Archive for 'grumpyass'

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What Stace had to say on Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
Who Takes the Chance?

Quite a few years ago I did a blog series about choosing a publisher, specifically an epublisher: what to look for, what to be wary of, that sort of thing. It’s a topic I’ve revisited now and again, though not recently (thanks to my long moratorium on discussing writing-related subjects).

But you know…I just, I’m tried of seeing something. I’ve been tired of seeing it for, oh, eight years or so now, and I grow more tired of seeing it every day, and it pisses me off, so I’m going to talk about it anyway, because there seems to be a new wave of it out there.

I am sick to fucking death of seeing bad publishers, or writers associated with them, justify their lousy treatment of writers and their unprofessionalism and their crappy business decisions and their lack of ability to perform a publisher’s number one job (which is to SELL BOOKS TO READERS) with the following phrase:

“We/they took a chance on you, so you should be grateful!”

You guys, publishers do not “take chances” on your work, at least, not in the way these people imply they do. Sure, every book is a chance they take. In the most basic sense I must concede that publishing is about taking chances, and your book could lose money.

But those publishers who stand to lose money? They’re buying the rights to publish your book because they’re pretty sure it will actually make them money*, and they’re basing that decision on quite a bit of experience and knowledge and work**. They’re buying your book because in their professional opinions it is well-written enough and interesting enough to appeal to a large audience of readers, and they want to sell it to those readers. It’s “taking a chance,” yes, but not in the sense these snippy little writer-nannies seem to mean it, whereby the author who’s getting fucked over is apparently supposed to spread wider and beg for more because hey, somebody agreed to publish their book! That means they have license to treat the author any way they want and make whatever shitty business decisions they want and the author should just shut the hell up, right?

(*They SHOULD be buying the rights because they think it will make them money, anyway; and **They SHOULD have quite a bit of experience and knowledge and work before they start acquiring books. More on that in a bit.)

The thing is, when you tell another writer that they should be grateful somebody took a chance on their book, you might as well scratch out “book” and insert “piece of shit.” Isn’t that what you’re really implying? That they should be glad somebody actually agreed to publish that crap they wrote? That it’s not really a good book or anything, so they’ve been done a huge favor and beggers can’t be choosers? That they don’t really deserve a decent, professional publisher, so they should be glad somebody agreed to “give them a chance?”

Quite frankly, if the book isn’t good enough, then doesn’t that almost by definition mean that a publisher who “takes a chance on it” isn’t a very good publisher? Because they’re publishing books that, well, aren’t good enough to be published? (It’s like a big “chicken or the egg” loop, isn’t it?) There’s no benefit to anyone in “taking a chance” in publishing a lousy book; it doesn’t benefit the writer, it doesn’t benefit the publisher, and it certainly doesn’t benefit the people the industry exists to serve: those people we call “readers,” who spend their hard-earned money on those books.

Either you think your publisher publishes good and worthy books (like yours, right?) and therefore should be providing the authors of those books with all of the benefits professional publishers provide, or you think your publisher tends to publish crappy books (except yours, I guess?) which deserve only the bare bones and everyone should just be glad they got a “chance.”

Except–and here’s the big thing–throwing a book out into the ether without promotion or decent cover art or good editing is NOT giving it a chance. It’s sort of stacking the deck against it, actually, and ensuring that most people either won’t have the “chance” to hear about it, won’t look beyond the cover, won’t look beyond the excerpt, or won’t find it to be of high enough quality to “take a chance” on other books from that publisher or by that author. Or, of course, they’ll see a review that mentions poor cover art and/or editing, and write both publisher and author off in their minds.

Being a writer means you make, and take, your OWN chances. You’re taking a chance every time you open a new Word doc and start writing. You’re taking a chance every time you submit. You’re the one who controls the quality of your book and what happens in it–don’t forget, editors are not supposed to change your book, just make suggestions. It’s your name on the cover, and what’s inside should be 100% yours. Publishers do not–should not–be the ones deigning to give your book a “chance,” the way you may agree to a date with that guy who doesn’t really appeal but seems nice enough, or the way you might give someone who’s been rude and nasty to you one more chance to make it up to you, or whatever other serious power imbalances and ambivalence are inherently implied in the phrase “give it a chance.” A publisher shouldn’t be publishing your book reluctantly. They should be snatching it up. A publisher who buys your book is not–should not be–doing you a fucking favor.

You know what you owe the people who publish your book? You owe them the text of that book, turned in on time, edited on time. That’s it. That is ALL.

