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About this Journal
The comments and digressions of a struggling speculative fiction novelist. One who is admittedly not living in an unheated garret, has a nice family, good job, and absolutely no reason not to write.

Mild Content Warning:

I don't intend this to be a political journal, but because I am what I am, there will be occasional flashes of conservative opinion. Take them with a grain of salt, a slice of lime, and feel free to argue with me. Just keep it family-friendly.
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May. 25th, 2012 @ 10:12 am A question of genre
Posted to anticiworkshop as well, apologies to those who've seen it twice.

Let me present a snippet of a dialog two of my authorial personas recently had:

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HUCKSTER [a terrifying creature with big hair wearing a realtor's jacket and a label reading, "HI! I'm an author". She carries a monstrous shoulder bag decorated with buttons and ribbons from writing conferences. She approaches a door guarded by EDITOR, who sits at an old school desk, reading Proust]: So, she's finished the first draft. About time. When did she originally promise it?

EDITOR [everybody's sophomore English teacher, who once published a story in her college literary magazine and never forgot it]: two months ago. But you know she doesn't have the best sense of time. If I didn't program reminders into her phone, she'd forget to feed the dog.

HUCKSTER: She needs to remember this is business, not art. There are opportunities that only exist for a blink. Trends that come and go. Today, gargoyle romance, tomorrow circus porn--although that one's kinda eternal, you know what I mean?

EDITOR: No. No I don't.

HUCKSTER: Liar. But back to our timid little friend. If she can't produce on schedule, like this [snaps fingers repeatedly] she might as well get out of the business.

EDITOR: We've had this discussion before. She can't produce on schedule. She's doing a bit better on her word count, but of course, the moment anyone notices how much--or how little--she's produced, she hides under a pile of leaves. I have to lure her out with the latest volume of Dengeki Daisy.
******

you can continue reading at my blog

and if you like manga, I can seriously recommend Dengeki Daisy. It's shojo, romantic fluff, but the heroine is sweet, with a core of strength and honesty, not to mention constantly wishing baldness on the male lead :)
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Feb. 28th, 2012 @ 08:17 am the triumph of hope over experience
I've tried to be good. I've tried to keep my mind just on writing, on building my list, and not worrying about promoting my work, but when another promo opportunity came by, I snatched at it like the weak-minded fool I am.

The charming, literate, and highly interesting proprietors of See Jane Publish offered to interview me, and so I dashed off some answers. According to my children, it's the closest thing to my natural voice that they've ever read of mine, so be warned.

Cross-posted at my blog
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Jan. 19th, 2012 @ 04:59 am I got a review!
I received a major review, my first of any kind outside my beloved beta readers and critique partners, and it was a crappy one. I didn't have even the usual ream of five-star Amazon reviews from totally disinterested reviewers to buffer it. Unfortunately, I read it before my morning's writing session, and now Writer is hiding under her pile of leaves, sniffling.

Talk about jumping into the deep end without a life vest and only the vaguest notion of how to swim.
 
Editor has had to take over and firmly remind Writer of a number of realities.
  • Reviews are for readers. If you behave yourself, success.
  • Obscurity is the indie's biggest enemy. Success.
  • The reviewer treated it as a professional product. Success.
  • It *wasn't* a failing grade. Success.
  • Reviews are a fact of life for writers. Let it stop you writing .... well, failure, for today at least. Tomorrow I'll be back in form.

I know you're not supposed to take things from reviews other than, I probably don't want to pitch to this blog again, but it did leave me wondering if I've tagged my whole genre wrong. I thought the story was a romantic one, but a dedicated romance reader found little to like in it, and much to confuse. Genres aren't hard and fast rules about the nature of the fiction, but the nature of the audience. They are markers for a reader's expectations--breach those,  and they get really annoyed. Her take that it wasn't romance, but fantasy, is a big, clear signal that I don't want to target romance readers as a market.

Mind you, I won't be doing any more marketing--I pitched to the blog before reading Dean Wesley Smith's advice to ignore marketing and work on producing--but I will change genre tags.

