Monday, November 28, 2011

Obsession, Owls and Ouch

I may have to rename my Monday Meme 'Random Mondays'... hehe. Did everyone have a great Thanksgiving? I hope so!

So, let's talk about obsession first. I hit my writing goal this weekend. Well, actually I think I said I wanted to write 10,000 words, but I really was firm on writing 3,000 words a day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which I did. About 36 pages. I'm not disappointed. I'm sitting right under 70,000 words, so only 10,000 to my first draft goal. I don't think the first draft is going to hit the 80k, but I already know places I need to go back and flesh out, and I don't think I'm going to be cutting a lot, just tightening.

Anyways, so I entered the final climax of my book yesterday, which I hadn't fully plotted out yet, and I finally figured out exactly what's going to happen at the end. Yay! So, I have it all in my head, and I finished my writing for the day, and then I got in this weird obsessive house cleaning mood. It's weird because I hate cleaning. But I really cleaned. Like, on top of the refrigerator, moving all the kitchen appliances and cleaning under them. Yeah. I also threw away the toaster oven and trashcan. It was very strange.

I'll talk about ouch next so we can end on owls (a happy note). So, just a couple hours ago I got back a rejection on a request for the full manuscript of Countless, my first book. The agent said she was really intrigued by my idea and wanted to love the book, but just wasn't pulled in by my narrative and didn't feel it was ready for mainstream pub. Us writers are such sadistic little puppies I was actually glad to get honest, real feedback and not just a form rejection. Anyways, I've kind of had the same feeling about Countless. I think it's a good book. I just don't know that it's good enough to get an agent's attention. Of course, it's great that I'm just about done with my second book to distract me from the disappointment.

Getting to the Monday Meme, which is kind of random (like this whole post). So, I have this strange love of owls, which is fed by the many awesome owl things being sold everywhere these days. When I'm a famous author, I'll feed my owl merchandise fever by buying things like these:

**Photos removed since peeps have been getting sued for posting photos on blogs**

Of course, I may feed this owl fever before I'm a famous author :) But I'll feed it more when I have moula to spend on silly owl decor.

So, what about you, writer friends? Writing ups and downs? Any fave forest creatures? I hope everyone has a great week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Tofurkey Day!

Hello, writer friends! I am skipping Monday Meme today because when I'm a famous author, sometimes I'm going to be tired and be on a tight writing deadline and not have the brainpower to think of something clever. Don't you love how I tied that in?

Anyways, I'm signing off for the week so I can try to get another 10k words in by Sunday (since I have four days off work, yay!). And then I'll only have 10k left in the first draft of Noir!

I hope everyone has a lovely and delicious Thanksgiving, enjoying your real turkey or a veggie turkey like me. Please know that I am so thankful for each and every one of you, and it brightens my day every time you stop by to say hello!

Have a gorgeous week. Here is a magical little TG pic for you to enjoy, courtesy of Photobucket:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Author Interview

Hi, lovely writer friends! Another installment from this month's issue of Raven Moon. I met J.R. here in the blogosphere, and she has a PNR novella out that's a really fun read (linkage below). Enjoy!

Author Interview
J.R. Pearse Nelson

What inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always been a plotter. I have notebooks from childhood full of characters and plots, starting with a setting similar to Little House on the Prairie and developing into alien dystopias with sociological overtones. I fell in love with fantasy and romance over a lifetime of reading. The stories rattling around my brain range from space cowgirls to mythological fantasy, and I really want to try something post-apocalyptic. My writing tastes are as varied as my reading tastes.

Tell us about your path to publication.

I wrote my recently published novella, Tribute, in 2008. My first foray into paranormal romance resulted in a fun, full story…of fewer than 35,000 words. It wasn’t a good length for submission the traditional route. So I shelved it. I kept working, but nothing came out as clean and fun as that romance. In 2010, I learned about Smashwords and started considering the indie route. The publishing world is so dynamic right now; by early 2011 it was obvious the indie star was on the rise. I wanted in! I polished up my novella (length no longer being a consideration, yeah!), worked up all those publishing bits and pieces, got up my nerve…and clicked ‘publish’!

What led you to choose indie publishing?

Indie is so friendly. Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble – they all make it really simple to publish in an ebook format. The growth of ereaders and changing marketplace makes indie an attractive option. I also like the creative control aspect; I choose everything from where to make my books available to the cover. The flexibility to cross genres and provide different lengths is also great for a writer like me, since my stories tend to emerge at novella length and I can’t stick with a genre to save my life.

