Archive for 'my opinion for what it’s worth'



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.

What Stace had to say on Friday, July 16th, 2010
Wrap-ups and reviews

I have a few final thoughts on my little art and compromise series, but first I have a couple of new reviews for UNHOLY MAGIC I’d like to share.

Book Chick City calls it “one of the best books [she’s] ever read,” and says:

For me, Unholy Magic has the precise combination and balance of everything I love about the urban fantasy genre: action, romance, complex but likeable characters and world building. I adored this book so much from beginning to end – just perfect.

Smexy Books says:

Kane has written one of the most dark and disturbing Urban Fantasy’s I have read in a long time. This story drug me in, striped me bare, then rebuilt me page by page till the end. Enticing and addicting from page one…

5 out of 5 from The Fiction Vixen: In trying to come up with an adjective to describe the over all tone and feel of this story, I came up short. Gritty seems weak in reference to this book and just does not cover it. I had a brief twitter conversation about the Downside series and I eventually came up with this: Unholy Magic spits on gritty and calls its mother names. Yes, this book is that bad ass! Stacia Kane has written an amazing, spine tingling novel in Unholy Magic, taking me by surprise by surpassing even the brilliance of its predecessor Unholy Ghosts.

Last but certainly not least, we have Barnes & Noble’s Paul Goat Allen on the B&N Explorations blog, a man who’s been reading and reviewing fantasy for twenty years or so:

The bottom line is this – never before in paranormal fantasy have I read a series that features the combination of grand scale world building, labyrinthine storyline, superb character development, and social relevance. Stacia Kane’s Downside saga is taking paranormal fantasy to another level right before our eyes…

I challenge anyone who has never read a paranormal fantasy before to read this series – I’ll guarantee you that you never look at paranormal fantasy the same way again.

So, um, all of those are really nice to get.

But they do kind of have something to do with my art posts, honestly they do. Because yesterday the first post, But is it Art?was linked to on io9. Which was also pretty cool.

But I found the comments over there really interesting, in that so many of them seemed to automatically assume that you must compromise in order to get published, that it was necessary. That if you want to be published you have to expect you’ll be told to change things.

That hasn’t been my experience at all, frankly. While UNHOLY GHOSTS isn’t everything I’d envisioned it being when I started writing it, that’s my failure; I wasn’t asked to tone anything down or change anything fundamental about the story, characters, or world. Not one thing. Not in any of the Downside books, in fact. Not in any of the Demons books, either. Hell, DEMON INSIDE has a ritual cannibalism scene involving the hero of the series. Nobody asked me to take that out or tone it down or change it. Nobody has asked me to change or tone down anything I’ve written, frankly, with the sole exception of–as I’ve mentioned before–the incestuous rape scene in DEMON’S TRIAD, and that was perfectly understandable and perfectly okay with Anna and I; we’d inadvertently made it a bit sexier than it should have been and so needed to tone it down. That wasn’t a compromise. We weren’t asked to remove the rape, which was female-on-male. We were just asked not to make it titillating, and like I said, we were happy to do so.

That is honestly the only time in my entire career that I can think of where I was asked to change something in one of my books, and that’s not really a change at all. I’ve never had to give up on anything truly important to me. I honestly don’t know anyone who has.

Yes, saying that does sort of negate the whole point of the first post. And I think it’s important to remember that DEMON’S TRIAD was an X-rated ebook, sold with a warning; that scene very well may not have flown in NY, especially NY genre romance. UNHOLY GHOSTS and the Downside books are urban fantasies, which also give me a bit more leeway. As I said on Tuesday, if you want to write a cannibal love story (in mine, it was ritualistic and involved non-humans, remember) you may have problems. There are a lot of difficult subjects that you may indeed need to wait to write, until you have a bigger name or more solid standing.

