Archive for January, 2012



What Stace had to say on Monday, January 30th, 2012
A little stuff avalanche

Okay, first? Indulge a Mommy for a minute, because this is seriously so cute it hurts.

I was in the car with both of my babies (Princess is ten, Faerie is just-turned-seven, for those unfamiliar) and the subject of Pluto came up. Pluto the suddenly-not-a-planet, not Pluto-Goofy’s-dog. I mentioned how it’s not a planet anymore, and Princess said that it’s a dwarf planet, and I said how disappointing that was because I’d always liked Pluto and was sad when it was demoted.

And then Faerie pipes up, in this thoughtful little voice, “Maybe they could find another planet for all the dwarfs to live on, and then Pluto can be a regular planet again.”

I am not making that up.

I told you, so cute it HURTS.

(It reminded me of when I was eight and being tested for the Gifted program at my school, and they asked me to define the word “dilatory,” and I figured, well, a dormitory is a place where they keep people, so maybe a dilatory is a place where they keep pickles? [That’s not correct, btw; dilatory basically means “slowpoke.”]) So according to my Faerie, a dwarf planet is a place where dwarves live. I almost died from the adorable.

So, beyond the cute…

I’ve written three blog posts, about the whole writer/reader/reviews etc. thing, and not posted them, because frankly I don’t have the stomach for whatever misinterpretations and controversy would erupt from them. I do have something more to say about that whole thing, though, so I’ll try to get that up this week.

In the meantime, I have my schedule for the SFX Weekender, which is this weekend, Feb 3-5. It is:

Sat 2/4:

Panel: What is Urban Fantasy? 11 am
Signing: 12 noon
Panel: Ready! Steady! Flash! 1 pm

The Ready Steady Flash panel is frankly terrifying, since I’ll be given a topic and then five minutes to write a story about it, and given my over-reliance on the word “fuck” in my first drafts…well, let’s just say I’m a bit nervous. But, if any of you are going to be at the Weekender, please, please come introduce yourselves! I literally only know one person who’ll be there, the very awesome Suzanne McLeod, so I anticipate a weekend spent almost entirely alone, working in my little room (which online reviews assure me will be filthy and stink of urine, though I’m trying to be optimistic). I’m not even really allowed to drink because of this stupid fucking ulcer I still have, so that pretty much kills any thoughts of fun for me. (Seriously? I’ve had maybe three Cokes since I had my surgery. I’m not supposed to have caffeine or alcohol. You cannot imagine how much this blows. But, you know, I’m not really ready to die yet.)

I am considering venturing into the town of Prestatyn for a proper butcher etc. on the Saturday, though, and maybe even making a nice come-one-come-all meal on Saturday night like I did at Dragon-con a few years back. Hey, Brian Blessed follows me on Twitter now, maybe he’ll come and we can all listen to him recite Shakespeare. Who knows? It’s North Wales in February, baby! WILD TIMES.

I have just painted my nails a dark teal for the occasion. Not sure I’ll keep it.

Oh, and here’s the cover for CHASING MAGIC:

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
I’m Not a Reader

Disclaimer: Once again, this is just opinions/thinking on the page, YMMV, Devil’s Advocate, hoping for a dialogue, please don’t kill me, all that sort of thing.

Not too long ago I was involved in a discussion on an internet forum where I am a long-time member, in which I expressed an opinion about the writing process, basically. And someone responded to me to say, basically, that I obviously expected everyone to give my opinions more weight because of my publishing record, and that it seemed to this person that I expected everyone to listen to me not because I was right but because I thought being published meant I knew better than everyone else; this person felt that I was acting like my opinions were facts and relying on my credentials to make others think so too.

Now. For the record, I know some of you may have seen that discussion and I want to make it very, very clear that the person who said that is entitled to his/her opinions and feelings and that I am absolutely NOT trying to “bring the discussion here,” or berate or belittle them in any way. I’m not. Not one bit.

