Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Back in the Saddle!

Things on the home front finally settled down last weekend. Our impromptu houseguest moved out ten days ago, and as of Monday, September 20, I'm back to working full-time.


Or it was. On Friday, we found out my father-in-law needed to go in Monday to have a pacemaker surgically implanted. Then Genius Kid came down with some bug Saturday night that required a trip to our doctor.

On the plus side, I got a lot done last week. I've prepped Amish, Vamp & Thieves for my formatter, entered the data for the paperback's ISBN, finished the front matter and delivered everything to her. Bless her, she had everything back to me on Sunday for review.

Next up is getting Blood Sacrifice ready for paper printing.

A Question of Balance is done, and is in what I call it's resting phase. That means I write something else before I start editing. Sort of like a palate cleansing. While I hope to have it ready around Sword and Sorceress 30's release date, I won't make any promise because I'll jinx the process. *smile*

So what am I doing to cleanse my palate? Zombie Goddess hit 27K last week. I'll work on it for the rest of September and October, keeping my fingers crossed that I get it done before NaNoWriMo starts. For this year's NaNo, I want to get the bulk of Ravaged, Bloodlines #7, done.

The Nnnnnnnnnnnn series is currently on hold. My co-writer Xxxxx Yyyyyy bowed out for personal reasons, but she released her rights to the story and characters and gave me her blessing for finishing the project. If I can get the other three books mentioned above written, edited and published by the end of the year, I'm hoping to pick it up again in January.

It'll be a busy last three months of the year, but it really feels good to be working again. Now, if I can only keep everyone healthy and out of my hair...

Monday, September 28, 2015

How Many Banned Books Have You Read?

Yes, it's Banned Books Week, and I promote it as a parent.

That's right. As a parent, not as a writer.

So many of the books that misguided parents and teachers try to prevent kids from reading are actually wonderful teaching tools. Why? Because they can help both kids and adults broach painful, difficult subjects.

First off, adults foolishly believe that if kids don't have access to these books, then they won't perform the actions depicted within. Unfortunately, our children are already facing these situations whether we like it or not. (Even those who are homeschooled. Don't kid yourselves. I'm a homeschool mom, too.) By talking with our children (not talking TO them), we can give them the skills to protect themselves.

Second, adults don't like depictions of people they don't approve of, and they think if they don't acknowledge these people, their children will never encounter them. I hate to tell these folks, but such encounters are hard to avoid in the modern world. All that happens is they infect their kids with their fear. Then they're shocked when it's their own son or daughter in trouble for bullying another kid because he or she is different.

Looking over this year's list, the only books I've personally read are Persepolis and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I highly recommend them for kids twelve and older.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Music I've Been Listening To

So how many cans of AquaNet did the Stray Cats use?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Happy Mabon!

It's the Autumn Equinox! The second harvest festival of the Wiccan calendar.

And boy, are the farmers harvesting! With the recent dry weather, they are pulling in soybeans as fast as they can in the fields surrounding our neighborhood.

Unfortunately, that means allergies. But give me drugs and Kleenex, and I'll keep working on Zombie Goddess!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Music I've Been Listening To

You can't beat Debbie Harry's voice!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Editing Nightmares When You're Trad Published

Last night I was reading the latest book in a series of a new writer I've fallen in love with. Well, she's new to me. I stumbled across a couple of typos. I'm not normally a grammar bitch, but one glitch in particular really threw me off. I had to reread the sentence a couple of times to deduce what word "rt" was supposed to be.

This is the same author whose last book in this series had a glaring copyedit problem. The heroine started a scene drinking her favorite hot beverage, but ended the scene drinking a totally different beverage. Not just a totally different beverage, but one that has been mentioned several times in the series as one the heroine hates.

This writer's particular series is published by DAW which is part of Penguin-Random House. Allegedly, one of the greatest selling points of traditional publishers is the extensive copy editing, line editing, and proofreading that a publishing house book goes through until it is released into the wild.

Except it's not happening.

I've been hearing from traditionally published friends (those still talking to me anyway) that they're not getting any editing. Or that they need to pay for an outside editor. Or they get the galleys back with more errors introduced than the original manuscript contained.

