I’m a winter writer. Endless gray, rainy days suit me very well. I like to sit and stare out the window, watching the sky weep, my brain tuned to that expectant humming that the next sentence will bring itself out of.

Maybe this is why I have, whenever I could in my adult life, built time into each day for dreaming, and insisted that the Prince and Princess have unstructured time each day. I’m of the opinion that it’s those moments of blankness that helps young (and older) brains catch up with themselves, and is also a necessary component of the creative process–the “creative pause.”

When you’re rushing to a solution, your mind will jump to the easiest and most familiar path. But when you allow yourself to just look out the window for 10 minutes – and ponder – your brain will start working in a more creative way. It will grasp ideas from unexpected places. It’s this very sort of unconscious creativity that leads to great thinking. When you’re driving or showering, you’re letting your mind wander because you don’t have to focus on anything in particular. If you do carve out some time for unobstructed thinking, be sure to free yourself from any specific intent. (Scott Belsky)

Part of why I prize that humming in my head so highly is because I’ve lived with people who have an absolute instinct for knowing when one’s brain is approaching that cycle, and for some reason they want to disrupt it in any way possible. (WHY they do this is a whole ‘nother ball of blog post wax. Let’s carry on.) Of course, it could be that I am picky and hard to live with. (Who isn’t?) But I’ve since become grateful for that harsh everyday annoyance. It was invaluable training in getting the creative pause in anyhow, triggering the blank expectant humming at a moment’s notice, slipping myself into that interstitial space within an eyeblink. It takes practice, but it can be done–and often, I surface knowing What Comes Next in a story.

My point (you knew I had one, right?) is that your faculties might do their best work with a little bit of white noise. Not too much–then you just drool all over your keyboard, and this, while not incredibly expensive if one buys cheap keyboards, is still annoying and embarrassing. But finding a way to fit even five minutes of just sitting and thinking, or sitting and staring (not at the television, Christ, throw that thing out the window or at least only use it for films) into your day can reap you rewards all out of proportion, especially when it comes to any creative endeavor. And getting into the habit of protecting that time will help you develop the skills necessary to protect your writing time, tooth and nail, against all comers. Which is exponentially more important…

…but that’s another blog post.

Over and out.

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

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.

Get out the pitchforks and torches, it’s that kind of day…

So, there’s been some brouhaha in the book-reviewing world. Mostly, it’s been yet another edition of Authors Behaving Badly, and I’ll just point you at Cleolinda’s rundown and my own hoary old advice. Of course writers shouldn’t respond, positively or negatively, to reviews. Of course it’s wrestling a pig in mud–the pig loves it, and you just get dirty and look like an idiot. Of course. Of course.

But.

Look, it would take the patience of a saint to put up with some of this shit. And writers are most definitely not saints. Neither, dear Reader, are you.

In any group of people, X% are going to be assholes. It’s like the speed of light–it’s a fucking constant, so let’s get used to it and go on from there. Even those who are not assholes as a matter of course can sometimes act in an asshole manner, given the right conditions. Sometimes, we’re all assholes. You, me, that guy over there, everyone.

I have to tell you, though, sometimes I just don’t blame authors as much as you’d think. There are “review” sites that only serve to aggrandize their owners’ precious little pretensions, and there are “review” sites that should have a sign attached saying “LOOK, JUST FEED MY ENTITLEMENT COMPLEX BECAUSE OTHERWISE I’LL BADMOUTH YOU!”. Then there’s Goodreads–which I use myself, as a means of tracking my reading, and to be available, to a certain degree, to fans. Which is all fine and good, but just like EVERY OTHER SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE, there are some corners of Goodreads that might as well be 4chan. That’s all right if you like 4chan, and of course, if I claim the right to say whatever the hell I want here on this corner of the Internet that I pay for and maintain, I can certainly allow it to “review” sites that appear to be someone’s shallow little reproductions of high-school cliquishness. C’est la vie, c’est la guerre, c’est the fucking marmalade.

