Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Am I Caught Up Yet? I shudder to think of all I've missed and am still missing, sigh. But I am at the moment back in Miami--well, just outside Miami--and having a great time at my BFF's house. Which is pretty cool. Yesterday we visited our old comic shop which was exciting; they've expanded! And we got a very warm welcome, which was awesome.

I should probably discuss RT but to be perfectly honest most of it is just a blur at this point and everyone else has been talking up their experiences anyway. I got to meet everyone--well, I'd already met Caitlin several times of course, but everyone else. That was seriously cool. And they're just how I expected them to be. Twitter followers are already aware of the hell that was the pirate dinner theater, and of the copious amounts of booze which found its way down our respective throats. I am still trying to get my voice back after straining to be heard over the noise everywhere, but it's cool. I think I actually sound kind of sexy.

Some highlights, well, everything pretty much was a highlight--except the serious lack of accessible internet at that hotel--but these things stand out:

Okay, technically this is not RT, but. The hubs and I took the girls to Disneyworld the day before RT. Disney anything is so not my thing, but I managed to amuse myself for the most part by smoking, wishing for booze, and giving dirty looks. But one thing did cheer me up. Outside the Pirates ride there's a booth where they carve rings. We got them for Princess (who has an unusual name so whenever we find something we can personalize for her, we do) and Faerie. But the rings are rather delicate, so not for me... Until I saw the chunky MAN rings. And had a thought.

Yes. I am now the owner and proud wearer of the world's most awesome, tacky badass ring: a big chunky silver one that says KANE. I know. You all want one too. There are many like it--or I'm sure there will be--but this one is mine. And yes, it fucking rocks.

Also visited the Small World ride for the first time ever, which was surprisingly not as bad as I thought, but that might be because I never had a bad trip to flashback on in there.

Then came RT, and the great stuff was...

Hanging out with Caitlin again. I can't believe I won't see her again until September. Also got to meet Richelle Mead, which was really cool, and Jackie Kessler, whose boys are marrying my girls. And of course got to hang with Kaz Mahoney a bit again, which was great.

Dakota Cassidy. She smolders, baby. And is awesome.

Mark Henry was, of course, just as funny and cool and everything as I thought he would be, and he and his wife are cute as buttons together.

Michelle Rowen, Miriam Kriss, and I almost peed ourselves laughing at the pirate dinner theater.

I got to meet my CP, finally!! Unfortunately Anna wasn't feeling very well, so I felt bad trying to drag her out to places or to hang with me at the bar. I did have a great time smack-talking her when I signed copies of Demon's Triad--like "The best parts of this book are mine," etc.--but she wasn't feeling up to reciprocating. Or perhaps she just knew there was no point, muahahaha.

Also got to hang out with Christine D'Abo and Carole Nelson Douglas, which was totally fun.

Mario Acevedo is so awesomely bloodthirsty. It totally turned me on.

Had a GREAT evening chatting with Patrice Michele and Jeri Smith-Ready, both of whom are just awesome, fascinating, great people.

Honestly, I met so many cool people I'm afraid to mention them all would just take forever. Michelle Bardsley. Jeanne Stein. LA Banks HUGGED ME. Sat next to EC author Stephanie Julian at the signing and had a great time chatting, in between talking to actual readers! People who bought my books! Some people brought their own copies for me to sign which was really amazing. Also had a great little chat with Tina Burns from Loose-Id and met Angela James from Samhain, in addition to getting a big old hug from Raelene Gorlinsky; all three of them were interviewed here on the blog in summer 07, if you recall, so it was especially neat. I felt like a mover and shaker, y'all.

And I have to go to Target now, and force myself not to get a big whipped-cream-covered Frappucino at the Target Starbucks. I am having some serious trouble keeping my diet with all the yummy food around. So far I'm being pretty good, but the temptation to go crazy with the peanut butter M&Ms and the Lay's potato chips and Chips Ahoy and Papa John's and Wendy's and everything else is pretty bad. Not to mention all the things I could bake, or the ice cream, or the restaurants... Sigh. I have to keep reminding myself of the new small clothes I bought.

