mollyringle: (chocolate)

Everyone knows what Valentine's Day is really about: chocolate!

I ran a search on my books, and predictably enough, nearly all of them mention chocolate. Some examples:

Summer Term:
He set down the glass, thought a moment, and said, “I would like to make chocolate chip cookies.”

Persephone’s Orchard:
Adrian peeled the plastic wrap from the brownie, broke it in half, and handed the larger section to her.

Immortal’s Spring:
Must be the scents and nourishment of a proper home-cooked meal at last. And the wine. And the chocolate cake—from scratch.

Of Ghosts and Geeks:
When Gwen heard the knock, she imagined it was a local kid selling fundraiser chocolate bars, or Uncle Bert dropping in to beg more details about her “student’s” ghost.

The Ghost Downstairs:
“But he did. He had chocolate with me.” Lina closed her mouth before disclosing what happened after the chocolate.

What Scotland Taught Me: (To my surprise this one has the most references to chocolate of any of my stories. Here are a few.)

“Can we just get some chocolate,” I said, “and go home?”

“Be a dear and serve your boyfriend some chocolate trifle, won’t you?”

Coffee, I needed coffee. No, better yet, chocolate. Chocolate might put my calendar in perspective.

“I was wondering if an old friend could stay at your flat tonight, if that friend brought like a cubic buttload of Cadbury Fruit and Nut bars.”

Valentine’s Day resolved nothing. That afternoon apparently featured Amber wearing lingerie and chocolate body paint in Laurence’s room, and still not getting laid.

---
My apologies for the damage this post may have done to anyone trying to cut calories.



mollyringle: (passiflora - cara_chapel)
Some writers are unable to write a story without including a recipe. Others can't resist reciting song lyrics. Others always insert a dog or a cat or an exotic animal. For me, my random habit appears to be plants--flowers and trees in particular. It isn't intentional, but it's an accurate reflection of my gardening hobby. Here's a quick review of flowers appearing in my novels (we'll do trees some other day):

The Ghost Downstairs
Lots of mentions; the Seattle mansion has a lovely garden, and tending it is among Ren's duties. This may be my favorite flower moment:
"She walked to a clump of daffodils growing at the base of a tree, picked one, and brought it back to the grave. She kissed its petals before dropping it."


Summer Term
Hey, it's summer. Lots of stuff's in bloom:
"But he did say we'd go out into Woodbine Park and eat in the rose garden. That sounds kind of romantic, doesn't it?"
"It sounds suspiciously romantic."


What Scotland Taught Me
Eva is interested in botany and horticulture, and notices violets sprouting in Edinburgh at one point. She also notes regarding one of her crushes:
"...he smelled like that alluring bed of carnations, with a dose of boy pheromones sprinkled on top."


Of Ghosts and Geeks
Paul is Gwen's gardener, so naturally flowers and other green growing things abound. Their first scene together is a skirmish over the little daisies in the lawn:
"They're in the grass. You wanted the grass cut, right?"
"Yes, but not the daisies. They make this gorgeous spangled carpet of--" She stopped before she started comparing her lawn flora to some scene from a fantasy movie. "Don't cut those!" she repeated.


Relatively Honest
This one probably has the fewest number of flower mentions, because my narrator is an 18-year-old urban male who doesn't think about stuff like that. Still, Daniel does think briefly of making out with his girl-crush "under lilac trees" come April. And when sidling up close to her, he notes:
"Her hair smelled delicious, like apples and the star-shaped white flowers that grew all round a French hotel I had once been to."
(Daniel has no idea that was jasmine, but it was, of course.)


In my novel in progress, a Hades/Persephone story, flowers and other plants play a huge role. After all, in the original myth, what was Persephone doing when Hades kidnapped her? Yep: picking flowers.
mollyringle: (girl reading with moon)
So, in my novel The Ghost Downstairs, there's a part where a character discovers a journal written in code. It's just a basic letter-substitution code, nothing fancy; A becomes G, B becomes H, and so forth. [You can tell I was reading Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon when I wrote this piece of the plot.]

Well, despite many careful edits of the manuscript, and hundreds of readers since the book's publication two years ago, no one (including me) has noticed that I messed up the coded bit in a couple of places. Until now!

The delightful and clever Pam Stucky, herself a novelist and apparently a fan of deciphering codes, recently read The Ghost Downstairs and set herself the task of decoding the journal excerpts before the narrative did so for her. (You don't need to do this to enjoy the novel--I give you the answers, so to speak, after a few pages. Homework not required.) And she found that in my transcription of the coded text, I inserted the wrong letter in at least two instances. Oops.

