Bits and Bobs and Brands…
Lots of things to talk about today – first things first, I finally did the proper sort of author thing and set up an official newsletter.
I realize I haven’t been blogging much here, but every time I think about it, I stop because I always end up losing a few followers whenever I don’t talk about books or writing or whatever, so to make things easier, especially with my indie-pub series coming out in the next couple of months, I figured a newsletter would be the thing to do. As in, you just want book info and writing stuff/webcomic stuff/cover reveals, whatever – go sign up for the newsletter. And that’s what you’ll get. (I’m still trying to figure out how MailChimp works, so it might be a tad buggy until that’s settled…) Sign up on the sidebar, or just go to the newsletter page and do it there. And it will probably be a once a month thing for now. (Otherwise, you can stay subscribed to the mailing list/RSS feed, or sign up there on the sidebar if you aren’t and I’ll just use the blog to talk about whatever – anime, books, writing, life in general. I don’t want to import people blindly into the newsletter because I think that’s rude.)
Will there be newsletter goodies? Yeah, probably. (These could be anything from smutty Abby oneshots to free bookmarks, who knows. I haven’t thought that far ahead and I can’t even begin to schedule it out at the moment, but I’m playing around with the idea…)
Which sort of brings me to the next point – the new book coming out is called Magpie’s Song – I’m looking at release date of August 8th. It’s not up for pre-order YET, but it should be soon. I’ve got a cover and e-arcs and I’m working on finalizing the format for print and figuring out how the marketing stuff is supposed to work. (And waiting on author blurbs). I’ve been out of this particular loop for so long that trying to figure out what the right options are is a bit overwhelming. BookBub? NetGalley? Book tour? Cover reveal? Media blitz?
Part of me just wants to hold up a white flag about the whole thing. Partially because it’s a question of throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks and determining how much money I need to spend before the whole ROI thing falls apart. And looking at book tours or publicity sort of paints me into a difficult corner.
One of the reasons I had trouble selling this series to a traditional publisher (although it was close several times, wah) is because it doesn’t reallllly fit a particular genre. I’ve sort of been calling it more Science Fantasy because that’s what it feels like, but that probably doesn’t help. A little steampunk (at least in the first book), a little bit of Oliver Twist, a little dystopian, some plague-zombies that aren’t really zombies, a floating city, a bunch of biological science stuff, a bit of slow burn romance and maybe some YA crossover potential. It’s hard to pin down where it belongs.
And most book tours are usually geared to a specific genre – romance, UF, PNR, whatever – so in my case I may just need to contact reviewers and blogs separately because I don’t want to sign up for something where the readers are expecting something that this isn’t. (And no, it’s not like the Abby books. At all. Except maybe some of the snark. I can’t seem to shake that part.) Interested? Let me know…
But maybe it’s fitting this book series doesn’t really have a genre. As an author…I don’t really have a brand either. I mean, the Abby books are fun and snarky and smutty and weird and UF/PNR. I’ve got a fairy-tale based webcomic that I’ve been writing for *FIVE* years. I write short stories about child-eating lake mermaids and cybernetic honeybees. (These have not been pubbed. They may never be pubbed. But these are the things I write on the side.) I have this new whatever-it-is-series coming up. Another (shorter) webcomic involving selkies and love and whatever in the process of being written/arted. And at least one high fantasy stand-alone I’m smack in the middle of writing.
So I don’t know where that puts me exactly. But I suppose that’s all right for now. And as far as the indie pub thing goes – I know the general consensus is to have all the books in a series ready to go and pub them every couple of months. That’s not going to happen with my health issues, but with any luck, the sequel to Magpie’s Song *will* be out by Nov-Dec of this year and the third hopefully not too far after that. (I’ve already got a deadline for this draft in July, because deadlines keep me honest.)
In the meantime, enjoy this clip from Kids on the Slope (if you like the jazzy music from Cowboy Bebop, you’ll dig this anime since it brings Watanabe and Yoko Kanno back together. It’s a few years old, but it’s gorgeously animated and suitably slice-of-life tragic.) The OST is currently in heavy rotation on the iPod so figured I’d share…
Rebuild, Repair, Rewrite…
So it’s been a while since my last post – lots of things going on I suppose. Some good, some bad, some I’m not entirely sure about.
We’ll start with the good – which is mostly involving travel – since the last few years were not great pain-wise, we’d had to push off any sort of family trips and whatnot, and though I’m still not entirely “good” I was “good enough.” We finally hit up Disney World for a few days, went to Katsucon, started looking at maybe renting an RV over the summer to take a few weeks to drive across the country. (Will it happen? Who knows, but it’s fun to look.)