Now, in the standard nature of the professional author-publisher relationship, it also behooves you to do things like not scream and yell at editors, and not turn to the internet to scream about your publisher because you found out X got a higher advance, and generally not make yourself horrendously unpleasant to work with. It behooves you to work with your editor, whose sole interest is and should be making your book the best it can possibly be. It may also behoove you–it’s not a requirement, usually, but it’s often nice–to do things like have a website or make appearances or do guest blogs or interviews or whatever at the publisher’s request, in order to help make you and your book more visible in hopes of selling more copies.

Nowhere on that list, or on any of the similar things I left off the list because of length considerations, are things like, “It’s necessary to let your editor call you an idiot and imply that you’re lucky she agreed to take on that piece of shit you think is a book,” or “You can’t forget to let various publishing staffers call you names,” or “You must sit quietly while a pack of illiterates overshare about their ladyparts in emails to you,” or “It’s important to remember that paying you is something we do out of the kindness of our hearts,” or “Never think you deserve things like distribution or for our website to work properly or for us not to behave like twats online.” Nowhere on that list are things like “Of course, by submitting your work you agree that only entitled jerks expect to be able to negotiate contracts,” or “If you think you have a right to an opinion about your work, you’re dead wrong,” or really any variation of “Be grateful we published your talentless ass, loser.”

Here’s the thing. As I said, yeah, it’s sort of true that any publisher who offers you a contract is “taking a chance,” on you. But the thing to remember is that A) You are also taking a chance, on them, and believe me, there are plenty of stories out there–a really sadly large number of stories–of authors for whom that chance didn’t work out; and B) Everything is a “chance,” if you want to look at it that way.

For example. Are you married? If you are, that means your spouse “took a chance” on you. Does that mean, in turn, that you are required to allow him/her to be abusive? That you get no say in the finances, or where you live, or how you spend your evenings? Does that mean every argument is your fault, or that s/he is entitled to cheat on you and you should shut up, sit down, and be grateful? (Yeah, I know that last one with the cheating is stretching the analogy a little. Tough.)

It doesn’t. Because the “chance” isn’t all on one side in your marriage, and it isn’t all on one side with your publisher. If your spouse tells you it is, s/he is abusive and you need to get the fuck out. Same with your publisher.

You were offered a contract–you should have been offered a contract–because your publisher thinks your work is good enough to sell. Your publisher thinks that not only will the publisher make money, but you will, too. That’s how partnership works, see, and really, to a large extent publishing is a partnership.

All that editing and cover design and stuff that amateurish publishers keep insisting they provided free of charge so you should be grateful? Yeah. Books get cover art because cover art attracts readers: you know, paying customers. Books gets editing because publishers who want repeat business don’t expect to get it by selling a substandard product–at least, publishers with half a damn brain don’t.

Another example: Say you walk into a restaurant, and the food is bad. Next time you’re considering where to eat, is that place going to be at the top of your list? Unless you’re a culinary masochist, I’m guessing no. Personally, I go to look at the websites of new publishers and look at the excerpts, and if I see more than one full of grammar/spelling/punctuation errors or clunky writing? Not only do I not buy those books, I don’t look at the others, and I write that publisher off in my head. Sure, I might check again one day, but the odds are against it. I’m sorry for the good writers (and, sadly, good writers sign with bad publishers every day, and I in no way mean to imply anything different) who are caught up with that substandard house, but my time is limited and there are too many good books out there for me to spend hours hunting through published slush piles to try to find the one or two good books in there. I’m sorry about that; sorry for the writers watching their good books sink in a heap of not-so-good ones, and sorry for me because I miss out on a story I might have loved.

I’m digressing. My point is: Quit telling writers they should be grateful that publishers “took a chance” on them and provided them–however expertly or ineptly–with the things that are the fucking job of a goddamn publisher, like editing and cover art, and provided it in the way that a publisher is supposed to, which is without charge. Oh, good, they’ve done the bare-bones minimum, so writers are supposed to be tearfully grateful for the crumbs from their table. Whoopee.

You guys, let me be blunt. You are better than that. You deserve more than that. You deserve a publisher who will provide you with the things a publisher is supposed to provide, professionally executed, and in a professional fashion. You do not need to be “grateful” that someone published you; a real, professional house is just as grateful that they are getting the opportunity to work with you. An editor doesn’t wake up one morning, grab any old manuscript from the slush pile, and decide to send a contract because, gee, they just feel like giving somebody a chance that morning (at least, a good editor doesn’t). You didn’t win some sort of lottery. You worked hard and made your book the best it can possibly be, and if a publisher contracts that book it should be because they think they can make money on it and want to work with you, not because they’re granting favors and your name was in the hat.

