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Monday, February 29, 2016

Another Publisher Bites the Dust

In the effort to get writing and taxes done, my head was buried last week until I got a notice from a Facebook friend Friday afternoon. Samhain, one of the biggest of the small e-publishers, is shutting down.

Samhain is run by Christine Braeshears, formerly of Ellor's Cave. And like her former company, Ms. Braeshears blames the decline of Samhain on Amazon. In her defense, she's trying to guide Samhain into a controlled crash instead of the catastrophic mid-air break-up like so many other small to mid-size publishers have done over the past five years.

Like I said when Dorchester bit the dust, this isn't the first publisher to go down in the upheaval that disruptive technology has spawned on the publishing industry. The sad part is I see so many articles from traditional pundits screaming that we're all going to die of thirst when the rain has simply shifted elsewhere.

The funny thing is that the editors and cover artists that Samhain and others lay off WILL find work elsewhere. It just won't be with a traditional type of publishing company.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Music I'm Listening to Again Thanks to a Certain Superhero Movie

At it's heart, Deadpool is a guy's idea of a romance movie--as long as that guy isn't Nicholas Sparks.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Editing and the Insane Writer

This morning, DH and I had to "bug out of our apartment because of bugs" as he told a co-worker. We just needed to be out for a couple of hours so we weren't accidentally poisoned along with the intentionally poisoned six-legged and eight-legged critters. So we packed up our respective materials and headed to Panera's for breakfast.

Except as we headed for the car, DH looked at me askance and said, "Where's your laptop?"

"In the apartment."

"Won't you need it to work?"

"No, I'm editing a manuscript." I blew his mind because I took--wait for it--PAPER!

You see, I printed out the files for the first five Bloodlines books back in 2013. The intent was to go through them in preparation for the paper version and fix the typos that were missed in the original pre-publication editing passes because yes, even editors miss shit. I take missing shit as a compliment because more than one of them has mentioned that they get caught up in the story and forget they are supposed to be looking for mistakes. And...

Well, as you all know, a lot of shit happened between the summer of 2013 and now. I'm slowly but surely picking up the pieces I dropped with the house drama and family drama.

Not to mention, I find myself looking back through the first five books while writing Zombie Goddess (which, by the way, crossed the 42K mark on Thursday) because I can't remember shit. Yes, I'm putting together a series bible as I go so I won't have to deal with this on the last three books.

Anyway, I brought the first eleven chapters of Blood Sacrifice with me. I'm sitting in the booth, laughing at some parts, irritated with myself at others, but even I, who is supposed to be looking for typos, am getting caught up in the story again.

Like someone else wrote it. Not me.

And I'm wondering if I'm crazy and if I actually have a split personality.

Maybe I do.

Or maybe I offer a bounty to readers who find typos.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Music I'm Listening to Again Thanks to a Certain Superhero Movie

The music used in Deadpool was all over the place style-wise, but it worked for a character who is a little insane.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

F*** Cancer! Or Amazon. Or Both.

I haven't written for the last three days. Withdrawals are making me grumpy.

As I mentioned Monday, DH tried to be sweet and valentine-y on Sunday by taking me out for dinner and a movie. The one positive thing this week, even though the movie didn't live up to what we had hoped.

Monday was the truly sucky part. I took DH's dad (aka Papa) to a second opinion appointment in Toledo. Bless the doctor, he tried to make it as easy as possible on Papa, but he confirmed there is a tumor. I will subsequently refer to the tumor as Muffy because DH's family frown on me calling it Mother Fucker.

The confirmation meant being emotionally supportive for Papa for a few extra hours. (Not Muffy, however. Muffy can go to hell as far as I'm concerned.) I think some part of him believes since I got DH through his cancer, I'll get him through his.

By the time I got home Monday evening, I was exhausted. I could barely chop up the ham to add to the soup beans. Thank goddess, I picked something easy to make for dinner. I curled up on the couch and watched the Grammys for the rest of the evening.

Yesterday, I tried to do something semi-productive after sleeping thirteen hours. I went through the 150 e-mails that had piled up over the last two weeks as we dealt with moving the in-laws into an assisted living apartment. One of the e-mails was a rather threatening one from Amazon saying that I need to turn on my Kindle's wi-fi NOW for an upgrade, or my Kindle becomes a paperweight.

Um, okay? I confirmed it was in fact from Amazon, but the help page regarding this required OS upgrade didn't have a lot of details, so I e-mail a couple of questions to Amazon.

For a company that prides itself on customer service, they have some of the most computer/device illiterate people on the face of the planet. Granted, I did ask a couple of technical question, but Jesus Heronius Christ! They should at least know how big the OS download is vs. the size of my 2nd Gen. Kindle's harddrive space!

