Archive for March, 2010
What Stace had to say on Monday, March 29th, 2010
When you have a ho like Jaye Wells in your stable, yo.
I’ve been friends with Jaye for a while, and she is awesome. But what’s even more awesome are her books. See, last year when we were moving and all of that stuff, I really needed something to read during the journey. I grabbed a few books to take with me–can’t remember which ones–during a last-minute trip to my local Waterstone’s.
But what did I see there but Jaye’s RED-HEADED STEPCHILD. And lucky for me I did, too. Like I said, I don’t remember the names of the other books I bought to take along, but I know that after struggling to get through the first three or four chapters of each, I finally gave up and grabbed R-HS. Aaaaaaah. It was like finally getting to take a shower after four days of heavy physical work and sweat. I felt cleansed and refreshed. Yes, it’s first person and we all know that’s not my favorite thing. But, as with all the best first-person POVs, I hardly noticed. I loved the book. Good, crisp writing, likable characters who said interesting things and thought interesting things, humor in just the right places that was not over-the-top or silly (but also not mean-spirited, contrived-sounding snark). I practically cried, I was so happy to finally be reading a well-written book again.
Aaaanyway. The sequel, THE MAGE IN BLACK, comes out tomorrow, and to celebrate, I’ve invited Jaye here to do a guest blog (Ann Aguirre will be here next week, as well, so be prepared). Let’s all be nice to her, shall we? Heh.
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What Stace had to say on Saturday, March 27th, 2010
Since I’m just in the mood, I decided to post a new Sneak Peek from UNHOLY GHOSTS. We’re juuuust about 8 weeks away from release day, can you believe it?
The back cover copy:
THE DEPARTED HAVE ARRIVED.
The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen and constantly attack the living. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Consequently, there are many false claims of hauntings from those hoping to profit. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully-tattooed witch and freewheeling Debunker and ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for nailing the human liars or banishing the wicked dead. But she’s keeping a dark secret from the Church: a little drug problem that’s landed her in hot and dangerous water.
Chess owes a murderous drug lord named Bump a lot of money. And Bump wants immediate payback. All Chess has to do is dispatch a very nasty species of undead from an old airport. But the job involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and crossing swords with enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust with a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.
This is from Chapter Six, and it’s Chess’s initial visit to a family whose haunting she’ll be Debunking.
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What Stace had to say on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
**There are links at the bottom of this post; a few are to blogs where a DEMON POSSESSED blog tour is happening and copies of the book are being given away, so check them out!)
As is usually the case when a book is released, DEMON POSSESSED has been getting a pretty good number of reviews lately. And I’m extremely pleased to find they’ve been very positive; I mean, I suppose it’s entirely possible someone’s written a terrible review of it somewhere but I haven’t seen it.
But something struck me earlier, as I checked what came in from my Google alert and did a little link-following. Of the new reviews turned up today, two kind of stood out for me. Not because of the content of the reviews, exactly; well, yes, but not the way you think, maybe. Not because they were overwhelmingly positive or negative, either. But because of their disagreement on a specific issue.
The first was Mrs. Giggles’s totally fun review. The second was…well, I’m not going to say, because this person didn’t post their review on a personal blog or anything like that; it was on a share-your-opinion type site, where multiple people can post, and they don’t need to have me linking to them, as it’s not my place at all to be playing in the review pool for my own book over there or pointing fingers (good or bad, and this is not bad).
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What Stace had to say on Thursday, March 18th, 2010
Yeah, it’s been a few days, sorry. You know how you’re not very busy, and you have plenty of free time, and then all of the sudden like a dozen projects fall on your head at once? That’s kind of where I am right now. So I may be a bit scarce for the next few weeks. The good news, though, is that I may have some good news in a few weeks, and I’m working on a new project that Agent Man and I are very excited about too, and I bought my dress for the RT Fairy Ball so hopefully it will look okay when it arrives (well, I know you probably don’t care about that, but I’m happy about it).
