Thursday, November 3, 2011

Good news is good news

So a short story- well technically flash piece- of mine is going to round 2 of submissions at the e-zine I sent it too! It feels good to have good news, it's been so long. Here's hoping it gets accepted!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What do you sign in the age of e-books?

As e-books rise and paper books decline I think a big question is 'What will authors sign?' Like any reader/writer I have a collection of prize Signed Books. Those books that I've taken to or purchased at conventions, packed and lugged to one event or another in order to receive the prize of an author's signature on the end papers. I have signed books from Jacqueline Carey, China Mieville, Garth Nix, Nalo Hopkinson and many others, all of which have a pace on my permanent bookshelf.

But what do you sign in a digital age? I think it's a token/memento which will always be important to collectors and devoted fans. I know I wouldn't part with signed books. They are special. they are touched.

I think there are a few possibilities for signatures in a digital age.

1- being e-readers adding a touch screen so that authors signatures can be collected. Who knows, there is probably already an app for that... And if not I demand 50% of your profits!!

2- Comes from Japan. Manga artists often sign shikishi boards at events. They are wonderful mementos and can be displayed in frames and wall hangings

Since I can draw I vote for shikishi boards!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Well I'm still working! I'm writing on my YA and getting ready to edit the Carmine novella and in the meantime I thought I'd post a little character questionnaire I did for Irissa, the main character of my YA. It's a Regency-esque romance with lesbians, secondary world fantasy, and a murder mystery (in all likelihood...) As usual I have no outline!


Irissa (Last name TBA)

1) List four things you like very much – Science, logic, books, reading

2) List four things you dislike very much- mages, religion, ignorance, emotion

3) Did you have a happy childhood? Yes. My parents were very loving, I had all the books I wanted, siblings I cared for deeply and an excellent school.

4) Describe an incident in your childhood that you think most affected you. - I don't like to talk about it but some girls at boarding school fancied themselves mages and summoned... creatures one of them attacked me and it was a horrific incident I don't care to dwell on.

5) Describe your mother and how you feel about her. - My mother doesn't understand me but I know she cares. We disagree on a regular basis and frankly I find her trying at times. She reads silly books and is far too polite.

6). Describe your father and how you feel about him – Father understands me a great deal. He always gave me books on science and philosophy. He has encouraged my education my whole life.

7) what is your favorite pastime? – Reading, translating books from their original languages, and... well, not much else is there?

8) What person do you think has influenced you the most? – My Father. And perhaps my older brother.

9) How do you feel about sex? - Well, it's a normal function of biology. no real mystery to it. Certainly not worth the drama and emotion people invest in it. What do you mean I shouldn't pass judgement because I haven't had it yet?

10) What is your religion and how important is it to you? – Religion is for superstitious fools.

11) What is your philosophy of life? – Ask questions, find answers.

12) If you could have any tangible thing that you wanted what would it be? I would like to keep the seaside cottage in the family.

13) Have you any physical difficulties? - I wear spectacles...

14) What kind of education or training have you had and how did you feel about it? – I have a classical eduction. Speak three languages and read competantly five.

15) How do you think people react to you as a person? – According to my mother I am too impolite. According to my cousin I am too unsentimental. According to my Father I am a bit hard around the edges. According to my classmates I was irascible.

16) What are you proudest of? – My intelligence.

17) What are you most ashamed of?- My freckles? Maybe. According to my mother (again) I have no shame.

18) What is your deepest fear? - Mages

19) How do you feel about food? - I like good a great deal and bad food a good deal less. Almond cake is my favorite dessert.

20) What do you dream about? - Academia.

21) What makes you feel good? - Using logic to solve problems.

22) What do you try hardest to avoid? – People

23) What makes you angry and how do you react? – Ignorance, foolishness, silliness and stupidity. I have no patience for any of the above even in myself.

24) How athletic are you? – Not at all.

25) How methodical are you? - Extremely.

26) What are you chief taboos? – Aren't those akin to superstations?

27) How much traveling have you done? – Unfortunately little.

28) Describe a situation in which you feel you have behaved courageously. - I probably haven't...

