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Writing and Wrangling

Billie Sue Mosiman – The High Priestess

So, you have met The Fool and you’ve met The Magician, so now it’s time to meet The High Priestess. This is the third card and will be the third story in the Allegories of the Tarot anthology.

I know Billie Sue through Facebook, and have come to know her as a generous, supportive person. She is a gem–as busy as she is writing and converting her impressive backlist to accommodate the e-book revolution, she always has time for her fans and fellow writers. I’m so happy she decided to join this project!

Her chosen card–The High Priestess.

From Wikipedia: “Commonly this card is associated with the card reader or the querant, because it is also focused on ‘secrets’. It also interpreted when a secret is kept or revealed, when you are holding on to the truth or revealing it. The card is associated with mystery, when powerful feminine influences and support are currently in force for the querant. It can also represent the perfect woman in a man’s life, and to a woman it can represent being independently solo, perhaps without a man.”

Beauty and mystery, which suits Billie Sue to a ‘T’. Photo by Kris Austen Radcliffe

What intrigues you about this particular Tarot card?

The High Priestess is involved with intuition, higher powers, mystery, and subconscious mind. I’ve always thought the card was very intriguing with the priestess sitting before an elegant veil and she sits between darkness and light, represented by the pillars of Solomon’s temple. It made me wonder—did she advise Solomon? Did he listen?

Why did you decide to get roped into this project?

I trust the editor and although I’ve written one short story years ago for an anthology on the Tarot, I wanted another crack at it.

Have you ever had dealings with the Tarot before?

I have a few decks and have played with them before because they’re beautiful works of art and they’re mysterious.

What other projects do you have planned?

I have a few short stories that have been bought for other anthologies and I’m always writing new stories while trying to finish a new novel.

Mysterious her own self. :)

Bio: Billie Sue Mosiman sold her first novel in 1983 and since then has published more than a dozen novels and hundreds of short stories. She was nominated for the Edgar and was a finalist for the Stoker.

You can find Billie Sue on her blogon Facebook, at her YouTube Channel, her Amazon Author page, or follow her on Twitter @billiemosiman.

Billie Sue has generously donated a copy of her book, BANISHED for the Allegories of the Tarot Campaign, along with other cool swag which you can find on the Perks Page.

Lon Prater – The Magician

Yesterday we met The Fool and Peter Giglio, the writer behind the card. Today we meet another of the authors included in the Allegories of the Tarot anthology, Lon Prater. I had the pleasure of working with Lon in a small critique group many moons ago at the beginning of my fiction career. He was kind and supportive to a fledgling wordslinger, and whether he realizes it or not, taught me a lot.

He chose The Magician–the first numbered card in the Tarot deck. And that surprised me not one bit.

From Wikipedia: “In the Magician’s right hand is a wand raised towards heaven, the sky or the element æther, while his left hand is pointing to the earth. This iconographic gesture has multiple meanings, but is endemic to the Mysteries, symbolizing divine immanence, the ability of the magician to bridge the gap between heaven and earth. On the table in front of the Magician the symbols of the four Tarot suits signify the Classical elements of earth, air, fire and water. Beneath are roses and lilies, changed into garden flowers, to show the culture of aspiration.

“When the Magician appears in a spread, it points to the talents, capabilities and resources at the querent’s disposal. Depending on the card’s placement in relation to other cards, the message is to tap into one’s full potential rather than holding back, especially when there is a need to transform something. There are choices and directions to take. Guidance can arrive through one’s own intuition or in the form of someone who brings about change or transformation.

“The card can mean that a manipulator is floating around, usually if it’s reversed. He may be a beneficent guide, but he does not necessarily have our best interests in mind. He may also represent the querent’s ego or self-awareness. He can also represent the intoxication of power, both good and bad.”

Behold! The Magician! Photo by Kris Austen Radcliffe

Behold! The Magician!

Photo by Kris Austen Radcliffe

What intrigues you about this particular Tarot card? I like the idea of transformative knowledge. That having gone through certain stages, the Magician has learned a thing or two about both the divine and the mundane, and he’s been changed by it. Empowered by knowledge, the Magician is equipped to deal with what comes next.

Why did you decide to get roped into this project? Annetta and I used to be part of a smallish online writers group. I know her talent, her obsession with quality, and her drive. There is no way I would pass up the chance to be a part of a project she believes so strongly in.

Have you ever had dealings with the Tarot before? I have had rune readings done several times by a skilled friend, but I am foggy on whether I’ve had any honest-to-gosh Tarot readings.

