Archive for 'linkylove for lookyloos'



What Stace had to say on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
News, notes, and Norway!

First some YAYNEWS! My wonderful agentman has just sold UNHOLY GHOSTS, UNHOLY MAGIC, and CITY OF GHOSTS to Schibsted Forlag in Norway! I have no idea what the titles might translate to or when the books will be published there or anything else, but it’s awesome just the same. So I’m very excited.

Second, just a quick note re the blog. From now on, all links posted will open in a new window.

So. This is fun. Remember last week when I blogged about those two YADS? And basically just said hey, these sites don’t tend to work for me, because I don’t personally want to wade through slush? One of those sites took great offense, I guess, to the fact that I pointed out on AW that their stated goal of getting two thousand reviews for a book before it’s published is an extremely difficult one to reach (I assume that was the issue, since as far as I could tell they didn’t even see my blog post), and sent me a nice little email about it. Only, they didn’t actually email me about their site or why I was wrong about it. And it wasn’t actually a nice email. And they didn’t even mention their site. Instead they informed me that my writing “sucks shit balls,” that my books are dull and unoriginal, and that “you new authors” (I guess having only five years of being commercially published still makes me a “new author”) are “all the same” and don’t know how to tell a story “old school.”

Of course, since they apparently don’t understand what an IP address is or how one can be tracked through websites, I guess they thought this was a very clever little attack on me, sure to leave me crying into my pillow. Unluckily for them, I do know what an IP address is and how it can be tracked through websites, and so was able to identify them pretty much immediately, even between bouts of laughter and head-shaking at the feebleness of that attempt to upset me.

So, my initial “Sigh, people have tried this before and it doesn’t work” reservation about that particular YADS has turned into a much stronger “Avoid avoid avoid,” because rather than discuss the actual issue, they send childish insults through email using someone else’s name (they claimed to be “Jason Biggs”) or leave nasty comments on someone’s blog (not here, but a friend who participated in the AW thread got some fun ones). Which display site was it, you ask? Well, it wasn’t PUBSLUSH.

In other news…beauty news: I don’t know if any of you ever read Jezebel, but I do. And commenters there often discuss using the Oil Cleansing Method to wash their faces. Since we’ve gotten to England–a different climate–my skin’s been a little unhappy, as it often gets when seasons change, etc.; it tends to be a bit dry and quite sensitive anyway, and it hasn’t been a major problem, but enough of one that I was curious to try the Oil Cleansing thing, especially since A) I’ve seen so many people raving about it, and B) when we got here I decided to try a new cleanser & moisturizer, switching from the Shiseido stuff which served me very well and trying Fresh’s soy cleanser and a Murad moisturizer; neither of which I particularly liked. Well, I liked the cleanser okay (though it was awfully pricey for such a small tube; more expensive than the Shiseido, which was already not cheap at $35 or so for one tube, but which was a bigger tube and which required me to use such a small amount it was actually worth it; that one tube lasted me over a year and a half and there’s still a decent amount left). But it was my birthday so I decided it’d be fun to do something new. I definitely don’t like the Murad moisturizer, though. It made me feel greasy and heavy, like my skin was covered in plastic. Ick.

Anyway.
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What Stace had to say on Monday, July 11th, 2011
News!

Ah, it’s a fine bright Monday morning, just the type of day to announce some exciting news.

First, I’m going to be in French! Well, not me personally, of course. Megan Chase. French publisher J’ai Lu has bought translation/publication rights to PERSONAL DEMONS, DEMON INSIDE, and DEMON POSSESSED! I don’t have any news on release dates or anything, of course, as I’ve only just signed the contracts, but I’m still extremely excited. Yet another step on my road to Global Domination.

Also, I can now dream of entering a French bookshop and having the clerks know who I am and invite me to an impromptu party in my honor, which I will totally schedule for the night the hubs has important plans, too, thus blowing him off, but then at the last minute I can blow off my French readers without bothering to even pick up a phone or anything. And maybe later I can find the restaurant my party was at and there will be copies of PERSONAL DEMONS (or whatever they’ll call it in French) lying around with wine stains all over them. Ahh, what a glorious fantasy.

Aaaand…Remember HOME, the short story I wrote for THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE? I pulled it from the anthology back in March. And when I did I promised the story would definitely see publication somewhere, even if it was just here on my website.

Well. It won’t be. I’m very pleased to let everyone know that HOME will be published as an estory original on the Heroes and Heartbreakers website run by Tor/Macmillan. I of course don’t have a release date or anything like that yet, but I’ll definitely keep you all updated.