29) Do you see yourself as a self-centered person? – According to my mother extremely.

30) Do you see yourself as a loving person? – More sentiment and nonesense.

31) Do you see yourself as a popular person – The opposite but I don't really care.

32) Do you see yourself as potentially having an important influence on the world? - Maybe.

33) How artistic are you? More stuff and nonesense.

34) How do you feel about material things? – I like nice things and I like books and want a nice place to put those books. I'm used to, if not material things at least the respect accorded by my family's standing.

35) What are your plans for the future? – I don't know anymore.

36) How idealistic are you? – That's a stupid question.

37) How realistic are you? – Is there anything else?

38) How successful are you? – So far not very.

39) Name the four things you most often object to in other people. - Silliness, ignorance, sentimentality, and inanity.

40) Name the four things you most often object to in yourself. – When my emotions get the better of me. I don't read people well. I'm not as observant as I would like to be. I'm not as in control as I'd like to be all the time.

41) How gullible are you? - Not at all.

42) How intelligent are you? – Extremely.

43) Do you believe that the end justifies the means? – Frequently yes.

44) How attractive are you physically? – Well, I nave good bones if you can see past the freckles and the spectacles.

45) Do you believe there is anything worth dying for and what led you to this conclusion? – I don't know. Maybe.

46) What do you worry about the most? – Not having enough time to read.

47) What makes life worth living for you? – Books. And quite possibly the almond cake made by my cousin Owenee's chef. And no, I am not joking.

48) What is the difference between good and evil? – I'm not sure.

49) What kind of person would you most like to be? – Smarter than I am now.

50) How do you relate to animals? – Not well...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Rejected again

So I will NOT be in the Absolute Write anthology. Hour of the Wolf was rejected again.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Slackerly updates!

Well, the first Carmine Rojas novella is almost done!! And thanks to Dragon Nat. Speaking it's almost typed too!

So it will be off to Damnation Books sooner rather than later. Of course I did the math and I've writing this thing for months!! It's going to get to about 19k which is well within the average for other Damnation novellas. I also need to work up a marketing plan! I had a moment of panic when I saw that on the submission guidelines but I got some help from Sunny Frazier over at Oak Tree who sent me the form they have their authors fill out and it gave me some good ideas for what I can do!

I'm luck to be in a position, and have the skill, to manufacture my own swag :) I can make Carmine book marks, Carmine prints, and, if I ever buy another cyan toner cartridge for my laser printer, Carmine stickers! I can also attend cons if they are in Cali and promote on LJ and Deviant Art. So maybe I'm not hopeless!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Accidentally, a new book...

On the heels of finishing Tea Times Three I've started a new book.

And it's funny because I just read a blog post by someone I follow who has also started a new WIP. She asks some good questions at the end of her blog which boils down to "How do you feel when starting a new WIP?"

I, unlike the original poster, don't feel nervous. I spent a year and a half living in Midswich Maine with all the residents of my fictional town, and as much ad I love them I am happy to take a break. There is a Buddhist saying which goes something like this, "Everyone is special, but no one is especially special."

A lot of authors seem to get very attached to a particular caste but I don't. I certainly like everyone in Tea Times Three, enough that I have two more books planned, but I also have a lot of other ideas with lots of other characters, some planned, and some I'm just making up ad I go.

The new WIP I plunged into, head first when a couple ideas I've had in the back of my mind collided and an idea sprang forth. I started writing without even the main character's names in place. Heck, her personality wasn't even formed yet. But I'm learning all about her as I write and I've honed her personality. I have a few things to change at the beginning, but the book, the world, and the characters are taking shape as I go. I mean the main character's name has changed three times!!

To me that's the only way to get to know a story. Write it. The characters will surprise and delight you! If you have a book or a an unfinished work by the end it doesn't matter, you've still learned, and practiced and written something. And by sheer practice the next work will be better still.