It also occurs to me that I listed the decoded alphabet in the wrong order if we're doing it from the point of view of the cryptanalyst (the one breaking the code) and not the cryptographer (the one creating the code). Ah, well. Again, doesn't affect the story much.

Still, for being so diligent and for catching out my editors and me, Pam gets a free book of her choice (of the ones written by me, that is). Plus I recommend you check out her debut novel, Letters from Wishing Rock, a charming epistolary story (composed of emails, not paper letters, this being the modern era), peopled with an armful of likable characters, and set in the Pacific Northwest, Scotland, and other beautiful places. It has a "Northern Exposure" feel to it that I really enjoyed.

Keep being smart, o friends o' mine!
mollyringle: (my life is so thrilling)
Novelist [livejournal.com profile] kateelliott first introduced me to the Bechdel Test in this post about epic fantasy. The Bechdel Test was originally created for movies, but can be applied easily to books too. As its official page states, the test rates a movie (or a book, we could say) on the following three criteria:

1) It has to have at least two women in it,
2) who talk to each other,
3) about something besides a man.

This test has stuck in my mind ever since reading Elliott's post, because, as she says, it's kind of astonishing how many books and movies don't pass all three criteria. I do believe in basic equality, and those three simple rules seem more than fair.

So naturally it made me look at my own novels. And I'm chagrined to say that some of them barely squeak by, or might even fail. Quick rundown:

The Ghost Downstairs: Passes with full marks. Lots of female characters--in fact, more females than males. They do discuss men (it's a romance, after all), but they also discuss ghosts and jobs and stuff.

Summer Term: Hmm. I do have a number of active female characters, but most of them don't interact with each other, or only meet briefly. The two best friends, Paige and Ky, do chat a lot, but it's almost always about men. Again, in my defense, it's a romance, and of the most frothy sort. Still, they take sidetracks into movies and academics for a line or two here and there, so maybe this book gets a pass.

What Scotland Taught Me: Passes just fine. Of the four main characters, three are young women, who do plenty of interacting. Again, squealing (or squabbling) over boys constitutes a lot of their subject matter, but there are soberer discussions involving family members and career plans and ghost legends.

Of Ghosts and Geeks: (Novella; likely soon to be published--yay!) Highly silly, given that one of the main female characters is an obnoxious ghost, but it does pass. She and the living female protagonist occasionally talk of non-romance issues, but not much, since the whole point is that the ghost is obsessed with romance.

Boy in Eyeliner: (Not yet published. In revision.) Eek. This might fail! But my defense this time is somewhat better. It's from a first-person male point of view, and his main love ends up being with another man. Hopefully that regains some of my gender-equality street cred. Also, I've scattered the characters across the globe--Portland, Seattle, and London--so the three or four important female characters simply aren't in the same location at the same time, on the whole. Still, maybe I should reconsider that.

So. How do your favorites--or your own creations--measure up?
mollyringle: (Powerpuff - by Xenia)
So many of you out there are the creators, owners, or performers of fabulous goods or services, any of which would make excellent holiday gifts. I want more of the world to know about you, plus I want some good ideas for my own holiday shopping, so here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to give you this space for free advertising!

If you have anything you want to advertise that could potentially be given as a gift, tell us about it in the comments below. Keep in mind that good ad copy gets more click-throughs, so I advise keeping it to a brief, clear, fun paragraph, complete with handy link.

I'll start by (of course) reminding you of my books currently for sale:

The Ghost Downstairs, for anyone who likes moody ghost stories. (Purchase from the publisher, Amazon or an indie bookstore near you. Ebook or paperback.)

Summer Term, for the steamy-beach-read fans. (Purchase from the publisher, Amazon, or an indie bookstore near you. Ebook or paperback.)

What Scotland Taught Me, for snarky teen girls who require comeuppance, anyone who remembers the perils of being 18, or anyone who adores Edinburgh. (Ebook only; purchase from the publisher or Amazon.)

Now you! What are you selling? Tell us of your wares. Offer open for as long as this LiveJournal shall live, though readers will likely diminish the older this post gets.
mollyringle: (Hughes - Night)
This has been making the rounds, and at first I hesitated to post it because I do have several friends who adore Twilight, but...sorry, these things are too funny and too sadly true.

8 Things Twilight Has Ruined (Besides Vampires)

When I noticed number 6 was "Washington State," I laughed out loud. What they say is so true: people from out of state frequently ask if we live near Forks and/or have been to Forks. And, as the article also reports with perfect truth, "the state is so big that no matter where you are in it, you're pretty much always 12 hours from Forks." (More an issue of a mountain range and lots of wilderness standing between Forks and the rest of us, resulting in slow, curvy roads if you want to get there.)