Heroes and Heartbreakers is a really cool site, for those of you who haven’t checked it out before. It’s mainly a romance site, and it’s got a great, active community and lots of cool stuff. I love their take on genre fiction, actually, and they’ve been extremely kind and enthusiastic about the Downside books in particular, so I’m even more excited to be working with them.

I believe I mentioned before that HOME is definitely a romance story, which was a bit weird since it’s a Downside story. I like it quite a bit, of course, but it felt odd writing a story where everyone was basically happy in the end. That’s a pretty rare occurrence for these characters, heh, so I hope everyone enjoys it. You’ll be able to read it free if you’ve registered on the site, and/or it will be available at all the major ebook retailers etc. if you’re not. But you really should register, since it’s a cool site.

So, more info on that as we go along. But HOME has found a home (ha! See what I did there?) and I’m really glad.

Speaking of Downside stuff to read online…you may remember a while ago where I mentioned some friends of mine have set up a girl-geek-focused website called Stellar Four? It’s a really, really awesome site, and they do some great stories.

Anyway. This week they’re doing an Urban Fantasy Week, and they’ll be giving away a copy of my dear friend Stacey Jay’s DEAD ON THE DELTA, although of course you’ve all already bought it, right?

As part of their UF week, I’m going to be posting a new, never-before-seen excerpt from SACRIFICIAL MAGIC on Thursday or Friday (most likely Thursday). So you’ll definitely want to go check that out. Read the excerpt, browse the site, laugh at the awesome posts, leave comments, and enter the giveaway (I just might be persuaded to give something away myself, if enough people comment and all).

Tomorrow we’re heading out to visit some friends etc. in the Southwest, and then to the house where we’re renting for a bit in north Wales. So I may not be around as much this week (I know, again) but hopefully by the end of the week we’ll have all our internets and all set up, and things will calm down. Plus, I’ll be able to post pictures of north Wales, which is gorgeous.

Oh! And yesterday we went to the Willian Village Fair, and saw Morris dancers. It was quite something. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to view the video, but here’s the link just in case. (Warning: the sound starts right away, and it’s loud accordion/drum/bells/etc.)

I think that’s it for today! Oh, but don’t forget the L.A. Banks auction! Two days left to bid on the custom Downside shirt and mp3, and we’re at $51.50, which is totally exciting for me since I was afraid I’d only bring in a few bucks. So thank you all SO MUCH for bidding!! I am thrilled to see that my item is so far one of the biggest earners in the auction, and it’s all down to how fantastic and generous you all are. (And if you haven’t bid yet, well, you have two days to go.)

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
Check them out

Tomorrow I’m going to do what I think will be a really fun post, hee. This weekend the hubs and I were looking for a specific document and so ended up going through a bunch of boxes we haven’t looked at in quite some time. And in one of those boxes were several of my elementary-school report cards, which I have scanned (well, he scanned them, as our scanner hates me and never wants to work for me) and cropped and will be posting tomorrow, just for giggles. Some of my teachers’ comments are pretty interesting.

But today, it’s all about stuff you need to check out!

First. Some of you know I hang out on io9 sometimes, although now that they’ve changed their format I’m not there as much as I used to be. I did make some good pals there, though, and one night on Twitter we started talking about what a shame it was that io9 didn’t do more “girl geek” news.

So my pals decided to do something about it. Stellar Four is a blog for all things ladygeek; it has a special focus on things like jewelry, clothes, make-up, crafts, etc., but is of course still devoted to all things sci-fi/fantasy/comics/etc. I highly recommend you check it out, and leave some comments and all of that; I’m hoping to find time to write an article or two for them myself, because I think the idea behind the site is such a great, exciting one.

Second. Last week my dear friend Caitlin Kittredge‘s first YA novel was released: THE IRON THORN. I got to read this a long time ago–I actually got to read the proposal before she sent it to her agent–and I have to tell you I was sooooo excited, and so filled with writer-envy over the absolutely stunning world/characters/writing. It was not a surprise to me that the trilogy sold in like a day. I of course ran out to buy the book the minute it was released, because I need to own it–it’s so good–and I highly recommend you all do the same. Seriously, you don’t want to miss this one.

We had some other releases last week, too! In fact, we had so many that I’m going to link you to my friend Carolyn Crane’s page on them all. Jackie Kessler, Dakota Cassidy, Richelle Mead, Jaye Wells, Anton Strout, Michelle Bardsley…there’s a whole bunch of them, so go check them out.

