Showing posts from 2010

New Blog for the New Year!

I'm going to add a new blog to my repertoire. I will still keep this blog to discuss writerly things. The new blog will be aimed at sharing content. I'm going to offer the first book in my new series for free... 500 words a day, from now until June. (It's 98 chapterlets and I will only post Mon-Fri.) I will also offer a pdf file of the whole book for free, if people prefer. I have no idea if anyone will be intersted in reading the book that way, but I thought it would be a fun thing to try. We'll see how it goes! To add a little more spice, I'm also going to invite other novelists to advertise their books by posting 500 word long excerpts. And I've also opened it up to posting 500 word flash fiction from time to time. Sensing the common theme here...? The blog will be called " 500 Words ." In other news, the trade paperback versions of both Conmergence and now The Unfinished Song: Initiate, are available!

New Year, New Policy from All Romance eBooks for Self-Published Authors and Small Presses

Reposted with permission: The start of a new year brings the beginning of a new policy at All Romance eBooks as they lift the requirement that sellers maintain a minimum number of titles in their online storefront. All Romance eBooks announced today that beginning January 1, 2011 they will waive their required ten book minimum for publishers or individuals wishing to sell on the OmniLit™/All Romance™ sites. The revision in policy is designed to accommodate the ever increasing number of publishers with just a few eBooks in their catalog and authors choosing to self-publish their own work. The move reflects ARe’s long standing policy to provide their customers with the most diverse selection of romance and mainstream titles possible, with catalogs from the major publishers (including Harlequin and Random House) as well as selections from small press and individual authors. “Some of our hottest selling books are coming from indies,” said Lori James. “More importantly, the change i

Oooooo Guess What I'm Reading....

Thirds. By Michelle Davidson Argyle. Reading... reading... done now, in one sitting. What can I say? I'm going to abuse my privileged position as beta reader to take this moment to gloat shamelessly. I pity all of you who have to wait to savor this delicious novella. I pity you. Hee hee hee. Yeah, it's that good!

Agent Stats

Some literary agents, Weronika Janczuk and Kristin Nelson have kindly shared their agently stats for the year. Most interesting!

Christmas and Godzilla: A True Story

My four year old son recently discovered Godzilla. He was already a big fan of dinosaurs. He also loved dragons. But then he saw a picture of a cartoon Godzilla in the line-up on Netflix. We're pretty picky about what we watch on tv with the kids, preferring educational programs, but he begged, "That one! That one!" every time the picture scrolled by. I gave in, figuring he'd watch one show and that would be the end of it. Clearly, I understimated cartoon Godzilla's charms. He was shaped like a dinosaur but fifty times as big! He had magical fire breath like a dragon! "Godzilla is SUPER AWESOME!" My four year old jumped up and down with glee. Even my two year old son latched on to the show. "I wan Wazilla!" What have I gotten myself into? I wondered. When my son gets on a kick, he is the most obsessive fanboy imaginable. He wanted to watch Godzilla night and day, six times in the morning, six times at night and twice again instead of nap. He su

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Merry Christmas!

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Eve

It began innocently enough....

I first saw this hilarious video on Kindle Nation's blog. Hehehe.

Conmergence is Available in Print!

Yes, finally! Yay!

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - To The Manger

So how many of you took part in Nativity Plays as kids, where you'd use tinsel on a bent hanger for a halo and bathrobes for shepherds' frocks? When I was a preteen, I directed a number of these, including one with a science fiction theme: the Nativity in outer space. (It was a Unitarian church, what can I say.) Were you in plays? Where and who put it on? What sets and costumes did you use? Did you sing Christmas carols or just read the New Testament as though it were a script? To tell! Don't be shy. :)

Behold the New Cover Art

Here it is! The new cover art for the first Dindi book, now known as Initiate: The Unfinished Song, Book One. The model is Jessica Trescott, of Faestock on deviantART. The pixie is my very first artwork done in Poser. I'm still not good enough make realistic looking people in Poser, and I don't want androids on my cover, since this isn't science fiction. But I think it works well enough for a pixie. What do you think? Here's the back copy: DEADLY INITIATION A Bumbling Girl Dindi can't do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi's clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. An Exiled Warrior Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in F

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Last Minute Gift Ideas

Christmas is about shopping and shameless self-promotion, so this is a good time to remind you that you can give ebooks as presents! (Hint, hint.) If you've already given all fifty of your friends a relatives gifts of my ebooks, and yet you are still frantically running around, trying to buy last minute presents, as I am, I humbly offer some suggestions in the songs below. There are a lot of good versions of Santa Baby. I chose Madanna's because it has a cute video. And who better than the Material Girl to represent the material side of Christmas? Wait, you're objecting that Christmas is not just about shopping and self-promotion? Weird. You mean maybe what we want often bears no resemblance whatsoever to what we need ...? Nah. I REALLY DO NEED A HIPPO!