I am *hoping* to possibly do some more travel in general – I’m actually tentatively scheduled to hit a con in July. (Camp NeCon, to be specific. It’s a smaller con and mostly writer based, but it looks like fun and I’ve wanted to go the last several years, so I’m rather looking forward to it.)
The bad? Mostly involves everything breaking. Like I don’t know if I’m just sending out alpha waves or what, but in the last few weeks, my gaming laptop shit the bed, my gaming desktop decided to have a CPU freak out, an entire circuit on the lower level of the house continued tripping the breaker, and one of our new windows appears to need to be replaced AGAIN.
And really I think we’ve got it sorted out now, but how bad is it when your $2400 Razer CPU fan starts revving up and down at idle, occasionally causing the power on the light up keyboard to freeze? I will give Razer credit though – I’m guessing it was a known issue of sorts because when I hit them up about they didn’t even try to troubleshoot it – it was a straight “Here is your RMA label.” Which I always get pretty iffy about – I’ve rarely had an RMA experience turn out well (it’s usually “TAKE THIS REFURB” which is frustrating). In this case though they ended up replacing the whole motherboard and reinstalling the OS and I’m finally back to installing everything and yay!
The desktop thing…eh. I rebuilt the machine last year, but didn’t replace the front fan. (Older SATA model) but I know it’s been sorta flaky. It’s been more or less okay anyway until I started playing Mass Effect: Andromeda – which about 15 minutes into the game *something* started buzzing/beeping and I realized my CPU temp was creeping up *very* high indeed. Now, I suspect there is some issue with the game as I don’t think I’m the only one who has had this problem but I ended up removing the case siding temporarily to get the temp to come down. End result, whether it’s game optimization or simply cooling problems, I decided to upgrade/add more fans – which I did and now it’s running very nice and pretty (And super quiet too – which is an added bonus). ME:A? I’m still formulating my opinion on it, so maybe more on that later.
Electrical circuit ended up needing an electrician eventually. He fixed what we think was the issue, but I really hate it when they constantly try to upsale. “Well, we could fix this ONE switch, but really you’d be better off rewiring the whole house, all for the low, low price of $4k.”
Like I get it, but when they show up with an iPad presentation explaining how all this extra money you’re spending goes to training and what not…I don’t have time. Please just fix it.
Window issues? Who knows. It’s cracked once since we replaced it the first time, the replacement for THAT window showed up broken, the second replacement was put in backwards and now…condensation all inside. Dunno if it’s a bad seal or what, but I’m beginning to think that window pane is going through some sort of…existential crisis.
So then we get to the IDK part of the post. In my last post I sorta vague blogged about potentials and whatnot and several of you figured out I was talking books. And in a nutshell it didn’t pan out, though I’m not sure it’s a bad thing.
Basically an editor from one of the Big 5 (4? I’ve lost count) had inquired whether one of my manuscripts was still available. Which it sort of was. I actually was in the process of self-pubbing it – as in already spent a fair amount of $$ on editing and book cover creation and so on, but you know an opportunity is an opportunity, so sure.
But of course…there’s always a hitch. And while the editor was interested in the overall story, they wanted it to be less steampunky and more fantasy. Which I get (although as a whole the series isn’t steampunk. It’s really more Science Fantasy, I guess – but it’s not magic based, so much as the idea that technology can certainly seem like magic to people who aren’t versed in it. Still, apples and oranges.)
So they asked if I could rework it into more of a straight fantasy. Maybe with spells or crystals or something. Which okay, sure. Maybe. I spent some time brainstorming on the world building and reworked about 90 pages or so, but the main issue was that one of the things they wanted changed was essentially the heart of the entire series. Like the *whole* point of all three books was this very important component. (Which I won’t specifically mention, because spoilers.)
At some point as a writer you have to determine how much change do you make before it actually gets easier to just write a new book from scratch. Which I sort of offered, seeing as I’m currently writing a purely fantastical book right now too. The editor expressed interest in as long as “didn’t contain any elves.”
*looks at manuscript which is COMPLETELY about elves*
Ah. Maybe next, next book then.
At any rate, the end result was an oddly worded rejection indicating that the voice wasn’t right. Which, keep in mind, I was never asked to change. And author voice is really very personal – it’s essentially the style of the book – a reader either connects with it or not, which is why I find this whole thing a bit puzzling. (Not that I’m sure I’d be able to actually change the voice at this point anyway – it really would be much simpler to write something new.)