I do worry at times I'm waisting m,y time. I worry I won't finish. I worry my ideas are dumb. BUT I don't let it stop me. Every new book gets off to a joyous and exciting start! Whether it stays that way seems to be my biggest hurdle. The inevitable mid-book blues set in. I get stuck, I start to worry. I start to doubt. THAT'S when In start to freak. Not at the beginning. I hit the ground running, then slow, then trip, then pick myself up THEN hopefully, stagger across the finish line, only to have to rewrite and edit.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Done!!! Huzzah! Draft 1 of Tea Times Three is done! Sort of... I still need to fill in the middle but I'm working on rewrites! And the first Carmine novella is closing in on done! Yay!

Productivity is good!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Important enough to cross-post!

There is a a really good article here Go read and come back, I'll wait.

Now while DC head honchos laugh off this poor woman and her daughter I'd like to point out a little deeper an insult from DC. Here is a quote of an article in CBR

" A fan dressed as Batgirl who had been at every DC panel over the weekend asked whether the publisher was committed to hiring more women. Didio said that they were working to put the best talent possible on the books. Morrison asked, “Do more women want to write DC superheroes?” and when many female fans responded “Yes!” he simply added “Then send your stuff in.”
They hire the best. Ah, there’s your answer. And they certainly must know who the best female creators are, right?"

The essential problem with this is: DC COMICS DOES NOT TAKE SUBMISSIONS. I wasted an hour at the DC "submission" panel at SDCC a few years ago. A panel which is mandatory to attend their portfolio review at Con. After patiently listening to editors I finally raised my hand during the Q&A portion and asked "What about writers?" The answer was there are no submissions for writers. Period. If you are big enough and famous enough (forget talented, that doesn't seem to matter) then DC will ASK YOU to write for them. But other than that there IS NO RECOURSE for writers of any race or gender to become DC creators.
And this is why (among so many other reasons) I hate comic books.

I am a darn good comic book writer. I have good ideas. I have a lot to offer the genre. I also write very fun things. I STILL get people who have JUST read Dark Moon Diary popping up on Deviant Art saying "OMG I love the book where's the sequel?"

But DC and even Marvel to an extent are not that interested in new writing talent. A lot of comic book authors at both places are either people who have been in comics for years and years. Or Writers from Hollywood (Joss Whedon I'm looking at you >:( ) or NYT best selling authors like Laurell K. Hamilton. From my time in comics I never felt like there much attempt to find or nurture new talent. And there is a legit reason for this! Comics are SO SMALL. Probably 1% of 1% of an already dying print media. Of course no one wants to waste time with an unrecognized author. But this also leads to an ass load of inbreeding and stagnation within the industry. There are like 5 guys writing everything! Not literally, but you know what I mean! You see the same names, the same editors, and the same heroes over and over and over. But this policy has lead to the dead thing that comic books in America are.
The editors who spoke to this woman should have said this: "Honestly, we do what will sell the few comic books we sell a year. If the female characters aren't cutting it they are relegated to supporting caste. We, like every other company in the past 5 years have had to trim our staff so we decided to keep the boys club going because they are the known names in comics and a known quantity both in terms of sales and name recognition. We are not interested in your opinions until sales of JLA/Batman/X-Men/Whatever reach a point that change is forced. Please DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR WORK TO US we will just have to throw it away. So save a tree! And don't bother."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dear Laurie J. Marks

Well, hello all! All 30 of you! I am back! I have been lazy! But I have a new computer with a web cam so welcome to video updates!!!

This time I am asking Laurie J. Marks the fantasy author to put her back list on Kindle. The three books she wrote about well, I can't recall if she ever named the planet- must have.... I haven't read the books in a long time- BUT they were about a world made of super hard crystal called glass. There were three main species of sentient beings, the human like Walkers who lived on the land, the Aeyrie who flew the skies and the Mer who lived in the sea. The books are fantastic, the prose is beautiful. And the shame is that they are out of print! And they don't deserve to be!

OK! Her website has also improved over the years! And helps explain, at least a little the big gaps in books that have occurred. Wow, I wish I could take a writing class from her! My prose has never been poetic and hers most definitely is.