The Three Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in the Mystery Genre

In a dream, I received the answer to the problem with my Nano novel (Xenophile): make it a mystery. It's hard sf, and a lot of the issues I want to explore in this series are pretty esoteric, and I was looking for a way for readers to connect with the characters on some familiar ground to make the harder sf elements easier to swallow. I decided that making them a detective/law enforcement team for hire out on the frontier of human settlements could be a good way to go. I've been reading and watching more Mystery lately. All the subgenres. Police procedural, cozy, thriller, science fiction, history. Gee, this is great stuff, I thought. Why don't I enjoy mystery stories more often? Then I tripped over a story that made me want to throw things, and I remembered. Oh, yeah. That's why. The number one problem with the mystery genre? The entire genre. Yes, I'm going there! The number one problem with the mystery genre is caused by trying to avoid the number two problem

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Peace on Earth

There is a great version of Happy Christmas (War is Over) by the three tenors, Pavarotti-Domingo-Carreras, but the You Tube version has terrible sound. I heard this version of I Heard The Bells for the first time when searching for songs on You Tube. I was looking for the older version, but I fell in love with this one.

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Jolly Joy

I've looked over the songs I've posted, and wow, did I find every sad Christmas song in the world? Time for some holly jolly joy and all that. Burl Ives Have a Holly Jolly Christmas is one of my all-time favorites. I will always imagine him as a snowman. I don't watch soap operas, and I have no idea who these people in Jingle Bell Rock are. What I do know is that they can't sing, which makes the whole song remind me of a drunken office party. In a good way. (They aren't actually as of bad singers as your co-workers, don't worry.) I love Carol of the Bells, and I couldn't decide which was my favorite version. I went with The Bird and the Bee, but Trans-Siberian Orchestra is also very cool.

Conmergence (print version) and Reflections on Self-Publishing

I thank all of you who have patiently waited for the print version of Conmegence. After numerous delays, all of my own accidental and unwanted contrivance, I have finally managed to approve the print version for sale. It should be up on Amazon's site in about a week. I will also be selling autographed copies, if anyone wants one. These won't be available before Christmas. (I know this will disappoint the vast hoards of people wishing to give autographed copies of my book as gifts, but just think, you could buy it in January and avoid the rush next year.) You can put in an order now, and not pay until it is ready to ship in mid-January. Just let me know, in a comment or a private email to: It's taken me awhile to work out all the kinks of this self-publishing business. It's not that hard; it's not that easy, either. It's been worth, and a lot of fun, but given the hiccups I've experienced, I'm glad I eased in with my anthology, C

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Lost and Found

One of the paradoxes of the holidays is that they don't always bring us joy. Sometimes they make us feel more lost, depressed and alone than ever. Or maybe winter does that on its own. The winter holidays are ancient, older than any of the religions we practice today, and I think they were meant as an antidote to winter blues. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. If you are feeling alone or depressed this holiday, please reach out and let someone reach you.

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Candy, Cake and Cookies

Today's theme is Christmas treats. I looked for the muppet song, Christmas Smorgasbord, but couldn't find a version I liked. Hard Candy Christmas isn't really about candy, but it's a great song and it always makes me want candy, so here you go. Candy. Cake. Cookies. What could be better?!

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Romantic Liasions

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Reindeer Behaving Badly

Sock puppets singing karaoke. So silly, but too cute. I love this version of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. I never realized Cousin Mel was so sexy, for one thing. It looks like she and grandpa were plotting, doesn't it? But it's all good, because Grandma turns up ok in the end, relieving my deep childhood trauma over her fate. Just for the record, I do not endorse reindeer violence. Vixen, the first step is to admit you have a problem. Lay off the booze, buck. No wonder you stampeded grandma. You shouldn't drink and fly.

