Current projects, AKA why I’m never available

My poor neglected blog. I haven't posted anything here in months. Months, I tell you. I have a new idea on how to make actual use of this thing. I do best when I feel accountable to something, and I figure that if I tell the world I'm doing a thing, and that I will update the progress on said thing once a week, several good things will happen. Currently on submission: "The Smell of Fall", a gaslamp zombie story. If this doesn't sell, I'll likely sell it via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) within the next couple of months. Expected to release this year: Untitled collection of short stories in the world of Eye of the Storm, via KDP (some hard copies for Kickstarter backers) Expected to release early next year: To Break My Enemies, Book 2 of the Deus Ex Familia quartet Secret romance novel for Bookman Media Group, currently titled It's Complicated No set release date: Tilted, a gaslamp post-apocalyptic zombie novel that insists on being written RIGHT NOW On Wings of Contagion, Book 3 of the Deus Ex Familia quartet The Death of Hope, Book 4 of the Deus Ex Familia quartet The next update will be July 23rd. Word counts and release updates to follow.

By | July 16th, 2014|research, self-publishing|Comments Off on Current projects, AKA why I’m never available

That book has cooties!

As a soon-to-be self-published author, I spend an inordinate amount of time reading articles and blogs about the publishing industry.  Today, one particular article caught my attention:  Coverflip by Maureen Johnson at HuffPo. In it, Johnson talks about a Twitter challenge she sent out to her followers, asking them to reframe a familiar book cover as though the novel were written by an author of another gender.  The results were both amusing and depressing, as such things often are. Take, for example, the well-known minimalist cover of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.  Simple, blue background, sword positioned horizontally across the cover.  Emphasis on the title and author's name.  The flipped version: OW MY EYES It's busy and awkward, and I assume it was meant to be that way for the challenge.  But it's also so damn ... girly.  The font choice is ornate.  There's all this soft focus and lens flare.  And the only characters depicted are female. As a kid, a book with this cover would have been a hard sell.  It looks soft and fluffy, and as though it's full of romance and icky girl things that even as a girl in elementary school I knew were looked down on by a large portion of the world.  This despite the fact that the females depicted on the cover are some serious bad-asses.  I would have passed simply on the look. An alternate example is Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass.  This YA fantasy has an original cover featuring the photo (what is it with YA and actual photography vs. artwork?) of a young blond woman with a knife strapped to her arm.  (Interestingly, the trade paperback [...]

By | May 10th, 2013|Meta, self-publishing|Comments Off on That book has cooties!

Literary Pet Peeves

Every reader I've ever spoken with has literary pet peeves.  One of the challenges of being a writer is identifying when an editorial suggestion is valid across most of her potential readers, and when it's a matter of personal preference. I recently joined an online workshop, and it's been extremely useful.  The reviews and critiques I've gotten have pointed out writing tics and quirks that I probably wouldn't have noticed myself.  Being too close to one's work means that I see the pores of the writing, but I couldn't possibly recognize problems like repetitive structure and reliance on clichés in my style.  I'm a new writer, and it's entirely normal for me to have these issues.  Getting those sorts of critiques is an exciting experience for me!  It gives me the opportunity to pull back and say what I really meant to say, without feeling hackneyed.  It's like washing grit from the pretty stained glass I've made. There are also critiques that are hard to hear but incredibly necessary.  No one wants to hear that they've left an immense plot hole in their novel.  It made sense when I was writing it down, dammit!  But these sorts of problems are critical.  Anything that throws the reader out of the story and makes the suspension of disbelief come crashing down MUST be fixed.  Thankfully, the holes in Prisoner of War were found in early edits, and I had ready answers for them.  It was in my head, just not on the page. Then, finally, there are the pet peeves.  For example, any story, anywhere, that starts out in either present tense (she moves to the door) or is written in second person (you moved to the [...]

By | April 7th, 2013|Meta, self-publishing|2 Comments

Post-con update – Minicon 48

So before I get into this, I feel I have to mention that I had the following blog entry entirely written yesterday, hit 'post', and got an internal memory error.  Apparently the entry didn't save as a draft.  Then I tried to fix the problem and got a big ole' 500 Internal Server Error, which nearly gave me a heart attack.  It took about 5 minutes to fix that and then the initial problem, but ... god dammit.  I needed a drink after that.  The last thing I need right after a convention is a borked website! Phew.  Anyway. Minicon may be the best first con as a writer that I could have possibly attended.  It's not large, so I wasn't overwhelmed, but there were TONS of writers there, some as new as me and some big names.  It felt like the first day of a brand new school full of insanely cool people who all like you.  I'm still high off the experience! Friday, I spent time with my friends at the NADWCON Seamstresses' Guild room party, then toddled off to my first panel.  It was on promoting your first book, and we had half new writers and half experienced midlist writers, which I think was about perfect.  I met Blake Hausladen, who convinced my to buy his book on the spot (I am definitely remembering that trick), and Deanna Lepsch who I immediately bonded with and we're now planning on rooming together at WorldCon. Saturday was a mildly nervous day, because I had my first-ever public reading.  I read the first chapter of Prisoner of War, and while the crowd was small, they were interested and receptive.  It went about as well as [...]

By | April 1st, 2013|Conventions, self-publishing|2 Comments

Fun and networking at Minicon!

