Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Playing Tag

Okay. Look.

It's not that I don't love you all, each and every one of you. My readers, my fellow writers, all of you. Because I do.

And it's not that I don't appreciate you thinking of me when these things come up. Really. Because the idea that someone out there finds me interesting enough to want to know what I had for breakfast (I never eat breakfast), or what my ten favorite songs are, or how many pairs of socks I own, or my deepest secrets, or whatever you want to think of, is immensely flattering. I swear it is.

It's not even that I don't sometimes appreciate the ideas for stuff to blog about, because I do run out of things sometimes. Especially times like now, when Big Things are happening in the WIP and I am totally creatively empty everywhere else. So it's nice to think, Oh, I'll just do x meme, and that won't take long.

Except that it usually does. Because honestly, if you've been reading here for more than a few months, you already know so much about me that to expose myself further would involve actual nudity. Which is never gonna happen, even if I have lost 24 pounds in the last seven months or so and am now feeling very svelte and attractive again.

So I sit and think, and think, and think, and before I know it I've spent an hour staring at the screen trying to think of ways to make myself actually sound interesting, as opposed to bullshitting my way through the list with stuff like "My favorite color for my fingernails is silver, but my toes are usually red" or "I hate the taste of lamb and never eat it" (That last one took me five minutes, I'm not joking.) Or maybe "I had a terrible nightmare the other night that gave me a great idea for a new book" or "Mt favorite scene from a sci-fi movie is the blood test scene in The Thing, because that shit is awesome."

Or maybe it's that page 123 of the book I'm currently reading says:

"They never really seem to feel anything. For example, Gossett disappears, apparently eaten by an alligator, and the most Norris can work up is a case of vexation. Anderson seems to be in the movie mostly so that Norris has someone to drag out of danger.
There are, of course, the obligatory karate fights, in which Norris flies through the air and aims his magic heels at the villains, killing or disabling dozens of them."

--From Roger Ebert's review of "Firewalker", in the book "I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie", by Roger Ebert.

Okay? So look, if you want to tag me that's fine. But really, all it does is make me feel guilty, because chances are I won't do it. And I won't tag anyone else. It's like getting a chain letter in my email.

(BTW, this constitutes the tagged posts I owe Sherrill, Carole, and whoever it was who tagged me for that Page 123 thingie.)

Two updates: One, please, if you've tagged me don't be hurt by this. It really does make me feel so bad when I don't do the resulting memes that I'd just rather not. But this is meant to be amusing.
Two, I have updated the Stacia Kane website to include several deleted scenes from Personal Demons, so head on over and check them out if you've a mind to.

Monday, April 28, 2008


I am bored. Bored bored bored. I'm bored.

And I'm stuck on blog topics, because everything I think of seems boring too.

I do have some good news though. I managed to write 10k words this weekend, bringing the Unholy Ghosts sequel up to just over 46k. Yay me! It was actually just Friday and yesterday, really, as saturday we were doing family things. By which I mean sitting on the couch watching tv.

Watched The Devil Wears Prada. Disliked the book, disliked the movie. Blah.

I've been searching through my archives, because I know I did a post about terms of endearment at one point, in which I discovered how many women disliked heroes who calltheir heroines "baby". "Baby" as a keyword didn't bring it up; "endearment" didn't either, and neither did "term". So, I do't know where it is.

But once again I find myself stuck. I need an endearment.

See, for me these things are A Big Deal. What the hero calls the heroine matters. It tells us something about him, about their relationship. (At least in books; in real life the hubs and I call each other "baby" all the time and it never occurred to me to think of it as meaning anything specific.)

So here's what I need. I need a term of endearment. Something sweet and adoring but not cheesy. Something a Very Tough Guy would say, which rules out anything too smooth.

It won't really come into play for some time. But I'm bored and stuck and thought this might be fun.

So. Must be in English. Can be archaic. Must not be smooth or sophisticated. Must not be any variations of "sweetcheeks".

Have at it. See if you can think of anything. Be as outrageous as you want. Be funny. Be serious. I don't care.

