Amazon has ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN up and ready for pre-order! Whoot!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
First of all, I want to say that I am old enough that typing "2011" just looks *WEIRD*. It's like some kind of star date.
But I thought I'd do that thing people do this time of year. I'm going to review all the things I did this year, and then look ahead at projects up-coming for next.
2010 was actually surprisingly busy for me as a writer. Let me see if I can put all of my various publications down in order:
May saw the end of Garnet Lacey with the publication of the final book in that series, HONEYMOON OF THE DEAD. As I posted here and talked about in interviews elsewhere, the ending of this series was kind of a shock to me. I'd hoped to be writing about Garnet, Sebastian and the gang until they were all DEAD & RETIRED. I also posted full proposals to the three books I'd offered after HONEYMOON, which you can read if you'd like.
But, with every ending is a new beginning. This year also saw the beginning of the vampire princess of St. Paul series, with the August publication of ALMOST TO DIE FOR. This book received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, which was actually one of my life goals (I'd never been reviewd by PW at all, much less, actually getting the coveted starred review!) I also wrote and revised the next book in this series, ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN, which will be coming out in May of 2011.
My alter-ego was busy too.
You can still purchase this book at Book View Cafe. It's an e-book.
I also sold a science fiction/fantasy story to the Northern Light's anthology, which celebrates 20 Minnesota writers. The story I sold is called "Bright, Bright City Lights" and was my very strange attempt to deal with my feelings about the untimely death of Minnesota state senator Paul Wellstone... erm, with magic and binary spells.
You can find this book at Genre Mall.
And, I also had a story appear in SHE NAILED A STAKE THROUGH HIS HEAD: TALES OF BIBLICAL HORROR. This was another weird one called "Jawbone of an Ass," a retelling of Samson and his first wife (*not* Delilah) reimagined in 1980s Derry.
This book is available on Amazon, either as in Kindle format or as a trade paper.
Whoa. That's a lot for one year.
Next year promises to be slightly less intense. In March, I'll have two books out as my alter ego, both from Mad Norwegian Press:
The biggest one being RESSURECTION CODE, which represent my alter-ego's return to the award winning world of the AngeLINK series. If you'd like, you can pre-order it via Amazon.
I'll also have an article about vampires and Joss Whedon in WHEDONISTAS: A CELEBRATION OF THE WORLDS OF JOSS WHEDON BY THE WOMEN WHO LOVE THEM. That non-fiction anthology comes out in March 2011 also.
Back to Tate, 2011, will also see the publication of ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN, which it seems you can also pre-order now, though the book isn't out until May 2011. I've also heard a rumor that TALL, DARK & DEAD may come out in mass-market paperback in December. The third Ana book may also be scheduled for late 2011.
So I guess I should get working on that, eh?
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
So, I guess Twitter is good for something, after all.
I just found out that there will be a lunar eclipse on Winter Solstace for the first time in 456 years.
That's pretty cool! I wonder what kind of magic Ana or Garnet could cook up on a night like that, eh?
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Being a parent is so wierd. You bring home this squishy little loaf and eventually, through some miracle (and a surprising amount of hard work), they grow into people. One of the things I'm always astounded by is when children have these breakthroughs. Mason struggled and struggled with learning to tie laces on shoes and then, this year, whammo! He figured it out. Also new this year: independent(ish) swimming. We signed him up for a Red Cross class, and this year, after starting with a six month old "waders" class, all of a sudden, it clicked for him.
I mean, you TELL them that with practice, they'll eventually learn, but it's still kind of surprising when it works!
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
In case someone out there wonders about the timing of book production. I got the cover art for ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN on Monday, and turned in the copy edits today. I often see cover art before the book is "done" (though never before I turn in the book.)
Next, I'll see the readers' proof, which may or may not become a galley/ARC, depending on how invested the publisher is in the book's success. And, yes, I have had books that have NOT had galleys made (which means no reviews from any print publication that needs a lead time of a couple of months or more, like Romantic Times, Library Journal, etc.)
All the while, I'm working on the next book in the series, which is due in April a month before ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN hits the stores.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Yesterday was my birthday, though I very wisely celebrated the week before. Thing is, because Mason goes to a year-round school, he has a lot of time off around the holidays. Inevitably, his fall break happens over my birthday. This is not a problem, as I like spending time with him, but it means that things like romantic dinners or lunches are out of the question on birthday actual.
So, Shawn and I went out the week before and did all the stuff I like to do on my birthday that doesn't involve small children. :-)
Yesterday I did all the things I love to do with Mason. We went to Adventure Peak. We played video games (actually, more amazingly, he played video games on his own while I *napped*) The only thing that was a bit of a bummer about yesterday was that I woke up with a headache and it kept trying to come back throughout the day.
Now, today is back to normal life. I'll be spending much of the day taking care of the animal duty that I ignored yesterday. I have to clean fish tanks, change the gerbil bedding, and take care of a few litter boxes.
Ah, the glamourous life of a published author!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Despite this seasonal bout of ennui I seem to be experiencing (what the [bleep]? It's dark ALREADY???!!), I managed to start Ana Book #3. I think this will be fun to write, even though it takes place during summer vacation. I hope to draw on my memories of working out at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, which could add to the fun.
Monday, November 08, 2010
So I finally saw the new Sherlock Holmes on PBS that everyone has been raving about on Facebook last night. I have to say, I agree. It's pretty awesome. In fact, my subconscious liked it so much that I dreamed I was Sherlock Holmes last night.
I'd actually not been intending to watch it, but I happened to have been watching "Nature" while Shawn put Mason to bed and I'd left the TV on while I hopped into the bath. I heard the opening while soaking, and the actor who plays Holmes sounded like Alan Rickman's Snape. So I had to jump out early to check it out.
I'm glad I did. Even though last night's episode ended in a cliffhanger.
I don't remember much about the dream, except that I was enjoying being ridiculously brilliant. Later, I dreamed I was invited to be the Guest of Honor for Mile High Con.
It was a good night to be me.
Friday, November 05, 2010
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Join CAMEO, Chapter 123 of RWA as we proudly present "The Hotness-- Writing Love Scenes that Make Readers Fan Themselves. Kim Louise published author some very 'steamy novels' guides you into this world of Love Scenes. Learn how to put the sizzle into that dialog and enjoy learning the techniques.
The Hotness—Writing Love Scenes that Make Readers Fan Themselves
In “The Hotness” Kim Louise will take you on a provocative tour of sensuality and ways to weave it throughout your fiction. Good sex starts at “Hello.” Learn how to add narrative elements, actions, and dialogue that start foreplay before the physical foreplay begins. Also presented in this class will be 5 important techniques to make your characters (and your readers) sweat including: choreographing your love scenes like a dance, making your loves scene unique, and how to eliminate purple prose like “her heaving alabaster mounds” and “his throbbing rod of conquest. “
Kim Louise is a hope-full romantic who still can't believe that she gets paid to do what she loves. She's penned over fifteen novels & novellas, writing for BET Books, Genesis Press, and now Harlequin. She has been a lead author for Kimani Press/Arabesque and 3-time Emma Award finalist. Her novels garner top reviews from Romantic Times Magazine, Romance In Color, and RAWSISTAHZ Book Reviews. Kim’s 2005 presentation at the RWA National Conference on FINDING TIME TO WRITE was selected as one of the top 25 presentations that year. Her novel SWEET LIKE HONEY was a finalist for 2008 African-American Romance of the Year by Romantic Times Magazine. Presently she is working on a Blaze for Harlequin.
If you have questions you may email them to Lpatrice9@aol.com. Subject line: CAMEO class.
