So of course someone had to ask Jonathan Franzen what he thinks about ebooks, since he’s the critical darling of the moment. And of course the Internet exploded when he said ebooks are damaging society. Ink, both actual and virtual, was spilled. Haterade was prepared in copious amounts. It was like the hate that started swilling when Sherman Alexie called the Kindle “elitist.” Of course, I am much more likely to think deeply about anything Alexie says than Franzen, for a variety of reasons.

When Alexie “clarified” his stance, this caught my eye:

Having grown up poor, I’m also highly aware that there’s always a massive technology gap between rich and poor kids. I haven’t yet heard what Amazon plans to do about this potential technology gap. And that’s a vital question considering that Bezos wants to change the way we read books. How does he plan to change the way that poor kids read books? How does he plan to make sure that poor kids have access to the technology? Poor kids all over the country don’t have access to current textbooks, so will they have access to Kindle? (Sherman Alexie)

Right there, in a nutshell, is a point that gets lost when people on the Internet talk about ebooks. The hidden costs of buying that cheap digital edition–why aren’t more people talking about this rather than hating on Franzen for having an opinion? (Admittedly he comes off as somewhat of a pretentious knob in that Telegraph piece, but still.)

It sent me off on a (quelle ironic) Twitter rampage.

Why doesn’t anyone factor in platform and obsolescence costs for ebooks? I.e., the ebook reader and its updates.

Frex, the laptop or ereader you’re using, and the cost to charge it and replace it for wear and tear, not to mention updates.

Until we get wetware that can jack the book right into our brains, there are still going to be platform costs.

A paperback’s cover price takes into account production and platform costs; an ebook’s price does not.

These are the discussions we should be having, not hating on writers who have Opinions About Publishing.

And certainly not stroking the turgid egos of highly-paid anomalies on the Internet, either. (My Twitter feed)

After having a great deal of fun with the phrase “turgid egos” I really warmed to my theme.

Ebooks are not “cheap” or “free”. They are *convenient* for certain socioeconomic strata.

There is not nearly enough attention paid to the hidden costs, like hardware, platform, obsolescence (planned or otherwise) of hardware–

–replacement costs, access to electricity, etc., etc.

This is the kind of conversation I wish we were having about ebooks, not “So and So is elitist because they have Opinions about Self-Pub.”

Or “So and So gives their books away so piracy is always OK.” (Hint: this one REALLY irks me.)

Or, “Big Name Author has enough money/brand recognition not to worry about lost sales, so they say piracy isn’t a problem.” (My Twitter feed)

At that point I started getting a lot of “But I LIKE my Kindle/Nook!” And I’m happy that they do, but that was not the point I was making OR the conversation I was inviting.

There is a narrative out there saying “digital=free.” I’d like to see discussion that doesn’t use that equation, because it’s untrue.

Most of the human species can’t afford a desktop/laptop/Kindle/Nook/monthly smartphone bill/startup smartphone investment.

Those that can tend to think their experience is ubiquitous, because it FEELS ubiquitous. The curse of the Internet, you could say.

An examination of the underpinnings and the hidden costs is more productive than hating on ebooks or Authors With Opinions. (My Twitter feed)

At that point Stephen Blackmoore made the great observation: “Not to mention there are still places in the world that don’t even have electricity.”

Discussing the real costs could help us bend our considerable energies to raising literacy, not getting all hatey on the Internet.

Why is this not a blog post? Because I don’t think I can refrain myself from ranting without Twitter’s character limit. *sigh* (My Twitter feed)

I’m glad I waited, but so many people asked me to collect those tweets I decided to put them all here.

There were a number of responses that I should probably answer right now:

* “But I LIKE my Kindle/Nook/ebook reader!” Well, see above. That’s GREAT. It’s WONDERFUL that you like it. I’m not arguing that you shouldn’t. I’m saying that when we talk about publishing and ebooks, we should be talking as well about the hidden costs of the platform used to decode/store/show the digital “book.” Because those costs are more than you think–not just electricity, and the initial investment in the platform (desktop computer, laptop, ereader, smartphone, tablet) but also things like the monthly cost of an Internet connection or the cell phone bill, the cost of upgrading the hardware every few years (because of the pace of technology and obsolescence both planned and unplanned) not to mention the social costs of slave labor to make it, pollution from the making of it, pollution from the electricity used to power it—the list goes on and on.

* “I’m disabled and the ebook reader makes it easier for me to read!” Often accompanied by “Alexie is ableist!” (I shit you not.) It’s great that this technology is helping you, I am very happy for you. But I am mystified at how this was even a response. I don’t think it’s “ableist” of Alexie to point out that poor kids and their families can’t invest in this kind of technology as easily as others can, or of me to say that talking about the hidden costs might help us find a solution.

* “But I have a computer/laptop anyway, adding the ebook-reading function is free.” It’s not “free.” Adding that functionality presupposes the investment in the platform; it is convenient, certainly, but you pay the hidden costs for that convenience whether or not you engage it. It is the fact of the hidden cost we’re talking about, not whether or not you feel like added functionality is something you want to use.

* “Paper books have hidden costs too!” Well, those are rather elegantly included in the cover price, so they’re not so “hidden.” The cover price of a paper book takes into account the price of the paper and distribution, and has for a long time because of the built-up infrastructure. You could argue that bookstores are the purview of a higher socioeconomic stratum too, and that there’s invisible privilege there, but I don’t think it’s quite as germane. For one thing, there’s the used books factor; for another, there’s few upgrade costs with paper books–if you read them to pieces and get another one, that’s an upgrade cost, but it’s not nearly as huge as upgrading an ereader every couple years or a laptop every four-five years. There’s also the marvelousness of libraries, which even the field a bit for some poorer strata of society.

Of course, it’s incredibly hard not to snark observations such as:

Franzen said he took comfort from knowing he will not be here in 50 years’ time to find out if books have become obsolete.

“I’m amused by how intent people are on making human beings immortal or at least extremely long-lived,” he joked.

“One of the consolations of dying is that [you think], ‘Well, that won’t have to be my problem’. Seriously, the world is changing so quickly that if you had any more than 80 years of change I don’t see how you could stand it psychologically.” (Telegraph)

Somehow I think the world will carry on, Jonathan dear.

But I would really like to see more discussion of hidden costs, platform costs, access differences between socioeconomic strata, etc., instead of hating on an author for having a goddamn opinion about developments in the industry they’re working in. Doctors have opinions about developments in their field; bricklayers and pizza delivery people, retail workers and scientists have opinions about their chosen (or just career) field. People have goddamn opinions about everything, as evidenced by the jackasses who know nothing about publishing but try to school me about the industry.

