Wednesday, March 27, 2013

To Do To Do To Dum...

So I am meant to be finishing a book this month...

I'm calling it Endangered. It's a bout a group of teens who, when America is invaded, end up acting as sort of mountain guerillas. (get it? Mountain Gorillas are endangered)

I will get there...

I am THEN meant to edit a book. (What Ales Me)
And another book. (Medium Wrong)
And a third book. (Kahlotus Disposal Site)

That's a lot of books to edit. I'd like to have all that editing done by June... *sigh *

And then MONDAY starts Blogging A to Z... Here is my plan...

Animal, Amusement, and Awesomeness: whereby I share a fabulous animal I love that starts with that letter, something that really AMUSES me that starts with that letter, and an Awesome Author or Book that starts (or importantly includes) that letter. Keeping each thing shortish, so people can get around a lot, but hopefully the variety will also mean there is something for everyone...

So today I'm just sharing some Easter sillies...

The bad news is...

If you were looking for the Easter Bunny Convention, it was LAST weekend (in Seattle)

Say it with me... AWWWWWWWW!

Who's a happy boy!?

It could definitely be worse...

And for any of you parents with a sense of humor... (though of course it is a day off... still, though, good idea!)

Little Bunny Foo Foo's Remorse

And I think that is it for me this week...  See you all for A to Z! And have a great Easter (and give March an extra swift kick for me, yeah?)

Monday, March 25, 2013


Know how it's all confessions all the time around here? Well here goes.

I wasted my entire weekend...
reading fan forums of theories predicting the sixth and seventh books...
parsing apart scenes (or more accurately, watching the experts do it)

Art by Kinky-ChiChi
And you see... I've done this BEFORE... Between Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, I kept THINKING about those darned books I loved and my BRAIN went into overdrive and I kept coming up with THEORIES about where the stories would go...

And it drove me online to find a community of like-minded people to talk about it with...

They were wonderful people. I STILL love those people. They got me writing. They got me laughing. I'm sure you can see what a mopey, depressed person I normally am *shifty*  But seriously, it SUITS me to get into really deep discussions over less deep things (like books). I love to THINK, but I don't want to be all sad about it when I'm done... and If I meet a couple simpaticos, well, heck, that's even better. We were silly and had fun, but it really was THRILLING to parse apart books and see how REALLY WELL DONE they actually WERE...

Jon Snow/Daenerys Targarian/??Ned Stark?? source
So now... eight years later (also MARCH, by the way—that gives me some pause), between the fifth and sixth book, I've fallen in love with another world... this one, the one of WESTEROS, where the politics, character complexity and plotting brought me in, but it is the brilliance of the writing complexity that has driven me to talk to people.

You see... in anticipation of the start of season 3 on HBO, I decided to RE-read. And I loved the plot and had some predictions the first time, but the SECOND time, I am spotting all the foreshadowing and hints, and it makes me want to guess farther ahead than there are books yet available...

And THAT caused me to FIND all this stuff written by others of the THEMATIC stuff, and the SYMBOLISM, and the stuff drawn from MYTHOLOGY, and *gasp * (only my Harry Potter peeps will get why I had to gasp there) the ELEMENTS associated with the Stark children!!! The PARALLELS between Daenerys Targarian and Jon Snow. OHMYGAWD, I'M IN HEAVEN!!!

But You Know What is Depressing?

I can't look at myself and my writing and think I will EVER achieve this level of brilliance. It is humbling to the Nth degree. Yet this is what I CRAVE. I want to be AMAZING like this!!!

Anybody else get thoroughly immersed in a fandom?
Have fantasies of people getting immersed in YOURS?

Anybody looking for all this stuff for A Song of Fire and Ice, I've been at They have forums for people on the first time read through and forums for re-readers. (and forums that look like they are for the SHOW) (I called myself Snark_Tamer)

And I know NOTHING. Just like Jon Snow. It doesn't feel as 'communityish' as my Harry Potter days, but it is definitely satisfying for the part of me that just loves to be buried in a book world.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Boys, Girls, Rape and Personhood

Some things make me hostile. Forgive me a brief rant today, but sometimes I need to get some stuff off my chest. I will be back to my usual shenanigans next week.