What other projects do you have planned? A novel I co-wrote with Josh Rountree, ALAMO RISING, is due to debut at Worldcon San Antonio this year. Having a lot of fun with promotional plans that I’ll be able to talk more about later in the year.

That smile is nothing but magic.

Bio: Lon Prater has worked in the Reactor Compartments of USS Enterprise, edited the military’s textbook on arms deals, and kept things safe in the produce and laundry industries. He lives, writes, and plays a lot of boardgames in Pensacola, Florida.

You can find Lon at his website.

He has generously donated his Mad Critiquing Skillz plus some of his fabulous fiction as perks for the Allegories of the Tarot Campaign, so make sure to check that out as well as the Perks page.

Peter Giglio-The Fool

Today kicks off the Meet the Authors of the Allegories of the Tarot anthology. I’m really excited to introduce to you a fabulous line-up of writers for this project. You’ll have a chance to check out each writer, the card they’ve chosen, and why in the coming days.

I met Pete working with him on his story, A Spark in the Darkness. He was totally fearless about the editing process, and eager to put in some hard work, and it totally paid off. An awesome story; one of many he has written.

We’re starting off with the first card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot–The Fool. Actually, this card is un-numbered and can appear either at the beginning or the end of the deck.

From Wikipedia: “The Fool is the spirit in search of experience. He represents the mystical cleverness bereft of reason within us, the childlike ability to tune into the inner workings of the world. The sun shining behind him represents the divine nature of the Fool’s wisdom and exuberance, holy madness or ‘crazy wisdom’. On his back are all the possessions he might need. In his hand there is a flower, showing his appreciation of beauty. He is frequently accompanied by a dog, sometimes seen as his animal desires, sometimes as the call of the “real world”, nipping at his heels and distracting him. He is seemingly oblivious that he is walking toward a precipice, apparently about to step off. One of the keys to the card is the paradigm of the precipice, Zero and the sometimes represented oblivious Fool’s near-step into the oblivion.

In many esoteric systems of interpretation, the Fool is usually interpreted as the protagonist of a story, and the Major Arcana is the path the Fool takes through the great mysteries of life and the main human archetypes. This path is known traditionally in Tarot as the Fool’s Journey, and is frequently used to introduce the meaning of Major Arcana cards to beginners.”

Photo by Kris Austen Radcliffe.
Photo by Kris Austen Radcliffe.

Photo by Kris Austen Radcliffe.

What intrigues you about this particular Tarot card? Who isn’t intrigued by the fool? So many possibilities. Or am I a fool for saying that?

Why did you decide to get roped into this project? Netta saved my life in ‘Nam.

Have you ever had dealings with the Tarot before? I dated a tarot reader once. That lasted for about a week.

What other projects do you have planned? STEALING NIGHT, a rural crime thriller, is coming out later in May from Nightscape Press, and my dark sci-fi novel LESSER CREATURES is coming out from DarkFuse in December. I also have stories popping up in other anthologies here and there. Another busy year.

He’s definitely not a fool, but he sure can write about one.

He’s definitely not a fool, but he sure can write about one.

Bio: A Pushcart Prize nominee and an active member of the Horror Writers Association, Peter Giglio is the author of five novels, three novellas, and he edits a successful line of books for Evil Jester Press. His works of short fiction can be found in a number of notable volumes, including two comprehensive genre anthologies edited by New York Times Bestselling author John Skipp. With Scott Bradley, Peter wrote the author-approved screen adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale’s “The Night They Missed the Horror Show,” and an established screenwriting team in Los Angeles holds the film option on Giglio’s Sunfall Manor. He resides in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he stays out of trouble. *Editor’s note: HAH!

You can find Peter on his website or his blog.

Behind the Scenes of Allegories of the Tarot Anthology

Once upon a time, there was an editor who became obsessed with an idea…
Portrait of an obsessed editor.

Portrait of an obsessed editor.

That would be me.

The Tarot has always been a fascination of mine. As a writer, the images of the Rider-Waite deck contain much inspiration for fantastical stories; the meaning behind each and every one of them equally as interesting. While most people equate the Tarot with the occult, possibly imagining a mysterious gypsy telling fortunes, in reality the Tarot is less related to the “otherworld” and actually deeply rooted in the human experience.

From the forward of “The Key to the Tarot”, written by Liz Greene:
“Yet the images of the Tarot cards are neither inaccessible nor occult, however much any particular spiritual or esoteric school might seek to mystify them. These images are archetypal, which means that they describe essential human situations and patterns which all of us experience in life at one time or another.”