But I also believe it comes down to the writing. I’d never sold to NY when I signed with my agent for UNHOLY GHOSTS, and the series was my first NY sale. I had no standing in the industry (not that I think I do now; I’m still nobody, really). But my agent and several editors felt my writing was strong enough, my story, characters, and worldbuilding compelling enough, that they didn’t care about the slightly difficult subject.

Which brings us full circle. Getting published isn’t about compromising. getting published is about writing. It’s about characters and story. Focus on those, and on being true to them and to yourself, and on giving your work that emotional depth and making it as strong as you possibly can. That’s how you get published, not by giving in or giving up or whatever.

Tomorrow I’m going to post the CITY OF GHOSTS playlist, I think, and a weekend SNeak Peek. I’m also thinking of a contest of some kind, to name a character in the fourth Downside book? Trying to think of a fun way to have people enter; I’m thinking of doing a Twitter contest using the #cityofghosts hashtag HarperVoyager already came up with. Thoughts? Anybody interested?

What Stace had to say on Thursday, July 1st, 2010
Twilight and cynicism

No, really, hear me out here. This isn’t a “Twilight is great” or a “Twilight sucks” post. I’m not defending it, but I’m not raging against it either. I’ve just had a few thoughts abut it recently, and I thought they were interesting, and I thought my smart and wonderful blog readers might have some thoughts about my thoughts. So here we are.

I’ve read the Twilight books. Well, okay, I read the first three. The second, if memory serves, was the one I liked best out of those, but I simply could not force myself to get through the last one. I was dreadfully bored, so I skimmed it, and got the gist, and that was more than enough. And again, I didn’t hate them. I didn’t love them, by any stretch. I didn’t particularly like them. But I didn’t loathe them. I even thought–and it’s not an uncommon thought, I don’t think–that there were some good ideas buried in there, some really cool shit. And I admit as well that one scene in the first book, the one at the lake when Jacob tells Bella the legend of the vampires, was pretty nifty. I dug that scene.

But yes, I also see the problems. I see the essentially abusive relationship, the completely ridiculous parents, the ha-ha-semi-rape-is-okay bits, the oh-sure-it’s-totally-cool-for-adults-to-fall-in-love-with-infants bits, the female-sexual-desire-is-gross-and-must-be-suppressed bits, the creepy-religion-y stuff…you name it. I know it’s there.

Am I happy that teenage girls all over the world wish a man would stalk them, scare them, destroy their possessions in order to get them to obey, patronize them, treat them like morons? No. Of course not.

But here’s the thing. What exactly are the other relationship alternatives we as a society are offering teenage girls?

How many stories do we see about teen pregnancy rates going up? How many of the fathers of those babies stick around? How many women and girls do you know who’ve slept with a man who said he loved them or cared about them, and then dumped them shortly after they had sex? How many times does our society tell young women that for them to expect to be loved and taken care of by a man is ridiculous, a silly fairy-tale dream, and that they better get used to relying only on themselves because men won’t stick around? How many girls out there are led to believe that their only value is as a sex object? That being a sex object is the most important thing there is? How many of these girls have fathers in their homes? How many see men as people who drift in and out of your life, treating you sort of okay sometimes?

It’s not just about sex. I don’t mean to sound like I’m on some chastity crusade. But what I do think is that girls today are being raised to believe that they shouldn’t expect respect, love, responsibility, or anything else from men. That being cheated on is just the way it goes. That the only way to get and keep a boyfriend is to not mind when he treats you badly, to give him things, to not act like you really care that much, to place no expectations on him.

I realize I’m exaggerating a bit. I realize there are still plenty of decent people out there. I realize that things can be just as tough for teenage boys.

But my point is, our society seems to be moving further and further away from the idea that love is a valuable and good thing, that people belong together, that girls have the right to expect to be treated with respect and kindness, and that boys have the right to expect the same.