Cost for the Online class is $15.00 for CAMEO members.
For RWA members the cost is $25.00.
For non-RWA members the cost is $35.00..
Payments may be sent via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org
Payments for Class: Must be sent by November 1, 2010
Classes will run from November 1 through November 30, 2010
Monday, November 01, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
I'm not a constitutional scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm starting to be driven batty by people (or their supporters) who feel that their "freedom of speech" is being infringed upon when they experience public backlash for saying something homophobic, racist, Islamophobic or otherwise bigoted.
I just looked up the first amendment to the United States Constitution and it reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
I'm reading that to mean that the goverment (specifically Congress) can not make it illegal for you to speak your mind. It does not say that you get to keep your job, your contract should be renewed or that you can't be disinvited to be a Guest of Honor at a science fiction convention after you go on record saying something hurtful and stupid.
All the first amendment protects a person from is from being JAILED (specifically by the government) for saying what they think and feel.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
The ever thoughtful Jim C. Hines has another excellent post over on his livejournal. Today, he's wondering what does it mean to be mid-list?
I think most of us think of ourselves as mid-list, even though it's a term that's very nebulous and has never been defined for me by any professional, like my editor. We writers tend to talk to ourselves about such things, and make a lot of educated guesses. I think as long as I'm not, as Jim echoes, not J.K. Rowling, Stephen King or other obvious multi-millionaire type writers, I'll probably think of myself as mid-list, right or wrong.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
It's time for me to leave the coffee shop and go home. I have a synopsis for the third book in the vampire princess of St. Paul to finish writing.
I've been struggling writing this synopsis for several months now. I finally realized that one of the reasons may be because I've become very once-bitten-twice-shy about the last book on a contract. When I sold ALMOST TO DIE for, the publisher bought three books. Now that I'm sitting down to plan out the third, I find myself wondering: should I prepare for "goodbye"?
I was very casual about Garnet, and that ended up leaving me in the lurch... with a lot of unfinished business for her character. So I'm thinking that for this last contracted book, maybe I should assume the worst and tie up loose ends JUST IN CASE.
That makes it slightly more difficult to plan, however. Because I don't want to imply to the editor that I'm done and that they should feel free to terminate this series, you know? So, I need to tread carefully. Wrap stuff up, but also leave a new storyline open so if they think I've been selling well enough, they can go for another book or two.
Wish me luck!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
My alter ego got a new volunteer gig reviewing graphic novels, comic books and more over at the Science Fiction and Other ODDyesseys! Check out her first review! Angels and demons and superheroes! It couldn't get any better than that, if you know anything about what my alter ego writes....
In news about ME, I am happy to report that I delivered my revised manuscript to my editor for ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN (the second book in the vampire princess of St. Paul series.)
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Monday, October 04, 2010
Over on his blog, Jim C. Hines analyzes his royalty statement. The charts and his discussion are plenty interesting all by themselves, but he just casually says a couple of things in his blog that really resonate with my experience.
First of all, I have to say that I'm impressed that Hines has so many books that have earned out. It apparently takes me a lot longer to do that (perhaps I'm slightly better paid). However, I'm only JUST NOW getting royalties for my second book, Dead Sexy, which was originally published in 2007 (and had a Romance and Science Fiction Bookclub h/c edition.) So, of five books, two of them now earn royalties.
But, on the flip side (and knocking liberally on wood) at least all of my books are still IN print, which by five years into Lyda Morehouse's career all her books were out of print.
Which is why I agree that having in-print back list is really important. It's tough to encourage readers to pick up book #4 in a series (even if you wrote each to stand alone) when #2 is already out of print, which happened to me as Lyda.
Secondly, Hines says, "Some authors who get that bajillion-dollar advance for their first book. I’m not one of them. The slower but steady approach seems to be working for me though, at least so far."
This is something I think about a lot. I have had fits of absolute jealousy over other authors' advances, but one thing I try to keep in mind is that it's much harder to earn out a "bajillion" dollars than it is ten thousand. And, while a bajillion dollars would be nice to have in pocket, I have to imagine that unless you happen to actually be the one-in-a-million that actually earns out the bajillion, your editor/publisher will have to be disappointed in your sales figures. Whereas, if you at least break even for them, they might be more likely to keep hiring you for those midlist jobs that someone's got to fill, right?
Though I still dream of a bajillion dollar advance, I think I'd continue to trade it in for a long and glorious career.
* X-posted from Wyrdsmiths blog.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I've been working steadily on my editorial revisions for the second vampire princess of St. Paul book, ALMOST TO DIE FOR, and doing a lot of cold-weather reading. You know what I mean by cold-weather reading, right? It's the kind of reading that involves a couch, cats (if you have them,) a roaring fire (if you have one), and a lot of blankets.
What I've been snuggling up with has been a wide range. I read CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins, the sequel to HUNGER GAMES (which I loved). I ran out and bought MOCKINGJAY, but things were left in such a depressing place that I found I bounced out of the book almost as soon as I sat down to read it. So my restless fingers lighted on one of the books in our bathroom bookshelf. We intentionally keep a lot of cheesy classics in the bathroom just for those moments when you want to read a chapter or two of something you don't necessarily need to finish. So I picked up TARNSMAN OF GOR.
There are slave girls and manly men and... well, if you don't take it too seriously, a great deal of adventure.
What about you? What are you reading?
Friday, September 24, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
This morning, I found an invitation to submit to an anthology called Crimson Dreams in my inbox. I would _LOVE_ to write for this, but vampires aren't the subject of my nightmares, _ever_.
I had a very memorable dream about a vampire once, though. There was some dreamscape plot that involved the FBI, I no longer remember the details, but at some point someone needed pushing around. I used my super-vampire strength and tossed them into a wall. I woke up from the dream with a smile on my face. I was thinking, "Yeah, that would be AWESOME."
But that's the extent of my vampire dreams. Do you dream about vampires? Have nightmares about them?
Thursday, September 16, 2010
MANY BLOODY RETURNS is now available as an audio book from Audiobook Stand.com. My short story "Fire and Ice and Linguine for Two" is collected therein. The theme of the anthology is vampires and birthdays, so my story involves Garnet and Sebastian's wacky attempt to celebrate his birthday one Christmas. For those of you who have read HONEYMOON OF THE DEAD, this story is actually the first appearace of Fonn, the Frost Giant.
I've pointed you to the .mp3 version, but it's also available as a CD. I might have to order both, since the CD will fit nicely on my bookshelf of achievements, and I can actually listen to the .mp3.
I'm psyched about this because I've NEVER had anything of mine appear in audio format before. It's going to be weird/cool to hear someone ELSE read my words.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
My alter ego donated a short story reprint to the anthology, BREAKING WAVES: AN ANTHOLOGY OF GULF COAST RELIEF. This is an e-book available in a number of formats from Book View Cafe. 100% of the proceeds go to the Gulf Coast Relief Fund. Contributors include Ursula K. LeGuin, Vonda McIntyre, David D. Levine, Sarah Monette, David B. Coe, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and many more.
The theme is ecological disasters with hopeful endings (preferably involving the ocean.) Mine is "Indigo Bunting," which is a strange coming of age story in a recovering post-nuclear winter Yellowstone National Park.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
In Stephen King's ON WRITING, he has this great little bit about how writing is awesome because it's like time-traveling telepathy. I read his example, and I thought, yeah. He's nailed it, that's pretty much how it is. I'm thinking it now; you're reading it later. Cool.
Except, when I get my revisions from my editor, it hits me. You can only read my mind if I actually tell you what I'm thinking. And, depending on who you are, I might even have to spell out things that I don't bother thinking because they seem so patently OBVIOUS to me.
