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Showing posts from April, 2008

Self Promoting Like a Mofo

Why don't I write? What's the primary reason I don't meet my word count goals?

I can talk about my dogs bugging me, being compelled to clean and tidy, the call of the weedy beds, but I'd be fooling myself, the biggest distraction from my writing is self promotion.

Every morning, the first thing I do is check, respond and update my livejournal comments, myspace, facebook, blogger, the League and even twitter (new this week). Now with the help of Missy, who League readers see in the comments, a Yahoo group is in the works. Then there's the bookscan numbers and the dissecting effectiveness of various promtional activities and items. Is there a jump in sales from con attendance? Who knows? I don't. I can speculate. Boy can I speculate. What I can tell you for certain is...I'm about freakin' crazy.

Not about. Totally freakin' crazy.

I'm sitting here with 500 pens that didn't show up until after I'd already left for Romantic Times. I…

But did you see the movie?

I've been rereading one of my favorite books this morning. Roger Ebert's I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie, a collection of his reviews of bad films. (OOH! And in finding the link I discovered he came out with a new one last year, Your Movie Sucks, which I am totally wishlisting because I must have it.)

Anyway. I love this book. And I was reading through it and came to his very funny review of the Demi Moore/Gary Oldman "The Scarlet Letter" (accidentally typed "Demo Moore" there first. Freudian slip.) And it got me thinking. (Obviously. Otherwise this would be a very short post indeed.)

I liked the book The Scarlet Letter. It was one of my favorites of the books I was assigned in high school. But of course that film is unwatchable, largely because the filmmakers--and our pal Demo--felt the need to alter it and mess about and change what it means and blah blah blah. (I was reading Empire a few years ago, which is a British film magazine, and they interviewed th…

Book on the shelves? Thicken up your skin!

I can take a bad review. Really, I can. I find a lot of valid points in what reviewers of all levels have to say as I'm always trying to better my writing. I don't want to be one of those authors I read about who must address everything a reader says when the reader didn't like a book. Today, however, I'm going to delve into a bit of a bad CUSTOMER review. Not from an actual review from what I would consider a legitimate source, but a customer review at a shopping for books site.

So I'm given the lowest ranking they can give at the site, followed by a statement (paraphrased) that my plot characters and dialogue are a complete rip off of the movie "Men in Black" and that I pretty much searched and replaced aliens and put in ghosts.

I have to say that left me a little livid. If it was an accusation on their own blog, that would be fine, but this is made a very public forum.

Now to say I have tropes in my work is one thing... as, say, fellow author Rache…

American Title IV Winner: Helen Scott Taylor

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Hey Y'all. Remember a while back when we interviewed all the contestants for American Title IV? Well, last week at the RT convention, Dorchester Publishing chose a winner. Yep, Helen Scott Taylor was awarded a contract on her paranormal romance THE MAGIC KNOT. They've even got the cover already. Let's wish her a big League congrats and luck with her career!

Cheers, Helen!

Book Club: A Few Words

Alright...let's talk book club.

Is five days too long? Cuz I'm thinking three.
Is once a month too often?
What do we want to read next? I'm thinking Personal Demons; I've got tons of stuff to ask about that one.

But, I kind of need a list. Something to put together for June. Does June work for the next club that's not a League member?

Getting Too Old for This...

Well, not this. Not the blogging.

I'm talking about the promotions, conferences and the constantly being "on". I'm two days back from Pittsburgh and I'm still exhausted*. I can't stay awake. But I'd better. I have to drive to Seattle in a few hours to do some stock signing at the University Bookstore. Duane, the sci-fi/fantasy overlord has ordered it and I'll obey.

A word on promo items, I'm still debating whether candy and postcards are effective for boosting sales. The pens are the only things that resonate for me. Of course, the ones I ordered for RT didn't show up until two days after we'd flown out, so I've got lots for Conestoga and Orycon (the last two cons I'm doing this year). I'm thinking I'll ask for some bookscan numbers pre and post con and figure it out from there. I'm certain that being there and being personable, gregarious, available and approachable is more effective than swag.

Okay...so it'…

Doh!

It's Tuesday! It's Tuesday! And I'm supposed to blog. And I have nothing to blog about.

In fact, I can't even recall, at this moment, what my post on my own blog for tomorrow was supposed to be, but I'm sure it was charming. Darnit!

Should I tell you all we had an actual glimpse of spring today? I went outside and was comfortable without a coat, for the first time in, oh, two years? Since last year was a total bust as far as weather went.

Or I could mention that everyone is home from RT now, and they are all terribly smug over what a good time they had while I sat here and moped.