I repeat: They are not doing you a favor.

And if they say they are or imply they are…they’re wrong, and you deserve better.

I may discuss this more tomorrow.

What Stace had to say on Monday, May 21st, 2012
“Customer Service”

Before I get into the rant, a few things to share…

1. SACRIFICIAL MAGIC has been released in the UK! (I am told there was/is a shipping delay in the Australia-bound books, for which I am very sorry.)

2. SACRIFICIAL MAGIC has been released in audiobook! (And I believe CHASING MAGIC’s audio release will be very close to if not the same as the actual ppb/ebook US release.) I’ve heard already from a few readers who are enjoying the hell out of the audiobook(s); while I personally find listening to them to be just too bizarre an experience, I’m thrilled that they exist and that you guys like them!

3. Some of you may have already heard this, but I have to share with you the monumentally humiliating thing I did on Saturday.

I was at the grocery store, and outside were a couple of gentlemen collecting funds for Lifeboat Rescue. Since I have kind of a thing about the Navy/sailors/boats/the sea, I of course plucked some coins out of my pocket and tossed them in the bucket. As the guy was peeling off a sticker for me (stickers are a big thing here when you donate money), I started to say, “I love the Navy!”

But it occurred to me, maybe they weren’t actually the Navy. I mean, is Lifeboat Rescue the Navy? Or is it the Coast Guard? Or are they a separate, private group? It wouldn’t do to say “I love the Navy” if/when they’re not actually Navy, would it. So I changed my intent mid-sentence, casting frantically about for the correct term.

And what I ended up saying, in a bright, cheery voice, with a big smile on my face, was “I LOVE SEAMEN!”

I could still hear both of them laughing as I got into my car.

I swear I am not making that up.

4. I am coming down with a cold. Echinacea tastes icky.

Okay, with all of that out of the way… (This is a rant. An angry one. It’s possible that later I may feel more kindly about this, but I doubt it. I want to make clear that while I am using a particular person here as an example, and while her opinion infuriates me, this is not meant to be a personal attack, and it is not my intent to be personally hurtful to her [although I believe many of her comments were and are personally hurtful to me and other writers who care about readers and what we do].)

A day or so ago I got a pingback on one of my posts about how authors should not respond to reader reviews, because reviews are not written for us. I of course followed the link, which clearly from its title disagreed with me. (ETA: And more pingbacks, months later! Because apparently some of us are so butthurt that people disagree with them that they’re still thinking about it months later after the rest of us have long forgotten the whole thing. Whatever.) (For the record, the “f-bomb” or variations thereof, is used exactly six times in this 3075-word post. I know, it’s horrible, isn’t it? It’s as if I don’t know any other words. I mean, how gross is it for a girl to use the f-word? Shouldn’t I be sitting quietly in a corner, deferring to other people, refusing to have or express opinions on anything, and giggling with my hand over my mouth–as a woman apparently should? Next thing you know I’ll be wanting to vote or drive a car by myself; give me an inch, you know, and I’ll use adult language like almost every other adult on the planet. The horrors!)

I am not linking back to the post myself, because frankly, I don’t wanna send traffic this person’s way. But don’t worry. I’ll explain it well enough.

This particular self-published author (and I point out that she’s self-published simply because not only does it make her outlook a bit different, perhaps, but because of the impossibility of a commercially published author following one of her more offensive “rules”) believes that not only is it not bad for authors to respond to negative reviews, but it’s actually–wait for it–“Good Customer Service” to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
The Friend Zone

(In which I interrupt the SACRIFICIAL MAGIC pre-release-week festivities and fun to bring you a huge rant. I warn you in advance that this topic has made me rather emotional, and I’m emotional anyway since it is pre-release week and we’re moving house this weekend, and maybe this is going to come off harsher than I intend it to; I hope it won’t, I don’t want it to and I will be careful, but just as I spent several days before my wedding being completely unable to read others’s tones or body language from stress, so am I having difficulty at the moment. I also warn you this is LONG.)

So yesterday I popped onto Facebook, which I’ve been trying to do more lately, because I have friends who hang out there and I want to be more active there. And while checking my timeline I found someone had posted an image. I won’t re-post the image, but it was one of those “I’m going to make my saying a picture so you’ll read it” things, and it said:

“Brotip #1415: ladies, guys are sick of hearing you ask where all of the ‘nice guys’ are. They’re in the friend zone, where you left them.”