I think, too, this is why a lot of authors think their editors are morons. We utterly fail to spell out critical details (which seem so CLEAR in our own minds,) and they write to say they didn't see it coming. And, my first response is: "What, are you some kind of idiot!? I clearly... oh, wait. I didn't actually SAY that anywhere in the text. I just knew it to be true, so I thought you would too. Um."
But, on the flipside (and to be fair to both sides of telepathy: fail), it can be irritating when you, the writer, feel like all the subtlety is being lost because you're writing in 2 x 4s for every ah-ha character moment, etc. because the editor doesn't share your brain cells. Especially when your writers' group had no problem with said issue(s), which only exaserbates the sensation that your editor is a complete dolt.
Alas, my editor is not a dolt, or a moron, or an idiot. I only feel like she is because, in reality, I'm the moron, and she only managed to quite astutely noticed all the missing bits in my thought process.
Monday, September 13, 2010
A lot of people have been writing me to ask when the next book in the vampire princess of St. Paul series will be coming out. Answer: I still don't know exactly. It's on my contract somewhere, but I have no idea where my contract is right now other than "in the house." (My filing system leaves a lot to be desired.)
But I do know that the second book is coming along. On Friday, I got what used to be the "editorial letter." Now, it's an email that has a couple of macro comments as well as the manuscript marked up (line by line) by my editor.
Way back in the early 90s when I started my life as a professional writer, I used to get an email with notes like "pg. 145, second paragraph, which begins 'Once upon a time...' change to be less cliche?" Having the actual manuscript with the comments function turned on makes the process more convenient and, strangely, a heckuva lot more work.
I'm sure it wouldn't seem like more work to a writer who has never experienced any other method, but I find that I tend to feel compelled to respond to the comments. I end up doing it, because it's a simple click and type, and, suddenly, end up writing a mini-thesis on my word choice decisions, characterization, etc. In short, I'm a much bigger diva thanks to the convenience of technology.
It the early days, I would grumble quietly to myself and either make (or not) the changes while going over the entire novel.
Now, I find I flit right to the next comment and not re-read the whole thing. (I tend to skim the bits that aren't marked-up.) That targeted revision is the quicker, more convenient part, at least. But, as you can tell, I worry that I'm not nearly as thorough as I used to be.
Technology is a weird thing. It's such a lie that it makes our lives easier. Busier, yes, but easier? I'm not convinced.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
A short story of my alter ego's appears in Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales edited by Michael Mirriam which is now available for purchase through Genre Mall (Sam's Dot Publishing). Her story, "Bright, Bright City Lights," has never before appeared in print, and was my attempt to deal with the death of Senator Paul Wellstone with... magic and the Irish Republican Army. Anyway, even if you find the conceit of my story to be a bit weird, surely you will find something to enjoy given the list of talented Minnesota writers involved in this anthology, which includes:
Jaye Lawrence, Catherine Lundoff, Haddayr Copley-Woods, Jason D. Wittman, David Steffen, Kelly Barnhill, Damian Sheridan, R. Scott McCoy, Terry Faust, Lyda Morehouse, Carrie Devall, Michael Merriam, Patrick Sullivan, Roy C. Booth, Britt Aamodt, Sharon Boerbon Hanson, Joel Arnold, Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Maggie Della Rocca and Hilary Moon Murphy.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
My alter ego needs to take over this space for a moment to announce that her science fiction novel, RESURRECTION CODE, is now avaliable for pre-order on Amazon.com.
This book, which will be coming out from Mad Norwegian Press officially on March 15, 2011, is both a sequel and a prequel to her other books (Archangel Protocol, Fallen Host, Messiah Node, and Apocaypse Array.)
The back cover blurb goes something like this:
Where were you the day the Aswan dams broke? It’s the question that defines my generation. Me, I was stuck in British School al-Rehab hundreds of kilometers from the destruction that plunged North Africa into darkness and drowned twenty million people as massive floods reclaimed the ancient Nile valley. We watched the privileged and the sane abandon Egypt to the criminals, prostitutes, and a mysterious murderous cult of Osiris known as the Deadboys. Not much of the capitol remained, and my life really went to hell.
But that’s not where my story really starts.
My story starts the day I, Christian El-Aref, distinguished myself from the thousands of Cairo street rats and became the Mouse. And I had that dead UN soldier whose body that I, quite literally, stumbled over to thank for it all. Now, if only I can keep myself from getting murdered…
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I just got the cover art for the British edition for Many Bloody Returns, in which my short story about Sebastian and Garnet, "Fire and Ice and Linguine for Two," appears.
It's not much to look at, but, hey, I'll be appearing in ENGLISH. Whoot!
And below we have Dead Sexy, which became BEISS NOCH EINMAL MIT GEFUEHL....
... and Romancing the Dead, which became VAMPIR SEIN IST ALLES.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have heard me complaining (whining, really,) about having to write a nonfiction blurb-y type thing for Romantic Times' web magazine. Well, here it is in all its glory: Message from the author. I thought there was also supposed to be an excerpt available, but I don't see it here. But, aha! If you back track to the review, you can read it there.
Enjoy, and realize that I sweat and struggled over this... yeah. See why I hate writing NF?
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I notice people have been writing into the blog wondering when the next book in the Vampire Princess of St. Paul series will be coming out. I don't really know. I only just turned in my manuscript to my editor a month ago, so there's no cover art yet or any back cover copy or anything. I'm sure it won't be long now. I'm going to be be starting soon on the synopsis for #3, and get writing soon after that (I have an April 15, 2011 deadline.)
Which would make me think that maybe that's when the next book might come out? I notice that I often have the delivery for the next book close to when the first book comes out.
Anyway, thanks for all the love! I'm glad to hear people are enjoying it. Not to be a tease, but I think you'll like the next book even better!!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
To the couple of people who wrote to say that they're looking for the link to the excerpt from ALMOST TO DIE for and found it broken. I'll try to fix that by this weekend. The problem is that it's not so much broken as not finished... I'm my own IT/web person. Plus, I need to re-key the chapter myself... no staff to do that sort of thing for me, alas. So, with my son on vacation and life proceeding apace, I'm afraid a bunch of other things took precedence. On the flip side, you can find the book in bookstores now. If you wish, you can pre-read it there live and in person!
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Here's another short, fun interview with me over at Fantastic Book Review: "Sensastion 7 with Tate Hallaway."
Here's a teaser:
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you/ Why?
Matthew Broderick. He’s about the right height, has my haircut, and we’re close to the same age. He’d have to wear a fat suit, but, you know, I think the guy could use the work.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
ALMOST TO DIE FOR is in stores today, and as part of that I was on KARE-11's "Showcase Minnesota" _live_. The link to my segment is here:So Sixteen Ain't So Sweet in Tate Hallaway's Almost to Die For.
I wrote a bit about how weird it is to be on TV over at my LiveJournal blog.
Also, there's an interview with me over at Ellz Readz: Interview Tate Hallaway.
Hopefully, with all this publicity, people will feel as though they simply can not live unless they run off to the store today and buy my book (or three.)
Monday, August 02, 2010
The Book Butterfly posted a lovely 10-question interview with me on her blog, which you should check out: "Ten Tantalizing Questions with Tate". Alas, I have since learned that my alter-ego's new book won't be out until March 2011. However, just for fun, let me reprint one of my answers here.
If you could inhabit the life of one literary character and dive into their world for just one day, who would you choose and why?
