[Recommended Link] On Failure

There’s a great post written by author J.M. McDermott (Last Dragon) about failure on the Apex Book Company blog about failure.

He talks about how failure is a natural occurrence and then touches on how people perceive successful authors:

People perceive authors with book deals — multiple book deals — and awards-nominations, if not awards, as successful writers. It feels odd to encounter that when I’m out and about. I don’t feel like a successful writer. Every project is a struggle to get out into the world. Every story is a wrestling match against all the distractions of the world. How many times in a day I fail is amazing to me. How many times in a year that I fail makes me want to drink absinthe until the world blurs into a haze if I think about it too much. Fortunately, I don’t think about it too much. — SOURCE: People Fail All the Time at Apexbookcompany.com

I feel that this post is one every aspiring writer should read, because McDermott’s words are extremely honest and grounded. To quote the cliché: success is in the eye of the beholder. When I was younger, I used to feel embarrassed whenever I talked about my failures. Later on I found there was no reason to feel that way. After all, if you don’t fall down — how can you get back up? How can you learn? Grow? How do you know when you’re successful if you don’t fail?

The other reason why I recommend this post, is for any of you who are feeling a little down in the dumps. McDermott offers some words of advice to help you get through the tough times. So when you have a chance, pop on over and read: People Fail All the Time at Apexbookcompany.com.

Day 17 of 100: Dust Bunnies in a Silent Cone

I’m a happy girl today. I’ve been looking for a way to legally watch Red Dwarf again for a while now and Netflix offers all nine seasons for streaming. So, yay! *bounce bounce*

And a tenth season! Double yay!

Since the episodes are super short, I can put them on in the background. “Appreciate what you’ve got. Because basically, I’m fantastic.”

This news counteracts the pain…the suffering…the millions of dust bunnies crying out in fear…

Yep. I’m in the middle of spring cleaning. Only it’s snowing outside. So I’m late Winter cleaning. Oh, and organizing. And planning. And planting.

Which, no doubt, requires looking things up. What to save. What to toss. How to follow directions.

Some of the more unusual things I’ve discovered, besides the pile of floppy disks I have no way of reading, is my fascination with particular objects I have to buy more than one of. Blank journal and small notepads are at the top of that list; pens and other unusual writing implements are right up there as well. Next comes the obligatory “What did I buy this for again?” With a look of confusion and wonderment.

I feel like I’ve been getting more done because on my writing breaks, instead of hopping on Twitter or Facebook for seconds at a time, I’m focusing for longer periods of time. Once I’m at a natural break, I can then attack my dust bunnies vigorously. I’ve even gone so far as to (shockingly) label boxes so I know what I organized. Other than the mountain of paperwork crawling up through the bowels of our house. Eesh. Paperwork. The worst part is that I know I have file folders lying around somewhere, I just can’t figure out where they are.

Now that I’ve been off social media for over two weeks, I can definitely say if I ever want a break from the noise, ten days is about the time when I stop feeling so inundated with information. Now that it’s been over two weeks, I feel like I’m in a cone of silence. Have no idea what’s going on–especially with some of my friends overseas–and feel like it’s impossible to find out without hopping back on. I can remember Twitter handles and Facebook identities, but not people’s websites.

When I read something people shared, I never paid attention to where I was reading the information, just what the content was. To me, that’s pretty significant. With all of this information being thrown at us, how much do we retain? What can we remember?

And more importantly, what should we remember? What’s missing?

The First Genre Novel I Read Is…

On Paul Jessup‘s website today, I read about how he’s going to participate in a 30 days meme for genre books. It sounded like a lot of fun, so I thought I’d chime in.

Today’s the first day and I’m talking about my first genre novel.

Okay, so even though this is part of the meme, the truth is I don’t remember the first genre novel that I ever read. I can tell you I was more enamored with mystery novels as a kid than any other genre. I was into series moreso than individual books; Encyclopedia Brown, Meg, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, the Hardy Boys.

Splinter of the Mind's EyeAlthough I can’t remember which came first — I remember being very enamored with the Rats of NIMH and The Hobbit — I do recall the first tie-in novel I ever read. It was a book called Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster and it took place in between Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. For me, this book was the gateway drug to other science fiction novels and series, in part because I was drawn to the mystery of Darth Vader and whether or not Luke and Leia could escape.

From this novel, I branched out into science fiction by way of Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick and…of course…back to Star Wars and Star Trek.

Years later, after I read so many other science fiction novels, I went back and read Splinter of the Mind’s Eye again. This time around, it was interesting because the romantic tension between Luke and Leia means something different now, but then? Only Lucas knew who Leia was going to choose.

