Archive for December, 2010

What Stace had to say on Thursday, December 30th, 2010
Oh, the holiday fun

Well, it snowed on Christmas Day. Which was lovely and all, but the roads were icy. And it snowed on Boxing Day. And the hubs had a bad cold, which he’s sort of given to me and the Faerie. All of which adds up to, we had to cancel our trip to Florida. Which also added up to us wasting money on a rental car that sat in our driveway for three days and then got returned. Yay.

So to cheer myself up I gave away some ebooks on Twitter, which was fun. (These were copies of my EC titles, the erotic romances.) And–this is so awesome, and definitely cheered me up big-time–one of my followers actually named her new Kindle “Chessiebomb,” which was so awesome I had to buy her a copy of UNHOLY GHOSTS for Kindle. (That’s not going to work again, just so you know, heh.)

And of course I’ve been doing some writing and all of that stuff, and hanging out with my family, and coughing up goo, so it’s really been a great holiday

Here’s a picture:

Sheesh. I had a whole post written here about goals and editing and all sort of other things, but I somehow got logged out of WordPress and now it’s disappeared and I don’t feel like writing it all again, sigh. Probably for the best. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, so my moping and musing may not be the healthiest or most cheerful thing to read; let’s ring in the new year with some reminders of how self-destructive the human race is, and what a bunch of nasty, judgmental little bastards we are, too!

I’ll be fine, though, and I’ll be back soon–in the next week–with some actual worthwhile blog content, I promise.

Meanwhile, I hope you all have a wonderful and safe new year! Take care of yourselves, because I seriously need every reader I can get and can’t afford to lose a single one of you. Ha ha ha. (Seriously, do take care!)

(Oh, and as another aside. At some point soon I think I’m going to try to get another “official author photo” done. I hate the way I photograph, generally, so wish me luck, eep!)

What Stace had to say on Friday, December 24th, 2010
A Holiday Excerpt

I’m sending out a longer excerpt from this scene to Downside Army members later tonight or early tomorrow, but I thought hey, why not post a little bit here, too?

I hope you enjoy it, and that you’re having a wonderful holiday! I’ll be away for the first few days of next week, but I’ll be back before the new year. (Not that you asked or anything, just that you–oh, never mind.)

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    What Stace had to say on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
    A Giftie for You!

    Which I hope you’ll like, though honestly it’s not a big deal or anything. I feel kind of silly saying it’s a gift, like “Oh look, I’m so great my mere words are presents to humanity,” or something, but I wanted to do something for you guys and this is what I came up with.

    Back in October, if you recall (or if you don’t) I did a guest blog on the Paranormal Haven blog. And rather than do a “This is why I like Halloween,” I wrote a very short little story about the beginning of Haunted Week. Of course, not too long after I wrote it I thought of a new, better ending for it, so I’d always meant to change it.

    Anyway, last night I got a little bee in my bonnet about it. I expanded the story and gave it a new ending (it’s about 2300 words now, so still very short). Then I went to stock.xchng and grabbed a free image, took it to Picnik, and made a cover, of which I’m hugely proud, to be honest. Check it out:

    Isn’t that cool? I know it’s rude to brag, but considering how challenged I am in the visual arts–seriously, I’m not good at them–I’m totally impressed with myself.

    So. I tried to load it to Amazon for the Kindle and Barnes & Noble for the Nook, but neither of them would allow me to offer it for free, and there was no way I was going to charge. For a present? Nonononono. Besides, it’s only 2300 words! Even 99 cents is too much to pay for that.

    So I loaded it onto the site, on the Books page (it’s near the bottom, under “Other Titles”) as a PDF. You can download it there or here: The Brave Tale of Maddie Carver (4266)

    I also put it up on Smashwords, which took hours. I mean, I got it up very quickly (heh heh, that’s what she said) but it took hours for Smashwords to get it converted. You can get it here, though.

    Then I popped over to Scribd to offer it there, too.

    (Incidentally, I also made a new cover for BE A SEX-WRITING STRUMPET, which I’m also pleased with; that’s on Scribd as well, and will be on the Nook, and I’ve changed the cover file in the Kindle store.)

    So there you go, a free story for you. Merry Holidays! Thank you so much for everything!

