I write like
Jack London

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Houston, We Have Lift Off!

I swear the lag time between 'upload' and 'live' gets longer and longer, but I can say that Seasons of Magick: Autumn has been officially released before the end of March!

It's available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. [NOTE: If there's no link to the retailer, then the 'buy' link isn't live yet.]

I had a lot of fun writing this one. Hope y'all enjoy it!

Blurb
Welcome to Morrigan’s Cauldron! But be careful what you ask for because this little Greenwich Village shop can deliver your heart’s desire. Or your greatest nightmare.

Phylicia Johnson knew going to a Halloween party with a bunch of college kids was a bad idea. But her son’s R.A. has her feeling things she hadn’t felt in eighteen years.

Dante Jones survived the worst that Afghanistan could throw at him. He wants to earn his degree and settle down. And damn, if the universe didn’t dump the most perfect woman in front of him. But evil has other plans for the party guests, and a demon-induced orgy is one threat the Marines never trained him to deal with.

Can he believe Phylicia when she says she can stop the hellion and save the guests? Or are they all doomed to become sex batteries for the demon’s plans?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Unlikely Praise by Carla Rossi

Regular blog readers know I'm not Christian. So needless to say, I don't read many inspirational books. Carla Rossi is the exception.

Years ago, Carla and I belonged to the same critique group. Unfortunately, the group fell apart due to job changes and health issues. But even then, I knew she was one special writer. Someone who could draft intense sexual tension and hilarious scenarios without betraying her beliefs or smacking you over the head with them.

Carla's latest Unlikely Praise is now available in both print and ebook at the following retailers:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble


Blurb

Candi Canaberry has been the worship leader at Cornerstone Fellowship since the doors opened more than two years ago. A lifetime church musician and instructor of music at the local community college, Candi has dedicated her life to praise and worship. When Cornerstone explodes into mega-church territory, Candi is sure she’ll be the one to take her team to the next level…isn’t she the obvious choice? Apparently not. Church leadership has other ideas when they instruct her to take on a partner and share her duties. But a one-time rocker with a metallic guitar and zero worship experience? God must be kidding.

Recently saved Samuel “Shade” Blackledge is new to Cornerstone Fellowship. He’s convinced a strong church family is what will help keep his head above water as he turns from things of the past and builds a new life. An ex-rock guitarist, Shade is shocked when the pastor suggests he might be just what the worship team needs. But could God really want a tattooed veteran of the club scene? And what about his other secrets - not the least of which is a baby girl he’s never seen?

Worship practice has never been this eventful as Candi and Shade work their way toward each other… and Unlikely Praise.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Three Pigs, One Wolf and the English Langauge

Just a reminder: Leave a comment to win a free copy of Seasons of Magick: Autumn before it goes on sale!


Here's a comic commentary on how our vocabularies have changed over the last few centuries with an example from a classic fairy tale. (Much thanks to Jennifer Bray-Weber for sending me the link!)


Monday, March 26, 2012

CONTEST! Sh*t Agents/Editors Say

A Monday morning counting exercise: how many of these phrases have you heard/been said to you?

Leave a comment with your number before 11:59PM CDT on Thursday, March 29, 2012. A winner will be randomly drawn from the infamous Easter Basket shaped like Capt. Rex 's helmet. The prize is e-book copies of the Seasons of Magick series: Spring, Summer and the soon-to-be-released Autumn. (Yes, you'll get it before it goes on sale!)

Contest is open to everyone!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Songs I've Been Listening To A Lot Lately

Rumor Has It publishing won't survive the coming bookopalypse. What do y'all think?

(This song turned me into an Adele fan. Love the percussion!)


Friday, March 23, 2012

Will Publishing Pundits 'Get It' In Time?

Last week, the interwebs were abuzz with a couple of rants by agents on why writers suck. (And no, I won't link to them. It'll just raise your blood pressure until your head explodes. If you really want to know, go visit The Passive Voice.)

Here's a positive post by Jonny Geller. Thanks, Jonny, for the acknowledgement of what writers bring to the table, and mucho gracias to Patrice Fitzgerald for the link.

The real question is--will publishers and agents learn that alienating writers will not keep them in business before their businesses totally collapse?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guest Blogger - Faye Hughes


Please welcome my friend and critique partner, Faye Hughes. Faye's a lot of fun; you just don't want to be with her in a dark room at night if you're afraid of ghosts. (Don't ask.)

