Saturday, December 31, 2011

E-Book Pricing and My Thoughts There Upon

I've read a lot of posts on ebook pricing, the economics behind it and so forth.

To be honest, I really hate agency pricing. It smacks of price-fixing to me.

I dislike piracy on principle but I also recognize there will always be the little twerp who steals the gum. I'll be doing a post on DRM soon where I will cover my views on that but I tend to agree with Eric Flint in his introduction to Baen's Free Library
3. Any cure which relies on tighter regulation of the market — especially the kind of extreme measures being advocated by some people — is far worse than the disease. As a widespread phenomenon rather than a nuisance, piracy occurs when artificial restrictions in the market jack up prices beyond what people think are reasonable. The "regulation-enforcement-more regulation" strategy is a bottomless pit which continually recreates (on a larger scale) the problem it supposedly solves. And that commercial effect is often compounded by the more general damage done to social and political freedom.
I really like ebooks. I've been reading them since early 2000. I wanted to get a palm pilot when I was in high school specifically because my band director had one and had a copy of a book I couldn't find anywhere on it. To say I was an early adapter is to put it mildly. I saw the potential right away and jumped in with both feet, as far as my income would let me.

Sad to say, I couldn't afford to get an actual ereader until last year. I bought a Kobo and I loved it. I could side load the hundreds of ebooks I'd purchased over the years onto it. However, I couldn't put new books on it. That's irritating and has gotten me slowly moving to the thought that I may have to buy a Kindle. I don't want to buy a Kindle. Yes, I can buy new books but what about all of my old books? From all indications, unless I bought them through Amazon, I can't really load all of my old books onto the Kindle. Am I going to have to carry 2 ereaders with me? That seems a bit, I dunno, excessive.

This all brings me to price.

In order to afford a Kindle, all of the adults in the household are going to have to live on Ramen for a couple of months, and that's if we can swing it with my hubby being out of work. But, hey, I can download new books from Amazon!

If I can afford them.

Like I said, I've read many of the arguments on both sides of the price 'debate' about ebooks. When an ebook a day was a choice between a latte and a new book, well, I learned to make coffee at home and would buy almost 30 books a month. But now, when the choice is between 2 new ebooks (priced at 14.99 each) and diapers? Well, I can't really justify that choice.

I'm finding a lot more books I would like to read at 3.99 and supporting indie authors. I'm also doing my best to make those purchases from the authors themselves, rather than any of the retailers.

I also love the "Humble Indie Bundle" concept of pay what you can/think it's worth.

So, I'm going to offer something similar here.

Hit the tip jar for any amount and I'll send you copies of both ebooks I have, in any format you'd like. If you want it from Amazon, I'll send it to you as a gift.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Goals For The New Year

I don't believe in making New Year's Resolutions. They're too easy to make and then forget about.

Rather, I use the first of the year and the first of July to take stock of where I am, where I want to be and what I need to do to get there. Yep, I do this twice a year. I usually wish all of Facebook Happy New Year on July first. Most of my friends who know what I'm doing laugh and wish it back. I understand I've convinced a few other people to do the same thing. Score!

My goals are always doable, if a bit of a stretch sometimes, and they always follow these 3 rules: Personal, Positive and Present-Tense.

I will explain.

Personal: This means something that I can control. "I will be published by a big 6 publisher" is not something I can control. "I will submit my first finished book to 10 publishers" is something I can control.

Positive: I am working towards something, not running away from something. "I will quit smoking" is not positive. "I will develop positive personal habits to replace unhealthy behaviors" is better. "I will take a walk or do push ups every time I crave a cigarette" is even better because it names a specific alternative to smoking rather than a vague "positive personal habits".

Present-Tense: This one is a bit harder to do at first, but much fun once you get into it. "I will submit to 6 publishers" becomes "I am submitting to 6 publisher this year."

Easy enough to understand, yes?

So, what are my goals for 2012?