A lot of times, however, when I see an Author Behaving Badly On Teh Interwebs–I’m not talking about harassment, I’m not talking about plagiarism–I see a writer getting mad at some deliberately provocative pieces of horseshit. There are “review” sites that keep waving red flags and waiting for the moment a writer, any writer, will snap. They get a charge off this, and I don’t precisely blame some writers for responding. It turns into a situation that only ends well for the petty little provocateur, because they end up getting the emotional charge and the hit count. It never, ever ends well for the writer.

So while I don’t precisely blame the writer sometimes, I do wince. And I do sometimes privately agree with the kernel of some of their rants. I am, and plenty of other writers are, in the position of not being able to offer agreement publicly or professionally, and I think a lot of “review” sites and Mean People on social networking sites bank on that. It’s like the Speshul Snowflakes who decide to be rude to retail or food-service workers. They get the emotional charge and get a kick out of being the “injured party” or merely the Stirrer Of The Shit, and their stink spreads far and wide.

The point of all this is, sooner or later a writer is going to be tempted to respond. If the idea of taking the high road and behaving professionally isn’t enough to stop you, just think about what it means to descend to the level of the jackass who’s trying to taunt you into reacting. Is it worth being just like him or her? Is it truly worth it, when you know you’re just going to end up covered in shit while they laugh at the fact that they made you respond while basking in their brief Internet celebrity? Is it seriously worth it?

This isn’t to exonerate every writer who behaves badly on the Internet. It’s just to say that sometimes, you know, I don’t exactly blame the ones who do snap under the provocation. There but for the grace of God goes anyone, really.

It would do well for us all to remember that.

Over and out.

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

Just a few quick things, since Monday is humping my leg like a sabretooth Chihuahua:

* To those of you asking for a Hedgewitch Queen/Bandit King spot in my fan forum, success! Here it is.

(See below)* I am informed there are some copies of Reckoning floating around out there with a printer error. As in:

Just finished reading Reckoning. Very confused. Book pages screwy? After p278 went to p215 with repeat through p246 then ended.– A fan on Twitter

There was a printer error, and they thought they caught all of them, but such is obviously not the case. My editor is asking around about how to solve the problem. So, hang in there–as soon as I know more, I’ll share it here.

* This last Saturday my friend Zen E. participated in the Portland Boulder Rally at the Circuit NE. I was on hand with the video camera, and it was a great event! I am constantly surprised by how supportive the climbing community here is. Out of all the people I’ve met since I started climbing, there’s only been one outright-nasty person. The rest of them have been kind, thoughtful, polite, cheering on everyone and just generally being good sports. It’s amazing. Anyway, Zen stuck her last route of the day, one she’d been working for a while during the competition, and it was great to see. (The video of the occasion holds audio of me whooping with you when she makes the last move and her hands stick at the top. I was Very Excited.) Thanks to everyone who made such a great event possible!

* I’m getting a lot of mail about Steelflower lately. Guys, even if I had time to write the second in the series, there are other considerations. I know you want to read about Kaia and her troupe heading off to Rainak Redfist’s homeland to take back his birthright, but it might not happen for a while, and being angry with me won’t help or solve anything. I have the last two books of the series in my head–the third book deals with Kaia and Darik’s return to G’maihallan. But like I said, it may be a while. I am looking at a number of different options. That’s all I can say.

Coming up this week: my thoughts on epub-only, the Pyrrhic Victory of Pelennor Sunroom, and possibly (if I can figure out how to meld the music into it) a podcast. Not sure about the podcast, though. It takes me a while, and much swearing, to get those right…

Over and out.

ETA: Heard back from the publisher–no more than 200 copies escaped with the error. If you received one of them, contact the publisher’s Customer Service directly. If you can’t take the book back to the bookstore from whence it came, they can send you a new copy. (Note the “IF.”) Thanks for letting me know about this, guys–I got six emails in a 20-minute span about it on Monday, and about had a heart attack. Whew.