But that’s another rant, and this is already long enough. Let’s talk about the hidden costs of ebooks and eplatforms instead.

Over and out.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Dec. 22nd, 2011 11:10 am)

Well, I finished the zombies-and-cowboy trunk novel last night. At least the zero draft. It weighs in at 65K, which is a little large for a zero draft, and means it’ll be closer to 80 after I revise it into a reasonable first draft. That’s not going to happen for a while, though, since I’m going right back to proof pages for Bannon & Clare (due the first week of 2012, I weep for my sleep schedule) and another round of revision on the new YA (after the first of the year) plus the drop-dead date for starting the zero draft of the next Bannon & Clare is New Year’s Day. Begin the year as you mean to go on, I guess.

So last night, sweating and excited, I typed finis at the end of DAMNATION. There’s a sheriff with a hidden past, a schoolmarm with a secret, a gold claim, and zombies. Lots of zombies, and some bonus vampire action. I need to go back and layer in a lot of stuff now that I know the shape of the finished work, and it may be a crappy trunk novel nobody will ever buy, but at least it is no longer a crappy unfinished trunk novel nobody will ever buy. Plus, it features a death by skillet and the immortal line “He ain’t gettin any fresher.” Also, horses, and a group of “frails”–saloon whores–who want to learn to read and figure so they can open their own fancy houses OR stop being cheated by the saloon manager.

…Yeah, I had fun.

I am also thinking of getting bids for help in putting some of the SquirrelTerror saga into, say, a nice thin trade paperback. It would need editing and copyediting, and perhaps an index, and I’m sure I would want to add some footnotes. And a map. So editing, CE, and formatting/design. I’m not sure if it would be viable; I’d probably spend more on the editor than I’d ever make on the damn thing, but it would please me. At the moment, it’s just a thought.

I have further decided I’m not going to run until next Monday. I’m told that every once in a while you have to stop beating on the flesh and give it a slight rest so you can shock it more effectively when you restart. I am sure my body will appreciate this, though the rest of me will be cranky.

And that is all the news that is fit for something, I guess, or at least all the news I can give right now. Next year promises to be very exciting. Maybe another trunk novel will fall out of my head?

*shakes Magic 8 Ball*

Ask again later? What kind of crap is that?

Over and out!

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Nov. 1st, 2011 09:47 am)

Weren’t we just here, where I tell you how nervous release days make me? It seems like we were just here. *blinks*

I am proud and happy (as well as knocking knees with fear) to tell you that Reckoning, the fifth and final in the Strange Angels series, is officially released!

Nobody expected Dru Anderson to survive this long. Not Graves. Not Christophe. Not even Dru. She’s battled killer zombies, jealous djamphirs, and bloodthirsty suckers straight out of her worst nightmares. But now that Dru has bloomed into a full-fledged svetocha – rare, beautiful, and toxic to all vampires – the worst is yet to come.

Because getting out alive is going to cost more than she’s ever imagined. And in the end, is her survival really worth the sacrifice?

Now available at Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, BooksAMillion, Powell’s, the Book Depository, and Amazon!

I am sad to be saying goodbye to Dru. From the first moment I saw her standing in her kitchen, staring at the back door while a zombie’s fleshless finger tapped against the glass, I’ve known that she would grow up and continue on. It’s very bittersweet, but I’m proud of her. She’s learned a lot along the way, and through it all she’s remained that same smart, driven, incredibly loyal girl. Growing up is never easy–it’s even less easy when there’s vampires looking to tear your head off and betrayal lurking around every corner.

But I think she’s done just fine, and I’m glad she has exactly the right ending.

Now I’m going to go be a puddle of frayed release-day nerves. See you around.

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Attention Selene and Nikolai fans! The story of Selene’s return to Saint City, Just Ask, is now available in the Mammoth Book of Hot Romance! I hope you like it.

Also, I’ve updated the FAQ, the Strange Angels page, and the Jill Kismet page. Preorder information for Reckoning and Angel Town is now live on those pages.

A lot of you are asking me about audiobooks, especially for the Kismet series. I do not know when or if specific books will be released on audio. I’m sorry, I just don’t know.

I’m still sore and hobbling from the fall I took earlier this week, so that’s about all she wrote. (Literally. Ha ha. I kill me.) I’m gonna go take some ibuprofen and brace myself for climbing.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Jul. 22nd, 2011 10:39 am)

It is just way too bright and sunny today. And it’s a good thing I’m damn stubborn, or I would have quit after three miles today and not had that awesome endorphin-kick runner’s high. Not to mention the drift of honeysuckle, the cheerful “good morning”s from other runners–I content myself with a “Morning!” in return, because I can’t be cheerful while struggling to stay upright and moving. I would have also missed having the shaded park all to myself for a few glorious circuits. That was nice.

So, announcements!

* If you’ve ever wondered how Selene returned to Saint City, you can read the brand-new Selene and Nikolai story, Just Ask in the upcoming Mammoth Book of Hot Romance.

* Also upcoming is Reckoning, the final book in the Strange Angels series. The end of August will see a bindup of bboks one and two, Strange Angels and Betrayals with an all-new, lovely cover.

* November will also see the final Jill Kismet book, Angel Town.

* You can now buy all five of the Dante Valentine novels in one smoking-hot omnibus. (Personal demon not included, sorry.) Also, Graphic Audio has released parts one and two of Working For The Devil, I believe part 1 of Dead Man Rising is also available.

* I will be attending SpoCon in August. Not quite sure what my schedule will look like, but I’ll be there on panels etc. I will also be at the Cedar Hills Crossing Powells annual SF/F Authorfest in ?November?, more details on that as it gets closer.

* There’s an interview with me up over at the Gatekeeper’s Post.

* I can’t really talk about this yet, but it’s up on Amazon. Tempty tempty.

* A big “welcome home” shout-out to TP, back from the wilds of Europe. *evil wink*

…I’m sure there’s something I’ve forgotten, but I haven’t even finished my coffee yet, so forgive me. Off I go to find a name that means “a hunter” for a wooden garden-boy. He wants Calhoun, but I’m not sure he should have it. He’s not the protagonist, so he doesn’t really get what he wants as far as names.

Damn characters. Over and out.

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This is what the end of a zero draft looks like:

* Every piece of silverware in the house is either dirty or in the dishwasher, which I have not unloaded. The sink is piled high with dishes. Good thing tonight’s pizza night. Except we won’t have plates if I don’t deal with the kitchen.