So I’ve been trying on and discarding various blog topics for several days now. And most of them are topics I do want to touch upon at some point–some of them are topics I’ve been mulling around for some time. And I know today’s post is about something quite a few people have already seen, but I’ve only just become aware of it (remember, the busy-ness? Haven’t been online much) and yeah, I want to say something about it.
Porn for Women.
For those who don’t want to click the link, let me tell you what this is. A group calling itself the “Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative”–which in itself is a horrible name–has produced this “funny” book, which is ostensibly the type of thing that really turns women on. And it’s a book full of handsome men vacuuming, or saying things like “I don’t need a reason to bring you flowers,” or “Gee, since the NFL playoffs are today, I bet we’ll find lots of parking at the craft fair,” or whatever.
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What Stace had to say on Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
Yeah, you can probably finish that sentence.
We’re not done discussing writer/reader relationships, I don’t think, but for today there’s some other stuff to talk about, including something I’m really, really excited about.
First, a couple of links. My pal Mario Acevedo, he of the fun books and incredibly dirty mouth, is doing a contest and chat over at Bitten by Books today, so head on over and enter to win some of his awesome work. And, you know, to taunt him and stuff.
Second, I’m not sure how many of you are aware of This Week’s Amazon Controversy. In a nutshell, this weekend Amazon listed a bunch of very expensive graphic novels at bargain basement prices. The pricing info was picked up by Rich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool–he’s @BleedingCool on Twitter as well, and you should follow him, especially if you’re the sort of geek who reads comics or has any interest in comics or movies or whatever, or who, oh, dreams about Batman, or who downloaded “Voodoo Child” by the Rogue Traders and plays it in her car and then pretends that she is married to The Master, and then we make the Doctor my sex slave…oh, um, I mean, if you were that sort of geek, which of course I am not. Ha, ha! No, not me! Um. Anyway, Bleeding Cool is a great site.
So Rich picked up the story, and lots of people–including the hubs–flocked to Amazon to order books. (In fact, if you checked the top Amazon sellers on Sunday morning they were all hardcover graphic novels, which was quite cool). Then Amazon started processing some orders, and sending out emails saying that if you ordered more than one copy of a book your duplicate orders were canceled, but they would otherwise honor the price at which you purchased the books. Which is great, right? Except that now they’re just canceling people’s orders altogether, without notifying them, or with a rather short email that basically says, “Yeah, too bad.” So some people got their books at the advertised price, but most are being told Tough Luck. Rich discusses the emails and the reactions of disappointed readers here.
BUT. Here’s the big news, which I really hope you guys will be excited about. I’m sure many of you know who James D. Macdonald is, and how much he’s done for writers everywhere. And, if you haven’t read any of his books you totally need to.
Anyway. Jim periodically looks into self-publishing methods, to help out writers who choose to go that route for whatever reason. A few weeks ago he asked if anyone had anything they wanted made into a book, and, since I’d been planning/attempting for ages to put the Strumpet series together and set it up as a book, I offered it to him. I wrote a new little intro, and he wrote some back-cover copy for me, and there you go.
Long(ish) story short, the Strumpet series is now available on Lulu as a paperback (mmp size) and as an ebook!
So for all of you who’ve asked me to do this, there you go. Have fun!
(Note: Yes, the series is still available on the blog here, and will continue to be. You do not need to buy the ebook or paperback to still access the series; I wrote it as a free blog series and it will remain so. This is just for those of you who wanted it to download all as one document for easy navigation, or so you don’t have to keep visiting my site to read it, or who like having a paperback, or whatever. Also, no, it is not available on Amazon or as a Kindle download; in the interests of keeping costs down we opted not to buy an ISBN, which means it won’t be listed in those places.)
So that’s it for today. We’re rather content-light, but given how Very Serious we were last week, and given how excited I am to finally have the Strumpet series out there in book form (It’s Alf! He’s back. In pog form), and given that I’m up to my knees in a new project…well. We’ll see how it goes the rest of the week.