Still hard at work on the fifth Downside book, and still pleased with it. We’re just over 30k at the moment and things are starting to get really crazy. Hee!

Oh, one other thing. The other night on Twitter a discussion was started (okay, by me) about whether or not the Contact email on a writer’s website should be labeled as for “Fan Mail.” Like, “Send Fan Mail to…”

I personally think it sounds a bit…well, not great, honestly. It sounds kind of egotistical. Like, “Oh, all of my fans will want to email me.” It’s not an issue when other people refer to them as fans so much, but for me to do so feels kind of wrong. I prefer “readers.” I do have readers (and I love and am grateful for them, as you all know) but I don’t think of them as “fans.” That implies to me a sort of subordinate level, if you know what I mean, like I consider myself above those “fans.”

But that could be just me. What do you guys think?

Anyway. Check in tomorrow to have a look at my childhood. I think it’ll be fun.

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
More on What we Say

Yesterday’s post netted me quite a few comments.

A few of those were from reviewers and aspiring writers who disagreed with me, to which I say, hey, do whatever you like. I’m not repeating an iron-clad rule of publishing; I’m giving advice based on my experience and the experiences of my friends/people I know. You can take it or not. Frankly, I don’t give a shit if you do. Your career isn’t my problem. And yes, you may very well find a writer who didn’t see your negative review or whatever. It’s a chance you’re perfectly welcome to take. I just think you have to be either a writer or a reviewer, and not both.

A few wondered if agents/editors would really turn down a good book because the author put down one of their other books. I have no idea. I am neither an agent nor an editor. What I am is someone who watched two agents and an agency intern say it would have a definite effect on their decision to request more, or whatever. Many others may very well disagree. Not all agents are tuned into the internet or give a fuck what happens on it. Again, it’s a risk you’re perfectly welcome to take. I have no dog in that fight; I’m just the messenger when it comes to agents/editors.

And yes, it is different outside of genre fiction. Literary fiction writers don’t have the same issues, because they don’t–I believe–have the same sort of community (although I still think saying something bad about someone’s book pretty much erases your chances of getting help from that person later). And as I said, established writers are more free to talk about the work of others. What’s good for the goose may well not be good for you, though. I just wanted people to think about it, and to be aware of what they might give up, because it’s something that’s been on my mind lately.

But that brings me to another point. Much to my chagrin, at least one person yesterday took my comments to mean it’s wrong to say things about publishers. That’s not the case, or at least not really, or rather, it depends. Publishers are not writers, and the dynamic is a bit different.

No, you don’t want to run around yelling “Random House are a bunch of sleazy-ass motherfuckers!!!!” at the top of your lungs (and I used RH because they’re my current publisher and I think everyone knows I love working with them a huge big amount and have loved everyone I met there). There is such a thing as discretion, and it is important. I know things about some editors or publishers that would give you serious pause; the odds of me repeating those things–especially to anyone not a close friend/not a writer–are pretty much zero. That’s why people tell me things, see, is because they know I won’t blab them all over the place.

But there’s discretion and there’s discretion, and there are publishers and there are publishers. And, frankly, there are careers and careers. Let’s be honest here; without sounding like Miss Braggy McBraggerton, I can speak my mind about certain things more freely than an aspiring writer can, or one just barely starting a career. For instance, I often ask questions of those who decide, after self-publishing a couple of their own books, that they are totes qualified to start a publisher because all you need is some software. I do this because I know a lot of newbie writers can’t ask those questions, or don’t feel comfortable doing so.

That has not always made me popular with those hey-hang-let’s-start-a-publisher people. I don’t give a fuck. They threaten me with “She better watch herself if she wants to make it in this business,” or whatever, to which I pee myself laughing because frankly, the odds of me needing to work with a brand-new epublisher with no experience or knowledge are, well, nonexistent. Sure, I’m totally going to decide I’m done with Random House and Pocket and all those other NY houses, oh, or any of the big ehouses where I’m friends with editors who I know would love to work with me, and rush out to Amateur Love epress begging them to publish my book. I don’t even write romance anymore (although like I said, I do have that one dark erotic I’m going to do, but it isn’t my focus at all). I’ve been moving away from romance for years, because it just doesn’t suit my voice/the stories I want to tell.

If they’re so unprofessional as to get upset about a few questions, why in the world would I want to work with them anyway?