And that, my friends, is one reason I believe the Twilight books are so popular. Yes, Edward is a controlling jerk. But Edward isn’t embarrassed to care (he even says the L word!), and he doesn’t leave Bella at home alone while he goes out with his friends picking up girls. He doesn’t refer to her as his “bitch.” Once he admits he cares, he is committed. Twilight offers girls a view of a relationship that, if it’s not a great alternative, at least seems more secure than a casual hook-up. It’s a world where girls don’t have to be embarrassed to want a solid relationship, with a man who will care for and about them, and wants to make a serious commitment to them. It’s a world where, for all that the sexual attitudes in the book are troublesome to say the least, Bella’s sexuality and willingness to sexually perform is the least important aspect of the relationship.

And in this world it’s okay, even right, if the desire to love and be loved is the most important thing in your life. That desire isn’t pooh-poohed or put down in those books. It’s not treated as frivolity. It’s not spoken about or represented as if it’s a shameful thing to want to be loved or to be in love, and that any girl who thinks about relationships and romance instead of college and their investment portfolios are obviously ridiculous, irresponsible creatures.

Twilight offers a skewed view of relationship, yes. Twilight does not contain what I would say is a truly healthy relationship.

But Twilight is about a relationship, and Twilight takes that relationship seriously and treats it as an important thing, a worthwhile thing, a thing of respect. Something fulfilling. Twilight doesn’t put down young girls for wanting a boyfriend, or for wanting that more than anything else. It doesn’t make them feel as if they’re not good enough if they don’t know what they want to be when they grow up, or aren’t spending their every waking minute working hard and collecting references for college applications.

I don’t think this is the only reason; it’s just the only one I can fathom, to be honest. And I’m not saying any of this is a good thing, or that I approve. And I’m not saying Twilight doesn’t deserve the criticism it’s gotten; it absolutely does.

But I also think that in relentlessly attacking Twilight, we’re once again attacking these girls, too. We’re telling them, once again, that they’re stupid and silly for believing in love and for wanting it. They’re ridiculous for wanting a man to truly love them and to see something special in them. We’re telling them that the desires of their heart and soul are unimportant, and foolish, and that if they aren’t focusing their entire selves on future earning power and getting ahead they’re wasting everyone’s time.

And to be honest, I don’t know which of those messages is worse.

What Stace had to say on Thursday, June 24th, 2010
The sky is falling?

Yesterday on Twitter–I guess for the last couple of days–there’s been a discussion going on regarding agents, and how they’re paid, and how that affects their work. And then it morphed or branched off into a discussion about advances and whether or not writers would accept a no-advance model, and the end result seems to be another one of those discussions where everyone sits around like mummers at a Victorian funeral and tells us The Publishing Sky Is Falling, and it’s The End Of Publishing As We Know It, etc. etc. etc.

And you know, I understand that to an extent. It’s scary. The economy is scary. Hell, everything is scary right now; our ocean is filling with oil and all anybody with the power to do something seems interested in doing is pointing fingers and sitting around talking and whatever. There have been earthquakes and tornados and volcanos and shit all over the world. Am I terrified that the world is ending? Honestly? Kinda, yeah. But then, I’m a bit of a pessimist when it comes to this sort of thing; I’m the only person I know who is terrified of outer space and doesn’t even like seeing pictures of it because it reminds me that the earth is this one small rock floating in nothingness and something could go wrong at any second and we could start plummeting, but there’s nothing to land on so we would just keep plummeting through the darkness forever. That’s not a pleasant thought.

It probably won’t happen, either. But I wonder if I start insisting often enough that it will, and get a bunch of people to also start talking about it and how the earth’s field of gravity is thinning, people will start to believe it.

Because it seems to me that everyone is talking about the demise of publishing, but there’s actually no real evidence that it’s dying. Everyone is claiming that ebooks will be the death of publishing, but I honestly don’t understand that at all; how is providing books in another format for people who like that format killing publishing? (Aside from the issue of piracy, which don’t even get me started on.) Aren’t we hearing about people buying more books now that they’re started reading ebooks?