Professional goals:

I am writing and finishing 3 novels this year. Amaria, Urban Fae and Cthulhu Penguin are the titles I am finishing and submitting to publishers.

I am writing, finishing and publishing a short-story every month of 2012. I am continuing in the worlds of the first two stories that are published and will be collected into an omnibus edition for each of the worlds at the end of the year.

Personal goals:

I am visiting Jillybean in New York.

I am going to continue working with my doctors to find out what the heck is wrong with me and I will seek professional help if my phobias block my ability to do this.

I am walking for 30 minutes 5 days a week.

I am adjusting my cooking and snacking to make what I eat healthier.

These changes will contribute to the loss of about 1 pound a week, with an over-all goal of losing 50 pounds in 2012.

So, these are my goals for 2012. What are yours? Will you be stretching yourself or staying within your comfort zone?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And The Year of Suck Just Keeps on Giving

I hate posting negative blogs but sometimes, I just gotta do it.

To say that this year has been one of 'challenges' would be to understate the case. Badly.

Between health problems, that are yet on-going and financial set-backs, we've been hit with a lot of punches. We've been rolling so much, I think I'm getting dizzy.

We're getting hit again. The Hubster is being let go from his teaching job. In the middle of the year.

And my computer is dying.

We'll hang on until we find something, I'm sure.

In the meantime, hit the tip jar if you're so inclined or buy one of the books on sale at Amazon.

What am I doing? Looking for work and writing. Always, always writing.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Failure is Not an Option

I'm putting together a post on goals for the coming year and just had to share this one by one of my favorite writing/publishing bloggers, Dean Wesley Smith (I have to be honest, I haven't read any of his fiction yet. Bad Kort, no cookies for you.)

I’ll bet a few of you got very uneasy by me starting off a goals and dreams series of blogs with the words: “Failure is an Option.”
That’s right, you must fail, over and over to become an artist in this business and to just survive. And that’s normal and perfectly fine.
Let me say this clearly. The reason I am starting right here, talking about failure, is that until you understand failure in publishing, you don’t have a lot of chances at success and setting goals for success. Failure is very much an option in publishing in all levels. However, quitting is not. You quit, you are done. You go into the “whatever happened to…?” authors and after that the “blank look” authors when your name is even mentioned.
So first let me talk about failure. It’s going to take a minute, so hang on. I need to try to see if I can get everyone on the same page here.

Read the rest here. He's got a lot of good things to say and it just might be the kick in the pants some people need to get going in the year to come.  I'll be putting him on my to read list for next year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

I'm sure everybody is spending time with their families this weekend, just like I am.

Merry Christmas and I'll see you next week.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Ebook Release: Tone Deaf

It took a few days long to get out than I had hoped but it's here!

This story has had a long and semi-interesting history. I think I submitted it 20 times? Maybe more. I'd won multiple moderators choice awards and readers choice awards for it on several forums but it just didn't seem to fit easily into a category. I got more personal responses from editors saying they "loved it, but is just doesn't fit with our publication." It was too fantasy for literary magazines and not quite fantasy enough for fantasy magazines.

So, here it is, available for the Kindle.

Tone Deaf: short story. Thirteen years ago, Heather was sent home from the bardic college in disgrace. Now, lives hang in the balance as she once again takes up her music to right the wrongs perpetrated by a despotic warlord.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why I Write

I'm writing this post in response to Angela's blog post over here about why most people quit writing and why you shouldn't.

I'll be honest, I did quit writing. For a very long time, I couldn't bear to look at a blank page or a computer screen. The thought of having to commit anything to any medium where it could be remembered made me shake with anxiety. I took creative writing classes in college to force myself to move through this fear. Every time I had to read something I'd written in class, I had to run to the bathroom to throw up. I got a degree in English Literature where I had to write essays and I ended up pouring parts of myself into them because I couldn't not. I couldn't write them sober, though. It hurt too much to be aware of what I was writing, that I was writing.

I gave up writing because I was afraid I was going to become an alcoholic.