All writers are different, especially when it comes to how they became writers in the first place. Now me, well, I think I've always been a writer. When I was a little girl growing up in Mississippi, before I even knew how to read (or write, for that matter,) I was a storyteller. Of course, the stories I told usually got me into a lot of trouble. ("Um. No, ma'am. I didn't eat the cookies you'd made for the church bake sale," I'd say, quickly wiping away the cookie crumbs from my face while avoiding all eye contact. "That must have been my invisible friend Becky." I'd wrinkle my brow in concentration. "Or . . . or it might have been a cowboy named Hank. His horse loves cookies." I'd flash a clever smile as I got braver. "No, wait. I think it was a pirate who swiped the cookies. Yeah. Definitely a pirate.")

Lucky for me, I got a lot better at swiping cookies . . . and telling my stories. Of course, being Southern, telling stories is something we come by naturally, sort of like the accent and a fondness for iced tea and sweet potato pie. And when I wasn't making up stories, I was reading. More times than not, you could find me snuggled into an old swing at my grandmother's house reading a book I'd gotten from the local library. I soon developed a fondness for stories that had a bit of a mystery to them. I liked the Hardy Boys more than I did Nancy Drew and then I discovered gothic romances by Victoria Holt. By the time I was in junior high, I'd glommed onto Elizabeth Peters and I was hooked on humorous romantic suspense. Still am. And that's probably why the romance novels I write have a little mystery and humor in them.

Now, one of the downsides about being a writer, though, is that our books usually have a short shelf life, especially in a genre like romance. I wrote five classic contemporary romances for Bantam Loveswept back in the 1990s, and now those books are only available in used bookstores, assuming you can find dog-eared copies of them. But the Internet, and the popularity of e-book publishing has changed all that. E-books never go out of print, and I'm happy to say that my backlist is making a comeback in e-book format.

Now, one of the best parts about being able to bring back my previously published books is that I get a second chance to edit them. Don't get me wrong. I loved writing for Bantam Loveswept. Everyone from my editor to the cover artists did a great job. But I'd always seen the heroines of my books as friends with connected stories, which I hadn't been able to do when I wrote the original books. Now that I'm releasing them as e-books, I can make those changes. The result is a new series called Circle of Friends, which opens with my first revamped Loveswept, Can't Fight the Feeling.

Gotta Have It is the second book in the series, and that should be coming out within the next month or so through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. The rest will follow every few months. What's more, I plan to write a completely new book for the Circle of Friends series. I'm really excited about these books, and I hope you'll enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed writing, and revamping, them.

Here's the book cover and a blurb about Can't Fight the Feeling:

Fate brought them together . . .

Six years ago, while working on his doctoral thesis on literary genius E. J. Tremayne, Justin Stone had fallen hard for the deceased author's daughter, Morgan. After a whirlwind courtship, filled with poetry and passion, they'd eloped . . . only to fly to Costa Rica nearly a year later for a quickie divorce. When Justin finds Morgan sitting on the desk in his office at the Hamilton-Davis University in Santa Barbara — looking more beautiful than he'd remembered — all of the old emotions come tumbling back. Justin still wants her, but he knows giving in to his feelings this time could destroy them both. And then Morgan drops a bombshell — their quickie divorce didn't exactly take, and they're still married.

Or they will be for the next ten days until her attorney can file the right paperwork.

. . . And then Fate gave them a second chance at happiness.

Morgan feels the same magic, the same attraction when she sees Justin again. She wants him back, and she intends to do everything she can in the next ten days to make him see things her way. First, she convinces him to let her stay in his spare bedroom. Then his department chair — who just happens to be one of her father's old friends — asks her to work with Justin on a symposium he's heading on her father's work. And her plan works — she and Justin can't seem to keep their hands off each other. But then Morgan discovers that somebody's forged one of her father's manuscripts, which sidelines their rekindled romance . . . maybe even forever.

If you'd like to read a sample of Can't Fight the Feeling, you can download the first chapter at AmazonBarnes & Noble or Smashwords.

Happy Reading!

Faye

Faye Hughes is a Mississippi native who traded moonpies, Ole Miss football games and the smell of magnolia blossoms in the springtime for the pristine beauty of upstate New York’s picture-postcard-perfect four seasons.  She only regrets the decision in the winter when pranksters steal her snow shovel and the snowbanks creep to her second floor bedroom window. In addition to her romances and mysteries, she writes non-fiction with her partner Christie Craig.