Not bad for a first novel. After all, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye opened the door to many other fantastic and otherworldly tales.

Gencon 2011: DriveThruRPG Booth and Yours Truly

Hi everyone,

I have just confirmed I will be attending GenCon: Indy 2011. This year, I have been drafted volunteered to work the DriveThruRPG.com booth.

What’s that you say? But you thought DriveThru only offered e-books?

DriveThruRPGcom LogoThis year, DriveThruRPG is debuting the fruits of its print program at GenCon, working in tandem with White Wolf Publishing, who will have their own presence at the show. I’m not a hundred percent sure what the layout will look like; geometry was never my strong suit. I do know that yes, White Wolf will be there and yes, they’ll be selling books. Rumor has it there will be a print edition of the Vampire Translation Guide and an exclusive hardcover convention edition of the Exalted graphic novel. No word yet on the print edition of Paths of Storytelling, but I am crossing my fingers on that one.

In addition to DriveThru’s partnership with White Wolf, you can also buy/support games from a handful of awesome publishers. They are: Malhavoc Press, Necromancer Games, Nocturnal and Eden Studios.

Now, I know you may think I’m a little crazy, but it’s also my understanding that Ghosts of Albion and The Fear-Maker’s Promise for Changeling will be available IN PRINT at the DriveThru booth as well.

If you like to get your books signed, the one (the only) Monte Cook will be floating around along with several other freelancers, game designers, developers and persons extraordinaire.

Am I chained to the booth? Hah, hah. Is that even possible? Wait. Don’t answer that! I will be available for appointments and signings, but primarily I’ll be on the floor talking about why you should buy these publishers’ games. In all honesty, DriveThru is the reason why I’m able to come back to GenCon this year, so I’m going to do my best to work hard and have fun. If you want to get together with me at GenCon, feel free to either a) drop by the booth b) e-mail me ahead of time to set up an appointment or c) watch my blog for a space-y announcement.

That is all, game-lings.

Oh, before I go… If you have any questions about DriveThruRPG.com, their booth, White Wolf or anything I revealed in my post, please contact these companies directly. I’m merely trying to relay my role at GenCon this year. Once it gets a little closer to GenCon, I’m sure I’ll be able to reveal if there’s truth to the gossip.

Thank you!

WisCon 2011 Panels

Hi everyone,

Wanted to drop in and provide you my panels for WisCon 2011. This year the guest of honor is Nisi Shawl, a fine author who often gives workshops on writing the other. She also likes to smile. A lot. What’s not to like?

Attendance is capped at 1,000 people, so if you’re thinking about going, I’d register now.

Monica’s Panels at WisCon


Living In The Long Tail: Forging A Path To Your Audience Through The Internet Friday
Time: 4:00–5:15 p.m. Location: Conference 5
Moderator: Heather Whipple.
Panelists: Heather Whipple, Lori Devoti, Jennifer K. Stevenson, Monica Valentinelli

    “The Long Tail” refers to the retailing strategy of selling a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities. Much of Amazon’s success relies on exploting this strategy. What are the possibilities of authors and artists marketing their own works directly to audiences through the Internet? Does the Internet represent a medium of exchange that can bring creators together with audiences who are hungry for works that represent and speak to them? How can we find each other?

Group Reading: 11 Up – Cycles of Life. Salacious, sacrificial, silly, sentimental and severe.
Time: Saturday 2:30–3:45 pm Location: Michelangelo’s Coffee Shop
Liz Argall, Keffy R.M. Kehrli, Margaret Ronald, Monica Valentinelli

Self-Publishing: Should You? Could You?
Time: Sunday 10:00–11:15 am Location: Senate B
Moderator: Susan Ramirez.
Panelists: Susan Ramirez, Anna Black, Alexandra Erin, Neesha Meminger, Monica Valentinelli

    A variety of websites and services make publishing your own e-books and paper books simpler and less expensive than ever. What are some of the best? What are some to avoid? What are the benefits and drawbacks of becoming an indie writer? What tips do you have to help other indie writers self-publish successfully?

Cooperative Promotion
Sunday: 1:00–2:15 pm Location: Room 634
Moderator: Jacqueline Houtman.
Panelists: Jacqueline Houtman, Lori Devoti, Howard Andrew Jones, Alexandra Erin, Monica Valentinelli

    Authors need to do more and more of their own promotion. This panel will focus on ways that authors can work together to help promote their books, whether formally (via 2K Classes, Tenners and Elevensies, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and other organizations) or informally, such as social networking. What about group websites or blogs? Group giveaways? Group presentations, signings, and other events? We will present some ideas and work together to come up with more.
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Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

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