It’s a well known fact that I want to be Captain America from the Marvel Universe. Actually, I’m sort of surprised I haven’t gotten the casting call for the new movie. Something about my gender and only being 5’2”, I guess, I’m not sure…. ;-) The super soldier formula could come in really handy when I need to catch a bus is all I’m saying.
Sunday, August 01, 2010
A very nice article about me (and my alter ego, pictured above) and the end of Garnet and beginning of Ana appeared in the Pioneer Press today. Check it out: St. Paul Author Introduces Her New Series About a Vampire Princess.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Yesterday was another one of those ridiculously busy days.
I had gutter installers coming at some point (you know, the whole between noon and midnight,) and a staff photographer from the Pioneer Press at 3:00 PM. And guess when the gutter guys came? That's right! 3:00 PM! But, as it happens our house is such a mess, I decided that I'd offer to go to some other location with the photographer. We ended up at that cemetery on Front, Calvary? He offered to go to a place featured in the book, but I didn't think I could get onto the roof of the Saint Paul Farmer's Market or into any house in Cathedral Hill. Anyway, I think the cemetery will be fine. People expect cemeteries and vampires, and I did NOT dress goth, so it might make a fun juxaposition. We'll have to wait and see. The article is supposed to come out Sunday, August 1.
Of course, when it does, I'll post a link here.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
If you missed listening to me blather live on KFAI's "Write On! Radio" you can catch it in the archived files: http://www.kfai.org/writeonradio.
Actually finding the file is kind of confusing. You have to click on the archive for 7/20/10, and accept the terms and conditions. Then it looks like you got nowhere because there's a list of all the guests, etc. BUT, if you scroll down past the announcements you'll find a tiny little header "Previous Shows" and a reddish button for either .mp3 stream or real audio. That's the show. I'm in the second half. As far as I know there's no good way to skip ahead, alas. I'd say I'm worth the wait, but I'm not sure that's true. (I felt like SUCH a dork.)
Thursday, July 15, 2010
So this has been going around the Interwebs: "I Write Like" It's one of those thingies where you put in a couple of paragraphs of your writing and a program analyzes it. I tried it, and the first result was Dan Brown.
While I like the idea that I write like an international bestseller, I mean, who wouldn't? But, I see myself as a bit more breezy, chatty, etc., so I thought I'd try a few different paragraphs in the same book. The results were Vladimir Nabokov and David Foster Wallace. The more I tried, the more it kept coming back to Wallace. I even tried my alter ego's science ficition and got Wallace. So, I think that must be a more accurate reflection of who a computer thinks I write like.
Secretly, I was hoping it would say: You write like Lyda Morehouse.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I've got a new book coming out in August, and, consequently, I'll be out and about town promoting it. I thought I'd invite all y'all to a few:
Tuesday, July 20, I'll be interviewed on KFAI's "Write On Radio" show. They're going prime time, so the show now starts at 7:00 PM. You can find KFAI on your dial at 90.3 Mpls/106.7 St. Paul or streaming live at http://www.kfai.org/writeonradio (look for the button in the sidebar). Also, for those in other time zones, there is a running archive at the bottom of the page so you can listen at your leisure.
Tuesday, August 3, I will be interviewed LIVE on KARE-11 TV at about 10:15 am, possibly for the "Showcase Minnesota" show. Details are still a bit uncertain as my publicist just landed this gig for me today. This will quite literally be five of my fifteen mintues of fame, so if you tune in DON'T BLINK or you'll miss me. :-) I haven't checked the website thoroughly yet, but I suspect the show will also be archived somewhere.
Saturday, August 7, I'll be two places at once. Actually, what happened was that I accidentally booked these signings right on top on one another, so first I'll be at Uncle Hugo's at 1:00 - 2:00 pm. You can find Uncle's at 2864 Chicago Avenue South in Minneapolis. Then, I'm going to make a mad dash across town to the Roseville Barnes & Noble for a reading officially starting from 2:00 - 3:00 pm. I've talked to the event coordinator and she knows that I'll be a bit late, but she suggests you come at 2:00 pm anyway and enjoy the free cookies and beverages while you wait. If you go, head to 2100 Snelling Avenue North (the HarMar Mall) or call (651) 639-9256 for directions.
Sorry for the long absence, but I was finishing up writing (and making revisions to drafts of) the next ALMOST book, which I'm pleased to say I turned in two WHOLE days early. This is somewhat of a miracle for me, as I'm one of those people who always turns in project the very last second of the deadline. If a professor said a report could be turned in by midnight on Friday, I'd have it in at 11:59 p.m.
Also, I wanted to pass on this very sweet review of HONEYMOON of the DEAD from Paranormal Romance. Like me, she's very sad to see the end of Garnet's adventures.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
RT Book Reviews has this to say about ALMOST TO DIE FOR, which they gave 4 1/2 stars:
Ana is a lovable teen whom just wants to make everyone proud, and in the end, must see that she has only to accept herself. Hallaway has created a paranormal Princess Diaries that is sure to please readers.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I participated in an article for GEEK SPEAK MAGAZINE called "Dead and Doing It" where the authors Rachel Hyland and Kate Nagy do an in-depth examination of the question: Why Vampires?
Those who know me best as my alter-ego will laugh when they read my answer in comparsion to the others... I, er, got a little _deep_ and acted like I was on a panel at WisCON or something.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
My editor just sent me this, and I nearly died:
STARRED Review, Publisher's Weekly:
"Hallaway's witty, fast-paced series starter cheerfully details the horrors of magical war and high school. Anastasija Ramses Parker is a modern day witch's daughter fond of wearing "black with black and black" but hopelessly unable to perform actual magic. When she flunks her coven's initiation ceremony, she learns her father is a vampire -- and not just any vampire, but a vampire leader, which makes her "some kind of vampire princess"... Ana's narration is pitch-perfect and totally teen: half calculated attitude, half wistful empathy. This all-too-brief tale will have readers hunting down Hallaway's Garnet Lacey series while they wait for Ana's next adventure. (Aug.)"
I guess I get to cross that off my "life list": Get starred review in PW....(faints!)
Monday, June 21, 2010
My alter ego, Lyda Morehouse, is going to take over this blog for a moment to announce that the anthology that her short story "Jawbone of an Ass" appears in has an official release date, October 19, 2010. The title of the anthology is SHE NAILED A STAKE THROUGH HER HEAD:TALES OF BIBLICAL TERROR, and, more importantly, you can pre-order it NOW through Amazon.com.
Also, if you happen to be in the Twin Cities area for CONvergence next weekend, you can get an early copy from the editor Tim Lieder during his 2:00 pm Friday, July 2 signing at CONvergence.
Lyda describes the short story this way: "What would it be like to know that God is absolutely *not* on your side? 'Jawbone of an Ass' is a modern day retelling of the story of Sampson’s first wife (known only as the woman of Timor), who slowly comes to realize the horror of knowing she, through no fault of her own, is on the wrong side of the wrath of angels." She sometimes also refers to it as her Samson/IRA story.
Monday, June 14, 2010
okay to forward
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
July 5-30, 2010
"Creating Strong Middle Grade & YA Fiction"
by Kate Coombs
$30 at www.WriterUniv.com
You want to be the next Roald Dahl, E. B. White, or even J. K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer, but how do you get from here to there? The answer, of course, is to make your manuscript strong enough to stand our in a crowded, competitive field. Join us for a workshop in which we get you started or refine the work you've already drafted with an eye toward improving your chances for publication. If possible, try to have at least one chapter of your manuscript written when class begins, however rough it may be.
