Hey there chickadees. Haven't blogged in nearly two weeks, so...
Yep. Still alive! Whee! Will hopefully have something of substance to blog about eventually. Coupla notes.
April 1 marks the anniversary of the Evil League of Evil Writers. We're (by which I mean Dina, with me posting it) bringing you a fabulous new interview and giveaway that we're really excited about. It involves a new patron saint of the ELEW. Check in on Monday for more!
Wish I could tell you. I've been doing this for-pay writing gig for a bit now and I'm starting to see the fruits of my labour. Um...
I have other stuff--urban fantasy--I want to write. Really. I want to get started on Oblivion (DoB 5). I do. But...guys, I'm looking at for-pay-writing numbers and... *shakes head*
*blinks at numbers AGAIN*
Oblivion will be written, once I get some of this stuff off my plate. When I've started it and have an estimated date for completion and release, I'll probably have some things I want to blog about...regarding the series. #5 will probably be the last after all (my boss insists I say "for now").
I loves my UF, but a bitch has gots to get paid.
Dog feels well, which makes it even harder to keep her quiet. *sigh* Rabbit is hitting the vet as soon as I get my paychque, as I figure they might want to remove the growth right away and I want a chunk of cash to have it done at once.
THANK YOU to everyone who has wished my furbabies well. I loves ya for it.
Links & Things...
My good friend J.A. Saare talks plainly about how continuing a series depends on sales. She was worried about posting this--admittedly I encouraged her. I think a lot of readers assume books will just keep coming in a series, but for those of us trying to make a living at this, it all depends on how things sell.
Think it doesn't happen? Meet Kelly Meding, author of the Dreg City series (among others, all of which you should check out). Talented writers with good books have had series cancelled, and as I cautioned before, not even contracts are a guarantee of things continuing. This is a shaky business.
It sucks sometimes.
I really think the reader's "job" (you know what I mean) is just to buy and read books they're interested in, and lurk away, never telling a soul. That's it--that's their part in the publishing ecosystem and anything else is icing on top. But because it's a shaky business...if you love any series at all, try to show the love. Like the writer on FB. Review the books. Ask your local library to stock copies. Tell your friends. Don't pirate them, FFS. Don't do this to stroke an author's ego, but because every small thing heightens the chance that there will be more books for you to read. Midlist and especially small press/e-authors are almost always in limbo with books, unsure of what will happen--while writing is an art, publishing is a business, and what we choose to put out there has to generate income. Readers can make a difference.
In happy news, my friend Sarah-Jane Lehoux has a new novella coming out soon and got the cover art. I read this story just after she wrote it. It blew me away and I'm so glad she found a publisher for it. It's extremely well written, timely, heartbreaking, and just all together brilliant. Believe me, I'll be pimping it when it's live.
In other random news, the next Nancy Drew game will soon be up for preorder. Okay, shut up. I loved the books as a kid, I love the games, and I'm more excited about this than my next book release, okay?
There is other stuff, but I'm tired and I HAVE TO finish this damn writing project (2.5K to go!). Anything new with you, chickadees?
Knowing of my massive amounts of stress and likely tired of my whining, the Evil League of Evil Writers committed wanton acts of eviltry; after unsuccessfully searching for a Canadian company that would deliver a vodka care package, they decided to send a basket of goodies and money for me to go buy my own vodka, and take a mental health day.
Unable to contemplate the idea of both not working on the weekend AND taking a day off during the week, I decided to work Saturday and most of Sunday, so I could take a day off this week when the vodka money transferred and gift basket arrived. (I spent Friday and Saturday answering work email. Fifty-seven of them. And there's still another fifty to go.)
So I tried to take today off.
Instead, I did a work blog post (you can win a gift card), answered some more work email, revised the editor SOP, formatted a manuscript for ebooking, and beat my head against the desk for awhile.