Three Announcements

First, I have an announcement. The first book in my fantasy series, The Unfinished Song, will be out as an ebook in time for Christmas. The cover is a surprise which I will reveal sometime in the next few days. Look out for it! Second, speaking of covers, now that the stories are in for the Notes from the Underground anthology at The Literary Lab , I expect to be working on that cover soon too. Third, one of my stories is a finalist to appear in an another anthology. I'll keep you updated as I hear more news on this.

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Welcoming Christmas

These are what I think of as welcoming Christmas songs. The first one, We Need a Little Christmas, was a favorite of my mom's when I was growing up. It was the first song she would put on when we brought out the Christmas records each year. She would sing the line, "I've grown a little older and I need a little angel sitting on my shoulder," and smile, and it was always a bit bittersweet. Silver Bells is another wonderful, "getting into the mood" song. Alan Jackson's Let it be Christmas became a new favorite of mine the first time I heard it, which was last year.

Twelve Days of Christmas Videos - Winter Songs

I'm feeling festive, and wanted to offer some of my favorite Christmas songs over the next twelve days. Normally, I would also offer up one or two token Hannukah songs, if nothing else, for the sake of my Jewish grandma, but you know what? Hannakah and I are not on speaking terms right now. That's right, Stupid Lunar Calendar, I was still in school when you came and went, thanks for nothing. Anyhoo...moving on to the Spirit of Christmas...ho, ho, ho... What could be more Christmasy than the doomed adulterous love between Lancelot and Gwenivere? Besides, you know, pretty much anything? Consider it my hat tip to Winter's Solstice. Which has not passed yet, I love you Solar Calender. So here are two wintery, sad, romantic songs that I love, even if I'm not sure how they are really related to Christmas, Hannukah or anything else. And by two, I meant three. Clearly, at this hour of the morning, I cannot count. Enjoy!

2 Things I Have to Say...

Image Davin Malasarn for his review of Tomorrow We Dance on The Literary Lab ... ... and to Neil Davis for his review of The Painted World Stories on Amazon. Thank you and thank you!

WWII Is So Cliche

In honor of the anniversy of the attack on Pearl Harbor..... Here via here. Let's start with the bad guys. Battalions of stormtroopers dressed in all black, check. Secret police, check. Determination to brutally kill everyone who doesn't look like them, check. Leader with a tiny villain mustache and a tendency to go into apopleptic rage when he doesn't get his way, check. All this from a country that was ordinary, believable, and dare I say it sometimes even sympathetic in previous seasons. I wouldn't even mind the lack of originality if they weren't so heavy-handed about it. Apparently we're supposed to believe that in the middle of the war the Germans attacked their allies the Russians, starting an unwinnable conflict on two fronts, just to show how sneaky and untrustworthy they could be? And that they diverted all their resources to use in making ever bigger and scarier death camps, even in the middle of a huge war? Real people just aren't that evil. ..

Google Opens A Bookstore

Google's Bookstore Previously thought to be called "Google Editions", the "Google eBookstore" is live and offering hundreds of thousands of titles for purchase. As opposed to other e-book providers, Google's e-books are entirely cloud-based. "Google eBooks stores your library in the digital cloud," writes the company, "so you can read all of your favorite books using just about any device with an Internet connection." For those of you worried about reading your books on the go or up in the air, where there might be no Internet connection, Google says that "once you open your book using our mobile reader apps, your book will sync to your device and you can continue reading it online or offline." As for accessing these books, Google supports a number of devices, from Android and iOS smartphones to any e-book reader that supports the Adobe e-book platform to any device with a Javascript-enabled browser. Along with reading e-books,

Diagnosis of Writer's Brain

"People with mental illness are very much like people without mental illness only more so." -- Mark Vonnegut Mark Vonnegut (yes, Kurt Vonnegut's son) has an interesting article in The Journal of Mental Health about being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Have you ever wondered if there is some connection between madness and art? The connection has been alleged for millennia, and I personally believe there is a link between whatever genetic quirk causes writer's brain and other forms of mania, delusion and depression. I hide my emotional state from most people I know. This includes those closest to me. I don't lie, I just don't talk about it. It wouldn't really serve any point. I know I'm abnormal and I'm okay with that. Actually, I have nothing to complain about, although when I was younger it bothered me a great deal. Many of the things I have done--you'll find some of them discussed in the author's notes in Conmergence I always felt a lit