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

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Nov. 21st, 2011 11:22 am)

Steel-toed boots. Eyeliner. A good-quality trenchcoat. A Zippo, just in case. A pocketknife, a handkerchief or two, electrical tape, and a tiny first-aid kit. These are the things no girl should be without. You can, I suppose, substitute duct tape, but a roll of that is kind of hard to stick in a pocket. Though I have. Once or twice. Just to be sure.

“You need chains,” the Selkie told me, and proceeded to equip me with such. They go in the back of the car, along with the two first-aid kits (softcover survival and hardcover medical), the gallon of distilled water (great for washing the floormats after Sir Pewksalot gets excited), some rolled-up towels, bungees (you can never have too many) and granola bars, the roll of toilet tissue and the extra plastic bags knotted up and stuffed into a milk crate. Antibacterial handi-wipes and extra ibuprofen in the center console, a Sharpie, a tiny tub of Carmex (even if it melts, it will be okay, unlike a tube) and a multi-tool that can break a car window and slice a seatbelt…just in case. Ice scraper. Extra dog leash.

In the garage: the axe handle, the heavy bag, canned supplies and water, extras and just-in-cases on shelves next to the decorations and the boxes of author’s copies. (Maybe I could chuck them at an intruder. That might work.) In the house: bokkan scattered about, the linen closet stocked with first-aid and cold medicine and light bulbs, cleaning supplies, and a weapons check every day. Going through each room and making sure that no matter where I am there is a weapon within easy reach. It doesn’t have to be anything someone else would think of as a weapon, just something I can use for self-defense. Even the souvenir rocks from road-trips can be chucked at a poor soul who won’t know what hit them until too late.

Baby wipes. Sleeping bags. Extra umbrella. Go bags by the front door, both for paranormals (haven’t had a client in years, but still keep it packed and ready) and for emergency/disaster. Important paperwork stashed. Extra pens. Scarves hanging on pegs, gloves in a bucket just in case, flashlights checked and batteries tested. Charcoal, tealights, another survival kit, spare sheets for God knows what, a stack of rag-towels for sopping up spills or ripping into bandages. A stack of old cloth diapers, because they are useful. Cat litter, not just for the cats but also for cleanup of who-knows.

I was told, all during my childhood, that I was flighty. That I’d never make it in the real world, because my head was in the clouds. Instead, I’m the one with a stick of gum, the aspirin in the bottom of the purse, the pocketknife, the GPS or the candle or the cigarette lighter. Motherhood taught me some of that, but my instinct, even while living rough, has been to prepare, as far as possible, for whatever.

I am either going to be in great shape when the zombie apocalypse hits…or on an episode of Hoarders. It’s anyone’s guess which.

The weird thing is, I still think of myself as stupid and flighty. I still have the knee-jerk “oh, I’m a mess, I’m never prepared,” even when I’m the one with the spit and baling wire. I am rarely caught-without in any major way, which is probably helped by the fact that I’ve lived in this house for a good decade now. Which is another thing–even after that long, I’m ready to move at any moment. Ready to pack and torch and flee if necessary. I always have been, but if it hasn’t been necessary for the past ten years, well.

My point (and I do have one) is that readiness is a process, and that I am rarely as helpless as I am afraid I might be. As life lessons go, it’s a good one. I just wish I could get it into my skull so I could relax. Well, at least fractionally. But until that happens, it’s the trenchcoat and a pocket check before I leave the house. It’s checking the go-bags every month and eying the linen closet weekly. It’s packing for just in case and hauling what I might need if disaster, either physical or otherwise, hits. It’s getting ready, being ready, as a state of mind.

What do you do to get ready, kids? I’m interested. I’m always looking for readiness tricks to shamelessly steal borrow. Yeah, borrow. That’s it.

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

I may have kicked the flu virus in the nads hard enough to flee its clutches and live to fight another day. Still, I’m sucking down hot water infused with lemon and shredded ginger like there’s no tomorrow. One can’t ever be too sure.

I have Authorfest photos that I should put up, but that’s going to have to wait.

* A lot of you write to me asking about the cover models for the Strange Angels series. Guys, I do not know. You would do better asking the publisher, Razorbill. As an aside concerning Dru and the gang, I am now getting a bumper crop of mail from teachers, librarians, and youth counselors. Dear Readers…thank you. Thank you very much. I am glad to hear what you have to say. Bless you.