* Three baskets of laundry are behind my writing chair. I don’t remember putting them there. I think the last time I did laundry was…Wednesday? No, it had to be before that. It was while I was writing the cave scene. In other words, who the f!ck knows?

* Just ate two slices of leftover cake. I NEEDED THEM. Now I feel slightly sick, but my brain is yelling MORE CAKE! I WORKED HARD, I NEED GLUCOSE! I am resisting valiantly. Plus there’s no cake left.

* Found myself bent over this morning, hairdryer in my hand, staring blankly at my toes while I forgot I was drying my hair. Thankfully, nothing was too scorched. Well, at least some of my hair covers the bad bits.

* There is a stabbing pain between my shoulderblades. Need to figure out the memory foam padding in the chair. Also, should stretch more. Yeah. Will get right on that.

* Was in bed before 8:20PM last night. Informed my darling children that I was tired, therefore THEY were turning in early too. They wisely did not quibble.

* Miss B. is shedding. Drifts of white undercoat everywhere. Even if I hoovered every day it would build up. I haven’t hoovered since last weekend. You’ll have to send in the Saint Bernard with the little cask of rum around his neck to find me in the White Wastes.

* My TBR pile looks like a tornado hit it, teetering dangerously on the small table next to the couch. The research books are scattered around, all open to different pages, dog-eared, underlined. The series bible is torn, coffee-stained, stepped on, and generally ragged.

* Only decided to go to post office and bank today once I figured out that due to automated tellers and the automated postage kiosk, I did not have to speak to a single living being.

* Forgot to put my shoes on twice this morning. Only realized it once I had taken a few steps outside. Okay, fine, half a block.

* Woke up this morning and was unsure if I had really finished the book or just dreamed it. Had to check. (This happens far more often than you’d think. I’ve never been wrong, but the idea that I MIGHT be makes me check each time. What? Neurotic? Me?)

* Bedroom is strewn with clothes, for the simple reason that I would be dressing and suddenly drop every article of clothing to run to the keyboard and vomit up another chunk of text. Then I would start shivering and try to figure out why I was cold, and realize I was just in a tank top and one sock. It’s a mercy I work from home, and that I have an alarm on my phone reminding me to be decent before everyone comes home from school.

* I had to ask my daughter what I’d made them for dinner last night. It was waffles. And bacon. Thank God. I’ve never forgotten to feed the children, but I worry.

* Realized yesterday that I could not remember showering at all for the past day or two. Leapt in the shower. Had the shampoo in my hand before I realized I had indeed tried to shower an hour and a half ago, but I had turned off the water and wandered out to get more of the book set down. At that point another chunk of text appeared, so I turned off the water and…yeah. Two hours later, wrapped in nothing but a towel, I wondered why my teeth were chattering.

* The inside of my skull feels like it’s been scraped clean by an enthusiastic Baskin-Robbins employee. With a really cold scoop.

I am proud to report, however, that the zero draft of the first Bannon & Clare book is finished, and buried on my hard drive to age a little bit before I polish it and turn it in. One down, two to go before the end of the year.

God help me.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

The Gnomepocalypse yesterday tired me out. So it’s just a couple things today:

* Part 2 of the GraphicAudio recording of Working For The Devil is now available!

* On May 31 I’m going to be at Cedar Hills Crossing Powell’s, with Devon Monk and Ilona Andrews. You can preorder a signed copy of Defiance, the fourth in the Strange Angels series. Of course, Ilona and Gordon have challenged their readers to set a record for signed preorders. And Devon is running a giveaway, too.

Our honor is at stake.

So I’ll tell you what, dear Readers. From those who preorder a signed copy of Defiance, one winner will be drawn. This winner will get a chapter (chosen by me) from Reckoning, the last book in the series. That’s right–if you preorder a signed book from Powell’s before the May 31 event, you have a chance to read a chapter from Reckoning before anyone else in the world (other than my editor and agent).

I think we can give Ilona and Devon’s preorders a run for their money, can’t we? (PS: I believe Powell’s ships worldwide. Just sayin’.)

* Last but not least, Chuck Wendig on action scenes.

Good heavens, I’m exhausted. Time to buckle down and get some more of Bannon & Clare’s adventures written…

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Apr. 20th, 2011 01:15 pm)

That’s right, yesterday was the official launch of the fourth in the Strange Angels series, Defiance. I celebrated with Episode 2 of my podcast, Ragged Feathers. But that wasn’t nearly enough celebration, so today, I’m giving books away!

What you can win: There will be four (4) winners. I will be giving away three (3) signed copies of Defiance (note: if you’re outside the US, I will have to send books to you through BookDepository instead, sorry about that.) ONE lucky winner will get a set of all Strange Angels books so far–Strange Angels, Betrayals, Jealousy, Defiance–again, signed if you’re in the US, sent through BookDepository if you’re not.

What you do: In the comments of this post over at the Deadline Dames, you’ve got to tell me the best piece of trivia you ever found. I’m not talking about the most arcane, or the one you think will impress other people. I’m talking about that useless fact you found that made you deeply happy, made your socks roll up and down and your pants fly off. The winners will be picked with the help of Random.org; if the random spits out a comment number that has no trivia I’ll pick another. Remember, you must go to the Deadline Dames post to comment in order to win!

Ready? GO!

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It is really hilarious to have a herding dog. This morning she tried to herd some crows. They laughed at her, she kept bellowing “HEEEEEERD IT!” and I was laughing too hard to step in as soon as I should have. Also, this morning’s three-mile walk was full of squirrel reconnaissance. They kept poking their heads out of shrubs and mumbling into their walkie-talkies. I was concerned, but Miss B gave my fears short shrift. “LET ‘EM COME! I’LL HEEEEERD THEM TOO!”

After the exciting walkies, Miss B is all knackered, with the result that whenever I go into another room she follows me, then flops down heavily with a sigh and stares at me like you’re not gonna make me move again, are you? Poor thing. I didn’t think I could wear out an Aussie, for heaven’s sake.

So I’m settled in with a cuppa and a metric ton of triple-ginger gingersnaps. (I have absolutely, positively no self-control when it comes to these gingersnaps. I will eat a whole tub of them in a day unless I hide them from myself, and sometimes even then.) And it’s time for a Reader Question! I had planned to put this in the podcast (still working on #2, sorry) but it’s probably better to do it here. Today’s question is from Reader Anna C:

I’d like to think of myself as a bit of a writer, although in everything I try to write, I hit a stumbling block after thirty pages or so.