I have guest blogs to write for Lineage's release (LESS THAN THREE WEEKS). I have personal email to answer. I have my Lineage galley to read. All this was to be done today, but I once again got sucked into the Black Hole of the Day Job.
Most people don't get it. Even when I list my daily duties, they don't get it. Want a sample of what it's like, though? Read this post: http://www.booksofthedeadpress.com/2012/01/publisherauthor-relationship.... Difference being that I just work at my press and I don't own it (good god I would NEVER own a publishing house and I shake my head sadly at anyone who wants to start one up) so I do try to limit myself to forty work hours a week. But that, right there, is it. That chaos. That frantic, manic pace. The hundred of things happening at once. It's fucking INSANE.
This is why people bought me alcohol.
(If that doesn't work, try: https://twitter.com/#!/skyladawn/status/164437300300873728/photo/1)
So I'm sitting in bed with the laptop. Surrounded by five cats, all purring up an evil symphony. I had Baileys in my coffee and grabbed a couple of vanilla wafers from my basket, but at 3:30 haven't had breakfast yet. Still pending in my inbox is a problem with X book, author X wanting to pull book Y, author/editor dispute A, editor B needing an assignment, author Z checking in, and website book pages need to be made for one our imprints for the next month, and author C wants to know about putting an ebook into print, and FIFTY THOUSAND PEOPLE want a submission update...
And there are Other Things. Family things going on and I'm not sleeping well.
This is what my attempt at a day off looks like.
Maybe I'll try for another Skyla Sanity Day tomorrow. At the very least, I won't work this weekend.
I'll tell you, for over a year now, I've fought hard to create boundaries. And what I've learned? You can't get lax--not with yourself, not with others. Because every time I think, "Yeah, I've got this down pat." something comes and the boundaries slip and then I'm whining to Dina again about How I'm Flustered And I Have to Do Everything for Everyone 24/7. Others disrespect my boundaries, others thrust too much onto me, yes, but I've learned this lesson over and over and too often I give an inch and then more as well.
So yeah. Probably.
Mars is retrograding, chickadees. Be very gentle with people right now. Very, very gentle.
Yes, yes, I'm still catching up with stuff and things missed during my week off, but today I get to tell you about a fab book. All Wounds by Dina James is now available.
AW got its start a few years ago in The Eternal Kiss--a YA paranormal anthology. In a wonderfully unique angle, it's not about the things that go bump in the night so much as the person who heals the things who go bump in the night.
It's said that when opportunity knocks on your door, you have only one chance to take it.
No one said what you're supposed to do when it kicks it.
All Rebecca MacDonnell wants to do is get through high school with grades good enough to win a prestigious scholarship so that she can finally leave her miserable life behind. One evening, after a particularly bad day, she finds out that people other than her aging grandmother need her help, and desperately so.
Well, not "people," exactly. Vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts, goblins, and other things thought only imaginary all need help sometime, and Rebecca was born with the unique ability to heal ethereal beings. She is about to turn seventeen, the age at which her talent will manifest in its entirety, and become a true Healer…if she lives through the event. A war between various ethereal factions is brewing, and Healers are a valuable commodity to any side. Those who wish to harness Rebecca’s manifesting healing powers for their own purposes must get to her before her seventeenth birthday.
Only two vampires and a rogue werewolf stand between Rebecca and those determined to make her serve them, and the fact that Rebecca has no clue what she's doing doesn't exactly help matters.
Neither does being seriously attracted to more than one of those just trying to protect her.
For a soon-to-be seventeen-year-old Healer-in-training, that's a lot to handle.
Especially on top of her homework.
What's not explicitly mentioned in the blurb though is BILLY. Billy is awesome. He's my one and only book boyfriend. (Hands off, Heather Petty!)
This book has been a long time coming and I'm thrilled for Dina. I'm honored to have worked on it with her and am so excited to be able to help in some small way share this with readers. Please check it out! It's available at Mundania in trade paperback and various ebook formats right here: http://mundania.com/book.php?title=All+Wounds Enter MP10 at checkout to get 10% off your order.