I know a lot of it is just to get website hits, or because people have a specific axe to grind. And you know, none of us are without bias. I certainly don’t want to see publishing die, because it’s how I make my living. I don’t want to see us all switch to self-publishing, for reasons I’ve stated many times before but will recap quickly:

1. Ease of finding something worth reading (low when trying to go through thousands & thousands of self-published books with no quality control or vetting process)

2. Ease of publishing (sure, right now you can go to Lulu and set up a book for free; it’s what Jim Macdonald did for me with the Strumpet book. But do you really think if publishing fails, and self-publishing becomes the norm, those companies won’t start charging, or charging more?)

To be perfectly honest, my feeling is and has always been that if publishing “dies,” and everyone is self-publishing, you’ll soon have people offering to vet books for other people. You’ll have someone who realizes they can make some money by taking the best books out there and printing them for a cut of the money, and setting up some sort of nationwide distribution, and…lookie there, you’ve just reinvented a publishing house.

When people want a book to read, they want a book to read. They do not want to spend hours hunting around for something readable. (Don’t believe it will take hours, or be difficult? Here’s a site where people can post shirt stories for free, called Bibliofaction. It’s a nice site; it’s a fun idea. And I don’t link to it to pick on or put down any of the stories posted there; I link to it to show you how much there is on just that one site, and what a variety of quality there is too.)

Now I’m veering off into my big self-publishing rant again, and I’ve already covered that, so I don’t want to do it again. What I do want to say is that yes, times are a bit hard right now. Yes, I’m seeing good writers whose series don’t get to go on because sales that would have been good enough three years ago aren’t anymore, or if they do get contracted for more books their advances are lower. It’s awful and it’s sad.

But for every series that doesn’t do so well, there are series that are big hits and make tons of money. I’m tired of seeing that ignored. I’m tired of seeing specious statistics bandied about all the time, like the “95% of published books don’t sell more than 500 copies,” which sounds terrifying until you realize that the people who came up with that statistic were including every single book published, including self-published books, technical manuals, employee guidebooks, specialist textbooks, souvenir books, and whatever else. The idea that most NY published books sell less than 500 copies is simply incorrect.

This study by The Association of American Publishers estimates the publishing industry sold $23.9 BILLION worth of books in 2009. Yes, that’s down almost two percent from 2008 (although apparently in the last seven years overall it’s grown), but when you consider how the economy took a swim in Lake Shitty in early-mid 2008 especially, that’s really not that bad, is it? How much have other industries lost? If we can use this CNN article as any indicator, auto industry sales/profits dropped about 30%. Freddie Mac says home prices fell almost five percent in 2009 (it was a much bigger percentage in ’08).

Yes, it’s a scary time right now. Yes, we’re all watching it and keeping an eye on what’s happening. Yes, advances aren’t as high as they once were–at least so I understand. But we’re still getting deals. We’re still getting advances. Every day.

But that doesn’t mean we all need to start desperately casting around for some other way to earn a living, or start pontificating on how publishing is “broken” and it’s the end for it. It’s not. As long as people want to read books, there will be publishing. Quite frankly, for all the “publishing is dying” talk I hear online, it seems to be pretty limited to online; the average person–the average reader–has no idea this discussion is happening, and they care even less. And why should they? The only thing readers should–or should be expected to–care about is that they get books they want to read when they want to read them and in the format in which they want them, at an affordable price. (Readers are of course welcome to care more about it if they want, but it’s certainly not a requirement, is my point. I don’t want to bore my readers with talk about how my life will end if they don’t buy my books and I’ll end up selling matches on the street and how expensive everything is–like they don’t know that–and how I really need their help or whatever. As I’ve said here before, entertaining readers is my job. Yes, I want and expect to be paid for it, but beyond that they have zero obligation to me, and I certainly don’t expect them to give a shit about my financial situation. Remember how I’d rather not have people buy my books because I nagged them into it? Yeah. I’d rather they not buy them because I guilted them into it, either. I’m fucking lucky I get to write books for a living, and I try not to forget that and act like it’s some kind of burden.)