The article is occasionally harsh toward Meyer's writing style, a criticism I only sort of agree with. My main problem with the Twilight series is not the series itself, though I can think of several ways to improve the plot and writing, if you were to ask. The series isn't that bad; it started out pretty strong and compelling, in fact, and even as it deteriorates, it's still basically fun, lightweight reading material. I'm in favor of the existence of such stuff. However, the big problem is the fandom--and the article covers that in spades. Please, younger women, I beg you: don't base your ideal of relationship material upon Edward Cullen. Nor Jacob Black, for that matter. Those relationships are unhealthy in the extreme. And older women, I beg you too: please don't lose your dignity and go borderline statutory-rapist over this fandom.

Hey, I know it's fun to be a fan. I'm always a fan of something. At times I've been a hugely dorky fan, complete with perviness. Scroll a few years back in my LJ if you need proof. But even back then, I was not sabotaging my relationship with my husband/fiance/boyfriend (whichever he was, depending on the year you choose) by actively seeking a Frodo or Spike or The Doctor of my very own. And while I do own a Frodo T-shirt (and a Legolas one too), I never owned underwear featuring any dude's face.

One of the other things the Twilight series has ruined, claims this article, is the publishing industry, in that paranormal romance has taken over like a gruesome variety of kudzu. And there we have the one way in which Twilight has helped me out: before reading it or even hearing of it, I wrote The Ghost Downstairs, and lucky me, that turned out to be the kind of thing people totally want to publish and read these days. However, I don't think we can pin that entirely on Twilight. Vampire and other supernatural novels with highly romantic moods have been around longer than Meyer's been alive, let alone writing.

As for all the innocent people named Bella, Edward, Jacob, Cullen, Carlisle, Victoria, or Renesme out there, I do feel deeply sorry for them these days.

I'm kidding about "Renesme." Man, is that the clunkiest name invented in a long while.

[For this post you'll notice I chose an icon reminiscent of sparkliness in night-dwellers.]
mollyringle: (haunted house)
Free drawing time! This Yuletide season I will be giving away a print copy of The Ghost Downstairs to not one but two lucky winners. To enter, just comment upon this post, and I'll have the random number generator pick two of you on Sunday. Non-LJers or non-FB-ers, be sure you leave me some way of contacting you in the comment.

Good luck!
mollyringle: (haunted house)
Since Halloween is almost upon us, and since I get to do this quite a few times if I want, I'm going to do one more giveaway of a PDF (ebook) copy of THE GHOST DOWNSTAIRS. Comment below to enter! Winner will get picked on Sunday by the handy-dandy random number generator at random.org.

And someday I'll post about more than just contests again, but October here has mostly been spent with the family sharing a flu-like thing. Yay.
mollyringle: (parfumerie)
There's an article about me on the Nights and Weekends site--I'm their featured e-author this month! Come read it and learn who I cite as my influences and what scents I would capture and stick in a bottle if I could.

And since it mentions the occasional perfume giveaways on my blog, let's do one now to reward anyone who comes looking for one...

Today's double header:

Cafe Noir by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz - has notes of bergamot, black pepper, cinnamon bark, pimento berry, benzoin, Bulgarian rose otto, jasmin, labdanum, coffee absolute, tolu balsam and vanilla. A rich, luscious, peppery coffee scent. It is an eau de parfum.

Labdanum 18 by Le Labo - Le Labo Labdanum 18 eau de parfum features the soft, lingering scent of labdanum (cistus) with a slightly animalic base. This is a lovely, intriguing scent.

Both are sampled, but mostly full, 1 ml vials from The Perfumed Court, who provided the scent descriptions above. To enter to win the samples, comment on this post. I'll choose a winner by random number on Sunday. International entrants welcome. Non-LJers too, as always, though you'll have to leave me some way to contact you. Good luck!
mollyringle: (haunted house)
I doubt I will have time for a Halloween read-aloud project this year, as we did with Operations Ichabod and Raven in past years. Someone else can feel free to try organizing it if they want, and I'll at least read aloud a part.

But I will do this to kick off October: a giveaway of a PDF copy of The Ghost Downstairs. All you have to do to enter is comment here. It's about, uh, ghosts, sororities, old people, Seattle, love, and a few holidays including Halloween.

Good luck! Winner will be picked at random on Sunday.
mollyringle: (girl reading with moon)
Sometimes Amazon makes me laugh. From the listing of The Ghost Downstairs today:

What Do Customers Ultimately Buy After Viewing This Item?

