I write like
Jack London

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why Samuel Adams' Speech Applies Today

The family's been watching the History Channel's Sons of Liberty for the last three nights. Last night was the culmination of the Battle of Bunker Hill and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The climax of the episode was Samuel Adams addressing the Second Continental Congress. He speaks of having a fair chance to pursue a livelihood without someone coming along a taking everything just because they can.

Granted, the speech talks about government interference with civilians, but the ideas apply to private parties who do their damnedest to ensure artists cannot pursue their craft with the opportunity to make a living.

Sound familiar?

This is exactly why the publishing industry is in such an uproar. You've got a handful of corporations bestowing their blessings on a small number of writers. Then along comes Amazon, just like the character of Samuel Adams--the Instigator.

Other writers take up the cause of revolution, but of course, the Powers That Be cannot see beyond the Instigator. Cannot see that other writers haven't even approached their not-so-nurturing bosom. Cannot see that they've lost the battle by engaging in it. All they see is that they are surrounded by a bunch of pig farmers shoveling slop into their pristine environment.

As author Joe Konrath has said, this is a revolution. A chance for writers to make a living.

Not a guarantee, but a chance.

I love my chance!

Sons of Liberty adds a little sex, drugs and rock n' roll to the story of the founding of the United States of America, and its accuracy leaves something to be desired. However, if you want something that will get your pre-teens interested in history, I definitely recommend the mini-series. You can see full episodes on the History Channel's website.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Collaboration and the Indie Writer - The Business Side

Creating with other writers always sounds like fun. If you've been with any type of writing group, whether something formal or just a friend, you've brainstormed and come up with lots of nifty ideas. The energy in shared creativity can be intoxicating.

So intoxicating that writers don't stop and think about the business ramifications of publishing a joint project.

Laura Kirwan and I came into collaboration from a different angle than most writers. We were both attorneys at one point in our lives. So we were very aware that we needed an agreement in writing to cover our asses, aka a contract.

As Laura mentioned in her comment on Wednesday, we have a clause concerning acts of Murphy (feel free to substitute the deity of your choice). It acknowledges that we are both in positions of dealing with elderly family members, and frankly, shit can and does happen with them, or us. That goes back to how the actual writing is divided between us and what happens if one of us cannot fulfill her duties.

In most contracts, the parties to the contract agree to which state's law controls the contract (aka, choice of law). In most situations, each party tries to get their own state listed. When we first started talking about a collaboration, I was in the process of moving from Texas to Ohio and Laura lived in Arizona. So which state did we choose?

North Dakota.

Yes, we picked the most inconvenient place for both of us to force us to come to an amicable decision over something we were at odds over. Though I really think our coin toss clause will solve most of our problems.

We decided whose imprint our joint books under which will be published. (Neither. We created a whole new imprint.) We decided how money will be handled. We also came up with a formula if one of us decides this isn't working and wants to buy out the other person.

These are the situations most writers don't want to think about when they're in the throes of a new relationship. But by shaking out the business bullshit well before hand, you can focus on writing the story.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Collaboration and the Indie Writer - The Writing Side

For those of you who don't know, I'm currently working on a joint project with fantasy author Laura Kirwan. (If you want an older heroine, and many readers have said that they do, go read her books Impervious and Crushed.)

Laura and I are creating a series called 1-888-HERO about a couple of lawyers who specialize in superhero and supervillain legal problems. Writing with another person has been an education for me.

First of all, most writers live in their own heads. We build entire worlds, galaxies, even universes inside the couple of pounds of gray matter between our ears. It's hard enough conveying the complexity of our internal story to paper or pixels. To create a joint universe? That's taken a lot of talking, a lot of e-mails, and a little compromise. (We actually wrote into our contract that we flip a quarter if we hit a snag we can't resolve.)

The other problem? I'm one of those people labeled from an early age as "Doesn't play well with others." Seriously, my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Eaton actually wrote that on my report card. I know I can be a demanding bitch, so it's probably a good thing that Laura lives in Arizona and I'm in Ohio. But I like and respect Laura, so I'm trying very hard to rein in my natural tendencies.

Probably the scariest part of this collaboration is how much we think alike in terms of story. She was concerned I'd be upset about her adding secondary characters. One of them had been someone I thought we needed, but I didn't want to cross into my bossy territory and tell Laura what to write in her chapter. We're about twenty per cent into the first book, and so far we haven't had to flip that quarter. Yet.

