December 10, 2012

Why I hate love triangles...

So... over the weekend I ended up reading   Cassandra Clare's  CLOCKWORK ANGEL & CLOCKWORK PRINCE from the Infernal Devices series.
I am in love with everything about this series--except for the love triangle, which is sadly a large part of the character development.

Cassandra Clare has written an equilateral love triangle, rather than your typical isosceles triangle.


In an isosceles triangle, there's usually one girl and two boys that she will have to choose between.  In the Infernal Devices series, the two guys, Will and Jem, have a blood brother relationship which they consider equally important as their love for the girl, Tessa.

The problem... is with a perfect setup like this, there is no way the story can possibly end happily. Someone is going to get their heart broken, and in this circumstance, that someone is going to be me, the reader. : (

November 18, 2012


Today, I found an interesting news article my mother had saved from November 18, 1988 in a school manual I was researching. It was a 10 year anniversary memorial on the Jonestown Massacre, and because it's coincidentally the anniversary of the incident, I feel I should do a post on the subject. 

The Jonestown Massacre,  November 18, 1978
Historical Importance of the Jonestown Massacre: It was the most deadly non-natural disaster in U.S. history until September 11, 2001 and has a death toll of 918.

Founded in 1956 by Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple was a racially integrated church that practiced "apostolic socialism”. Jones originally established the Peoples Temple in Indianapolis and then moved it to Redwood Valley, California in 1966. He later found a remote location in the South American country of Guyana, where he leased some land to build his utopian society.  In 1977, the Jonestown compound in Guyana had several hundred members.

Jonestown was meant to be a utopia, however, many of the members ended up wanting out. Unfortunately, because the compound was surrounded by miles of jungle and armed guards, no one could leave without Jones’s permission. And Jones didn’t want anyone to leave.

Eventually, U.S. Representative Leo Ryan from San Mateo, California hears reports of physical and psychological torture from Jonestown residents’ relatives and decides to go to Jonestown to  find out for himself what was going on. He takes his adviser, an NBC film crew, and a group of concerned relatives of Peoples Temple members.

At first, everything looks fine to Ryan and his group, but he later receives a note that some of the people are being held against their will.

The following day, November 18, 1978, Ryan offers to take anyone who wishes to leave Jonestown back with him to the United States.

Ryan’s group, on board a truck with the few dissenters, makes it to the airport. However, as they’re waiting for the planes to get ready to leave, some Peoples Temple members show up and start shooting.

Five people were killed on the tarmac, including Congressman Ryan, and many were severely wounded. A few escaped into the jungle.

Back in Jonestown, Jones spoke to his congregation and said that it was time for them to go through with their  “revolutionary suicide.” Jones claimed his supports would go down in history by saying they chose their own way to go and that they refused capitalism in support of socialism.

Large kettles filled with grape flavored Flavor-Aid (not Kool-Aid) and poison were placed in the pavilion.

On that day, November 18, 1978, 912 people died from drinking the poison--the majority of them doing this WILLINGLY. 276 were children. Jones died from a self-inflicted single gunshot wound to the head.

Only a handful or so people survived, either by escaping into the jungle or hiding somewhere in the compound.

People want to believe that those people were crazy and ‘it couldn’t possibly happen to me.’ But it could happen to almost everyone... Those who do not remember the past, are condemned to repeat it. 

Never forget that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

November 16, 2012

Express Yourself

It's Express Yourself time!

This week's subject... 
post a pic of your work area, writing, cubicle, craft, etc. Then explain what it is that you do.

  This is my writing workspace. I like to sit cross legged on the cushions or I'll lean against the arm rests with my legs sprawled toward the corner. I change positions about every hour and the cat moves to wherever the laptop was sitting last. 

I spend the reset of my time at our yogurt store. My various activities revolve around making phone calls, coordinating networking events, graphic design for our Facebook page, and a very little bit of "sampling" the yogurts.  

November 12, 2012

The Cat in the Attic

My cat has been acting NUTS over the last three days. Crying at the ceiling and scratching at the walls and doors. Running rampant from one end of the house to the other.

I went through the usual checklist to find out what was wrong:

-food in his dish
-water in the spare bathtub
-clean litterbox
-window blinds in the second bedroom up 12"
-vacuum cleaner put away in the closet

Nothing out of the ordinary, so I started squirting him with water whenever he was being noisy to discipline him, or shutting him in the bathroom for a "time-out."

... I have since apologized to my cat with treats, catnip, and cat grass--because he was apparently trying to tell me that the neighbor's cat was stuck in our attic.