Dina will be going on a blog tour soon (as well as a few in person appearances on the west coast). Check out her appearances page for details: http://dinajames.com/gal_appearances.html She'll be visiting my blog on Friday, October 28. Please come back and join us! AND get a copy of All Wounds!
Hey, remember that time at the beginning of July when I discovered Lulu--where only print copies of my serials were available for print enthusiasts and I didn't advertise because I didn't make any money on them anyway--had uploaded ebooks to resellers FOR SALE without my consent, and I promptly removed all of my book from Lulu, retiring the files so not even the print could be sold any longer?Read more
It's going to be a busy week. Here's the run down since I likely won't be blogging.
* Today I'm at Hanging with Bells for an author Q&A. I adore Bells (and her taste in book boyfriends) and was thrilled to be invited. I talk about the upcoming books in the Bloodlines series, where Zara came from, why I think Nate is swoonworthy, etc. Please drop by and say hi so I'm not so lonely!
* Tomorrow I'm at Melissa My World...in words and pages for a guest post on going from writing assassins to nuns, holding down the fort while she's away. Mostly I talk about my cats. (Speaking of, did you know I have a new kitten? This is why I'm not around much--it's like having a new baby. I need maternity leave.)
* Last night I posted a new chapter of Amends. Zara is also sort of dealing with being a new "mom" and she's talking to a dead man. I'll let you guess who.
* Bloodlines is on Kindlegraph so I can sign it for you.
Below I'll put a review round-up, as I haven't done one since June.
Tomorrow Hunter releases, for better or worse. I'm not so much nervous as filled with dread; I think it's a better book than Bloodlines, but it's also extremely different, so I've worried a lot about what reception it'll receive (even though I keep screaming from the rooftops, "It's NOT like Bloodlines!"). But I've committed to being honest and telling the story as it wants to be told; Hunter is what it is, and while I hope people enjoy it, at the end of the day I'm proud of it regardless. Of course, I also read it four times in two weeks, so I hate the thing and never want to see it again. I'll update the Hunter page tomorrow with some buy links but, once again, recommend you get it from Mundania if you're buying an ebook because it comes with bonus content--this time in the form of a short story called Malice from Zara's POV.
I'll probably take a cue from Jaime and hide for a bit after release, just to clear my head. I'm participating in a multi-author fall blog tour, so I need to get ready for that, and I have a spare room to clean, and a book to edit by next week, and day job stuff to do and and--
Today marks the release of the newest novel by Adrienne Jones, called Seeded. I adore Adrienne and her work, so instead of just talking about Seeded, I wanted to give a brief rundown of her other books.
If you've never read one of her novels...you need to rectify that as soon as possible. She's one of the most imaginative speculative fiction writers, tossing the idea of genre out and throwing everything--humour, science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy--into a blender until you're left with only one description for it: It's an Adrienne Jones Novel. Seriously, she should have her own section in the bookstore.
If you've never met her, follow the links to her on social networking sites that I added below; she's smart, funny, and she always assures me I'm not crazy when I bitch about something (she's my favourite).Read more
So this novella has been in limbo for, literally, years.
It started out as a favour for my dear friend Judy Bagshaw; she was a part of a group of writers whose focus is romance novels featuring full figured heroines. They'd already put out a few anthologies of short stories and she'd taken over organizing a collection of paranormal romance. She was short on stories and I offered to jump in 'cause I may suck at romance but I can do paranormal and yay for curvy chicks!
Please join me in welcoming author Krista D. Ball, speculative fiction writer and aspiring seller of shoes. (If you follow her on Twitter--and you should be--you'll get that.)
HARVEST MOON was my first royalty sale. At the time, I belonged to a writing group of mostly unpublished writers. Beyond the congratulations, none of us knew what would happen after the fact. It should be all smooth sailing, right?