    Also, I’ve just discovered we have some more award nominations! Paranormal Haven is doing its Best of 2010, and if you click the Vote Now link it will take you to the actual voting, where Chess is nominated for Favorite Kick-Ass Heroine and the Downside series is nominated for Favorite New Series. So if you feel like voting, do! Heck, vote whether it’s for Chess and the Downside series or not; Paranormal Haven is a great blog, and you should take a look at it/participate! Voting ends tonight!

    And of course, there are still the Goodreads Awards! Best Paranormal Fantasy and Best Goodreads Author.

    …so I think that’s it for today! Enjoy the short, everyone, and of course feel free to let me know what you think!

    What Stace had to say on Monday, December 20th, 2010
    Let Me Show You My Updates

    First, lookie! The German version of UNHOLY MAGIC, which will be published by Egmont Lyx in July 2011, has a cover! And a new title. SEELENZORN, which as far as I can tell means either Angry Souls or Soul’s Anger or something like that. (Also, Egmont is calling the books the “Ghostbusters series,” which is awesome and yet very scary in a trademark-infringement sort of way. So, um, I’m not the one calling it that, okay, Sharp Hawk-Eyed Lawyers? Totally not me.) Anyway, here it is:

    Sigh, no bangs. But it's still cool.

    There’s a blog, a review-and-interview-and-everything-books blog, called Floor to Ceiling books, and Magemanda, the lovely lady who runs it, has posted her Best Of… list for 2010. Guess who’s on it? Me! Well, me, for “Breakthrough Novelist,” which she says is in part because of YOU, and the fantastic little community you guys have made! So thank you all so much. Also–and I know this part will interest you far more–Chess and Terrible won for “Best Kiss.” Nice, huh? She doesn’t say which book it’s for, though, so I’ll ask you guys. What was the best kiss?

    And I know you’re all dying to hear how my Twitter odyssey ended. It hasn’t. I did look into Destroy Twitter, which I liked the look of quite a bit–I loved that you could customize it and pick different themes. Unfortunately, not only is the info/FAQ/etc on the site really sparse, to the point where I had no idea what the thing would even DO unless I downloaded it and actually started running it, it was also a download program. Which makes me think it’s a opens-in-its-own-window thing, which as we know, I don’t want.

    So it’s down to Hootsuite and Seesmic. I’m actually liking both of them. I’ve hooked up my Facebook page to Seesmic, so I’ve actually gotten a few FB updates in yesterday and today, which is nice. I don’t know if I’ll make Seesmic my only program, though. I do like it. The more I use it the more I like it.

    The problem is, the more I use Hootsuite the more I like it, too. They both have things I really like and things I don’t like as much; the bad part is those things complement each other. Like I don’t like Hootsuite’s DM thing, because it doesn’t automatically show me the ones I send. But I like Hootsuite’s photo uploader much better. Plus Hootsuite has that cute little owl. But Seesmic’s FAQ etc. is more comprehensive. Seesmic allows me to quote part of someone’s tweet, and–I LOVE this–when you go to someone’s profile it tells you if they’re following you as well as whether you’re following them. So it’ll say, “This user and you follow each other,” or whatever, which I’ve always thought Twitter should do. But Hootsuite has some cool Google Chrome extensions available, whereas Seesmic has none. I love that neither of them force me to look at people they think I’d be interested in following. I detest that.

    So I don’t know. For the moment I’m keeping them both open in separate tabs and switching back and forth between them, basically.

    Also, an update on the Downside Market. I’m basically waiting to get bigger versions of the original designs, because some of them look really small on the shirts etc., and we don’t want that. I’m also going to get white ones to go on black or dark-colored shirts. I’m trying to make as many color options available as possible.

    And I’m doing a few more with text, because that’s a bit cheaper, so again, lots of color options. I’m trying to get maybe a few Downspeech phrases in there, just some sort of fun stuff. And some of the really basic shirts are very inexpensive, which makes me happy. I’m also expanding the UF stuff a bit, more pro-genre/genre-related shirts.

    And of course, if anyone out there wants to do some designs, please send them in! And if your design goes into the store I’ll send you a shirt. You can find the specifications right here, if you’re interested.

