Trick or Treat

Thursday, November 1, 2012

3 Chiming In
But I should warn you, tricks will be repayed with interest.

For anyone not writing their NaNo novel today (WHAT ARE YOU DOING BLOG SURFING WHEN YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE WRITING?!?!?!)

Ahem...

So, last night the ghosties and ghoulies went about ransacking houses in search of candy (or in the case of one neighbor's house, sodas). It's quite convenient for them, as everyone's in costume, so they can always blame their little brother, older sister, or grandparents for any mischief, and no one can prove them wrong.

I apologize in advance for the number of photos in this post, but it's my blog so deal with it. :-P

I chose not to wear a costume. I put on my real school uniform and represented Hogwarts like a proud Ravenclaw, instead. (Don't give me that face. I have a wand and I know how to use it.)

Wait... is this thing on? Why am I sideways? Dang it. I swished when I should have flicked.






This was my house -- pre-invasion.
 


These are the ghostlies, standing sentry and preparing to scare off the oncoming horde.

 

This is the cattle chute / candy aisle.

 

This is Eddie, the butler, who guards the door to the house. Eddie's awesome. He's animatronic -- he breathes, he speaks, and his eyes and head move. Kids love him, and - true story - he even managed to freak out the police when they were patrolling our neighborhood before last night. I'd set him up on the porch and they thought there was a creepy man staring in the door. :-D





 This is my mom, handing out the goodies. That's totally her face. It's a little known fact that redheads have pumpkins for parents.

 

This is the hearse with the rising ghoulie in its coffin. (He's actually quite the chatterbox -- next year, no coffee for the dead guys.) And the haunted tree. And the haunted train with its waving skeleton and anti-social Dracula that refused to come out of his coffin. (The smokestack ghost was a total prima-donna - wouldn't come out of the grave for anything.)




But possibly the coolest thing of the night was the moment the police pulled up, blue and reds flashing as the officer started pulling kids over -- to treat them! It was cool and cute and I really wish the video I'd taken of it would work, but I can't get it to load.

 

All in all, lots of treats, very few tricks, and serious exhaustion. I hope you all had as much fun in your own neighborhoods.



Shameless Self-Promotion to Follow...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

6 Chiming In
A bit redundant, as this is my blog, and it's all about ME ME ME!!!!!! (Okay, not really. It's only mostly about me. :-P )

Since this whole publishing thing-a-ma-jobbie is all new and shiny to me, I choose to operate under the assumption (assumption / delusion - meh, whatever) that everyone else gets as excited about the milestones as I do. So, it's with much happy dancing that I announce:

ARCLIGHT IS AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER!!! 

It's all shiny and official with a sales rank and everything. (btw, writers, if you want to drive yourself insane and waste valuable writing time, discover that your as yet unpublished book has a sales rank and then obsess about watching it yo-yo throughout the day)

Here it is on Amazon: LINK

Here it is on Barnes & Noble: LINK

I haven't seen it on Indie Bound, yet, but I'll add it to the sidebar as soon as it shows up.

The links take you to the hardback, but both have a click-over link to the ebook.

Also, it's here, which is the HarperCollins catalog for next summer. Take a minute and browse their upcoming titles; there's a lot of good stuff coming up.

/sales pitch

Arclight cover -- FOR REAL

Saturday, October 20, 2012

3 Chiming In

For those of you who missed it, yesterday, and for those who didn't want to click to another site, here's the cover for ARCLIGHT:



You can't really tell from the JPEG, but it's very (VERY) shiny, and the title and all those rays are embossed.






Arclight Cover Reveal!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

8 Chiming In
I'm not putting it here today, as the reveal's being handled by the awesome Kat and Stephanie over at Cuddlebuggery, but the cover is officially able to be viewed by someone without access to my hard drive.

Go check it out here.

 (Would you click if I told you Robert Downey, Jr. was there? He is. I promise.)

If you don't already follow Cuddlebuggery's book blog, you might want to consider it. It's a no holds barred, no feelings spared, very honest and in-depth review blog.