Your blog has helped me immensely over the months but I keep getting stuck at The Hole. I’ve got the idea and a chunk of writing down and it’s very shiny and golden and the style is exactly how I want the rest of the book to go. But then I fall into The Hole and the writing steadily disintegrates from there. The style differs greatly from when I’ve begun and it just seems to get worse and worse.

Your advice so far seems to consist of putting my head down and plodding along and its seeming to work (I set a New Year’s Resolution of at least 1K a day). I was just wondering if there was anything else I could do to help it along, or whether I should just finish the damn thing and work on revisions to get the style right. (Reader Anna C., from email)

Try to consider this idea: perhaps your “style” isn’t changing. Perhaps your perception of your “style” is changing. You may just hit the Slough of Despond part of writing a novel. Every time one sets out to write a novel, there’s the “oooh shiny!” in the beginning, and then, sooner or later, it becomes The Book That Will Not Die No Matter How Many Times You Stab, Slash, Hack, Burn, Or Otherwise Try To Murder It.

The interesting thing about the slog, for me, is that it started out being at the end of the first third of a book. Nowadays, it’s reliably after halfway or at the very latest, two-thirds of the way through that it will hit me. Working through it time and again seems to have inoculated me, at least slightly. Total immunity, I’m afraid, is not really possible.

Your perception of your “style” changing from “golden” to suckage is not unique. This alchemical reaction happens to every writer (indeed, I’d bet money it happens to every artist, no matter the medium) and, like puberty, it’s overwhelming and robs you of perspective. I haven’t found any cure for this. The only thing that helps me is the snarling stubbornness. So it sucks? Fine. I’ll make it be the best suckitude EVER. Take THAT, self-doubt! Nyah!

Not very adult, but it gets me through.

Above all, keep writing. If you have not finished a piece yet, you need the experience of finishing in order to gain some small amount of perspective on the process, and to prove to yourself that you CAN. It wasn’t until my third or fourth finished manuscript that I began to see the pattern and the various ways I would try to trick or sabotage myself out of getting the damn thing well and truly done. Like facing any fear, the first time is often the hardest. Then you know you’ve done it at least once, and you have object proof that the world didn’t end and it perhaps wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be.

When faced with this, I am reminded of something Stephen King had Adrian Mellon, a minor character in IT, say. “It may be a terrible novel,” the writer remarks, “but it will no longer be a terrible unfinished novel.” That’s always stuck with me. Whether the book sucks or not is not important. You can’t hope to get better at writing a complete book without writing complete books, which means finishing. Just try to keep in mind that the perception of your “style” changing and suddenly sucking may not be the absolute truth, and if it is, well, you’ve a better chance at fixing it when it’s seen in relation to the whole, finished story.

Over and out.

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I can’t afford to get sick. I have too blasted much to do. Unfortunately, my body is not listening, recalcitrant thing that it is.

For those of you asking: I don’t know what’s going on with Those Who Fight Monsters. It was supposed to ship in March; the publisher will have a clearer idea of what’s up. (ETA: There’s a giveaway here.)

I’ve also finished the Gormenghast novels. I was ambivalent about Titus Groan, I quite liked Gormenghast, but Titus Alone lost all the goodwill the first two books earned. (Can we please stop having the Callow Adventurer being so Irresistible To The Laydeez? GAH.) Peake’s genius for names and the decaying Gothick splendour of the castle itself were magical, and I could even see the first two books as a sort of social allegory. Steerpike was my favourite character, with Fuschia and the Doctor as close seconds; but Peake betrayed every single woman in the book dreadfully. Anything with ovaries was a cipher, and not a very well-drawn one at that. However, props to Peake for taking Steerpike to his logical conclusion, and not flinching. I said it before and I’ll say it again: I think Dr. Prunesquallor was Peake himself, and Titus was what Peake wanted to view himself as. This leaves Steerpike as the id, or the Shadow. (My vote is for Shadow, but I might be biased.) Once Steerpike was gone, the book ended. If the story belongs to the character that changes the most (as Laura Kalpakian, I believe, said, though I’ve attributed it before to Karen Fisher), then the Gormenghast books belong to Steerpike.

End result: I’m glad I read it, though I probably never will again. I may go back to Gormenghast and read for Steerpike, but that’s about it.

A majority of this weekend will be spent sucking on cough drops and helping with the grand reopening of Cover to Cover, my favourite local indie bookstore. I was down there today, breathing in the new paint fumes as bookcases (recently cleaned of smoke, the old location suffered a dreadful fire) were carried in, as well as various sundries–and I just got a call telling me that the gigantic ziggurat of book boxes was making its way into the store. The books were lovingly cleaned and taken care of by the staff at Servicemaster (who have been incredibly wonderful, and gentle, thorough, and kind) and are almost ready to go up on the shelf. We just have to drag the shelves around and reassemble them.

So yeah, there’s my weekend. There will be pizza, and sore muscles, and a great deal of dust and excitement. All in all it’s a good way to finish saying farewell to a character or two. The old Cover to Cover saw many a long discussion with my writing partner, where we both hashed over aspects of a book (hers or mine, didn’t matter) or generally noodled on about writing. Soon we’ll start treating the book-lined walls of a new place to long discussions of plot and genre and animus, pop culture and lit fic and ships and seas and sailing wax, cabbages and kings.

You can tell I’m excited. I have a ton of pictures from the moving in. Including pictures of Shirley the penguin, perched on a high shelf as is her wont, staring dramatically at the ceiling. (Yes, we have a two-foot high plastic penguin, and her name is Shirley. Just one of the many reasons I love this store.)

Oh, and there’s more trouble to get Bannon & Clare into as well. I think it’s about time they met an Adventurer…

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Good morning! It’s still crazy crazy release week for Taken, the Harlequin Nocturne I had so much fun writing. (The link to Barnes & Noble seems to be working now, thank heavens. For a while yesterday it was buggy.) If you want a signed copy, Cover to Cover Books is more than willing to oblige, and their shipping rates are quite reasonable. Just drop them an email through their website.

There’s a Q & A with me up over at the Barnes & Noble Spotlight, where I talk about Perry and which of my characters I’d most like to have a drink with.

I have a couple more general announcements/answers, then it’s time for me to get cracking on another short story.

To the people who sent money through PayPal after last week’s post about stolen ebooks: thank you. I appreciate the people who apologized for pirating my work and tried to make things right. It takes cojones to admit you were wrong, to step up and try to make reparations.