But I am having a great time. :-)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Here I Am!

Sort of.

No, I'm not really back back. I'm still travelling--currently in Orlando, and will be at RT as you know--but I wanted to pop in and say hi anyway.

Some highlights of the last couple of weeks (if you want to call them "highlights"):

1. Incredibly rough sea crossing. Everyone got sick but me. I was very proud of that until I got horribly sick the day after arrival (more on that in a minute).

2. I did meet a couple of lovely German ladies on the boat, though. We smoked and chatted quite a bit.

3. Felt disoriented on arrival in NYC. Had trouble getting my land legs. Hmm.

4. Awesome lunch with awesome editor. Even more awesome meeting with awesome Del Rey people. I felt like I was making a big chatty idiot of myself but they were nice anyway. Proceeded on to dinner with other awesome editor. Had great time. Thought was quite drunk but realized as time went on that not only had I not actually had that much to drink--comparatively speaking--but had also downed enormous quantities of water and quite a bit of food. Began to wonder if drunken feeling was not in fact delerium, as floor had not stopped moving since got off boat.

5. Sick as a DOG. Oh, yes. Stomach flu time. Had to cancel lunch with agent. Had to cancel pre-lunch lunch with editor pal. Had to cancel after-lunch meeting at Pocket. Had to cancel dinner with agent pal. Spent entire day thinking I was probably about to die. No, seriously. I was sweaty. I was shivering. I was extremely ill. Couldn' keep anything down. Horrible.

6. Left NY, still felt sick.

7. Virginia. OMG what a gorgeous state.

8. Witnessed accident right in front of us in SC. Was totally one guy's fault. Gave statement to awesome, manly sherrif.

9. Couple of days in Atlanta. Finally felt better yesterday, which was Saturday for those keeping rack. Told you I was sick.


11. Headed to FL today. Saw PT Cruiser inferno on side of highway. Seriously. Big ball of flame. Ack!

12. Florida!! How I missed you. I hated you when I lived here but still.

...and that's basically it so far. I'll try to check in more often now, since I have a power adapter for my laptop.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009

Recommend A Book


As I type there's a very nice man packing up all our DVDs, and of course the Faerie is insisting on helping him hold the boxes shut and tape them up. :-)

So. A few weeks ago I posted about sameness in urban fantasy, and mentioned that I was considering opening up the blog periodically to book recommendations. The response was fairly enthusiastic, so here you go.

Recommend a book. One you loved. One you think other people might love. Any author, any type of story. Talk to each other about books; what you like, what you look for, what you don't.

I won't be here to keep an eye on things, so...I'm sure I don't have to tell you guys to be nice and polite.

I'm also sure I don't have to tell you that this thread is for READERS to make recommendations. If you're a writer, you're also a reader. Recommend somebody else's book if you like.

I'm also sure I don't have to tell you that my regular readersknow each other, and know who they are. And that through their other internet wanderings they know other readers, and who they are. Quite frankly, if you're a self-published author leaping in to do drive-by promo, you're wasting your time. Seriously. Please don't do that.

Okay, all. Have fun; I hope you do, and I hope you find something new and useful, and I hope you all participate.

I'll try and pop in when I can. Hugs to you all!

***Late breaking addition!!! Demon's Triad, the superdirty erotic paranormal novel Anna J. Evans and I wrote together, is now in print!! We'll be signing this book at the Romantic Times convention; here's your chance to get a copy ahead of time! Be aware, though; the warning on the listing is ACCURATE. This is a very dark book, and may not be everyone's cup of tea; m/m content, f/f content, sexual violence, non-gratuitous incest and rape...Seriously, guys. I think it's an awesome book but it is intense.***

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I think about stuff

Okay, lots of stuff to cover and get through and all of that.

First, the other day I cam across this cool blog/site called Best Fantasy Another site had a link to this post about ARCs and reviews that I thought was really interesting.