Okay, fuck you.

Let me tell you a story about those “nice guys” shoved into that cold, cruel “friend zone” by all those heartless bitches who only want to date assholes, okay? Read the rest of this entry »

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 Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
The Check-in

Sigh. This has happened to me a lot lately, so forgive me if I rant for a minute.

Anyone can email me. I love it when readers email me, frankly; it makes everything worthwhile and more. There’s a contact form here on the site that you can use, if you want. Or ask; I give my email address all the time, all over the place. It’s staciakane AT gmail. Go ahead. I love to hear from you. I am currently way behind on answering reader emails, yes, and for that I am horrendously sorry. But that doesn’t mean the emails themselves don’t fill me with squealy delight. They do.

Here’s what does NOT fill me with squealy delight: Emails from people who clearly have no idea who I am. Don’t get me wrong; I hardly think I’m a household name. Of course I’m not.

But at least a couple of times a week I get emails asking me if I’m interested in “developing an app,” “sponsoring a product,” “participating in” some sort of promotion or activity or whatever, or–these are my favorites–offering me their services for a guest post on the blog. See, they’re Real Professional Writers(ZOMG!1!!!), and presumably my blog is in great need of some Real Professional Writing and could really benefit from their personal flair and expertise and stuff. And in exchange, all this Real Professional Writer asks is that I link back to them/their site!

Sorry, but this is insulting. I myself happen to be a Real Professional Writer, one with more credits and experience than you, Ms. Give-me-your-blog-audience-to-publicize-myself. You’d know that if you’d bothered at all to even look at the blog you’re proposing to visit. And you, Mr. App Developer? Why exactly should I pay you to develop an “app” based on…what?

I get them on Goodreads, too; a new “friend” will send me, immediately upon my approving their request, an email with links to and info about their self-published books (sorry, but I haven’t had a single commercially published author do this) and a request that I review it. They never mention my own books; they never give any indication that they even know me as anything more than just another name on a list. Again, I don’t expect people to just know my name but I do expect them to at least, you know, look at my Goodreads page–the one they had to click on to send me the request to begin with? Their books often don’t fit into any of the types of books I’ve ever rated at Goodreads and don’t fit into UF either; it’s a form email they send to every person they can, the way spammers do (and that’s what they are, spammers). I generally reply and ask what about me specifically makes them think I’m the audience for their book, and they never respond (shocking, I know).

You contacted me. Yes, I know I’m just one email address out of many you’re spamming/just one Goodreads account out of many you’re spamming. I don’t care. Don’t contact me if you don’t have any idea what you can actually offer me. Don’t contact me if you have no idea who I am and can’t even be bothered to spend two minutes scanning my website. It’s not like information about me and/or my work is secret; I have a whole website devoted to it.

Don’t contact me if you do not have an answer to the question, “Okay, and why are you contacting me, specifically?” Because I’m going to ask. And if you don’t have an answer, we’re not doing business. Of any kind. (I will report you for spam, too. Goodreads is a place where readers can talk about books; that’s what it exists for. Those readers don’t want or deserve your contempt, and “contempt” is exactly what it is when you treat them like potential sales rather than individuals, and when you look at them and see only what they can do for you, and behave as though they have some obligation to do that. Like your desire for self-promotion is more important then their time/privacy/right to go about their business without being solicited by you. You don’t care about their actual interests or tastes, you don’t care about their likes or dislikes, you only care about getting them to buy your book. You may not realize it’s contemptuous, but it is.)

I love having my pals over here for guest posts. I’m happy to offer people guest spots if I think it’s something my readers would be interested in, and I don’t mind requests from people asking if I’d be willing to let them do a guest posts. It’s fine. Please feel free to ask. But I somehow don’t think my readers are that interested in Random Nonfic Writer’s Random Blog Posts. And I get pissed as hell when Random Writer treats me like some kind of idiot who’ll be so sparkly-diamond-eyes thrilled to have a Real Writer offer to do a guest post for me that I won’t even consider the truth of the matter, which is that they’re trying to use the years of hard work I’ve put in to build my own audience to give themselves a jump without any effort.

Having someone here on my blog to write a guest post is in essence me endorsing that person and/or their book. It’s me saying to my readers, “Hey guys, so-and-so is a pal and a good writer, and you might enjoy this.” I don’t generally do that for strangers (unless of course I was blown away by their book). No, my blog doesn’t get thousands of hits a day, but it’s a fairly solid audience; we hit the mid-four digits every week, at least (did I mention before about the weird dichotomy there? When I used to get maybe 100 hits a day, a lot more people commented. Now there are way more hits but hardly any comments. Just seems odd).

