Archive for 'my readers totally rock'



What Stace had to say on Friday, March 16th, 2012
Thanks and things

So…sadly, Chess did not win Round 2 of the Suvudu Cage Match. Kelsier–and Brandon Sanderson’s readers–proved too powerful. Sigh.

BUT. You know what? That’s okay. It’s more than okay, actually. Because while she didn’t win, I didn’t honestly expect her to; the MISTBORN books are huge, it’s an enormously, enormously popular series, and Kelsier is one of those “practically a god” characters in terms of power. I pretty much assumed going in that Chess was outmatched.

More than that, though? Check out the numbers! Chess ended up with 28.78 of the vote; 724 votes!!

That may not seem impressive, but when you look at Kelsier’s first match against Gale Hawthorne from the HUNGER GAMES series…dude. Gale ended up with only 7.67% of the vote; 214 votes total.

This is huge to me, guys, seriously. I’m so flattered, and thrilled, and amazed, that so many of you turned out to support Chess. Really. She got more votes in the battle she lost than some of the winners got in battles they won, and that’s incredible. I can’t thank you all enough for the support.

Which means that even though Chessie lost, I’m posting an excerpt anyway. Because while I can’t say I think my writing is some superspecial prize, I want to at least give you something, and it’s not like I can visit each one of your houses and cook you dinner.

CHASING MAGIC won the “Which book” poll last week, but plenty of you did want an excerpt from SACRIFICIAL, so that’s what I’m going with:
Read the rest of this entry »

What Stace had to say on Friday, March 9th, 2012
Chess Wins!

So thanks to all of you, Chess won the first round of the Suvudu Cage Match! Look at that, 68% of the votes! YAY!

And epp! Because this means she goes into Round 2, where she will be “fighting” Brandon Sanderson’s Kelsier. Who can manipulate iron, which as you all know is rather a large part of our Chessie’s magical arsenal. Which means, yeah, I’ve got some serious work to do here. I *do* have an ace up my sleeve, of course, but the question is do I want to play it now, or do I want to hold on to it in case she advances further?

I believe Round 2 will be posted on Monday.

I also believe–well, no, I know for a fact–that I promised to share a new excerpt for every round Chess wins. So you tell me, which book do you want an excerpt from for Round 1, SACRIFICIAL MAGIC or CHASING MAGIC? Let me know, and I’ll post it on Monday. (And again, if she wins Round 2 I’ll ask again and post another one.)

You guys are so awesome! I hope you’re having fun with this, too. Writing Chess battling the sorts of characters/creatures she’s not usually up against is a hoot, it really is, so I hope you enjoyed her battle against Babcock and will enjoy her battle against Kelsier. Which is gonna be HARD, yo.

Anyway.

Also either later today or over the weekend or Monday, I will post SACRIFICIAL MAGIC’s playlist!

I’d do a poll here but apparently don’t have that capability. So you’ll just have to “vote” in comments: SACRIFICIAL MAGIC or CHASING MAGIC for the excerpt?

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
Cage Match is UP!

The Suvudu Supernatural Cage Match 2012 has started! Sixty-four characters from your favorite (or not-so-favorite) fantasy/urban fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi novels, battling it out on the Suvudu blog, and readers pick the winners. And Chess is a “contestant!”

Suvudu asked me to write a battle scene for them; it’s Chess vs. Giles Babcock, the main vampire Big Bad from Justin Cronin’s THE PASSAGE. Yes, I got to write a scene where Chess fights a vampire, which was something I never thought I’d do, since, you know, they don’t exist in Chess’s world. It was actually really fun, and really fun to kind of play with someone else’s character a bit, and especially to find a way for Chess to beat his vampire ass. Heh heh.

Now. When the Suvudu editors did their “picks” last Friday, they all predicted Chess would lose. Probably because THE PASSAGE was a huge NYT bestseller, and because Babcock is a genetically altered vampire with skin like steel and superspeed and all that stuff.

BUT.

This clearly shows that the Suvudu editors do not understand that I have the most awesome readership on the planet, because if they did, they would know that genetically-altered-steel-skinned-vampire bastard may be tough and all, but he doesn’t stand a chance. You guys make all the difference here. And part of the game is for us to get our readership out there voting and commenting and playing along; like I said, the winners are picked by readers, and reader participation is what makes the Match so much fun for everyone.

So please, take a few minutes to read the scene, and place your vote! Leave a comment! Make your presence known!

If we can get Chess into Round Two–and she is currently ahead, thanks to awesome readers like you guys–I’ll post a special new excerpt from either SACRIFICIAL MAGIC or CHASING MAGIC! (And will do the same for every round she advances.)

I say we show them how things are done in Downside; what do you say?

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 Thursday, July 7th, 2011
L.A. BANKS AUCTION OPEN!

And you can bid to win a custom T-shirt from the Downside Market and a Downside playlist (your choice).