First Lines

Thursday, October 18, 2012

2 Chiming In
When you have a novel, the cover is what attracts a potential reader's attention, but what keeps it is usually a combination of the back cover copy and the first lines of the text itself. Of those three things, only one is in the author's direct control - which is why those first lines are so desperately important.

Even before a novel is published, the first lines need to shine. They're an agent's first taste of a writer's style and voice if you go the commercial publishing route. If you choose to self-publish, then it's those lines that will be showcased in the "Look Inside" feature to allow readers to decide if they want to read any further.

It shouldn't take more than a page, and ideally no more than a couple of sentences, to establish the age group and genre a novel is targeted for. To that end, I've pulled the following lines out of my WIP folder. They each come from a different novel. Some are MG, some YA. Some are 1st person, some are 3rd. Some are contemporary and some are fantasy or sci-fi. I've decided to put the first line theory to the test.

Can you tell, from just these opening lines, and without the context of a title or cover image, which of these are MG and which are YA?


  1. The whole thing began rather simply, as is often the case in bizarre or fantastic circumstances.
  2. The voices of the dead never truly leave - they become the wind, and roam the barren places of the world seeking solace. 
  3. It's said that the children of Rhin are born with bells  in their hair.
  4. A storm was raging, and for this O'Keefe Sinclair was grateful.
  5. Some say you can tell when a person died by the color of their soul.
  6. I suppose it's no one's fault, but I choose to blame the boys.
  7. Micah was already running when the building exploded.
  8. It takes 1800 mg of Ketamine to knock out a draft horse.
  9. The snow came down in a swirl of rain and ash and blood, and in the distance, the Golden City burned.
  10. "It's like life, only more exciting, with better clothes, and a nicer car.
  11. No matter you may have heard, it was not Tanner's idea to fly Bobby Steiner's jersey from the flagpole with Bobby still inside it.

What's it like?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

7 Chiming In
It's a dreaded question if you write sci-fi or fantasy, because what you want to say is "It's like nothing you've seen before."  And that's just not a very good answer. People usually want something familiar, or at least tangible, that they can connect to - even in a setting that's totally different from what they're used to. You need a sort of touchstone to ground your readers in the world you've created. But, if you've created a new world, then how do you give them that?


If you're lucky, you go trawling on Deviant Art and find something that fits your creation so perfectly that you're compelled to share it. To that end, I give you this: 



This is an image called "My Immortal" by bottomofastairwell (LINK) who was gracious enough to give me permission to repost the image here.

This image IS Arclight, guys. It just is. The clothes are wrong, but the effect on the guy's back... so perfect you won't even understand why until you read the novel. (You ARE planning on reading the novel, yes? Good, then we can still be friend and I won't have to write unpleasant demises for any of you into upcoming novel-things.) The girl, to a certain extent, is even perfect.

I saw this picture and actually emailed it to my editor. It's that accurate.

Just stare at it for a while and know that in a few months, you get to read this picture... I mean Arclight. :-P

And for those of you who've asked, later this month I'll be showing off the shiny (very shiny) cover for Arclight. I'm not sure the exact date I'm allowed to post it here, but it should be in a couple of weeks.


Wordle as a tool and a toy

Monday, September 24, 2012

5 Chiming In

I think most people are familiar with "word clouds," but in case you're not here's this one:


It's a cloud for the steampunkish novel my agent is currently reading: Sing Down the Stars.

Now, the obvious draw of a word cloud is that it's fun. It's a quirky way to visualize a novel (or anything else involving words). But, aside from being a toy that can distract you when you're getting bored or burned out, it has some legitimate uses.

Total disclosure - I've removed three words from this cloud: "one," "like," and "back." It was after I'd deleted them that I realized how useful wordle could actually be. I took those words out because they were so much bigger than the rest of the text, meaning they were used much more often than the other "most common" words. In other words, those are my crutch words.When I figured that out was when I started comparing the size of different words in the cloud to see how much of the novel is dedicated to them.