What's worse is if no one catches the mistake, it's never fixed. Quite frankly, the publishing houses don't have the money or manpower to do so. They're cutting costs like crazy, and guess who goes first when a corporation needs to trim the overhead? Yep, the people who actually do the work.

So, my new favorite heroine from my new favorite author is going continue drinking coffee, which she absolutely despises even if that particular book goes into its hundredth printing.

As I said is a previous post, I'm paranoid I missed something when my editor okays the final copy. My story in the anthology may be marred until the end of time.

Or until I get my rights back, and I release my own version. And honestly, that's one of the biggest pluses of indie publishing over trad publishing. I have the power to fix my boo-boo's.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Editing Nightmares when You're an Indie

First of all, let me say I wouldn't trade being an indie for anything. Nor do I hate editing per se. But like everything in life, there are times when certain bugs crawl up your butt, and they are itchy and scratchy and drive you insane.

The zombie meme that indies don't edit drives me insane. We do edit.

I've never needed an developmental editor. These are the folks who tell you how to write the story. Personally, I've never understood why I'd need someone tell me how to write a story, but I'm not going to criticize people who need them.

Also, I can do my own copyediting. That's making sure I haven't accidentally changed a character's eye color or name. Or something even more stupid.

But when it comes to line-editing (aka proofreading)...ARGH!

By no means am I perfect. I admit I have a tendency to leave out articles and prepositions while writing. This usually means I add 10-15K words to my manuscripts during my first line-editing pass.

After I'd made my passes, I had five separate people line-edit Blood Magick, plus two beta readers and my hubby go through the damn manuscript. You'd think that nine people, with three of those nine being industry professional editors and another three being trad-pubbed writers, would find all the typos.


Typos still made it into the e-book version. Some sweet, clear-eyed readers pointed out a handful of them. I fixed the manuscript. Uploaded it.

And still didn't catch a few. Earlier this year, I went going through the manuscript again in preparation for sending to a formatter. Checked the e-version. Found a couple more. My lovely formatter fixed the e-version. Then she sent me the print version for proofing. And guess what?

Yep, still found another one.

So, anyway, I'll start copy-editing A Question of Balance in a week or so. In the meantime, I'll be going through Amish, Vamps & Thieves before its formatting is updated. Hopefully, it won't take an additional nine people and twenty passes to get the manuscript clean.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

I Feel Good! Nah-na, Nah-na, Nah-na, Na!

With all do respect to the late, great James Brown, the godfather of soul!

I finished one of the many novels I've been working on for the last couple of years. A Question of Balance to be exact.

Honestly, it doesn't matter which one I finished. The fact that I finished something besides a short story this year makes me feel a little better.

You see, I haven't published anything under my name for nearly two years now. If you're a regular reader, you already know all the bullshit. And honestly, I want to put all that behind me. So I was ready for 2015. It was a fresh start.

The beginning of the year started off well. At least for the first three and a half months. I had a schedule. I was on schedule. Then more shit happened. And people wondered why I think the Great God Murphy hates me.

In terms of words written, this wasn't a great accomplishment. A Question of Balance was my 2013 NaNoWriMo project. I ended November with over 52K. Then I set it aside and focused on whatever disaster happened in December of 2013.

I ended the story right before lunch yesterday with a hair over 86K. By the time I get edits done, it'll be longer. That's just how I write. But finishing wasn't the best part of the day.

The story ends with a funeral, and I was crying while I was typing. A little girl, probably two and a half or three, sat at a nearby table with her mom and her mom's friends. While the adults talked, she came over to my table, determined to cheer me up.

Mom finally noticed the tot had wandered away and admonished her to return to their table. I told Mom the little girl was fine. She waved bye as they left.

Yep, yesterday was a good day. I really needed a good day.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Latest Drama with Ellora's Cave

Things were quiet over the summer as each party in the Ellora's Cave v. Dear Author case worked its way through discovery. On Tuesday, September 1, both parties filed their motions for summary judgment. Deidre Saoirse Moen has continued to update the case's timeline, along with links to pertinent documents regarding the case.