Hmm. I could tell the fun story of how my older daughter's end-of-term break is over, and she's back at school now, which is just fascinating I'm sure.

Oh, and my husband's ex-stepgrandmother died today, at something like 96. Which is sad, and he's sad about it. She was his stepgrandma throughout what is sometimes called The Formative Years, and his Mum is still very close t…

So here's what happened

Um... I counted wrong.


And yesterday, which is when I should have posted this, I was having all sorts of personal life things happening (nothing bad, just a busy day) and when I had a blogger issue last night I basically gave up.

So this is the explanation, one day late, for why we only ended up with eleven.


Sorry! Please don't hate me for being a bad counter! :-)

Dialogue #11

Nathan stroked my arm. "We don't have to if you don't want to."
"I want to," I said. I moved to take unhook the back.
"Really, Keira. I mean it."
"I mean it, too." My next words surprised me. "I just want to forget they're dead."
"You can't," Nathan whispered.
"You don't understand. The past ten minutes have been only time since I found them that I haven't thought about them. I just want that for a little while longer." I started to cry then, huge tears falling down my face, sobs ripping themselves from my body. I saw a few tears splash onto Nathan's bare chest, which made me cry harder. Snot ran down my nose and I jumped from the couch to find a tissue. I couldn't believe I was making such a fool of myself.
"Having sex with me won't make you forget."
"It's worth a shot."



Jaye says:


This scene is such an opportunity to really ramp …

Dialogue #10

I was the very picture of wolfiness. My mass stayed the same. Only werewolves' mass could increase when morphed into a wolf. Also, vampires kept their natural hair color, so I was a raven-furred wolf. With sapphire blue eyes.

"Picture yourself as human again."

What? Human? That was easy enough done.

"Excellent! Lord, girl, you are good at this," he said. "You're a natural born vampire if I ever saw one. It took me an hour to do my first transformation."

"Really? Seems easy."

With that, I changed into a wolf again. Back to human, and back to wolf. Then I turned into a human, grinned roguishly at him, and transformed into a bat. Wow, what a rush. Suddenly, I could fly! Ok, I couldn't fly very well. I bounced off the wall three times in the first ten seconds, hit his coffin once and then the ceiling. I transformed into a woman right after bouncing off Boney's chest.

And promptly fell on my butt before him.

"We&#…

Hmm

Blogger is giving me trouble getting posts up. I'm going to try this one and see if it works...

Dialogue #9

James said, his voice hoarse, "We wanted to surprise you. We wanted to make you proud. Just like Dad did."
Donal, looking from one face to the other, smiled around the lump in his throat. "You did, boys. You always have."
Scott said, "We'll be leaving in the morning, Grandpa. Sarge has us heading north."
"I'll be ready to go, just tell me when."
"What?" asked Scott.
"I want to go see your grandmother, boys. I've been waiting until I could ask, one man to two men. It's time."
"But..." said James.
"Let's go talk to that teacher of yours." Donal was quiet but firm. "I want to go home, boys. Take me home."


Stacia says:

Wow, I really don't have much to say about this one. Very nice, the emotional connection between this man and his sons comes through very clearly and there's a sadness here that's very natural.
Instead of "James said, his voice hoarse" I would …

Dialogue #8

For the first time, Walsh set his entire attention on Xaphan. He stuck out his hand. "Detective Denis Walsh. And you are?"
Xaphan had to think about it. Although he could betray Jane right there and then, which would be fun, he was suddenly sure that finding out Jane's secrets would be even more fun. He shook the man's hand. "I am...very glad to meet you."
"He's my brother-in-law," Jane said. "Through marriage. Ex-marriage."
Detective Walsh nodded at Xaphan's handcuff marks. "What happened to your wrist?"
Xaphan hastily took his hand back. "Uhh..."
"Uhh..." said Jane.
And with the exquisite timing of the undead, at that moment Frank called out from his cage, "What the hell is going on out there? What's happening?"
The silence that followed lasted approximately two and half days before Jane finally managed, "That's the TV in my bedroom."
Walsh's expression didn't change. &…

Dialogue #7

"Pleasure." Meg coughed nervously and pulled her hand away, stuffing it shyly in the pocket of her jeans. "So are you on the back-breaking crew or the fragile box-packing crew, Sabrina?"
"How charming." Sabrina shook her thick, wavy hair and it cascaded over her back and shoulders. "You know, Meg, you're one of the first new people I've met that didn't assume what I could or couldn't do based on my looks."
Sabrina took a step closer and Meg felt warmth rush over her cheeks and neck. "You and Ms. Hawthorne…are you…together?"
Meg flinched inwardly at the question, but forced a smile. "No. Sky is my sister-in-law and my friend. That's all."
"Interesting." Sabrina ran her tongue over her lips and grinned." Well, I'll do whatever you need me to, handsome." Meg watched Sabrina stride into the house, her movements graceful and hypnotic.