One thing that jumps out at me is the incidence of the heroine's name ("Penn") in relation to that of the other characters. Since she's the one telling the story, her name shouldn't occur as often as others', because no one really thinks of their self in the third person (unless there are some other mental or social issues going on). So I was happy to note that her name is a little less than half the size of the other characters' names. Not only that, but it's interesting to see that the main secondary characters all came out to be approximately the same size. "Jermay," "Birch," "Winnie," "Klok" and "Nye" are equally important to the heroine at different times and for different reasons. It's nice to see that none of them overpower the other.

There are some interesting juxtapositions of words, too. They won't make any sense to anyone who isn't familiar with the story, but "never asked Klok enough" is a VERY telling sentence in context. As are "Warden took," "Warden turned," and "get behind something." The words are arranged at random based on selection for shape and how much of them you want vertical vs. horizontal (I usually pick a 50/50 split), but it's still kind of cool to see how they line up.

(I'm not sure why Warden is on there twice, unless the function that creates the cloud recognizes that one Warden is capitalized and one isn't. In this novel, "warden" is a title, equivalent to military rank, so a person is "Warden Nye" or "Warden Arcineaux," but they hold the rank of "warden," just like they were sergeants or lieutenants.)

Anyway, the short version of this long post is that word clouds are a quick way to see if what you deem important in your novel actually gets the lion's share of the attention. It allows you to quickly determine your crutch words, and gives you heads up that you may be using your MC's name a bit more often than is needed for a 1st person POV.

So, if you've never played with wordle before, here's THE LINK.

Have fun, and I leave with another cloud. This one for my super-sekrit MG WIP. Care to venture a guess as to what the MC's name is?  :-D

Oh Dear.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

3 Chiming In
It seems my family has discovered my blog. (Darn you Google search!!!)


Now if you'll excuse me, I think there may be some old posts that need to make their way into the rubbish bin.

(Just kidding, guys. Really.... I mean it... er... DON'T CLICK THAT... er ... never mind.)


Delete... Delete...Delete...


 

Stalking is NOT perseverance

Friday, September 14, 2012

3 Chiming In






This is the TV version of perseverance in the name of one's "dreams":
This is my DREAM! She's my DREAM AGENT! I shall impress her with my golden awesomeness and she shall love me!



No thank you.



But it's my DREAM. *tries again*


No thank you. (whispers to assistant - "didn't I read this query already?" - assistant nods yes)



Please give me another chance. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please... IT'S MY DREAM!



No thank you. * blocks email *



My feelings, they are hurted. I am sad-faced for my DREAM,

Um... maybe you should try something else.



No! I am determined. She will love me! She is my DREAM AGENT! This is my DREAM and no one's taking it away from me!!!



Er... maybe you should take a breath, or a nap. Lay off the coffee, or you know - blink.



Blinking is for losers. I shall BE VICTORIOUS!




Dude, write another book, get better, or just try a different agent. Your dream agent doesn't even rep comical murder memoirs about werepuppies.



That's right, I don't. And the more time I have to spend telling you that is more time everyone else loses. Stop wasting everyone's time!



NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER SURRENDER.



Seriously?



I'm younger than you and more delusion- er - determined. LOVE ME!!!




You've got spirit. I'll give you that.




*shows off spirit fingers*



Tell 'ya what. Let's try this again - impress me.



That did NOT just happen.


No. No it didn't - but too many people think it will. Thanks to sensationalized stories (*cough* RUDY *cough*) and portrayals on TV/movies that show stalkerish behavior being equated with determination, there's a skewed idea of where the lines of acceptable behavior get drawn.

Now, to be honest, most people never cross that line. They might get right up onto it, but they pull back when they realize they're getting too far out there.

Then you have things like what happened to Pam van Hylckama (@bookiliciouspam).

The short version is that she was tracked down, and attacked, by a man whose query she had rejected. He used social media to find her daughter's school and came at her while she was in her car, but thankfully her dog intervened (intravenously :-D Good doggie).

This is NOT OKAY.

This is NOT A SHOW OF DETERMINATION.