You've surely ALL heard the asshattery related to the Steubenville high school boys who raped the girl at the party... she was passed out, which they took for consent... They shared pictures of her naked online...

Found guilty! Justice is done!

But wait, boo hoo, look at all this lost potential! They were promising ATHLETES *cough* SEVERAL news stations fell into this pattern. Seriously?

Okay, maybe. I will give them that. There IS a lot of lost potential. These boys have a permanent black mark and some jail time, WHICH THEY EARNED. There is lost potential, but THEY lost it. There was nobody forcing them to rape that poor girl. They had not only a STUPID lapse of judgment (which teens sometimes have) but also a complete FAILURE at socialization. So these poor boys WERE disserviced... by their parents, their community, and our society. These boys have badly failed morals and that is only partially on them.

We live in a society where Kobe Bryant gets away with rape. Where OJ Simpson gets away with murder. Where rapists have shorter sentences than people who use drugs. Where congress dawdles MONTHS before passing the Violence Against Women Act because a huge group of elected officials don't recognize women as PEOPLE.

But you know whose fault these boys' lack of moral character is NOT?

 The girl who was raped. And any failure to acknowledge the DAMAGE these selfish little pricks did for WHATEVER reason they think they did it is missing the point. SHAME on the reporters. Shame on ANYBODY who felt sorry for these boys without giving a much LARGER dose of sympathy to the girl who did nothing wrong--who was VIOLATED AGAINST HER WILL.

This week I've seen articles on college women EXPELLED (or threatened with expulsion) for going after the men who rape them on campus, (oh, no, it brings shame to our poor campus) while the men continue to matriculate. Say WHAT? The SHAME is that you have RAPISTS walking around and nobody is safe.

Folks, we are DOING THIS WRONG.

I saw a joking tweet that was very funny, but sadly I hold no hope for it. After Senator Portman came out in favor of gay marriage (in support of his gay son—YAY, Senator!):

“Eventually one of these Republican congressmen is going to find out his daughter is a woman, and then we're all set.”

I wish I believed that would actually wake them up. But unless they realize their daughter is not only a woman but a PERSON, it probably won't get there.

Sadly, though, that brings me to another point I saw yesterday, which is valid. I haven't had a heaping dose of feminism in a long time and I needed it. People pull out the argument 'how would you like it if this were your daughter/sister/wife/mother?' And nobody would. But to frame it this way makes it so a woman's only value is because of her relationship to OTHERS (meaning men). Women are PEOPLE in their own right. NO PERSON deserves this treatment. Ever. I can give a pass to daughters because I can add sons and know I'd feel exactly the same—everybody has parents and parents can (and should) feel protective of their offspring. But our language needs to change around ALL of this.

We should not be telling girls how to avoid rape. We should be teaching our SONS:

Don't rape.

Here is why. A brave friend of mine shared this yesterday, a woman who is a rape survivor:

“Do you know the effects of rape on a female mind? Nothing can cleanse the pain and regret of the situation. Are you internally scared for the rest of your life. Every relationship you will ever have is affected by this incident. An innocent girl dies when she is violated sexually in any way.”

Affects every relationship she EVER has. That's huge. These boys did this to her. Poo on them and their poor prospects being branded as rapists. They deserve that and so much more. Castration has a ring to it. Seriously.

We should also be teaching ALL OUR CHILDREN:

*   If you SEE a rape (or a situation that seems to be going that way), intervene (get help, if you don't feel physically able to do it yourself)

*   Don't leave your friends alone if they've been drinking. In fact don't leave them alone at all.

*   If you notice ANYONE 'out of it' ANYWHERE, designate yourself protector. Keep an eye on them.

If people feel responsible for the SAFETY of others, they are less likely to perpetuate any crimes against people—they've been given a responsibility, and to do the opposite become antithetical. And as a perk people will be less likely to be in that situation because more eyes will be looking out for more people.