Let’s look at an example. I was emailed a month or so ago by Celia Kyle. Celia sought me out because she knows I try to help new writers as much as I can (and indeed have been doing so for years). Celia is starting a new epublisher; well, it is and it isn’t a publisher. I think it’s actually a very clever idea, actually. It’s making covers and providing a marketplace and some distribution for authors who wish to self-publish. The house is called Summerhouse Publishing.

Celia contacted me because she’d been working on answering all of the questions asked on Writer Beware and wanted to know what other questions I might think of to ask; in other words, she wanted to make sure she had everything covered, and actively sought input on that. When a thread started about her publisher on Absolute Write, as they usually do, Celia popped in to answer questions in a calm, professional manner. Celia expected questions and wanted to answer them. Celia was glad we asked questions because she wanted to present her business in the best possible way. In doing so, Celia made her house look impressive and under control, a good choice for someone interested in what she’s doing.

Contrast that to a new house that gets pissy when asked questions and starts flinging insults and threats. Which do you think is more professional? Which do you think has a better chance at lasting?

And more importantly, which would you rather work with?

See, any house I would want to work with is going to respond to questions the way Celia did, because they know it’s just a part of doing business. They know, as the famous line goes, it’s not personal. It’s business.

Just like the author who responds calmly to reviews or doesn’t respond at all is the one you’d rather read or work with, because that’s the one who’s able to keep a professional distance (and understand that really, the number of readers involved in the online community is a tiny portion of readers overall), so it goes with publishers.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that if they’re going to have witch-hunt hissy fits because I asked a few questions, I wouldn’t be caught dead working with them anyway.

And neither should you.

Yes, I have a few more options on the table, because I’ve been writing for a few years now and am lucky enough to have made some friends. That still doesn’t mean you’re forced to go with Amateur Love if you want to “get your foot in the door.” Please don’t, actually. If your work is good enough it will sell.

It also doesn’t mean that if you ask the owner of Amateur Love what her experience is, and her response is to get nasty and threaten you with the old “blacklist” canard, you should take it seriously. Because all those pros at other houses? They know Amateur Love’s owner is Amateur Hour, too. They don’t talk to her. If she does somehow contact them they shrug because they know she’s not a professional, too. Nobody cares what Amateur Hour’s owner says or thinks, so you don’t need to either. A house who’ll get grumpy over legitimate questions isn’t a house anybody wants to work with. Repeat it after me, and keep repeating until it sinks in.

If you’re treated badly at some amateur publisher, especially if it’s because you asked a few questions or whatever, for fuck’s sake speak up. Tell somebody, at least, somebody you trust. Register at AW under a pseudonym and tell your story there. Let people know, because you don’t deserve that. And don’t be scared of these people, either. They have no power over you. You will move on. (And if you don’t, well, maybe the trouble is you, to be honest.)

Questions are not critiques. Questions are not negatives; they are not criticisms. Yes, you need to watch what you say; what I’ve said above is not license to scream from the rooftops that your editor is a moron because she wants you to change a line of dialogue or whatever. Discretion is and always will be important. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat shit from some publishing bottom-feeder because you think if you don’t they’re going to call up very other publisher in the world and tell them to strike your name off their lists FOREVA.

There is nothing unprofessional about asking questions. Professionals know that. There’s a difference between asking legitimate questions and being truly unpleasant; learn it.

Any publisher worth working with? They already know. Be careful, yes. But don’t be scared.

A few other things: I’m very, very happy to let you all know that my editor has read Downside 4 and loves it! I have a few edits to do here and there-some her suggestions, some things I’ve come up with, as is usually the case–so I’m going to be working away on that, and hopefully I’ll have a release date soon. And a title!

On that subject, I’ve done a guest blog with a contest for signed copies of the three Downside books over at Book Lovers Inc. It’s about how hard it is for writers to wait for releases, too, so go check it out and enter the contest, which lasts until Feb 4th.

I’m about to start Downside 5, and another project, so busy busy busy.

Last night on Twitter the subject of a UF convention came up. I would love to go to one. I think someone should do one. Someone who, say, doesn’t have a bunch of books to write. Hint hint. I can’t believe nobody out there would want to get together with some pals and do this.

So to summarize:

*Feel free to ignore my advice if you don’t like it

*Discretion is the better part of valor, unless you’re being treated badly by someone totally unprofessional

*You could win books

*I’m very busy

*Someone needs to do a UF con

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
Watch me work, y’all

Somehow–I’m not entirely certain–I’ve become buried under a work avalanche. A whole bunch of stuff at once. Let’s list them, shall we?