This is FELONY BEHAVIOR.

This is NEVER okay. You do not get to hurt someone because they don't respond the way you think they should. Most of us learn this in Kindergarten, but for others, the lesson never sunk in.

When you - continually - seek someone's attention after they've - repeatedly - told you to go away, when you decide to find them for professional reasons outside their professional schedule, when you determine that you need to see them in person to make them "understand" you, when you place your wants and needs above all else - YOU ARE A STALKER.

You are not this:



You are this:



And no one wants to work with that guy.

Boundaries are a good thing. Figure out where they are and don't be the guy who tries to build a ladder or dig or trench to get around them. The great thing about dreams is that they're pliable. You can alter them if you need to. That's a whole lot easier than trying to talk your way out of a prison sentence.





Thank you, but...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

4 Chiming In
Since the cover for Premeditated went up here and at Goodreads, I've gotten several requests for ARCs/swag from bloggers and reviewers. I'm not complaining, but enough requests have come in that I'm just going to put this here:

I don't have any ARCs, yet.

I'm sorry, and I feel horrible every time I have to tell someone that because I'd love to be able to hand you a copy, but they haven't been printed.

I don't have any swag or promotional materials, either. Not yet.

The book's due out next October, and as far as I know, the publicity-related stuff will go into motion three or four months before that, so it'll be at least next summer before I have anything to give away for Premeditated.

Arclight, likewise, has no ARC's, yet, but the wait for those won't be as long.

So, once again, I'm sorry, but I can't give anyone anything pertaining to Arclight or Premeditated, yet. I simply don't have it. I truly am grateful for the interest, however, and will let everyone know when I've got some goodies to distribute as soon as I get them.

Yes, I have a new agent

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

9 Chiming In

I didn't really think that this would require a post, but from the questions I've gotten, I think I need to make one. In short:

  • Yes - I left my old agency.
  • Yes - I have a new agent.
  • No - there is not some super sekrit nefarious reason this happened.
  • Yes - I still recommend Suzie to people who are querying YA. She's a terrific agent who got me two amazing deals with amazing publishers, and did it quickly.

The split was amicable; it happens.

When a writer signs on with an agent, and an agent signs on with a client, both are basically agreeing to work with a stranger. You don't know how work styles, writing styles, and personalities will mesh. Sometimes they don't dovetail. Sometimes, as situations change, a mutual walk-away is the best course of action for everyone.

I have a fabulous new agent - Laura Rennert from Andrea Brown Lit.

Suzie has fabulous new clients to go with her fabulous existing ones. (One has a book out today - just sayin'.) and will continue to make them fabulous deals.

End of story.

Don't
make me put on my angry eyes.


Premeditated Cover Reveal -- for real!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

17 Chiming In
So, I'm late with the cover reveal. But... it's not my fault. I'm currently on the road with family and the House of Mouse has lousy wi-fi. (To be more specific, I'm sitting on the floor in the corner of my room's bathroom, with this computer sitting on a ledge beside the bathtub, just to get a signal.)

Anywho, this is what ya'll want to see, so -- TA-DA:




So, what d'ya think?

Premeditated Cover Reveal... let's call this Part One

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

14 Chiming In
PREMEDITATED HAS A COVER!!!!!!!!!!

If you follow me on Twitter, you no doubt saw similar crazy cap lock shouting yesterday, because PREMEDITATED HAS A COVER!!!!!!!!!!

This is NOT that cover:


I can't show you the actual cover, yet because my editor would email herself to my house smack me. But, next week, I'll be able to put the actual cover up here and on Goodreads for all to see.

Guys, this cover is... I don't even know.

There's a lot of anxiety that comes with waiting for a cover comp from your publisher. The cover will be your book's introduction to the world, and you pretty much have no participation in that introduction. It's like going to a party and having to wait for someone to introduce you before you get to speak. It's weird, and uncomfortable and nerve-wracking, and a million possible horrible cover scenarios will worm their way into your brain, but guys... GUYS!!! This cover is PERFECT.