89% buy the item featured on this page:
The Ghost Downstairs

11% buy
Luvs Premium Stretch Diapers, Size 4 (22-37 Lbs), 180 Diapers

Hmm, diapers or a book; it's always the quandary I face when browsing Amazon. Just like 11% of the population, apparently.

I do like the items that have shown up (and sometimes vanished again) on the Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought section: What Does Mrs. Claus Do? by my sister Kate Wharton, of course; the DVD of the Colin Firth Pride & Prejudice; The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R.A. Dick; and the DVD of Doctor Horrible's Sing Along Blog. Getting lumped with Joss Whedon, even by a computer, for one day once upon a time, is a high honor.
mollyringle: (tea setting)
In belated honor of Mother's Day, as well as this great review for THE GHOST DOWNSTAIRS ("just what a light-hearted ghost story should be. It’s delightful, funny, and intriguing, with just enough chills to give you goose bumps"), I'll do a different type of contest/giveaway this week.

Your prize: a pink matte pastel bistro mug, 16-ounce, with the Wild Rose Press logo - looks like this. I have one and it's a great mug--holds plenty of tea, has a nice smooth feel to it, and is an attractive rosy pink rather than a sickly Pepto pink. I'll even stick a tin of chocolate-covered Altoids in it.

To enter, just comment here. Non-LJers, be sure to include an email address so I can reach you if you win. I'll select the winner on Sunday by random number generator.

Huzzah! Good luck!
mollyringle: (moon over ocean)
FYI, the online ebook superstore Fictionwise has now added THE GHOST DOWNSTAIRS to their catalog:

http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/eBook86349.htm?cache

And since it's a "new" book in their system, it's 15% off for the time being. Get it while it's hot!

I'm honored to share the New Book At Fictionwise category with J.R.R. Tolkien's THE LORD OF THE RINGS, which also is out this week for the first time as an official ebook. :)

If you have a Kindle reader, Amazon.com now carries my title in that format as well. And there's a free Kindle application for iPhones and the iPod Touch, so you can always try it that way if you're one of those folks newly wedded to their iPhones.

---

In other news:

Young men of the world, let me discuss for a moment how stupid those long, baggy basketball shorts look on you. I was walking behind a young man wearing those the other day, and had some time to observe the effect. The material was so satiny, so loose and flowing, and so long, that it honestly looked like he was wearing a skirt. So, if the effect you want is that of walking around in a pretty, silky, rippling spring skirt, then carry on. If you want to wear something manly, try, I don't know, pants that fit.
mollyringle: (golden egg)
Drawing time!

From now till Easter Sunday, leave a comment here to enter yourself into the running for a free PDF copy of The Ghost Downstairs. (Non-LiveJournalers, just leave an email address where I can reach you if you win.) There's a touch of an Easter theme in it, just briefly at the end, so it's fitting. Of course, it's an even more fitting story for a Halloween giveaway, which I'll probably do in October as well.

Anyway--enter away! And remember you can read the first chapter on my site if you want to see whether it intrigues you or not.

May you have a Good Friday indeed.
mollyringle: (girl reading with moon)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Molly Ringle
Email: writerofirony at earthlink dot net

SEATTLE NOVEL WEAVES TOGETHER GHOSTS AND LOVE



April 3, 2009 - Seattle, WA (USA) - West Seattle author Molly Ringle debuts in paperback this month with The Ghost Downstairs, a paranormal romance novel depicting an unusual workplace relationship in a house whose spirits refuse to rest.

The idea of setting the story in a former sorority house stemmed from Ringle's college days. She was a Tri-Delta in a huge old house that was, according to some members, haunted.

"The idea of who would be haunting a sorority and why stuck in my mind," Ringle says. Her house position as recording secretary led her to the file archives one day, where she discovered meeting minutes from the early twentieth century. She was intrigued by the strict rules the house once had regarding houseboys, college men who work in sorority kitchens. "The girls were expressly forbidden to interact with them, but I'm sure they did anyway," says Ringle. "So I took that, plus the ghost idea, and made up a story."

Though Ringle's sorority was at the University of Oregon in Eugene, she relocated the story to her adopted hometown of Seattle, and gave the fictional former sorority new life as a nursing home. Into this facility arrives the main character, Lina, a nurse moving in to assist the elderly residents.

Lina finds anything but peace. She soon hears of ghosts haunting the house, and of two tragic deaths that took place in the 1930s, when the house was still a sorority. Unexplained events lead her to ask questions of a handsome younger coworker named Ren. But Ren holds his own secrets, and the closer Lina gets to him, the worse the paranormal activity grows.