* Here, have Bruce Wayne’s medical report. I haven’t laughed like this since Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex.

* Jane Austen might have died of arsenic poisoning. Note that the poisoning was most likely accidental, say, a medicine to help her rheumatism. Nevertheless, I have a mad idea of a lady novelist dead of arsenic, resurrected by a form of clockwork science, and shambling toward those who pique her with the jawbone of a literary critic clutched in one rotting speckled hand…

* Oh yes, and you get a twofer: two short stories by me, released through Orbit Short Fiction. Unfallen, the prime story, was inspired to a great degree by Slacktivist’s (ongoing) reading of the Left Behind series so we don’t have to. (Incidentally, Mr. Clark, if you would like a gratis copy, please do email me.) Also included, I believe, is The Last Job, an Izzie Borden super-short that pleases me quite a bit, and is a sort of homage to Hammett, Chandler, and Woolrich. I rather like Izzie and would love to write more shorts featuring her.

I do realize I need to post pics from the Authorfest and write the second half of the Battle of Pelennor Sunroom. I’m getting there, I promise. IN the meantime, I am fueling my recovery with pita chips and ginger water (this is the first time I’ve felt actually hungry in days) and sheer stubbornness.

Over and out.

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

First, the serious: Jim C. Hines on reporting sexual harassment in the SFF community. The comments also mention Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear, which I also can’t recommend enough.

Then, the fun! Would you like to win a signed (in the US) or free (outside the US) copy of my just-released Angel Town? Or a copy of fellow Dame Keri Arthur’s Darkness Rising? Or would you, perchance, like a $15 Amazon gift certificate? Would you?

Well, you’re in luck! Just head over to the Deadline Dames’ latest Release Day Giveaway. All you have to do to get a chance to win is comment there. The Dames, we believe in making it easy to win.

We’re cool like that.

While you’re there, you can also find tons of other cool things, like the Readers on Deadline contests and helpful writing/publishing advice. And as soon as we figure out how to give out pie over the Internet, we’ll probably do that too.

Because we’re Dames. And Dames rock.

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

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Oct. 5th, 2011 02:48 pm)

Have a question you’ve been dying to ask me?

Well, head over to the Deadline Dames today and let loose. While you’re there, look at the giveaways, prizes, and writing advice we’ve got up.

Because Dames rule.

See you there!

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

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.

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

Just a couple of quick things:

* “Hippo Birdie” to the lovely and talented Miss L. D., otherwise known as the Martian Mooncrab. Research assistant, author helper, amanuensis, and organizer extraordinaire, she is a shining light. *throws confetti* You go, girl!

* I am trying to get another podcast together. So far I have a couple Reader Questions and a request to do my Hans & Franz impression. The next few weeks are hair-tearing busy, between writing, proofs, and various other things. But I’m working on it, guys.

* There’s a couple updates on yesterday’s plagiarism story. I won’t say more, because otherwise my head might asplode. The awards ceremony this year is going to be a dilly.

* Creepy Whistling Dude was at it again this morning. The new twist? A wooden train whistle. Maybe he thinks he just isn’t being overtly creepy enough?

And that’s about it for a while. I’ve got to plunge back into fresh wordcount. This book wants to be born. It’s dropped down and my brain’s dilated.

…yeah, bad metaphor. Sorry about that.

Over and out!

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Jun. 30th, 2011 09:34 am)

I broke my best speed for running outside today–five miles, 54 minutes 24 seconds. I’m pretty damn proud of that. Yet one more funny thing about stress, cortisol, and adrenaline–I can feel it burning off while I run, and and I can smell the flat mineral tang of my body metabolizing the stress hormones. At the same time, stress forces me to push and run faster, so I end up going faster or longer or both. Plus, getting back into the swing of five miles four or five days a week does things to my appetite–I start craving lean protein and not wanting so many sweets or junk. (Well, there’s choco–the more I run, the darker I want my chocolate to be.) The ankle is holding up fine; I think it’s pretty much rehabilitated.