There must be a spot on our roof gable where the ventilation siding is movable--like an office ceiling tile grid. The cat got on the roof and pushed his way up into the attic, but then couldn't get back out when the panel dropped behind it.(We have access to the attic through the garage, but I haven't used it in months.)

Just glad that after fifteen minutes of crawling through the attic framework and insulation --it really was a cat and not this guy:

Do roofers get some sort of discount for using excessively long nails?

October 22, 2012

Rain Rain Go Away

Let me start by saying... when it rains, it pours.

The last two months have been terrible, but since I'm certain everything I could write about it could be topped by someone else's trials, I'm just going to keep my mouth shut.

Instead, I wanted to get back into blogging with a quick post on THREE DIMENSIONAL CHARACTERS.

I have tried for a long time to put up a facade that I am a writer and not a Vulcan/nerdy math/science kind of person so it's always harder for me to make believable characters than to fix plot issues.

While creating character charts for my current novel, I asked myself the following question:

Is there a character from another book that would do a better job "acting" if given the role as the MC?

My first thought was that this would be an easy experiment and that I was going to find that my favorite characters were the protagonists of my favorite books. 

Not so.

 As it turns out, I'm pretty willing to overlook two-dimensional characters as long as there is a page-turning plot, and so I had a hard time creating a list of characters I would enjoy reading about in ANY setting.

Once I found a winner, the question now becomes:

How would the story be different if [Han Solo/Princess Leia] were replaced as the MCs?

Keeping the answer in mind, my goal is to make my characters lovable in any setting and not just the one I originally wrote for them to star in.

Please add your own tips in the comments! I really appreciate them all!

August 15, 2012

New Look!

Just wanted to say that you're in the right spot, but GROUNDWIRE has gotten a facelift.

Can't say enough what a beautiful job Staci from Blogging Bella Designs did.

Blogging Bella Designs

Her prices were very affordable and she was really patient while I nitpicked all sorts of small details.

Ah... there's something nice about knowing no one else has the exact same template anymore.

The sidebar pages will be updated eventually. (Would love to say by the end of the month, but realistically, it'll be later rather than sooner.) 

 Thanks for stopping by!

August 2, 2012

Crack Batter

It's now our third month of business and things are steady but just barely.

I'm now at the point where I can guess the weight of most yogurts within 50 cents of the total price just by sight.

Our top five toppings are:

Diced strawberries, Crushed Reese's peanut butter cups, popping bobas, sour worms, and marshmallow sauce.

However, the one thing that will bring our store to a screeching halt should we run out ... is the Cake Batter yogurt.
I don't know what YoCream is secretly putting in it, but people will get NASTY when we're out.

On Sunday a mini storm rolled through and brought down a tree on the power lines in the back of the shopping complex. Everyone in the center was out of power for over 5 hours and we ended up throwing out some of our product due to spoilage concerns.

So in the 2 hours we were out of Cake Batter while waiting for the product to thaw after we removed it from the freezer... 

-we had a half dozen people walk out and say they were going to drive 20 miles to our competitor
-a dozen decided they just weren't going to get any yogurt
-one person threw their half-filled cup on the floor and just walked out
-one person swore at my employee and threatened to leave her friend at the store (since she was driving) if he still got a yogurt when she couldn't get any because we were out of her flavor.

And that is why I am officially renaming this flavor to "Crack Batter".

June 22, 2012

Smooth Sailing!

I know I've gotten way out of touch in the blogging community, but I couldn't miss the chance to be a part of Kimberly Miller's cover reveal for TRIANGLES. 
I met Kimberly through Query Tracker and am so excited to have been able to watch this go from first draft to publication. Here's the super awesome blurb~

A cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong? 

In the Bermuda Triangle--a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life--her father's death years ago, her mother's medical problems, and the loser who's practically stalking her--seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she's gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser's suddenly claiming they're a happy couple... a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying "Happy Anniversary"... and suddenly, she's full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship's doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she's warned that one of these "alternate realities" could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question--how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

And now, the technical info:

Title: Triangles
Author: Kimberly Ann Miller
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (
ISBN: 978-1-937053-36-9
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Formats: Paper, e-book

June 4, 2012

Amazon Merchants Beware

I created an Amazon Merchant account so that I can sell all of my husband's college textbooks which he foolishly bought new and at full price from his school. (Because he didn't know to look up the textbooks required for the course in advance and purchase them online rather than letting the school provide them.)