That being said, I never stopped with the indie-pubbed editing, so that’s actually still happening. (Always good to have a back up plan, I suppose.) At this point, I’m merely waiting on copy edits and a finalized cover and then I suppose I’m good to go.
Except for maybe hiring a publicist. And getting it out to reviewers. And actually getting it out there. *ahem*
So for those of you interested, the tentative title is “Magpie’s Song” and I will probably aim for it to be out in July/August depending on everything else falling into place, but yeah. Finally, something new.
So obviously I’ve been rather silent here over the last month.
Yes, it’s due to politics – mostly because I still can’t wrap my head around everything that’s happening, but I am still here. Making donations, sending emails. Small steps because that’s all I can handle right now. Quietly raging, I suppose.
I have culled a number of people off of social media, mostly Facebook. And it’s not that I’ve removed everyone who doesn’t agree with me – I’m all about different viewpoints and conversations, but I also have decided that I don’t need to be in such a toxic environment. (And sadly, some people I once considered actual friends have shown themselves to be hard core racists. No thanks. We can talk political ups and downs all day long, but once your argument falls back on the color of someone’s skin – or religion – or gender, etc – as a reason for/against something, I’m done. )
I’m off on holiday soon for a family vacation and though I’ve been feeling slightly guilty about going, it’s become pretty clear to me that I need to consciously disconnect for a while, so with the exception of maybe uploading some pictures, I’ll be off social media entirely.
In the meanwhile, this week was rather odd in general – and this is going to be pretty vague because it has to be since I don’t know what will come out of it. But it’s that odd place where something you’ve really wanted for a while, but realized/decided it wasn’t going to happen at this time and have moved on and made adjustments accordingly…suddenly is back on the table. Maybe. And then you’re trying to figure out if you really still want it or if you’re going to continue on this new path you’re forging.
Like I said, that’s pretty vague. But I’ll know more in a few days and then I’ll probably have a few decisions to make. (Or not, as the case may be…I’ll probably write about it either way, once I know.)
All that being said, with additional distractions being required, I did have a bit of fun last week doing some live tweeting with fellow authors Piper Drake and Ann Aguirre on the 1st episode of Goblin: The Lonely and Great God, which is this beautiful and tragically romantic K-Drama about a guy cursed with immortality until he falls in love with the woman who can remove the curse. And then he’ll die.
(Seriously, I’ve never seen anything quite like it – everything about it is top notch. I actually liked it so much I went and bought a subscription to Drama Fever, because I *had* to watch the rest of it. And all the soundtrack music I could find. Does it press all my Solas/Dragon Age buttons? Uh. Yeah. Yeah it does. *ahem*)
We’re going to be doing an episode a week (Sundays at 9, EDT, I think) so come follow along under #Goblin if you’re interested. (I’ll be there this Sunday for Episode 2, but out of town for Episode 3, so I’ll have to skip that.) There are 16 episodes in all, so this it will be running for a few months.
Also, romance and drama and the most beautiful crying ever known to man aside, it’s also really freaking funny and tongue-in-cheek in a number of places, and that’s pretty refreshing as well. (GIF courtesy of @KatCho)
Also, everyone wears really nice coats. Terrible sweaters, but nice coats.
Project Round Up
Just doing a little end of year post – obviously it’s not a real retrospective. Much of the year got derailed by needing that third back surgery, so there was a lot of time for introspection. I have a tendency to shut-in when I’m in that much pain – not sure if that’s good or bad, but usually long periods of radio silence from me are due to that, though I’m working my way back into the sunlight, as they say.
In the meantime, I spent a fair amount of time sewing – it was one of the few distractions I could do from the only chair that *didn’t* make me want to throw myself out the window.
Pain being what it is, I stitched a number of subversive patterns…and then gave them all away. I didn’t sew a single thing for myself at all – I suspect that’s because making them for other people allowed me to do it guilt free. And it’s not that sewing is a guilty pleasure exactly, it’s just that I tend to come down on myself pretty hard when I’m not doing something productive, whatever that is.
On the other hand, sewing is one of those things that really does help when I’m trying to plot a bit simply because it keeps my hands occupied but allows my brain to wander. Once I’ve got a rhythm going, it can be hours before I really notice just how long I’ve been working. (Which has lead to a slightly numb hand for a while, but whatevs.)
Some of these pictures are really bad, btw and I apologize, but I’ll leave links at the bottom to where you can actually buy the patterns.