It felt so good to write, though.

I started sewing because I refused to write. I took beautiful, luxurious fabrics and gave them a shape and a purpose. I created order from chaos and gave the fabrics I chose a purpose beyond just themselves. They were lovely to look at and a joy to wear. Just thinking about it makes me want to pull out the rose crepe I have and turn it into something, a dress or a shirt, perhaps.

Writing is the same thing. There's a release, a high, that comes to giving form to the lovely places I can see in my head. I love the image of Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone as she weeps writing the final scene of her latest novel. It's cathartic and terrifying to write the words "The End" when the story is finished. You're letting go, even if just for a little while, of those characters you spent so much time with and came to love.

I mourned my writing, even when I couldn't stand to do it. There finally came a day when I had to look at myself in the mirror and say "You can blame whatever issues you have on your family but you can only blame yourself for not getting over them. You are a grownup. If you want to do this, do it, and don't become Hemingway."

So, this is why I write. I give form and voice to worlds that nobody else can see. I pour a little bit of myself into the book so it comes alive for anybody who reads it.

Writing is hard. So is rejection and fear. But it's worth it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Design

So, I've played with the colors of the blog a bit. What do you think? Better? Worse? Change it back?

Steampunk Sunday: Jewelry

Today's post will feature exclusively the jewelry from one of my commenters: Steampunk Jewelry Maker. You can visit their Etsy shop for most of the items shared today.

I love jewelry. I seem to collect it, even if I don't have a chance to wear it very often. I really love Steampunk jewelry and I've been planning to do a post on all the lovely things from London Particulars for a while now.

Let's start with necklaces, shall we?

I love the wings and the green gems in this piece. Green is one of my favorite colors , too. 
Doesn't that look like a piece you'd give to the wife of an airship captain? Or maybe even to the captain herself. 

Though not necessarily Steampunk, I couldn't help but love this quill pen necklace. "The perfect Statement Necklace for a Writer" indeed!

Now, how about we move on to earrings?

These dragonfly earrings are absolutely lovely. They manage to look delicate and daring at the same time. 
Look at all the detail on these ones. The lacy details around the edge are perfect for the blue crystals. There's also a matching necklace! A perfect set for the lady in your life. 

Silver studs with gears on a black enamel! I'll admit, I squee'd a bit when I saw these. 

We've covered necks and ears, how about something for the hands. Rings, perhaps?

How about a lovely, delicate butterfly ring?
Or this bold and beautiful statement ring with blue crystals and flowers on the side. 

I love this neo-victorian keyhole ring. It would go great with the antique key necklaces she makes.

Alright ladies, you've had your turn. How about something for the gentlemen?

Cuff links, perhaps?

Or tie tacks?

Whew, that's a lot of jewelry, and I've only covered a fraction of the beautiful pieces that are available. Check the Etsy shop for more absolutely stunning pieces and, if anybody is thinking gifts for a certain writer, that quill necklace is quite lovely, isn't it?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thoughts on Publishing

As I'm still on the outskirts of the publishing world, making my way from reader to successful writer, I've been learning more about how publishing works. Rather, how publishing works now. Ten years ago, I knew how publishing worked then. I've been trying to keep up with changes in the industry and these last couple of years have been amazing. I'll be sharing what I learn as I go along but I am not an authority and I'm not trying to set myself up as one, I'm just someone passing on what I've learned recently.

With all that in mind, I had to share this post from John Barnes that I was sent to late last night from Dean Wesley Smith's blog.

