I posted this to the feeds yesterday, but had to share here, too. Jackson loves to play in the bathroom with me in the morning while I get ready. It’s all part of his joyful lead-up to breakfast, his equivalent of the Snoopy supper dance. The game evolves daily, usually involving stalker me from behind the shower curtain, bunching up the throw rug and mutilating Q-tips. Sometimes he hides behind the curtain, snags the Q-tips with a sneaky paw, and drags them to their doom.
Their doom being to be soggily swept down the drain when I shower.
Lately he’s figured out that he can jump up on the towel and bring it down on top of him, making an impromptu blanket fort, from which to stalk me and the Q-tips.
I imagine you can detect the theme here.
Yesterday, the towel-jumping morphed into a full leap onto the towel rack. It’s a narrow bar, mind you, but he managed to drape himself there nevertheless. The best part, I think, is that the picture above and to the right of him is a tuxedo cat, too. Okay, it’s an anthropomorphic tuxedo cat, getting off the trolley in New Orleans with a bag of Krauss Donuts. A Streetcat Named Desire is the title.
I may be a bit giddily full of Friday today…
So, Goodreads has been morphing a bit lately. No surprise there with their acquisition by Amazon. Thus far it’s been fairly gentle (since the wholesale removal of some reviewers, that is). Recently Goodreads has started nudging me as an author – mostly via these monthly emailed “author newsletters.” Overall I like the tone and the suggestions seem reasonable. After all, I like Goodreads. I enjoy tracking my books there and seeing what other people are reading. Goodreads readers and reviewers have embraced my books and done a great deal to chat them up. Much more so than on, say, Amazon.
One thing that I hear people like on Goodreads is book giveaways. I’ve even entered them myself – and gotten the books! In fact, I recently discovered (no one told me, alas) that my publisher set up a giveaway for THE MARK OF THE TALA, which goes through April 30. When I looked just now to grab the link, 359 people had signed up! Pretty cool, I think.
And food for thought.
Yesterday I got the cover concept for GOING UNDER, the first book in FALLING UNDER, my new series of full-length erotic romances. And Goodreads, in the March Author Newsletter, had suggested ideas for cover reveals on their site. I spent a bit of time reading up, followed their instructions and set up my Cover Reveal Event.
Then I balked.
Because the next step is to invite people. The newsletter even suggested that I add a bribe (they didn’t call it that – I think they used the word “incentive”) that the first 100 people to add it to their “To Read” shelf will get a special excerpt or some such.
Now, I receive Goodreads invites pretty regularly. Usually from people I don’t know and don’t care about. Sometimes people I’m not even friends with, which I can’t figure out. I delete them all. In fact, I kind of hate getting those invites. And now they want me to send them? Ugh!
I asked this question on Twitter and Facebook, how people feel about getting these invites. The writers say they get a lot and auto-delete – my tribe, clearly – but other folks suggested that maybe readers like it better.
So, I’m torn. What do you all think?
First off, I posted this to the website, and waxed breathless about it on Twitter and so forth, but I got all wrapped up in posting the NestPitch stuff and never mentioned it on ye old blogge here. My upcoming release, The Mark of the Tala, first in my Twelve Kingdoms trilogy, got the best possible review from RT Book Reviews! You can’t read it online for another two months, unless you’re a subscriber, but this is what it says:
“This magnificent fairy tale will captivate you from the beginning to end with a richly detailed fantasy world full of shapeshifters, magic and an exciting romance! Andi isn’t your ordinary must-have-a-prince-to-save-me type of princess. She begins as the invisible middle sister, not a great beauty like Amelia, nor a warrior like Ursula – instead Andi is content to remain a wallflower, until she meets Rayfe and her entire world is turned upside down. She makes wise choices, all to save her people from the harsh realities of battle, and even when faced with horrible options, her course is one of truth, loyalty and love. Rayfe is dark and intense, keeping his feelings close to the chest, but trusts Andi to make the right decisions. They are a remarkable pair, one who celebrate individuality with a partnership that will last for a lifetime.”
– RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars TOP PICK!
4.5 Stars is their top rating, so I’m over the moon. The story threads this reviewer picked out are exactly what I wanted this book to show. The book comes out May 27 (so soon!), but I’ll have copies to sell and give away at the RT Booklovers Convention, which starts May 14. It takes place in fabulous New Orleans this year, so this gathering which is already essentially one big week-long pary will be extra festive. I’m particularly thrilled to be sharing a house in the French Quarter with some writer and book blogger friends.
On one of my author loops last night, someone asked about dress code and how to know what to wear. Seeing as how this is my 5th RT Convention, I offered some advice. Then I thought, I should just post it here, too. Because there is kind of a trick to it, which isn’t always clear to the uninitiated.
Each evening there’s a big party that you can find on the agenda. If you click on the links on the website, you get more details. For example, Thursday night is the Samhain Saints and Sinners party and it says:
Calling all angels and devils! Samhain Publishing invites you to join us Thursday evening for a wicked good time. Sweet and sinful eats. Delightfully dangerous beats. Amazing author treats! Come dance the night away with our Samhain Authors — whether you wear halos or horns, you’ll be sure to find some kindred spirits!