1. A short story for an anthology. It’s a “ghost romance” story, due Feb. 1. While I’d had a sort of loose half-plan to write something non-Downside, just for fun/to do a different take on ghosts, it occurred to me that really, people are going to want and expect a Downside story (and you all know shorts aren’t really my forte, anyway, so it’s difficult enough for me to come up with stuff for them; all of my ideas want to turn themselves into novels). Plus, it is a ghost *romance* anthology, so it might be fun to do a Downside story a little more on the sweet side.

So that’s what I’m doing. A romance-y story–more like a romantic story, really–with some nice sex and sappiness (short spoiler if you haven’t read CITY OF GHOSTS: Yes, that means a Chess/Terrible sex scene) to go with all the kinky pervy creepiness that’ll be in there too. I’m not sure what the release date will be on it yet, but I imagine it’ll be at some point near the end of the year. I will of course keep you posted.

2. A dark erotic novella I had an idea for a while ago. There’s no rush on this, and I haven’t actually started it yet. My original plan was to self-publish it (because I had such a blast doing the Strumpet book), but I mentioned it to my EC editor and she’s interested in seeing it, so we’ll see what happens. It’s a very, very dark story, so may not be right for them. But either way, it’s on my list and it’ll be out there at some point.

3. A new novel project I’m working on. Again, no rush on it, but it’s coming along. Hopefully well. I can’t be sure. It’s something I’ve been toying with for a while, actually, and this is sort of a re-start, so we’ll see where it goes.

4. Downside 5. Yes, this is actually the second thing on my list, to start as soon as I finish the short. And it’s due in early April, I think, and I’m determined not to miss my deadline this time. And I’m very excited to dive into it! I think it’s going to be really fun to write, and hopefully it’ll be really fun to read.

5. Edits for Downside 4. These haven’t come in yet, but I expect them pretty much any day.

6. Another novella, likely for self-pubbing, set in the Demons world. I’ve been asked for (DEMON POSSESSED spoiler) Megan & Greyson’s wedding quite a bit, and at some point I’d like to do that, and maybe slip Nick & Tera’s story in there as well. I’m not sure when I’ll get to this, so I guess technically it’s not on my plate at the moment, but it is on my master list, so there you go.

7. And of course, Downside 6.

I also have a guest blog post due, like, tomorrow (eep!) and I have no frickin clue what to write about, so if anyone has any suggestions/questions they’d like answered, pleeeeease leave them in comments, or @ me on Twitter, or whatever.

Oh, and a couple of interviews that I also need to get to. Not to mention the reader email; I’m caught up to like mid-October now. I’m trying to do reader email every Saturday night for a couple of hours, but it’s not really working out that way these days. I’m going to see if I can’t get back into that, though, because it’s important.

A few more things:

This blog is hilarious. It’s done by a guy who owns a comic shop, and it’s basically little one-panel cartoons of some of the customers in all their crazy/stupid/dickheady glory. Even if you don’t read comics, I guarantee you’ll find something to laugh at.

This blog is full of fantastic inspiration. I get all sorts of cool ideas from looking at pictures like these, so if you do too it’s worth a look.

Mac Cosmetics is doing a new line of Wonder Woman make-up. I am not making that up. Take a look. Kind of old-woman-y colors, though, aren’t they? That lipstick looks like the sort of nail polish shade my mother has fifteen jars of. Like a swollen tongue.

If you’re in the UK, make sure you check the book shelves at your local Asda, because they’ve agreed to stock the Downside books! My HarperUK editor informed me of this the other day and I’m all squeaky thrilled. It won’t be in all their stores but it’ll be in some, and it’s a big deal for me (Asda doesn’t usually stock my kind of books), so let’s hope they sell there.

I think that’s it. So to sum up (I don’t know why I’ve been “summing up” lately, it’s not like you didn’t read the damn post yourself):

*I am busy as shit.

*I have to write a guest post for which I have not a single relevant idea.

*Lots of interesting pictures and funnies can be found online (who knew?).

*Wonder Woman apparently prefers pressed powder, and makes some rather dull color choices for her line.

*You can buy my books at Asda at the same time you pick up your new towels, washing-up liquid, fish fingers, and sticky toffee pudding (mmm, sticky toffee pudding).

What Stace had to say on Monday, January 17th, 2011
The NEW Downside Market is open!

Yay! Go check it out!