We are writing alternate chapters. And it's been fun seeing what one of us comes up after the other's person cliffhanger.

After the debacle of selling the house in Houston, I think the most important part of this project is that I'm finding the joy in writing again.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Little Friday Fun

There's been so much negativity in the air lately. I don't want to add to it by having another rant, so here's a cute kitten video.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Clarification on the November Status Post

I regularly hang out at The Passive Voice. During a discussion on Kris Rusch's recent post on "churning out" books, I mentioned I'd got some grief from other writers on my November Status Report. Someone e-mailed me privately, concerned about my experience.

Here's the deal. I've learned not to let this kind of crap bother me. Yes, it used to, but I also thought my normal bullshit meter didn't apply to the writing world. I was stupid. I was naïve.

I got over it.

There was one nasty comment. It popped up while I was online, so I caught and deleted right away. If you subscribe to comments, you may have gotten the notice. If so, delete the e-mail. I'm pretty sure it's the buddy of a former friend, who likes to troll me every once in a while. This person's crap has tapered off since I no longer associate with the former friend. Since I'm a non-Christian, I'm the equivalent of Al-Quaeda in their Tea Party minds. As GK would say, "What evs."

I received three e-mails from "friends" who are oh-so-worried about my incredibly bad decision to indie publish. But then, they've been worried for four years now. To a person, they said the same crap Kris mention on her original blog--no one will take me seriously if I write too fast. *cue eye roll*

The only person whose comment concerned me was my new writing partner, Laura Kirwan. We had a nice talk about expectations and writing speed, and I like to think we both walked away feeling a lot better about completing our joint project.

The funny thing about the November post? I didn't even mention the Alter Ego projects for 2015.

Can you imagine the eye-popping apoplexy some of these people would have if they knew? LOL

Monday, January 12, 2015

Nora Roberts Is Right to Say "Bite Me"

Controversy. There's always controversy on the interwebs, the latest being a blog post by La Nora Herself.

First of all, I admire her incredible work ethic and her prolific career.

Secondly, the reason I have one of her trilogies is the books were a gift from one of my legal secretaries, who knew I loved paranormal romances. I won't ever get rid of them because I appreciated my sectary's thoughtfulness.

Finally, I did learn quite a bit as far as craft went by reading her books.

Unfortunately, the lovely gift books weren't my normal taste. But I would never DREAM of going to Ms. Roberts' Facebook page or her blog and tell her they suck. That's her space for her fans.

And I'd like to think I'd never be so rude as to go into someone else's space and tell them they suck.

Yet a few weeks ago, someone did exactly that on Ms. Roberts' Facebook page. She laid out her policy regarding comments, only to have someone do it again on Christmas Eve when she was trying to spend time with her family and not think about work. So she reiterated her policy more firmly in a blog post entitled, "Bite Me". The gist of the post was that her blog and FB page were for her fans, and that any criticism or critique of her work is appropriately made in reviews.

For some strange reason, Ms. Roberts' post is causing a shitstorm among writers more than readers. How dare she alienate readers! How dare she think she's above criticism! By the way, none of which she actually said. The whole thing scarily reminds me of the Fake Geek Girl controversy last year, where certain people thought they should be the ones to decide who was a true sf/f fan and who wasn't.

My personal view is that Ms. Roberts is totally correct. Not that she needs my approval by any stretch of the imagination. But fan places are exactly that--fan places. No one has a right to determine who's allowed on a webpage except the administrator of that page. If you misbehave, you'll get blocked.

As for the people who feel the need to express their negative opinions? They can have their opinions. No one is saying they can't. And there's plenty of places where they can express that opinion. But when you deliberately go to a fan site and diss the thing people are fans of, the only reason you're doing it is to cause trouble.

There's a phrase for people like that--DRAMA QUEENS.

Oh, and before you decide to comment here with some bullshit about your First Amendment rights, you'd better be prepared to cite the particular federal case you're using to support your argument. Otherwise, I WILL delete your comment.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

Justice Is Now Out as a Podcast

Far-Fetched Fables is the fantasy portion of the District of Wonders series of podcasts. Last year, I was contacted by the editor, Nicola Seaton-Clark , about one of my stories. Podcast No. 38 contains the audio version of my short story "Justice" that was originally published in Sword and Sorceress 28 back in November of 2013.

If you didn't catch "Justice" the first time around, you can listen to it or download the podcast for free from the Far-Fetched Fables website or download it from iTunes.

And definitely check out the District of Wonders other podcasts!