Final Fanta— Oh, Crap.

Shiva Final Fantasy X Avatar

A funny thing happened to me this morning. Remember when I mentioned yesterday how happy I was because I got my planner situated? Cleaned my office, too, for my chibithulhus, lots and lots of Munchkin, my Hellboy collection, and several books.

And then? I got an e-mail from Amazon telling me Final Fantasy XIII-2 is shipping. Which, I forgot I ordered. And, I was going to start playing it for my birthday. And…

Bah. Okay, so yesterday I broke the space-time continuum. Today? I am rearranging my schedule to make sure I write in the morning before work so I’m done with everything by dinnertime. Even with a week of travel, I knocked out about 20,000 words this month and revisions. I don’t write like this because I’m insane (or maybe I am); I do this because I love, love, love the work I do!

I suppose I should write a blog post about what my schedule *actually* looks like and how far ahead I plan. Some of my crazy ramblings are definitely caffeine-induced!

    Mood: Chocobo fevah!
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: One, but I’m buzzing!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: House-cleaning counts!
    Yesterday’s Projects: Game, Short Story
    In My Ears: Nothing
    Game Last Played: Grepolis
    Movie Last Viewed: Ironclad
    Book Last Read: Harper’s Encyclopedia of the Paranormal
    Latest Artistic Project: Crystal cluster bracelet in silver
    Latest Release: Strange, Dead Love for Vampire: the Requiem

Ending Planner NeglectTM

The Tick Weapons Lab Avatar

I *hate* it when I’m in a bad mood. Usually, it’s caused by First World problems or news poisoning. Last week was caused by Planner NeglectTM. This is the state of being I typically encounter when my mind tells my grasshopper to piss off. The conversation usually goes something like this:

BRAIN: Wow, I’ve got all these projects wrangled. This is awesome. I don’t need no stinkin’ planner. I have my to-do list memorized!

GRASSHOPPER: Hey, moron. Are you sure you want to do that? Sounds dangerous…

BRAIN: Yep! I am the shizzle! My memory is solid and I can keep track. Boo-yah. Pen and paper be gone! I have leveled up my RAM, beyootches.

GRASSHOPPER: But that’s what you have a planner for. The only reason why you can remember anything is because you’re writing it down. Don’t be delusional!

BRAIN: LA LA LA LA LA! I’M IGNORING YOU. LA LA LA LA LA. Tra-la la la la. The human brain is awesome!

(A few days later…)

BRAIN: WTF? I can’t… So hard to keep everything straight… I know I’m forgetting something

GRASSHOPPER: Told you so.

    Mood: The state caused by organization determination.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: One. This is *not* enough to get through a Monday.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Half an hour walk.
    Yesterday’s Projects: Game, Short Story
    In My Ears: Nothing
    Game Last Played: Entanglement
    Movie Last Viewed: Ironclad
    Book Last Read: Harper’s Encyclopedia of the Paranormal
    Latest Artistic Project: Crystal cluster bracelet in silver
    Latest Release: Strange, Dead Love for Vampire: the Requiem

About Author Bashing

Yuna Final Fantasy X-2

A few people commented about a crack I made in the pragmatic dos and don’ts for writers I posted yesterday. Specifically, I mentioned how authors “show” a face online as part of their persona or marketing tactics.

Yes, there are authors (who shall remain nameless) who criticize or comment about other people’s work, etc. in a negative fashion to garner attention. This is different than pointing out an inaccuracy or thinking critically. Even then, sometimes that’s open to interpretation. No, I am *not* naming names or citing examples. Some of these folks are simply people with quirky personalities who target others. A few do this to stand out from the rest of the crowd, thinking that that’s their niche or their angle.

That, dear readers, is not me nor would I ever advocate that you be a jerk online. These authors? Have reputations. Have lost contracts because of their attitudes. Have untold complaints. Their negativity is noticed by the rest of the industry and, as I’ve said numerous times before, you do have to watch what you say online. This is especially true if you are a new author because you do *not* know where you will end up or who you’ll wind up working with. Go to enough cons, meet enough people, and you’ll hear the stories. You don’t want to be “that author.” Several years back, E.E. Knight warned me about reviewing other author’s books and advised that I be diplomatic even when I don’t like a story. It was the best advice I ever got. Now, some of the people I’ve reviewed are folks I consider friends, mentors, and co-workers. You just never know if someone may be in a position to help you out some day.