Unfortunately, my conscience isn’t easy with taking the money in this manner, for a variety of reasons. So…I’ve accepted the donations, and turned them straight over to my favorite nonprofit, Kiva.org. I believe in microfinance helping women out of poverty, and Kiva is a grand, grand organization. So, to those who sent me money: Thank you very much, both on my behalf and on behalf of those who are benefiting from your stepping up and acting responsibly.

To the fan who wrote asking “where is the library for ebooks?”: look, several libraries have ebook-loaning capability. If yours does not, this is not an excuse for pirating them. Talk to your librarian and see what’s available. Thank you for your letter.

To SM: Finish writing your book first. Then, after you’ve polished it and started another one, start looking around the Internet for advice on how to write a query letter, what to look for in an agent, etc. (Shameless plug: The Deadline Dames have a lot of good advice about this.) But finish, first.

Last but not least, to S: authors have little to no control over their covers. Sometimes I think it’s a bane, other times, a blessing. I appreciate your input, but there’s nothing I can do about covers at all. If a cover doesn’t work, the best person to tell is the publisher, because they can actually do something about it. They also love to get that kind of feedback because it helps them make better covers in the future.

There, I think that’s it. Tomorrow we have another post about combat scenes. But for now, that short story calls me.

Over and out.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

That’s right–the Harlequin Nocturne I had so much fun writing is now released into the wild!

Sophie Wilson never believed she was special. Avoiding a violent ex, she can’t remember the last time she felt truly safe. Then vampires murder her best friend and Sophie is kidnapped by a dangerously sexy shapeshifter.

Zach insists Sophie is a shaman–someone with a rare gift for taming a shifter’s savage side–and he needs her to help him save his pack. Now, with a malevolent enemy closing in, Sophie and Zach must risk everything on a bond that may be their only salvation…

Now available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Indiebound, and Amazon!

Seriously. I had so much fun writing this book. It’s kind of a shock to see it out in the world; I still grin when I think about writing some of the scenes. I had a great time, and I hope my dear Readers like it.

I am also pleased and proud to present the cover of Those Who Fight Monsters, a kickass anthology premiering in March. My contribution is a fresh new Jill Kismet story, Holding The Line, and the anthology also features wonderful authors like Simon Green, Caitlin Kittredge, and fellow Deadline Dame Jackie Kessler, edited by the fantastic Justin Gustainis.

That’s just one of the upcoming anthologies I’ll be in this year. Stay tuned for more news!

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Dec. 20th, 2010 11:57 am)

If you’ve sent me an interview request and haven’t heard from me, it’s because I’m snowed under. Deadline Hell proceedeth apace, and between that and Christmas, I haven’t been able to take a deep breath. I probably won’t until January 1. So, please be patient. If you’ve heard from me and sent me interview questions, and I haven’t returned them, please gently ping me through email. If you sent an interview request and don’t hear from me before the end of the year, please ping me–again, gently–through email. I do try to at least answer requests, even if I can’t spend the time on in-depth interviews.

I did manage to bash the proof pages into submission. They fought back, but my strength was greater–barely, but greater. Now it’s revisions on short stories and finishing the process of getting Angel Town into first-draft shape. I have to make sure the ends are tucked under and everything’s all squared. It’s going to be incredibly difficult to say goodbye to Jill. I don’t know if I’m ready, but…life moves on, whether one’s ready or not.

I’m in a somewhat philosophical mood today, mostly because I was on the treadmill this morning thinking about the past year. I did everything I set out to do, which is a good feeling. 2009 was utterly terrible, but 2010′s been a year I can feel good about. I went back over my checklist of goals-not-resolutions, and I was amazed that I’d pretty much done every one. (I haven’t had time to go back to Latin yet, but I’m working on it.) What was also amazing was how the tiny baby steps I’ve taken all through the year have let me arrive here, stunned by the fact that another year’s ending but pretty much okay.

Well, not pretty much okay. Pretty much fabulous.

So I’ll take the deadline hell and the agony of proofs and the days where I can’t even catch my breath. It’s better than 2009, which is probably my benchmark for “worst year of my adult life” so far. It didn’t quite reach the level of suck I endured while younger, but it tried pretty hard. (Gets an A for effort, that year does.) But it failed to put me down, and as Ellen Foster so memorably said, “I got my fire back in me now.”

It’s good to be back.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Dec. 10th, 2010 09:57 am)

Crossposted to the Deadline Dames. Check us out!

Here’s one thing about the life of a working writer: there is nothing quite like rereading five books in one of your series so you can make the sixth and final a reasonable first draft, tucking in all loose ends and making sure all things you want to resolve are nice and square, and the things you don’t want to resolve are done well.

For me, it’s kind of a Purgatory. It’s not quite hell, but it’s not comfy either.

I am not generally fond of rereading my own stuff. For one thing, after revisions, copyedits, proof pages, and reviews, sometimes I just get exhausted with a book. For another, writers are inveterate fiddlers. If not for deadlines we would continue polishing things forever. (Or maybe that’s just me.) I’m always seeing things that could be better, or catching little things I want to fix but can’t. It upsets me.

There’s the fact that while reading the book, I re-experience the emotional cost of writing it. I remember where I was when I wrote certain passages, what I was thinking about, what was happening around me. This particular series holds books that I wrote under acid-test conditions (to put it kindly) and remembering how I crawled into the story as a sharp-edged refuge is…well, a little difficult. Not only that, but I re-experience the characters’ emotional cost. Yes, I’m terrifically hard on my characters (no risk, no reward, remember,) but I suffer right along with them. Their hard-won victories make me feel good, the prices they pay for those victories are to some extent paid by me. (Though I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, my characters, thanks.)

Add to that the fact that I’m saying goodbye to a character I’ve literally bled with, and no wonder I’m wanting to take this easy. I make notes on my trusty legal pad, I fold down pages in my working copies (I keep one copy of every book to write notes in or check when I need to) I do my best to read critically, even though I’m still too close to the work to see everything. And I think about what the series has meant to me, if I pulled off what I meant to, if I didn’t punk out.

There are good things, too. I sometimes (not frequently enough, alas) run across passages I like. I usually don’t remember writing them, there are occasionally chunks where I hit the sweet spot and the words came through me without any interference. And every once in a while I am surprised into a laugh when a character makes a comment. (If one can’t find one’s own books occasionally funny, well…)

So I’m in a very reflective mood this Friday. I am bracing myself for the plunge through the fifth book this weekend; in many respects, the next-to-last book is the hardest to write, and this was no exception. Plus, I was incredibly stressed while I wrote it, and I don’t want to revisit that time. It’s still too raw. Too bad. Got a deadline. Gotta make it.