To me, this means a talented Tarot reader can bridge the inherent mysteries of being human with the archetypes depicted in the cards. That is not to say Fate, or Destiny, or whatever you want to call the forces of the Universe do not have a role in the cards which are revealed or their position in a reading—depending on your beliefs, this could very well be the case. Rather, a reading of the Tarot is less of an occult experience and more of an exploration of the human experience. Perhaps even a guide to understanding your current state of mind and a pointer in the direction you wish to travel.

With all that in mind, I have long had the desire to put together an anthology of the Major Arcana of the Tarot. I thought of how fascinating it would be to corral an author for each of the cards, and see what kind of story they’d write. Because although there are many universal human experiences, the truth is they are as diverse as the perspective of the individual.

I, myself, own two decks of Rider-Waite cards. I read them on occasion. I am fairly accurate in the readings, but I don’t do it often and only for special occasions. I know several people who are scary-good. Sometimes I just take out the deck and study the images, and I’ve read many, many books about the Tarot. And the idea of an anthology of stories about these images which fascinated me kept cropping up. But I was scared. Scared I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, scared people would say, “No, that’s a stupid idea,” you know. Just…scared.

But then I had a very vivid dream about jumping from one ledge to another. In the dream, it took me forever to decide, because I have a definite fear of heights. I mean, my palms were sweating, and I about wet my pants, but I finally did jump and I made it. The next day, I realized if I let fear stop me, I would never know if I could make that ledge or not. And the answer is always “No,” if you don’t ask.

And behold, the Allegories of the Tarot project was born.

Twenty-two cards. Twenty-two writers. Twenty-two amazing stories. WIN!

Twenty-two cards. Twenty-two writers. Twenty-two amazing stories. WIN!

The first step was to outline the project and decide how to raise the funds necessary. I knew I needed to pay the writers professional rates and cover the publishing costs. With a budget and a firm plan, I then constructed a list of writers covering a wide range of genres. I have the Most Enviable position in knowing a slew of mega-talented writers. As a matter of fact, I had too many writers on my list and not enough cards, but I figured some would have other obligations and others no interest. Plus, if this project goes well, I have a brain full of ideas for a second anthology. Maybe a third.

Evidently, I’m not the only one fascinated by the Tarot. Within 24 hours I had 21 writers on board—I round out the 22. Much to my surprise, there was no fighting over which card went to which writer. They all seemed to fall into place as if they were…fated. *cue spooky music*

The plan was to line up the writers and then with a firm TOC (Table of Contents) move on to launch an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds. All the writers involved in the project have thrown their considerable weight behind this effort, for which I am eternally grateful and honored. Many have donated services and products to tempt both readers and writers for the perk packages; all have been extremely supportive and generous, and quick to get back to me when I’m demanding photos, bios, and feedback.

You will meet this group of talented and fabulous people in the days to come on my blog and on the campaign. I will introduce each and every one of them and the card they’ve chosen to write about. You will get to know award-winners, new and outstanding talent, and established authors who run the gamut from fantasy to mystery to romance and everything in between.

Please donate if you can—every dollar helps. And if you can’t donate, I’d appreciate a shout-out on your favorite social media platform. Help me get the word out because this is a whole lot of epic just waiting to happen, and with the perks offered, you’ll get good value for your dollar.

It’s been a lot of work, and I’m loving every minute of it. I jumped, and I’m so glad I did.

Tomorrow you will meet The Fool and the writer associated with the card. Stay tuned for an introduction to all the writers involved with the project. I’M SO EXCITED!

Should Writers Review Other Writers? A View From An Editor

Oh wow! Could I stir up a bigger hornet’s nest if I grabbed a baseball bat and started whacking? Probably not. But I’ve seen a lot of stuff out and about the ‘net lately, and this seems to be quite a hot button topic.

Hot button
Woohoo! I’m pushing the button, baby!

As an avid reader of so many years, a professional editor, and a self-published writer myself, this question is as tangled as the ball of yarn Athena loves to torture. And it seems no matter what opinion you hold, there is always someone ready to jump all up in your grill and scream how you’re wrong and just who do you think you are, some kind of special little snowflake?

This is my thought process. Reviewing a book, editing a book, and critiquing a book are three very different things. From what I see, a lot of people can’t tell the difference.

1. Readers review books, and that includes expressing what does or does not work for them in the story. It’s more about how the book made them feel, as opposed to picking out general technical details unless they affect the story.