It would be nice to think I'll meet Ms. Marks (I just can't call authors by their first name! I hate it how people run around calling everyone by their first name like the KNOW the person!) BUT, I like to think I'll meet Laurie J. Marks someday but even if I did I'd never have the courage to make much of the opportunity. I'd just grin like an idiot and maybe giggle and stammer out something "Like I love your books" then I'd fade into the background like the dumbass I am. And THAT would be my big meeting with Laurie J. Marks. I'd be a fangirling idiot and she would would leave nervous that I'm a stalker.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Well, the Carmine short story is officially rejected. I figured it was because it said on the site that they would only reply if they wanted the story and it had been months. But then an actual rejection by e-mail came making it far more concrete than the "I never hear from them again".

So that's it...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cover, covers, covers

OK the old adage about how authors should leave the cover art to people who know better is only about 80% accurate. The thing is I AM an artist- trained and everything, and I know good cover art when I find it.

BUT for some reason everyone is treating Kindle like a dumping ground for back catalogues, short stories and the unpublishable novels (admit it, we all have at least one we want to put on Kindle...)

But, like the real estate saying "Location,location, location" in book sales it should be "Cover art, cover art, cover art."

There is no shortage of good artists out there willing to work and a dozen different stock art resources. Which is why THIS is such a travesty:

Catherine Cookson's estate put her back catalogue of books onto Kindle all of them with the same hideous cover. You'll have to cut and paste- the links are NOT working for me! If I make them links through blogspot they a invisible. If I just paste in the link they don't work....

You get the idea...

Now, the Cookson name may be well regarded and known enough that buyers familiar with her work will purchase regardless of cover art. But how many new readers will these bring in?

Now it is good of her estate to make the books available. She isn't an author I've ever read but I have heard the name. It's the execution that is so terrible. Covers sell books! And they sell e-books!

If you'd like to read the whole article on Cookson's books going onto Kindle go here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kindle Books of Quality: Interview with David H. Burton

In my quest to root out, find and share $.99 books of quality from Amazon I began the Kindle project with 5 $.99 downloads. David Burton's Scourge: A Grim Doyle Adventure was one of those books.

There has been a lot of debate on whether self-published books are any good. The debate is not a new one. However with the rise of the e-book the book market haz been flooded with easy access not only to self-published books, but has given un-published authors an easy outlet and the chance to live their dream.

But many people still argue that no good can come from the loss of the 'gate-keepers', agents, editors and publishing houses. And that certainly, any book self-published and un-vetted MUST be bad right? The answer to that is, in my opinion NO. Good books don't get published for a lot of reasons, not just because they are bad. Before there was only a narrow range of what could be done with a book that editors liked but didn't feel they could market. Major distribution certainly wasn't one of them.

E-publishing from both authors themselves and from small Indie publishers had the ability to get books out to readers on a grander scale than ever before.

My Kindle project is to find good books at the magical price point of $.99 of quality and then interview the authors to get their take on the Kindle and find out a bit more on the nuts and bolts of how to get an e-book out there.

1. What drew you to Kindle in the first place?

First I’ll give you some quick history.

For my first novel (The Second Coming), I went the traditional route and submitted to agents. I was picked up by a fabulous agent who specializes in fantasy/scifi (and she reps Margaret Weis). We went round after round with the book, and as much as we got great feedback from editors on it, they felt it was “too risky” to take on. After 40 editors we came to the decision that I should go out with it on my own to prove that I had a market for it.

With the second book (a children’s steampunk fantasy called Scourge) I decided to go it alone directly instead of go through the submission process. I really like the level of control I have in the publishing process as an indie author, so for now, this will likely be how I bring out all future books.

So, to answer your question, publishing directly to Kindle through KDP is a perfect method of getting books out to readers as an independent author. It’s a brilliant platform that spans devices and has the greatest selection. It’s a great place to be selling ebooks.

2. Why did you choose the $.99 price point? Do you feel the price devalues the writing or that people make assumptions based on the price?

I go back and forth between $2.99 and $0.99. The short story I have out (Simian’s Lair) is set at $0.99 and the other books I drop down to $0.99 every once in a while. My intent, once I complete the two series I have out, is to leave the first book at $0.99 and set the subsequent books at $2.99. It’s a trend that a lot of successful indie authors are doing right now and it seems to work.