Course topics include:
* Good/bad news - where your book falls in today's market
* Targeting hidden obstacles that keep books from fulfilling their potential
* Strengthening character and plot
* Tightening text, brightening language
* From irresistible beginnings to slam-bang endings
* Finding your spot and maximizing your voice
* Tips about submissions and publishers
* Developing new children's book projects
Kate Coombs has three books in print, a 2006 Parents' Choice Recommended picture book called The Secret-Keeper and a 2007 American Library Association Notable Book called The Runaway Princess along with a well-reviewed sequel, The Runaway Dragon. Kate has three more books coming out in 2011-2012. In addition, she maintains a children's book review blog called Book Aunt. Kate has also worked as a college writing teacher, a K-12 teacher, and a curriculum specialist.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Friday, June 04, 2010
If any of you local folks don't happen to have plans tonight, on this (potentially) rainy Friday night, feel free to come on down to Dreamhaven to hear my alter ego read.
The details are --
Friday, June 4, 2010 Lyda Morehouse will be reading from RESURRECTION CODE at Dreamhaven Books at 6:30 - 7:30 pm as part of the Speculations series. Dreamhaven is most recently located at 2301 East 38th Street, Minneapolis. You can find out more information at dreamhavenbooks.com. SPECULATIONS is a co-production of Dreamhaven and SF MINNESOTA, a multicultural speculative fiction organization that also sponsors DIVERSICON.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Yesterday I should have been writing, but some friends of ours are in town. I feel moderately guilty about this, but I could feel worse, except that as part of hanging out we ended up strolling through the part of Saint Paul that I've decided is my YA heroine's neighborhood, Cathedral Hill.
The memory is a funny thing. Earlier that very day, I wrote a little scene where Ana is walking down Grand Avenue. My mental image of the place was slightly different than the real thing.
I was talking to a fellow vampire author, Fred Schepartz, (Vampire Cabbie) via email about writing about place (he was going to be on a panel at WisCON about writers who feature Madison, and he'd volunteered to read my stuff, since I was mentioned by name in the panel description.) One of the things I thought about afterward is how much the Madison of the Garnet Lacey series doesn't exist, not really -- much of it is impressions (some certainly false, or at least not 100% accurate) and the rest based on things that I remember but I know don't exist any more (businesses that have folded, moved, etc.) Yet, Fred had mentioned how much he thought I'd "nailed it."
I think that part of the reason my imagined Madison works is because, as a tourist, I fell in love with the spirit of the place. It's figuring out how to capture the feelings associated with a certain town that can be difficult. I'm really noticing that writing about Saint Paul that I'm actually finding it much MORE elusive to write about a place I know so well. It's sort of like when you're in an interview for a job and someone asks you to name five things that describe yourself. You're not sure what to say (outside of the things you think will get you the job), but if someone asked you to describe your best friend, it's a lot easier.
The outsider/tourist, I think, sometimes has a better, more accurate, less self-conscious view of place. I worry a lot less about getting things wrong about Madison, because, well, I'm clear in my acknowledgments that I can't be held responsible for the accuracy, because I'm making some of it up. But as a native to a place, I feel a lot more beholden to show the city mostly the way it is... as a kind of ambassador or something.
I don't know my point, but I think it's an interesting issue.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
"I think that the problem with the Garnet series is that the books cost $15.00 dollars. If you come out with the series in a regular paperback, they would sell real good. The problem is not your books, it is the economy."
Yeah, I actually agree with you, Donna. But this another thing that authors have very little control over, and something, I'll admit I don't really understand about the publishing industry. Trade paperback books have become very fashionable. Yet, they're more expensive (for the reader, at least,) and an awkward size.
I started my career as a paperback writer. There are some cons to it from a writer's point of view. The royalty rates are lower, you earn back a smaller percentage of the lower cover price. The print runs tend to be a lot bigger, which is a double-edge sword for the writer. On one hand, it's nice to feel important enough to have 20,000 or more copies printed. But, if they don't go out the door quickly, publishers tend to get cranky because of the tax laws that require them to pay taxes on inventory in warehouses. That can lead, as it did with my science fiction series, to books going out of print only a year or so after they were published. Which, of course, means that it's nearly impossible to build up momentum on viral/word-of-mouth publicity. Libraries don't like to buy/stock them because they're easily damaged and often a pain to replace (see above re: quickly going out of print.)
But as a long time reader, I much prefer paperback novels for all the reasons they're a pain for publishers and writers. They're cheap! They fit in my purse/backpack/back pocket. They're disposable -- I don't get quite as mad if I lose one, drop it in the bathtub, loan one to a forgetful friend, etc.
Trade paperbacks, on the other hand, are likely cheaper to produce, if only because the print runs tend to be smaller (and so you avoid all those copies gathering dust in warehouses), they're slightly more durable, and, frankly, everyone gets a higher return on their investment because they cost those two or three dollars more. I think, too, that publishers keep the books in print longer because they do very small addititional print runs of a 1,000 or so copies.
But, yes, it also means people buy fewer of them because they're a weird size and that much more expensive. It's a kind of circular logic kind of problem, no?
The good news is that the first book in the Garnet Lacey series, Tall, Dark & Dead, will be coming out in mass market paperback next December from Berkley Sensation if all continues apace.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
#2 (from Julie) - I have to admit I don't know anything about the writing business but I don't understand at all how you got told this was the last one. I mean doesn't the writer keep writing if she/he has more stories to tell? Because your Garnet character definitely has a whole lot more living to do in my opinion! This Honeymoon book did not wrap her story up at all... thank Goddess!
You make an excellent point, Julie. The writer often does keep writing when there's more story to tell. I had three more books planned for Garnet (at least!), and would have very, VERY happily kept telling her story. I do think Garnet has a lot more opportunity for growth (as my mother might say), and plenty of adventures yet to be had.
But, at the end of the day, publishing and book writing is a business like any other. My Garnet books are very successful, but the sales of the subsequent books did that thing that many series do -- they slowly dropped as the series continued. The second sold less well than one, three sold less than two... and so on... and by the time we get to five, the publisher is wondering if we need to think of something fresh and new.
So how I got told that this book was the last went like this -- first of all, you should know, if you don't, that authors are usually about a year ahead of bookstores. So I handed in my final Garnet book about this time LAST year. The publisher needs lead time for all sorts of reasons -- revisions, copy-editing, publicity, distribution, not to mention the actual production and design of a book and its cover. After I finished that book, I wrote up proposals for my editor for the next books. My agent submitted them. They're sort of like "audition pieces" and publishers make the decision about buying more based on what they see and what they know you can produce (or sometimes a sample chapter you provide.) My editor liked what she saw, I'm sure, but then she has to sell the idea to her bosses (those people I call "the publisher") and the marketing department (the folks who decide if the books are profitable.)
For the subsequent Garnet books, something fell apart in that proposal process. Either the editor wasn't interested or she couldn't sell the idea to the bean-counters of the publisher because of those diminishing returns, like I noted above. So, my editor gave my agent the bad news and my agent passed it on to me.
Thus, before I even started the next book, I knew the series was ending. Luckily, as I said, this process happened fast enough that I was able to re-write the acknowledgment page of HONEYMOON to let the readers know this was the last book, and do my best during revision to try to make the book feel a bit more like the end (as you noted, that was much less successful than I might have liked because I didn't know this was the last book GOING IN... only GOING OUT.)
I'm sure this is confusing because some writers know exactly how many books they're planning from the beginning, and so you see labels like Book 1 of 3, etc. I'd always conceived the Garnet Lacey series as unending from the get go, so I hadn't pre-planned any kind of finale. I think if I had known, I might have gone all cliche and ended with the wedding, honestly.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
As you know, the Garnet series has come to an end. A few people emailed or commented questions about that, and I thought I'd answer them here:
#1. Would you ever consider continuing to write the GL series to put onto this blog? What about e-books? What about pushing them to another publisher (Llewellyn, etc.)?