As I said before, it’s on Spreadshirt. Spreadshirt had the lowest prices of the three places of this type I looked at (the other two being Zazzle and CafePress) and they seemed to have the biggest variety as well, or at least they had more things I thought would be good to have. But as far as both of those go–pricing and variety–I don’t have a huge amount of say in them, so I did the best I could.

I did a lot of the designs myself–and it was really fun! if time-consuming–and all of the designs from the old store did carry over. Unfortunately most of those designs were/are too small for Spreadshirt’s specifications, so until I get bigger files I can’t put them on a lot of stuff. I also don’t have copies of those with white print, so I can’t put them on anything dark or black. Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to do that, though.

There are two designs done by the fantastic and wonderful Michelle Rowen. She sent me the “Team Lex” and “Heart Terrible” designs as a surprise, which was so freaking cool. (Also, she managed to use actual art in hers, which I am not able to do. Whether that’s due to my crappy fake Photoshop program or my dunce-ness at computers, I don’t know, but I can’t do it.)

There’s a nice big section for the urban fantasy genre in general, which I think is pretty fun. I might grab myself a few of those to wear to cons! See, we UF readers etc. are indeed out there, and we are part of the community. Plus I just find them, well, fun, like I said, and I hope you do too.

I plan to add more designs periodically; of course when the fourth book is released I hope to put up a couple related to it, and so on. And as I’ve said before, if any of you find yourselves in the mood to play around, by all means send me what you’ve got, if you want!

A lot happened in the writing community this weekend, but I think it’s all been covered in plenty of detail. I’m just going to say that people who behave as though everyone should worship and admire them just because they say so, tend to not be very pleasant when people don’t in fact worship and admire them, but instead ask them to actually prove they’re worthy of it. And no matter how politely the questions are worded, they still behave as though they’ve just been urinated upon or something, and proceed to attack. Very nastily. It’s not pleasant to be on the receiving end of one of those attacks.

And those who do that sort of attacking? They very rarely change, and stop behaving in that fashion. This makes them dangerous to deal with or work with; they don’t care who they drag down with them.

Also, on a halfway different subject, Michele Lee made this for me, isn’t it great? (If you don’t know what it refers to, read here, specifically this line:

But it seems as if the comments and the criticisms are not edifying. If your goal is to be a boo-bird. Good job.

I freely admit I find the phrase/epithet “Boo-bird” to be completely awesome. I plan to use it in a book one of these days. It’s too cute to avoid. A ridiculous thing for a grown, supposedly professional woman to say in a supposedly professional context, but charming nonetheless.

Anyway. Michele Lee made this for me:

Adorable, isn’t it?

I myself made this:

Yes, I am embarking on a new career. My darling friend Jane Smith over at How Publishing Really Works (and if you are a writer I cannot recommend her blog highly enough) is coming with me; she will be the Boo-bird CEO, and I will be VP, at Boo-birds Inc.

If you’d like to be part of Boo-bird Inc. too, just take a card! Put it on your site or blog, print it and keep it in your wallet, tattoo it on you, whatever you like.

So, to sum up:

*Lots of new t-shirts and stuff which I hope you’ll all like, at the new Downside Market!

*Chicks named Michelle (or variations thereof) have mad Photoshop skills.

*People who love themselves a little too much tend to keep doing so, and often use very bad judgement because they are convinced they’re right, and especially that they matter and everyone cares about them/what they think. (This is also true when, as is often but not always the case, they’re the sort of people who lie and “pad” their credentials so, for instance, checking over a quarterly employee newsletter for typos for an architecture firm becomes “being a journalist and editor in the architecture industry.”)

*I am a big old boo-bird.

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 Thursday, October 7th, 2010
Quickly

First, I have a little guest post up at the Paranormal Haven blog. They asked me a while ago, and of course I wrote it in my calendar and promptly forgot all about it, so I had to write it on the fly last night. Which means I’m not thrilled with how it ends, because a much better idea for the ending occurred to me this morning, but oh well. Later I may add it to the site here, and I’ll fix the ending then. It’s not a major change.

They asked me for any sort of Halloween-y post, like a memory from childhood or whatever. And I started writing that, and then thought, everybody’s going to write that (“Halloween is my favorite holiday blah blah blah.” Come on, we write fantasy. Of course Halloween is our favorite holiday) and decided to do a little short story instead.

It’s a Downside story, sort of; it’s a Halloween story, sort of. It’s actually a Haunted Week story; someone asked me a while ago if I’d ever write about Haunted Week itself so I figured why not.