What marketing advice do you have as an indie author? Is there anything you think an indie author should do differently as opposed to a traditional pub author when it comes to marketing?

The marketing aspect is a constantly moving target. In fact, mixing it up is a strategy in itself. Try everything. Find places to talk to people who might like your work. Blogs, Goodreads, social networks. Marketing is going to be similar whether you’re traditionally published or self-published. For a writer like me, having just published my first book, the best advice is to write, write, write. I’m completing edits on my second book, writing my third book, outlining the fourth…and so on. This isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon.

What have you learned from your experience that other writers should know when considering indie publishing?

Publishing takes work. Once the words are on the page, you have a whole process to get it out there. Many writers won’t like that part as much as they like writing. That’s true of the traditional route, too. Publishing, no matter how you do it, changes your relationship with writing. New demands on your time mean it’s easy to get bogged down by the to-do list. But being indie doesn’t mean going it alone – build a community and it’s much easier.

Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us! Here's a bit more about J.R. and how you can get ahold of her:

J.R. Pearse Nelson is an indie author of fantasy and paranormal romance. Her work is fast-paced, adventurous, and sometimes dark. Her novella, Tribute, is the first book in the Children of the Sidhe series. The sequel will be released in December 2011. While the genre of these novellas is paranormal romance, J.R. doesn't limit her reading or writing to one type of fantasy. She loves it all, from the epics to the dark beasties to the mythological, sociological side. An urban fantasy novel is in the works for 2012.

J.R. is a native Oregonian, living in the beautiful Portland area. She lives with her husband, two small daughters and the family dog. Self-publishing is the realization of J.R.'s life-long dream to write fiction for an audience. You can connect with J.R. online at her blog, twitter, and Goodreads. Visit

Want to check out J.R.'s paranormal romance novella Tribute? Click here to get it at Smashwords!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Meme: When I'm a Famous Author

I'm posting late today because I was trying to crunch and meet my writing goal for the week. I fell a bit short, but considering that Saturday and Sunday my husband and I were heading up a 5k run, poker run and car show for a memorial fundraiser, I still felt pretty good.

So, speaking of philanthropy, when I'm a famous author, I really want to make a difference around the world. I know I talk a lot about fun materialistic things on this meme, but really I'm all about giving back. After all, I do make my living at an educational non-profit.

My fave non-profit org, which my 'vintage' followers will remember, is Heifer International. Heifer is a world hunger group that takes a unique approach. Instead of just distributing food to people, they give people animals that can be used in sustainable farming practices, thus not only feeding the family but creating a business that will produce income for the family. For instance, goats can be used for milk, cheese and soap, geese for their eggs, sheep for their wool. Further, the families that receive the animal and education on how to start their business are required to pass on their knowledge and offspring from their animal to other families. It's really pretty frickin' amazing.

I give to Heifer every year, and last year I was stoked to discover that Nate Bransford also gives to them annually. He ran a pledge challenge on his blog that I joined in on. So, hint-hint, that's coming up soon. I'd like to find a really great environmental group and women and children's group as well.

So, what are your favorite non-profit orgs? Have a great week!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Urban Fantasy New Releases for November 2011

Happy weekend, writer friends! The other day I asked you guys whether I should post portions of my urban fantasy newsletter on the blog. The consensus was yes. So, here you go! UF new releases for November.










Any of these got you excited? Or new releases in another genre? Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Meme: When I'm a Famous Author

You guys are probably going to giggle when you hear this one. It's something simple, something I lamented never having done when I was a teenager. So, here it is: when I'm a famous author, and I don't have to have a day job anymore, I want to dye my hair purple. Or maybe blue.

Okay, go ahead and snicker.

This idea came about a few days ago when I was having lunch with my husband. I think we'd just watched Scott Pilgrim vs. The World for the second time, and there's that chic who dyes her hair a different color each week. And I was wondering aloud why I hadn't done that when I was a teenager... well aside from that one time it was pink for a weekend accidentally when going from blonde to red. I realized it was because I've always had a job where it wouldn't be "appropriate" since I was fifteen. So, when I no longer need to be quite so appropriate, I'm totally going to do it.

