• The Songweaver's Vow

    She tells Greek legends to entertain Norse gods — until one of her stories leads to murder. Now she's alone in hostile Asgard, and Ragnarok is coming.

    Just released! Check it out.

“That Friend” and FOMO

Okay, I’ve seen a number of people post this now. Many are people who don’t know each other. And I’ve seen the sentiment echoed from all demographics, people getting student discounts and people getting senior discounts. It’s everywhere. Here’s the thing:

I'm that friend that has to walk behind the group when the path isn't big enough. I'm that friend that gets cut off in the conversation. I'm that friend that gets left behind when I asked for them to wait for me. I'm that friend that doesn't get invited to hang out a lot. I'm that friend that if I want to go tot he mall or some place with a friend I have to be the one to invite people to make sure I get included. I'll always be that friend.

 

And I’m going to step into the Old Ben mentor trope for a moment and pontificate, because it seems there’s something critical being missed.

Guys, this is not “that friend.” This is EVERYONE. Continue reading

Title of the Post

Oh, how I hate titles.

At least in my own case, if a title presents itself early in the process, it’s generally a good title. If I don’t have one by late in the story or, God help me, by revisions, I will never come up with a title I like, and there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Sometimes you just get lucky. Last week, a perfect title presented itself for a story which doesn’t even have a proper premise yet. Oh, and the perfect title even brought along a friend for a potential sequel.

Old Spice guy nodding, wearing towel in bathroom

Aw, yeah.

But that’s not typical.

For this present story, I’m getting dangerously close to just wallpapering a room with pages of a thesaurus and bringing in a blindfold and darts….

 

How We Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Self-Publishing

Image found on a book published by "Samua...

Image found on a book published by “Samual Bagster and Sons” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fair warning: Today’s post is less art and more business. I’m going to very briefly touch on why I self-publish.

I didn’t start out as a proponenet of self-publishing. When I first knew I wanted to grow up to be a writer, it was simply “vanity publishing,” and to be honest that’s still out there. Vanity publishing was expensive and mostly low-quality material that couldn’t get a second look from “real” publishers. Those who used a vanity press rarely made money and were not taken very seriously.

That’s changed now, and there are a lot of reasons why self-publishing is now “legit.” And I’m not even talking about admitted outliers like Hugh Howey making $150,000/month and walking away from seven-figure offers. Sure, those success stories are awesome and I applaud! but there are other benefits to self-publishing as well. Continue reading

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

Why Does Writing a Book Take So Long?

sticky notes color-coded for organizing plot during revisions

Shard & Shield undergoing color-coded revisions. Spoilers probably available if your monitor is sufficiently awesome.

A friend joked about my copious free time. “I mean, what do you have to do, really? You’re self-employed, so you can totally slack off there. And you’re writing a book, and that can’t be hard. I mean, really, how long can that take?”

He was joking about all of it, of course, which is why he’s still breathing. But he put forth a question which many people do ask less ironically — how long can writing a book take, really? (Seriously, just look at fans complaining about George R. R. Martin or Patrick Rothfuss needing time.)

That’s the wrong question — as NaNoWriMo and the 8-Hour Book Challenge prove, writing a story may not take long at all. But writing a good story does. Continue reading

Write-Aid, or, A Submitted Story

This is the story of how I submitted a substandard short story to an editor this week and am sorta proud of it.

Laura & Doberman Shakespeare

Laura & Shakespeare

It’s been a turbulent week, and it’s only Wednesday. You may know that my day job is animal (and human) behavior, and I have two dogs who are both family members and sort of business partners. Last week, I got a call that my sleek, shiny, very active Laev had tested positive for lymphoma. Monday afternoon, we met with the oncologist, confirmed Stage 4 (of 5), and had her first chemo treatment. On Tuesday morning, my other dog Shakespeare was diagnosed not with an infected tooth as expected, but with very fast-moving bone cancer, and he was given as little as 3 weeks to live.
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Writing emotions. No, not ABOUT emotions.

The problem with writing is that it’s wholly subjective. Qualitative. No hard data.

ClickStats, my clicker-training data-keeping app

ClickStats, my clicker-training data-keeping app

Where we can do quantitative analysis, we can make reasonable judgments even when our emotions aren’t in alignment. “I felt great about this today, but we actually had only a 70% success rate.” Or, “Oh, man, today has been a total downer and I hated this session, but we nailed it with a 90% success ratio.”

That’s very nice for behavior analysis and free throws. Not so useful with writing.
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Fantasy, and Why We Need It

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(Photo credit: Hani Amir)

Today I intend to justify fantasy as a genre. Not that it needs justified, no more than any other genre, but I’m going to anyway.

But first, I’m going to tell you a story. Continue reading

Decisions, Decisions: Self-Published or Hybrid Author?

crossroads

(Photo credit: Laenulfean)

It’s a great time to be a writer, because we have more choices in how we conduct our careers: traditionally-published, self-published, or a hybridization of both? But with the freedom of choice comes the weight of having to choose.

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What’s It Like, Being a Writer?

What’s it like being a writer, you ask? Well, there’s several different aspects to it all, of course. Here’s a quick glimpse into a writer’s head. Watch your step….

That guy's brain is a bag full of cats. You can smell crazy on him.

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