If you’re contemplating life as a working writer, just be prepared for the fact that the books don’t go away even after they’re published. They hang on your shell like barnacles, and sometimes you do have to scrape or feed them, or arrange them in different patterns, or just get them out and look at them. Wince at their imperfections, but try to be gentle with them and with yourself. Each book that makes it to the finish line is a victory; each book that makes it through the publication process is a double victory. To look back and say I could have done that better, yeah shows a certain amount of growth. That growth is a good thing, even if uncomfortable. Try to be gentle with yourself, and give yourself some credit for enduring, if nothing else.

I’m going to try to take my own advice on this. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Nov. 19th, 2010 10:18 am)

Crossposted to the Deadline Dames. New shiny!

It’s Friday again. How the hell did that happen?

I’m experimenting with getting up a few hours earlier so I can run, then get the kids off to school and settle down to work. This means I’m up at (wait for it) 5AM. Yeah, you read that right.

The good news will probably be increased productivity. The bad news is that I won’t see the squirrels, since it’s still dark. This morning, however, I was watched by a fiery-eyed possum. It was either trying to figure out what the hell I was doing or gauging how thick the glass was between us. Not sure. This made me nervous, but fortunately I was too worried about being upright and ambulatory before dawn to really fear the possum the way I should. Further bulletins as events warrant.

So last week we talked about my first three process-stages of novel-writing–the Shiny, the Explosion, and the Hole. I’ve saved the last two stages for a separate post because, to me, they are the most frustrating, the most interesting, and the hardest stages to get through.

I’m talking, of course, about the Slog and the Burn.

The Slog comes after the Hole–that part in the writing process where it’s not fun anymore, where I wake up and stare at the novel/short story/poem/essay/whatever and I think, this is total crap, I am total crap, everyone is going to hate this, everyone is going to hate me, I will have to give the advance back and we will all starve and the sun will go out and we’ll all DIE and it will be ALL MY FAULT AUGH. It isn’t rational and it isn’t pretty, and the only way through is putting my head down and plodding on. The Hole is pretty deep and dark even at the best of times, but chipping doggedly away at it gets me past the “OMG this sucks” and into the “DIE stupid book/story/whatever, DIE STABBITY STABBITY.”

It’s a subtle change. I quit focusing on how much the goddamn book sucks and and instead start focusing on just f!cking finishing. It becomes an endurance contest, and I think by now you have some idea of just how stubborn I am on a daily basis. (I mean, if you’re a regular reader. If this is your first time, welcome, and let’s just say a brick wall won’t win in a contest with my silly head. I am congenitally stubborn, and single motherhood has only made me more so.) There are some books I’ve only gotten through because I don’t want to let the goddamn thing win, others I’ve finished because of the habit of daily writing chips through the Hole and the Slog, bit by bit.

You can tell I’m in the Slog when I start joking about the Book That Will Not Die. My writing partner actually had a couple of rubber stamps made for me. (One more reason why she is Teh Awesome.) One says “STET DAMMIT”. The other just says “STABBITY” and I have a pad of red ink for it. There is nothing quite so satisfying during the Slog as printing off a few pages of the work in progress and stamping it all over with blood red ink while chanting “STABBITY!” at the top of my lungs.

Look, we all have different methods. Don’t judge.

Getting through the Slog is not easy. But once I finished a couple novels, both the Hole and the Slog became parts of a process instead of “OMG I am never going to f!cking finish this f!cking thing.” It was a small, crucial, welcome shift in my working attitude. Each time, if I just endured through the Hole and the Slog, I would reach the Burn.

The Burn is the point where a story comes together and my writing sessions become subjectively shorter but objectively longer. I’ll sit down one morning and wake up hours later, blinking and needing the loo pretty badly. I have to remind myself to eat–I’ll sometimes feed the kids and go back to the computer, and wonder why I’m hungry hours later–and force myself to do other maintenance-y type things, like washing myself. I start working at white heat, even faster than during the Explosion phase. All my energies are brought to bear on one single point.

The Burn is, like the Explosion, pure creative crack. But it’s the kind of rush I associate with exercise–a full-body endorphin rush from effort instead of the Explosion’s more passive, cerebral high.

Generally the wordage that comes out during the Burn is very clean and lean, and doesn’t require a lot of editing/revising. Once again I have a head full of story, I almost resent anything that pulls me away from working. I put in marathon sessions–my very high wordcount days are almost always during the Burn. Everything in the book just comes together, including things I’d written earlier that I had no earthly clue how they were going to turn out.

The closest thing I’ve ever seen to a visual representation of the transition between Slog and Burn is the classic domino scene from V for Vendetta. Suddenly everything just…clicks over. I finish the book at a gallop, and the flywheel inside my head is suddenly spinning wildly, all that ramped-up energy with nowhere to go. (This is why a recovery period is so necessary for me after each book; I have got to let that flywheel slow down or it will start smoking and sparking. Not a happy cupcake. But that’s a different post.)

This is why I say it’s critical to get into the habit of writing every day and also critical to finish a couple books before you give up on writing. The habit of writing will pull you through the Hole and the Slog; once you’ve finished a couple books you will have a much clearer idea of your own process that will help make the slogging parts of that process more manageable. The “huh, I’ve done this before” is a razor-thin margin, but sometimes it’s enough space to get a handle on the entire goddamn book so you can beat it to death. (It’s not quite as violent as I make it sound. (I’m just in the Hole part of a short story today. It makes me cranky.)

It does not get easier, per se. But knowing your own process at least places the Hole and the Slog in perspective and makes them more manageable. And really, some days “more manageable” is all one can hope for.

Over and out.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Crossposted to the Deadline Dames. Check out our new shiny!

Good afternoon, my dears. A couple things, then a small Friday post, then off into the wild blue yonder.

* If you look at my events calendar, you’ll see I’m at the Auburn, WA, public library tomorrow (Saturday), and on Sunday I’m at the Cedar Hills Crossing Powell’s for the SF/F Authorfest. I’ll gladly sign books at both events, though there will be no books for sale at the Auburn library. I’m beginning to get pre-event nerves (nobody will show up, my heart will stop from sheer terror, someone will throw rotten fruit, etc., etc.) so I will just content myself with saying, if you’re in the area, both events promise to be a lot of fun.

* Want to know what makes me feel really, really unclean, and not in a good way? This article about James Frey preying on creative writing graduates.

