sherlock Holmes?

2. What is your favorite Canon story and why?

3. What is your favorite Sherlock Holmes pastiche and why?

4. What is your favorite movie or television portrayal of Holmes and Watson, and why? Were you inspired by any particular one of them?

5. When did you decide you wanted to become a writer/

6. Why did you decide you wanted to write about Sherlock Holmes?

7. What inspired you to write this particular book?

8. Can you provide a brief synopsis of your book?

9. How closely does your book hew to canon? Why or why not? Was this a conscious decision, or did it just happen?

10. What did you most enjoy about writing your book?

11. What was the hardest part about writing your book?

12.  Where did you get the idea for this book?

13. Do you have a particular writing process? Would you like to share it with us?

14. Are you involved in any Sherlockian groups?

15. Did your book require a lot of research? If so, did you uncover any especially interesting facts?

16. Are you using Watson as a narrator?  Why or why not? If so, did you find it difficult to mimic his voice? Did you use any particular “tricks”?

17. Can you share some of the reviews you’ve received for this book? (Please note: these should not be reviews from your family or close friends.)

18. What is your favorite moment in this book?

19. Who is your favorite character in this book?

20. Did you find that using Conan Doyle’s characters made this story easier or more difficult to write?

21. Did you include any original characters? Can you describe them for us?

22. What is your writing philosophy?

23. Any advice for aspiring writers?

24. How did you feel when you first saw your book–in actual book form?

25. How would you categorize your book? Is it mystery, thriller, horror, romance…?

26. What sort of reader is most likely to enjoy your book?

27. Where can readers get a copy of your book?

28. Add a question of your own!

3. Once you’ve answered your questions, send a copy of them to me via e-mail at wrsherlockian@gmail.com.  Please include an image of your book cover, and, if you are amenable, a picture of yourself (it does not have to be fancy). 

4. I will format and post your interview as soon as possible. My idea is to let each interview have at least a week as the main post before I put up another. 

And there we are! I have high hopes for this new approach–but will likely be tweaking it as necessary. Thanks for your patience and participation!

 

 

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Filed under Policies and Housekeeping