2. Editing and critiquing a book is more about picking out those technical details, right or wrong, to improve the basic theme or message of the story. To me, this is not a review and should rather be handled privately between the writer and the editor/critique partner (such as beta readers). And there’s no reason to be a cast-iron bitch about it, either.

Now on to the sticky-wicket part of this.

Sticky wicket
This is a croquet wicket. I have no idea if it’s sticky. Honestly, I don’t want to know.

As part of the price I pay to do what I love for a living, I do not review books. Caveat: sometimes I do review old favorites I love, in order to introduce them to people I think will enjoy the book. However, as a pro editor I think it’s a conflict of interest for me to formally review a book I’ve edited. Really, think about it. What am I going to say other than it’s amazing? My word is on the line, and I take that very seriously. I will give a shout-out to my authors, because I am really lucky to work with some hugely talented people. But you will not find a formal review from me because I just don’t think that’s fair or professional. As an editor, if I’ve done my job, I’m as close to the book as the writer and I wouldn’t be able to be impartial. So while I may be in love with the story and am excited when one of my people releases, I won’t review the book.

If you are an indie writer hopefully that means you are an avid reader. You may think it’s your duty to review books and if they fall beneath the threshold of what you consider good, you may also think it’s your duty to point this out to other readers. Some people take great glee in tearing down other indie writers to the point it’s painful. The thing is, if you are an indie writer, you are a PROFESSIONAL. And I believe you should act like one.

Look at other professions. Do you see indie bands bashing other indie bands? Sometimes. Not very often. How about indie film makers? Don’t see that happening either. Do you see Very Successful Writers writing reviews on their contemporaries? (Stephen King is an exception. He can pretty much do what he wants because he’s a King. When you sell as many books as he does, I think then you have the right to express a negative opinion now and again.) Why is it okay for an indie writer to tear apart the work of another indie writer? What’s the point? The fans, the readers who aren’t involved in the process, are the ones who decide whether a book is “good” enough, THEY ARE THE GATEKEEPERS and indies who tear into each other are not portraying the profession in a very good light. Frankly, it looks like sour grapes.

The adage from your mother applies here. If you don’t have something nice to say, then keep your yap shut. Because when you say something hurtful or nasty about someone’s work, to me, that’s more a reflection upon you than it is the writer you’re bashing. It’s divisive in the indie community. We’re not in competition with each other – there’s more than enough readers to go around for everyone. Why then this vitriol?

“But!” you say, “I’m just trying to warn others about how bad this book is! I’m just doing the author and other readers a favor! I’m saving other readers from drowning in bad writing, from spending their hard-earned cash on bullshit!”

Knight in shining armor
Yeah, okay. I get it. You’re the literary knight in shining armor.

Really? As much as I would love to believe all indie writers who review are totally altruistic in their intentions, I didn’t fall down with yesterday’s rain. Not when I see some really hateful things being said in a review most people wouldn’t dream of saying in person. There is such a thing as professional courtesy, and anyone who can at least finish writing a book, no matter how “bad” it might be, deserves a modicum of respect. Because it is not easy. If a book is that bad, it will sink all on its own, with no help needed from you.

You can be honest and respectful at the same time. If you, the indie writer, read a book which in your opinion is not of professional caliber, you have a choice. You can walk away and do not review at all and forget you ever saw it; review as a READER and point out politely what didn’t work for you about the STORY without descending into condescending bitchiness because you know so much more and are so much better, or contact the author privately and offer your opinion. But to post a review that attacks the author, telling them (and the public at large) they have no right to be allowed near any writing implements (including crayons or eyeliner pencil) is just mean and hateful, bordering on bullying.

I’m wondering, too, just how effective reviews are anymore, especially since it’s come to light certain writers have actually paid for reviews. Now all reviews are suspect, and that’s a damned shame. However, there is one fix for all of this. Most books available on Amazon have a preview option. Read the first couple of chapters, and THEN you can decide to buy or not. Easy-peasy.

What you say in private is your own business and you are certainly entitled to that. I’m sure you have your own little circle of people where you discuss the merits of various authors, and I’m all for it. Vent. Scream. Pull out your hair and have yourself a party. But to take vitriolic opinions to the public, in my opinion, is unprofessional if you consider yourself a professional writer.

Let me hear your opinion, since you were kind enough to entertain mine.

*All images courtesy of Morguefile.com.

I Am An Editor And Batshit Crazy

That’s the first thing you should probably know.