This weekend, I'll be attending Minicon 48.  It's one of the longest-running science fiction conventions in the area - heck, even WorldCon is only up to 71 years. I've got a lot on my plate this year, mostly due to novel promotion.  I'm on two panels, and I have a reading on Saturday.  I am mildly terrified that no one will show up for that, but I forge ahead regardless! One of the truly awesome things this year is that one of the panels I'm on is featuring Elizabeth Bear, one of my favorite authors.  I'll be bringing a pile of books for her to sign, and possibly get something signed by her boyfriend, Scott Lynch.  He's got a new one coming out at the end of this summer, close to when I'm hoping Prisoner of War will be out.  If I'm feeling really brave, I'll ask for a blurb or review. Pictures and such to follow!

By | March 29th, 2013|Conventions, self-publishing|Comments Off on Fun and networking at Minicon!

Frustrating delays and optimism

I had a long talk with my editor yesterday, and while I'm not currently fond of the outcome, I think I will be in the long run. My editor has found several issues that will require at least one more draft, delaying the release at least until the end of summer.  While I'm anxious to get the thing published and in my hot little hands, I know that I won't be happy if I know I could have done better.  Thus, the delay. And honestly, I don't see how this could hurt the book, regardless of the fact that we've started the pre-marketing.  This gives me time to make the book all it can be.  It gives BMG more time to market the book properly. I'll be posting here more frequently, hopefully as much as three times a week.  Until the editor is finished with the book, after all, I should have time to read and write reviews.  Even work on new projects, of which I have a few. Things will be just fine.  Even though I want to shake my tiny fist at the heavens and cry, "Curse you!"

By | March 26th, 2013|self-publishing|Comments Off on Frustrating delays and optimism

Video shoot today

We're shooting the video for my Kickstarter project today, and oh lord, do I need to clean my house.  The bunnies lead to timothy hay in little itchy tendrils all over the apartment, and I haven't done dishes in over a week.  Yikes. It's also extremely hot here in Minneapolis, so I've got the little window AC running.  It's LOUD, so I may not be able to run it during shooting.  Which would be miserable, but preferable to trying to foley in sound later.  I don't have that much time, since Convergence is next week!  I'd prefer to be able to have the project up and running, so that when I tell people about it, they can go directly to the website and pledge.  I'm gonna be busy this week. Now I just need to break the inertia surrounding a pants-free Sunday morning.  OK, here goes.

By | July 1st, 2012|kickstarter, self-publishing|Comments Off on Video shoot today

Kickstarter decision making

Crowd sourcing seems to be the next big thing in artistic funding.  Can't find a big company to supply the money you need to produce a children's book or concept album or video game?  Go places like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and crowdtilt (and there are more and more of these sites popping up all over, from what I can see). So how do I make up for my lack of fame?  I'm a first-time author with what I and many others think is a fantastic first novel, but no one knows me from a hole in the ground.  I was hand-writing my script for the video while thinking on that very issue.  Now, writing by hand is a different cognitive process from typing - more creative and less analytic, at least for me.  Therefore, it helps me to make intuitive leaps, and is great for outlining, plot breakthroughs, and problem-solving.  So a plan popped up in my head like a defiant finger. "Dude.  Don't treat it as a donation.  It's a *loan*." I've thought it over, and it makes sense.  I don't want to make myself a bajillion dollars, especially at the expense of other wonderful people.  I just want a leg up.  That means a loan, not charity. So here's my pledge:  anyone who backs my project (link to be added to front page shortly) at or above $50 will be paid back out of the book revenue. Now, if I don't make my minimum funding requirement, of course, the money never changes hands, and I go back to saving the old-fashioned way.  But this - I think this could work.  And it appeals to my Midwestern discomfort with taking help from others. I don't [...]

By | June 27th, 2012|kickstarter, self-publishing|Comments Off on Kickstarter decision making

Carriage Return has moved to this place!

After much cursing at the attempts by Wordpress and Network Solutions to "help" me, I have moved my writing blog to my new shiny website!  I need to get a front page up and running, but this will do for now. It's not that I have no technical aptitude; I do have much schooling from the U of MN in engineering and such.  It's just that I become furious with things that will not DO AS I SAY DAMMIT.  Technology should not tell me what I want of it.  I should demand, and technology should sweep a terrified bow and make it happen.  Dammit.  I once took the entire dashboard out of a POS Audi because I needed to get at something under the dash and the dashboard was in the way.  The friend who was helping me work on it ducked his head in, surveyed the mess, and told me he'd try really hard never to piss me off. Seriously, if it breaks while I'm trying to fix it, it probably needed to break anyway.  And then I get to stomp on it in manic joy. Anyway.  Aimee done smashing for the day.  I hope you enjoy the new site.

By | June 8th, 2012|I beat on things, self-publishing|Comments Off on Carriage Return has moved to this place!

The nebulous world of self-publishing

I've got a lunch appointment with a publisher today.  Or rather, a publishing facilitator. We'll see how this goes.  The woman is obviously a sales type and very excited about working with me.  She's bringing in a typesetter as well.  Of course, I'm going into this with a healthy dose of skepticism.  I do not want vanity publishing.  First off, I can't afford such a thing.  Second, the idea makes me feel like I'm cheating.  If I can't do this on my own merits, I shouldn't do it. But of course, I'm also full of anticipation.  I would do a dance of joy to get published and have people read my brain.  It's the dream of every wannabe author.  I've been writing bits and bobs since I was 14 or so, and even though the early stuff was all Mary Sue and silly stale tropes, it was always something I really wanted to do.  It makes me wish I'd done creative writing in college rather than theater.  It's really what I'm suited to. Anyway, results forthcoming.  I'll have more information after that meeting, and I'm glad of it.

By | April 27th, 2012|self-publishing|1 Comment