This is the essence of the terms being offered by Frey’s company Full Fathom Five: In exchange for delivering a finished book within a set number of months, the writer would receive $250 (some contracts allowed for another $250 upon completion), along with a percentage of all revenue generated by the project, including television, film, and merchandise rights—30 percent if the idea was originally Frey’s, 40 percent if it was originally the writer’s. The writer would be financially responsible for any legal action brought against the book but would not own its copyright. Full Fathom Five could use the writer’s name or a pseudonym without his or her permission, even if the writer was no longer involved with the series, and the company could substitute the writer’s full name for a pseudonym at any point in the future. The writer was forbidden from signing contracts that would “conflict” with the project; what that might be wasn’t specified. The writer would not have approval over his or her publicity, pictures, or biographical materials. There was a $50,000 penalty if the writer publicly admitted to working with Full Fathom Five without permission. (Inside Full Fathom Five, p. 3)

In case you’re wondering, these are bad, bad terms. They’re the sort of terms Guy Pearce’s Warhol offered Sienna Miller’s Edie Sedgwick, only without the initial friendship. Or the sort of terms Lord Ruthven might have offered one of his victims. I’ll just content myself with noting that Frey’s earlier hijinks make me feel filthy about this in a way that James Patterson’s or VC Andrews’s ghostwriters don’t. Also, dude, if you’re a rebel, you don’t need to go around saying what a rebel you are. Henry Miller would kick Frey’s ass for presumption.

“But wait!” you might say. “Nobody’s forcing these people to sign with Frey’s company! He’s not holding a gun to their heads or anything!”

True. But Bernie Madoff didn’t hold a gun to anyone’s head either; scam artists don’t have to and we still prosecute them–or at least, evince some distaste for their methods. As a professional, I cannot condone Frey’s behavior and I hope one or two aspiring writers might decide in light of that article not to lend themselves to this nastiness. ‘Nuff said.

* Also, while I’m in take no prisoners mode, there’s the same kerfluffle there is every year over NaNoWriMo. (No, I’m not linking to the kerfluffles. They make me tired.) NaNo is great for one thing: teaching aspiring writers to shut up, sit down, and make writing a priority. That’s great, and it’s just the sort of lesson a lot of people who want to write often need. But writing only one month out of the year is not a good way to maximize your chances of producing quality, publishable work. That’s like saying a two-hour class can teach you to safely be a trapeze acrobat. I’m not knocking NaNo–I’ve participated several times, and plan to participate next year. It’s a good thing, but it’s not the sole means of becoming a writer or of learning to consistently produce publishable work.

Anyway. I promised another process post, didn’t I?

Read the rest of this entry » )

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

That’s right, it’s the release week for the fifth Jill Kismet book, Heaven’s Spite.

To celebrate, I’ll be giving away three signed copies, over at the Deadline Dames. I regret that I can only ship inside the US, but that’s the way things are. To make it even, I’ll also be giving away a $20 Amazon gift certificate. And what must you do to win these wonderful prizes?

Simple! Just comment on this Deadline Dames post by midnight on Sunday, October 31 (the witching hour on Samhain, even). But not just any old comment, please. You can give your favorite quote, give a Dame a compliment, tell us your favorite Halloween candy or spooky story. The winners will be picked with the help of Random.org, and I may pick a special prize for originality. You never can tell.

I’ll announce the winners next Friday, and (I promise! I promise!) will have the long-awaited next Process Post then.

Thank you for reading! I’m very excited that Jill’s next adventures are out in the world.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Thanks for all the great congratulations and well-wishes during this release week! It’s been a wait, I know, but I am pleased and proud to say that Heaven’s Spite, the fifth Jill Kismet book, is now out in the wild.

When a new hellbreed comes calling, playing nice isn’t an option. Jill Kismet has no choice but to seek treacherous allies – Perry, the devil she knows, and Melisande Belisa, the cunning Sorrows temptress whose true loyalties are unknown.

Kismet knows Perry and Belisa are likely playing for the same thing–her soul. It’s just too bad, because she expects to beat them at their own game. Except their game is vengeance.

Nobody plays vengeance like Kismet. But if the revenge she seeks damns her, her enemies might get her soul after all…

Now available at Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Powell’s, Book Depository, and Amazon!

This was one of the most difficult Kismet books to write. I was coping with immense changes in my personal life, and the book itself is…difficult, in terms of what I had to put Jill through. I mean, I always knew this was coming, it’s the arc beginning in Night Shift and reaching through the final book, Angel Town, which I just finished the zero draft of recently. (It’s resting before revisions.) It’s also extraordinarily difficult to bring Jill’s story that much closer to closing. There is much more I would want to say through her, but it’s time to let her go.

But not for one more book. *grin*

Anyway, I hope you enjoy Heaven’s Spite. I’ll be doing a contest later in the week, so stay tuned!

ETA: I almost forgot! Yes, you can still buy signed and personalized copies through my local indie bookstore, even though they had a fire recently. Drop them an email–they even ship overseas!

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Morning. (Insert yawn, gap, and stretch here.) Links first! There’s an interview (10 Favorite Things) with me over at Book Chick City, as well as a giveaway. And decluttering your life. (Been doing a lot of that lately.) You can make jelly out of Mountain Dew. But if you want something a little less jet-fuel and a little more tasty, gingerbread pancakes are probably a good bet. (Thanks to Reader Kathy McC for that last one!) Last but certainly not least, tolerance in two stories: New York Mayor Bloomberg’s recent speech, and a piece on Abd el-Kader and the Massacre of Damascus.

Whew. That’s a lot of links.

Every once in a while, I like to work some retail to keep my hand in. Being on-call on a volunteer basis for that certain local used bookstore suits me fine. Yesterday I opened and closed the store, and as usual there was a certain amount of craziness. The owner calls it “the Vortex” because the weird swirls around and around, and sometimes funnels through with a gurgling noise.

I tried to warn her this was the rule more than the exception in working retail. She didn’t believe me, having been stuck in the corporate hell of a cubicle job for years.

Now she believes.

Anyway, yesterday I got called “Peggy”, was sized-up by a cologne-dunked man buying mythology, found textbooks online for a half-drunk college student, drank and made a lot of coffee, took in a lot of books, hand-sold some of those same books less than an hour later, explained why Clancy hardbacks just don’t sell, and just generally chuckled and meandered my way through the day. If one must work retail, a bookstore isn’t a half bad place to do it.

One funny side effect, though, is that people wander in with the damndest questions.

* “Where’s the liquor store that used to be here?” Answer: “It’s moved about a block and a half up the street, and that was over twelve years ago. You can see it from the edge of the parking lot. Good luck.”

* “Do you have a phone book?” Answer: “Yes.” Then a long beat of silence. Finally, the second question will come up, which ranges from “Can I borrow it?” to “Can I look something up in it?”