Yes. I've had this talk with my kids (one girl, one boy), but it might be time to revisit it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Susan Kaye Quinn, Delirium, and a Little Indie Love

Hey gang! Susan asked me if I'd be willing to help in her book launch today, and I'm THRILLED to, but I also thought Susan, in particular, presented the face of some fabulous stuff that was going on in the Indie Publishing world, so I am gunna talk about THAT, too... in fact maybe that FIRST so you'll see what is so exciting about Susan and her latest book (or all of her books, but including her latest).

My Thoughts on Indies

You know... it wasn't so long ago I was saying 'they just aren't there yet', and for ME, I have not dived in... mystery sells well traditionally without me learning all that extra stuff, and since I haven't gotten AROUND to learning all that extra stuff, I've stuck to traditional for my YA stuff, too. But I DO see indie in my future—my couple books that are off genre, in particular—the pieces of my career that will be nice as 'also by'... and I might get there for YA.

The reason I've changed my mind is largely that the QUALITY has come up so much. Two of the best books I read last year were Compass Master by Helena Soister, and Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn—they had all the phenomenal quality, and were less expensive.

Part of this great improvement is because of authors like Susan—who works in cooperation with other authors—several of our friends even—Leigh Talbert Moore, Matt MacNish, Jessica Bell. These authors are dedicated to quality and critique, edit and proof for each other so they get a really professional product.

Susan has been a forerunner in this—like I mentioned—intentionally getting her superstar books out there at TOP quality and opening the avenues for the rest of us who care to do all that work.

The other thing I'm so excited on about Delirium, is it is being sequentially released... remember me talking about that just last week--the potential... so you can get your first taste for just 99 cents.


What’s your life worth on the open market?
A debt collector can tell you precisely.

Lirium plays the part of the grim reaper well, with his dark trenchcoat, jackboots, and the black marks on his soul that every debt collector carries. He’s just in it for his cut, the ten percent of the life energy he collects before he transfers it on to the high potentials, the people who will make the world a better place with their brains, their work, and their lives. That hit of life energy, a bottle of vodka, and a visit from one of Madam Anastazja’s sex workers keep him alive, stable, and mostly sane… until he collects again. But when his recovery ritual is disrupted by a sex worker who isn’t what she seems, he has to choose between doing an illegal hit for a girl whose story has more holes than his soul or facing the bottle alone—a dark pit he’s not sure he’ll be able to climb out of again.
Contains mature content and themes. For YA-appropriate thrills, see Susan’s Mindjack series.

Delirium is approximately 12,000 words or 48 pages and is one of nine episodes in the first season of The Debt Collector serial. This dark and gritty future-noir is about a world where your life-worth is tabulated on the open market and going into debt risks a lot more than your credit rating. You can find out more about the series at the Debt Collector website and facebook page. The Debt Collector newsletter is a special list just for episode releases.

Susan Kaye Quinn, Author
OpenMinds_cover_100ClosedHearts_Cover_100free souls 100Vmindjack origins 100pix Vmindjack box set 100Vmindjack trailer still promo 75V
Find all my books at my author website
To be notified about future releases, click here.


So if you haven't read Susan yet, you definitely want to, and at 99 cents, it seems like maybe this is a good time to get hooked...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Top 10 Movie Blogfest

Okay, friends, Alex is hosting one of his SUPREMO Blogfests today, and I thought I'd play along... the QUEST? What are your top 10 movies?

Now I'm not a super hip, stay on top of the current thing sort of person, so my apologies if I date myself... and chances are I will cruise through all of YOUR posts and remember dozens of OTHER movies I like even BETTER, but that is the nature of the beast, eh?

So here they are...