The other thing about posting your dirty laundry is this: I’ve been in online marketing for many years and the law is *just* catching up to what we’re posting. You can proclaim to be angsty and ironic all you want, but if you’re an *ssh@t, then be prepared to live with the consequences. Yes, people get sued over Tweets, arrested over FB pictures, and judged/rejected for their comments. Publishers, editors, and agents are NOT dumb! So neither should we be!

There’s a lot of advice and editorials out there on blogs, websites, social media, etc. about writing, the craft, and the industry (including mine). You and I know that this advice doesn’t replace the act of sitting down in a chair and focusing on the work. You can talk and talk and talk about what writing is or isn’t, how you prefer one author’s flavor of advice over another’s, etc. but at the end of the day? All that matters is your work. You have to choose how you want to be a part of the community but — like any other industry — you’ll fare better in the long run if you’re professional and not a diva. Acting like a speshul snoflake is not the same thing as being bold or having confidence. There’s a big distinction. If you have to put down someone else to make yourself feel better about your own work? Then I say you have a big problem because the reason why you’re cutting into another author has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you.

Or, to put it bluntly, I have zero tolerance for bullies who try to bait people into nerd rage. Isn’t being a writer hard enough? If someone has a problem with another author, why is it so hard to talk to that person? Seriously. We’re writers, but we can’t communicate?

We all go through bouts of insecurity. This is normal. I cannot name one author I’ve talked to who has not felt insecure about their work at one point or another. Don’t look to any other writer for advice — including me — if you’re freaking out about your work or what someone else is saying about you. Trust yourself. Have faith that you love your stories (or games) so much you’ll do anything to learn, edit, and revise. You got into this field for a reason. Own it. When jealousy rears its ugly head? Write a new story. When you freak out because X is selling more copies than you? Write a new story. When you worry about your online popularity? Write a new story. Your path is your own and sometimes writing advice will distract you from that journey. Ideally, it should complement what you’re working on and not be a distraction from your own words. If you’re making a living selling writing advice that’s one thing, but if you want to sell novels? You have to write one first.

The only way you will ever feel like you’ve accomplished something is if you actually start plotting, planning, and working your way towards whatever it is that you want — regardless of how long it might take. That is persistence and that is crucial to being a writer. Believe me when I say that there are people who will lend a hand if you need it — but not if you have to cut, hack, and burn through relationships to get there.

Wow, almost 800 words later and I haven’t even gotten to the part where I’d rather be focusing on my readers…

    Mood: Recovering from angsty, crabapple day.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: One-half of one-half of one-half. Fill me up!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Pending my ability to break the space-time continuum.
    Yesterday’s Projects: Game, Short Story
    In My Ears: Nothing
    Game Last Played: Final Fantasy XIII, Kittens in a Blender!
    Movie Last Viewed: Ironclad
    Book Last Read: Broken Blade by Kelly McCullough
    Latest Artistic Project: Crystal cluster bracelet in silver
    Latest Release: Strange, Dead Love for Vampire: the Requiem

Haunted Wins Reader’s Favorite Award

Who willingly walks into a haunted house?

Our readers do!

Since we launched Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror in October we’ve received some excellent reviews and recently we won an award for the anthology. Here is a quick recap of some of the comments we’ve had from readers:

Dave at Hellnotes.com says:

Ghost hunting isn’t something that most people think of as a career, but there are people out there who solicit these types of services legitimately. They’re not just the stuff of horror fiction and films any longer, as attested by ghost hunter Jaeson K. Jrakman in his introduction. Daniel Defoe even wrote a book on the subject called The Secrets of the Invisible World Disclos’d in 1735. Still, whether the stories are true or made up, they make for great entertainment, and Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror is no exception.



Joe at Wickedlilpixie.com says:

With the sheer number of ghost hunting shows that are littering the television landscape these days, not to mention in the movies, its nearly impossible for this book not to exist. It was only a matter of time. That being said, there is no doubt a need for a book like this in the market. While not a die hard Ghostbuster myself, the genre is part of my chosen areas of speciality. Also, as it was produced by a local small publisher and had several of my favorite authors – several of which were local – the choice for me to pick it up was an easy one.