Throw in some compliments if you like. Some silly pick-up lines. Whatever you like. This will either be amusing or no one will comment at all, so... I leave it up to you.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The world makes me hate me

I don't know why it seems I always get the ideas for my deep thinking posts on Fridays, which is my lowest traffic day (seems to be the case everywhere on the internet, actually.) But I have a few thoughts today. Let's see if I can make a coherent post out of them.

Oh, but first, the Romantic Times review of Personal Demons is out! FOUR STARS! Here's what they said (apparently, as RT is unavailable here, but Anna J. typed it in an email for me):

"Kane's clever story is packed with supernatural action and unique characters. The heroine has made some powerful enemies in the past, and they return with a vengeance. She also has a nice love interest going, and it zings with sexual tension. Surprises throughout keep tension and high and the pages turning as it all comes to a satisfying conclusion."

So here's what I'm thinking. This post at Karen Scott's almost inspired me to comment, but as my comment would have been so convoluted and long-winded I decided to do it over here instead.

In a nutshell, she's linked to a new story about the upcoming reissue of the Sweet Valley High books, and a column about how many girls were apparently driven to eating disorders by the Wakefield twins' "perfect size 6" figures, and how that might be even worse now that the scummy decision has been made to make them size 4s for the reissues.

Now, anorexia is A Bad Thing. And I'm not going to say or even imply that the superthin standards of today don't create problems for young girls (or young men. I knew a bulemic guy; it's not like this is a girl-only problem).

But for some reason, perhaps because I was such an avid SVH reader in my preteen/very early teen years (I'd moved on by the time I hit fourteen or so, if memory serves), this struck a bit of a chord with me.

The thing is, I guess the SVH books made me feel bad about myself, too. Not because they were so thin, but because they weren't. At the time I read those books, I was a size zero. I was a late bloomer, see, so I was reading about girls with curvy figures, with lots of friends and boyfriends, when I was wearing a training bra just because people would make fun of me (even more than they already did) if I didn't have a strap across my back. I didn't need it. I was something like 4 feet 8 inches tall; I looked like a seven-year-old. And it was painful. But there was nothing I could do about it.

And given that I think most girls reading those books were probably about the same age as me (who ever saw an actualy seventeen-year-old reading them?), I'm willing to bet the self-esteem issues they might cause would be more on that side of the fence.

It's one reason why I lost interest in the books. It's why I never liked the other series that came out around that time, about an extremely rich girl named Caitlin. Why would I want to read about her? A rich girl who was beautiful and got everything she wanted, and had a gorgeous rich boyfriend and horses and cars? When I sat around listening to records in my room every night while my parents argued in the living room, I wanted to read books about girls like me. But it seemed girls like me weren't interesting enough to write about, unless it was a really depressing book where family members died or something. I wasn't a heroine. I wasn't even a Loyal Best Friend in those books. I was invisible. And I got tired of reading about fun it seemed everyone was having except me, and about people whose lives were so perfect it might as well have been happening on a different planet.

So I gave up. And I found other things to read. And I've been interrupted so many times while writing this (Princess is home sick today) that I no longer remember what my point was supposed to be, sadly.

I guess I just wonder where those books are. I wonder why we're focusing so much on worrying normal girls might become anorexic that we stop worrying about those kids who have no reason to be. Or on those who try to get fat so at least they'll be normal on some level; it's easier to be fat than to be scrawny, I think, or at least I did when I fuitlessly tried to gain weight.

So I guess my overall point is that we're always going to feel bad about something. We're always going to feel not pretty enough, not thin enough, not curvy enough, not smart enough, not popular enough, whatever. And those feelings are human, and important. I don't think I would want to know someone who'd never for a minute felt bad about themselves; they would be insufferable.

And I guess what bothers me about the article Karen quotes is it assumes the books and their intended readers exist in a vacuum, that teenage girls won't bring their own thoughts and experiences to the books as much as I did, and have their own feelings about them. That it's impossible for a girl to read them and not want to be just like the Wakefield twins, instead of reaching a point, as I did, where they were just a couple of vapid princesses whose perfect lives no longer interested me. In order to believe you can be perfect simply by losing weight you have to first believe the rest of perfection is possible, and I never did. I bet a lot of people never did.