I would consider it. In fact, just the other day I had a great short story idea come into my head involving early Garnet/Parrish days. It would be interesting and fun, IMHO, to write non-Lilithed Garnet, and, of course, Parrish is always hot.
The biggest roadblock to my doing these things is time. I am currently contracted to write a new young adult series for my publisher, and, with Mason home from school in May (he has a weird year-round school that has an odd vacation schedule), I'm having a hard enough time making word count deadlines for the things I'm getting paid for, you know? I love the idea of doing this, though, and if I were the sort of person who had boundless energy and time, I'd be all over a fiction blog adventure. It certainly seems to work for a lot of my colleagues. I've heard of a lot of professional writers doing this sort of thing. But, if you're a regular reader here you know I hardly am able to keep up with doing this on a daily basis!
The alternate publisher, however, is always a possibility. In fact, my first novel is being put out in paperback by Berkley Sensation at the end of next year, and I have this fantasy that maybe if it's successful as a mass market paperback maybe they'll re-issue all five and ask me for more in the series. A smaller press like Llewellyn is a great idea, but that's something for my agent to handle. I mean, if they approached me? I'd totally make it happen, but normally, I leave that kind of stuff up to my agent.
So, I guess the answer is a qualified yes.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I have to admit that I'm enough old school that I don't always get the appeal of these things. But, if you're the sort, there's an on-line contest/event with me at Bitten By Books today, starting right about now (noon) but going all day and into the night.
Also, you can read my blog about leaving behind the Garnet Lacey series, here at VampChix and enter a giveaway contest as well.
The hard part for me is being available on-line for the comments and questions, because I'm dialing up at home or stuck in a coffeeshop (oh woe! *tease*). Though today the extra wrinkle is that my son is with me because he's off school for intersession (we go year round, so he has weird vacations.) Luckily, the wifi hotspot works for his DS Lite Pokemon game. He's currently trading Pokemon with people from around the world (which even I admit is kinda cool.)
Okay, I guess I'm going to try to do some writing while checking in at the various on-line places I'm supposed to be.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Today is the official release day of the last book in the Garnet Lacey series, HONEYMOON OF THE DEAD.
I have some mixed feelings about this book, because I'd just finished the final draft of the novel when I found out that it would be the last. I had always hoped that Garnet would be my "never ending" series, and had originally written in some plot points that I intended to pull out as the grist for the events of the next book. Thus, the book is not the nice, tidy ending I might have written had I known it would be the last.
For instance, there would have been a lot more Daniel Parrish had I known. Heck, the whole "Scooby gang" would have shown up a lot earlier.
However, I would LOVE for this book to go out with a bang, so, if you're so inclined, please consider purchasing this book in its first week on the shelf.
Thanks! And Merry Meet, Merry Part and Merry Meet Again!
Monday, May 03, 2010
Of course, nobody officially says that's what it is, but, for the past thirty-six years, a Minneapolis-based theatre troupe called In the Heart of the Beast puts on a parade and free performance in Powderhorn Park on the Sunday closest to May 1st that has grown into a celebration of epic proportions.
A number of my science fiction/fantasy writer friends have talked about trying to write about this celebration in fiction. To a person, we've agreed that it would be almost impossible, if only because some of the most awesome parts of the pageant are, in point of fact, ACTUALLY magical. Trying to add fictional magic into the mix does something to the story to render it.... lifeless. Plus, there's the challenge of trying to describe this progressive "morality play" in a way that honors its awesome, without making it seem stupid or over-the-top.
Theatre, of course, has it's own magic. The puppet troupe is well aware of that and always uses that at some point in the play. This year they transformed The People's baggage into the roaring tiger of activism (see how stupid it sounds out loud? It brought a tear to my eye live.) But one part of the play that doesn't change is that the sun rides a boat across the lake in the middle of Powderhorn park and comes to the western shore. When it arrives, even on a cloudy day like it was yesterday, the real sun always makes an appearance. Yeah, you don't believe me. But there was a group behind Mason and I on the hill who said, in an almost bored by it tone, "Happens every year." How could I write about that and have you believe it? It is, in its own way, a miracle of the Goddess witnesses year after year, by tens of thousands of Twin Citians. But, if I wrote it in a book, you'd think THAT was the part I made up.
Here is a picture of the Goddess. Okay, so she's officially called "The Tree of Life," but her skirt is the May pole.
Monday, April 26, 2010
I don't really have much news to report. My partner is away on a business trip to North Dakota, which means I'm a "single parent" for the next three days. Since Mason is in school, this isn't going to disrupt my writing too much. In fact, depending, I may write MORE with her away.
I say depending, because sometimes I can't focus very well with the house is empty and my sweetie is away. Sometimes I wander around like a house cat, mewing into all the corners, looking for a warm body, as it were. Despondent, I play a lot of mindless video games.
Other times, I throw myself into my work and write A LOT. I'm hoping that this time is going to be the latter. If only because I'm a bit behind. On Thursday, at my writers' group, I handed out a huge chunk of the work in progress (ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN, the sequel to the young adult book coming out in August.) But as I told them, that fifty page bit only represents about half of what I SHOULD have written in two weeks.
The book is due at the middle of July, and I'm sure I'll make it, but I like to have a lot of cushion, so I can get people to read my first draft and make comments before I send it off to the publisher. I've heard from other writers who don't do this. They send what they write direct. They must be better writers than I am, because I always need a couple of sets of eyes on the book before it's editor ready even.
I guess everyone's process is different.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Yesterday, I chaperoned a field trip to the Minnesota Zoo. It was nearly a disaster as I briefly lost track of one of the four kids I was in charge of, but, luckily, it all worked out in the end. I'm still exhausted, but I thought I'd share a couple of the cool animal pics I took. These are both of the Amur leopard, which is part of the "Russia's Grizzly Coast" exhibit.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Come say good-bye (and merry meet again) to Garnet Lacey!
On Saturday, May 8, 2010, in my persona as Tate Hallaway, I will be signing HONEYMOON OF THE DEAD, the last in the Garnet Lacey series, at Uncle Hugo's in Minneapolis starting at 1:00 pm. The Uncles are located at 2864 Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55407. You can call for directions or more information (612) 824-6347. If you are not able to attend, but would still like a signed copy of the book, you can find information on how to mail order on the bookstore's website: www.unclehugos.com
Monday, April 05, 2010
As a past special citation winner of this award, I like to pass on this news:
2010 Philip K. Dick Award Winner Announced
It was announced on Friday, April 2, at Norwescon 33, in SeaTac, Washington, that the winner for the distinguished original science fiction paperback published for the first time during 2009 in the U.S.A. is:
BITTER ANGELS by C. L. Anderson (Ballantine Books Spectra)
Special citation was given to:
CYBERABAD DAYS by Ian McDonald (Pyr)
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
*** PERMISSION TO FORWARD GRANTED***
Workshop: Changing Genres: How to Decide What to Keep & What to Dump, What to Change, What to Enhance, When Following Trends, Jumping into Different "Lines" or Going Down a New Road
Speaker: Beth Daniels
Date: April 5 - 30, 2010
DESCRIPTION: The publishing world is in constant transition with different aspects in novels changing, sometimes over a decade, sometimes - it seems - nearly overnight. Will you be ready? Or are you already thinking of jumping from your current "ship", swinging with the finesse of Captain Jack Sparrow onto the publishing vessel riding the waves to starboard or port?