It fits the tone. It fits the story. The model on the cover could actually BE Dinah (the main character). The designer knocked it out of the park and into another stadium.

So come back next Thursday and I'll show it off once I get the all clear.

A Random Teaser Tuesday

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

8 Chiming In
I haven't done one of these in a loooooooooooooooong time, but I haven't blogged much lately, either, and this story's been knocking around in my head at the strangest times. I figured if I let it out to play for a bit, maybe it would leave me be long enough to do something productive.

I have the dynamics of this thing worked out nearly in full. It involves a prince named Nova, a poisoned king, a secret son, a hidden infatuation, a matriarchal temple dedicated to a huntress, and a black unicorn. All that's left is to deal with the voice that's trying to tell the tale. It's distant and haunting, and not really like anything I've written before. So, here you have it - the first lines of Emissary.

It's said that the children of Rhin are born with bells braided in their hair. This way they cannot approach their elders unknown or learn the secrets the young need not hear. It's only when they've learnt to still their frantic fits and gentle their steps that the bells go silent and they prove themselves worthy of a place in society. And on that day, they earn the fear of the seven kingdoms, for everyone knows that the silent lands of Rhin are where assassins are bred.

This was the belief that bought the queen's emissary an uninterrupted voyage.

Service is a Part of Serving

Sunday, June 17, 2012

3 Chiming In
I know its after Memorial Day, but I have to share this picture.



Meet my cousin's hubby - ENS (E3) Greenberg on duty in Afghanistan. He's a Navy medic, and in the photo above, he's helping some of the local kids who needed a doctor.

His wife, has been showing this photo around to friends and family, and getting a positive response from it; I thought I'd put it here to share it further. Please, pass it along. Let people see another side to the guys with guns.

I'd much rather see a photo like this on a newsstand than one of carnage and misery.

What We Remember

Saturday, May 26, 2012

4 Chiming In
It's May, and Memorial Day Weekend, thus, it's time to repost my traditional Memorial Day post:


My paternal grandfather was in the Army; WWII - Africa, where he survived a sniper attack. The sniper was trained to shoot at night by targeting cigarette glow, assuming the cig would be in someone's mouth. My grandfather happened to be holding his in his hand, which is what was hit.

My maternal great uncle was a Marine; WWII; Okinawa - 18 years old and he lost his leg above the knee because he threw his body on top of a grenade to save his friends. It cost him a kidney and he came home full of shrapnel. He only made it home at all because a general in the area thought he was a dead man and gave up his seat on the chopper so he wouldn't die there. He had horror stories of Naha City of the most literal kind.

His brother was Army Corps. of Engineers; Korea - they built what needed to be built when and where it needed to built whether it was possible or not.

My father tried to join every branch, but the combination of color blindness and flat feet excluded him. His brother was Navy.

My maternal grandfather was one that worked for the guys making the equipment at General Dynamics; Ft. Worth. (I have a piece of the original test model for the chimp capsule he helped design the insulation for. They called it a "space sandwich.)

My paternal grandmother was an Army WAC; WWII.

My cousin did 3 tours in Iraq with the Marines.

And, most recently, my other cousin's husband shipped out as a Navy medic.

Thankfully all have survived their service. Others didn't, and Memorial Day marks the time we honor that as well as the reasons those who didn't make it back died. It's easy to say Freedom isn't Free, but their sacrifice deserve more than that. There are as many reasons as there are fallen soldiers, but I'll focus on the big 10.

1. It's thanks to the men and women who serve that you don't have to hold your church services or Seders in darkened basements, and you can take out your prayer rug and bow to the east. That whatever icons are important to your religion can be displayed with pride instead of hidden in fear or made a source of shame. Thanks to them, Christmas trees and menorahs can be lit bright in the window and those who participate in the Festival of Color can enjoy their day. No one's forced to eat during Ramadan for fear of being discovered. You can wear a head scarf, but can't be forced to sew a Star-of-David on your coat. That's freedom of religion.