I think we’ve found a winner for the Stupidest and Most Blatant Plagiarist of the Year Award, and it’s only June. Bonus points for the woman’s website About page, where she says “I love to write I just started do this January of 2011 and have grown a lot where it comes to my books.” (See for yourself. Caution: Twilight wallpaper ahoy.) It’s been a week for stupidity–you probably heard about the “writer” who decided fake kidnappings were a great way to get an agent’s attention. (Hint: IT’S NOT. And the “publisher” he finally got to take his book? POD or vanity? You make the call.) I think these two are neck and neck for the “Ways To Destroy Any Chance You Ever Had Of A Writing Career” prize this year, too. It’s been a busy week.

If you need an anodyne after that, the JFK turtles are back. Their Twitter is hilariously cute, too.

With that, I’m off to go bouldering. Play safe out there.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Jun. 24th, 2011 09:56 am)

I finally finished the copyedits last night. My brain is porridge, but I go straight into Book 2 of the duology I just finished edits on book 1 for. *headdesk* So it’s six random things this Friday while I recuperate. Sort of. I guess. Maybe.

* James “Whitey” Bulger’s finally been caught. (He was in Santa Monica for 14 years.) I heard about him years ago on America’s Most Wanted (I used to watch that show religiously, you just don’t know) and always wondered, off and on, if he was ever going to be caught. Kind of like Ira Einhorn. (Einhorn was gone for 17 years. Justice grinding slow but fine, anyone?)

* What was Shakespeare smoking? They want to dig him up and find out. Seriously. No, really. The words “crack pipe” are used. I AM SERIOUS.

* Oh, what happens to a state’s economy when the expected quasi-slave labor pool is driven away? Any guesses?

* For heaven’s sake, just let people get married and spend their lives together. The world is cold and cruel enough. Quit trying to make it harder.

* My new cell phone (the one I had to teach how to curse, remember?) has Google Tracks. Which means I can run with Miss B., and have my distance, speed, elevation, and quite probably what I had for breakfast, the state of the cartilage in my knees, and the number of hairs on Miss B. right front foot tracked. Already it’s been thought-provoking; I’ve found out that my pace outside is a lot quicker than I thought possible, as well as a number of other things. The future is here. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with it, but it’s mighty convenient.

* I am told that in my next podcast I have to do my Hans and Franz impersonation. So, that’s coming up in the near future. I’m also taking questions for that same podcast. Drop me a line if you have a podcast question for me!

And that’s about it for Friday six. Off I go to force my porridge-brain through another sieve. It’s about as fun as it sounds…

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Jun. 15th, 2011 12:51 pm)

Quick note: Today I’ll be participating in the June TorChat. Come talk about paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and other fun stuff!

ETA: Thanks for such a great chat, everyone! Tor is running a giveaway too, to celebrate. Enjoy!

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Too much to explain. Let me sum up.

* An interview with me, and a giveaway, over at CJ Redwine’s place. I am interviewed by a were-llama. Also, part 2 of the giveaway next week involves JEWELRY. Trust me, you want to be in on this.

* The Wall Street Journal went concern-trolling for pageviews again. Dame Jackie responds a lot more politely than I would have, Diane Duane hits it out of the park, the Guardian weighs in, and #YASaves hits trending. I thought of posting my own response to WSJ’s pearl-clutching idiocy, but in the end Jackie and Diane did it better than I ever could, and I don’t want to link and feed the troll more pageviews. So there it is.

* Kristen Lamb on training to be a career writer:

Athletes who compete in decathlons use a lot of different skills—speed, endurance, strength. They walk this fine balance of giving an event their all….without really giving it their all. They still must have energy left to effectively compete in the other events and outpace the competition.

We writers must learn to give it our all….without giving it our all. The better we get at balancing our duties, the more successful we will be in the long-run. Writers who fail to appreciate all this job entails won’t be around in a year or three. They are like a runner who sprints at the beginning of a marathon. They will fall by the side of the road, injured and broken.