So, there you go. My little semi-rant about spam and self-promotion.

Anyway. On to other things.

Last night I got a look at the revised SACRIFICIAL MAGIC cover, and I’m really, really pleased. I’ll be showing that one off ASAP; the chick on it actually looks like she could be Chess! And it has a new sort of feel that I just…I really dig it, it’s a cool cover. Can’t wait to show it to you guys, so let’s hope I get the OK fast.

I also have the final playlist for the book, which I won’t be posting for a while yet–probably not until January or so–but I do have it all set up. Incidentally, although there was an extended exclusive excerpt of Chapter One up on Stellar Four, and although there will be an extended exclusive excerpt from Chapter Two up on Dark Faerie Tales for the Supernatural Smackdown event, I won’t be posting Chapter One in its entirety on the site until the end of February, and the first three chapters will go live the day of the book’s release.

And, there’s a new interview with me up at Novels on the Run, so go check it out!

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, September 6th, 2011
My little Writing Rules pt. 2 (This one goes up to 11!)

So yesterday, if you missed it, I posted a bit of a rant about how disappointed I am with Dr. Who (link will open in new window) these days, particularly with the writing, which seems to have traded emotional depth, story, characterization, continuity, real suspense, and pacing for cheap manufactured twists and self-aware “cleverness.” I feel like this has been going on since the first episode of Matt Smith/Stephen Moffat’s run, and it makes me unhappy.

(In the links to that post someone posted a link to a similar discussion on their blog, here–also in a new window. It’s definitely worth a read, and don’t skip the comments; there’s some good stuff there, in particular “Mary”‘s comment at 10:25.)

Anyway, using Dr. Who as a jump-off point, I’m posting my little writing rules, the things that I keep in mind when writing and the things I, well, think make a book good. (There’s a whole big disclaimer on this in the original post, so I’m not going to repeat it here. I will repeat, though, that just because I’m disappointed with the writing, and feel that it’s in general bad writing, doesn’t mean I think the Who writers are bad writers. They’re not. I’m not sure why the writing has gone off the rails so badly, but I don’t think it’s their fault; I think they’re doing the best they can with what they’re told to do.)

So here we go, with the rest of my rules.
Read the rest of this entry »

What Stace had to say on Monday, September 5th, 2011
My little writing rules

I just got finished–well, okay, I finished a few hours ago–watching the latest episode of Dr. Who (it’s Saturday night as I type this; the episode to which I’m referring is called “Night Terrors.” NOTE: There are spoilers in this post, so if you are a big Who fan and haven’t seen that episode yet, you may want to skip this until you have. Also, due to length I’ve split this post in two. It’s still long, though. Look for part 2 tomorrow).

Okay. Anyway. I have not been a fan of the Matt Smith/Steven Moffat run. Sorry, but I haven’t. At all. Moffat wrote a couple of the best episodes of the Tennant run, yes, like “Blink.” But I’m having some real problems with the writing in Series 5 and now 6, and here’s what they are.

The thing is, everyone has a different view on what is good writing vs. what is not. I’m aware of that. These are my opinions. I’m a writer; these are my little “rules” for writing what I consider to be good books. You may not think I’m a good writer and so don’t like my rules; you may think I’m a bad writer who doesn’t follow my own rules. I do think I follow them, but again, it’s all a matter of perception and taste and all of that, so…the point is, this is the stuff I work on and keep in mind. Some of my pet peeves. Things I consider lazy. But just how I also think beginning sentences with participial phrases is an evil thing and hate it with a passion, my feelings and opinions may not match yours (you’re wrong, though, at least when it comes to using participial phrases to start sentences).

I also want to make it clear that I’m not saying the Who writers are untalented. They obviously are talented. They obviously are good writers. But they’re being–I believe–forced into lazy habits, and bad writing is the result.

So. Many of these came up in tonight’s episode. I will tell you about them now.
Read the rest of this entry »

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 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 Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Bah Humbug

Thanksgiving. I know it’s fashionable to hate Thanksgiving, but I actually don’t. I like cooking, especially the kind of big elaborate meal that I don’t bother with most of the time. I particularly enjoy any sort of dessert made with pumpkin, so the holidays are right up my alley; last weekend I made a pumpkin pie and a pumpkin bread pudding with toffee sauce, which was seriously amazing.