It's thanks to the men and women who serve that our news comes from different outlets and different angles and isn't stamped "Approved Government News". We don't have someone looming over our shoulders to make sure we don't find out what's going on in another part of the world or cleaning up opinions of our leaders. We don't get notices telling us not to worry about hurricane season or flooding because our leaders took care of that problem or warning us to ignore "propaganda" that exposes short-comings that could impact the public. And you don't have to register every moment on line so someone knows where you look and what you read. That's freedom of the press.

It's thanks to the men and women who serve that we can gather together in peaceful protest and shout with a louder voice than we'd able to use on our own. We can get attention directed to the people who have no voice of their own at all and keep the spotlight on those trying to hide things that shouldn't be covered up. That's freedom of assembly.

It's thanks to the men and women who serve that you know who represents you in government and that you know where they stand on what issue. You can get together with like minded individuals and bring your wants and needs to them, and if they don't act the way you think they should, you can tell them your vote's going elsewhere in the next election. That's your right to petition.

2. Even though most of us will never have to use a weapon to defend our home, family or person, the men and women who serve do so to make sure that the right is there if you need it. That's the right to bear arms.

3. Those who serve do so to ensure that your home is your home and not a convenient place to park the local reserves. You have a right to a locked door that can't be breached because a person in uniform wants to use or abuse your property, family or person. That's the right not to quarter.

4. Those who serve do so to ensure you have a right to what's yours and a right to tell others that what's yours is none of their business. You have a right to security and privacy in your own home, and a right to keep what belongs to you in whatever legal manner you choose inside your own space. That's the right of no illegal search and seizure.

5. Those who serve do so to ensure your right to keep your mouth shut. Government officials can't force or coerce you to say you've done something wrong, nor can they put those words in your mouth. They don't have the right to write your confession and have you sign it or take what's yours just because they want it. They have to compensate you. That's the right not to self-incriminate.

6. Those who serve do so to ensure that you aren't shuffled off in the middle of the night never to be seen or heard from again. They make sure that you get a trial where your voice can be heard and your face can be seen, where friends or enemies can speak on your behalf and where your fate is decided by those of your own station rather than an arbitrary decision by someone in authority. That's your right to trial by jury.

7. Those who serve do so to ensure that rights to trial don't only apply to criminal cases. They make sure that your property and business get a chance to make their case in court with facts to support your side being presented. That's your right to civil trial by jury.

8. Those who serve do so to make sure that no official body throws a child in jail for life for stealing a meal or beats someone to death in the street as punishment. They ensure that the perpetrator of a crime is the sole recipient of the punishment, and that his/her children and spouse aren't jailed as well. They ensure that torture isn't a penalty assigned by the court and that no force to engage in the practice has the right to operate. That's your right not to have cruel and unusual punishment.

9. Those who serve do so to ensure fancy words and regulations don't outsmart common sense. That's your right retain rights not specifically listed.

10. Those who serve do so to ensure the republic remembers that it's made of many parts and that those parts have rights, too. They ensure the states remember that they are made of many people and that those people have rights, too. No right of one entity can exclude another from its rights. That's the right of state and person.


Most people know about the Bill of Rights, few can tell you what they say beyond "Pleading the 5th" or freedom of press/religion. But every one of those rights was bought and paid for with blood of men and women who died believing they were worth protecting for their families and children and friends and strangers. Every right and privilege you overlook is a death in vain because you can't exercise rights you don't know you have.

Those red stripes aren't just representative of the colonies that started this country; they're a tribute to the blood spilled to birth it and used as the ink to write the contract with its citizens.

Remember those who gave more than their fair share to make sure your got yours, and remember the gift they gave you. They don't deserve to be forgotten.

Happy Memorial Day.

Where they Love Him Most of All

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

2 Chiming In
“And Max, the king of all wild things, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”

~ Maurice Sendak; Where the Wild Things Are



In case you haven't heard, we lost someone special today. Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are has passed away at the age of 83.

Even though he was primarily a children's author, he didn't believe in talking down to kids - something I think more people should take a stab at. He wrote messy books about misbehaving children who lived in worlds where everything wasn't always sorted and shining by the time supper was served because that's the reality kids face every day. He didn't scare kids with his stories, but he didn't lie to them or seek to protect them into incapability.