I made four of these bitch unicorns – they’re fast and fun. I would have liked to made a few more but I ran out of the specialty tie-dye/sparkle aida I ordered for it. I’ve got additional cloth on the way, because I really do want to make a few more of them, just not sure about my time this year.
My first real attempt on linen – I actually started this while *at* the hospital during my last surgery.
I’ve avoided linen like crazy in the past, but I really liked this pattern and all the funky stitches and beading and it was fairly small so I figured I’d give it a shot.
(Turns out I actually need spectacles on top of my contacts to actually make it work since I’m old or something.)
It’s been attached to a sachet full of dried lavender and amethyst crystals.
But, hey, doing a little project like that led me straight into a bigger linen project…
Technically it’s evenweave but same thing really. Tiny ass holes.
Obviously it’s a Star Wars reference, but made it for a friend who finally got a real place of her own after many years, and I figured it was well worth the extra effort to do it on the evenweave.
(I can see the appeal behind using linen/evenweave – it has a more professional feel to it, I guess – but I suspect aida is still going to be my go-to, since it takes me 3 times as long to do a project on the linen…)
Another housewarming gift of sorts. Not much else to really say about this one except it was a lot larger than I anticipated, ( 11 x 7 I think…) but there is something so MUCH FUN about sewing Cthulu.
I kinda want to just make a bunch of small pieces with only Cthulu – they might make for cute bookmarks or something…
(I dunno – maybe I should start a side business sewing this kind of stuff for authors or readers or something – if I had time I’d make my own designs, but at this point, I really don’t.)
And another piece – this was a straight 5 x 7, so not massive, but very, very dense as far as the stitching goes. No real white space, just some half stitches in the upper part and I cheated a bit on some of the embroidery because I ran out of steam toward the end.
Plus anything with gradients of similar colors can be a bit fatiguing to the eyes – lots of browns and oranges and grey in here – looks absolutely stunning in person though.
Overall it was a super productive year in terms of crafting – I also discovered those Q-snap frames which were a complete lifesaver when it came to just having to deal the with the weight of holding something for 2 – 4 hours at a time. (I have a ton of wooden scroll wheels, but I can’t use them anymore, thanks Fibro.) The Q-snaps were light, which is nice, but I have a bit of hesitation when it comes to using them on larger projects as they seem to have a tendency to bleach out the cloth and that could be troublesome if I can’t cut it away. We’ll see.
At any rate, here are the links to the above projects should you wish to try them out yourself:
Fresh Out of Fucks
Whatever Bitch Unicorn
Scum and Villainy
Except for maybe a few smaller projects this year, I’ve sorta blown my load when it comes to the cross stitch at this point – I haven’t sewn like this in YEARS – but now that I’m starting to feel better post op and all that, I’ve got to buckle down and focus on my own work for a bit. (Even my own myriad sewing projects – I always pick the giant complicated patterns that would take years even I wasn’t doing ten other things.)
So here’s to a Happy New Year and all that jazz and let’s hope things are better for everyone, all the way around, in 2017.
…and all that jazz.
I had a few other things to say today in this post, but I’ve been feeling a little down – I went to see Rogue One last night and it was a bit disheartening to get the AP notification that Carrie Fisher had had a heart attack *while* I was mid-movie.
(And the movie was pretty good – as a transitional piece, I liked it – I don’t know if it would stand on its own so much, but as a piece of the overall Star Wars lore it works.)
But as far as years go, 2016 has been a bit of a shitfest, particularly when it comes to celebrities. Fingers crossed that Carrie pulls through.
All that aside, I’m expecting today to be rather smooth – presents are wrapped, dinner is planned, there’s cookies to be made and all that other fun stuff. I spent a lot of time this year making things for other people – I’ll throw those up in a separate post later since not everyone has gotten them yet and I don’t want to spoil anything. There are still a few to make, but after staying up multiple nights very late to work on stitching, I’m basically out of spoons and my arm/wrist needs a bit of a break. Hopefully I will be able to get through those in another week or so.
On an exciting note, I’ve finally got a cover artist booked for one of my indie-pubbed books coming out later this year. (Title and info to come!) Edits should be arriving shortly and I’ll start posting about that more in the next month or so. I’ve been rather absent from the writing scene for the last few years – but I’m looking forward to dipping my toes back into it – and hopefully my fans will enjoy this new series.
That being said, I hope everyone has a good holiday (whatever holiday you celebrate) and I’ll leave you with this lovely Yuuri on Ice AMV. YOI has been an utter source of happiness the last few months for me and I’m sad to see it leave (for now, ha ha). Spoilers abound below so fair warning…