What is the custom t-shirt? Well. It can be whatever you’d like it to be. Have a favorite quote from the books you want on a shirt? Let me know, and I’ll get it on there. Want your name on the back? I can do that. Want it to say “Terrible loves only me?” I can do that, too. Want to do your own design and have it added to the Market itself? Let’s talk! I will contact the winning bidder after the auction closes to discuss ideas or thoughts; of course, if you just want to pick an already-existing design you’re welcome to do that, too.

L.A. Banks needs our help. And since everyone knows my readers are the best readers in all of readerdom, I really hope to see you all bidding! Not just on my items (although of course I’d love to see them do well so I don’t feel like a huge loser), but on all of the other amazing stuff that’s listed. Look at this auction, it’s huge!

Yesterday we sent out the new Downside Army email, with an excerpt from my story in the upcoming HOME IMPROVEMENT: UNDEAD EDITION anthology. If you didn’t get your email and you have signed up here on the site, let me know. (Also, please double-check the email address you sign up with!) I mentioned in the email that this is the first new Downside material to be released since CITY OF GHOSTS’s release date almost a year ago (in fact, today is the one-year anniversary of UNHOLY MAGIC’s release, now that I think of it). Which, technically, it is. THE BRAVE TALE OF MADDIE CARVER isn’t really a Downside story; although Elder Griffin is in it briefly, since it’s actually a story about the beginning of Haunted Week there was no Downside at that time. (There’s a bit of the history of the place and how it became what it is in SACRIFICIAL MAGIC, actually.)

So technically MADDIE CARVER isn’t a Downside story. And of course the story doesn’t have Chess or Terrible or Lex or anyone in it, since they were babies or toddlers at the time (aaw). RICK THE BRAVE (the antho story), on the other hand, does.

So that’s it for today. Please go bid on items to help L.A. Banks, and if you’re a DA member but didn’t get your email, let me know.

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 Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
Write What You Know

You guys know I think a lot of writing advice is total crap. And really, that’s because it is. “Kill your darlings?” My ass. Yes, if you have to, you have to, and I know what the line is supposed to actually mean, but it sounds like you’re supposed to machete your way through your book chopping up anything you think is especially good. Um, why, exactly, would I want to do that? Were I to have “killed [my] darlings,” there would certainly be no Abominable Snowpimp. Although maybe that’s a bad example, because I was actually worried that it was too funny for the tone of the rest of the book. But my agent and editor and everyone else loved it so much I left it. The point still remains: You have to cut things that need to be cut, but really, if the good lines stand out with that much contrast in your work, maybe your work just isn’t good enough in general. (Sure, I have a few lines etc. I’m more proud of than any others. Every writer does. But I’d like to think they aren’t so much better than the rest of my lines that the reader stumbles over them.)

Personally I think most of those rules are crappity-crap-crap. And I’m sick of them all being passed around like Moses brought them down from the mountain. The fact is, if you write well and have a strong, stylish, commercial voice you can get away with just about anything.

But here’s one I agree with; in fact, one I believe in strongly. And I feel that it’s sadly, sadly misunderstood by many, which is why I’m going to discuss it.

See, I think there’s a belief out there, especially amongst beginning writers, that “write what you know” means that if you’re a farmer you should write about farming, or if you’re an office manager you’re not going to be able to write about the life of a wizard.

That’s not what it means.

“Write what you know” means write what you know emotionally. It means write what you understand and feel. It means write from the inside.

Great stories are important, yes. Great writing–or at least good writing–is important, yes. But what involves readers, what really makes them understand, identify with, and care about your stories–your characters–is making sure your characters are three-dimensional, fully developed people, with feelings. Your characters have to have emotional lives, because your readers have emotional lives. Your characters have to let their emotions color how they see the world, because your readers’ emotions color how they see the world. And your characters’ feelings and emotions, and their emotional desires and needs, have to be real and important to them, because your readers have emotional desires and needs that are very important to them.

I think I mentioned in an interview once that what really struck me about the responses to the Downside books was the way readers seem to either violently identify with and understand Chess, or violently dislike and not understand Chess at all. And I find the differences in those people, and the comments of the few I’ve seen who dislike her, are pretty interesting (to me, at least), in that their outlook on the world and the way they present themselves is one I often don’t understand or care for, either. That’s not to say it’s wrong or they’re a bunch of assholes; it’s also not to say that the only reason someone might not like my books or characters is because they’ve never felt that kind of alienation/loneliness/insecurity/dislike of self-satisfied people/aversion to being “normal” or whatever else. But it is something I’ve noticed.

When I started writing UNHOLY GHOSTS one of my main goals was to write a heroine I could identify with and understand, because I hadn’t seen any out there, really. I mean yeah, of course I wanted to write the most kick-ass different type of UF I could, but the reason why I cared about the book and the reason why the characters in it mean so much to me is because I worked really hard on giving them the feelings and emotions and outlooks that matter to me, that are what I understand. I know those feelings, and I know that outlook on the world, and I believe that’s why they were able to come across as clearly and strongly as they apparently did; it’s why those books are, frankly, deeply personal to me.

In other words, I wrote what I know.