The publishing perplex as found in the secret diary of Aunt Edna

Aunt Edna, of course, is the writer. Somehow or other she got hold of the basic source of the family’s wealth, and this is manifestly hard on everyone except Edna (and doesn’t always do her very much good either). She is flighty, irresponsible, impossible, cranky, and has far too many opinions on far too many subjects. She rotates between several dysfunctional states of being: charming in a very manipulative, sucking-up kind of way; inexcusably rude and arrogant; desperately frightened and begging to be saved from dangers real and imaginary; pathetically needy; and a host of other crazed states, a few of them all right and even pleasant, most of them shudder-worthy. The only way the whole family works is if Edna behaves long enough to give them access to the family fortune every month, so that the bills get paid, and everyone lives with the uncomfortable fact that Edna is there, must be kept happy, and mustn’t get her way. If Edna really understands what is going on in the rest of the household, her behavior becomes impossible, but if she is kept in ignorance, then her demands become impossible.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sometimes Life Just Happens

I need a couple of these.
You know those weeks when you think you're not going to have any problems getting done what you need to get done and then all of a sudden it's Friday and you're like, whoa! wasn't it just Monday? That is what my week has been like. It hasn't all been bad (though being called to the emergency room first thing in the morning is terrifying) but most of it has been for everybody else in my life.

And it's not over yet. Tomorrow morning, I'm playing tuba in a Christmas program then going to see the Santa Train with the family for pictures. A whole week of 14 hour days that's ending with music and Santa: not a bad thing but I think I'm going to lock myself in my room with my computer next week so I can actually get something done.

How has your week been so far?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Favorite Things - post #100!

Well, I was asking over on facebook about what I should write for my 100th post. This is a pretty big deal for me! I've never done 100 of anything before, I don't think.

I decided that this should be a post of me sharing some of my favorite things. Some of these things are 'current' favorite things, they might be different next year, next month or next week. Some of them are going to be enduring favorite things, I've liked them for years, maybe even decades.

Since I'm a writer, I think I'll start with books.

My two favorite children's books. I loved them as a kid and they still tickle me as an adult.

I loved reading this book to my son and I can't wait to see my daughter's reaction to lovable, silly old Grover.
I blame this series for my love of reading and my love of history. I learned to read  starting with Molly and she's still my favorite. My daughter got her first American Girl doll last year and I'm slowly re-collecting the whole series for her so they'll be ready when she is.
My favorite grown up books.

This may be a cliche, but Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books. I don't remember why I first read it, but I'd nearly memorized it by the time we got to it in my high school British Literature class. I still remember most of the best lines and I re-read it every year. It's a timeless classic that I think I'll love until the day I die. 

I liked Terry Pratchett before I read this book. Night Watch is, to me, the culmination of years of storytelling. From the very beginning, you feel everything Sam Vimes feels. I'd never thought you could use lilacs to set up a sense of dread but there they are, everywhere, looming over what's coming. The suspense is awful and delicious as the characters come alive and you really, truly hope they stay that way. 

My favorite movies:
These next couple might be a surprise to anybody who doesn't know me very well.

This one might just be a movie that I love right now but I do love it. I had the soundtrack in high school but couldn't track down the actual movie until this last year. All I could think after watching it was "How have I never seen this before?". Oh, and seriously? Truly yummy Jeff Goldblum.

Isn't this every girls favorite movie? I think this is what drove my love of pirates.
Who wants to be a princess? I want to be a pirate!

I love it when someone takes a story every body knows and re-tells it and does it well.  She works hard! She loves books! Did you see that dress? This movie may have been what sparked my desire to make costumes and play with fabric. Oh, and the prince has a personality. How cool is that?
My favorite music:

I've tried to deny it but I can't. I write to Celtic Thunder, almost exclusively.  This is the first year I missed the concert and I'm really sorry I did. They've gone through some changes lately but they're still my lads and I love them. 

Favorite television shows:
Now, I own a television but it hasn't been turned on in a little over 3 months. I just don't watch much television. I love boxed sets and Netflix so I can just put something on and do something else. These are all television shows I've loved and will watch over and over.
While I will freely admit that David Tennant is my favorite Doctor, I do like all the others. I hold with Terry Pratchett's view on it, as well. Doctor Who is not Science Fiction, it's fantasy with sci-fi trappings. 