Most of my thoughts on the subject are covered in my comment, which is the fifth comment down:

I think the disconnect comes from something I’ve seen a lot, which is the idea that reviews are written for the gratification of authors, or solely in order to provide them with pretty shiny quotes they can put on their websites and blogs. But they’re not. Reviews are for readers, plain and simple.

And more than that, reviews don’t sell books if the books aren’t readily avilable either. I might see an enthusiastic review somewhere. I might then jot down the title of the book and look for it on Amazon or next time I go to the bookstore. But when I do those things, I’m looking for something to read THEN. If the bookstore doesn’t have it I’ll grab something else. If Amazon or B& or Borders or whatever is going to have to order it for me and I’ll have to wait three weeks or six weeks for it, I might very well not buy it then either, especially if I have the money in hand and don’t know if I will when the book ships and I’m charged for it. Or heck, I don’t know I’ll get the book at all.

A really, really stellar review for a book that speaks to a very specific interest of mine might inspire me to go the extra mile. But in general, if the book isn’t readily available, I’ll buy something else. Reviews are for readers, to help them choose books at the store. While it’s always fun to get a shiny quote, and it’s always nice to see small-press books get some attention and reviews, the fact remains that if the book isn’t available there’s little point.

See, here's the thing. I'm pretty sure that the good reviews Personal Demons got contributed directly to the nice level of sales the book had; certainly it sold more than I'd expected it would. But that's also because those reviews were backed up by the book being available in stores. The book had a professional (if small) publisher, with professional distribution that got it on the shelves. So when people read one of those nice reviews, they could go to the store and buy the book. In that sense the reviews were extremely helpful.

But they were also legitimate reviews. Well-written reviews, which stated what the reviewer liked or did not like. Those ego-stroke reviews you see vanity press authors giving each other in a big, sloppy, "This book is the most wonderful thing ever, it totally swept me away and I couldn't put it down" circle-jerk? Useless. You think readers don't see through those things? Of course they do. Readers by definition are not stupid; they read.

But I do seem to see more and more the attitude the Best Fantasy Books gentleman describes: entitlement. I sent you a free book, so you owe me a review. More than that, you owe me a good review. If you read any of the review blogs or websites you'll see this more and more; reviewers being harrassed by authors, called names, yelled at, argued with, all because they either did not review or did not like the book in question.

This is an unprofessional attitude, frankly. Nobody owes you shit.

Which brings me to Agentfail.

Here's what bugs me about things like Agentfail. It's a great idea. It could be a really useful and informative discussion. Instead, it ends up becoming much like the last discussion the lovely BookEnds ladies (I really like them, and their blog; I had occasion to deal with Ms. Faust back when I was querying Personal Demons and was left with nothing but positive impressions); a gang of unagented writers complaining--raging--about the query process, with such viciousness it makes the stomach churn.

And in doing so they obscure the legitimate points that have been or might be made. The "No response=no" policy, for example. I don't have a problem with it. I never have. I certainly don't understand why it inspires such fury in people, or why they feel entitled to a response from people they don't know. If I send JK Rowling a fan letter, I don't expect that she's going to respond to me. Just like if I send the guy who lives two streets over a letter asking if he'd like to meet for a drink, I don't expect him to respond to me. Because neither of them owe me shit. Why would you not only expect that a total stranger go out of his or her way to speak to you, but then get angry because they don't use your name and include a few lines about how special you are?

Yes, I know the agent/querier situation is different. It's a potential business relationship. Okay, then. Here's an example. When we were planning our wedding I bought a box of chocolates. The company who made the chocolates was a small company that apparently does custom work as well. I emailed them and asked if they would be interested in making chocolates for my wedding. They never replied.

Oh, well.

I didn't feel the need to burn them at the stake. I didn't feel the need to start spreading their name all over the internet because how dare they IGNORE me when I sent them an unsolicited email for a job which did not interest them.