Lord of the Rings Trilogy (counting as one... so I cheat, though my favorite of them is The Two Towers—Aragorn is sexiest in that one *shifty*)

Silence of the Lambs (I love the complexity of the characters in this)

The Thing (the one from the 70s)

The Birds

Gone With The Wind (erm... I might have drooled on my keyboard... LOVE Rhett... also love what Scarlett finds in herself)

It's a Wonderful Life (my favorite feel-good)

Young Frankenstein

Princess Bride (BEST. LINES. EVER.)

Very Favorite Movie EVER: Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail (though Life of Brian is right up here, too)

Honorable Mention goes to the Harry Potter Movies. I love these, but mostly because they remind me of the BOOKS which I love a lot MORE, and because they were really a part of my life for so long (and the growing up of my childings)

You should definitely go see what everybody else picked, too.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

When To, Wormy?

(Erm... otherwise known as the Wormhole Blogfest—see how I did that? WHEN to, instead of WHERE to?)

The Premise: What would you do or where would you go if you could traverse a wormhole through space or time just once? One safe round trip passage (I think of Rod Sterling from Twilight Zone presenting this). [Can I have my trip with Doctor Who? PLEASE? Doctor the 10th, if you don't mind]

Would you go back in time and talk some sense into a younger you? Go five years into the future and bring back the Wall Street Journal? See just how the heck the Great Pyramids of Giza were really built? View what the other side of the universe looks like? Kill Hitler? Watch a play by Shakespeare at the Globe theater?

This is another quick and easy Blog Hop. Since we are all busy, take a moment to tell us, in 100 words more or less, what you would do if you had a two-way ticket to traverse a wormhole.

So we only get one shot at this... I thought I'd present some options in pictures then do my blurb on my decision.

The Egyptians seemed pretty civilized...

And I've always found the Druids fascinating

And I'd fit right in with those Amazon Warrior Legends...

But when you think about it... here we have an era of people built JUST LIKE ME, encouraged to be naked and frolic all the time... THIS is what I want to get in on... Right on Ruben!!!

Seriously, I've always been fairly convinced that in any other era I would have been born a peasant (having been born a peasant in this era and all--thank goodness there is some social mobility for a smart girl)... so I really would only want to visit most places briefly... make sure it was clear I was a traveler, just there to observe... My real interest though, is in the societies that had enough leisure to be developing arts and governments, rather than cowering and being repressed--enlightenment eras where scientific advances were ahead of their time...

Or maybe I'd like to be a pirate. *shifty*

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Insane Thoughts I Have

I maybe ought to just make this a feature, eh?

But this insanity might have some (or at least one) coherent utility point... So see that... I might be insane, but I'm USEFUL!



Have you heard of this series/book? (a video from him)

I believe it is post-apocalyptic, they are claiming 'the next Hunger Games'...

This guy wrote a novelette... didn't promote, but found sort of a cult following... so in NaNoWriMo wrote MORE of them... and Kristen Nelson approached him about foreign rights, movie rights... He'd turned down other agents, but she was saying stuff he didn't think he could do on his own, so he signed with her.

Now he has a movie deal with Ridley Scott... foreign rights up the gazoo, and Simon and Schuster has bought his PRINT rights while letting him keep his digital rights (dream, right?)

I listened to a Simon & Schuster rep, and SHE SAID (cue BIG IDEA) one of the tricks to his success was publishing serially.

Say what?

He has 5 novelettes out, all of them were up for $.99. Except the first... it's free

Now to do novelettes, or as I call them, novellas *rolls eyes* (though it looks like a novelette is shorter than a novella) you need to have full stories in each... but the idea of say... doing a play in 3 acts and having each wind up... that's reasonable, right? So instead of ONE book for $2.99, you sell 3 (totaling $2.97)--so for the READER it is a deal... and as a promoter, you can offer the first free... Now for the AUTHOR, you have to look at this as an investment... the percentage you get too keep of each $.99 book is smaller than for $2.99 books (less than half)... but THINK how many more will try if the first in a series is free and then they can buy... or think about 5 or 7 or 10 books at $.99, instead of stopping your story...

Now not all stories merit that many parts, but when I recently did my list of 'potential works' SEVERAL were apocalypse books. I LOVE the theme... (his are POST-apocalypse... but if it is interesting AFTER the world ends, why not during the end, eh?)

