Authors banned from reviewing books on Amazon?!

An American Pit Bull Terrier muzzled. Español:...

How is this dog and owner like an author on Amazon? Both are being punished for the actions of someone they didn’t even know. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The latest publishing industry kerfluffle is Amazon’s banning of authors from reviewing books in their genres. You can read more about it here.

This is of course ridiculous, and there are so many reasons why. Continue reading

The Sixth Day of Kitsune — On Kimono & Japanese Clothing

This entry is part 6 of 12 in the series Twelve Days of Kitsune

Today we feature a guest post by my friend Emilia Blaser, a collector of kimono. Because there’s a lot of misinformation and false assumptions regarding kimono, Emilia is graciously allowing me to repost her convenient guide to kimono for beginners. Continue reading

Things To Do While Waiting To Hear Back From an Agent

In Richard Westall's Sword of Damocles, 1812, ...

Richard Westall’s Sword of Damocles, 1812. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At one point in Shard & Shield, a character is waiting for his treason to be discovered. He knows it is only a matter of time before he is identified, seized, tortured, and executed, but in the meantime he must go about his daily business as if nothing is wrong, as if he fears nothing, as if his entire world does not hang by a Damoclean thread.

I might have researched and prepared for writing such a state by sending off a manuscript for consideration.

Continue reading

Pep Talk from Hell.

Anger Controlls Him

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone on the NaNoWriMo chat group mentioned a technique in which a writer writes a pep talk from his or her characters. She said she had found it helpful.

I hadn’t heard of the technique, but just the thought of it scared the snot out of me. Continue reading

On Spoilers. (I Hate Them.)

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 2011 psychology experiment indicates that spoilers don’t ruin a story, but rather enhance it.

With all respect, in this regard psychology has its headlight plugged firmly into its tail-lamp. And that’s coming from someone who makes her day job in psychology and behavior, so you know I feel pretty strongly about this. Continue reading

Book Covers & Badasses

Today Rob Thurman released the new Cal Leandros cover. She is rightfully excited about it.

Okay, yeah, this cover’s pretty cool.

And there’s a lot to be excited about: the flying glass, the hair sweep, the handcuffs, the blood, the composition and movement, the gun…. No, not the gun.

The gun’s what jarred me out of the cover’s mood when I first saw this. Not because I don’t like dark sexy guys with guns (who doesn’t?), but because I like my dark sexy guys to be good at what they do. Continue reading

Your Sample Should Include a Sample.

ebook reader with book image

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Okay, I am pretty equal-opportunity when it comes to paper books and ebooks. I have minor preferences — I like paper books for plane trips (no obligatory power-down!) and ebooks for reference material (I have no guilt highlighting and annotating a ebook, while defacing a paper book even in the name of education feels wrong) — but I feel fairly egalitarian about the whole thing.

I can flip through a paper book in a store and get my own free sample; I can’t with an ebook. Both types, however, offer (or suffer from) electronic sampling. Amazon automatically provides peeks of a book’s first 10%, while other sites allow the publisher to set a sample (my Smashwords account is set to show at least 20%, for example). Publishers (and self-publishing authors) need to consider this when laying out their books. Continue reading