So the article strikes me as rather disrespectful to teenagers, in its bland assumption that they will be so cowed by the SVH zeitgeist that they will lose any perspective. That they will instantly see the characters as people they want to be just like in every way, instead of a rather irritating collection of snobs doing pointless things in their zippy cars.

I enjoyed some of the books, sure. There was a time when I waited breathlessly for the next one to come out. And sure, I wished my life could be more like theirs. But I was never moved to attempt to make it so.

Perhaps I was just lazy?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Anniversary Evil Editor! (and mea culpa)

I had a post planned for today, but as it was something that can easily wait until Friday, I decided to just do a quickie today.

Okay, actually, I decided to do a quickie today so I can get back to the party. Which is happening right now, right here.

Several of EE's Minions got together to do a special blog dedicated to the man (who is my fiance, if you recall), and I was invited to help. Which I did, to the best of my scatterbrained ability, and contributed a signed copy of Personal Demons as a prize. So head on over, hang, enter the contest--there's LOTS of prizes, and have fun.

And speaking of prizes...Um. I am so sorry. I haven't sent out any of the March Demonstravaganza prizes yet. I will, I swear, and I am so, so sorry. April has been a much busier, colder, wetter, more miserable, and above all financially tight month than I'd expected. I promise they will go out soon--if not in the last two days of this week, then in the last two days of next week (it's much easier to navigate my way to the PO when the Faery is in school.) Seriously, you guys, I feel just awful about this, and I hope you'll forgive me for the delay. If it makes you feel any better, my family (Mom, Dad, brother, best friends) are still waiting for their copies too.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Where's the gossip?

We had a lovely day yesterday, the hubs and me. TCM was showing Gone With the Wind--we only caught the last half (from Scarlett's "As God is my witness" speech to the end) but it was nice to sit and watch it together. (He took me to see it when it had its 60th anniversary rerelease in the theatres, too, but we really haven't watched it since. That, btw, was the Day I Saw Dan Marino At The Movies.)

After the movie they had a documentary on the making of Gone With the Wind: The Musical, which looks truly excreble (we're temped to go see it--actually, I'm tempted to invite my MIL but I have a feeling she might actually enjoy it which would ruin the fun of laughing at it), and then, a biography on Bette Davis. Who I love.

They showed an interview with Bette in which she called one of her costars "a horrendous bitch". Or words to that effect. And it reminded us of her famous feud with Joan Crawford (I believe the quote, when she heard of Crawford's death, was something like: "You should only say good things about the dead, so... Joan Crawford is dead. Good." The awesome is choking me.)

But the hubs and I realized, when thoroughly enjoying this, that we can't think of any great modern screen feuds.

Oh sure, there's Shannon Doherty vs. the entire rest of the 90210 cast, but every other example we could come up with is much older. The closest we could come behind that was Penny Marshall vs. Cindy Williams on Laverne & Shirley (I remember as a child being stunned by this, because I imagined them being just bestest friends) or possible Suzanne Sommers vs. John Ritter (RIP) & Joyce Dewitt.

It seems kind of sad, doesn't it? This "We're all one big happy family look how we all love each other" thing? I seem to recall something in the last couple of years about Lindsay Lohan and some other girl fighting over Wilmer Valderama, but they weren't working together so it doesn't count. I mean the kinds of feuds that turn movie sets into little potholes of Hell, or make series costars duck and cover when two people finish a scene together.

Is it simply that people don't talk about this stuff anymore? Or that it isn't happening? I know occasionally we'll get a remark (who was it who said of Val Kilmer, "I wouldn't cast Val Kilmer again if I were making a movie about Val Kilmer"? Although apparently Val has mellowed a bit.)

Can you think of any? Isn't it sad that our celebrity gossip is limited to boring stuff these days, lame sex tapes and oooh-they're-adopting-more-babies and are-they-married-or-nots, instead of the great personality clashes we used to get?

