Beware of Writers

English: Beware of Bull Beware of Bull on publ...

This photo is not directly relevant to being cautious of writers. It’s just great on its own. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve said that people just passing through a hotel hosting a writers’ convention must be frequently alarmed. For example, I was sitting in the hall at my last such conference and overheard someone pleading for ideas on how to dispose of a body. “I tried burying it, but that didn’t work,” he said, “and I’ve thought about acid in a tub but it didn’t seem likely to clean up well. Can you help?”
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Adventures in Translation: “Purple fine Doo number”

Seimei Shrine 晴明神社 devoted to Abe no Seimei. K...

Seimei Shrine 晴明神社 devoted to Abe no Seimei. Kyoto, Japan. Seimei Well (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did a fair amount of research for Kitsune-Tsuki and Kitsune-Mochi, and some was much easier than others.

There’s a lot of research involved in any historical piece. I heard Susan Spann, author of Claws of the Cat, say that she had spent over two hours looking up historic ikebana seasonal arrangements, just to put the correct flowers (hydrangeas) in a scene. I myself spent considerable time researching the histories of such commonplace things as daikon and goldfish. But sometimes the source material is hard to come by, especially in English. Continue reading

I (Heart) Vampires

Illustration in Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le F...

Illustration in Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s vampire story. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I (blood-red heart) vampires. Not any particular incarnation of them (though there are some incarnations I do particularly dislike), but the mythos of them. Creeping, skulking, life-stealing, blood-drinking, vein-piercing, sexual-metaphor-but-not-sexy-themselves vampires.

How do I love vampires? Let me count the ways. Continue reading

What if Book Reviews and Author Interviews Ran Like Football Commentary?

This was long thought to be the only portrait ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I was watching some football highlights and player interviews — okay, I wasn’t watching, exactly, I happened to be in the area when a television was playing. See, I don’t exactly follow football, as I tend to be of the opinion that if these guys are getting paid millions of dollars, they can each afford their own ball and they shouldn’t have to fight over one. Continue reading

Pirates! and a free sample

International Talk Like a Pirate DayAarrrgh! It’s offic’ly Talk Like a Pirate Day! And in honor, we’re goin’ t’ look at a burnin’ question: Why d’ our pirates talk like this?

Of course, thar aren’t a lot o’ recorded pirate speeches. Even court records o’ tried and convicted pirates don’t capture t’ dialect o’ t’ accused. What we think o’ as “pirate speak” developed rel’tively recently in modern media.
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Where Do Plot Ideas Come From?

There’s a joke among fiction writers about people who offer, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea for a book. You write it and then we’ll split the profits.”

There are a few problems with this, but one of the most obvious is that the idea is the easiest bit. It’s the writing that actually takes time. Ideas are everywhere.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a walk and look for plot ideas. How about last week’s Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio? Continue reading

The 8-Hour Book Challenge

Oh gosh. Hold on a sec and let me catch my breath.

Okay, author J.A. Konrath wrote a post on (among other things) maintaining the joy of creating without fussing over commercialism or perfectionism, and he ended with a challenge to create an entire book in just 8 hours.

That’s the entire book project. Writing, revising, formatting, creating a cover, and publishing. Complete.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Continue reading

Alpha Males & Fiction

English: Samson, alpha male (leader) gorilla i...

Samson, alpha male gorilla in Givskud Zoo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had an interesting Twitter conversation a while back when World Weaver Press tweeted a link to an article about hot alpha males (“dangerous,” “possessive,” “dominating,” etc.) in paranormal romance. Being a total behavior nerd, I replied that most of these “alpha males” were actually displaying lower-ranking behavior – real alphas don’t posture, act aggressive or defensive, etc. — and we chatted briefly about the implications for fiction and PNR in particular.

Don’t confuse the “alpha male” and the “bad boy.” They’re different things. It’s a common myth, the posturing alpha male, but it’s a myth. Simply put, if you’ve got it, you don’t have to flaunt it. Only those worried about their position waste time, energy, and other resources in reminding others of their position. Continue reading