Anyway.

Whether the agent commission goes up to 20%, as the lovely Victoria Strauss suggests in this post (which also links back to me, making a nifty linky circuit), or whether more agents branch out into different areas of the business, or whatever…I think reports of publishing’s death are greatly exaggerated, and to be perfectly frank I’m tired of hearing about it. I don’t know if that’s me being sensible or being ostrich-like, but I’m tired of constantly feeling like the sword of Damocles dangles over all of our heads. I’m tired of feeling like there are crowds of people rubbing their hands together gleefully and waiting for publishing to fail, for whatever reason; I don’t understand it, as I don’t see why anyone would want to have to wade through slush for hours, but people can certainly do what they like.

I refuse to feel that way anymore. I refuse to listen to alarmists and bone-pickers. Will I keep in mind that things are tough all over? Absolutely. Will I remember how tight money is? Again, absolutely.

And I will use that knowledge to inspire me to write more and better books, to challenge myself more, to not take sales for granted but to remember that I need to push myself to be great, to be outstanding, to put everything I have into my work. I’ll use that knowledge to inspire me to write bigger stories, bigger worlds, bigger characters; to remember that “good enough” isn’t good enough. And so even if I don’t achieve that greatness and never get to be outstanding I at least wasn’t lazy. At least I tried. At least I didn’t forget that what it ultimately comes down to are readers, and what they want, and that my job is to try to give it to them, to impress and entertain them and make them think and feel.

So everyone else can sit around in the doom-and-gloom corner and decide the end is coming and there’s nothing we can do about it. I’ll be over here writing more books.

Because that’s what I do.

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
For those wondering

John Scalzi is traveling, or rather, is about to stop traveling. So he emailed me this morning to see if it was okay to delay my Big Idea post by a day. So look for that tomorrow!

Also, an interesting comment came in the other day on my Boy Books and Girl Books? post. The commenter pointed out that perhaps one reason why men eschew urban fantasy is because the covers seem to portray women who don’t need men, who even actively put down men.

The commenter also mention how James Bond covers, for example, show Bond in active poses with women in them, and posited that if UF covers showed women in active poses with men around them they might appeal more to men.

Which I think is an interesting comment, certainly. I still think it’s sad; it still makes me angry that books marketed toward women or with female MCs are automatically dismissed by men. And I still find it kind of hard to understand; as I said in that post, it can’t be that men don’t like to read books with women in them. It can’t be that men dislike sex. And I have a hard time believing that men just plain don’t like to read about love stories; not only do I know men who read romance–and I think that’s awesome–most men I know do genuinely want to find love, or are married or in committed relationships and are very happy. So I wonder if the commenter is right. Does the way UF is marketed automatically drive men away? Does it almost present a sort of no-men-allowed kind of look?

It’s a real shame, if so. Men already miss out on some great stories in genre romance, simply because they don’t think to pick one up and give it a try. It would be sad to see them missing out on great stories in other genres as well.

My point here isn’t to say men and their opinions are the most important. It’s just that I do get tired of seeing UF dismissed and put down, often by people who’ve never tried it, or who tried one and decided they’re all exactly like that one, when in fact there’s a lot of variety in the genre (and in genre romance, as well). I do think it’s shameful that “girl books” is a put-down. As I said in my previous post, so what if it’s about women, or marketed toward women? So what if it has a love story in it, or sex? Why does that mean it’s okay to insult it? It isn’t, and it shouldn’t be.

A woman who refuses to read books marketed mainly toward men, or see films marketed mainly toward men, or consume media aimed mainly toward men, is going to have a hard time finding books to read (outside of those genres) or films to see, or media to consume. (It actually reminds me of the “News for Women” segment that a news station in Miami used to run, and how it infuriated me, not only by implying that regular news wasn’t something for women, but that women were only interested in diets and cooking, and that men had no interest in such things at all.) I remember reading an article somewhere once about why women’s magazines are as successful as they are, and part of it was because those magazines are some of the few media outlets aimed at and coming from a woman’s viewpoint.