Jaye says:

Hmmm, methinks Sabrina has naughty plans for t…

Dialogue #6

Hey guys! If you're just checking back, don't forget to scroll down and comment on some of the older entries too!



"You were attacked."
"Attacked?" He could not mean the events of yesterday afternoon.
"Yes, attacked." He spoke out to the trees, still not facing her. "I will not have that happen again."
"You are over reacting."
"And you are limping." He walked away from her again.
She struggled to follow him without admitting she was indeed limping. Her ankle, though no longer swollen, pained her. Each step sent a sharp stab of pain up to her knee.
She could not believe that he would think to use yesterday's events as reason to act as if Tintern was under siege. "That was not an attack. Those men happened upon us. They did not seek us out to engage us."
"Aye, I recall your words. You think they recognized you and were trying to save you from the big bad Norman."
When he spoke them they dripped sarcasm, l…

Dialogue #5

"You know what really burns my ass?"

"A flame about three feet high?"

"Cute. No, it's the fact that this is part of the vicious circle." Kyle slumped in his chair and took a drink of his coffee. "I know that justice must be served and whomever smoked Willy should pay, but this won't end the cycle. Monsters aren't born; they're created. You've read the profile on Willy's father. He was a bastard. If anyone should be rotting in jail it should be him. He abuses Willy so Willy becomes a monster. Willy's actions hurt and kill innocent children so parents become obsessively overprotective. Children grow up sheltered and stifled so they rebel, or worse. The cycle is spinning out of control and it's become our job to clean up the mess. The whole damned thing's enough to make me want to puke."


Stacia says:

Oooh, I really like this. I really only have one comment: Kyle seems like a fast-talking, street-smart guy, so hearin…

Dialogue #4

"I don't think my boss wants to hear you're neutral," I countered, watching Caim's assistant strut away. Maria looked pissed as she stormed out of the restaurant. Good.

Po sighed, looking back toward the bustling kitchen. "I have fifteen workers to protect. I need to know we'll be safe."

"Caim couldn't guarantee you his protection?"

"I cannot say." His face was blank. Tight to the vest, our Li Po.

I leaned across the greasy counter, looking him in the eye. "Say Labal takes you in. What if Baal and Labal go to war? Are you neutral then? Even if Baal still owns your soul?"

He was doing some sort of calculation in his head. I couldn't imagine what it was, but he nodded, slowly at first, then two strong shakes of his jaw. A final decision. "If Labal takes us in, we will serve him to the death."


Jaye says:

You do a great job of distinguishing the speakers by their "voices." The narrator is direct and inf…

Dialogue #3

***Note: we got a couple of submissions more than we planned to post, but decided to post them anyway, so this will run into Saturday. Also, if got an email from me, yours will be posted.**


"Consider this a verbal curtsy as you have me quite immobilized at the moment my Lord," I said trying not to sound sarcastic.

His eyes gleamed with an infuriating combination of mischief and pity. "I do so miss you at court. The way you struggle with protocol and authority, always saying the inappropriate thing or using the wrong fork. You were like a breath of spring in a withered garden."

"Yeah, well too bad I never really felt the love while I was there. I have a life now where no one is afraid of me except those who should be."

"You can't blame us for being a bit nervous around the only being that has the inborn ability to kill us. It tends to make some of us, well, edgy," he said coming to a stop in front of me.

"Being half demon didn't seem to h…

Dialogue #2

***Note: We have reached our entry limit, so please don't send any more submissions. Thanks!***


"She's a menace," Tournbould stated, sensing Stanislav's hesitancy over what to do with the girl upstairs, "she should never have been given such authority at such a young age. You and I know that."
"Yes, but she's so gifted. I have never met the likes."
"Which makes her all the more dangerous. I doubt she could be sent back to the Arm she trained at. It's obvious they were unable to control her. Better to send her to Grishtok. Let Rurik deal with her."
"He won't like it. And it would reflect poorly on my own control that I need to send a girl of only nineteen to my Head to deal with. Better it is dealt with here. Make her an example," Stanislav said as he considered his dilemma.
"Why don't you mask her powers? Make her a servant and have her learn some humility?" Tournbould suggested, warming to th…

Dialogue #1

***Note: We have reached our entry limit, so please don't send any more submissions. Thanks!***

A warm breeze brushed across the sands of the Great Fire Desert, stirring the golden grains slightly. The movement caused by the wind was about the only movement to be seen- heat lay over everything like a thick, invisible blanket.