I’m a lot of other things, including a writer, but the question I’m asked the most is, “What’s it like being an editor? I mean, what exactly is it you do?”

The thing is, when people think of the term “editor”, they may think of a hunched over old lady, gnarled and grey, with crazy hair and long dirty fingernails, just looking for your grammar and punctuation mistakes. When she finds one, she’ll cackle with glee, wielding a red pen with unbridled joy, slashing the words, sentences, paragraphs with all the happiness of a zombie eating fresh (or not-so-fresh) entrails.

I don’t do that.

Or, the picture may be of a prim and proper virginal school teacher, with a mighty ruler at the ready to smack your knuckles into shreds of bleeding flesh should you end your sentence with a preposition; using “their” instead of “there”; abusing semi-colons on a regular basis.

I don’t even own a ruler.

Some people think of editors as nasty, overweight men who smoke cigars, play poker, and simply look at the first word of your story before dousing it with gasoline and lighting a match before sending a rejection letter which makes you cry for your mother and vow to never go near another writing implement ever again.

I don’t do that, either.

The term “editor” is somewhat misleading, because there are many different types of editors. The technical term for what I do is a content or developmental editor, also affectionately known in some circles as a “story doctor”.

In essence, I evaluate a story for proper structure, plot holes, character development, and story arc. I look at narrative flow, dialog, and voice. I’ll determine if the story holds together, and provide suggestions on how to tighten tension, balance narrative with action and dialog, and whether or not you really need the monkey in the corner with the cymbals.

Monkey
Yes, it’s a monkey. Yes, it’s cute. Yes, I’ll cut him from your story because I’m mean like that.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In order to perform my job properly as a content editor, I have to know the story better than the writer. I need to know the characters intimately; understand the writer’s vision; connect with the overall message or theme the writer is attempting to get across. As a writer myself, I can say being a content editor is more difficult than writing your own book, because I actually have to crawl inside the writer’s head. This is not always easy to do, and it doesn’t always work with every writer because everyone is unique. While I’m used to the insanity inside my own head, it might take time to adjust to the insanity of someone else. Because as we all know, writers are basically batshit crazy, too. I mean that with all due respect and love.

Bats in the belfry
Don’t play. You know they’re flying in your belfry too.

Story editing is very much a team effort, and it takes a great deal of trust. The writer has to trust I know my shiz-niz, and I have to trust the writer to be open-minded and willing to do the work. To stand up for what he or she feels is necessary to the story, but to also understand my passion is the story and I have the story’s best interest at heart.

In order to do this, I have to dive deep. When I perform a first read, there is no other world for me than the one the author has created. I liken it to lucid dreaming; my background is unique in that I have been reading almost every genre known to mankind since I was three years old. That’s over fifty years worth of reading. Uncountable books have saved my life and my sanity more times than I can count in very difficult and personal life circumstances, but as a result, I understand on almost an instinctual level what a story needs in order to connect with the reader. I take my job very, very seriously because fiction means so much to me.

There is no greater joy for me than when a client I have worked with releases a book on which we have both worked to great reviews and readers who find a new author with whom they’ve connected. I know how much a good book can make a difference in someone’s life, whether it’s momentary entertainment or a story which makes a reader think of a situation in a different light. There are books which can actually change the way a reader views the world or gives them a perspective they’ve never considered before. Other books can take you away to a different place, introduce you to people you’d never meet in real life, or whisk you away into a marvelous world making the stresses of everyday life disappear if only for a few hours. Books which refresh the soul, make you cry, laugh, and relate to similar experiences. It’s amazing.

I absolutely love what I do. It’s not always easy and it can be very draining emotionally. It takes a lot of work; sometimes I’m dreaming of the narrative, working out problems in my dreams, and sometimes I wander around in a daze forgetting to feed my cat or even myself. And you should see my laundry pile. Sometimes I have to take a break and put some distance between myself and the manuscript, give myself some time to re-charge and re-assess, because the book and the writer are depending on me. I am acutely aware of my responsibility as a content editor and the fact I hold the writer’s beating heart in my hands.

The shadowed heart
Trust me. I know exactly what I’m holding in my hands, and I’d rather break my own than yours. But the story comes FIRST.

And when I see a raw manuscript transformed into something wondrous, I am the happiest I have ever been. When I see a writer “get it”, and find their voice, see their vision come to light, it’s like being a midwife to a joyful birth.