I haven't had the chance to go through the motions and exhibits because of work and family obligations last week. My personal opinions from back in March on the case can be read here. Any additional thoughts or changes of opinion will be the subject of a separate post at a later date once I have a chance to read the documents. And there are a lot!

Two days after the motions for summary judgment were filed, RWA allegedly sent out a notice to all chapters concerning EC's violation of RWA's Code of Ethics for Industry Professionals. Supposedly, CEO Patty Marks admitted EC was not up-to-date on royalty payments. I am no longer a member of RWA, so I can't confirm this information through RWA's website. However, assuming it's true, it's nice to see one of the writers' orgs standing up to a publisher without wishy-washy language.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Music I've Been Listening To

Ah, back when men wore more makeup than women!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Raiders of the Unread ARC

For those of you who may be new to the world of publishing, an ARC is an Advance Reader Copy. Some publishers send them out prior to a book's official release date. I still have the romance ones I got eons ago when I worked at Waldenbooks. It's especially fun to see a preview of a new writer, the thrill of discovering an author before anyone else has.

Some indie writers can rock the ARC. I'm not one of them. I tried giving out ARCs for my first novel release.

And no one wanted one. *le sigh*

Now, I volunteer to read ARCs from my favorite writers in return for an honest review. So far, I've been lucky. I haven't gotten any ARC that was truly crappy.

However, I did receive one that hit one of my hot buttons, Stirred by Blake Crouch and J.A. Konrath, The sad part is I didn't realize the issue was a hot button for me until I started their book. I'm ashamed to say I set the story aside for a couple of years before I was ready to tackle it again. And no, the issue was NOT the violence or gore. So a little warning, t's not your typical Jack Daniels tale. I gave it five stars because it is a damn good horror novel.

As time's gone on though, I'm having other folks ask me to read their work. Which normally I don't have a problem with if I have the time. But a little piece of advice--if you want someone to post a decent review, don't send them offensive messages through any media. For example, sending me quotes by a sexist comedian I absolutely despise does not make me want to do favors for you.

Next week, I should be receiving a signed ARC from a historical fiction writer I absolutely adore about Queen Zenobia of Palmyra. If you've heard the name "Palmyra" lately, it's because some idiots in modern-day Syria are trashing the ancient city. News flash, folks--Zenobia led a rebellion against those Roman capitalists and nearly succeeded. You should be holding her up as an example, instead of toppling the surviving architecture of her reign.

I know how the story ends, but I can't wait to read it!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tell Her How Hard It Is

Selket help me, I hate that statement!

Tell her how hard it is.

I write for a living now. If you're reading this blog on a regular basis, you know I quit my Day Job in August of 2012. If you didn't know, now you do. I'm so tired of people telling me I can't make it as a writer. Have they seen my P/L report or my bank statements? No, none of you have, so why tell me something I know is patently false.

Tell her how hard it is.

Three months ago, Fabulous Niece moved in with us. This kid is so fucking talented in so many mediums! Her mother and stepfather did their best to literally beat any artistic out of the child. Yet, she still managed to get music scholarships to two different universities. The two assholes made sure she couldn't accept those scholarships, but by the time DH and I found out what was going on, FN had lost them.

Tell her how hard it is.

FN is a talented songwriter. She already knows eleven different instruments and is currently teaching herself how to play guitar. I write and DH played in rock bands for years, so we're encouraging her to pursue her interests: take lessons, continue writing songs, seek paying engagements.

Tell her how hard it is.

I'm so proud of FN that I stupidly told two friends what was going on with her. Know what they said? Yep. I wanted to scream, "Do you have a clue what I'm doing for a living?!" And one of them was a fellow fantasy writer. *smh*

Tell her how hard it is.

No, I'm not going to destroy FN's ego and put her down. She's had enough of that in her life. She already knows how fucking hard life is. She's already lived it. What exactly do these so-called friends expect me to say to her? That making a living at an art is harder than getting the crap beat out of you and starved by your stepfather?

She already knows hard it is. For that matter, so do I. Take your alleged well-meaning advice and shove it.