The e-mail I received in reply made absolutely no sense, as if the CS person didn't bother to read my original e-mail. But, hey! Since I had trouble with the fucking upgrade Amazon would give me a $5 credit to buy e-books.

*facepalm*

Whatever was supposed to go through the wi-fi didn't work right (long story, won't bore you with the details) so I tried calling Amazon. The second CS person Raven didn't listen to me either. Because my issue was outside of her realm, she started to obviously read from a script. Then, she wouldn't let me get off the phone because she hadn't finished reading her fucking script!

Yeah, I know. I should have just hung up. *sigh*

Anyway, I backed up my Kindle and figured out how to do the manual upgrade before I got the e-mail from Raven with the links to the manual upgrade's download.

As for my poor abused 2nd Gen Kindle, so far, so good. Everything seems to be working. But if I wanted to be condescended to, I would have called Apple.

Or my mother.

After that, I curled up on the couch once again and binged on Supernatural and The Librarians.

Now, it's Wednesday. I printed off the 1099s, etc., from e-mails that I'll need for taxes. I'm going to Panera's in a little bit to see if I can get some writing done before I delve into to tax forms over the weekend.

And maybe later, I'll find something I want to read with that $5 credit that'll make me forget about Papa's upcoming surgery.

Yeah, cancer sucks far worse than Amazon on their worst days.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday Movie Mania - Pride + Prejudice + Zombies

My Valentine's Day present from DH was dinner and a movie. A zombie movie. He knows me so well. *smile*

So we went to see Pride + Prejudice + Zombies. And it was...okay.

Don't get me wrong! The zombies were great. It lacked in other areas.


* * *

SPOILERS


* * *


PROS
1) Lily James hit all the right marks at Elizabeth Bennet. She would be wonderful in a standard adaptation of P&P, but she really kicks ass as a zombie killer with hidden sheaths in her formal dresses.

2) The first scene wasn't in the book, but it set the perfect tone of the whole movie.

3) The most chemistry between Elizabeth and Darcy in the flick was their knife battle at the Collins' cottage. It put the verbal sparring of the original fight to shame.


CONS
1) The editing sucked. I mean, REALLY sucked. the transitions were sharp and sloppy. I don't know if the film editor got carried away with his exacto knife or his laptop. Maybe the cinematographer or the director didn't give him enough footage to work with. Either way, Mr. McKinley's heavy hand didn't help the film.

2) I loved Sam Riley in Maleficent. But somehow, he wasn't quite right as Mr. Darcy. (And no, I'm not judging him against Colin Firth.) His characterization crosses the line from arrogance to raw dickishness. I don't know how much was his interpretation or the director's. There were a couple of spots he shined (see Pros 2 and 3 above), but it wasn't enough to carry the whole movie.

3) I was INCREDIBLY disappointed that the book's epic battle between Lady Catherine and Elizabeth was substituted with Lady C's henchman, who Elizabeth kills. It was stupid and made no sense in terms of the changes the script made to the story. Why waste a good fighter in the middle of the zombie apocalypse on a senseless death?

This is a decent enough movie to add to my zombie flick collection, but it's not the top of the list. I'd give Pride + Prejudice + Zombies 6 out of 10 stars.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Music I'm Listening to Again Thanks to a Certain Superhero Movie

Really, if you get this one you have been paying attention to my blog for the last month or so...


Friday, February 12, 2016

A Very Special Monday Movie Mania - Deadpool

Yeah, I know it's not Monday, but I couldn't wait for our normal movie routine of Sunday matinees. Not this time. Not for the Merc with the Mouth.

So we went to the special seven o'clock showing of Deadpool. Let me tell you, I laughed so hard I peed my pants. Not shitting you.

If you know nothing about the character of Deadpool, aka Wade W. Wilson, then first-off you need to understand that THIS IS NOT A MOVIE FOR CHILDREN. This is very much an adult flick. Think Beverly Hills Cop, Wedding Crashers, and/or Lethal Weapon. Just because Ryan Reynolds is in spandex does not mean this is a kiddie flick like Spider-Man or The Avengers.

* * *


SPOILERS


* * *

PROS
1) Ryan Reynolds nailed Deadpool's insanity, inability to die, and omni-sexuality.

2) The totally inappropriate adult humor.

3) Ryan Reynold's gratuitous full-frontal.

4) Guest appearances by Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead.

5) Lots more shots of Ryan Reynolds shirtless.

6) 20th Century Fox has already green lit the sequel, which will have Cable.

7) Stan Lee's most hilarious and inappropriate cameo yet.

8) Have I mentioned Ryan Reynolds?

9) Bueller.


CONS
1) They made Angel Dust a bad guy, which she wasn't in the comics.