Did the pictures get smaller :-)? Or is everyone just a lot more boring now? I couldn't care less about celebrities these days, probably because so few of them seem to have any personality at all--maybe partly because nobody fights anymore. There's no real scandal, it seems, and it's a bit depressing. For me anyway. What about you? Can you think of any other great feuds?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

See, I can't stay away

But this is a very short one.

First, we've started doing the dialogue crits over at the League blog, so come on over and comment!

Second, Amazon US is now shipping Personal Demons, and apparently it's starting to find its way onto bookstore shelves too. So yay!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'll be at the League the rest of the week...

Jaye Wells and I are doing dialogue critiques at the League blog for the rest of the week, so I will be there and not here.

To find out how to submit your dialogue for critique, go there. And keep going there, because we're going to have some fun!

See you back here on Monday, probably, unless I decide I have something to say before then.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Edits edits everywhere!

So, I had quite a little weekend! Mr. Agent Man is in town for the London Book Fair (okay, that's not MY town, but it's the same country, which is nice) so I hopped on a train yesterday and went up there to meet him for a drink. Which was pretty cool. We talked about edits for Unholy Ghosts--and, thanks to the bff, I have had a total brainstorm on those and I can't wait to get working--and career stuff, and book stuff, and lots of fun good things. It was very odd, though, to be sitting drinking bourbon with a man who kept talking about how much he loves working with creative people, and realizing he meant me.

Speaking of which, I got a really cool review for Day of the Dead. Or rather, it was a decent review--the reviewer had some minor (justified, I think, DOH!) story issues--but check this out:

"This was worth it for the author’s prose. She really does know her way around her words."

Seriously, that's the kind of review that makes silly little writers like me tear up. You can read the whole thing here.

Also, in reviews, Urban Fantasy Land has posted its review here:

"Personal Demons is fast-paced, well-written and downright scary in places. The action doesn’t let up, although it does slow down at times so you can catch your breath and the love scenes between Greyson and Megan are hot enough to steam up your glasses."

And there's an interview with me, and a contest you can enter all week, here.

I received word this morning from a UK reader that their copy of Personal Demons has shipped. I'm not sure about US Amazon or bookstores yet, though. And, in case anyone was wondering, I will be extending the release month contest to the end of May.

I'm also trying to think of something fun to do this weekend, while almost everyone I know is off at the Romantic Times convention. Who's going to be around? What should we do to amuse ourselves?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Links and thoughts...

First, I have a minor update on the Personal Demons release. We're still hoping the Amazon listing will be updated soon--presumably the books are in their warehouse, just not yet unpacked, which is leading to the delay. We're also expecting it in bookstores shortly. I will post more updates as I get them.

Second, I'm showing up all over the internets, baby. Shannon reviews the book at The Good, the Bad, and the Unread here.

Mark Henry licks my boots like the man-whore he is here.

Fantasy Debut talks the book up here

And I'll be doing some interviews in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for them (I'll link them when they go up, of course)--at Fangs Fur & Fey, at Alchemuse on livejournal, at Jill Myles' blog. CORRECTION: There will be an interview with me tomorrow, along with a contest, at Urban Fantasy Land, not alchemuse's livejournal. Sorry!
I'm also doing a couple of promo-y things next month, which I'll have more news on as the time gets closer.

And, wow, I'm legitimate now, because I've been Klausnered. (Harriet Klausner is Amazon's top reviewer--she reviews a, um, suspiciously high number of books every day, and--well, Google her if you're interested. I'm just amused.)

Funny that my Amazon reviews went live at the same time as a huge controversy has sprung up over Amazon reviews elsewhere. You can read the whole story (and hundreds of comments) on Dear Author here and more here. Settle in for a few hours--it really is worth it for sheer "holy fuck I can't believe this shit"ness.

In a nutshell? A particular writer, of whom I've never heard before, who also functions as publisher for an epub I heard of once, looked at the site, and decided it was the sort of place from which to run, decided to go after a reader for daring to have her own opinion about a book. This is disgusting behavior. This is shocking, revolting behavior, and--you'll see what I mean, if you read it all--criminal behavior.