As for the perceived value of price, it’s an interesting debate that’s happening in the community a lot these days. Some see $0.99 as devaluing their work or that readers grab it only because it’s cheap. There are others that see it as a means to get their name out to more readers even if it is an impulse buy. For me, I don’t mind dropping the price down to $0.99 every once in a while, but I think I prefer the $2.99 price point.

3. Why self publishing?

As I mentioned earlier, it was a decision that my agent and I came to based on what we thought was the best option to get my work out there. I think it’s one of the best things I ever did. I now have fans and people contacting me about my books. It’s very exciting. Whether or not I could ever make a living from writing, my work is being enjoyed and read, and that’s all I could ever ask for. :)

4. Did you format the book yourself or did pay to have it done? What were the challenges in either case?

I do the formatting myself using HTML. I learned a lot from author, Guido Henkel, on ebook formatting that works brilliantly. If you check out his blog, he has a great series on ebook formatting that everyone should read if they plan on going indie. (

Also, I have a web design background, so formatting the book with html and using tools like Calibre to convert it is really easy. I didn’t have any major challenges with it, luckily.

5. Tell me about you cover art!

Ah yes, cover art. I’m huge on covers. If a cover doesn’t grab me, I have trouble looking past it, so I knew I really had to put together decent covers if I was going to do this. Since I have a web background, I have some amount of experience in design. It took me awhile to find the right elements for my books when I designed the covers, but in the end, I did them for very cheap. There’s not much you can’t do these days with Photoshop, some good brushes, and royalty-free sites like Fotolia or iStockphoto. :)

6. Tell me about the editing process. Did you hire an editor?

At this point, I can’t afford the services of a professional editor. I edited the books myself with a red pen. I have a process I go through, and I’m pretty ruthless. And recently I’ve started gathering some readers that act as beta readers now for me to catch any significant errors that I might miss. If given the choice, though, I would love to be in a position to hire a good editor. I think it does a lot for your books.

7. How do you promote your e-book? Is it a challenge to find venues for promotion?

The one thing I find the hardest to do in this business is promotion. I have a hard time with the hard sell. I don’t like it, and I don’t do it well. That said, it has to be done in some format.

There are some free and paid venues that I’ve used to try to get word out there. Social networking is good too. I think, for me, slowly building up a readership and writing more books is really the best form of promotion I can do right now. It will likely take me longer than trying the hard sell, but I think that’s what will work best for me.

8. Tell us a bit about who you are and your path as an author.

I’ve been writing on and off for years. I dabbled in the old DelRey Online Writing Workshop many years ago. Then it became independent and I participated in that as well. It’s a brilliant forum for fantasy writers to hone their craft and learn from other writers. Eventually I moved on to the submission process and ended up where I am today. Throughout it all I kept on writing. That’s been the best way to really learn. I didn’t think I’d reach a point where I could put multiple books out in a year, but here I am. I just finished a new paranormal romance (Broken) that I hope to have out at the end of May and I have another children’s book (Billy Bones) that I hope to have out at the end of summer. It’s a very exciting time to be an author right now!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

To Kindle or not to Kindle...

My Carmine Rojas novella is closing in on done and I am torn about what to do with it when I finish. Aside from the obvious edit and revise...

I do have time to think about it but I still haven't come up with a satisfactory answer. Do I put it right up on Kindle or do I try a small e-publisher? Both have merits. I have heard over and over from small press people that they are making more on Kindle than on print books. I am working on my cover skills (when I have one done I'll post it here :) ) So I think I can give my novella a good presentation on Amazon. There are places that will format it for me and I'm going to search for more Kindle blogs to hopefully promote on.

But I still need help when it comes to promotion. I am better at it than I used to be. I follow a few reviewers out there but I'm not as good as a lot of people and have always found it daunting. I'm not good about talking about myself or my work. I don't have the self-esteem for it.

And darn it. I want to make the $100 it will cost me to format! Of course that $100 may be the decider. I should probably try a small press first then if all else fails Kindle it is!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Kindle self pubbers take note!