2) NTW now has powers somewhere between Cannonball/Havok/Jubilee instead of her precog abilities. In fact, DH thought she WAS Jubilee at first.

3) We didn't get to see Vanessa as her alter ego Copycat.


Okay, I admit the cons are my itty-bitty fangirl nits to pick. Overall, I give Deadpool 10 out of 10.

Go see it. Now. You'll thank me later.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Trad Publishing Is Bonkers Over the Author Earnings Report

The ninth quarterly Author Earnings Report came out Monday. For those who've been sailing around the Caribbean for the two years (oh, wait! that's one of AE's authors, and it's only been for the last couple of months), AE is a project put together by SFF writer Hugh Howey and his partner Data Guy.

Basically, these two gentlemen have developed spiders that crawl through the Amazon book data and scrape info concerning the sales of genre books on a given day. They then spreadsheet and smoosh and extrapolate whatever's happening in the wilds of Amazon to the book industry. The really cool thing is they make the raw data available for the public so we can also spreadsheet and smoosh and extrapolate to our little hearts' content, too.

The first report came out with very little fanfare except among indie writers. It showed that we were selling a pretty decent chunk of e-books on Amazon. It reassured us that this e-book self-publishing thing wasn't a flash in the pan.

As more reports came out, trad publishing pundits first made fun of the reports. They called it wish fulfillment. But with each successive report, the laughter died, and the complaints about their collection methodology began. As more reports rolled in, the complaints became shriller.

With the latest report (mind you, this is all being done by a couple of guys as a hobby), certain insiders are calling for AE to be audited. So what's behind all the mockery and complaints?

Fear. Simple unrelenting fear.

More and more of trad publishing's normal news channels are reporting falling sales. Let's face it--the savior over Christmas for the trad publishers was the popularity of adult coloring books. There hasn't a major fiction blockbuster since Fifty Shades of Gray in 2012.

The AE report shows where those missing sales are going, the pockets of indies. And this terrifies the Manhattan literati. So much so that Porter Anderson is calling for the duo to be audited and Lee Child mocks them for inaccuracy.

If indies were as inconsequential as many in trad publishing believe, then there is no reason for the uproar. But that screaming gets louder with each successive report. The fear has gone from general unease to full-blown panic.

What does this all mean?

To me, not a damn thing. I've played with their raw data enough to confirm what I already knew. I've gone from making a week's worth of groceries in my first year of publishing my work to paying for my son's oral surgery out of pocket.

Now. if you will excuse me, I need to write and publish a few more books because GK needs his wisdom teeth out this summer.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Status Report - February 2016

This year didn't get off to the rousing start I wanted. As I said on my post from January 7th, we've had a lot of health issues with in-laws. Unfortunately, things haven't let up any.

On the down side, MIL ended back in the hospital for a week with breathing problems. While the docs were scanning FIL again for a possible source of the leg pain, they found a mass in his bladder. I'm driving him to Toledo for a second opinion next Monday.

On the plus side, MIL has improved greatly since the last scary stint in the hospital. She's still a little shaky when it comes to walking on her own, but she's off oxygen. We moved FIL into an assisted living apartment at the same complex where MIL is doing her rehab. Despite next week's consultation, he was in good spirits tonight and heading to the main dining room for dinner.

Why am I talking about all this?

The recent personal crises have definitely affected my productivity. I got A Question of Balance back from my beta reader some time ago, and still haven't had a chance to go through their notes. The proof copies for the paperback versions of Blood Magick and Zombie Love are still sitting on my desk. The good side is I'm fifty pages into the first book, but I still need to order the proofs for the next two books. Also, the file for Blood Sacrifice needs to be reviewed before going to the my paperback formatter.

Zombie Goddess is sitting at 40.5K, Ravaged at 18K, and Sacrificed at Murphy only knows because I'm writing it on an iPhone app while waiting in various places, and the app doesn't have a word counter.

Plus, I came up with a cool new idea for an urban fantasy series. I scribbled some notes, but trust me, I won't write it until the Bloodlines series is done.

None of the above has anything to do with Alter Ego, who is also way behind on her work. LOL

I was so stressed last week that DH made me take Wednesday off. It's amazing how a few episodes of Agent Carter and The Librarians can brighten your perspective.

Once again, I am SOOO thankful that I'm an indie writer. If I were under contract with a trad publisher, I would be royally screwed at the moment. I may be super slow right now, but I will get something published this year!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Deadpool PSA for the Ladies

Self-examinations are important. I say this as someone who has undergone a lumpectomy. Fuck cancer!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Batman vs Deadpool

This is SO much better than Batman vs Superman.

7 DAYS UNTIL DEADPOOL!