I honestly don't even know what to say in the face of all this. Of course, Ann Rice and Patricia Cornwell have both exhibited some of this sort of behavior in the past, but Ann Rice and Patricia Cornwell, for all their sins, are actually best-selling writers of whom people have heard. It doesn't excuse it, but it does make it feel less like that crazy woman you work with who's always talking about how everyone is out to get her has suddenly decided you're the one who left the invisible poop on her lawn.

Very scary indeed. Even scarier is that some authors who've spoken out in that thread have now found people messing with their Amazon reviews. It's like some tiny, invisible KGB made up of five or six people, who wander Amazon spreading darkness in their wake.

If I'm not here on'll know they GOT me. *looks around nervously*

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Made for each other

Sunday night I had occasion to watch the two first episodes of The Two Coreys the other night. Hey it was late, I was up...why not? I enjoyed their movies, mostly. And especially after the first season of The Surreal Life turned Feldman into the Man We Love to Hate (seriously, hating him made that show so much fun. Especially the recaps on Television Without Pity. I still giggle when I think of their deathless line, after they called Corey a "dicklicker": "I apologize, dicklickers of the world. I didn't mean to lump you in with Corey Feldman." Which is totally appropriate as an apology.

So I had somewhat high hopes for The Two Coreys, especially since that best friend o mine in the States enjoyed the show and our tastes are pretty similar. (It's her fault, for example, that I lost way too much sleep obsessively watching Nip/Tuck on DVD, although they've started showing the LA episodes out here now and I am NOT impressed.)

What I liked most about the show--aside from actually thinking Corey Haim came off as being more amusing and cool than I had expected (although apparently he gets pretty dickish himself as the show goes on) was the relationship between Feldman and his wife. Were ever two people more destined to be together? It was like watching amoebas who were irresistably, chemically drawn to each other, in the soulless, totally unself-aware, totally self-absorbed way of amoebas. Two halves of the same irritating, blind whole.

I don't actually think we need waterboarding. All we need to do to get info from terrorism suspects is lock them in a house with the Feldmans for a few hours, while they prattle on about things that don't matter to anyone but themselves and then congratulate each other on how caring and wonderful they are, with a side helping of the most awkward physical affection I have ever seen in my life. Seriously, y'all, my brother and I could kiss with more convincing passion than these two. (Um, not that we would ever want to. It was just an example.) It looked like how babies kiss--just mashing their squishy lips together without moving, and from really awkward angles, too. I kept expecting them to pull away from each other and have drool running down their chins. Just having to see that up close would surely be worth some important information, right?

But the point of the post's fascinating, really, to see that in this big huge world, Corey and Susie Feldman managed to find each other--probably the only two people on the planet who are as irritating and pretentious as each other.

It made me think of how we show, in our books (or how I try to show, anyway) why characters are together and why they should be together. How that spark of familiarity ignites. How out MC might be dating someone, but he's not the one for her, and very subtly the reader knows it. Maybe he doesn't wholly accept her as she is. Maybe they clearly disagree on some fundamental issues. Maybe they simply don't really understand each other, deep down. They might like each other well enough, but they don't really know each other, not the way they should.

What do you think? About any of this?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Quickie update

Personal Demons' page on Amazon has gone live, so apparently they have received the books and are getting ready to ship...but for some reason they're listing them as "Usually ships within 1-2 MONTHS". I have no idea what that's about. I can only assume it will update within the next day or so. Meantime, I seriously doubt you will be waiting 1-2 months before the book ships.

Now what are you doing here? Head over to the League!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Lace me up!

I decided to try something today.

Back in the dark days of last year (which would be summer, which technically wasn't dark but as darker for me, for reasons I'm about to explain) I had gained so much weight that my corset no longer fit. My jeans really didn't fit--putting them on and buttoning them was akin to tightly belting the Stay-Puft marshmallow man--and big t-shirts were my only friend.

But...I have lost 22 pounds since then. I weigh almost as little I did when the hubs and I got together, almost as little as I did on our wedding day. Of course, thanks to having two babies the topography of that fat has moved--less up top, more in the middle, as it were--but still. I look in the mirror and am fairly pleased.