My reason for mentioning it here is because it so perfectly illustrates the point I want to make today and the discussion I want to have, which is that once you are published you are no longer “a reader;” not because you’ve stopped reading (hopefully), but because other people see you differently. Readers see you differently. Maybe not all of them, no; I certainly can’t speak for every reader in the world (or any of them, for that matter; they can speak for themselves, and who am I to decide I’m their champion or something?). But for many of them…you have become “an author.” A different sort of animal. Read the rest of this entry »

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
Freedom of Speech

So. Yesterday I ranted a bit, and I’m going to do it some more now. As with yesterday’s post, I’m not entirely sure where this is going to go. As with yesterday’s post, this is my attempt to get some things straight in my head and to explore this subject, so I may be a bit harsh; I may say things as part of playing Devil’s Advocate; I may go off on little tangents (probably will, because let’s face it, that’s what I tend to do).

First, a couple of things I forgot or didn’t get to say yesterday. First, authors? Don’t review your own books, either on Amazon or Goodreads or anywhere else. Don’t rate them on Goodreads, even if your “review” says something like, “Well, I wrote it so obviously I think it’s good!” Like that’s funny or charming or something (hint: it’s not).

I was going to say that reviewing/rating your own books under your own name just makes you look like a tool, rather than being actually sleazy, but then I realized that your rating shows up as part of the book’s overall rating; I can think of a couple of books (all by the same author, what a shock) who have pretty decent overall ratings on Goodreads, but then when you look at them you realize that’s only because the author and his/her (not giving you clues as to who it is) “agent” and/or editor have all given the book five stars, whereas the two readers who rated/reviewed it gave it two or three. So, sorry, reviewing/rating your books under your own name is sleazy. Having your agent or editor review/rate them is also sleazy, and honestly, I’m not aware of any editors with major houses or the big epubs who do so (there could be some, but I’m not aware of them).

I do have my own books on my Goodreads and LibraryThing “shelves.” I didn’t intend to do so, but both sites said specifically that I should. So I do. I’m not entirely comfortable with it, but it does seem to be standard and expected. I rarely visit Goodreads, to be honest (more on that in a bit) and as I’ve said before, I *never* visit/read posts in the “Terrible Fever” Goodreads group or the Downside Shelfari group. Those are reader spaces, for you guys to discuss the books; they’re not for me and I actually think it would be creepy for me to lurk over them watching you all. And might make you feel uncomfortable or inhibited. So I stay away. I believe that’s the right thing to do.

I don’t think I have to say that reviewing your own books under a sockpuppet account makes you scum just like pressuring/begging your friends and family to do so does. Anytime you’re lying to readers, anytime you’re attempting to jerryrig your reviews or rankings, you’re doing something unethical. And, you’ll probably be caught, and that will be bad. Really bad.
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What Stace had to say on Monday, January 9th, 2012
Something in the water?

Oh, man. I hardly know where to start.

I’ve been thinking about this post for about a week now, and still don’t know what exactly I’m going to say. I’m just trying to make sense of some things, basically. So forgive me if this is a tad rambly.

The thing is, I’ve been involved in the online writing/reading community since 2005 now. And in that time things have gotten–in my view, at least–more and more antagonistic and upsetting. I wonder why. This post–this series of posts planned for this week–is my attempt to figure it out, I guess. To express my thoughts and see what yours are, and perhaps to offer a potential solution. And in order to do that I’m going to be very honest, and perhaps harsh in some places, but I’m trying to express my full thought process here. So we’ll see how it goes.

In the past nine days or so the internet–at least the writer/reader part of it–seems to have gone kablooey. Specifically, the writer part of it, in that we’ve had a rash of writers deciding it’s their place to tell readers A) How to review books; B) What is and is not okay to say or think; C) Why their opinion is totally wrong; and D) whatever other ridiculous shit they come up with.

I’m aware of five separate incidents, the latest being a self-published author who, in response to a reasoned but negative review, took it upon himself to leave 40 comments–yes, forty–on the blog quoting the fawning letters he’d received about the book from family and friends. And then many more comments insisting that what he did was totally professional and reasonable and why is the reviewer in question so full of hate, yo? And that’s nothing compared to the others, the writers ranting on their blogs and leaving nasty or argumentative comments on Goodreads and blah blah blah.

Guys…cut it out. Just, seriously, cut it out.