    Oh, and I’m ripping out and rewriting like 40k words on Downside 4. More explosions! More violence! More dying! I’m hoping it’ll be a really good time when it’s done.

    I think that’s all the updates I have for the moment.

    What Stace had to say on Friday, December 17th, 2010
    Twitter Ruined my Day

    Oooh! Before I forget! The Downside books (all three of them!) are listed as #2 on the B&N Explorations list of the Best Paranormal Fantasies of 2010! Very exciting for me! Especially when I get to be on that list with so many of my awesome friends, like Kat Richardson, Jaye Wells, Kelly Meding, and Nicole Peeler, and my person-I-wish-I-knew-better Skyler White. I totally wanted to meet Skyler at Dragoncon, but I we had one panel together and I was meeting someone right after. Of course I later found out she’d wanted to meet me too, but we missed out, and have exchanged a few emails but as you all know, I am a terrible pen pal, so…my fault. Sorry Skyler! I’m not blowing you off, I swear, I really am that lazy and swamped!

    Anyway. Down to how Twitter ruined my fucking day, which it did.

    The last few days–ever since the day I logged in and got a nice little reminder from Twitter that I wouldn’t be able to use Old Twitter–much longer, Twitter’s been fucking up. Like it keeps sticking the same tweet in my “What’s Happening” window, or takes me to my DM box instead of taking me to my timeline, or whatever. Obviously–since it’s now giving me the sternly worded reminder at the top of my screen that Old Twitter won’t be available much longer–Twitter is trying to push me into changing.

    But here’s the thing. I hate and fear change. It freaks me out. Especially stuff like that. Bigger changes, like moves, don’t bother me that much, but let the grocery store move the soda aisle and I’m upset for days. (Once they redecorated the office where I worked; I literally cried at my desk for weeks, it bothered me so much to have everything rearranged and different.) So I’ve been resisting the Twitter change as much as possible.

    But today I got sick of it fucking up, so decided whatever, why not. And made the switch.

    Why not? I’ll tell you why not. Because New Twitter sucks gorilla ass, that’s why not. It’s ugly. It’s counterintuitive. It’s harder to use: harder to follow conversations, impossible to @ reply to more than one person at a time (with OT you can just click “Reply” to three or four different people; I can’t figure out how to do it at all in New Twitter, because when you click Reply it brings up this irritating new box and dulls out the rest of the screen. Which makes it harder to repeat stuff, too, but Twitter obviously doesn’t care about us having conversations).

    It took me about half an hour to decide it was time to try some apps. First was Seesmic, because I had a few people say they liked it. Seesmic was okay, but the columns were really narrow and it’s frankly rather ugly. It’s not very configurable, either. But really it was the narrow columns and tiny print; my eyes are bad enough without that.

    So I headed for Tweetdeck, which my friend Yasmine Galenorn recommended. It looked rather scary, frankly, but I decided to give it a go.

    Except I use Google Chrome, and I want to use my Twitter app through it, as a tab, and not as a separate window. Tweetdeck in Google Chrome doesn’t give you the ability to follow conversations (like “in reply to”) or to reply to more than one person. When I mentioned this I was deluged with people insisting it did, all of whom were trying to help, none of whom were using Google Chrome on a Mac, and all of whom basically succeeded in panicking me further to the point of tears. (It was confirmed, btw, that there is no way to follow conversations etc. in Tweetdeck using Google Chrome.)

    Also, installing Tweetdeck for Chrome “upgraded” my Chrome, so now my homepage doesn’t give me little pictures of screens but just a row of page names, most of which are abbreviated. It also made my Home, Refresh, and Back-Forward arrow keys invisible. More panic. I had to switch my Chrome theme (I’m using Wes Craven now) to get to see them again.

    So screw Tweetdeck. I deleted it from the computer. I was told most people who use a Mac use Tweetie. Tweetie looked a lot like Old Twitter, which was quite soothing. But Tweetie is also a separate window, a little narrow one. Not what I’m looking for. Deleted it as well.

    I headed to TWhirl next. Again, TWhirl looked good; I liked that it looked nice and basic and familiar. It seemed easy to use. But to download it would require letting it do something with “Adobe Air,” which I don’t know what that is, and after having my Chrome look all weird I didn’t want to mess with anything that would change anything on my computer again. Also, why should I download stuff? I didn’t download Twitter, it’s just a website. The fact that I had to d/l it made me suspect it was a in-its-own-window thing, and I didn’t want to take the chance.