(Oooh, I am especially pleased since, remember that new moisturizer I bought a few weeks back? The, ah, anti-aging one? No more dry skin!!! My forehead is smooth again. It's a delight to behold.)

So I decided to get out my corset, the one that didn't fit anymore back in September.

It fits again. Not only does it fit, it fits a little too easily! I wasn't even that tightly laced and had pure black in back, baby. (This is a reference to the "modesty panel, which is a couple of inches of cloth the same color as the corset which goes under the laces to keep your skin from showing.) So I wore it out to the grocery store. Of course, the effect was ruined by the fact that it's freezing outside so I had to keep my coat on and buttoned (it snowed on and off all day yesterday, and some of it even stuck). But I knew it was there!

I'm very excited about this. Very excited indeed. I'm actually thinking it may be time soon to get a new, smaller corset. Wheee!

And I owe it all to calorie counting. I love calorie counting, which is odd considering how much I usually dislike math. But calorie counting is fun for me, really. I love figuring out how much I can eat and making little trade-offs with myself. Like, say, skipping dessert and having a vodka tonic instead. It feels very orderly, and I like orderly. It's also very easy. I don't have to follow some weirdo plan that's usually filled with foods I hate or am allergic to (like mushrooms or red peppers or, I don't know, fussy little salsas of every variation). I can cook for the whole family and just eat less than they do. I can still have candy and booze, which are both very important parts of my regular diet.

And it occurred to me, as I started tallying up my daily count in my head, that this is how I write as well. I keep it all in my head. I allocate certain places in the book for certain events to happen. I tick things off like a list, plant hints and clues like I'm laying in a supply of Jaffa cake bars for later (they're like 139 calories per bar, which is awesome.) They give me the same kind of in-control shivers of happiness, planning my books and planning my meals.

I'm not obsessed with food or anything. I realize that all my talk of planning meals and being in control can sound a little eating-disordery. But I assure you that's not the case. It's just something to do, something else (like writing) to help me plan my days.

And now I can lace my corset again, which is almost as good as finishing a book. Almost.

I've been thinking of doing metrics again...maybe I need the kick in the butt, because work on UG2 is going slooow.

Friday, April 04, 2008

You want to know what I think? I'll tell you what I think!

Yes, it's time again for My Opinions on Publishing.

I saw this article on Gawker this morning, and of course rushed right over to Galley cat to see their take on it. (In a nutshell, there's a new sherriff in town at HarperCollins, and he's planning a new imprint. This imprint will "will publish approximately 25 popular-priced books per year in multiple physical and digital formats including those as yet unspecified, with the aim to combine the best practices of trade publishing while taking full advantage of the internet for sales, marketing and distribution. Authors will be compensated through a profit sharing model as opposed to a traditional royalty, and books will be promoted utilizing on-line publicity, advertising and marketing."

In other words, there will be no advances. The author will get a much larger percentage of royalties (this article at the NYT suggests 50%) instead, and Miller is hoping to do away with returns.

The idea of no advances seems to have set a lot of tongues angrily wagging, but I have to say, I don't see this as such a terrible thing. I don't know that I would necessarily want to sign on to this imprint (not like I'm being offered the chance, we're just playing Devil's Advocate here), but really, I'd be awfully tempted to take 50% royalties over an advance, for a number of reasons. One, because I am a nervous nellie and the idea of not having to worry about earning out would soothe me. Two, because it's conceivable this arrangement would make me a LOT more money.

Let's say for the sake of simplicity (because my math skills are the suck) that you sign a contract with a 10k advance--an average advance for a first book, as far as I've heard. Your book sells for $20 and 10,000 copies are printed. Your royalty rate is 15%, (the $20 and 15% are from the Times article).

So. 10k advance. At 15% of $20, you need to sell 3,333 copies to earn out your advance. You earn 3 dollars on each remaining copy, leaving you with a royalty total of $20,000. So you've made a total of 30k on your book.

Now let's take the same figures but no royalty. You make $10 per copy on 10,000 copies. Um. That's $100,000.00. To me the difference between $30k and $100k is pretty clear, and waiting for the money would be worth it.