As I say in the post, two points if you know who young Thaddeus is (I know you guys will all know, but random people visiting the site may not). Also, because I know there’s been some speculation and this will really fuel it, I’ll just say outright that no, Baltimore is not Triumph City. But it’s not too far away, cough cough.

Hubs and I were discussing Thanksgiving earlier. I’m getting a bit excited about it. Not because I particularly care for or about Thanksgiving, but because every Thanksgiving we watch L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, and I freaking love that movie, so I can’t wait. (We also watch JAWS, which I also freaking love. It’s a good time, in general.)

There was something else I wanted to link to for you guys or tell you about but I don’t remember now what it was, dammit. Oh! Wait, I remember. Southern Promo has a survey up about the Downside Market, and if you would all take a minute to fill it out that would be awesome.

Back into my cave…only 3500 words last night, but I’m fairly happy with them, which is nice. Please leave a comment on my Paranormal Haven story? You’ll make me feel all cheerful and warm.

What Stace had to say on Thursday, September 30th, 2010
A Visit from Marta Acosta!

A special treat today! You don’t have to read more of my own disjointed ramblings, you get to read an interview with an actual real writer, lol, who makes sense and doesn’t just whine about stuff. Marta Acosta, who in addition to writing her terrifically funny books also runs the very popular Vampire Wire blog, has agreed to grace us all with her presence and show me how real writers behave when being interviewed (I suspect she wasn’t even drunk when she answered these questions!)

An artist’s rendering of Marta:

So Marta, thanks for stopping by today! You’ve written four books in the Casa Dracula series; the new one, HAUNTED HONEYMOON, is the last. Could you give the readers a general idea of what the series is about?

Thanks for having me, Stacia! The Casa Dracula books are romantic comedies about quirky, fun, sexy, and bright Milagro de Los Santos, who gets accidentally infected with vampirism and involved with a pack of snobby vampires. These people claim that they aren’t vampires, but have a genetic condition. During the course of the books, Milagro falls in and out of love, escapes anti-vampire extremists, defeats vampire zealots, tries to earn a living, while finding time for flirting and parties.

Each book is also a step forward as Milagro grows up and finds her place in the world.

Haunted Honeymoon is the final book in the series. Can you give readers a hint of what to expect?

Mil is having a torrid affair with dangerous and secretive Ian Ducharme, a member of the Vampire Council, but she still misses her ex-fiance Oswald Grant. She distrusts Ian and finds him immoral, while she admires Oswald. When Ian’s shenanigans with his seductive neighbor infuriate Mil, she takes off to London for a job assignment and meets a sexy young vamp who’s both a good guy and fun, too.

When she returns home, though, the bodies start piling up and Mil is being set up for murder. She’s basically kidnapped, held, and “harshly” questioned by a nameless organization. She escapes and runs to Oswald’s ranch. An accidental blow to her head results in amnesia and she forgets all about her life with the vampires. She’s got the opportunity for a re-do with Oswald, but she’s also got enemies looking for her. Will she make the same mistakes again?

So what made you want to do more humorous urban fantasy? Did it just come out that way, or did you always want to write funny?

I always wrote funny. I wrote serious too. I studied creative writing at a Fancy University and I wrote really grim, third-person, present tense fiction. However, every now and then I’d crack and turn in a completely inane story with cartoons. I’d read it to the class and everyone would stare at me and I could practically see the little WTF? bubbles over their heads.

It wasn’t my intention to write urban fantasy. When I started my first Casa Dracula book, I hadn’t even heard the term urban fantasy. I was just writing a funny story to amuse myself. I wanted to make spoof cliches about vampires being rich, gorgeous, and accomplished, and that fit well with a comedy-of-manners set up. Toss an aimless, broke, sexy, bright, and snarky girl into the scene and hit the frappe button.

Legend has it that Sir Donald Wolfit’s last words were, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” Do you agree? And do you think he came up with that line years before and was just waiting to use it?
Read the rest of this entry »

What Stace had to say on Saturday, August 14th, 2010
Why I Post Reviews

About twenty minutes ago I found a link on Twitter to a review of the entire Downside series. This review, by Danielle at Alpha Reader.

Only the link didn’t go to Alpha Reader. It went to one of those content-collecting sites, a book focused one. That site has a Twitter account and when they “collect” a review, they tweet it, which is how I found it. Now that I’m thinkig of it I realize I’ve seen them post a duplicate of another review before, but as the review was for a site with many reviewers I thought the reviewer herself owned the “collecting” site (obviously I didn’t realize it was one of those sites) and was simply reposting her own review.