    So I went to Hootsuite. Okay. Hootsuite has a lot of things I really like; I really, really like the “Show conversation” link at the bottom of tweets that are replies to others, and you can, well, see a whole conversation. And it’s nice and clear and easy to read. I kind of like that I have a separate column for my DMs, though it’s not really necessary.

    But unless I want to pay for Hootsuite I’m going to get these “promoted tweets,” which are ads. Ads for things I don’t give a damn about either. It’s not a huge deal but still.

    I went back to Seesmic and discovered that I can widen the columns, which was good. Both Seesmic and Hootsuite have Refresh buttons right there on the screen, which is cool. Seesmic doesn’t have the “Follow conversation” button but if I clock “In reply to ” it will show me what was said. And it does have a thing where if you click on a DM it expands the whole conversation in cool little bubbles, whereas Hootsuite doesn’t. Neither of them are great at DMs, though; Seesmic doesn’t want to show you incoming ones, Hootsuite doesn’t want to show outgoing. But those are the frontrunners at the moment.

    For the moment I’m back to Old Twitter, hoping someone will have a suggestion for me.

    The one bright spot in the day was getting a holiday giftie from my darling friend Caitlin, which was awesome, and having a nice chat with my agent, who likes my new idea, and is as puzzled as I on the origins of the word “taint” and why it’s suddenly the hot new body part.

    So… Twitter apps? Anyone?

    And I’m getting a fairly enthusiastic response to my idea of sending out one last excerpt of Downside 4 for my Downside Army members…so I’m leaning…thoughts on that are welcome too. (Also, in the spirit of the holiday season, it will be an excerpt with kissing. If I send one. See how nice I am?)

    What Stace had to say on Thursday, December 16th, 2010

    The hubs has always wanted a white Christmas tree, and me, being a woman of particular tastes, has always said no. The hubs thinks this is boring. But then, he also moans and whines about the fact that I only like white sheets as if this is some kind of failure of imagination on my part, when in fact it’s simply that I think sheets should be white because it looks nice. And besides, I’ve let him go for very pale blue-grays too. I like colored stripes at the borders just fine. And I bought a white-on-white striped set. I think that’s quite enough excitement for a bed; the point is to sleep, after all. Everything else can be colored. Color is great in other rooms. But sheets should be white, and that is just the way I feel.

    (Besides, when all the sheets are white you can interchange them easily, so you don’t have to worry about keeping the sets exactly together. And if one tears you don’t have to throw out the whole set. I like Egyptian cotton sheets–I buy one or two sets a year because I’m picky about sheets–and they’re not cheap, and to have to throw out a whole set because of an issue with one sheet would suck. And you can never be sure you’ll find any color except white. So see, I’m practical and stuff too. Anyway.)

    So I’ve always said no to the white tree. This year, though, I decided what the hell, and told him to buy the damned white tree if he wanted. hence, our Tacktastic Xmas.

    Here’s the tree, all decorated up in its tacky glory:

    The tacky, it burns! In an awesome way.

    Is that not the coolest thing ever? It’s like…like a decoration on the “It’s A Small World” ride. Or something they’d use as background in one of those Rankin-Bass Christmas specials. (There are actually lights of all colors, I don’t know why the orange and pink show up so much brighter than the others.)

    To add to the theme, we bought two little shiny trees from the grocery store; a pink one and a purple one. Check this shit out:

    Pink and purple are SO appropriate for Yule.

    I have to say, I actually kind of love the white tree. I’ve always been so against them but…it’s kind of like having a big glowy ice cave right here in my living room, especially with the tinsel on it:

    Look! Shiny. Shiny and TACKTASTIC!

    So I’m keeping the white tree. Maybe next year we’ll have two of them. Or who knows, maybe we’ll stick with the white and just put regular pine boughs everywhere to bring in the greenery.

    But I am not getting crazy colored sheets.

    I hope you’re all having a tacktastic holiday so far!

    Oh! If you all want to pop over to my friend Richelle Mead’s blog, you can see a picture of us on Monday; her tour brought her into town so we got to have a nice long lunch, which was awesome.