I recouped anywhere from 25-50% of the original price, which is a lot better than letting them sit in a box in the attic until a newer edition is released and they're worth less than the price to ship them.

Yesterday,  I got an email from saying that I had a request for a return.

I thought: It's got to be that Astronomy for Idiots book I shipped out two weeks ago. They must not have been happy with the accuracy of my description of its condition. 

I was way wrong.

It's one of the students who bought one of the textbooks I shipped OVER FOUR MONTHS AGO. Reason provide for the return request: No longer wanted/needed.

Yeah buddy, you bought the books for the school term and now you're trying to get a refund by using the return policy? To add insult to injury, he paid $14.95with S/H  for a freaking "LIKE NEW" college book that I originally purchased for $60.

It took all of my self control to not  tell him how cheap he is.

I hope he leaves me a bad review, because then I get to go back to Amazon and have his account flagged for abuse because his requested return is even outside of Amazon's 90 day A to Z Guarantee.

It just makes me wonder how many of the super merchants automatically grant the refund because they're too busy to look up the dates or handle small claims like this. 

May 24, 2012

Used Cars

I am at the point where I can no longer resist getting a car. I've held out for two years and now it's time...

It has rained every day last week and there's no way I can tie a flat of strawberries to the passenger seat on my motorcycle.

My dad is a self-proclaimed mechanic and has only bought one car from a dealership in his life. (It was the car he took me home from the hospital in, and the same car I took my driver's test in.)  I've followed his example and have only paid cash for every car I've bought, and I've only bought my cars through private dealers.

 I found this on Craigslist, and was really excited because it's the same model my dad drives and so he would know how to fix it if something breaks.

It's a 2002 Ford Escort, and it only has 28,000 miles on it.   

According to the guy selling it, it was owned by his friend's mother, who only drove it to bingo and the grocery store.

Cue music:

 So, I took the car to a mechanic (my dad actually lives in another state) and asked him to do a used vehicle check because the guy's offer was really tempting.

As it turned out, the car needed new front and rear brakes, new tires, the AC was hardwired to the battery or something else screwy. And all the belts and stuff need to be changed because even though the car has such low mileage, rubber still breaks down and goes bad.

Total repair bill would be over $1000. Ouch.

But here's what killed the deal for me-- I checked the vehicle's history on Carfax and it turns out it was rear-ended two years ago.
It has been fixed and looks all nice and pretty now, but I was told on the phone it hadn't been in any accidents...


Here's hoping for dry weather...

May 3, 2012

Now Open!

For everyone wondering where the heck I've been...

Our yogurt store, Kiwi Loco, is now open!

Hope to get back into blogging soon, but it may be a few more weeks.

In writing news...  My wonderful agent, Kathleen Ortiz, is now on submission with my YA Gaslamp fantasy novel. (It has a new title, but I'm not saying what yet. ;D)

April 21, 2012

S is for Speed Read Test

You'd think I'd read more books at this rate... and yes, I did get all three of the comprehension questions right. However, I should include a disclaimer: it was mostly dialogue.

So, how fast do you read? Take the test below and feel free to post your scores in the comments!

April 19, 2012

Q is for Quilting

A friend introduced me to this quilting book and I knew immediately that I wanted to make one for myself despite having no quilting experience whatsoever. Heck, I’ve even made it a point to avoid going into the quilting section of Jo-Anns because I thought printed broadcloth and calicos were the Crayola of clothing fabrics.

Brain:  I sew evening dresses, for crying out loud. How hard can a quilt be? Every single seam is a straight line! I’ll have this thing cut and sewn in twelve hours.

I bought the fabric from a quilt shop in Mooresville, NC. This is when I learned that quilt fabric is anything but cheap. There are designers who make the patterns that go on quilt fabric and they have names as recognizable amongst quilters as John Grisham is to the book industry.

Me: Yay! I have my fabric now I can start cutting this tonight!
Friend: Do you have a rotary cutter and mat?

Lesson #2:  A 60 mm Olfa-brand (pizza cutter) is 45 dollars. Add in the self-healing mat and the special yellow grid ruler and kiss 100 dollars good-bye.

I think I cut out all the triangles to do the hexagons in a night and had them sewn together in another day. I arranged the hexagons by color and then I went to sew the strips together.

Lesson #3: Bias is the natural stretch in a fabric that makes curved seams fit together nicely. In a quilt, it is your enemy.