I remember seeing this woman in the mall when I was seven or eight, and she had long, jet black hair, except for the last six inches or so, which were electric blue. It was so fantastic (clearly, since I remember it from so long ago). It looked something like this, except blue:

**Photos removed since peeps have been getting sued for posting photos on blogs**
These are cute, too:


I'm sure I'd get tired of it quickly and go back to my usual, but it would be fun for just a little bit :) So, what about you? What color would you dye your hair if you could be as outrageous as you wanted?

In other news, I got back to work on my WIP today. I've been so busy with my day job that I've been too brain dead to write for the past few weeks. But, I really want to finish the first draft this year, and I'm pretty sure I can if chip away at it during the week and then hit it hard on the weekend. I'm aiming for 250 words a day four days a week and 6,000 words on the weekend.

Also, I had a gorgeous, shiny new idea yesterday that developed into a plot today, and I am super excited. It's going to be middle grade. I'm not going to let myself get too distracted before I finish my current WIP, but over the next seven weeks I can mull it over in my head and then start working on it while my first draft of Noir is having its six-week breather.

I hope all of your writing goals are going well! Have a fab week!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Your Opinion Wanted

I'm doing a rare Saturday post, which I meant to do earlier in the week, and well, life and stuff happened. Most of you probably know I started an urban fantasy email newsletter in July. And I've had a blast doing it each month! Actually, if you haven't seen this month's issue, I got to conduct an interview with paranormal romance author J.R. Pearse Nelson, which you should check out.

But back to the reason for my post - I've been having a blast with my newsletter, but realized something was missing. And that something is interaction. The newsletter goes out to everybody's inboxes, and I don't get to chat with people like I do on Blogger and Twitter. And I realized that I missed that.

So, I thought about it a lot, and I think I know what I want to do, but I want your opinion. First of all, I'm definitely keeping the email newsletter as is, but I want to tie it into blogging somehow. I considered whether I should start a seperate urban fantasy blog. But I only post on this blog like once or twice a week, and I also thought it might be less convenient for people to have to visit an additional blog. So, I was thinking I would send the email newsletter on the first of the month as usual, and then post certain sections of it each week on this blog (like, new releases for the month one week, book review the next week, agent profile the week after, etc.). That way people that like the email version can still get that, but I can have some interaction with my blog friends, too.

What do you think? Does it turn you off if someone posts genre-specific things on their writing blog? What is most fun for you guys?

Have an awesome rest of the weekend! A hint for the Monday Meme: purple :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My WFC Manifesto

Warning: this is going to be a really long post. Maybe my longest ever. Since this is my online journal, I want to be able to come back and read it myself when I forget all the shiny details. So, I won't blame you if you skim!

My World Fantasy Convention 2011 adventure began with 13 hours of travel. Two hours driving to the Jacksonville airport. Three hour layover in Denver, where it was 28 degrees and everyone stared at me in my flipflops. One coast to the other. But, finally (!!!) I arrived in San Diego at about 6 PM on Wednesday evening.

I checked in to my room, which was in a building at the far side of the resort. There was an incredibly creepy picture of a little girl in a Victorian dress right over my bed. I unpacked and went to have dinner by myself in one of the resort restaurants, complete with a well-deserved glass of Pinot Gris.

The next morning I changed rooms to the tower closest to the con center, since that's where the con suite and all the parties were. That way I wasn't stumbling in the dark back to my distant tower after all the parties (the infamy of which preceded them). After I settled in, I walked over to the bus station with the intention of going to the gaslamp district, but then I decided I didn't want to hassle with figuring out the bus routes and stuff. I went back to my room and had a massive small pity party regarding the fact that I didn't know anybody and had nothing to do, and decided to take a two hour nap. When in doubt, naps are the best remedy :)

The conference started at 3PM, so a little before then I went down to the con suite (officially known as the hospitality suite) and discovered they had free food. It ended up they served three meals a day, which saved me lots of money. I bucked up and started to talk to people, including a really cool chic named Kelley Caspari, who is a bronze sculptor with art on display at the art show in the con center. Then I headed off for my first panel!

At the panel, I met up with fellow blogger Liz Briggs and her husband. After the panel, I recognized Elena Solodow from her blog picture (plus we all had these handy nametag necklaces), and she introduced me to her roommate Stephanie Loree. At some point later I got to meet more blog friends - Carolina Valdez Miller and Matt MacNish. Pity party over!