I love my job. It’s taken a lot of work to get here, and I know there are many people who hate what they do; I spent many years (too many!) in the same position. I feel extremely fortunate that even at this late stage of my life, I have found my passion, what I love to do, and am able to make it happen. I thank the Universe at every turn for the most amazing people with whom I’ve had the honor to work; for the support of loved ones even when they think I’m batshit crazy, and the opportunity to have a small part in helping a fabulous book or story be the best it can be.

For me, story is everything. It is the reflection of the human experience, the heart and soul of what makes us all human and connected.

Yes. I am an editor. It’s likely I’m batshit crazy. But I’m also one of the luckiest women alive.

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

I was in a lovely conversation with a fellow writer who asked me about marketing and promotion. When you work a regular job and put in more than 40 hours a week; when you have a family who needs, craves, and actually LIKES your company; when every spare moment is dedicated to either working for a living or re-acquainting yourself with the progeny to which you gave birth or the person with whom you share a home; when any time above and beyond that is spent with the creatures who live inside your head, how do you find time to market and promote your work?

Tick-tock, tick-tock...all I have to worry about is my Evil Cat Overlord but trust me, I wish there were 12 more hours to the day.

It’s difficult enough to find enough time to write, much less pimp yourself out. And how effective is it to be an Internet ho? I don’t have the answers — all I know is what I’ve experienced, what I’ve learned from those who have come before me (and you will find some very helpful links to some amazing blogs on my sidebar) and what I have observed all my years in the writing biz. The number one thing to keep in mind when you’re angsting about selling books is:

THIS IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT.

It's gonna take a while. And you'll need to drink a lot of fluids. Probably alcohol.

The best, most effective way to sell more books? Write more books. This is the secret most writers blow off, think it’s too simple or think it doesn’t matter. It does. You see, you hook someone on your book, and the first thing an avid reader is going to do is buy every single thing you have written. And they’re going to talk about it. Readers are very loyal and once they find an author they like, they would rather buy from them than someone new. It’s the truth and that’s what’s behind all the big name success stories you see in the news. Amanda Hocking? Has a shit-ton of work for sale. Joe Konrath? Barry Eisling? Same thing.

That’s not to say you don’t have to do ANY marketing. It just means without the material out there, it’s not going to be effective. You need books, short stories, novellas, on the market, more than one. The more you have, the more you sell, and the more you sell.

Not a hook like this. Using this kind of hook to get readers will lead to an arrest record. Don't ask me how I know.

Marketing can be a total time-suck, but there are things you can do that take very little maintenance. Here are some of my suggestions:

Your blog is a great start, but put links in your email signature. I like WiseStamp because you can link it to update automatically with your blog posts and Twitter feed. Don’t have a Twitter account? Get one. Use a service like Buffer (free) to capture pages you surf and to schedule automatic posts, but set aside a little bit of time to actually talk to people. Twitter takes time to establish, and it has evolved over the three years I’ve been on it. It’s social interaction and if you don’t interact, it won’t do you much good. But, it’s great for networking and support, even if it doesn’t sell a whole lot of books.

Support other writers. I am in an awkward position as an editor for some of the best books I’ve read this year. As an editor, it’s a conflict of interest for me to pimp my clients out, and that totally sucks. (Because really, what am I going to say? They suck? Of course not, plus if I don’t give every one the same amount of time, that will cause problems. PLUS, if I don’t like the story, what happens when I don’t pimp that one out? PLUS, I’m an editor, not a promoter and I barely have time to pimp myself out. I hate being in this position, I really do, but there it is. Other than a link on my site — I do that for all my clients, but that’s the most I can do. Although I do post guest posts. It’s a problem for me because I love all my clients and some of them are great friends, as well. *sigh*)

Yeah, we've been here before. I love you, but I can't pimp you. *sad face*

Goodreads — get yourself an author page on Goodreads, and hook it up to post your blog posts there, too. Same with an Amazon author page. Make it as easy on yourself as you can by taking advantage of the RSS feeds and that way, all you have to do is update your blog and it will update on Goodreads and Amazon. I’ll be updating Goodreads with a video trailer once it’s done for “Athena’s Promise”.

Here are mine:

Annetta’s Amazon Author Page

Annetta’s Goodreads Author Page

Shelfari is another good site to set up the same way.

Use as many “set it and forget it” options as you can.

Get your book in the hands of reviewers.

