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Showing posts from September, 2011

Blocked? Try Fiber

Hi Leaguers!
I know that we generally don't talk too much about writing craft here, but I also know we have a lot of aspiring writers in the audience. I've been running a series of craft posts at my blog every Thursday, and I wanted to share one here in case you're needing a little inspiration. This post is from a couple of weeks ago. If you want to see more, be sure to check out my blog.
Cross-posted from JayeWells.com
WRITER'S BLOCK
The other day a new product came to my attention: The Writer's Block.
The product description is as follows: Feeling boxed in by your current writing assignment? Unpack some inspiration with this beautiful, hand-glazed, stoneware cube that features six thought-provoking cues; Poetry, Mother, Quietly, Hairy, House, Lust. With every roll you'll hear the ever-so-light jingle of bells, stimulating your ears and eyes to find your muse through the cube's understated imagery and melodiousness. Couple things.
First, this product sells for $…

The Blinking Cursor of Doom

I sit here and I stare at it, and I swear, it's mocking me.

It's strange how I have faced extensive rewrites (book 2 was scrapped at 68,000 words and started fresh), major copy edits, NaNoWriMo on multiple occasions, and yet nothing is quite so daunting as a blank page, and that one little lonely black line. Sitting there. Blinking at me.

I think it's the unknown. The sheer overwhelming possibility of it all. Will it be a poem? A witty blog post? A dissertation on the feminist imagery on boxes of athlete's foot ointment? It could be anything!

What if it wants to be a novella, and I force it to be a dirty limerick? Or what do I do if my iambic pentameter novel-length epic poem turns into commercial jingle parodies? There are just so many ways this could go wrong.

It's not so bad, once you get the first line down. Even the first word. Then the page isn't blank anymore, and it's not staring at you all expectant like. You get the first few marks on the pag…

Sometimes you just need a boat....

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Life's been hectic and miserable at Chez Richardson lately and it's times like these--when everything explodes on you like an outhouse that's been rigged with cherry bombs--that you really need a boat.

So last Tuesday, this showed up at our marina just as the sun was going down:



Her name is Lady Washington. She was built in 1989, but she's a reproduction of an earlier boat also called the Lady Washington which was built in Massachusetts in the 1750s.



And in the morning, she was still there.



Take a nice, slow breath and say "isn't she pretty."

Because that's what I'm doing instead of killing the dog.

If I Can't Write a Thriller, I'll Star in One...

This weekend, I'm going to Bouchercon. I'm going for a lot of reasons, one of which is that I'd like to write a mystery some day.

But in the meantime, if I can't write a thriller, I'll star in one. This would make the awesomest movie EVER, right?

El Pacto

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So it turns out I managed to sell Spanish rights for A Brush of Darkness a few months ago...and here's the cover! :)  (And yes, it's already been pointed out that the girl on the cover and my author picture seem very much alike - i.e. head angle and expression. Total surprise on my part, but kinda cool.)

Looks like it's been renamed to "The Pact," but if you click on the pic, you'll see they put Phin on the cover. This delights me to no end.

Huzzah!

It will be available for sale in October. :)

(And sorry for the utter lameness of this post, but it's my daughter's birthday today so things are bit crazy.)

Another TRANCE Snippet

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I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I haven't posted to the League since June. I had a very good excuse in July, as the 13th was the day I woke up in serious tendonitis-related wrist pain, so blogging was just not on my mind. August...well, I remember spending the day away from the computer, so we'll leave it at that.

I wasn't sure what to post today, though, until I realized that it's TEASER TUESDAY out in the Blog-O-sphere. And since I have a new release next month, I thought I'd post a snippet for y'all.



TRANCE is the first is a new series with Pocket about a group of twenty-something adults who lost their superpowers when they were children, only to get back suddenly fifteen years later. They live in a world that was brought to the brink of disaster due to superpowered battles, and citizens aren't exactly excited to see them back.

In the snippet I've chosen from Chapter 4, our heroine Trance has just met up with hero Gage at a truck stop in Cal…

In the flesh

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It's amazing how small actions can result in big consequences. When I first began writing the Vampire Academy series and created an intricate tattoo system for that world, I had no idea that those designs would catch on so quickly among readers. It just wasn't anything I'd ever thought about. I never expected those tattoos to show up on T-shirts:



And certainly not--permanently--on people's bodies:



My awesome readers have gotten pretty creative with the designs, and I've had a lot of fun seeing them show up at my signings. Nonetheless, it's left an impression on me to be careful what I do in books. You never know what might come of it. So, you'd think I would've thought twice before writing this piece of dialogue in Bloodlines, in which Adrian describes his dream tattoo:

"I want it to be a skeleton on fire on a motorcycle. With a pirate hat, and a parrot on his shoulder. A skeleton parrot. Or maybe a ninja skeleton parrot? No that would be overkill.&qu…

The Eleventh

I was sitting in my living rom running a fever and watching the 9/11 memorial on CNN when it occurred to me that the Eleventh is my day to blog at the League, even in September. So here goes.

It’s hard for me to remember exactly what it was like on September 11, 2001. I was ten yearsyounger, new to being a Dad, and my writing was still just pie in the sky stuff. I’d finished a first novel, but it was bad and I didn’t know enough to recognize that yet. (It involves a mage and his familiar; maybe one day I will rewrite it).

Things I do remember:

Standing in the break room and seeing that second plane hit the World Trade Center.