I finished the top with several lumps and not so perfectly straight seams. I moved to Florida and did nothing on it for a year since I had no idea what to do next. Luckily, I found out that the local library is a meeting place for a group of quilters and I was able to talk to someone there who told me how to finish my quilt.

I ended up taking the top and bottom fabrics to a store and paid them to have it machine quilted (those loopy designs all over the top). I was so worried it would be too lumpy and there would be all these ugly puckers in the backside. However, the woman at the store said it looked fine.

Lesson #4. Bias is your friend. It’s that little bit of give that let’s the fabric lie flat while it’s being quilted.

My quilt was a bit noisy when the machine was working on it but the woman at the shop said she didn’t have to sit there and babysit it. Her recommendation was that next time I can take a hammer and pound all the lumps flat.

So medieval… I love it.

It ended up  being 22 months since I started, but at least it's finally done.

April 17, 2012

O is for Out of Print

This is a book I read years ago when I was in elementary school. It is out of print, and has been for a long time.

What amazes me most is that I don't remember it being a spectacular book, yet whenever it pops up on Ebay or Amazon, the going rate is between $200 and $300 dollars.

Below are some other books from my old OOP list:

Back in Print!
I still can't believe I spent $100 for my copy of this only to have them reprint it 6 months later... for $2.99

There is one book I would undoubtedly spend $200 dollars on if it ever went out of print and I somehow lost my copies (I own three. 2 HC and 1 PB) That book is:

My all time favorite book. :)

Anyone else out there have a book they'd value at $200 or what's some other titles that should be reprinted?

April 14, 2012

M is for Mermaids

I’m certain I can’t be the only person who has noticed the Mermaid/Siren trend. (And while you're scrolling, feel free to note how they all share the same blue/green color in their color scheme.)

For the record, I have not read any of these yet, but I think I'm safe to say that Helene Boudreau's title is very misleading when she says "Real Mermaids don't wear toe rings."

I think it should say "Real mermaids don't have hair."

One of the characteristics common to all mammals is the presence of hair, yet most (if not all) aquatic/marine life shares the trait of the absence of hair. (Some whales do have little patches, but it's nothing like these mermaid's luscious flowing tresses that never seem to tangle. And lets leave polar bears out of the discussion.)

Hair should be a huge disadvantage in the ocean. I mean, have you ever seen a fishing lure?
Mermaids who have hair are just asking for some predator to come along and mistake it for a slippery seal or a juicy morsel.  
There are even strict rules about shaving for competitive swimmers. Anyone else see this article?

Maybe mermaids wouldn't be extinct if they invested in some swimming caps?

April 11, 2012

K and L are for Kiwi Loco

Kiwi Loco is a Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt retail store similar to Pink Berry, Red Mango, Yogurt Land, and Menchies.

The difference is, Kiwi Loco is family owned and operated. My husband's parents own half the license agreement and some of his siblings own stores throughout Southern Idaho. Soon, I'll be opening a Kiwi Loco with my husband here in Florida. Our Grand Opening should be on May 4th if all goes well.

I'm certainly feeling the crunch of stress, and will likely have to drop out of the A-Z Challenge since there's been too many surprises (See post for "I"), which have been eating up my normal blogging time.

Kiwi Loco, Idaho Falls, ID
 Here's a little blurb about our self-serve yogurt stores in case you haven't been to one. The key marketing strategy is: the customer is in complete control. 

1. Mix it.  Kiwi Loco rotates through over a hundred different flavors --12 at a time. It's just like those soft-serve cones you see at buffets. Except our machines are the Cadillac of ice cream dispensers.
Kiwi Loco has over 70 toppings ranging from candy to fresh fruit and there's no limit to what you can put on it, or how much you can put on. (Though do try to keep it in the cup. When it spills on the floor, that's product loss.) 

2. Weigh it. Using a state certified food scale (and yes, tare is already calculated for the weight of the cup) the creation is weighed. Prices usually range from 39 cents to 44 cents an ounce. (Average cup is 3-5 dollars.)
3. Eat it. (duh...) 

Putting my amateur graphic design skills from fashion design school to good use--but not in the way I imagined.

My dream was to become a career novelist, and my husband has always supported my writing. Now it's my turn to help him achieve his dream.

If you love frozen yogurt and have done the self-serve experience before, leave a comment with your favorite flavor and topping combination.

J is for Japanese

I have studied Japanese for  four years. Unfortunately, since I didn't ever make practical use of it, my translation skills are pretty poor. 