Monday, March 19, 2012

Why Do Crowd-Funding?

Science fiction writer Tobias Buckell did a speech for TOC about crowd-funding.

For those who may not know what crowd-funding is, it's a way for someone (artist, inventor, entrepenuer, etc.) to pitch their project to the public at large. Anyone who's interested pledges an amount to the project. If the pitcher gets enough pledges to meet the minimum amount for their project, the fund-raiser/escrow-holder collects the money from the pledgees and delivers the funds to the pitcher. If the minimum is not reached, the pitcher gets nothing, and the fund-raiser/escrow-holder returns the funds to the pledgees. Generally, anyone who pledges funds gets something extra, like signed copies or free tickets to a show.




Tobias makes a lot of good points FOR SOMEONE IN HIS POSITION. That is, he's an award-winning writer who's got a decent following. (Including GK. Anyone who writes a HALO novel automatically gets major cool points.)

Personally, I love the concept of crowd-funding, and I've donated to some projects that I believe in. But for someone like me, a writer who couldn't get her size eleven foot in a New York publishers door for the last fifteen years, crowd-funding wouldn't work. I'm an untested nobody.

I've already put my time in writing four novels. (Well, it's more than four, but I generally don't acknowledge the earlier ones.) The novels are sitting on my hard drive collecting static, which is why I'm out nothing but time by learning to format them as e-books and publishing them and paying a few bucks for a friend's kid to do a little Photoshop magic for the covers.

In other words, this is time I would have spent watching Season 3 of True Blood and a month's worth of Papa John's pizza with everything.

So when you're deciding how to handle your career, look at where you are and where you want to go. There are so many options for us all. Ain't it glorious?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Songs I Listen To A Lot Lately

You think the trad publishers and writers like Scott Turow think us indies are doing Bad Things?


Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Ron Empire Wants You!: Cover Art For Progress: Stop the White-Out

Something everyone needs to read. After Justine Larbaletier backlash two years ago, you'd think publishers would learn:

The Ron Empire Wants You!: Cover Art For Progress: Stop the White-Out

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm Not Here Right Now. . .

Today, I'm visiting the beautiful muses at Musetracks. Here's a hint about today's topic:


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Fat Lady Has Sung

If you're a Dorchester author, I have some sad news for you. All hope that you might get pennies on the dollar for what's owed you is now gone. Dorchester Media has been foreclosed on.

But get this--the person foreclosing on the company isn't an author or any other creditor trying to collect what's owed them.

It's John Backe. As is John Backe, the founder and principal of The Backe Group Inc. And guess who The Back Group Inc. owns? Yep, Dorchester's owner in the one foreclosing on the publishing company.

Supposedly, the investment banking firm handling the matter will auction off the company and the book licensing rights separately.

In the meantime, according to Brian Keene, more bad things have been done to authors, and a couple of writers are FINALLY filing a lawsuit. But it may be too little, too late, in this horrid situation. Brian has a chronology of his own situation on his blog. It ain't pretty and far worse things have been done to others.

*sigh* And people wonder why I'm pro-indie.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Breaking News - PayPal v. Smashwords

Here's a breaking story on MSNBC: Paypal, Visa and Mastercard have backed down from their stance on erotica e-books.

Lots of folks I admire, like Kris Rusch and Joe Konrath, believed this was just business and not censorship. But when the strike was against a genre predominantly written and consumed by women, then I believe it is censorship.

This DOES NOT mean I agree with the sale of legally banned stuff, like child pornography, which the finance providers are BOUND BY LAW not to facilitate. That's a whole 'nuther ball of wax.

But today's report relieves me to no end. It means I can continue to write and read some of the stuff I love.

And many, MANY thanks to Mark Coker for spearheading the efforts to stop this farce!

Monday, March 12, 2012

There Are Always Possibilities

Yep, my title is quoting Spock. As rigid and rule-bound as everybody's favorite Vulcan is, he's also smart enough to realize everyone, including him, needs a little flexibility.

And flexibility is the thing I LOVE about the new publishing paradigm! It's like potato chips. You're not limited to just one.

Contrary to what some people think, I don't advocate my path for every writer. Yes, I love being an indie because I'm the proverbial Scorpio. I NEED to control as much as possible, particularly when it comes to my career.

And also contrary to what some people think, I won't say no to a trad deal as long as it's not asking me to bend over and pick up the soap.

To that end, I actually submitted a short story last night to an editor. The story is something I wrote specific for this gentleman's anthology. Will it be selected? I don't know. It's the whole Schroedinger's Cat dilemma.