Here's the thing, guys, and I know it might be hard to believe but it's true. When your project is sellable, agents will respond. It really is that simple, and I knew that two or three years ago, long before I started seriously querying. If you're not getting replies, it's because nobody's interested, and while that's tough to deal with it is the simple truth.

That isn't to say I approve of "no reply=no" as a policy, or rather, I don't have a problem with it but do think agents who have that policy should set up an auto-responder for their email so the querier knows the thing was received. It's not hard and it saves everyone a lot of trouble.

But again, that reasonable request--have an auto-responder--gets lost under piles and piles of "You're not giving me feedback/you're not using my name/you're not calling me up to say hello/how dare you ask me to write your name on the query and then send me a form reply," comments, couched in combative and abusive language.

I realize I look at this from a different perspective now. Quite frankly, I want my agent reading the stuff I send him and working on deals for me, rather than spending extra time giving feedback to people he doesn't represent. Every minute he spends on that is a minute during which he could be doing something for me. Sorry, but it's true. I (and all his other clients) pay him 15% to work for me, to read my submissions and work on them, to vet my contracts, to use his connections on my behalf.

You, on the other hand, do not pay him a dime to query him. Which means, to put it bluntly, I'm paying his salary during the time in which he's reading and responding to your queries.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind this. I don't even think of it this way; I'm just using this as an example of how my view of it is different now, and why agents handle queries the way they do (because it's first and foremost in their mind, as well, or at least it should be; clients should be the priority). I don't begrudge the time it takes for him to handle his queries--or do things for his other clients--and I don't know a single writer who does. But again, I never thought I was entitled to anything from an agent. I never thought I deserved feedback (although again, I agree that a personalized response on requested materials--at least on fulls requested after partials--would be nice).

My point isn't that writers don't have the right to complain or be upset or hate the way things work or be irritated or have opinions. My point is that when the opportunity comes up to discuss issues in which agents could handle things differently or better, the anger doesn't do anyone any good. The sheer hatred permeating that thread, leaking from my laptop screen in a choking mist...does nothing to make the points expressed look better or more valid. It just makes it easier to dismiss all of the comments and complaints as the frustrated rantings of a mob of wannabes.

And it's depressing.

Okay. Moving on. Yes, we leave here next week; the movers are coming on Monday. My Monday post will be a short one; I'm going to open the blog to book recommendations from all of you, and I'm hoping that you'll all have a great discussion while I'm away, so please, link to the post, tell your pals, whatever you want to do. (Or don't, in which case I'll just feel unpopular and unloved because nobody's commenting on my thread.)

I'm not sure what my internet access will be. I will try. Later today or tomorrow I'm going to try and download Twitberry (or Tweetberry, whichever it is; I have it written down somewhere) so I can Tweet from my phone. So if that works, you'll still be able to follow me on Twitter.

I am able to update my Facebook page from the phone already, so if I don't manage to stop in here, and you're not on Twitter or whatever, you can check in there if you like.

(BTW, yes, I am fully aware that your lives will move on exactly as before while I'm away from the internet, and that it's not like my absence--or at the very least, very sporadic presence--for the next month or so is going to cause a huge gaping hole in the internet from which no one will recover until I return. :-) But A) it makes me feel better to list this stuff, as I then feel as if I have some control over the move and all the Big Scary Changes; and B) some of those who follow me or keep up with me in various places online are real-life friends or family members who might reasonably be expected to want to keep tabs on me and make sure I'm safe and sound.)

Turned in the final draft--or rather, my final draft--of the third Downside book yesterday. Final word count: 105,761. New title (yes, another one): GHOST BOUND.

We're currently looking for a new title for the second book; we want to change the title structure up a bit with the second book rather than doing it suddenly with the third. Still want the word GHOST in there if possible. I know you guys don't know much about the story or characters, and I'm not going to tell you because that would be a big old spoiler, but make some suggestions anyway, huh? Maybe it will spark something, who knows.

Goodness this is a long post! And I could have sworn I had something else to talk about too, but I don't remember it.