Set in the Whoniverse, this is one spin-off series that is actually more intense and more adult than it's parent series. This one is definitely sci-fi and I love every minute of it. Well . . . almost every minute of it. I'm going to pretend like Miracle Day didn't happen. Ok? That work for everybody?

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is probably one of the least appreciated of the Star Trek series and also my favorite. I will freely admit that I love a little politics and religion with my science fiction and this series did it really well. 

Have you tried turning it off and on again? The IT Crowd is brilliant and funny and I love Roy. 
I grew up watching Red Dwarf and I don't say 'smeg' enough. There's really not much of a way of explaining why I love it. If you've seen it and liked it, you'll understand. If you haven't? Why not?!? Go watch it, ya smeghead!

I've read the books, I've watched the show. This is one show that makes you happy to root for a bad guy because there are worse guys out there, and he knows where they are. 

Space Cowboys!

Does anybody not love this show? I watch it with my son, the budding nerd, and explain all the science jokes to him. 

Aaaand, yeah, I'm gonna stop there. I could keep going but really? This is enough. I'm pretty sure my true colors have shown through and my status as a geek, at the very least, has been justified. What are some of your favorite things? Have any questions to ask me? Leave a comment and let me know!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Things I Have Learned . . .

. . . in meme form.

You were born a winner. Yes, that's right. The first thing you won was a swimming contest. You are awesome. Don't ever forget that!

There will always be somebody who's going to hope you fail. Doesn't matter if they're siblings, classmates, co-workers or random strangers on the internet. But just because they are hoping you fail doesn't mean you're going to. In fact, the best way to piss them off is to succeed beyond your wildest imagination. Go for it!

Spoiler if you haven't seen the movie yet. Boromir did not make it to Mordor.

This one is a response to the statement he made about "One does not simply walk into Mordor." Some people who are experts in something will try to convince you that something is harder than it is, because if they let you believe that it's easier, it diminishes their expertise in their own eyes. There were a lot of trials to get there, and they had help, but they did, in fact, walk into Mordor.
What this one says. Even (especially?) if they're family.

Courage! You have more of it than you think!

Hope you enjoyed my year in meme's. What have you learned this year?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Busy . . .

Well, this is kinda funny.

I had to drop in to write a blog post just to say I was too busy to drop in and write a blog post.

This is one of those problems I like to have.

What am I up to?
Yeah, this doesn't have much to do with today's post, I just
like the picture. 

Well, first, I'm getting December's ebook edited, expanded and covered to go up on Amazon. I have a deadline of December 15th. Let's see if I can make it.

I'm a little more than half-way finished with the book I started for NaNoWriMo. I've been going over notes and I have to make a decision how I want this book to go. I'd originally planned to have it be a stand alone book in the center of three stand alone books that all propelled the largest plot forward. As I've been writing and plotting, I saw the potential to for it to be the first book in a trilogy that might border on the epic.

Also, we went from having two cars to having one. This means, if I need to go anywhere during the day, I have to take my hubby to work first thing in the morning. He's a teacher. I'm a night owl. This does not do good things for my sleep.

So, if so inclined, drop a couple bucks in the tip jar to help with repairs or stocking up on coffee.

Also, go like my author page on facebook. I'll be posting all publishing updates on that page first.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Steampunk Sunday: Star Wars

 I was planning on doing a post on Steampunk fandom but there was just so much of it out there, I didn't think I could do it justice with just one post. So today's Steampunk Sunday post is Steampunk Star Wars.

R2D2 and C3PO look great all steamed up!
This storm trooper looks a bit worse for wear.
Steampunk Darth Vader and Boba Fett:
a couple of bad asses from the SW universe

Darth Vader working for the Kaiser?
I love the details in this one!
Another R2D2 and this one looks like it started life as a cask of some sort.
A Steampunk Leia? I love it! And no gold bikini, either!

The Death Star as designed by Jules Verne, perhaps? 
A steampunk Tie-fighter as well! 

I also have to send you to this site here. There is so much that is awesome there, I could have stolen the whole post.