Blast from the Book Trailer Past

Oh, how much things have changed. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since The Queen of Crows debuted. Here we are now and I feel the trailer still stands up to the test of time. So much so, I’m talking to a video editor about cutting an updated version into a widescreen edition.

For those of you who don’t already know, the trailer was a collaborative project. James Semple composed the music, Leanne Buckley illustrated Mahochepi, and I put all the pieces together. Fun!

    Mood: Inspired
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Enough to make me crave water.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Up, down, and all around.
    In My Ears: Compulsion by Doves
    Game Last Played: Ermm…
    Movie Last Viewed: The Aristocats
    Latest Artistic Project: A grey and aqua bracelet
    Latest Release: “Don’t Ignore Your Dead” included in Don’t Read This Book for the Don’t Rest Your Head RPG

The Dread Silent Manuscript

I feel like a sea slug sometimes because if you read my “updates” online, it doesn’t seem like I’m working on a whole heck of a lot. The lack of “let me tell you what I’m doing every minute of every day” was a conscious decision on my part so I could feel a little freer when I’m in the trenches. I’ve got a few short stories out in the wilds right now and a couple of manuscripts I’m editing, but I don’t want to put the cart before the proverbial horse with no contracts or agent for the long form stuff.

Writing on spec can sometimes be very difficult for that reason — especially since this is a complete role reversal from running the freelancing circuit. Still, I feel it’s in everybody’s best interest if I don’t talk about what you may not ever expect. Thing is, with bigger projects like Violet War, I was trying to get interest in the setting but I *never* had any plans to self-publish that series. All that PR ended up being a huge distraction and some of the short stories I’ve pitched just weren’t as popular as my other, more darker fare. Now, part of that could have been I didn’t submit to the right markets given that VW is solidly urban fantasy, but also the violet war setting is very, very big. How large? Enough for hundreds if not thousands of stories. Short stories I write now may not be as meaningful to the reader unless they’re clearly connected to a novel or two. The long form has to come after the origin story I penned called “The Queen of Crows.”

I know a lot of people have very specific opinions about book marketing in general, but for me the timeliness of that will begin not when I accept the contract, but when the work is either done and accepted for publication or solicited with a Kickstarter.

Additionally, I want you to know that I feel this sort of thing is part of any author’s career. It’s not all steak and eggs, my friends. We screw up. I’m just not afraid to admit when I do because I learn from those mistakes and move on. In an age where we’re all supposed to be “perfect,” there’s nothing more gratifying than messing up, laughing at my stupidity, and putting more words down on the page. At the end of the day, the Work is all that matters. The less laughter, the more tears, the greater the negative impact on my Work. It’s a good thing to know!

There will be other publishing debuts coming yet this year, but again: I think there is such a thing as talking about a project too soon. At least on my end of things.

    Mood: Escaping the heat. Ice ice baby.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Questionable. I plead the fifth, sixth, and eighth.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Crazy-woman housekeeping
    In My Ears: This is the last battle by Final Fantasy III
    Game Last Played: Ermm…
    Movie Last Viewed: The Aristocats
    Latest Artistic Project: A grey and aqua bracelet
    Latest Release: “Don’t Ignore Your Dead” included in Don’t Read This Book for the Don’t Rest Your Head RPG

Thank You for Kickstarting My Work

Just wanted to give a shout-out to my readers today and say “Thank you!” Today marks the third Kickstarter I’ve been involved with for short stories and they have all been successful. With just over twenty days to go the Stone Skin Press – anthologies of new fiction Kickstarter is already funded. If you haven’t checked out this multiple anthology Kickstarter, drop on by. There’s a *ton* of amazing authors included in these books with me!

Thanks again. I really appreciate the support!

Working With The Primary “Laws” of Editing

The New HeroWhen I was approached to work on New Hero by Robin Laws, I panicked. Not because of “who” Robin was, but because of my admiration for all that he has done and his attitude toward the Work. An impressive author and game designer in his own right, I was certain his tastes would steer more towards perfection. As an author, I pictured a very high bar and expectations to boot. This wasn’t just about writing “a” short story; this was about writing “the” short story to fit a lofty goal — to develop a new iconic hero for an anthology that included stellar writers.

I’ll be honest with you. My first draft reflected my anxiety and Robin caught onto that right away in his comments to me. It wasn’t until I tossed out those sticky emotions that I started having fun. Everything that he said to me I already knew, but I needed those friendly reminders about technique spelled out in a way that made it easier for me to focus.

My second draft was indeterminable from the first because of Robin. He was patient with me and after that initial pat on the head (and a compliment about my vampires) I was merciless with my first draft. He recognized that effort, too, and I found the exchange to be very motivating.

To me, that’s the sign of a good editor. It’s not just about telling a great story — it’s about the care and feeding of the writer behind it, too. I only hope I can do Robin and the folks at Stone Skin Press proud as I move forward with my fiction career.

If you’re remotely interested in my stories or discerning Robin’s editorial touch for yourself, I invite you to back the Stone Skin Press Anthologies of New Fiction Kickstarter.

On Judging (Self) Quality

Queen Grimhilde

Someone at CONvergence asked me if I thought I was a good singer. Like writing, I really have *no* idea. I don’t feel that obsessing about what other people think about my work in any sphere is a sane idea. That’s a deep dark hole of no return because you cannot please everyone. What I shoot for is the Law of Averages. That bell curve of opinions is the way I deal with reviews because you’re always going to have a certain percentage who love/hate you. The middle, though? That’s where the excitement happens.

There’s a lot of professional musicians, artists, authors, etc. who I don’t think are “good.” The reverse is also true. Toss popularity into the mix and it gives me pause sometimes because there are folks who I feel should be riding high who are just coasting. You just never know what’s going to “hit.” So to speak. That’s not something I can control. When that bubble of mass market-ness bursts into the public at large, I wrap my mind around it to see why “X” is working, so I can learn from it. Not everything out there may be for me, but something out there may be for you.

So, what I do focus on, are my own quality standards which I achieve by experiencing joy in my work. It may not be the right answer, but it’s my way of dealing with a crazy world filled with instant judgement. That way, when I’m satisfied? I know I’ve done my absolute best. I can’t ask for anything more than that, really.

Embarrassingly enough, though, the question did make me realize a few things about how I used to let the bullies win. If I’m feeling brave, I might tell you about it later. Or not. :p

    Mood: Allergy-ridden medicine head.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Enough to make me stop drinking them.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: The post-con shuffle.
    In My Ears: The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver by Elbow
    Game Last Played: Ermm…
    Movie Last Viewed: The Aristocats
    Latest Artistic Project: A grey and aqua bracelet
    Latest Release: “Don’t Ignore Your Dead” included in Don’t Read This Book for the Don’t Rest Your Head RPG
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