But I can tell you this--in today's climate, I'm a lot more selective about who I do submit to.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

RIP Davy Jones

DH was a little upset with me for not posting a Davy Jones tribute last week. (Especially since I still have my old cassettes of The Monkees.) Instead of a music video, here's an interview of Davy from the Biography Channel. Pay close attention to what he says about dealing with fame. (P.S. There's a snippet of Peter Tork's interview at the end. You'll see why.)


Friday, March 9, 2012

Uncle Sam Says 'No!' to Agency Pricing

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Justice Department is planning to file suit against Apple, Inc., and five of the biggest publishing companies in the U.S. for price collusion. In the meantime, the European Union is still conducting its own investigation into the matter.

Go read the article. I'll wait . . .

As a consumer, I like getting as much for my money as I can. But when I go shopping for a birthday present for  DH and I'm paying less for a hardcover from his favorite author than I would for an e-book, something's definitely wrong with the system and I'm pissed..

As an indie publisher, I LOVE the agency model for two reasons:

1) I can undercut the big publishers because I have much lower overhead.

2) I want to be able to set my own prices.

The problem here is that Apple and the five accused publishers pretty much admitted in the Wall Street Journal prior to Steve Jobs's death that they agreed to their agency model arrangement to stop the Godzilla known as Amazon. (Please note: The article I originally linked to last March has been removed. This link is to a cached page of the article, and I cannot guarantee this link will be active after today.)

Right now, everyone's bemoaning Bob Mayer's prediction that e-book royalty/splits will go up. This isn't my biggest worry.

My biggest worry is that this lawsuit (or settlement if the execs at the accused companies have a clue) will eliminate agency pricing, and all of the e-book retailers will start a price war that puts us indies out of business.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Latest Industry News

Like a prairie dog, I'm poking my head out of my hole for a moment before heading underground to type until my little paws bleed.

Random House has decided that fucking over libraries is in their best financial interest. Apparently tripling prices protects the company from the "perpetuity of lending."

I don't think the RH execs take into account that there's lots of folks, like me, who use the library as a testing grounds for new authors. If we love a book, we'll go out and buy it to read again and again. If we love an author, we'll buy their whole freaking catalog. By tripling prices (and the odds are high the other big publishing houses will quickly follow suit), libraries will buy fewer and fewer books. That leads to fewer writers being exposed to new readers. Which cuts into the publishers' bottom line because fewer books are being bought by the readers and/or recommended to the readers' friends and families. Which in turn takes a bite out of the publisher's profits...

I feel like I just gave Yoda's speech from The Phantom Menace.

At the other end of the spectrum, Smashwords just signed a deal with Baker & Taylor, a print and e-book distributor. What does this mean? Indies have the opportunity to get into more libraries! Yes! *fist pump*

Goddess, I love this business!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

While I'm Hiding . . .

...at the cafe, writing while GK takes his Graphing Inequalities and 18th/19th Dynasty Egypt tests (there's a reason the 'G' stands for genius), enjoy Library Kitteh!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Songs I Listen To A Lot Lately...

I picked this video, not just because I'm on a "Weird" Al Yankovic kick lately, but because it illustrates my writing technique: take a classic structure and twist it's little head off.


Friday, March 2, 2012

TGIF

It's been a effing crazy week. Not just at our house, but all over the world. Is there something in the air?

I'm waiting for one last prop to be delivered before DH can shoot the cover for Amish, Vamps & Thieves.


A couple of mornings were spent hiding in the corner at the coffee shop just to get pages done for Seasons of Magick: Autumn.

Folks are already asking when my alter-ego's next book is coming out. The first one was published only three weeks ago.

I sliced open my pinky finger at the Day Job. Not on the box cutter, but the box itself. I had a bad reaction to a new maintenance drug (I'm building up a tolerance to the current one), and spent three days worshipping the porcelain god. Then to top it off, I really dropped the ball on some cross-promoting with another author.

Tax documents are piled all over the kitchen table. The deadline to get them to our accountant was yesterday. I forgot to pay the registration renewal for one of our cars which expired Wednesday. DH literally broke a molar in half. Microsoft is giving us grief, refusing to repair GK's out-of-warranty xBox and refusing to refund my money for the repairs they never performed.

The only bright spot? My sales numbers for February alone beat the entire year of 2011.

I hope a few more people buy my books because I really need a vacation.