Of course, these figures aren't perfect and don't take into account reprinting or larger advances, especially not the number of books that never earn out their advances. But if less books are losing money on their huge advances, isn't that a good thing for the industry? Don't we want publishing to make money and thrive?

Like I said, I don't think we have enough information yet on whether or not this new imprint will work, how it will be marketed and promoted, distributed, all kinds of important things. But I do think it's a little early to start panicking that the sky is falling and writers will never be able to make money. This actually seems to me like a solution to some of the industry's problems, rather than a deeper problem. Hey, the only one of my books I've ever gotten an advance on is Personal Demons, and I can assure you that while the EC stuff isn't making me rich--especially with the crushing exchange rate--it's not terrible by any stretch; I've had a few fantastic months.

And while we're on the subject of the industry itself, and (sort of) on ebooks and money and all that...

I know I made this point, in a slightly roundabout way, back in my publishing series. But I want to say it again. Quit gambling with your work. Do NOT submit to that start-up epublisher whose editors and administrators have no experience, and are basically the tech equivalent of Andy Hardy and the gang putting on a show in the garage. Just...don't. Don't figure you'll give them a shot and see what they do. Don't figure everybody has to start somewhere. Yes, they do--usually as interns at an established publishing company. As has been said on Absolute Write, "'Publisher' is NOT an entry-level job."

The same goes for agents. Having an agent does you no good at all if the agent doesn't know what they're doing or have the necessary connections. So the lady setting up the agency is really nice, and worked in marketing, and loves books? Yeah, so? What has she sold? What is her previous experience in publishing? I don't care if she made a mint selling ice in Alaska, because publishing is a different beast entirely. I swear it honestly makes me feel a little ill when I see people squeeing over their new agent, when the new agent is a housewife from Oklahoma (no offense, Oklahoma) who "really loves books" and so decided to start an agency. Publishing contracts are complex; even if the agent manages to sell your work, the odds that you'll get as good a deal as you would have with a decent agent are slim. Don't take a chance on this. Don't waste your work!

An agent should have sales, verifiable sales to royalty-paying publishers. Sure, you can look at and submit to a new agent--a new agent at an established agency, for example, already has credentials simply because of the name on the door. An agent leaving an established agency and striking out on his or her own is also an excellent bet, provided they've made sales in the past. But Peg from Omaha who sets out her shingle and loves your work is NOT a good bet. STOP DOING THIS! Experience counts. Contacts count. Please don't assume that because the business card says "Literary Agent", that this person can sell your work. Chances are, unless they've got experience, they CAN'T.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Excerptstravaganza! The Final Chapter & new contest!

Ah, it's finally here, the last excerpt day! And the book itself should be shipping and in stores within the next week. Sorry about the delay there. :-(

Let's do the 'cerpt, and then we'll get to the contest.

Brian glanced over his shoulder to make sure Dante wasn’t lurking behind him. “Why didn’t you tell me, Megan?”

“What do you mean?”

“I know you aren’t crazy about this whole interview thing. But I’m a good journalist, and something like this was sure to come out. You should have told me.”

“Told you what?” Her eyes shifted towards the living room.

Brian followed her gaze, then looked back at her. “I got a email this evening, from an address I didn’t recognize. Normally I’d delete it as spam, but the subject line was your name, so I opened it.”


He reached into his back pocket and pulled out two folded sheets of paper. Opening them, he handed her one.

Dear Mr. Stone,
I know you are writting about Megan Chase. Megan is a murderor. She don’t deserve your story.
A Concerned Friend

“Oh my God.” The words left her lips before she realized it. She leaned against the countertop. The marble lip made a cool stripe across her back and soothed her. It felt real. Nothing else did.

She cleared her throat and started to hand the paper back to him. “Some crazy, I guess.”

He didn’t reply. Instead he handed her the other sheet.

She took it with unsteady hands. It was a scan of a photocopy, she guessed from the slightly out-of-focus look of the page, but it was clear enough to read the headline: Teen Will Not Face Charges.

Megan closed her eyes.

“Read the article.”

“I don’t need to read it,” she said. “You know I don’t.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about this?”