I kept a little journal of what happened on the trail to publication. I re-read it for this blog post and it brought back a lot of memories and things I've learned.
THE CONTRACT ARRIVES
There are those writers out there who want nothing to do with reading contracts and hire an agent. Some said I needed an IP lawyer to look over my contracts. What happens when you are signing for no advance and it's only for a novella?
You learn to read the contract yourself.
I was lucky because I'd already been reading up on contract terms and language, against some online advice I might add. Rule number one of the internet: people can be wrong.
WILL THIS &%@$ PAPERWORK END?
Along with the contract, I was given a truckload of forms to fill out for taxes, ID, blog information, biography, etc. It was hard to get too excited by the contract when it comes with an immediate pile of paperwork.
One of the most shocking things for me was that the cover artist doesn't read your book. It makes sense; they'd never get any work done if all they were doing was reading your books. Still, trying to work within a publisher's art style and your own visions of a Picasso is tough work.
THE EDITOR DOES NOT ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR GENIUS
STFU and get out of the way.
I'd spent months making sure every single scene, emotion, word in HARVEST MOON was perfect. Then the first round of edits arrived. Every page had at least an error, a question, or a complaint. At this stage, I had two options: cry and get to work, or throw a hissy fit.
Here's something important I learned here: your critique group doesn't know everything. I asked on my critique group for help with a horse term. Instead, I endured two days of people nitpicking my out-of-context sentence. I was even advised to tell my editor she didn't know what she was talking about.
So, I instead asked someone who knew about horses to help. Now published, I've never had anyone complain about it. In fact, have had it mentioned in a few reviews and from readers as a funny scene.
I CAN'T SUMMARIZE MY OPUS INTO 25 WORDS
The blurb sheet arrived. So did the heartburn. How in the name of Hades was I supposed to reduce my darling into 1 genre, 1-2 subgenres, and define it in 25 words or less?
The blurb was worse because the blurb used to spark interest during submission is not the same as the one to spark a reader to part with their money. Ugh.
WHEN YOU DISAGREE WITH YOUR EDITOR
My poor line editor, Penny. She was 100% correct in all of her edits and I disagreed with a bunch of them. I didn't answer her email for over a day because I needed to call a couple of writer friends and ask their opinion. Oh god, have I become that writer?
In the end, I made the chances I agreed with and then went through the ones I didn't and offered additional ideas. She was fine with those and boom! Everything was a-ok and sent off. Whew.
IS THIS AS GOOD AS I GET?
Writing is all about failure. Pick up any writing book and it harps on failure for chapters at a time. At this stage, the fear of success is just as bad, even if your unpublished writer group members like to pass it off as "bragging."
That didn't stop it from being any less real for me. As I filled out my media kit information for my publisher, dread consumed me. What happens if I do sell a novel? Or two? How will I find time to write something new? How will I balance my life? How will I find new readers? What if this is my only chance and I blow it?
Irrational? Of course. Honest? Completely.
Since I'm a keener, I sent HARVEST MOON to reviewers outside of my publisher's normal list. I was filled with dread for weeks. I wanted everyone to love it, everyone to put it on their "best I've ever read" list. That didn't happen, but I got a number of very good reviews of the book. It took a while, though, before I stopped Googling my name daily to see if there was a new review up.
A YEAR LATER
HARVEST MOON is approaching its 1 year release. In that time, I've sold two novels to two different publishers, self-published a short story and a non-fiction reference book for authors. I've taken on a freelance writing gig. I quit my job and went to a part-time one. At my current pace, I'll have two books ready to submit by early next year and one to self-publish. And I feel like I've only started.
I didn't make enough money to start wearing mink (eww) or need to worry about how sunlight gives me wrinkles (too late anyway). However, that first release and the lessons learned really helped kicked my butt and confidence in gear.
Krista D. Ball is a Canadian science fiction and fantasy author who does Live Action Roleplay (LARP). To help support her Fireball and chainmail habit, please buy her books.