The following excerpts are from and is a funny commentary on why Japanese is so difficult: 

I don't care how many anime tapes you've watched, how many Japanese girlfriends you've had or books you've read, You Don't Know Japanese. Not only that, majoring in the god-forsaken language is NOT fun or even remotely sensible. Iraqi war prisoners are often forced to major in Japanese. The term "Holocaust" comes from the Latin roots "Holi" and "Causm", meaning "to major in Japanese". You get the idea. And so, sick of seeing so many lambs run eagerly to the slaughter, I have created This Guide to REAL TIPS for Studying Japanese.

Or, as is actually the case, NOT studying it.

The Japanese Writing System

The Japanese writing system is broken down into three separate, autonomous, insane parts: Hiragana ("those squiggily letters"), Katakana ("those boxy letters") and Kanji ("roughly 4 million embodiments of your worst nightmares").

Hiragana is used to spell out Japanese words using syllables. It consists of many letters, all of which look completely different and bear absolutely no resemblance to each other whatsoever. Hiragana were devloped by a group blind, deaf, and dumb Japanese people who scribbled things on pieces of paper while having no idea why they were doing so. The resulting designs were then called "hiaragana", and were used to predict the future. The prince who invented these characters, Yorimushi("stinking monkey-bush-donkey") was promptly bludgeoned to death. But don't worry, because as your teachers will tell you, you'll hardly use Hiragana in "real life".

Katakana are used only to spell out foreign words in a thick, crippling japanese accent, so that you'll have no idea what you're saying even though it's in English. However, if you remember one simple rule for Katakana, you'll find reading Japanese much easier: Whenever something is written in Katakana, it's an English word! (note: Katakana is also used for non-english foreign words. And sound effects, and Japanese words). Katakana all look exactly the same, and it's impossible, even for Japanese people, to tell them apart. They kind of look like the number 9, except straighter. No need to worry though, because you'll hardly ever have to read Katakana in "real life". 
Katakana vs Hirigana

Kanji are letters that were stolen from China. Every time the Japanese invaded China (which was very often) they'd just take a few more letters, so now they have an estimated 400 gazillion of them. Kanji each consist of several "strokes", which must be written in a specific order or Japanese people will laugh at you. Each character conveys a specific meaning, like "horse" (note that the character for horse could also mean "car". Or "police officer". Or "Didacticism"). 

Kanji can also be combined to form new words. For example, if you combine the Kanji for "small", and "woman", you get the word "carbeurator". Kanji also have different pronounciations depending on where they are in the word, how old you are, and what day it is. When European settlers first came upon Japan, Japanese scholars suggested that Europe adopt the Japanese written language as a "universal" language understood by all parties. This was the cause of World War 2 several years later. Don't worry, however, since you'll never have to use kanji in "real life", since most Japanese gave up on reading a long, long time ago, and now spend most of their time playing Pokemon. 

A handful of the 2500 commonly used Kanji

 Do you know a second or foreign language (or several?) where did you learn it and how often do you get to use it?

April 10, 2012

I is for "I'm going to scream I'm so Infuriated."

I actually had a different topic planned for today, but because of an emergency circumstance yesterday, I'm changing it.

The back story is that my husband an I are opening a self-serve frozen yogurt and custard store. (I'm saving the details on this for the K-L days.)

I spoke with our contractor and the guy we ordered our restaurant equipment through and I thought we agreed he would ship the large refrigerators on the 9th so that they would arrive sometime after Wednesday.

Well... they arrived yesterday.

I absolutely was not expecting to have 2000 lbs worth of stuff to move in and they charge by the weight and there's an expensive re-delivery fee if they store the stuff a few more days. Plus we're the driver's last stop and he's just itching to get rid of these things and go home.

So I'm all by my 110-lb lonesome self and I have to suddenly get these fridges through the front door.

I call my husband and my friend and ask to borrow her husband. (Caroline, I am so watching your kids for a night and paying to send you to dinner with Carl!) My contractor is the best guy ever and even though it's his evening off, he comes back in to help at 6:00 when my husband and my friend's husband get off work.

By the way, here's the dimensions of these fridges:

Height: 79 1/8"
Width: 29 1/2"
Length:  78 1/8"
Weight: 615 lbs

The front door is 84 x 36. (Actual measurements 83 1/2 x 34) Too bad the castors for the fridges are  five inches tall.

I had to buy PVC pipe and cut it into 3 foot lengths. The guys then rolled the fridges off the pallets, through the front door, and we used my car jack to lift them high enough to put the wheels on.