I’m not sure our viewpoints are so different, really. I think we’re all individuals. And I’m tired of stereotypes. I’m tired of women’s writing being dismissed as “just a chick book,” as if that automatically makes it inferior. If you don’t like a genre, that’s fine, but to say you dislike it because it’s a gender thing is just kind of lazy and offensive. I’m tired of books aimed at women, like romance or like many UFs, being dismissed.

And you know, I think men in general are better than that. Don’t you? Give it a try, men! Read something different, for fun. See how you like it, and what you learn from it. Decide for yourself what you think. Try a couple of them. Get some recommendations from people. You might find you enjoy it a lot more than you thought you would, and you might realize that just because something is marketed toward women, or has a romance story in it or sex or whatever, doesn’t actually mean it isn’t worthwhile and good.

Because it doesn’t.

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
Website thoughts

First, there are of course more new reviews for UNHOLY GHOSTS, but I’ll probably do a round-up of those tomorrow.

Second, I did want to let everyone know that UNHOLY GHOSTS is going to be the lead Feature Discussion for June on the Barnes & Noble paranormal/UF/Fantasy Bookclub forum!

If you’re not already registered over there, take a minute to do so; the bookclub discussions are always a lot of fun, and since authors are invited to join the conversation, I’ll be in and out of there all month answering questions etc.

But today we’ll talk about something different, something not really related to me or my books at all. We’ll talk about websites a bit.

Periodically the question comes up as to whether or not unpublished writers need websites, and what kinds of websites, and if it’s a necessary promotional expense and how to do it cheaply and all of that. (It came up recently on a forum I’m a member if, in fact, and this post is basically an expansion of my reply there.) And as always, my opinion may not be the popular one or the one everyone agrees with, and as always you’re perfectly free to disagree if you like.
Read the rest of this entry »

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
Boy Books and Girl Books?

(This is a long one, guys, so get comfortable.)

I’m sure you’re probably getting sick of seeing my reviews, but I do have another quick one to share. From WickedlilPixie at Writings of a Wicked Book Addict:

Unholy Ghosts is the first book in Stacia Kane’s Downside Series & it was phenomenal! It is one of the most grittiest, in your face Urban Fantasies I’ve ever read & I loved it…If you read one new Urban Fantasy series, make it Unholy Ghosts.

So something I’ve been thinking about for a while, as you guys know, is what urban fantasy truly is as a genre, and where it’s going, and how my books fit into it. (Remember the The Books Are Out There post?

And of course we’re now exactly one week away from the official release date of UNHOLY GHOSTS. And I’m wondering how people will respond to it, whether they’ll love it or hate it, whether the darkness will be too much for them, whether they’ll accept a drug addict as a heroine, all of those things that I worried and wondered about even as I wrote it.

But here’s the thing. I feel like urban fantasy has, as a genre, been somehow relegated to the “Girl” section. It’s been dismissed as “Girl books.” And many guys really do seem to think this way. I’ve seen a lot of them in various places referring to UF as “just paranormal romance with a little more action,” or “hot girl in leather solves mystery, sleeps with paranormal creatures.”

And honestly? I think to some extent that’s true. No, hear me out. Other worlds and paranormal creatures do tend to be a big part of urban fantasy. The heroines often have sex (mine certainly do) and it’s often with paranormal creatures (Megan sleeps with a demon, for example, but in Chess’s world the only paranormal creatures are ghosts, and they don’t really make good bed partners, what with the trying to kill you and all).
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What Stace had to say on Friday, May 7th, 2010
It’s just upsetting

Some of you may have heard that the Waxman Agency, a legitimate, highly respected literary agency with an excellent reputation, has decided to open an epublishing imprint of its own. No, you didn’t read that incorrectly. It’s an agency deciding to set up a publishing arm.