After the opening ceremony, people from the San Diego Zoo brought over an assortment of super cool animals. My fave was the white-bellied pangolin. I didn't take this pic. The San Diego Zoo did. Those flower petal scale things? Covered in soft fur like a mole's. Rad.

At around 10 we headed to one of the bars, which had been dubbed the "official" conference bar. I was just wondering aloud whether Neil Gaiman was hiding in his room or was going to make appearance when he walked in. No, he didn't get swarmed. People stayed pretty cool. Although, at one point when I went to get more wine at the bar, I heard music and turned to see someone playing a ukulele and singing. While standing five feet from and looking directly into Neil Gaiman's eyes. He left shortly thereafter...

My last stop of the night was the Australian party. Earlier in the day candy-colored fliers had gone up about this party. I asked somebody, "What's the Australian party? Is it literally a party thrown by the Australians?" To which the reply was yes - Garth Nix and entourage. So, I went and of course made my way to the bar for a glass of wine. A nice gentleman poured me one, and I looked down at his nametag. Garth Nix was pouring my wine! Holy….wombat.

Friday morning panels started at 10 AM. Later in the afternoon, I went to a reading by Neil Gaiman. He's just so fantastic. I feel like I'm not a worthy fan, since I just read Neverwhere like a month ago, but it was so amazing I was instantly addicted. Besides, I've intended on reading his books for years. Does that count? Either way, I went, I listened, I swooned. He read for almost an hour. I caught a glimpse of super-agent Merrilee Heifetz who discovered Neil when he was really young... and of course began fantasizing about bumping into her and talking about my books, and her loving them and me, and I got quite carried away. Totally didn't happen, of course.

Later that night was the autograph session, and me and Elena and Stephanie stood in line for an hour or so to get Neil to sign our books. Some people were laying down on the carpet. We sat for a while because we had a lot of books and my feet were killing me. I brought one of my Sookie Stackhouse books for Charlaine Harris to sign later, and there were two people in line ahead of me. Poor Charlaine, she was totally overshadowed by Neil. Liz said Charlaine actually stood in line for Neil's signing like everybody else!

After that we hit the parties. The big parties of Friday night were publishers Tor and Nightshade. The Canadians also threw a party, with maple syrup and maple syrup flavored cocktails. And some other weird cocktails with rye. I met a couple agents, one completely by accident who asked if I wanted to query him after I'd been blabbing about movies and kids and God knows what else for 20 minutes. Apparently I passed the crazy-writer test (shocking!). The other I'd seen on a panel, and she invited me to query, too. Fingers crossed...

Saturday sprang on me rather frighteningly. It was my last day at the conference, and the time had flown by. My first panel was at noon, and one of the panelists was Tamora Pierce, whose books I read as a tween, and who was one of the first authors to distill in me a love of kick-ass sword-wielding heroines. She had the room in hysterics when she mentioned that there were "hydraulics" issues pertaining to zombie sex (yeah) and that if Edward Cullen was so ice-cold and marble-like all over, Bella wouldn't have been happy with certain parts of his anatomy. ROTFL.

Went to more Neil Gaiman stuff later, and more panels, took a nap, and hit the art show to support Kelley since it was her big night. After that was a fun panel about faeries with Holly Black as one of the panelists. Holly Black, whom I didn't recognize when she was standing outside the room, and thus began to babble with about women and mirrors. If that doesn't make sense, it's probably because you're a guy. After that panel, more parties! The final evening was dominated by the British, Edge publishing, and SFWA parties. At the British party I was made to try something called marmite with wicked enthusiasm. It looks like chocolate syrup. It does not taste at all like chocolate syrup. We all ended up getting shooed inside by hotel security, which I found incredibly amusing. Writers? Noise complaints?

Sunday morning I had to get up at 8, finish packing, and head to the airport. I got back to Jacksonville at 9:30PM Florida time, and had to drive the two hours home. And then couldn't fall asleep since I was on California time. So yeah, arriving at work Monday at 8AM was real fun.

In summary - loved it. I'm not good at introducing myself to strangers, so I was really nervous about flying across the country where I would know no one. But I ended up meeting lots of blog friends and making other friends, and I think that was the best part. Just being inundated in writing with other writers all weekend. It rocked. Next year WFC is in Toronto! And after that Brighton, England! I doubt I'll be able to travel that far, but a girl can dream, right?