The TV went on in the other room. Dante was channel-surfing. Each time the sound changed she cringed. Brian loomed over her in front, Dante made himself right at home in her living room. Even her house wasn’t private.

Her life certainly didn’t seem to be.

“I try not to think of it. It was a long time ago, I was innocent and the story never made the bigger papers. I thought it was forgotten."

She’d thought she’d left it behind. Left it in Grant Falls along with everything else. That’s why she hadn’t said anything. She wanted to kick herself. How arrogant she’d been, to think she could move on.

“We talked about your childhood,” Brian said. “About small-town life, remember? Just today, in fact. But you kept this hidden.” He put the papers back in his pocket. “Don’t you see the position you put me in by hiding this from me?”

“You’re writing a puff piece. Why do you need to know that when I was sixteen I was a suspect in the murder of a local homeless man? A murder I did not commit?”

“Not just a murder, Megan, a violent, ritualistic murder, and I need to know because my editor got a copy of this, too, and wanted to know why I hadn’t discovered it on my own. There was nothing about this in the papers in Redwoods City. Which makes sense, since it turns out you lied about where you grew up.” His anger throbbed around her. “I’m used to reticence. I can even understand why you didn’t mention this. But I would have found out anyway, you know. Like I said, I’m a good journalist.”

She crossed her arms over her chest. “What are you going to do about it?”

“I’m going to do what I have to do.” Tears sprang to her eyes, but he wasn’t done talking. “If you’ll help me, if you’ll be open and honest about this, I can turn it into nothing—a brief mention in an otherwise glowing article. If not—if you keep lying and hiding things from me, and ditching me so you can go on dates like you did tonight—”

“I wasn’t on a date. Dante picked me up. My—car wouldn’t start. I called him.” What the hell was his problem with her anyway? So she’d lied about her past. She couldn’t imagine she was the first of his interviewees ever to do so. Did every local socialite tell the truth about her age and upbringing?

Something deeper hid behind Brian’s anger, but the thought of reading him and finding out what it was filled her with exhaustion. Tomorrow she’d do it. Tomorrow she’d take care of all of this.

“Sure.” He didn’t meet her gaze. “Anyway. Tomorrow we have a lot of talking to do. Just promise you’ll tell the truth.”

Megan bit back a sharp reply and nodded. “I promise.”

“Great.” He reached out and took her arm, his hand cold through the fabric of her shirt. “I like you, Megan. But I’m not going to pretend a story doesn’t exist if there is a story. So play fair with me and stop trying to make me look like an idiot.”

New Reviews!

Woo-hoo! My idol, Mrs. Giggles, gave Personal Demons an 88!

"Personal Demons is a nice change from the usual tales of vampires and werewolves running around shrieking about mates and soulmates. It is also a fun-filled read that I find so enjoyable from the first page to last."

Read the whole thing here. As usual, she made me laugh out loud, especially the part about Dante.

Moonfire Thoughts posted a nice review here, saying:

"Thought, when I picked it up, I figured I’d spent a few minutes while the pork chops grilled and read a few pages. Sixty pages later, I realized I really needed to get them off the grill before they started to burn. I think it was about 23:30 at night when I announced I wasn’t going to sleep until I finished it."

And here's our big release-month contest!!

You can enter in one of several ways:

1. Take a picture of the book, on the shelves at your local store, and email it to me (Staciakane AT
2. Review the book on your blog, and email me the link. It doesn't have to be a positive review, just an honest one. (Yes, you'll still be entered if you hated the book, but really, why would you want to be?)
3. Mention the book on a forum or website (remember, spam doesn't count.)
4. Review the book at Amazon (or equivalent--B&N, Chapters, whatever site you use). Again, it doesn't have to be a glowingly positive review, just an honest one. Email me and tell me which review is yours.

An what can you win? One of five signed copies. Possibly more, depending on how many entries I get.

And a little final note: There's lots of talk about this big Amazon POD thing, and while I feel like I should really care about it, I don't. I find it odd that I don't, as this sort of thing would normally be right up my alley, but I just don't. Go figure.