Hunter from Ravenousmonster.com writes:

I think ghost stories are the hardest kind of horror to write. I love body horror, but it’s easier; a disease that causes you to sprout hands in random places, a woman with shark heads instead of breasts. . . .Sure it’s creepy, but there’s something a little Mr. Potato Head about it: stick enough body parts where they don’t belong and you’ve got instant scariness. A really good ghost story requires patience, atmosphere, and most of all pacing. The best ghost stories infuse mundane imagery with terrifying implication. The mundane trappings have changed–EVP and Polaroids replaced spirit writing and séances–but the would-be ghost story writer still has to take an old house or graveyard or ship and a dead guy who won’t suck your blood or eat your brains and imbue them with netherworldly horror.



Brian posted his review on DriveThruFiction.com and says:

“Haunted”, the debut anthology of FR Press, delivers an excellently paced collection of mysterious and terrifying tales. The collection focuses on stories about hauntings and the ghost hunters that investigate them. All eleven stories in “Haunted” possess their own merits, and are distinct enough that the anthology avoids the pitfall of having eleven different stories trying to do the same thing.

Typically I am not a fan of anthologies. Usually when I set aside time to read I want to be able to delve into a novel and lose myself for a few hours. The constant shifting of gears and restarting that occurs as you move from story to story in an anthology always makes me feel tossed about. “Haunted” however, has avoided (or the very least minimized) this problem for me. The eleven stories in the collection are laid out in such a way that it feels like you are traveling through an entire pot arc, not just eleven short, disparate plots.



Gerard over at Goodreads.com has a review that says:

Given that I have spent the last two years gorging on post apocalyptic books I thought it was time for a break and so I chose to read Haunted: 11 tales, these tales all infer a connection to Ghost Hunting. Many of us have seen this on TV and normally revolve around a few guys with tattoos jumping at the sign of moth; I was interested to see what writers would do with the genre. I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised; this is a great anthology by a group of writers which were largely unknown to me before and I will certainly be buying books from some of the contributors. The whole anthology flows really well with no real repetition.



We also just found out that Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror won the Best Anthology category in the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll. The P&E Readers’ Poll is an annual event hosted by the Critters Writers Workshop where readers and fans can vote on their favorite books, authors and publishers. Thanks to our readers we took the top spot in this year’s event and we’re honored that so many would vote for our little collection of horror.

Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror is available in eBook (PDF, ePub and Mobi/Kindle) and Print formats at DriveThruFiction.com. It is also available at the B&N Nook Store.

Cross-Posted with permission from FlamesRising.com

Pragmatic Dos and Don’ts for Writers

Cthulhu Scribe by Drew Pocza

One of the things that is *very* confusing for new writers is how to peel off another author’s persona or (as I like to call it) marketing bling. There is the author, there is their work, and then there is the face they show to the world. That character or aspect is specifically engineered to get attention in a very competitive market and many writers utilize advice for newbies to do just that. Others attack or criticize one another to get that visibility. Regardless of your thoughts? That’s them, you’re you, and this is me. There isn’t one approach that’s better (or worse) than any other. My philosophy is simply “to each his own.”

Strip away the persona and you have working authors and aspiring writers. It’s no secret there are more people who want to write professionally than who actually sit down, stick their butt in a chair, and spend the time. This is *not* an easy field to navigate. If you are looking for a ruler or some common sense to pull you back into the work and the business of writing, then I highly recommend you check out Authors’ Checklist of Dos and Don’ts by Lucienne Diver. The article was originally published in the SFWA Bulletin which is published by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

It does NOT matter what size publisher you’re dealing with. The process may be different when you work with a small press versus a large one but we all want a quality story for readers to enjoy. These dos and don’ts will help you figure out your own set of commandments so if you do decide to focus on building a persona? You’ll have a strong foundation based on business practices to start from.

    Mood: Recovering from angsty, crabapple day.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: One-half of one-half of one-half. Fill me up!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Rolled my eyes a lot. Sheesh. Should do something today.
    Yesterday’s Projects: Game, Short Story
    In My Ears: Nothing
    Game Last Played: Final Fantasy XIII, Kittens in a Blender!
    Movie Last Viewed: Ironclad
    Book Last Read: Broken Blade by Kelly McCullough
    Latest Artistic Project: Crystal cluster bracelet in silver
    Latest Release: Strange, Dead Love for Vampire: the Requiem

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