So I am toying with the idea now that 1) Shot in the Light could be published this way... it would work well. It is more than 500 pages, so... in 4 novellas maybe? I already SEE a solid break that I suppose is closer to the 1/3 mark... I can come up with another break... in fact I know where that is, too, when I think on it... okay, it would be in 3...

But the system also fits really well with the one I'm writing, which I am far more inclined to see going on quite a while.

I may not... but I may...

And if I do, it doesn't mean giving up on doing some stuff traditionally at all. I still want to. I just think for THIS kind of thing, the serial format might really rock.

In other news. WANTED: Australian YA Romance Writers!!!!

I neither write romance, nor am in Australia, but it seemed to me I had a number of friends who might be interested in this:

"Random House Australia is launching HOOKED, a hot new digital-first romance imprint for readers aged 15+.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Mary Walters and John Aragon: A Team is Born

(Suitably subtitled by the Tart: Co-Writing for Fun and Profit—or I hope it's profitable, anyway)

Note:  I know I usually have a fresh blog Monday morning, but I this is a good one and I wanted to make sure Mary and John got some weekday eyes.

FIRST, I have to extend a HUGE apology to Mary and John—I was totally supposed to post this Thursday, but had a family member juvenile delinquent incident which drove all else from my mind... I am SO SORRY!)

Still.... this is a fabulous story. John and Mary are friends of mine from the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and they are both FABULOUS people. I adore them... and recently they've undertaken something that totally sounds like a hoot to me... they wrote a book... TOGETHER. Mary is in Canada, John in New Mexico... they've never met in person... but they decided to undertake this thing... so TODAY, YOU are going to learn how that went (and be jealous—you're welcome, just another service I offer around here).

So without further ado... THEIR Story:

A Team Is Born

John: The collaboration began after Mary and I got to know each other in the first-ever Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition. There was a great bunch of writers in the ‘Class of ’08,’ and a number of us became good friends online. Mary and I started talking regularly on the telephone soon after that, when I hired her to edit my first novel, Billy the Kid’s Last Ride.

Mary: I had read few if any “dime store westerns.” I hadn’t even watched all that many western movies. John’s novel was a real eye-opener for me. I began to learn about the history and mythology of the American West, and to appreciate its huge capacity to take hold of the imagination. John is very knowledgeable about his region’s history, politics and culture, its flora, fauna and geography, and about Western books and films. But more than anything, the warmth and humour of his writing appealed to me.

John: Our friendship grew and we shared books that we enjoyed. I learn a lot from Mary. I hope she learns from me too.

Mary: With any luck, he will eventually learn to locate Canada on a world map.

John: We really enjoy talking to each other about literature – and theology, philosophy, politics, the weather, you name it. Mostly we really laugh a lot when we talk. I made her read westerns and she made me read a bunch of literary stuff. (I never did make it through Under The Volcano.)

Mary: But he did make it through a Salman Rushdie novel, to my amazement, and he recommended some fine literary works to me: All The Pretty Horses ain’t just another dusty Western.

John: At some point we started talking about writing a novel together. I don’t know how the idea came to me, but I thought it might be fun to do a western sort of loosely based on Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Mary liked the idea.

Mary: I’d always meant to read Don Quixote. This gave me the impetus I’d needed, and what a book it is! It’s been called “the first European novel” and I think it’s also the first post-modern novel. I was amazed at how Cervantes was teasing the line between reality and fiction, between truth and madness, way back in 1600. There are so many intellectual and philosophical layers to that book, and it’s also hilarious and moving.

John: We wanted to write something really funny, as humor is such an important part of our relationship. But you can’t “send up” the pulp western genre without a lot of action either, so we knew that the novel would have to have lots of murders and hangings and gunfights. Lots of western action.