That's when we get it to the next doorway (he one leading into the kitchen) and I realize that while I insisted the doorway be cut 7' like the front door--it's also still too short to wheel the fridges through. (BTW we have not one, but TWO of these fridges.)

So... since we're still in the dry wall stage, I think our contractor is going to just cut the header and make the door taller. Much less stress for everyone--except the dry wall guy.

April 9, 2012

H is for Hair Types

I have very fine, straight hair. It's so thin that when I stick my hair in a ponytail, the diameter measures just under a half inch. I always fool the ladies at Regis and Tony and Guy--they think I don't have a lot of hair and then they start cutting it and it takes them twice as long as they expected.

However, as much as I love my hair, I secretly wish I had curly hair. My mom caved into my begging and let me perm my hair in kindergarten. I loved it, but my hair was fried and within three months my hairbrush resembled a long-haired guinea pig. I've permed it twice after that and sadly the curls went flat, both within < one month>.  The same thing happens when I dye it.

In novels, it seems like there aren't many curly haired protagonists--and that makes me sad because I feel it's an under-represented, hair type that deserves to be glamorized more.

So here's some quick tidbits about various hair types for women--and beard styles for guys--because most guys don't grow their hair out long enough to notice these sort of patterns.

Also, did you knot that each type is further classified by the letters A, B, and C? They define the thickness and tightness of the hair strand. Finer hair with a looser curl is A, B is in the middle, and C is thicker with a smaller curl pattern.

Straight hair is classified as type 1.
It's hard to damage and next to impossible to curl. Tends to be the most oily type of all.

Wavy  hair is classified as type 2. This hair type forms waves and has loose tresses.

Type 3 hair is curly. Has a definite S shape. This hair type is full bodied, and may become frizzy depending on the climate.

Why, Taylor, why? :_;
Type 4 is Kinky hair. This tightly coiled hair appears wiry, but is actually fine and very delicate. Each strand usually has a zig zag pattern. It appears to grow slower than the other hair types because it breaks so much easier.

April 7, 2012

G is for Gaussian Curves

Suppose a researcher selects a random sample of 100 men, measures their height, and constructs a histogram for the data.

Now if the sample size increases to a 1000 men, the histogram changes slightly—it becomes more balanced.

If the same size increases to 100,000 it levels even more. 

If it were possible to measure the heights of all adult males in the world, the histogram would create something called the bell curve, or the Gaussian distribution.

This distribution is helpful for figuring out average weight and height distributions, intelligence scores, SAT scores, prices paid for new cars, the life span of light bulbs, the probability of flipping a fair coin—yet somehow it does not apply to Book Reviews. I think it should.

For a Gaussian curve, there is a rule for Standard Deviation. 

  1. Approximately 68% of all the data items fall within one standard deviation within the mean (average) in both directions.
  2. Approximately 95% of the data items fall within 2 standard deviations of the mean.
  3. Approximately 99.7% of the data items fall within 3 standard deviations of the mean.

Applying the GoodReads rating system, this is fair:

1-     didn’t like it
2-     it was okay
3-     liked it
4-     really liked it
5-     it was amazing

If book reviews followed the Gaussian curve, 68% of the books people read should be “liked it” they should be the average, the norm. Between the 95 and 68 marks, there’s 27%.  One out of four books should either be really liked it, or it was okay.  What’s left after 95%?  5 percent split between didn’t like it and it was amazing, so 2.5% of books for 1 stars, and 2.5 for 5 stars.

These are the books you would loan a friend your copy just to make sure they read it. These books are so amazing you’d give them away as gifts. A book this amazing you went out and bought at B&N full price after checking it out at the library.

One star books-These are books that you when you get to the ending you expect to see a printed page with a website leading you to an apology from the author. These are the books you pick up when you want to die a long slow horrible death.

“But all the books I read are amazing,” you say. And for someone reason, everyone seems to either really love a book, or they hate it. We end up with a skewed curve that looks something like this:

Sorry, but all books can't be 5 or 4 stars. This is the problem Harvard has with it’s applicants. They’re all really smart and talented, but only X number of students can attend. What do they have to do then? Raise the bar, scrutinize even more. Think back and ask yourself, was that book really *that* awesome, or was it just really good? Maybe you really just liked it, but you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings and so you gave it a higher ranking that you really meant.

Luckily though,the whole Gaussian curve system ends up working out any way even if no one corrects their habit of only leave 1,4,and 5 star reviews. Because once all of the "Amazing" and "Didn't Like It" ratings are averaged, the rating drops to the standard 3-point-something star review--and the Gaussian Curve triumphs again.