In his own words: “You cannot write for children. They're much too complicated. You can only write books that are of interest to them. ”

I can't help but imagine Maurice arriving in heaven to hear a trumpet and a might cry of "And now.... let the wild rumpus start!" as a procession leads him through the gates.

Well... that was unexpected

Thursday, May 3, 2012

7 Chiming In

This is a different sort of post for me, but here you go.

For those of you who aren't aware (as I wasn't until 2 days ago) POTTERMORE has gone live to the public. So I signed up and rushed through to the two sections I was most eager to see - the wand choosing (Maple 12 3/4 inches with dragon core and slightly springy) and the sorting hat.


I was certain I'd be in one of two houses - Hufflepuff (most likely) or Slytherin, so imagine my surprise when the hat spit this out:




So, have any of you gone through the Pottmore paces? What's your house?

Novels vs. Fanfiction

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

14 Chiming In
By now, most (if not all) of you will have heard of a series of novels starting with "50 Shades of Grey." They're usually spoken about with nervous whispers and twittering giggles or wink-wink, nudge-nudge looks because "you know what kind of books those are." (BDSM erotica, for those who don't.) The books have become a phenomenon unto themselves, as has the author.

They've been talked about on various writer sites and blogs, and discussed at length on message boards, but not necessarily for the reasons you'd think. You see 50 Shades began, not as a commercial work of fiction, but as a decidedly un-commerical work of FANfiction.

For those of you not in the know, fanfiction is what you get when fans of a particular book, movie, TV-series or whatever decide to write their own piece based in another writer/artist's universe. These are usually posted for fun, and not intended for profit as US copyright prohibits people from profiting off of others' work. Sites like Fanfiction.net, and others that focus on a particular fandom, allow anyone with an account to post stories set in established universes that may or may not involve canon characters. It's a complex set-up that could fill its own technical manual.

Now, the point of this post isn't 50 Shades of Grey, or whether or not the book should have ever been sold. Nor is it the pros and cons of being a fanfiction writer who branches into commercial writing (there are some big-name successes out there, btw). It's more basic than that.

I wrote fanfiction. I wrote in more than one fandom, with more than one screen name. I wrote for a spattering of short-lived vampire TV shows, and did some "written-to-order" Harry Potter fanfic. (seriously - never write in HP-land if you don't have a strong constitution - seriously. Yes, it requires seriously on both sides. It can be intimidating territory, with awesome pay-offs in the form of followers, but the sheer size is daunting.) There were others which I will never admit to...

When I got my agent, the fanfic disappeared from the net to the best of my ability (though no fanfiction is every "completely" gone). And yes, sadly for those who were reading them, some disappeared unfinished - for which I apologize.

I liked writing fanfiction. It's great for practice, especially with voice if you're trying to match a character to the way he/she was written by the original author. It takes the pressure of world-building off. And it's fast. I can, and did, knock off over a million posted words in one year - in one fandom, for which I received near-instant feedback... not something you get in the commercial writing world.

The biggest difference between writing a novel and writing fanfiction (which can be a novel, too) is the idea that reviews should never be responded to. With commercial writing, you aren't supposed to respond to reviews - for the good or the bad. This seems a strange idea to a lot of new writers. They want to thank those with kind words and defend their work from those who "don't get it." (Or, from those who have made legitimate mistakes by confusing characters or even authors.)

But, coming from a fanfiction background, I can tell you that the silence method is usually best. Fanfiction operates on the exact opposite system (as do many sites like Inkpop or Authonomy). It's about interaction, and writers are encouraged/expected to answer reviews. Usually this can work fine - for a while. But the problem with it is the same one that's becoming more prevalent with the rise of Amazon-self-e-publishing: It breeds flame wars.

When fanfic writers (often young or inexperienced) get upset, they have an easy outlet to vent. And if said writer is popular, they have the means to drag their supporters behind them into the fray. Those supporters often afford the fanfic writer the same allegiance as they would the original author, and they will defend said fanfic writer - viciously.