Beneath the burning sands, in a cool, dim chamber, an amazing discovery was being made.

"Professor Hassan!" a slim girl called.

"Yes, Ophelie?" A tall man appeared from behind a large boat. He was Professor Hassan, a professor who had devoted his life to finding out more about ancient cultures.

"I just found a false wall," Ophelie said.

"Really? How?" Professor Hassan hurried around the edge of the boat as he spoke.

"I was tracing some of the hieroglyphs on the wall, and I must have pressed some hidden trigger," Ophelie explained. "The room isn't very big, though."


Stacia says:

Is this MG or YA? It has…

Let's have some fun, fellow left-behinds!

So. As Mark, Jill, and practically everyone else I know, jets off to the Romantic Times conventon to eat, drink, sign books, and be merry, I am stuck here. All by myself, to entertain you for the rest of the week.

At least, I would have been, except I'm lucky! And so are you.

Why, you ask? Ha ha! Because Jaye Wells, Orbit author and heckofun gal, has agreed to come by and help me out.

Here's what we're doing.

You submit a bit of dialogue from your latest wip, or a project you finished and are planning on submitting, or whatever you like.

Limit 150 words.

Jaye and I will look them over and give critiques, comments, snippy little jokes, whatever we feel like. We will then post the snippet--minus your name, and plus our comments-here on the League blog, where our readers and anyone else who happens to stop by are also invited to comment.

We're keeping the comments clean and constructive, but really, don't submit if you aren't prepared for an honest--although kindly wor…

Answers for my peanut gallery

Nabbed from my livejournal... aeriedraconia asks:

How do you keep track of all your notes, timelines, world building and other data for you work in progress?
I'm writing a fantasy novel and I'm now at a point where I'm having to remember a lot of details, plus keep track of three different timelines in the story. How do you keep track?

I'm a skeletal writer at first... working off of an Excel spreadsheet, I start out with about 40 lines of what each scene is roughly about. I then take those over to word and expound out bullet points of details I know I have to get down for each scene and slowly the skeleton starts to fill in a bit. It's kind of like a reverse invisible man, slowly growing back to visibility until you have whole being.

Anytime I write something that seems pertinent to lasting details for the series as a whole, I flip over to my Dead To Me Bible (thanks, Alt+Tab!) and add it in... fun stuff like the fact that Connor is ten years older than Simon or tha…

A Book Review? What?

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I've been excited about this book longer than you have--bet you 5 dollars. I've been following Personal Demons since it was a tiny little hook contest entry on the now defunct Miss Snark (or was it Evil Editor?). A radio shrink (think Dr. Laura only with actual insight and ethics) inadvertantly starts a war with the "personal demons" that hang out on the shoulders of every man, woman and child. Awesome, right? Anyway, I took the bait, waited and emailed the author, struck up a neat little friendship, and here I am pimping her out like my favorite hooker (my less favorite hookers find their own dates).

I got myself a snazzy little PDF of this gem because I'm special (and not in a retarded way...well sometimes, but that's beside the point). So here goes...

Personal Demons is a supersexy urban fantasy, some might say paranormal romance, but like all good demon fiction, the sin of lust takes precedence over anything as wholesome as that other L word. Megan Ch…

Sneaking Suspicions

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Ever since I read Stacia's book (Personal Demons, go buy it), I've had the sneaking suspicion that something's been following me.



Something sinister...



Something evil...



Something demonic...





Help me figure this out!

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Okay, I don't really feel like blogging about anything serious or thought-provoking today. In part because I have some research to do on crematory ovens (if anyone knows anything about them, let me know.) But mostly? Because today is my anniversary. I've been married for eight years today, which is pretty cool, I think, and puts me in a rather festive mood.

And speaking of the hubs, he is the impetus for today's post. Last night he sent me this link to the latest Lying in the Gutters column at Comic Book Resources. I've copied the relevent image below.

It's the cover for Marvel's new "Three Musketeers", from their Marvel Illustrated line. (You can click on the image to make it bigger, or follow the link to the column and click on the image there to get a full-size version.)






Columnist Rich Johnston suggests the image is in actuality Led Zeppelin. I disagree. The dark haired-guy on the right, with the bandolier, is definitely Jimmy Page. But that's cle…

Hardships beyond the book

By my usual East Coast standard, I'd be posting this late... but as I am in Arizona right now, I'm still somewhat timely in getting my Monday blog in... so nyahh!

I've been a bit absent the last few weeks, mostly due to book touring stuff or book stuff related to my day job in publishing. I'll try to be a bit more regular with my posts here and all...