What Stace had to say on Friday, March 5th, 2010
First, I forgot to mention here (though I have put it on Twitter a few times) that I’m doing a chat at BookSmugglers and it lasts until tomorrow, and when you ask me a question you’re entered to win a complete set of the Demons books. So if you haven’t stopped by already, please do!
Second…well. My last post got considerably more attention that I ever anticipated, so that was quite a surprise. And I have some follow-up questions about it, but those I think will wait until another time. At the moment I just want to address one thing quickly, and another in a bit more detail.
First, as always, when you put things out on the internet and people see it, they’re going to react, just like when you write a book and put it out there people are going to react. And really, part of being a writer is learning to accept that and let the negative stuff roll off your back, or learn from it. It really doesn’t bother me anymore, and the comment I want to discuss didn’t bother me personally, I just find it’s indicative of what the whole point of my post the other day was.
I discovered, quite by accident, that apparently there are some people who feel that Moira and myself, and any other writer who shares our opinions, are simply kissing ass. I find this extremely sad, I have to admit. Is this what the world has come to, that when people see a wrong and speak up about it they’re immediately assumed to have some sort of ulterior motive?
Have we really reached a point where “Writers hate readers” has become the default position, so any writer who claims to actually like readers and want to see them treated well is automatically suspected of just being a big old liar, who probably spends their private, secret hours lurking in bookstores and tripping innocent readers as they pass by, just for fun? Or who runs around various reader blogs and sites leaving anonymous comments along the lines of “You’re all just thieves why don’t you go fuck yourselves you selfish bastards?” Seriously. Am I the only one who finds it really sad that we live in a world where a writer who says “I love readers, and want to please them, and want to see them treated like human beings instead of dogs,” must be an ass kisser, because the person making the accusation apparently can honestly not imagine any other reason why a writer might feel that way and express that feeling?
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What Stace had to say on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
I’m in a release day frame of mind lately, what with DEMON POSSESSED being released last week. See, it’s not just that that book was released, it’s also that it means UNHOLY GHOSTS will be out soon. Well, soonish, lol; three months.
And like any other writer with a book coming out, I’m thinking about promo. See, I want you to buy the book(s). I want you to get all of your friends to buy the book(s). I want to sell thousands and thousands and thousands of copies. I want to hit the NYT list, or the USA Today list, or the Publisher’s Weekly list, or Bookscan or whatever. Lists make writers happy, you see. And they make publishers happy, and everybody’s happy. Happiness is good.
And of course, I would hope that you guys, my lovely readers, would want to help me sell books or hit lists or whatever. Because we have something of a symbiotic relationship, you know, you and me. I write books, and you buy them, and when you buy them you encourage me to write more of them, and it’s all very cheering and makes me feel warm and happy inside to think that I’ve given you something you enjoy (I honestly love giving presents; I’m one of those weird people at holidays who gets more excited about the things I’m giving than what I might get).
But here’s the thing. While I would hope that you would want to help, I don’t expect you to. I’m surprised and thrilled and grateful whenever you do, but I don’t expect it. At all. Ever. And I certainly wouldn’t presume to INSIST you do, or berate you for not doing so. Or imply that you’re stupid for not purchasing my books in the exact fashion that I would prefer you to do so.
Sadly, it seems sometimes as if I–okay, I and several of my close friends–are alone in that feeling, that instinctive cringing when we see readers being treated like nothing more than open wallets whose sole purpose is to drive said writer to greater glory.
Do I want to hit a list? Of course, although I would never presume to think I have a real shot at it. Do I think it would be great if readers everywhere held off on buying my books until the day of release? Well, sure, I guess so, but see the aforementioned “I would never presume to think I have a shot at a list anyway so what does it matter,” answer. (Yeah, I know, that wasn’t the full answer, but it’s what I meant.)