So today when you have to squeeze in that 100 words on your break from work, think I’m training. When your kids hang off you as you write, picture that weighted sled. Play the soundtrack to Rocky if you must. (Kristen Lamb)

* Want to see me climb? We’re recording ourselves on routes so we can nitpick our performance. (By “we” I mean “me and ZenEllen, my bouldering partner.”) Here’s some from today: an inglorious failure at a bouldering route, then a second attempt where I stick the damn thing. I’ve been working this route for a few weeks now. You can also see some of my tats, and the Official Belt Of Urban Fantasy. (Long story. I had to buy one, after that.)

And now I’ve got to spend the first half of my writing day in alternate-Renaissance fantasy France, and the second half in contemporary paranormal YA. The braincramps are fun to watch–my face squinches up when I shift gears and go from one to the other. Good times, man. Good times.

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The winners for the DEFIANCE contest are posted here at Deadline Dames! Thanks for all the great trivia–I learned an incredible amount reading those comments. My Readers have a vast store of knowledge. When I take over the world, I shall be depending on each of you to advise me.

My weekend was long periods of intense work broken only by moments of reaching for the next batch of Easter candy to shove down my gullet. Yes, that’s right–I was revising. Or, if you want to be precise, doing the first revision after an editorial letter for a book I wrote three years ago or so. I kept looking at the screen in disbelief, shaking my head and tasting vomit because I’d written something that sucked so hugely. Which is a normal thing for me during revisions, really, but looking at any work more than six months old is an incredibly disheartening experience. I take comfort in the fact that, while I might not know if I’ve gotten better in the intervening time, at least I know my writing style has changed.

This particular book started out at about 100K words, and now stands at about 125K. This is, for me, an absolute doorstop of a book. My editor wanted more more more, so I obliged, and since the work had good bones…well, I guess I’ll find out what she thinks in a little bit. Since I’ve finished and sent it back early, pleading for her to be only as savage with it as she must.

Notice I don’t ask for kindness. Kindness, while it may save whatever tattered shards of ego I have left, will not make the book better.

Anyway. I am looking forward to announcing this project as soon as I get the official okay-go-ahead. In the meantime, here, have some Chuck Wendig: 25 things a writer should know. I’ll just point and say, what he said.

After the push to get the revisions done (steady progress yesterday was marred by a corrupted file and the loss of an hour’s worth of work, thank God it wasn’t more, but it was in the last twenty fricking pages and I almost wept like the little girl I pretend to be sometimes when luring my victims in, whole ‘nother story, tell you later), catching up (mostly) on correspondence, and finishing a review that had been languishing on my hard drive for two weeks, I don’t have a lot of usable gray matter left in my tiny little skull. If you need me, I’ll be over in the corner rocking back and forth and reading about the Ardennes offensive. *whimpers*

Over and out.

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It’s Fish of April! Here’s the obligatory prank. There, now we’ve gotten that out of the way.

It’s a Friday and I’m flying low, so…under the cut, the long-awaited picture of Miss B, plus a squirreltastic treat. (ETA: Plus, the Evil League of Evil Writers totally made me cry this morning.)

Read the rest of this entry » )

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Mar. 11th, 2011 10:08 am)

* First off, a collection of links on how to help after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Plus, emergency numbers and live reports.

* This week’s writing post (Habit and Ritual) was on Wednesday. I am putting together ideas for a new podcast episode. Now’s the time to get your questions in!

* Interesting article on Ayn Rand. I always wonder, when reading about Rand, how coverage or criticism would be different if she was male. But that’s a question/rant for another day.

* Let’s not forget that Governor Scott Walker and the Republicans in Wisconsin have basically given the finger to working families with a series of shenanigans. The cynic in me says that now that the bill is signed, the mainstream media will move on and shove more Charlie Sheen and disaster pr0n down our throats and hope we forget all about it. Let’s hope I’m wrong. Also, Peter King’s hypocritical McCarthyite witch hunt, America isn’t broke, and Murder City just over our border.