"In my own mind it's like a modern, supernatural Jane Eyre," Ringle says. "But others have told me it's like Twilight for grown-ups--with ghosts instead of vampires."

And at that old sorority house in Eugene, did Ringle herself ever see any ghosts or mysteriously levitating books? She smiles. "None. I apparently don't have the sixth sense. That's fine with me. My imagination's enough."

More about Ringle and her writing can be found at her site, http://www.mollyringle.com.



* * * *

Ordering information for The Ghost Downstairs:
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
ISBN-10: 1601544472 ISBN-13: 978-1601544476
Available through Ingrams, Baker & Taylor, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other distributors.
mollyringle: (girl reading with moon)
The Ghost Downstairs is officially released tomorrow! Very exciting. But apparently Amazon's already shipping the paperback to people, so order right now if you like. Barnes & Noble probably is too. If it's the ebook you want, wait a day. Don't worry, I'll remind you. Also keep in mind that by ordering it you can win a Sony eReader.

In the meantime, my mom whipped out a poem for the occasion in probably two minutes flat. She's eccentrically talented that way. Here it is in its silliness for your enjoyment:

Looking for excitement? There's
A great book called The Ghost Downstairs!
'Tis witty, scary, not pedantic,
Spooky, eerily romantic!

You think you've met attractive men?
They're all fools compared to Ren,
Who was a houseboy way back when
They had such things upon the scene
At old Tri Delta in Eugene,

But now have mostly disappeared -
Unless they turn up, sad and weird
Doing things most unexpected,
Hope the guy gets resurrected-

OOPS - don't give the end away!
Better order yours today!
(The author's name is Molly Ringle -
Sorry, guys she's wed, not single.)

---

Thanks, Mom. :)
mollyringle: (haunted house)
As mentioned last night, you can now read chapter 1 of The Ghost Downstairs on my site. See if it's your kind of thang.

Off to appointments and errands and such! Enjoy your almost-spring day.
mollyringle: (haunted house)
Okay, here's the good news I didn't exactly present coherently yesterday:

My novel The Ghost Downstairs can now be pre-ordered on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Hurray!

These JUST went up, so not all the details are ready (book covers, blurbs, etc.), but the publisher will get in there and remedy that before the official release date.

Note that this pre-ordering is only for the paperback edition. The ebook edition probably cannot be ordered until the release date (April 3), but then of course it arrives instantly when you do order it.

Naturally I'll be happy to send autographed bookplates (stickers) to anyone who wants one to stick inside the book. Also, soon I'll have the first chapter up on my site for you to read while you wait for your full copy. I'll keep you posted on those developments.

---

In other news, thank you for sending in so many great ideas for ghostly reads. Your favorite ghost stories, along with those of everyone else I asked, can now be read in one big list on Amazon's Listmania.

(If I didn't add yours, it's only because I couldn't find it.) I even went ahead and added The Ghost Downstairs, in the hopes that others will discover it via our list--along with many other good books!

---

Next post (two in one day; this won't happen often): a perfume giveaway to celebrate!
mollyringle: (my life is so thrilling)
An email from the LJ turns 10 moderator person...

Dear Esteemed LJer,
As you may have heard, Live Journal is turning 10 next month—and one of the ways we’re celebrating is by publishing a beautiful anthology that will highlight 100 favorite journals and communities from over the past decade.

That’s why we’re writing: your LJ is on our shortlist for possible inclusion in the book! Congratulations! If your entry makes the final cut, you’ll receive a $20 LJ gift certificate—not to mention that you’ll have one of your LJ entries highlighted and preserved for all time in the Live Journal 10th Anniversary Anthology.

The entry we’re considering is:
http://lemonlye.livejournal.com/85020.html

(etc.)

Cool! And it wasn't even one of my parodies. Heh.

----
As a sidenote, ZOMG I'M ON AMAZON!1!!1! AND BARNES&NOBLE!!!

Ahem. I'll announce that more coherently tomorrow, perhaps.
mollyringle: (girl reading with moon)
My novel The Ghost Downstairs comes out in less than a month now, on April 3 (*dress rehearsal of confetti! whee!*), so in honor of that, I ask you:

What are your all-time favorite novels (or shorter stories) featuring ghosts?

The ones that come to mind for me are from my childhood, and are YA books: The Ghost Next Door by Wylly Folk St. John and Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn. In addition, I rather enjoyed Nora Roberts' "In the Garden" trilogy, which dealt with a haunted house owned by a garden nursery proprietor. And who could forget Jacob Marley and the three Christmas ghosts coming back to haunt Ebenezer Scrooge?

Hopefully when you answer with your favorites, I'll remember some other good ones, or discover some new gems.

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