Put together a media kit. You only have to do it once, and you’ll use components of it over and over. Here’s how: How To Construct a Media Kit

Do you have a Facebook Fan page? I offer exclusive excerpts from my book — a couple of lines from every chapter, then some blurbs, then the cover…that’s the only place people can see them. I plan on offering the book trailer there first and then I’ll post two or three sample chapters on the blog when I get closer to launch, which will then update automatically to all the sites I just mentioned. Here’s my page so you can see what I’m talking about: Annetta’s Facebook Fan Page

Instead of devoting huge hunks of time to marketing, you’re much better served by setting up as much as you can that requires the least bit of attention and using the time to work on the next book, and the next, and the next. That is honestly my best advice.

WRITE THE NEXT BOOK.

Now, get going.

Fun In The Sandbox – A Writing and Editing Update

Time flies when you’re having fun, but it also flies when you’re up to your armpits in “To Do” lists. And it’s only the “To Do” lists which are keeping me from going nuts.

Oh sure, he looks cute. But see that crazy gleam in his eye? Yeah.

Lots going on. First of all, working on several editing projects and loving every minute of that, even though most days it means my eyes look like this:

Yikes. That's a scary eyeball right there.

Several of my client’s projects are coming out or have been launched over the last couple of months, and that’s really exciting. After much soul-searching and teeth gnashing with a little bit of hair-pulling and heartache, I have come to the conclusion pimping out my clients when they launch could be construed as having a conflict of interest. So, as much as I love each and every one of them and believe in their work, I must limit myself to simply posting the links on my sidebar over there <- labeled as "Editing Work", which I will be updating regularly so make sure to keep an eye on that list. A hard decision, for real. *sniffle* [caption id="attachment_1449" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="I do not endorse violators. Or bitch slapping. Unless you're a violator."][/caption]

But honestly, I have been extremely privileged and honored to work with these writers, and I encourage you to check them out. There are some amazingly talented people out there. It’s really humbling.

Next on the list is the launch of “Athena’s Promise” on October 28th. I’ve been posting snippets on my Facebook Fan Page, and that’s the only place you’ll see them. So, if you’re curious about what I’ve been doing in my spare time, “like” the page and see what’s shaking. I’m all the way up to Chapter 19 as of today with three more to go. Share the page with your friends, and the day I hit 200 fans is the day I will post here the first two chapters. FOR FREE. Sound like a deal?

No, not a deal like this. Besides, those are really shitty cards. I can do you better than that.

The covers of all three books in the series are being crafted even as we speak, along with a blazing trailer. I am beyond excited about this, especially since I’ve engaged the uber-talented Rebecca Walker. And let me tell you, she is AMAZING. I’ll post them when they’re ready, because I love you guys that much 🙂

In addition, I’ve set up all Kindle publications for a Kindlegraph. How cool is that shiz? Visit my fan page for more details! (See what I did there? Heh.)

Sneaky little bugger, ain't I? Heh.

Now that you’re all caught up for the moment, I need to take care of some of those “To Do” lists before the nice men in the white jackets get here. 😉

Find “Not Nice and Other Understatements” at Amazon and now at Smashwords in any format you desire! Autographed copies are still available through the link on this page. Spread the word! And thanks for all of your support!

Decisions, Decisions

It’s been a very busy summer, and it’s only been summer for a week. I’m sure not complaining, just trying to keep up and keep it going. It’s more difficult than it sounds.

I’m very happy with the beta responses to “Athena’s Promise”, and the revisions shouldn’t take long at all. I’ve even started the first chapter of “Athena’s Chains” and I plan on having that done before I release AP so I can include it. Of course, that brings me to the Ultimate Plan.

I have no idea what the Ultimate Plan is. Besides total Universal Literary Domination, that is. How to get there is the real question.

With the publishing world in such flux, I’m really struggling with making a decision on which way to jump. Do I trust my precious work to a “legacy” publisher and hope for the best? Go with a small press, an indie press and retain a better measure of control? Or do I indulge my inner control freak, and blaze the trail on my own?

I’ve been back and forth so many times I’m dizzy.

By the time I get off this ride, I'll probably puke.

I won’t go in to all the pros and cons of each path or I’d be here all night. Suffice to say it’s not an easy decision and I will most likely wait to make a decision until next week.

Why wait, you ask? Well, because of the First Annual Intergalactic Pretendacon Sporkfest (A Very Serious Writing Conference). I plan on picking the brain of my esteemed colleagues, all of whom are in various stages of their own successful writing careers and whose opinions I value highly. I am very, very excited about this conference, especially since one of the participants I have known for nearly a decade yet have never met in person.

I will be connecting with my tribe. Like the Bee Girl. I’m so happy 🙂

In the meantime, I plan to keep writing. And editing. And writing some more.