This has, as you can imagine, sparked a bit of controversy in the literary world.

I’m going to blog about it, because I feel like I should. But I’m not entirely comfortable doing it, to be honest. I don’t like doing it. I am, to put it mildly, in a bit of an moral dilemma here, and I need to decide if my ethical standards are really that strong, and I’ve decided that they are. I’ve taken a stand on this situation in the past and would be a hypocrite not to do the same again; I’ve presented myself–and worked hard to make myself–someone who helps other writers and offers advice, and I would be a hypocrite not to speak out now.

Here’s the thing. Waxman is, as I said above, and excellent agency. I know a few people–one I consider a good friend–who are repped by Holly Root there. Holly is a fantastic agent. Her clients love her, and she does a great job for them. And up until yesterday I had no compunction at all recommending her to any of my friends who were looking for representation.

But I can’t do that anymore, and that makes me sad.
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What Stace had to say on Monday, April 19th, 2010
The Cool Kids

I’d planned to post about something else today (Amber Publishing, who are publishing the Downside books in Poland, have posted the cover and blurb on their site, in Polish [of course], which is totally cool), but that, along with the online translation of it, will have to wait. Because I’ve had this post in mind for like a month now, and I want to get it out there. Settle in, guys, this is a long one.

You may have heard of Young Adult Authors Against Bullying, a Facebook group made up of–as the name implies–YA authors who disapprove of bullying. I’m not technically a YA author but I’ve joined, as have a lot of others. And a few weeks ago many writers posted their bullying stories on their blogs. I didn’t; not because I don’t have bullying stories or wasn’t bullied as a child/preteen/teen (believe me, I was, horribly) but because I didn’t learn about it until it was already in progress and I already had this post sort of planned, as I said above.

A lot of this is in reaction to the death of Phoebe Prince, a high-school girl driven to suicide by a gang of less-than-human teenage shitweeds who decided she deserved to be mocked, bullied, teased, insulted, and otherwise abused because she *gasp* dated a guy who used to date one of the aforementioned shitweeds (and the guy later joined in, which just makes me lose hope in the future of humanity, but then, this whole story does).

It reminds me a bit of the Megan Meier case, in which a girl was cyber-bullied not just by kids her own age, but by the mother of one of her acquaintances. A grown fucking woman, who thought it was a good idea to harass and play tricks on a young girl online.

And that’s sort of what I want to discuss. Adult bullying, and the society of mean.
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What Stace had to say on Thursday, March 18th, 2010
*sigh* Porn for Women, yes, ha ha ha

Yeah, it’s been a few days, sorry. You know how you’re not very busy, and you have plenty of free time, and then all of the sudden like a dozen projects fall on your head at once? That’s kind of where I am right now. So I may be a bit scarce for the next few weeks. The good news, though, is that I may have some good news in a few weeks, and I’m working on a new project that Agent Man and I are very excited about too, and I bought my dress for the RT Fairy Ball so hopefully it will look okay when it arrives (well, I know you probably don’t care about that, but I’m happy about it).

So I’ve been trying on and discarding various blog topics for several days now. And most of them are topics I do want to touch upon at some point–some of them are topics I’ve been mulling around for some time. And I know today’s post is about something quite a few people have already seen, but I’ve only just become aware of it (remember, the busy-ness? Haven’t been online much) and yeah, I want to say something about it.

Porn for Women.

For those who don’t want to click the link, let me tell you what this is. A group calling itself the “Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative”–which in itself is a horrible name–has produced this “funny” book, which is ostensibly the type of thing that really turns women on. And it’s a book full of handsome men vacuuming, or saying things like “I don’t need a reason to bring you flowers,” or “Gee, since the NFL playoffs are today, I bet we’ll find lots of parking at the craft fair,” or whatever.
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