    BTW, I did send another DA email out yesterday (I think it was yesterday) to let you all know about the Goodreads awards: CITY OF GHOSTS is nominated for Best Paranormal Fantasy, and I’m nominated for Best Goodreads Author. And I MIGHT be persuaded to send out another short excerpt as a holiday giftie…maybe. If you guys want one.

    What Stace had to say on Friday, December 10th, 2010
    Totally Uncool Excitement

    Lookie! I got nominated for an award! Goodreads is doing its “2010 Goodreads Choice” awards–I guess it’s for best or favorite books of the year, I couldn’t find something that said exactly what, and it doesn’t matter much anyway–and CITY OF GHOSTS is one of the fifteen Paranormal Fantasy nominees!

    I think it’s totally obvious I’m going to win, considering what nobodies the other nominees are. I mean, whoever heard of Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, or Jim Butcher? Or any of those other totally unimportant names, like Patricia Briggs and Jeri Smith-Ready. Or Joe Hill. (I’m also quite excited that my darling friend and fellow Reluctant Adult Carolyn Crane is nominated for her excellent DOUBLE CROSS!) (My other darling friend and fellow Reluctant Adult, Richelle Mead, has of course been nominated for everything, including some awards I suspect they made up just for her: Where did the “Best Redheaded Author” and “Name that Sounds Most Like Michelle but Isn’t” categories come from, and why is there only one nominee?)

    I’m actually planning a careful smack-talk Twitter campaign against Mr. Hill, so he better watch out. Did you hear that he likes to spit at kittens? Seriously. What kind of man does that? Not the sort who should be winning an award, that’s for sure! I’ve got your number, Hill.

    I showed the hubs–I actually saw on Twitter other people mentioning nominations, and said to him, “Let’s look at the nominations list I won’t be on,” before I clicked the link–and while he’s very happy and all of that even he acknowledged there is a bit of a “One of these things is not like the others,” sort of vibe. Which there totally is. Which makes it even more amazing. I’m really really stunned.

    See, “Best of” lists and award nominations are fun and exciting, and everyone wants one. We do. I’m sorry, but if a writer tells you they don’t want to be nominated for an award, they’re lying. They may not be when it comes to a *specific* award, but any award? No. Think of your work. You might not want Elvira the office hypocrite to tell you she loves your whatever, but you’d like *somebody* to love your whatever, right?

    Not to mention how happy it makes our publishers and what a difference it could conceivably make for us. I’m not saying it does or that all contests are equal in that regard, but it’s entirely possible that, much like the Emmys did for Arrested Development, an award nomination and/or win could be really helpful career-wise.

    But anyway. Here’s the thing. While awards are all well and good, they are, like everything else, subjective. One reviewer may not have liked your book, so they’re not going to nominate it for anything. A group of reviewers may not agree about your book, so they don’t nominate it. Or maybe they just think you look funny or smell of elderberries. Subjective.

    But the Goodreads awards are reader-picked, essentially, and that’s why this is so awesome and special and makes me all smiley and emotive in a very uncool way. It’s like I’m a Real Author or something now; look, I got nominated for an award on this huge international reader site! My mind will never stop boggling, seriously.

    OMG! I just went to see if I could figure out how the nominations were put together, and saw that I’m nominated for Favorite Goodreads Author too!

    (And, in a totally fucking bizarre OMG, Alice Clayton is also nominated for Favorite Goodreads Author. Why is this totally fucking bizarre? Because Alice and I went to high school together and were good friends. And used to write ridiculously purple-prosed porn stories together. No shit.)

    Anyway. This is a huge deal for me, that actual readers actually liked my book enough to get it nominated. That’s amazing, and I’m totally stunned and grateful and all of that. Thank you, each and every one of you.

    I could swear there was some other stuff I wanted to tell you all about. But I don’t recall it at the moment, and I do need to get to work; it’s just after midnight at the moment, but I’ll be posting this in the morning. So you’re reading this now, which means the morning is gone and it’s already been posted, which makes this whole thing very meta, doesn’t it?