* “Do you have maps?” Not heard as often as just a plain, “Where’s X?” X can be the local museum, any other local business, any business in Portland, a random street number, an address, or (on certain memorable occasions) someone specific’s house. Usually, the people asking for someone’s house are pupil-dilated, disoriented, and have to learn to live with “I don’t know. Are you all right?” for an answer. People just think that when you work in a bookstore, you Know More, and will disperse that information rather like a search engine.

* “Where’s your bathroom?” OK, a lot of retail places hear this. It becomes time for a judgment call as soon as the words are uttered. Because for some reason, the loo of a bookstore is apparently second only in desirability to pub or music-store loos as a place to shoot/snort/whatever. So the answer ranges from “We don’t have one” to directions.

* “I’m looking for a book…but I don’t know the title or the author.” Answer: “Well, what do you remember about it?” Between what people remember of the cover or (less frequently) the story, we can usually find it. The owner used to laugh when I told her she would get this question and soon develop an encyclopedic knowledge of cover art people are likely to remember, as well as a finely-sharpened intuition about what title people are really looking for based on what they remember of the story.

* “Do you sell…magazines?” Answer: “No. Especially not those kind of magazines. Check the gas station down the street.” Which really, they don’t have any either, but it gets the men who come and ask this particular question out of the store. I mean, occasionally a dude will come in looking for a Ladies Home Journal or something, but that is by far the exception. Mostly they’re looking for Playboy. (For the articles. Yeah. Right.)

* “Oh…damn…where’s the bar?” Answer: “Right next door.” Yes, there’s a bar next door. Sometimes drunken patrons are sent over with trivia questions so we can settle the bets made over shots of something-or-another. Plus, their karaoke comes throbbing through our walls at night. It’s…interesting.

* “Where’s your fiction?” Answer: “What genre?” And a quick list: litfic here, mystery and spec fic (sci fi and fantasy) and horror and romance around the corner there, suspense and spy fiction in this room here, westerns up front…and nine times out of ten, the questioner will simply look at you bug-eyed and repeat, “Where’s your fiction?” Which generally means they have rarely been in a bookstore before and want a recommendation, because they don’t know what the hell they want, but they want something, dammit, and it’s YOUR job to see they get it.

* “Are you hiring?” Answer: “No.” Bookstores are pretty desirable places to work, either because the questioner thinks we’re edgy and snarky a la music stores, or because they think it’s easy. Just drink coffee and read all day! They have no idea about the customer service, the answering questions, the art of buying books and weeding the shelves to make sure they can breathe and tempt consumers, the little maintenance tasks…I could go on.

* “Do you buy books?” Answer: “We do, for in-store credit. We do not pay cash.” Around the end of the month we get this question about twenty times a day over the phone at least, and a few times in person. It’s amazing, though–98% of the questioners then say, “Oh, thanks.” And hang up. Or just hang up without the thanks. Sometimes they try to argue. “But I have pristine hardbacks!” (I am not kidding.) The most fun, however, came when I was working in new bookstores and people wandered in to ask this…

Every bookstore I’ve ever worked at (they’ve mostly been used bookstores, natch) has a board set up in the employee area with variations of these questions in different boxes, and some way of marking them off. It’s just like Bingo, only with retail and caffeine. Days when you get a bingo used to mean drinks after work for everyone on shift. Nowadays they’re more likely to spark a flurry of emails, mostly variations on “Guess what happened THEN?”

If you get a blackout on that board, though, it always means drinks after work.

I’ve worked a lot of jobs in my life, and a good proportion of them have been service or retail oriented. You get to see the best and the worst of humanity. I have a special place in my heart for working in a bookstore, though. Even on blackout Bookstore Bingo days, the regulars and your fellow employees more than make up for it. The joy of matching the right book with the right person, too. Those times that someone returns and says, “You recommended X to me, and I LOVED it!” make one happy to be alive. Plus, geeking about Litrachur with the oddest people–people you wouldn’t think twice about talking to if you saw them on the street, or people you would simply never meet because their slice-of-life is so different from your own–has to be one of the most sublime acts of social and intellectual connection I think I’ve ever experienced.

The greatest thing about it, though, is that working in a bookstore provides such awesome material. Nothing is as absurd as real life, nothing. Fiction has to obey rules. Reality is far zanier than anything a writer can come up with, but you can strip-mine it for the telling quirk, the tiny detail, the internally-consistent eccentricity.

I don’t get paid for any of the volunteer hours I put in. I have to tell you, though, the experience of the daily Vortex spin damn near pays for itself. At the very least it provides me with hilarity I don’t have to watch on a screen. And it reminds me that people are the most strange and wonderful oddities the Universe has going at the moment.

So if you’re working retail today, I salute you. I hope you’re getting great material. And I hope you’re only crossing off a few of those bingo squares…

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Aug. 20th, 2010 05:57 pm)

It’s Friday! Which means a Friday writing post, but before we get into that, a quick recap of the Jealousy signing at the Beaverton Powell’s last night.

Short story: it was fantastic.

Slightly longer story: I arrived after traffic that seemed designed to test the temper of a saint, had to check twice to make sure I’d brought the chapter I was going to read a bit of, and saw people waiting in the event area. I was only prevented from fleeing by the fact that I was in heels and couldn’t run very fast without wrenching a muscle or three, and I was already in the bookstore anyway.

It’s not that fans are scary. It’s that public speaking surpasses Zombie Apocalypse on the list of Things I Fear Most. I know the Zombie Apocalypse is not likely to happen, but public speaking? That will be with us, lo unto the ending of the world.

ANYWAY. There were familiar faces in the audience, like Jay (Kimberly, that hug should have reached you uncrumpled!) and Marne O., as well as the Martian Mooncrab and her Sister Creature, and the fabulous Suzanne Young, whose smile I recognized. Must Love Books and the Novel Novice were also there (hi, guys!) so every time I glanced up, there were encouraging smiles and friendly faces.

I ended up reading a whole chapter of Defiance, book 4 of Strange Angels that comes out next spring. I stopped a couple times, certain that everyone was bored beyond belief, but was pressed very politely and firmly to continue. I also gave out a few spoilers, but not many. Most of them concerned who would and would not die in Certain Books. For some reason I have a reputation for killing characters. *evil grin* I gave as much hope as I could.

Everyone was very patient, waiting in line for the signing portion. Thank you all! I had a great time once I got over the fear of standing in front of everyone and talking. I’m always certain I sound like a complete idiot in front of a group of people.

And now, onward to the Friday post!

Read the rest of this entry » )

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