Rolling the television out so that other folks at work could see what was happening, too.

Recording a video message with my wife for our tiny son, who was just one week old, so that he could understand the event later. (I’m not sure where we put that tape.)

And that’s pretty much it.

I feel I should mention that this is my umpteenth attempt to write this blog. There…

ARGH

Okay, seriously? I have nothing to blog about.

I have three deadlines over my head at the moment; a novella due like Monday, page proofs due Wednesday (which I need to have finished by Monday so I can get them mailed, since I'm going into town on Monday anyway), and edits--which in this case means rather a lot of work, since I'm not quite happy with it yet--on Downside 5, CHASING MAGIC. Not to mention I'm sort-of-plotting something new, and working on a couple of other little things, and all of that.

And I haven't been feeling well the last few days, which means I've fallen behind on this stuff because when I'm not feeling well I have a hard time working.

I've been considering blog topics for the last three hours. I was going to mention NotAlwaysRight.com, which is this awesome site I found where people who work with the public can submit horror stories (yes, I'm very late to this one, since the site already has a book deal, but whatever. I just found it …

The Revision-Go-Round

I'm back in school now and teachin' America's youth about Puritans and witch trials and how their either/or fallacies continue to haunt us today—and I'm also in revision mode on book 4 of The Iron Druid Chronicles. It's kind of odd to talk about real people hanging other real people for being witches during the day, but then go home at night and write about fictional witches battling fictional Druids in Arizona...

Thought I'd share a wee bit about the revision process—keeping in mind that this is my process, and every author's going to be different in the details. What's common to every author is the necessity of revision. No one drops their pants and poops out the perfect novel. Well, maybe somebody does. But they're not in the League. #345 on our 500-question entrance exam reads: "Do you poop perfect novels?" If they answer the question, they're disqualified. Anyone who gets all the way to #345 is way too serious to be in this group.

We interupt your regularly scheduled League posts...

To bring you an announcement from yours truly. This is my passion project, and I would love it if you jumped on board. Like us on the Facebook, follow the twitter, all that jazz... and subscribe/listen when I launch next week. Feel free to steal the press release here and help boost the signal.
Thanks,your semi-humble Anton

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAnton Strout, Host/Curator
OnceandFuturePodcast@gmail.com

The Once & Future Podcast Launches with Readers And Writers Of Fantasy and Science Fiction In Mind(USA, NY, NY) September 6, 2011- Speculative fiction author Anton Strout announces the launch of The Once & Future Podcast- a new weekly book-centric podcast focused on all things fantasy and science fiction. Segments will focus on: breaking news in the publishing industry, upcoming release titles, guest authors, book tour info, convention news, and overall general discussion of genre reading for readers and writers alike. “Parts of the show will be focused on content for readers,” sa…

What does this writerly screed have to do with my grandmother's notebook?

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I’ve been carrying around this old notebook of my grandmother’s forever—it's sat in the bottom of a bookshelf in every place I live. It was entirely blank and unused, aside from one page of something random (and the front, where she wrote her name and ‘knitting book.’) Isn’t it cool? 
Yeah, so cool, that I felt like I needed to wait and find a really important use for it. 

So, I didn’t write in it for years, waiting for the exact perfect use for it. Something monumental. And of course I simply never used it. 
 There is this bad habit writers can get into, or at least, I can get into, which I think of as ‘scarcity thinking’ which is where I’ll think of an awesome event or realization or twist, and I decide I need to hold that for the pinnacle of the book. 
 Whenever I find myself thinking that I need to keep something to spring later, I purposely do the opposite — I blow the cool idea early in the book. 
 It’s because I have this writerly superstition that holding things back for the ri…

Woe Is My Word Count

So here we are. You, me, and Labor Day weekend. Most of you are probably celebrating the end of summer. Which I’m not hesitant at all to say, I’ll be glad to see go. It’s been butt-ass hot here in TX, and I’ve had enough.
Enough. :)
That said, my next three weekends, with only an occasional break for dinner with a few of my gal-pals, is going to be spent writing to meet my deadline because I’ve fallen woefully behind. Why have you fallen woefully behind, Dakota, you ask?
Worry and the world at large.
I learned something about my writing process a couple of weeks ago when I was super stressed over a life dilemma I was having—I can’t write when my emotional state’s gone awry.
I know some writers find solace in their writing when life gets to be too much. They escape to the world they’ve created and find respite in their characters. I so admire that.
Me? Not so much. I can’t make the funny if something’s bothering me. In fact, I can’t make the words—at all. My word count suffers and I plummet…

The Few, the Proud, the Stubborn

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First of all, congratulations to Leaguer Jeanne Stein for the release of the Anna Strong #7 book, Crossroads. I've known Jeanne for years a long time, and I've seen her persevere in the frustrating and tortuous path to get published. She came close to giving up, and even when she strapped herself back to the yoke, it still took a while before anything positive happened. Jeanne exemplified the supreme toughness it takes to make it was a writer.

If you're a young American male, the standard for toughness is a Navy SEAL. But if you think it's tough to be a SEAL, then try being a published writer, specifically a novelist. It's hard to compare success rates, since the weeding-out process for SEALs and writers starts early. So I'm guessing for SEALs, maybe 10% of the wannabes actually get to wear the coveted Trident insignia.





10%! That's gravy compared to being a novelist. Literary agents get hundreds of queries a week. Maybe they respond favorably to one in tw…