I got a very nice surprise the other day when I downloaded a Kindle freebie, 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover. I opened the book and was greeted with THE COVER. It made me smile. I don't like how all Kindle books default to the first chapter. I mean it's not bad, it saves some clicking. But the first thing you look at when you open a book is the cover and I liked that feeling.

What is even worse though , is when the cover art is entirely absent. One of my $.99 downloads was chosen on the basis of the cover and imagine my dismay when the cover art was not included.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Well I found the Carmine novella! And have added a bit of wordage to it as well! I also started work on my horror novella/MG horror. (It may or may not be appropriate...)

But the greater amount of time is spent on Tea Times Three and it's ever receding ending! If you know what I mean. The light at the end of the tunnel keeps receding even though I keep moving forward.

But I gotta get moving on all fronts!

Oh! And I also nailed down another short story idea that's been bugging me for a year! I want to submit it to Beneath Ceaseless Skies despite my lack of purdy prose. Sorry, I'm don't beautiful poetic literary prose. But you know what? Why not? Can't hurt to try.

I think I got some confidence back from finishing Hour of the Jaguar, Hour of the Wolf and I hope to maintain the momentum.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Kindle Formatting

Well I found this and they have prices that I WILL pay to get my work formatted for Kindle. I don't want to learn HTML. If I can find and finish my Carmine novella I may self-pub it.

I'm not sure about it yet.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cover Art

Okay, not really! It's cover art I drew myself for my short story, which if anyone out there read my last post, I have submitted it to a market. But before that I drew a cover for it because I LOVE my main character Carmine Rojas and hope to use her in the future for more shorts and that novella- provided I can find where I put it...

She was also posted on my Deviant Art page and LJ awhile ago. I have to admit I update LJ a lot more than I do this blog. I get to complain about dolls a lot and people respond more on LJ but here is nice too, don't get me wrong.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I am submitting to an anthology! I decided to try and 'get out there' more by writing some short stories. And I was more than a little inspired by the Write One Sub One thread Absolute Write. My intended anthology had a word count cut off of 5k but get this! I found another anthology to submit to! It must be fate! Anyway the story is going here

I am also working on a novella with the same character from my short. Actually- it goes like this. The 1st story I started was getting too long and I decided novella was the answer. Began story the 2nd starring the same character as story the 1st. But had to quit work on story the 1st in order to finish story the 2nd. Have now miss placed story the 1st.

AND I still need to finish my novel!

Friday, March 25, 2011

I read slow...

OK. Kindle project is going slowly. I can't read 5 books a month...

BUT I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I may not be the biggest blog in the world but I'm going to see if I can a few Kindle authors to answer a few questions and post these e-mail interviews for all the world (and 27 followers) to see.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Well, my Kindle plan has hit a snag. It turns out I can't READ 5 books a month. I'm still reading the first story, Grim Doyle.

And I've been a neglectful blogger.

AND I'm STILL almost done with Tea Times Three!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Put my money where my mouth is.

I bought 5 $.99 books on Amazon and I bought them cold! Yikes!

The break down:

Scourge: A Grim Doyle Adventure; self described as steampunk for kids. It has a number of excellent reviews and I've had my eye on it for awhile. Also I'm following a thread on AW about how no one buys middle grade and YA on Kindle.

Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help; this seems to be MG pubbed overseas and without an American publisher so they went DIY. I hope this sets a precedence for more foreign books to do this if foreign rights fall through.

Milrose Munce and the Plague of Toxic Fungus; You had me at fungus. This is the sequel obviously.

Night and Chaos: The Deava Chronicles; This one being the rather biased choice! Thought I'd go with an author I KNOW to be good.

Tinna's Promise; I liked the cover art. This should totally prove cover art is still KING! Make a good one! Even for an e-book!! Fork over for that nice stock photo and the extended rights :)

I also got samples of two more.I'll let you know how this goes....

Kindle project is GO!

Ok, for my b-day I got a Kindle. And ever since I've been trying to work up the nerve to buy books for it. I am not easily parted from money, unless it is for dolls.

But I have also been thinking more and more about self publishing. Not everything mind you. I still want what support a traditional publisher and agent can provide. BUT I think Ambriel at it's staggering length would lend itself to Kindle.