This is what I see, night and day. Eyes open and closed. Makes it difficult to drive. Heh.

I have a great support system, online and offline. I have great friends and special people supporting me, and I appreciate that more than I can say. Although there have been, and probably will be, very difficult times, I still consider myself quite fortunate.

Thank you, supportive peeps! You lift me up and I love you.

I’m old enough to know everything works out the way it’s supposed to, so I guess for now I’ll just hang on to that.

Bona Fide Link Loving, Netta-Style

It’s been way too long since I did a Link Loving post, and I have a lot to share. Hey, even accomplished Premier Lady Ranters (a nickname bestowed upon me by the lovely and talented Eden Baylee, a HAWT erotica writer and All-Around Awesome Person!) can have a non-ranty day. It happens.

I think as a Premier Lady Ranter, I should have a tiara. Definitely a tiara.

I get around the Intertoobz. (Oh, not like that! Get your mind out of the gutter.) I call it “research” for my job, which most of it is. Most of the time. Okay, some of the time. (ALL RIGHT! Occasionally it’s for my job. Happy now?)

Regardless, you are the beneficiaries because I’m going to share some of the cool things I’ve found so you don’t have to dig around and get all dirty and sweaty! You’re welcome!

I really like book trailers. I have no idea how effective they are as sales tools, but when they’re well-done I’m mesmerized. For instance, take a look at this trailer for Patti Larsen’s new release this summer from Etopia Press:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjBH1BNp0Ls

How cool is THAT? I love it.

Next up, also from Etopia Press, is the release of Ralph Hartman’s Ever Since. I can’t review this book, because it would be a conflict of interest, seeing as I was privileged enough to serve as editor. But I have to tell you, I love this novel. It is thought-provoking, unique and it was a true pleasure to work with Ralph. Check it out — you won’t be disappointed.

Ever Since by Ralph Hartman

If you think you know all about me, you’re wrong. I’m a mystery wrapped in an enigma, but author J.D. Riso gets to the bottom of the genesis of Not Nice and Other Understatements in a probing and in-depth interview in June’s edition of Skive Magazine, edited by the awesome Matt Ward. Not only that, but there’s some awesome fiction in those pages, as well.

Skive Magazine - Australia's largest literary magazine! Does this make me an honorary Aussie?

Go! Buy! Support your indie artists!

And, of course, I can’t leave you without a little fun for shitz and giggles, right? Check out The Dullest Blog in the World. I don’t know why this blog is so appealing to me, but it is actually hypnotizing. I don’t know whether to be disturbed or take a nap. Heh.

If you want to know how to tell a story, visit this little girl. She’s got it down!

If you ever wanted to know how to embarrass your children, this guy has it all figured out. He is my new hero. Heh.

Do you like horror? Of course you do! Everybody likes horror, and Rebecca Treadway, aka Creepy Walker has a great blog about her horror exploits. A talented and accomplished graphic artist, she also pens stories to chill your very soul. Man, I love it when that happens. Keep your eye on her — she’s got quite a future ahead of her.

This collection by Joseph Paul Haines remains one of my favorite reads ever. If you haven’t picked this up, you should. There is not one stinker story in the bunch and plenty to make you laugh, cry and cower in the corner. Amazing stuff.

If you don't love this, you're dead inside.

In other news, Lori Whitwam and I are in the end-stage edits or “Make or Break”, which will be released later this year (updates as they happen). I have gigglesnorted my way through this book and it has been a blast. I can’t wait until it hits the ground running. What a riot 🙂 While you’re waiting, pick up a copy of Monster’s Unmasked. It’s a fabulous read!

Zombies! Love! Darkness! It's Fabulous!

And of course, I have to keep current with Joshua Guess and the happenings over at his Living With the Dead blog. Don’t forget, he’s got year one complied neatly for you, with a ton of bonus material including an exclusive short story by moi, titled “Rollin’ In The Deep”. Feed your zombie love!

I LOVE ZOMBIES!!

This should keep you busy — and this is all great summer reading that should also entertain you for hours. Some great, great fiction here, seriously. All indies, and all deserving of your support, otherwise I wouldn’t have them here. Your Fearless Heroine don’t do junk.

Yeah. Not doing this.

So cuddle up in the air conditioning, swing the hammock, lounge on the beach and enjoy. Let me know what you think about my picks, and don’t forget to like or review what you’ve read to help support these talented artists. They work their asses off.

Viva la revolution!