The translation here is that people will come in costume as angels or devils. You don’t HAVE to – and lots won’t – but that’s your cue. Heather Graham’s party used to be called the Vampire Ball or the Fairy Ball (they’ve kind of morphed over the years) and still says “Calling all vampires, vixens, queens and kings … royal courts of light . . . and darkness!” So that gives you a costume cue, should you choose to accept it. Vampires AND fairies is how I read that one.
For the Harlequin Dance Party, they say “a spectacular dance party and an evening of glamour” which means dress up and be sparkly.
For the rest of the time, it’s generally business casual. A lot of people dress up – it can be a big fashion show – and a lot of people don’t. Many authors dress in ways that reflect their book themes. I tend to stick with my own personal style. I often see the advice to wear comfortable shoes, and for walking around the French Quarter and the Riverwalk, I’d definitely agree. However, this is a great opportunity to show off your fabulous heels too! You know I’ll be wearing mine. 🙂
A few weeks ago (time flies!), David and I drove to Tucson for my mom’s birthday. On the way back, we stopped at Elephant Butte Lake for a couple of nights. It’s a huge, man-made reservoir on the Rio Grande River in southern New Mexico. The landscape is often stark and desolate – and also full of amazing color and unearthly views.
We haven’t been doing much in the way of vacation lately – particularly time that’s not connected to work of some sort, like conventions – so this was a peaceful stop to make. The inn we stayed at was a simple place and we ate mainly at the restaurant there. We spent some time gazing at the view and talking. This picture brings that feeling back for me.
So, many of you know I have a day job. The company I work for had about 150 employees when I started, lo these 17 years ago, and has now cracked 500. We’ve also gone to a shared technology system, with a newsfeed we’re all encouraged to post notices, too. Our internal version of social media. I’ve been trying to overcome my baseline grumpiness about the changes and become more active with this shared site.
Because I work from home (euphemistically referred to as a “satellite office”), I decided to post my cover for THE MARK OF THE TALA. After all, if I worked in one of the offices, I would have dragged my ARC in and passed it around like a newborn baby. Also, since this book is not erotica, I figured it was safe to share.
I didn’t want to take up a lot of the feed with information about my book though, so I just posted the cover and a note saying people could look on my website if they wanted to see more.
Last night my supervisor emails me and lets me know that they took the post down. There’s no fall-out for me and the powers that be figure I showed only a “rare lack of judgment.” See, my website contains offensive material. Or, rather, provides access to it, which is against our Information Resource Policy.
(Doesn’t the Entire Internet provide this access???)
So, thus my wrist was slapped. Nobody is mad at me, but I feel oddly chagrined nonetheless. It’s been some time since I had any shadow of feeling that what I write is somehow unsavory. Yet, there it is.
(Amusingly, I linked to my website instead of oh, say, Amazon because it seemed wrong to post anything reminiscent of a buy link. I suspect that would have passed muster, even though Amazon ALSO provides access to all those selfsame offensive materials as my website does.)
It’s interesting to me, however, in a broader perspective, to watch companies like mine try to cultivate the opportunities offered by social media while simultaneously attempting to enforce policies that control it. Social media is social, not corporate. It’s about people interacting, not soulless, sexless workers. What my company is trying to accomplish isn’t *really* about social media at all, but something dressed up to look like it. Kind of an Office Space-style version of Hawaiian Shirt Day, where we’re encouraged to relax – but not too much.
At any rate, consider me duly chastened. And more unwilling than before to post to the company newsfeed.
Fortunately, no one expects me to participate in Hawaiian Shirt Day.
I’m over at Word-Whores this morning, talking about my lovely ARCs (!!!) and the good and bad of book contracts.
I’m tremendously blessed that the production editor at my publisher has turned out to be a major fan of the story and she went to lengths to make the book beautiful. She wanted special fonts, black-feather icons in the line breaks and special swirlies under the chapter numbers. (I would have looked up the term for that, but that’s the exact word she used in her email to me, so…)
Don’t they look great??
And yeah, you get tiny little teasers along with those. I would say I’m sorry, but I’m not.
(On Twitter there’s a newish meme to apologize for stuff like this and add the #notsorry hashtag to the end. Adds the perfect bit of smirk to every tease.)
The other terrific thing about her liking this book and this series is that she’s a serious fantasy geek, the kind that rereads Lord of the Rings every year, so I love, love, love that this book is speaking to someone like that. I also have cover flats that I’ll take to Adventures in Fiction next month. And soon there will be ARCs! It’s all very exciting.
Finally, the second installment of Master of the Opera, Act 2: Ghost Aria releases this Thursday! This release-every-two-weeks thing makes me feel a bit breathless. Especially while receiving page proofs on Mark and finishing drafting Emerald, the new full-length novel, which will be renamed.
One day I’ll write interesting blog posts again!
(Presuming they were EVER interesting. *snort*)
First off, OH MY GOD I HAVE A COVER FOR THE MARK OF THE TALA!!!
Thanks to the sharp-eyed Sullivan McPig for seeing it in the wild and telling me about it!