So here's what I'm going to do. If I can bring myself to fork over $5.00 a month I will purchase and read some of the indie Kindle books. I will post reviews and maybe see if I can land an interview or two.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to give Amazon my debt card # and go see what I can get for $5.00!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Run out of things to say

I have been out of updates lately. I ran out of things to say! Which is terrible considering how rich a topic writing is.

BUT I never run out of pet peeves.

Here's my latest: Writers who are over dependant on the opinion of others as exemplified by Absolute Write. I have been on the forum a lot less which I believe is a good thing. And since I don't have friends there no one misses me so it works out for everyone. But- here is the thing; so many people post their ideas, ask if they are doing right or wrong, cruise for betas, and ask for every one's opinion even though no one else's opinion matters but your own.

That's not to say a good critique group isn't helpful (a joy I may never know....) but when it comes down to it you have to rely on yourself.

It's the same principle that you see on Top Chef vs. Top Chef Masters. The master chefs don't worry. They do what they want for the challenges and they have confidence in their food. At some point you have to trust yourself.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Lately something odd has been happening. I have been feeling more confident in my writing. I think my word choices are getting better, more conscious in my sentences. I'm eliminating more of the extraneous words I normally use. And yes, carefully considering adverbs. But I still use them!

Another thing I do is I just write. I don't think about grammar or punctuation, I write what I want how I want to which I believe helps the voice of anything.

I owe a great debt to the R.F.N. which I spent two years working on. I'm having some doubts that it will ever be finished now. Poor Ambriel may hang in limbo for a long time. But I owe that unfinished book a great deal. It showed me that I write something very long. It's sheer volume- at 400+ handwritten pages was a great training ground.

The second thing I owe for my increasing skill is beta reading on AW. I don't volunteer often or lightly. And I always worry a great deal that I will eventually really piss someone off when I send back their manuscript. BUT it has made me more conscious of how I write so I make better word choices at the outset.

Tea Times Three, from the beginning to now- near complete will by the time all is said and done, have taken one year to write. And in that time too I have gotten better. I know the improvement will serve me during editing too.

But you know what? I still can't spell.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Almost done

The halfway mark has passed and the end is in sight! I can hardly believe it. I haven't finished a novel since I got out of college. I wrote three very mediocre middle grade fantasies that while creative weren't that great.That was my first SERIOUS ATTEMPT at being an author. Life detoured at time horribly sometimes for the better, like when I got three comics published.

So here it is. My last best hope. I have no back up plan. I have no other career. I have to succeed at something before I die.

So here it is. Tea Times Three, nearly done with draft the first. Perhaps two more to follow. I will not fall into the edit for eternity trap. I won't.

In the meantime I'm going a couple short stories.

Something good has to happen at some point.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Insightful Analysis

I submitted a small snippet of Ambriel to Juliette Wade's Wednesday Worldbuilding Workshop for analysis. Every week she accepts bits of work in order to help and educate other writers.

You can see my work and what she said about it at the link above. I highly recommend sending something in. Especially if you write science fiction or fantasy.

It was great fun to read her comments :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ugly on the inside

So, someone sent me a nasty rep on AW. Just for sake of being obnoxious I guess. I wouldn't have even seen it except that I had change my password because of log-in issues. But it's never fun to be blind sided by the unpleasantness of people at any time. The only possible reason they could have had to even write the rep is to be specifically mean. Which means they put a lot of thought and energy into replying to a post of mine that was buried on at least page two of the forum it was posted in.

It's funny how people now think they are entitled to be awful just because it's the Internet and they are very far away. As if their opinion is somehow supposed to crush your spirit.

Part of me would like to take terrible rep revenge upon them, but a therapist once told me "You can be right, or you can be happy" so I am trying more and more to make the conscious decision to be happy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Neglected books

The path to a novel is littered with abandoned short stories and the decaying carcasses of other novels.

I started on Tea Times Three April 17, 2010, I'm not kidding. I wrote it on the first page. For awhile I was going to try and get it done in a sort of personal Nanowrimo of three month at a rate of 5 pages a day. BUT that hasn't happened.