    ETA: To add to the meta, now it *is* Friday and I’m adding to this before I post it! Creeeepy. Anyway, I woke up to two emails from Goodreads informing me I’ve been nominated for awards (look at that!) and telling me that the “Goodreads Choice Awards reflect what readers like. There were no secret committees. We did not defer to experts or look at book sales or previous awards. Goodreads nominated 15 books in 23 categories by analyzing statistics about books read by our members from the 47 million books added, rated, and reviewed on the site in 2010. Official nominees were selected based on a book’s popularity and average rating among Goodreads members,” so this really is doubly triply exciting. It wasn’t even a write-in campaign or anything, it was just site statistics or whatever. Again, thank you all so much.

    So that’s it for now. Oh, and be afraid, Joe Hill. Be very afraid.

    What Stace had to say on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
    In Which News Explodes From Me

    Okay, I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and WAITING to get to tell you guys this, because it makes me really happy and it was all done and agreed in, geez, June, I think? But there was this and that and blah blah blah and the ultimate outcome is that I finally have signed contracts and can finally tell you all that there will be three more Downside books coming from HarperVoyager for all you fantastic UK/IRE/AUS readers!

    *collapses exhausted* It has been killing me not to say anything, especially when you guys ask (which you have).

    So that’s what I’ve been doing today. Signing contracts and ordering gifts, and of course today my Faerie turned six and she is very excited about it and how it took her six whole years to get to this point.

    I really am exhausted, actually. I just realized I’ve only been getting five hours of sleep or so a night for the last few weeks; I can handle that when I’m actively working because working is very, um, adrenalizing? It’s not really like doing speed at all, it just wakes me the fuck up, basically, so when I finally force myself to go to bed–which for the last couple of weeks has been edging ever closer to six am–I lie there awake in the dark (and luckily it is dark in the bedroom, although I also do own sleepshades which come in very handy sometimes) for a couple of hours trying to come down. And then I get up at–for the last few weeks–about one-thirty in the afternoon. So it would be enough sleep if I actually slept when I got into bed, which I didn’t, so there you go.

    The point is that I’m very, very tired at the moment. But! I am also re-reading the enormous doorstop I just wrote and am actually kind of enjoying it; I think I have some ideas where to tighten it up and yeah, there will be a nice selection of deleted scenes for the website after this book comes out. (Which no, I do not have a date yet, sorry, I’ll tell you as soon as I do.) (Same with the title.)

    So. News! There you go! More books!

    What Stace had to say on Monday, December 6th, 2010
    News! News! News!

    Look, here I am! It’s been a few weeks, sorry. But I have some news, so I feel good about that.

    I’ve finished the first draft of Downside 4; finished it at 5:30 this morning in fact, and it came in at 130,419 words. That’s a lot. Again, to give some perspective, the final version of CITY OF GHOSTS was just over 110k, and that was with epigrams included in the word count (I don’t do those until the end). So this is a lot longer. It won’t end up this long, I don’t think; there’s a lot of editing to be done. But yeah, it’s long.

    Am I happy with it? I’m very happy with some of it. I’m not as happy with some of it. That’s what edits are for. What always matters the most to me is the writing itself, and I’m generally pleased with that, so I feel confident the rest can be fixed.

    And then I get to start the fifth one! Which I’m really excited about. The fourth book brings some big changes, and it’s going to be a blast seeing how they shake out in the fifth book, not to mention the story I have planned which is something I’ve wanted to write for a long time. So yay!

    I also have some other news. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this, questions I haven’t been able to answer because of a contractual obligation and some other stuff like that. But I did want to let everyone know that as of a few days ago the Downside Market is no longer being handled by Southern Promo. They’re a great company and they didn’t do anything wrong, it just became obvious that the way they do things and the way I do things were not truly compatible. I’m currently working on getting a new store set up on Spreadshirt–which had the lowest prices I could find of the CafePress/Zazzle-type place, and I’ve ordered stuff from them in the past and found the quality quite good. I’m hoping that will be up and running in the next few days, and it’ll have lots more variety and options than the old store. I’m excited about that, and I hope you all like it.

    And we’re all deep into the shopping thing here. Deep deep deep indeed. Especially since we’ve been broke the last few months; an unexpected check arrived on Friday, which means we now will have a good holiday. And my Faerie, who turns six on Wednesday, will have a great birthday. Which actually reminds me of something irritating.
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