There are a number of reasons why writers decide to try something different. Some do it because the bottom has fallen out of what they were writing, some because they are excited about a rising trend. Whatever your reason for considering making the leap there are decisions to be made. And that is what this workshop is all about.
Just because editors are no longer buying what you have been writing doesn't mean you need to junk your style entirely. There are elements that travel well between genres, even if the genres stay within the romance marketplace or leap into an entirely different marketplace. Determining what can or should be kept and what needs to be altered, enhanced, dumped, or learned goes beyond simply decided to take the leap.
This workshop runs four weeks and sets challenges twice a week. These challenges (or homework, if you will) address things like the marketplace, evaluating the elements required, making note of how many of them are already part of the writer's style, deciding what needs to be learned/adapted/changed, and even confessing - or realizing - the reason a writer is considering leaping into a new field. In other words, "what's it going to take and can I follow though?"
I started out as a romantic-suspense writer, segued into being a romantic comedy author (of both adult and young adult books), fell into writing corrupted fairytale short stories, and have been world building to launch into the fantasy market, so I've been jumping genres throughout my twenty year career as a novelist. Sometimes what these changes were made unconsciously and not as thoroughly as time and more thought about the process now demands. But they've kept me in contracts, not to mention extremely versatile.
All that is required of attendees is a vague idea of where they'd like to go, where they'd like to be as their writing career evolves. Both unpublished and published authors welcomed.
BIO: Beth Daniels currently writes as Beth Henderson and J.B. Dane, though she answered to Lisa Dane and Beth Cruise in the past as well. She has worked with editors at Berkley, Zebra, Leisure, Harlequin/Silhouette, and Simon and Schuster's Aladdin Paperbacks, done e-books for a now defunct company (not her fault, she says), and began her writing life with hardcover books slated for library use with a publisher that got out of the romance business (again, not her fault). More recently she's had a number of articles about writing picked up by e-zines, saw a short story published in a mystery and suspense magazine that turned up its toes the next year (really, really not her fault), and has a story in the MOTHER GOOSE IS DEAD anthology slated for publication by Dragon Moon Press sometimes in 2010.
For over a dozen years Beth taught college level composition, both in the classroom and online, and a credit course on Novel Writing. Five of her former Novel class students are now published.
Twenty-six of Beth's manuscripts have appeared in print or e-book format. These have been historical romantic adventures (6), romantic comedies (10), romantic-suspense (3), and young adult romantic comedy (7). Her titles have appeared in 12 different languages in over 20 countries. At the moment she is working on various manuscripts and attempting a collaboration with another RWA member on a contemporary/fantasy/romantic adventure. She also ventured into self-publishing to keep her out-of-print backlist in print, but previous e-books in print, and in frustration, to move beyond a manuscript she'd been reworking for editors for a decade with no bites, released a previously unpublished historical romantic adventure set in the American West.
She is currently/or has been a member of/or about to renew membership in Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Novelist Inc., and Historical Novelist Society. Website: RomanceAndMystery.com
Fee: $20 CRW Members; $25 Non-CRW Members. FMI about the workshops or speakers, or to register: http://www.coloradoromancewriters.org or email Online Workshop Series Coordinator, Karen Docter, at email@example.com To subscribe to Online Workshop Series mailing list, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CRWOnlineclasses A minimum of 5 students registered two days prior to class start is required for workshop to remain viable. No refunds after 24 hours prior to class start.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
On Facebook, I got this question in response to the status update that I was beginning work on the sequel to ALMOST TO DIE FOR (NAL, August 2010):
How do you motivate yourself when you're staring at a blank page? It kills me every time.
The deeply personal reply to this is that I'm actually MORE afraid of working on the novel in progress than I am of a blank page. In fact, I actually open up a new document every time I sit down to write. I do that in order to lie to myself. The lie I tell myself is that this is just a draft, it's not part of the REAL novel, and so it's okay if it sucks. Otherwise, I would be too paralyzed to write.
I also write it in Georgia font, single-space so that it "looks" like a draft and not the real document, which is in Courier, 12 pt, double-spaced standard manuscript format. The really ironic, silly part is that, when I finish the scene or however much I end up writing that day, I usual cut and paste it EXACTLY the way I wrote it.
I could probably save myself some hassle if I'd just write in the "real" document. But my brain just can't. I feel too much pressure for what I write there to be perfect, you know?
But I think the thing that's really at the heart of this question is: how do you deal with STARTING something? For me the answer is: do a lot of pre-writing. These days, I almost never start a novel that I don't have an outline/synopsis for, which means I know the basic plot point, the beginning, middle and end. When I sit down to figure those things out, I pull out my trusty notebook and start scribbling. So I hardly ever start anything with knowing, at the very least, where I INTEND it to go.
Of course, it doesn't always go where I say it will.
And, just recently, I tried starting a short story without any idea of where it was going, and guess what? It's sitting in my hard drive completely stalled out. *sigh*
Monday, March 29, 2010
Jill M. Smith reviewed Honeymoon of the Dead (Berkley, May 2010) for Romantic Times Book Reviews. She gave it 4 stars (highest = 4 1/2) and said:
The fifth and final chapter of witch Garnet Lacey's adventures comes to an offbeat conclusion. Garnet has grown throughout the books, but this time, some of her earlier misdeeds come back to haunt her. This highly enjoyable series embodies the old saying, what can go wrong... Thanks to Hallaway for hours of escapist delight.
Given that I didn't KNOW this was going to be the last book in the series, I'm pleasantly surprised to see that the reviewer thought it held up as well as all that. Also, I didn't think that Penguin was sending out ANY review copies, so seeing something here (and so positive!) really made my day.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Somehow I missed Jim C. Hines' publication of the novel survey results part II wherein he tackles the myth of the "overnight success" and "you have to know someone." Both myths -- BUSTED. Check out the results!
Here also is novel survey results part III in which he asks the question: "Can you boost your odds?" of being published by attending conventions, being in a writers group, having an advanced degree in creative writing, etc. The answer to this one is less clear, but interesting reading, none-the-less.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
***PERMISSION TO FORWARD***
SELF-PROMOTION: Does the very term make you cringe? Do you suffer from "Not-Doing-Enough-Self-Promotion" guilt? Do you think self-promotion is something you'll have time to learn AFTER getting The Call? Here’s THE online workshop for you:
April 5th – 18th -- “GUILT-FREE AUTHOR PROMOTION: Picking the Right PR Options For You”
PR consultant/Berkley author Marcia James and a slate of promotion-savvy guest lecturers will present this two-week online workshop that provides insider tips, hard-won knowledge, and the tools to pick the PR options right for YOU. The lectures include:
Promoting Yourself Before "The Call" by Beth Morrow (Wild Rose Press)
Web Site Design by Karen McCullough (Cerridwen Press & Karen's Web Works)
Online & Print Press Kits by Patricia Sargeant (Kensington/Berkley)
Co-Promotion by Dianne Castell (Kensington, Berkley & Harlequin/Silhouette)
Group Blogs by Donna MacMeans (Berkley)
Author Promotion Sites by DeNita Tuttle (AuthorIsland.com)
Print Advertising by Janice Maynard (NAL)
Public Speaking by Karen Harper (MIRA)
Networking/Power-Schmoozing by Susan Gee Heino (Berkley)
Social Media Sites by Kathy Kulig (Ellora's Cave/Cerridwen Press)
Author Newsletters by Kay Stockham (Harlequin Superromance/Berkley)
Readers' Loops by Carol Ann Erhardt (Wild Rose Press)
Podcasts by Melissa Alvarez w/a Ariana Dupre (Cerridwen Press)
Workshop participants will learn about author branding, create tag lines, and identify elements within their work that lend themselves to niche marketing. In addition to the guest-lectures, Marcia will discuss cross-promotion, print and trinket PR materials, author interviews, and more. And all participants will receive Marcia’s 280-page Microsoft WORD file, filled with detailed information on all types of promotional options.