When Mary was on a family vacation in the southern U.S. a couple of years ago, she was able to stop in Santa Fe for a few days and we got to work. We started with a rough outline, which we wrote one night in my backyard over a bottle of tequila. (Well, I drank the tequila. Mary probably drank water.) Then we began work on a chapter near the middle of the book, in which Don Valiente and Roz mistake a film shoot for reality ­– with dramatic and hilarious results. Boy, did we laugh.

Mary: After I returned to Canada, we finished the book by phone and Skype. (We thanked Skype and Cricket in the Acknowledgments.) We spent hours and hours and hours on it – almost always in the evenings because we had "real work" to do during the day.

John: My favorite part was when we brainstormed and plotted out each chapter before we started to work on it. We would talk about who the characters were, and what they would do in that chapter. Once we had agreed on what would happen, I usually wrote a very rough and incomplete treatment of the chapter or sections of it.

Mary: I type faster than John so I did the transcription, and he did the pacing back and forth. After we’d got a full first draft of a passage down, I’d email it to him, and then we’d go over it line by line until we agreed that it was exactly right before we moved on to the next section. We dithered over almost very word of it . . . in some cases, every comma. When we’d argued and argued over a phrase, neither of us willing to give up until it was right, and then we nailed it – and we both knew we’d nailed it – we were ecstatic.

John: I remember one time, after working on a sentence for about thirty minutes, we both laughed with pleasure at what we’d done. Mary said, “It sings.”

Mary: It wasn’t always easy to get to work. Half the time, one of us would be exhausted and want to take the evening off, so the other one would need to persuade him or her that we had to keep going if we didn’t want to lose our momentum.

John: It took about 18 months, I think. First we finished the chapter we’d started, which is now Chapter XXV. Then we went back and started on Chapter I. We never looked back.

Mary: Never in my life did I imagine that I’d be involved in writing a Western, but even less did I ever think that I could write a novel with another person. Both writers have to be totally on the same wavelength for something like this to work, but fortunately we were (well, about most things. We may never agree on the Oxford comma). The experience was exhausting and challenging, but it was fantastic fun as well.

John: And we are very proud of the book that we have written: The Adventures of Don Valiente and the Apache Canyon Kid.

John A. Aragon was born in Española, New Mexico. A former Forest Service "Hotshot" firefighter and Hall of Fame rugby player, he attended Saint John's College in Santa Fe and the University of New Mexico. John A. Aragon is the father of two young adults and a practicing trial lawyer for thirty years. John’s first novel, Billy The Kid’s Last Ride, was published by Sunstone Press in 2011. He works and writes in Santa Fe. Visit Billy the Kid’s Last Ride website at

Mary W. Walters is the award-winning author of three novels (The Woman Upstairs, Bitters and The Whole Clove Diet), a collection of short stories (Cool) and one book of non-fiction (Write an Effective Funding Application: A Guide for Researchers and Scholars, The Johns Hopkins University Press). Mary works as an editor, specializing in funding applications and research-related writing for books and scholarly journals. She maintains several blogs, including The Militant Writer ( She lives in Toronto, and her website is located at

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

erm... if you don't mind... AGAIN

Hallo! Happy First Wednesday annallat, and Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

My name is Hart.
[Hi, Hart]
And I've been a writer for going on 8 years...


But what I'm feeling insecure about TODAY isn't the Writing, so much as the MARKETING...

You see, two months from tomorrow I have my SECOND book coming out. And when I had my FIRST coming out, I was all, like... well sure... I've been helping people out, so now I can ask them...

But see... THIS TIME, I already ASKED, and I'm feeling guilty about doing it again.

Especially as LAST TIME my track record had been really good being all networky myself, but I've had a helluva year...

And now my day job is being all time-sucky, so even though life is better, my time availability is not...

so I'm not feeling like I've quite pulled my weight helping everybody ELSE out this time around. PLUS... y'all already HELPED ME! ACK!

All this combo guilt, insecurity waffling means I haven't done a lot... I've set up my first signing/reading at Aunt Agatha's because Robin is so AMAZING and on top of things (she really is a superstar and if you live anywhere near Ann Arbor, you should buy your mysteries from her).