If being a published author is an iceberg, seeing your book go out onto the shelf is just the tip. These past few weeks I've been experiencing the rest of the iceberg, which is to use a technical term, gigantinormous!

The love of writing and sharing it is the big reward, but all the support of it is EXHAUSTING. I'm trying not to sound whiny about it because I know how fortunate I am to see my words in print, but until you've lived it, you just never really know how fully draining an experience it is. Perhaps my other Leaguers will chime in on their peeves as such, but the surprise hardship beyond the book for…

Christine! You is Book Club Wiener!

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Christine! Strawberry Girl. Christine! Banana Split Lady.

Here's a video for you on your special day!



And what's this, Christine?


Why it's a really shitty picture of your prize. Signed book plates for each of the three contracted books (Happy Hour, Road Trip and American Minions), two vials of genuine zombie plague, a zombie head finger mask, postcards and you'll be the first to have some of my business cards (they showed up this weekend). I wish I could send you a pen, but they're delayed. :(

Anyhow, email me: me@markhenry.us

Don't forget to give me your address and thanks for stopping by the book club to chat!

Congratulations!

League Book Club Post #5: Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry SPOILERS!

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Okay, it's our last day of the Happy Hour of the Damned Discussion! I know, parting is such sweet sorrow, isn't it?

Remember, Mark is giving away some secret zombie prizes and stuff--it's his little way of bribing you all to participate.

I'm torn between several topics today. I wanted to ask if you've ever known anyone like Amanda and if so, who. I wanted to ask which bar you'd be most likely to hang out in. I wondered which character you think deserves their own spin-off (although that ties along with who your favorite character is.)

But I think what I'm going to do instead is open the floor, thus giving you a platform and dropping Mark in the hole all in one fell swoop. Hahaha! I'm so efficient.

So, what do YOU want to discuss? Ask Mark a question! Comment on something else we didn't talk about! Complain! Anything you like!

.

League Book Club Post #4: Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry SPOILERS!

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SPOILER DAY!! Whee!

And by "spoiler" I mean "give away secrets about the book", not "rotten stinky corpse" or "more ways to make fun of Mark" (well, okay, I kind of do mean that. But still.)

So spill it. What was your favorite part? Why? Which bit made you laugh hardest? Did you crave a coffee after finishing?

League Book Club Post #3: Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry

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Whee! Tomorrow we'll start a spoiler thread!

Remember, we're supposed to be nice, even to a slavering man-whore like Mark. Remember, too, said slavering man-whore is giving away prizes.

So here's today's topic. Happy Hour has been dubbed "a zombie Sex and the City". Which is partially true, especially if you consider, for example, Carrie's first time with Berger, or the very funny episode where Charlotte marries Harry and Carrie sleeps with one of the groomsmen (sorry, but I thought that guy was freaking hilarious. "People...are a bitch." I digress.) Obviously there are differences--even the SATC girls can't come close to Amanda and Wendy for snarky, bitchy fashionista fun.

But in what ways is Happy Hour like chick lit? Is it chick lit for the next generation? And if (as I think) it's not enough like chick lit, what could Mark do if he actually set out to write some genuine chick lit? Should all chick lit books be rewritten in the style of …

A Couple of Announcements avec Pimpery

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We interrupt our regularly scheduled Happy Hour of the Damned worship for the following announcement...

Many of you already know that Ilona Andrews has made the difficult decision to leave the League, and instead of our normal response to such an action (involving a boiling pot of oil and fondue skewers), we support her need to scale back on the internet addiction and chill. We'd probably join her if we weren't such junkies!

As a proper send off...let's celebrate the release of Ilona's Magic Burns!


No. Wait. Well, yes. Actually. It's complicated.

Ilona is releasing a brand of Magic Burns Do-It-Yourself Chemical Peel, but that's months off and not at all what we're celebrating. Here's what we're on about...




Magic Burns (the book) hits store shelves today. We know all the peeps have been jonesin' for a Kate Daniels fix and here it is, filled with hot werelion action and a smart-ass heroine that kicks more butt than an early spring flu.

We bid you good l…

League Book Club Post #2: Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry

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Ah-ha! You gluttons for punishment! Here we are, back to drive Mark Henry's reputation and self-respect into the ground!

Remember, Mark is hanging around, ready to take our abuse and love it like the sub he is give out secret zombie prizes and a free book and all that stuff, so comment away.

So. Footnotes. What did you think of them? How about the recipes and text boxes? In what way did they draw you in? Which one was your favorite (is that a spoiler)? How do you think they added to Amanda's voice?