The workshop is hosted by RWA San Diego (RWA-SD). Cost is $15 for RWA-SD members and $20 for non-members. See http://www.rwasd.com/training/index.html for registration.
Learn to love (okay, LIKE) self-promotion. ;-) And banish the guilt of not doing enough PR. Join us online in April! See you there!
Marcia James writes hot, humorous romances and finaled in 11 RWA contests before selling her first comic romantic suspense, At Her Command. Her short story, "Rescue Me", appeared in Tails of Love, a Berkley benefit anthology, and her latest story, Love Unleashed, was released in February. In her eclectic career, she has shot submarine training videos, organized celebrity-filled nonprofit events and had her wedding covered by People Magazine. An advertising copywriter and marketing consultant, Marcia presents online and in-person author promotion workshops.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The more I think about the question my friend asked yesterday, the more I'm irritated by it. (For those of you just tuning in, the question was:)
When people who aren't writers suggest that if you hate certain parts of writing, maybe you shouldn't do it, do you want to wring their necks, or do you just think it's time to be less honest about your feelings?
Yesterday, I answered: wring their bloody necks. Today, I say: do it, twice. It's justifiable homicide.
Thing is, I suspect that one of the reasons my friend is getting this kind of dis is because she's at a place in her career that non-writers simply fail to understand.
For instance, I don't get asked this question, and, Goddess knows, I complain plenty. But, see, I get paid to write. You can complain about your JOB.
My friend is a working writer*, but she hasn't broken out in a way that non-writers get. There is no book spine with her name on it (not yet!) Thing is, there are people in my business who have won major science fiction/fantasy awards (like the Hugo) for short stories, and probably they get the same lack of respect this kind of question implies.
There's a really dismissive hierarchy in our business that we sometime even apply to ourselves that goes something like this: the only REAL writers are those with publishing credits. But to be really real, you need to have published a novel from a respected NY publishing house, and then better if you're a NAME, someone who has broken the NY Times bestseller list, gotten one of your novels turned into a movie, or is an actual, honest-to-goodness household name, ala Dan Brown, Stephen King, Stephanie Meyer or J. K. Rowling.
That whole thing is so self-destructive and, frankly, delusional in a way that's extremely harmful to our business and those who work in it.
When I was a working writer without publishing cred, I made a conscious decision to stop saying (when asked what I did), "Oh, I'm a secretary, but I'm really a writer." (or worse, "I really WANT to be a writer.") I started telling people, "I am a writer." When they asked the inevitable follow-up, "Oh? Are you published?" I said, "Not yet." I actually had someone walk away from me at that point in the conversation because he deemed me no longer worthy of his attention.
Not only is that rude, but it's also wrong-headed. I think people feel justified in dismissing working writers because of this inane idea that anyone can write. People think that because they speak English, they can write. They're wrong. Writing so that you can be understood is actually a very specialized skill. Writing a rip, roaring story with a beginning, middle and end is a phenomenally specialized skill. Anyone who has actually put their butt into a chair and started that "great American novel" realizes in a heartbeat just how difficult it is.
People who never have tried think it's easy, and therefor completely dismiss the working writer in the early stages of her or his career.
Other writers have been known to dismiss fellow working writers for the complete opposite reason, which is, because they know how hard it is to break in, they have no respect for anyone who hasn't done it (or, interestingly enough, those who fail to continue to do it as well.) For them, I think it's a knee-jerk (heavy on the jerk) reaction to "there but for the Grace of God," however, this response is also rude and wrong-headed.
* A writer is someone who writes. For me the definition of a working writer is someone who writes, finishes what they write, and sends it out. You have the right to call yourself a writer at any point in your career, IMHO. You should also have the right to complain about your job at any point in your career, IMHO, even if you haven't gotten a paycheck yet.
I know that, for me, one of the pivotal points in my career was when I joined the National Writers Union. I was suddenly surrounded by (mostly journalists, but) people who not only made some kind of living writing, but who also demanded to be paid a decent wage for it. This was an eye-opener for me, because previously, like most Americans, I tended to think of writing as something people just did for the fun of it. I thought I was savvy enough to understand that you didn't get paid very well to write and so I should always think of writing as my bit on the side, as it were. But the National Writers Union taught me the value of my work. I should demand pay for what I do, because it *is* a skill, like any other. You wouldn't expect a plumber to work for free; you shouldn't expect a writer to either.
Which is why, actually, I sometimes have a hard time with what I'm doing right now: blogging. With all due respect to my friend Jo Walton and her like-minded colleagues, I'm NOT one of those pixel-stained radicals that believes information wants to be free. Yet, I understand that the market demands it. I believe, however, that giving content away undermines my value as a writer. I think one of the reasons people feel free to dis my friend and all other working writers like her is because everyone *is* a writer these days. You can read a thousand blogs (and stories and novels, for that matter,) for free, and be fairly entertained. People work a lot harder on their blogs than you might think -- the good ones, anyway. All that labor is unpaid. I think that's a crime, or at very least a bloody shame.
If attitudes about writers changed significantly, I might feel differently. For instance, if people start respecting working writers regardless of a paycheck, then paychecks wouldn't matter.
But they do. I'm afraid, my friend, that money still gets the last word, and that is: you're not a real writer until you get paid to do it (and even then, only the really BIG paychecks count.)
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
A fellow writer and friend of mine asked this question:
When people who aren't writers suggest that if you hate certain parts of writing, maybe you shouldn't do it, do you want to wring their necks, or do you just think it's time to be less honest about your feelings?
Wring their bloody necks!
As I told her privately, I think there's a bunch of things wrong with the basic assumption of this question. At the heart of it is the issue that, in this country at least, art of any kind, including writing, is considered a luxury. So, if you're complaining about something as trivial as all that, then you're being foolish. You should love your "hobbies" or not do them at all.
Bull (on so many levels.)
Number 1: hobbies are very worthwhile. In fact, if people didn't do cool stuff in their spare time, we wouldn't have gardens, volunteer corps, and any number of amazingly awesome things. But that's a whole separate rant....
However, the place it overlaps is here, in number 2, which is that because art isn't valued in our society, the only time people have to express their art is during their spare time. I wrote the first four novels I published in science fiction while working a full-time job. Why? Because writing doesn't pay the bills, EVEN WHEN YOU GET PUBLISHED. And you know what? I wrote for years before I got published, which meant I did it in between work, house cleaning, and, well, life.
Unlike most other professions (but similar to most arts), there isn't really a structure to follow to "become" a writer. If you want to be a brain surgeon, you go to medical school and can get loans and tons of support from society while you're learning your skill. Writers? Not so much. There's only a lot of crap you get from your non-writing friends while you're learning the craft of writing, such as the rude questions my friend is fielding. I mean, WTF? Would you tell a medical student to quit belly aching over her/his residency requirements? No. Why? Because being a doctor is something Americans see as a valuable profession. Writing is just some quirky luxury. Everyone needs a doctor; no one needs a book, a short story, or, god forbid, a poem.
Except we do.
People have always needed stories.
Monday, March 22, 2010
This morning, while taking Mason to school, I had to stop the car to let a wild turkey cross the road on Summit near Victoria. I excitedly pointed it out to Mason, who looked up from his Pokemon book and said, "Huh, the chicken must have had the day off!"
My son, the comedian.