I'm not even sure what it is I want to do... Though MAYBE I could get some volunteers to share cover and blurb on April 2nd, as that is the B day for A to Z??? Begonia Bribe? See? Fits, right?

Don't forget to get around to our other insecure friends today, too!!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Writer Beware

I've seen a couple scary things lately... And while I don't think it is all gloom and doom, I DO think it is a warning that we need  

The Paper/Printing Fiasco

It began with Jessica's saga last week. She ordered a couple copies of her book from the Book Depository... and learned that while ordering from Amazon directly, her books were lovely, but through the Book Depository, she had gotten truly inferior product... lower quality paper, smudgy stuff in the printing, margins a little off... not professional at all... When she had gone to the great care to make sure all her specifications were right. She addressed it with Amazon and got a 'third party distributor-production tale'... You can read all about it HERE (for answers) and in the link to the original problem.

Jessica was a superstar, finding the problem and professionally chasing down answers... I think the results she got though, are strictly cautionary to the rest of us... maybe having a note on our blogs that if people receive inferior products when they order out books, they should let us know and we will help get it sorted. If enough people are on top of them over quality control, the faulty vendors will get weeded in short order.

Self-Published Author Gets Ammy Spanking When She Gets Publisher

Yesterday I ran across this and apparently Amazon has backtracked and changed their game, but the fact that anyone got stuck in this position AT ALL... Holy Guacamole! Jamie McGuire, who wrote Beautiful Disaster, self published, and did REALLY WELL, earned a traditional publisher... and then Amazon sent emails offering not only REFUNDS (6 months after the fact) but ALSO the DIFFERENCE for the price of the REGULAR BOOK (Simon & Schuster), and JAMIE was stuck paying for it! They've backtracked--said it was a mistake, oh so sorry, but seriously, what a LOUSY thing to do! And I honestly suspect they only backtracked because so many people raised a stink about it.

And to what end? All they are going to do is scare off authors who are on the fence... maybe self-publishing CURIOUS, but still hoping for a traditional contract...

And Then There are the Bad Publishers...

Those who would steal your rights for infinity.
Those who aren't going to actually DO anything but take a share of your self-publishing pie

There are a lot of problems.

The solution? Well, constant vigilance, of course, but also, let's have each others' backs... if you see something wonky, let the author know. He will appreciate hearing about it so he can take care of it sooner than later.

And just because I'm generous... THIS was a great little article on the current state of publishing (the traditional route):
It really is worth a careful read, links and all.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Change of Plans



So I started this March Madness thing with ONE book I intended to write... and I wrote Friday, and I wrote Saturday. And I found I was even boring MYSELF trying to force this thing out... I've come to the conclusion it just really needs a lot more stewing than it's had.

Flathead Lake, Montana (my setting)
What is this STEW I speak of?

This is normal for me. I have ideas with some regularity. In fact I put all those ideas in a spread sheet last week, and in addition to the five 'I will write this book' ideas I had on my writing project list, I had another thirty ideas written in some detail, about half of which I think are viable writing projects. But the ideas that work BEST are ideas I have that rattle around in my head a while, then marry new ideas, and sometimes even MORE ideas, until suddenly I have a nice, happily complex plan.

So after forcing out 5000 words of Shooter (which will be named something else), I decided to go with the one I felt compelled to start last week that has been niggling my brain for almost two years now.

Has anyone seen this?
Behind Endangered

Some of you may have heard me talk about the Tomorrow book series by James Marsden. It begins with Tomorrow When the War Began and is about a group of Australian teens who go camping when school gets out... and when they come home, their home town (all of Australia, actually) has been invaded. They become secret guerilla warriors fighting against the (always unnamed, but foreign) invaders. The series caused me to have vivid dreams and my imagination was captivated by the idea of something in the US with similar flavors since then. (and this was before I was even actively writing)--I'd love to see the movie version of this—or is it a TV series? Has anyone seen it?