Readers have the right to say whatever the fuck they want about a book. Period. They have that right. If they hate the book because the MC says the word “delicious” and the reader believes it’s the Devil’s word and only evil people use it, they can shout from the rooftops “This book is shit and don’t read it” if they want. If they want to write a review entirely about how much they hate the cover, they can if they want. If they want to make their review all about how their dog Foot Foot especially loved to pee on that particular book, they can.

Why?

Because, and I’ve said this before, reviews are for readers. Because they purchased the book (or it was sent to them specifically hoping they would express an opinion) and so can say whatever they want about it. If you buy a shirt that falls apart in the wash, do you keep your mouth shut about it because you don’t want to hurt the manufacturer’s feelings?

Authors, reviews are not for you. They are not for you. Authors, reviews are not for you.
Read the rest of this entry »

What Stace had to say on Thursday, January 5th, 2012
Updates etc.

I’m here!

I do apologize for not updating for so long; I am fine and feeling great, I’ve just been extremely busy finishing edits on CHASING MAGIC, working on edits of the short Downside story HOME (which will be published on Tor’s Heroes and Heartbreakers website), and working on a new project, in addition to the whole holiday thing.

Which was awesome. I cooked a lot. I made chicken stock from the carcass of our Yule roasted chicken. I made our now-traditional beef bourguingnon for Christmas day. I made a lasagna bolognese from scratch–long-simmered bolognese sauce and bechamel sauce–for New Year’s Day that was so gorgeous I wish I’d taken photos. I made a couple of batches of fudge crinkle cookies; I made Snickerdoodles; I made molasses spice cookies, some with white chocolate glaze and some with orange-flavored white chocolate glaze; I made pumpkin spice cookies with a vanilla-cinnamon frosting.

And we went out, a LOT, to do all of the shopping which had fallen by the wayside because of my recovery and the fact that hubs had to take a lot of unpaid time off work when I was in the hospital.

But it was a lovely holiday overall, a more fun and relaxing one than I’ve had in a while.

Oh! And, I played Dungeons & Dragons for the very first time! See, when I was a kid my big brother was a huge D&D head, but of course he never let me play with him and his friends. And I had the occasional boyfriend who played but generally when I’d go to their games they spent four hours creating characters, at which point I was bored.

But the hubs and I have a dear friend who used to play it with hubs when they were kids and he–the friend–still loves to play (he’s a Dungeon Master, which means, for those unfamiliar, that he “runs” the game), so he and his wife (also a dear friend of course) came over for spanakopita and adventure. He’d even created some characters for us in advance, which was so sweet of him. I was Lola Dragonslut, a warrior with semi-low intelligence but great charisma, and we explored a bunch of tunnels where there was supposed to be treasure. We didn’t finish the game, but we had a blast. Tons of fun; I’m looking forward to playing again.

Also, I got lots of pretty new nail polish for Christmas, so I’m hoping to start the fingernail posts again! This week my nails are peach with sparkles.

And…this morning I had an endoscopy done, a follow-up from the whole surgery thing. I’d warned them about my horrible gag reflex, and they’d promised to sedate me since the whole idea freaked me out. The upshot of all of this was that I don’t remember a thing from “You’ll start to feel drowsy in twenty seconds or so” to “Time to wake up!” But according to the nurse I talked the whole time, although they couldn’t understand a word (she said this with a bit of a giggle, which worries me. Could they really not understand me, or was I saying horribly dirty and rude things?). And according to the “Findings and Actions” sheet I was given, the intubation was “poorly tolerated” and they had to do it a second time, so there’s that gag reflex.

The bad news is the ulcer isn’t completely healed, so it’s back on ulcer meds for Stacia for another ten weeks, and another endoscopy when that ten weeks is over. Which sucks.

But again, the good news is I feel just fine and am back in the saddle. Well, it’s good news for me, and hopefully you think so, too.

There have been quite a few rant-worthy things happening lately, and I may blog about them soon. For the moment suffice to say that readers and reviewers have every right to express their opinions about books without authors responding in comments to tell them how wrong they are. (This also goes back to my posts about how once you’re published you can no longer use the “but I’m a reader, and I’m commenting as a reader” line, but again, something to possibly be blogged about later.)

So for now I’ll just say I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and I’m hoping 2012 is a great year for all of us!