Cross-posted at my blog
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Jan. 10th, 2012 @ 03:33 pm new year's resolutions
Not going so badly so far. After one week, I'm on track for escaping zombies and putting up the next novel by June. Let's see what next week brings me ;)

Unfortunately, zombie avoidance training has been having a devastating side effect--my favorite boots don't quite fit any more. When I was a child, the most fantastically cool girls wore boots, and I never lost the sensation that when I had boots on, I was ten feet tall and capable of a swagger that would make Raquel Welch (okay, okay, young'uns, you don't know who she is. Just wiki her.) envious.

but avoiding zombies . . . what good is a swagger if your brains are gone?

I must think about this some more.
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Dec. 28th, 2011 @ 07:42 am The Dark Heart of Statistics
Or, the Indie Commandments, part I

I shall not obsess over statistics. That way lies madness. Or at least too much cinnamon toast.

I've already learned the painful truth of this one. My book has been up a week, and already I've found that the numbers don't change more than once a day. If that. And watching your Amazon ranking rise or fall 50,000 places in a day is like watching a slow-motion crash--the hope, the painful anticipation, the horror, the commands to move it, lady! from emergency personnel...

What's worse is Smashwords offers even more detailed statistics, adding in the number of views and and sample downloads.

I have to accept that as a beginner with one book up, no name recognition, and no reviews, my book is virtually invisible. The downloads aren't going to happen unless I make them happen with serious marketing, and that will be a long-term project.

But I've conquered long-term projects before. I will again. But only if I don't spend the hours I should be writing staring at statistics.

cross-posted at my blog
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Dec. 23rd, 2011 @ 07:23 pm (no subject)
Deep in a forest at the end of the world, a hero stands in the middle of a frozen lake. He wears antique armor, carries a bronze sword, and has the name of God bound about his upper arm. At his feet, a hole has been chopped in the ice, and in his hands is a diamond casket. In it, beats a living heart.

It's an old story, and a familiar one, but what if this isn't the ending? What if it's the beginning?

Okay, I got that out of my system. A theme has slowly solidified in the WIP (the alt hist) thanks to this snippet, allowing me to put a title to it at last: A Memory of Ice. So, AMoI is at the halfway mark. Thanks to my writing speed picking up (I hope I didn't just jinx myself), I should have a rough draft by the end of January.

May everyone have a wonderful Christmas, and may you come out of your holidays feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your dreams.
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Dec. 7th, 2011 @ 03:24 pm fitness revelation
Cue the swelling music. Feel the awe.

I have found, finally, the true reason to get fit. To run in this.

Indianapolis, 2012. I'm there.
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Sep. 28th, 2011 @ 10:38 am L'Shana tovah!
I'm not Jewish, but this is worth spreading.
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Sep. 26th, 2011 @ 06:36 pm blurb time
Good lord, I hate doing blurbs even worse than synopses. After much pain, I have come up with this:

A Wind out of Indigo


"The planet was once known as Mu Arae b, the colony as Half Light. But those names are long forgotten, along with the memory of Earth. Now all its inhabitants know is Day, Night, and Indigo.

Alice Standish, child of Day, wants nothing more than the quiet life she's earned, but the queen of Indigo has other plans. Civil war is brewing, and the queen sees Alice as the perfect tool to bring down the traitorous warden of Night.

But Alice is determined to play her own game, and in the haunted, wind-blown marshes of Night, she will confront a horror rising from the planet itself, discover love, and drag the truth into the light of day."

What do you think? If this sounds like your genre, would you pick it up?
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Sep. 22nd, 2011 @ 01:15 pm Marketing, step one.
After all the technical difficulties of producing an ebook, what really has me fainting in coils is the idea of marketing. There are as many strategies out there as there are self-published authors, but I'm going the simple route. My first step was to enter in the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest for unpublished writers, in the category of "Novel with strong romantic elements". Most contests open to indies are obvious scams. This one isn't, even if it's expensive, and if I'm at least a finalist, the branding will be worth it.

Only problem is the contest opened yesterday morning, and is limited to 1200 entries. And only RWA members could enter online. The rest of us had to snail-mail our partials. So I'll find out in a month or so whether or not I saved my money.

More steps to come . . .

This is where I chant to myself, "the journey of a thousand miles" etc, etc.

And try to believe it.
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