The next piece of the puzzle happened when my husband was working in his home health job. We only had one car, and he worked 12 hour days... and on the weekend, I definitely didn't want to get up and take him at 7 am, so I was walking to pick up the car at about ten in the morning and a helicopter went over. We normally see the Michigan Life Flight helicopters with some regularity, but other than that, they are a game day only kind of thing. This isn't Portland where every news station has it's own hovering a couple times a day. We're a suburb where it just isn't that common. It was a little weird... I felt very exposed, and I got home and write the first chapter of this book... I knew I wasn't going to write any MORE of it for a while, but I had a flavor... a set up... a feeling of what the first moments would be like if we were invaded.

The book went on my list of possible options, but I kept feeling like I really needed more to it. I wasn't ready for the story... and then last weekend I had one of those wacky dreams that get the ball rolling. By the time I was out of the shower I realized it was a second strand to THIS story, so I came down and got on the computer and started it... Then in my files of potential stories, I found my third strand.

So now I have three primary characters (two of them with siblings), all of whom will meet up in the mountains of Montana by Flathead Lake... and will need to be warriors of sorts (mountain guerillas--see there is the play on words that gets me to 'endangered'), in this brave new world. I don't have my ending yet, which makes me a little nervous. I definitely prefer to know how the story ends, or I can end up with a big floppy thing to sort out, but I will try to put in my thought on that early this month so I figure it out before I get there.

Friday, March 1, 2013


So you know how I love to PLAN? BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! *cough*

And you know how today I'm starting a new BOOK? (Actually, I wrote the first page the other night and a few more last night, since it's not officially a WriMo annallat, so it's not cheating, but March Madness starts today so I'm going to TREAT MARCH like it's a WriMo... I'll call it the MadWriMo...) So last night I got to PLAN! BUWAHAHAHAHA! I am calling it Shooter. That name may change, as it is less about the shooter in a school shooting, and more about another character, but the shooting IS central to the plot... I will leave it at that for now.

My Plan *BUWAHAHAHAHAHA* consists of:

Overkill? I plot goal against actual. This is from an old WriMo
* A formatted word doc with that first pages typed in (that stuff I already wrote—almost 800 words)

* A spreadsheet with daily wordcount goals. For this, I adjusted an old one... I plan on more words on the weekend than during the week, and I always front load, since you never know when stuff might come up and break your flow.

* A timeline with the primary events of the story. Now... I did a chapter by chapter a while back, but I've changed my mind since then... I was including more PoVs because it was a big story, but I have nailed an MC who can be at the center of unearthing most of this, so I think I will stick mostly with her. I will probably have scenes here and there from the 'villain'

* Notes. I have that original outliney thing... a character page... a plots note page... the reworked post-outliney page... my NEW timeliney thing (this one not as thorough, I tend to do some detours in a WriMo, so it is better to build in a little flexibility)

I love getting all this stuff ready... it PLEASES ME!

In Other News:

Not here yet (read: will never be here again)
This is also the start of Month 3 on the Eating/Fitness plan. I still haven't managed to add much more exercise in (though remember I walk to and from work, which totals about 4.5 miles a day), but I DID find my 5 pound hand weights—critical, since one of the 6.5 pound ones seems to have disappeared into the ether. And I HAVE used THOSE a couple times... easy to pick up when I watch a little telivision (I'm rewatching all the Game of Thrones before season 3 starts at the end of the month... 8 episodes to go—2 a week fits perfectly with my laundry folding schedule if I fold real slow)

My EATING, I've done much better on. And I think my improved sleep habits have helped, too. I've lost 17 pounds (putting me at where I started 2012--undoing the damage of my miserable year, but also about 10 pounds below the summer before that (I had just briefly lost weight that fall--can you tell this is a topic that obsesses me?)  so far and 8 inches if I add the waist, hip and butt measurements. So that is good... progress... never mind that it will STILL be late fall before I reach goal... I am losing at a good pace and not miserable. Just impatient.

Best of luck to all who are joining us for March Madness!!! GOOOOOOOOO!