I’ve been asked before what sorts of things I can’t/couldn’t write and I’ve always said I can’t really write happy people. I mean, of course I can write people who have found some happiness, or who have fun sometimes; no one wants to read a book where all the MC does is sit around moping and contemplating suicide. I’ve been unfortunate enough in the past to know a few truly negative people, the kinds of people who when I finally got away from them I was an absolute mess because just being around them was like being trapped inside a life-sucking black cloud of misery. That’s not good, and that’s something we all have to be careful with; certainly I find myself editing out some rather depressing little rambles on occasion.

Everyone has emotions and feelings. Everyone has their own unique way of looking at the world. You have to dig deep inside yourself and really feel those emotions, really think about how they affect the way you look at things. That’s what you put into your characters, and that’s what makes them real. If you’re giving your characters emotions or reactions you don’t understand or simply haven’t really thought about, the reader will know it. It will feel false, because it will be false. And false work means nothing to anyone; lies don’t resonate in the mind or the soul.

No, you might not know what it’s like to walk on the moon. But if you think about it, you probably do know how you felt when you achieved something amazing, or saw something that filled you with awe and wonder–even if it was something as simple as telling someone you love them or seeing Lord of the Rings for the first time. Those are the feelings you know. Those are the feelings you use.

“Write what you know” isn’t about the outside stuff, the plot or setting. “Write what you know” doesn’t mean your character has to do the same job as you, live the same life as you, and look like you. What it does mean is that your character has to feel–and have feelings–like an actual living person. It means those characters have to behave and react the way real living people would, and do.

Does it mean your character has to be just like you? No. But it does mean that if your character isn’t like you, you’re going to have to figure out how you differ and how you’re the same, and adjust your feelings accordingly, because they still have to be strong and real.

“Write what you know” means write from the heart. It means don’t be afraid to expose what needs to be exposed. Don’t be afraid to share something truly important, something truly meaningful, with your readers. Writing and reading should be about sharing; it should be about a universal experience the writer and reader share. It should be about feeling something, no matter what that something is. And if you aren’t feeling it, neither will your readers; if you’re lying they’ll know it, and it will at first confuse and then turn them off. They didn’t pay good money for something that rings false to them, that feels like manipulation, that feels like the writer didn’t think they were important enough to really work for. They didn’t pay good money to be fobbed off with something fake.

Writing fiction is telling a story, yes. But writing characters is telling a truth, and it’s your truth; the truth you know. You have to tell it as strongly, as deeply, and as well as you possibly can.

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
Fuzzy Dice and Slaughterhouses

Just a quick one today, because I’ve been dinking around all morning and now have to go do stuff in like half an hour. Plus, I’m still not feeling great. Just a general sort of queasiness which hit me late yesterday afternoon (NO, contrary to what certain dorks named Brigwyn said on Twitter, I am not pregnant).

So. I was asked this morning by Anilu, the genius behind many of the t-shirt logos which you guys will hopefully be able to see soon (and things are moving along with that, more slowly than I would have liked, but they are moving along and again, the end result should be less expensive stuff plus a much wider variety), if Terrible had fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror of the Chevelle. My immediate thought was that he did. But I wasn’t entirely sure.

So I grabbed my copy of UG (since I’m writing the 4th book–and it’s coming along!–I keep copies of all three by the couch in case I need to double-check something) and started looking. And I popped onto Twitter to ask if anyone could remember, did he have fuzzy dice, and if so, where in the book did I mention it?

About eight people replied that yes, he definitely did. But we couldn’t find the reference. This went on for, oh, ten minutes, with all of us convinced that Terrible did indeed have fuzzy dice but with none of us able to find anywhere in the books where they’re mentioned. Finally I opened the original mss and searched for “dice,” on each of them.

Guess what? No dice.

So now I have to decide if I want to give him dice. On the one hand, he’s really not the kind of guy who would buy them for himself. On the other hand, it is exactly the kind of thing, say, Katie might buy for him, or that he might think are kind of funny/cool to have, so they’re totally the kind of thing he would have. I mean, they’re dice. he has a belt buckle with dice on them (yes, he does, I just never mentioned it; he has lots of different ones), so why not fuzzy dice?

But the crazy thing is that when I asked the question, everyone, even me, was convinced that he already had fuzzy dice. All of us. We just knew he did.

So what do you say? Shall I go ahead and give him fuzzy dice?

Also, we’ve done another round of updates! Check the Fun Stuff page in particular; there are some CITY OF GHOSTS deleted scenes (especially the two scenes which ended up becoming the burning slaughterhouse scene)! And some reader-made wallpapers and buttons for you to copy and use for whatever you like! And links to the Goodreads and Shelfari groups readers have set up, if you’d like to join in the discussions. There are a few new interviews linked on the media page. I’d meant to have a page listing all of the books I read but that page didn’t get made, and my weblady is on vacation. So I may try to set that up myself.

Anyway, go have fun with all the new things. I hope you enjoy them. And, if you’ve created anything based on the books–wallpapers, buttons, livejournal or webforum icons, whatever–and you would like to share them with other readers here, just let me know. I’m happy to add them.

So…fuzzy dice, yay or nay?