In the interim I have abandoned:

R.F.N. which I haven't touched in months. My only hope is that I seem to be able to slip back into Ambriel's voice effortlessly and can pick it up again without trouble.

Circumpolar- ubercool short story suffering from a alack of plot. I am going to try and finish it this year a I have an idea for it even if it isn't good.

Just yesterday I began work on a short story for a werewolf anthology which I had no intention of writing but an idea came to me.

Suffering from mild neglect: Calvin my MG horror which people tell me is too much for MG. Although I'm tarting to wonder about that... I mean it could go to an adult publisher as a horror novel with a 12 yr old protag... MAYBE. I mean nothing too terrible happens to Calvin, I wouldn't do that!

But I'm not good at working on too many things at one time. I can do it but it require a lot of me.

I have been making much more of an effort to put butt in chair lately though and slog onward whether the writing is working or not. Progress is the only thing that matters.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Developing Characters

I don't develop characters in any one single way. I use a multitude of different techniques and it just depends on my mood and the project and how much I have to go on regarding plot and character.

Develop as I go- As I write they 'come alive' and I add things as they come up including background and family details. That way they can surprise me. I decide sentence by sentence need by need who they are, what relatives they have, their attitude, background, and issues. This does require a lot of record keeping. Details need to be written down as they develop and often I have to go back and look things up in the draft if I didn't write them down.

Spring forth fully formed- This happens sometimes. A character complete and total and fascinating bursts fully formed from the imagination. I know them inside and out. This isn't really a good way to do it. It is unreliable and sitting around waiting for characters to 'just come' is... not the kiss of death... but certainly a form of procrastination.

Idea of a character- I base them around a few personality traits or their function in the plot, or an idea I want to explore. This is an abstract way to begin. Without gender or appearance. In some ways it's working backwards. I have one character who is based on the idea of ambition- driving all consuming ambition and this defining trait informs her actions throughout the story and provides her drive forward.

Plan them- Once in a awhile I work them out on paper before hand making a character info/profile work up- I like the one from "You can Write A Mystery" by Gillian Roberts has a very good character profile to fill out for creating characters. It's very thorough and asks questions you may not normally consider like "Work Life" and "Private Life" so you can define who the character is in these different situations.

It honestly just depends. A lot of times I just start writing cold. Sometimes I want a plan. But I like to let them evolve and surprise me as I go.

Often I find giving them a goal, makes them interesting. Giving them something they want to achieve, whether saving up money to start their own B&B or a desire to become a fashion designer. I think this helps secondary characters a LOT because it gives them something they want that isn't related to the main character at all and gives them a life independent of the events of the novel which enlivens and informs their actions in the story.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Scene analysis

I've come to realize that virtually every scene in Tx3 breaks down to three parts. I don't think all my writing goes like this, not the short stories anyway, but the novels kinda do this all the time! Especially Tea Times Three.

The Set Up- I set the scene, establish the setting, the action and the POV character. I also begin with a recap of what's happened off stage that is pertinent to what is happening.

Action- Usually dialogue or some interaction/conflict with another character. This goes on until it... well, ends. Either the parties resolve, or since Tx3 is very real-world based people usually either back down, get exasperated and drop it, or just leave without any resolution.

Reflection- The POV character then reflects on their feelings and lingering misgivings about what just happened. Sometimes they come to a conclusion about how they feel and why they feel that way but as often as not their emotional life is as unsettled as whatever it was just happened.

Now, all this requires a bit of telling. I mean no one is running around performing verbs constantly. I want to involve the reader in the characters emotional lives and while SOMETIMES emotion is physically demonstrable it isn't always! Otherwise we'd have people running around crying and punching walls all the time. I mean how often aside from a few verbal and body language ques do people emote a ton in public? OK, this day in age maybe that is a bad question. People just run around and flail and tell strangers in the grocery line the most horribly personal information. But do you really want to read about people flailing and pounding their fist all the time? Or do you want to read what the character is thinking?

Oh, and Happy Birthday to ME!

And Happy New Year to you all!