Today I have to get some work done, so I’m signing off and turning off the Internet connection. I just can’t handle any more. Have a safe weekend out there, dear Readers.

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I am currently stamping on some flaming revisions at the moment, hoping I can put them out in time to make deadline. So just a few things today:

* Yes, I’ve started a podcast! I can treat you all to long rambling rants about nothing in my screechy caw, not to mention try to get over my fear of speaking into a microphone.

* Chuck Wendig on how not to starve and die as a writer, and on what dopamine is and why writers need it. I should just steal all his writing posts and pass them off as mine.

* Holly Black on the (nonexistent) YA mafia. John Scalzi on the (nonexistent) YA mafia. For Christ’s sake, there is no YA mafia. This is just the latest iteration of the “gatekeeper” myth–the idea that there is a secret cabal somewhere that you have to kiss up to or figure out the secret handshake for in order to break into publishing. There is none. There is quality control and business practices, but no fricking gatekeepers, keymasters, Zuuls, Viggo the Carpathians, or Stay-Puft Marshmallow men.

Okay, so there is a Stay-Puft Man, but like I said earlier on Twitter, you have to be drunker than Hemingway to see him. So, yeah.

* Slacktivist has moved! But he promises to keep doing the Left Behind rundowns. So I suppose I’ll adjust.

Writing posts will resume when I have some mental and emotional energy to pour into them, which frankly isn’t at the moment. I’m too busy trying to put out the bonfire of the revisions. (They burn longer than vanities, I’m told…)

Over and out.

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Ring the bells and pass the ammunition, I’m running again!

Seriously. I was out of bed like a shot at 5 this morning, into my running gear, and on the treadmill before you could say “ankle sprain BE CAREFUL.” Warm-up, cooldown, and a half-hour at a very slow and gentle pace. My ankle wasn’t happy, of course, but what part of one’s body IS happy when one’s running? It felt so good. I wanted to keep going and put in an hour, but I’m being a good girl. For now it’s half-hour runs, nice and slow, for the next two weeks while my ankle adjusts to the load. I feel calmer and more centered than I have in weeks.

Add to that the robins I can see pecking in my front yard, and it feels like spring is just around the corner. Of course, spring here in western Washington only differs from winter in that the rain is a few degrees warmer and the trees are leafing out. This year I’m ready for the renewal. Most of my life I’ve been like, “Eh, spring, whatever. Just another season to be miserable in.” Now, however, I am doing the Snoopy Happy Dance and almost wanting to be cheerful with absolute strangers.

Almost. I wouldn’t want to injure anything else.

If you missed it yesterday, my first attempt at a podcast is here. Twelve minutes of me rambling; answering a couple questions about combat scenes and other stuff. It’s a good first effort, I think; next time the levels will be better and I probably won’t sound as scared. I also won’t treat the microphone like it’s a rattlesnake that might strike at any moment. Stay tuned!

Now I’ve got to go stamp all over some flaming revisions. Good thing I’m wearing my boots. Catch you later, Readers.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Mar. 2nd, 2011 08:01 pm)

Well, my first attempt at a podcast is up. The first bit of it was recorded in mono, the last quarter or so managed to make it to stereo. I’ve finally fixed the problem, and if this turns out to be something you guys like, why then, I’ll do more of them, and they will turn into something a little more finished. (Now that I’ve made a bunch of mistakes with it.)

Oh, you say you want the feed link? I see. Here it is, twelve whole minutes of me blathering away like a big blathering thing. I have horrid stage fright and was terrified during the entire recording process, but the editing was actually kind of fun. I can even see putting my Write Like You Mean It lectures on the Web this way; assuming, that is, that this stirs any interest.

I spent a lot of time today doing some patient advocacy, so I’m wiped out emotionally and physically. I do have good news, though–tomorrow, if my ankle holds up, I am allowed to take my first run in three weeks. I can’t wait. Attempting to just get by with walking has so not cut it. I need my endorphin rush! I am literally fiending for a run.

I wish I could come up with something witty to say, but revisions are eating my head and I can’t wait to finally crawl into bed tonight. So, off I go.

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