Black Friday and Cyber Thanksgiving Deals and How to Buy Presents for Men

The explanation I had always heard for the term "Black Friday" that this was the time of the year that retailers were finally "in the black" (making a profit) rather than "in the red" (still paying off their investments and overhead). Let's just think about that for a moment. From January to November, that's eleven months spent in the red. Even if your fiscal year starts in March or June (as some do), that's still quite a few months in the red. I don't know if this is accurate or not. But it does make me feel a little better about still being "in the red" myself vis-a-vis my book. My fiscal year, so to speak, only started at the end of October. If you'd like a good Thanksgiving read, or something to enjoy while waiting in line with your kindle on Black Friday, you can click on my anthology Conmergence: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction or one of the other great books on the side of my page. I'm still trying to reach my

Pathfinder - Booktrailer of the Day

Orson Scott Card. What can I say? The name is pretty much the sell here, isn't it? So the trailer is smooth and professional, and though it has motion, mostly stays out of the way of just letting you know the author of Ender's Game has a new book out.

How Your Book Is Like a Banana

I've been reading Dean Wesley Smith's blog about publishing, and the Velocity of Sales vs The Long Tail. Traditionally, your book was sold as though it were a banana : Now, understand, in a grocery store, produce is put out to be sold quickly and then is replaced before it spoils. Over the last twenty plus years publishers and bookstores put out books and then yanked them quickly as if a book would spoil in a week or two. They treated books exactly the same as produce. And guess what, just as with produce in a grocery story, if a book didn’t sell, it was tossed away, destroyed. This practice has become so bad that often a book will be deemed out of print within a month of the release date because it didn’t have the orders the sales force was expecting. Or it didn’t have the number of projected sales in the first week or so. Of course, it won’t officially go out of print until all the warehouse stock is gone, but it will have a do-not-reprint order on the book from almost week o

Free Writing Book

Hey, you can get the ebook Writing For Dummies for free on Amazon.

Harbinger of the Storm - Book Trailer of the Day

Does NaNoWriMo Create Too Many Bad Books? Or, a Manifesto on the New Social Literacy

Does NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) encourage a glut of crappy books that would be better off unwritten? Laura Miller wrote a now infamous article at Salon: Nothing about NaNoWriMo suggests that it's likely to produce more novels I'd want to read. (That said, it has generated one hit, and a big one: "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen, who apparently took the part about revision to heart.) The last thing the world needs is more bad books. But even if every one of these 30-day novelists prudently slipped his or her manuscript into a drawer, all the time, energy and resources that go into the enterprise strike me as misplaced. Here's why: NaNoWriMo is an event geared entirely toward writers, which means it's largely unnecessary. When I recently stumbled across a list of promotional ideas for bookstores seeking to jump on the bandwagon, true dismay set in. "Write Your Novel Here" was the suggested motto for an in-store NaNoWriMo event. It was

Amazon Sells the Nook

Amazon sells the Nook -- one of the lead rivals for their own Kindle. For $223. New from Barnes & Noble, the Nook is $149. What is going on here? Is it a sneaky way for Amazon to suggest to casual searchers that the Nook is a lot more expensive than the Kindle? Or is it just because it's from a third party vendor? But why does a third party vendor thing they can sell the Nook for so much? Weird.

How Many Authors Sold How Many Books in 2009

Hardcover Fiction Sales, 2009 1. The Lost Symbol: A Novel. Dan Brown. Doubleday (5,543,643). 2. *The Associate: A Novel. John Grisham. Doubleday. 3. The Help. Kathryn Stockett. Putnam/Amy Einhorn (1,104,617). 4. I, Alex Cross. James Patterson. Little, Brown (1,040,976). 5. The Last Song. Nicholas Sparks. Grand Central (1,032,829). 6. *Ford County. John Grisham. Doubleday. 7. Finger Lickin' Fifteen. Janet Evanovich. St. Martin's (977,178). 8. The Host: A Novel. Stephenie Meyer. Little, Brown (912,165). 9. *Under the Dome. Stephen King. Scribner 10. Pirate Latitudes. Michael Crichton. Harper (855,638). 11. Scarpetta. Patricia Cornwell. Putnam (800,000). 12. U Is for Undertow. Sue Grafton. Putnam (706,154). 13. The Scarpetta Factor. Patricia Cornwell. Putnam (705,000). 14. Shadowland. Alyson Noel. St. Martin's (609,355). 15. The 8th Confession. James Patterson. Little, Brown (606,097). 16. Arctic Drift. Clive Cussler with Dirk Cussler. Putnam (588,247). 17. South of Broad: A N