And usually it’s just me, the hubs, and the girls for Thanksgiving, which is nice. We eat–I don’t actually like turkey, but I’ll eat it on Thanksgiving–and we watch our two annual Thanksgiving movies, JAWS and L.A. CONFIDENTIAL. The last few years we’ve also watched the Saturday Night Live Christmas special.

And I admit, one of the most enjoyable things about Thanksgiving–about the holidays in general, really–is that no one thinks it’s odd if you start drinking at noon, and you can spend the entire day in a tipsy haze, which is most pleasant.

This year we won’t be doing a big dinner, for a number of reasons, chief among them we just don’t have the space to cook all that food. But you know, that’s okay too. One of my favorite Thanksgivings was the year Princess was a baby; she was about three months old, and neither of us felt up to a big celebration. So we had our typical Christmas Eve meal, which is cold cuts and cheeses and crackers and bread, maybe some scalloped potatoes or cocktail meatballs for something hot. I spent the day reading Stephen King’s INSOMNIA and eating corned beef on Ritz crackers, drinking Riesling and sherry (something about this particular holiday lends itself to girly drinks). It was a lovely day.

This year I’ll be working. We’re well over 100k on the fourth Downside book, and the end is in sight, finally. As I said on Twitter yesterday, I think my first draft will end up around 125-130k, and I know I’ll be cutting at least 15 out of that. CITY OF GHOSTS was 110k, so this one will probably end up right around there, maybe a bit longer. I am fairly pleased with it, I am, and wrote a scene I absolutely love the other day, in addition to, I think, one of my favorite lines I’ve ever written, and one of my favorite lines of dialogue I’ve ever written (which came, surprisingly, from Lex, but then he’s surprised me a few times in this one). So I’m chugging along, and I’m nervous about whether you’ll all like it but I’m feeling fairly confident that at the very least you’ll enjoy one particular scene.

Anyway. This is the time, because it’s a Thanksgiving post, when we’re supposed to share what makes us thankful and all that shit. But that’s so cliched, isn’t it? And really, we all say the same thing whether we mean it or not: our families, our health, blah blah blah. Those are all good things to be thankful for, sure, but really, it’s not very personal.

I do have something to be thankful for this year. I have books on the shelves, and I have readers who actually liked them and took the time to let me know, and that’s amazing. You guys have truly made this year one of the best in my entire life, despite the fact that some genuinely lousy things happened to go along with that, sigh, but that’s life. Anyone who expects to have good things happen without paying for them somehow is, well, they’re not living my life, that’s for damn sure.

Still, let’s not tempt fate. Rather than share what we’re thankful for this year, let’s talk about what we’re not thankful for; what we hate about the upcoming holidays, what irritates and annoys us. As always anonymous comments are welcome, if you’re afraid the friend you want to complain about will read where you say you want to smack her if she invites you “shopping” one more time and spends the whole afternoon in one store trying on things for herself.

One thing, though. Let’s keep it light-hearted and apolitical, okay? This is supposed to be fun.

Here’s mine:

1. I hate the insane crowds everywhere. I can’t even go get groceries without fighting my way through gaggles of people standing around staring at displays of green cookies.

2. I hate the fucking spam emails. I get enough email without getting constant offers from every online store I’ve ever shopped at, and every “customer loyalty” points group I’ve ever joined is offering me quadruple points if I will just please give them some money, any money, they don’t care how much, just please give them something and they will shower me with points like some kind of festive points raincloud.

3. I hate the pressure to do family things. Sorry, but I do. All those people around me all the time make me itch.

4. As I mentioned above, I don’t like turkey. I cook and eat it because it’s traditional, and I am obviously such a very traditional sort of girl that I can’t help it. No, seriously, I’m not, but in Thanksgiving dinner I am. It’s the only holiday meal I do according to popular consensus; like I said, our Christmas Eve meal is cold meats, cheese, etc. before we open presents, and Christmas day the last few years I’ve done beef bourgoignonne (or however the hell that’s spelled, I’m too lazy to go check). I do a Yule dinner, roast pork and vegetables, which is also traditional to large degree, but still. Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving, and everyone wants turkey, especially my husband and the Princess who like turkey and never get it because I do the cooking, so too bad for them.

5. I hate the preachy “heart-warming” homilies and shit we’re all supposed to smile and tear up over. Sorry, but suddenly acting like a human being from mid-November to January 1st doesn’t excuse the fact that you’re a completely heartless piece of shit the rest of the year.

How are those? What are yours? Specific ones, general ones? Go ahead and let it out. Let’s screw those holidays together!



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