Are there things readers can do to help a favorite author hit a list? Yeah, but not as many as you think, really. Sure, waiting until release day–or the day before, since books release on Tuesdays and sales are counted for the entire week, so buying on Monday is okay–helps. That’s a good thing to do, if you’re interested, but really that’s about it. It’s certainly all I would ever think to ask.
See…I work for YOU. I mean, yes, I work for myself, but I DO the work for you. You are my audience. You are not my slaves. You do not exist in order to feed my ego or allow me to add a shiny “List” pin to my vest. It’s not for me to tell you where you’re allowed to buy my books or in what format. I’m just amazed and grateful that you buy them at all.
I’ll be perfectly honest here. There are times when it feels as if the world of readers and the world of writers are at war. Readers want certain things; they have a right to want those things as consumers. But writers/publishers want certain things as well, and we have a right to want those things as content creators and producers. And don’t even get me started on copyright violations/piracy, and some of the justifications for those. Again, to be honest? There are times when I see discussions of it, or come across my books on filesharing sites, and have the sick, deep feeling that I should just give the hell up. I can never “win”–by which I mean earn a decent living consistently, when I’m being stolen from.
And it’s not just the financial theft, it’s the feeling that someone has literally reached into my mind and taken something from me without permission. It feels like I got drunk and told a deep secret to someone I thought was a friend, and that so-called friend turned around and told the world, and they’re all laughing at me. Or like a when a guy you really like sleeps with you and then never calls you again, you know? It makes me feel worthless, and frustrated, and lonely and sad. Sure piracy bothers me because of the money, sure, but really?
Piracy just hurts. It hurts to think someone is using you for entertainment but doesn’t think you deserve any compensation for that. It hurts to think you’re seen as less than human; as some sort of machine which exists for the gratification of others but is not permitted any gratification of its own. It hurts to feel that someone thinks they’re entitled to the fruits of your labor–the expression of the truth as you see it and the worlds and people you created and love–without paying for them. It doesn’t feel like a royalty payment was stolen from you. It feels like a tiny part of your soul was stolen from you.
That shit hurts.
And I imagine it hurts readers, too, when they’re made to feel–from being yelled at, lectured, or treated like they’re stupid–that they exist solely to provide the writer with titles and accolades. That just buying and reading and enjoying and talking about a book isn’t enough, that they now must buy it at certain times, in certain places, in certain formats, at certain phases of the moon, or whatever. Just as writers are not simply typewriters churning out words, readers are not simply notches on that big bestseller belt. They are people.
I’m not really sure where I’m going with this. Just that I think it’s wrong.
Do I want to sell a lot of books? Hell, yes!
But I don’t want to just sell a lot of books. I want to entertain a lot of people. I want to give them something. That’s what this is about, not numbers or lists. It’s about books and writing and reading and the way when we read a book we love we feel connected to that book, and those characters, and that author. And when we discover another fan of those books we have a connection with that person, and books created that connection, and it wouldn’t exist without writers, readers, and publishers.
So do I want to hit a list? Of course. Have I thought of various promotional things to do, fun things, that may help facilitate that? Sure.
Do I want to hit a list at the expense of readers, by berating them or nagging them, by treating them like my minions or like they fucking owe me that goddamn list, so they better get off their fat asses and do what I say?
That’s not worth it to me. I don’t want it that way. It wouldn’t mean anything that way.
I may never hit a list. But I will always be grateful that people have bought my books, and read them and loved them and took the time to tell me. Yes, this is a business, and I want to succeed in it and make money. But not at the expense of readers, and not at the expense of my own soul.
So that’s it. Just some things I’m thinking of, and will continue to think of as we get closer to the summer and the release of the Downside books (finished copyedits on CITY OF GHOSTS last week, and am quite pleased, btw).
ETA: Moira Rogers, who writes awesome books, has also done a post on this topic, and I highly recommend you check it out too. My response to it? Ditto.