When inexperienced writers get upset, they also have this outlet, but until recently they didn't often utilize it. But now that Amazon's e-self-pub arm has turned their Kindle store into something akin to the back-catalog of Fanfiction.net (for size and lack of gatekeepers), some of these new (and shockingly some established) authors are taking their cues from the fanfiction and peer sites.

It can be a rough transition from the expectations of instant feedback and that desire to defend oneself, and honestly, some former fanfic authors never make that transition. I won't say it hurt their sales, because it doesn't, but it still creates a negative vibe in their corner of the industry, and those vibes can spread to others. Especially those coming in from fanfic and seeing their role models exhibiting the same behavior that got them flamed before they made the switch.

Okay... I'll stop rambling now.

(But in case you're wondering, this is what happens when you start a writing career. You, too, will ramble :-P )

The Return of the Return of Blogger the Terrible.

Monday, April 2, 2012

2 Chiming In
For those of you who don't know (which is likely all of you, as I don't know why anyone would have this bit of trivia taking up space in their heads) Blogger the Terrible is my 6' tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Viking counterpart. She's a person of great reknown, only no one knows it because BtT only shows up when I don't blog for a loooooooooooooooooooooong time.

Then, as soon as I come to post, she runs away and hides in fjord somewhere, wearing brass armor and one of those hats with the horns on it.

Now that my delusional counterparts are out of the way...

I've been a bad blogger. I was never a particularly good blogger, but I've been a baaaaaaaaaaaaaad blogger lately. But that doesn't mean I don't have an excuse.

I've been busy.

I've sent back the revised version of Premeditated and am waiting for word on Arclight. I've done some Super-Suzie revisions on Sing Down the Stars, which will hopefully be out in the wild very soon. And now, I'm back to finishing up Arclight 2.

I'd thought to have it finished by the end of March, but it wasn't due as soon as I thought, so I set it aside to do Premeditated and SDtS. Hopefully, I'll have draft 1 to Suzie by the end of April. For some odd reason, I seem to be hand writing most of this one on a yellow legal pad, so it's taking time to transfer it to Word.

So that's it. No real news to report, just me being a busy writer person and pretending I'm all professional and stuff.

Laters. (And if you see a Viking lurking about, don't worry, she's just guarding the place until I wander back through.

Lucky 7

Monday, March 12, 2012

2 Chiming In
I'm currently in the process of revising Sing Down the Stars for my agent, while writing Arclight's sequel and waiting on my editorial letter on Premeditated, which is coming this week, and waiting to see if Arclight #1 is officially "finished". In short - I'm busy. Very, very busy. But still, last week I got tagged for the Lucky 7 Challenge:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.

2. Go to line 7.

3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating.

4. Tag 7 authors.

5. Let them know.


I'll be stopping at step 3 because I don't usually pass these things along, but this one seemed like a fun way to break up the day.

So here goes: 7 paragraphs of Page 77 of the "in revision" SING DOWN THE STARS.

“Out of my way,” his companion ordered. “Gimmee a go at it. I'll get us in.”

There was a shuffling of feet and coats beyond the door as the second man replaced the first. Either he was stronger or more stubborn, because soon the sound of cracking wood and popping nails had me and Winnie staring at each other again. We huddled down as the boards gave way completely and two large shapes filled the door, backing in as they inspected it.

“Must've warped in the weather,” the first man said. “We'll have to find some new wood.”

But his companion didn't answer. While the first man was busy inspecting the damage to the shed, the second had turned, likely drawn by the lantern he couldn't ignore once inside. He swung his own high and wide, flooding the tiny building with light. Winnie and I held onto each other, shaking in way that had nothing to do with damp or chill.

“Lookie what we've found 'ere, Bull.” The man facing us smiled, and my stomach sank at the sight of his greenish teeth.

Bull turned slowly, then straightened with a startle.

"Well, well well," he sang. “Looks like we hit the mother lode."