I’m all breathless.
Finally, on this penultimate day of the Twelve Days of Gifts for all you writerly types who are online today, my lovely agent Pam has a special gift for you! She’s offering a query and first chapter crit to TWO of you! Just spread the word and let me know that you did!
Tomorrow I’ll draw ALL THE WINNERS!
The covers for the final two acts of Master of the Opera are in the wild! Head over to The Bookpushers to see both!
You all know I’m online a lot. Some might say TOO Much. I’m looking at you, Mom. And Anne Lamott. Between my laptop and my SmartPhone, I’m pretty much connected to the internet in some way during my waking hours. A major exception is when I’m at the gym. The other is when I sit down to read.
I need the internet to do both of my jobs. As a writer, I start my day by writing blog posts, answering business and reader emails, posting links to new covers, corresponding with my website designer over new info, etc. I interact with people on Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. For my day job, I work for a company based out of Boston, interacting with colleagues and clients across all the timezones. That’s necessary connectedness, too.
But, in order to do the core work of both my jobs – writing or thinking through data – I have to step away from the distractions of the internet. When I write, I use Freedom to shut off access, to remove all temptation. When I switch over to the day job, though I might dip in and out of Facebook and Twitter, I mostly don’t look. The less I look, the more productive I am. I save things that take longer than a quick look – like Tumblr – for the evenings, when we’re watching a movie.
Yesterday, I was very productive, as I needed to be. I made excellent progress on developmental edits for The Mark of the Tala. I’m trying to finish those out this week, to stay on schedule with all the writing work. And I delivered the two items on my list for the day job that had to be done yesterday.
I finished my day job just in time to do an online chat with Night Owl Reviews for an hour, finishing up at 7pm.
It was a good day.
Settling into my armchair for the evening, I scrolled through Tumblr. As is my habit, I scrolled back to where I stopped looking the night before and worked forward.
And I saw it.
Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. HERE. In Santa Fe on September 29.
I clicked the clicky as fast as my fingers could fly.
They’d already sold out. The notice had gone up at some point yesterday and I had already missed the window.
You guys know how I feel about Neil and Amanda. I even dreamed about them coming to my house for dinner. I don’t identify as a fan for much, but I’m a total fangirl for them.
Clearly, I’m not fangirl enough, I thought, or I would have known about this sooner.
But then… I only have so much energy to spend. I had to make choices and I did. I have to live with all the results of my decisions.
I’ve always found it interesting that the word “decide” means “to cut away.” (Think of other words, like “excise” – to cut out.) Deciding on one course of action means that you cannot do another. Working from home for so many years means I’ve developed a fair amount of self-discipline. I decide to get my work done first, which means I’ve decided not to be a 24-7 Neil Gaiman/Amanda Palmer fangirl.
Thus, while I’m happy to reap the satisfaction of having completed my work, missing out on those tickets is as much a result of that decision.
And I wouldn’t sacrifice the one for the other, in the final analysis. I guess that means my decision was a good one.
Or, at least, I’d make the same decision again.
Which is the most important point.
Okay, so it’s not a pet-the-pretty cover, but bloody decapitations for the win! The Thunder on the Battlefield anthology is out in digital on Thursday! (Or so they promise – it’s not up anywhere yet.) There’s to be print editions as well, theoretically out “mid-August.” I’ll try to keep you all apprised. My story, Negotiation, is in Volume II (pictured). It’s a bit of a prequel to my Twelve Kingdoms trilogy that will be out starting next June. Here’s the blurb:
A wounded warrior trapped by the sorceress who knows him better than he does himself…
General Uorsin escapes the last devastating battle, only to find himself alone on a mountain, feverish and no closer to finding the paradise that drives him on. Salena, greatest shapeshifter and magic-worker of her people, springs the trap she’s set to protect her land—and to prevent the ravager Uorsin from ever reaching it.
Together, they spend a night setting the terms that will determine not only the rest of their lives, but the fates of the peoples of the Twelve Kingdoms—and the thirteenth.
Amusingly, since this will be the first story about this world that any of you see, I’ll have to obey everything I set up in it. This is a bit unsettling as I’m currently drafting book 2 (The Tears of the Rose) and revising book 1 (The Mark of the Tala). I swear, you guys, I’m having to set up a series bible and draw maps and everything. I don’t know what’s gotten into me.
I can tell you one thing – no one does this kind of thing for the erotic romances.
At least, I haven’t had to. Though, now that I think about it, seeing a bible for such a thing would be hysterical. I’m imaging a catalog of sex acts and so forth. Come to think of it, I’ll have an erotic novel coming out in the next year or so that might need it. I’ve just received a contract from Carina for three full-length erotic romances (yay!) and one will involve a very complex, living BDSM contract. I very well may have to lay that out. So to speak.
Anyway the first of those isn’t due until March 1, so I’ll think about that in the spring. Fiddle-dee-dee.
(Did you all know that Scarlett O’Hara was only 16 at the beginning of Gone with the Wind? It explains so much…)
At any rate, here is the new, reduced book pile. Three commenters will win a book!