Of course I retweeted the link, thinking it was original. Immediately another reader informed me of the situation, which shocked me and made me feel ill. I deleted my tweet and reposted it with the correct link, giving credit to the actual writer of the post. By name, which the “collecting” site didn’t do; they had “Source: Alpha Reader” in the bottom left corner in a very pale gray font, which wasn’t easy to see.

That pissed me the hell off.

Here’s the thing. I’ve seen it mentioned a couple of times that writers should not acknowledge any reviews at all, be they positive or negative. And I think that’s bullshit. Why in the hell would I not give someone credit for their work? Why would I ignore it, when they’ve said wonderful things about my work, and took the time to write it all down and post it for anyone to see? When they are recommending my books to their friends? Why in the hell would I not at least give them a nod, let them know I did see it and appreciate it?

Not to mention, a lot of these reviews are incredibly well-written. These are reviewers with talent. Thoughtful, intelligent people who really pay attention to what they’re reading, who analyze it. Reviewers who really truly understand the books and what they’re trying to say, who really truly understand the characters. That’s a big deal. That’s a connection with people, a connection you cannot buy. It’s an amazing thing; it’s the best thing about being a writer, it’s the reason why most of us become writers. We want to share something, say something. When you discover that someone heard that and understood it and appreciated it, that something that means so much to you also means so much to them, that’s a big deal.

As far as I’m concerned, someone who reads my books, enjoys them, and takes time out of their day to write a review–especially a thoughtful, detailed one like Danielle’s or like any of the dozens of other fantastic reviews the Downside books have gotten–deserves credit for that. We all like web hits, right? So isn’t it a good thing to do to link to them, to encourage people to check out their blogs? Isn’t it a good thing for those who read my blog to maybe find a new reader blog they’ll enjoy? Maybe they’ll meet someone whose taste is like theirs; maybe they’ll make a new book-friend. Why the hell shouldn’t I do that? Why the hell should I ignore the hard work of someone who has acknowledged mine so kindly?

The “Terrible Fever” Goodreads group has over fifty members now (yes, I realize that hardly makes me a big name or anything, but I think it’s cool). How many of those readers knew each other before they joined up? I haven’t been reading the posts there because I don’t believe that’s my place–reviews are one thing, but discussions on forums among readers are another–but I’m willing to bet that not all of them did. That some of them met each other through that group. Isn’t that cool? Would that have happened if I hadn’t linked to the group here, or retweeted it? It’s very possible, sure, but it’s not definite.

I don’t read the Goodreads group; I don’t think it’s my place to do so. That’s a forum for readers, and they’re having their own discussions, and that’s not my business. I feel like if I popped in and started talking it might stultify the conversation, make them all self-conscious and uncomfortable. That’s the last thing I want to do. And frankly, yeah, I know there are few places that are reader-only anymore, and that it can be frustrating to have writers always popping in to comment. Yes, it’s disappointing and depressing; I am a reader, after all. I’ve been a reader all my life. But it feels sometimes like even if I’m trying to comment as a reader, I’m still not seen as one, and you know, that’s just the way it is, and it’s the price I pay for getting to do this job that I love more than anything.

Here’s the thing. I can’t email reviewers. I can’t contact them and tell them how glad I am that they caught this or understood that, or why the thing that disappointed them happened, or what the implications of the thing they’re curious about will be down the road. I can’t do that. I’ve learned that no matter how diplomatic you try to be, no matter how good your intentions are, no matter how happy you are or how interesting you think such a discussion is–no matter how much you think it would be fucking awesome to have a conversation like that with a writer whose work you read and had thoughts about–some people will always see it as an invasion, as writers butting in and trying to tell them what to do.

But what I can do is link to them. Acknowledge them from a distance. Say in my post that I loved this one or that one, that I found this line or that line particularly well-written and that I appreciated the effort that was put into it. Just as my novels are art to me, so those reviews may well be art to those reviewers, and they’ve put it out there hoping people will see it and understand it and connect with it.

Those reviews, those reviewers, those readers, are what make this whole thing worthwhile. They’re the ones who make all of the blood and sweat and tears, all of the emotional nakedness and pain, every bit of yourself that you put into your work, matter. I think they deserve to be acknowledged for that, and told that they matter. And I’m going to keep doing it.