Last week there was a lot of Not Fun medical stuff, culminating in Saturday's half day at the hospital getting my blood drawn every hour while I tried not to throw up the sugar solution I'd ingested, which would've meant having to start the test all over. What made my day bearable? I brought along Carrie Vaughn's Voices of Dragons, a YA I'd wanted to read but hadn't gotten around to. Turns out, it was the perfect length to read in between sitting in the chair to give the latest blood donation.
Voices of Dragons is set in today's world, with one minor difference; World War II woke up the dragons and spawned yet another human/dragon war. That conflict ended in an uneasy truce both sides had maintained for 60 years. Until the human protagonist accidentally encounters a dragon in an unplanned border violation. It's a story of laws and their consequences, friendships of all kinds, the price of peace, and, naturally, dragon voices. There's a lot of depth here that an older reader can appreciate while younger readers simply enjoy the friendship between human and dragon. An excellent story that saved my day, and left me hoping for a sequel someday.
You can pick it up along with Carrie's latest YA, Steel, and have yourself a whole lot of adventure, no matter where you're reading.
Remember when I said Men of Action was getting tweaked and for a to-be-announced purpose? Now it can be told!
You already know that Sasha White and I teamed up for an independently published title, A Rock & A Hard Place, with plans to do some more of this kind of thing. Meanwhile, other authors were having the same idea and thinking it's more fun to do it together than go it alone. And so, Walk on The Wild Side Books was born!
It's not a publisher, it's a publishing hub for our independently published titles. If you like stories by me or Sasha White, you might also like stories by Anne Calhoun, Portia Da Costa, HelenKay Dimon, Alison Kent, and Saskia Walker! And to give you a chance to try us all out, we're giving away a May Basket of Books, so go check out Walk on the Wild Side and enter the giveaway.
So I asked myself what extreme possibility I could imagine for my writing. What dangerous projects do I yearn to tackle?
1. I have a crazy love for Harlequin Presents but have never tried to write one, largely out of fear I'd end up writing a parody.
2. I have a crazy love for dark fantasy romance/UF and a series idea that has sat on the backburner for too long. I'd love to write the living daylights out of it and knock it out of the park, commercially and artistically.
3. I have a crazy paranormal action-adventure romance I need to finish and set free. Magical weapons of mass destruction, bad guys, hot sex! What could go wrong?
4. I have a crazy love for YA and a great project I haven't had time or brain cells for.
I think basically my extreme vision is being able to do it all; Presents, UF/Paranormal romance, YA. Well, why not try? It's good to have goals. And as Marjorie points out in her blog, it once seemed extreme to earn a living as a writer. Having hit that, it's time for a new extreme vision. (And my Presents attempt really might turn out a pathetic parody but I'd probably learn something in the process, and finally be able to let that dream die, at least.)
Men of Action is down and getting fiddled with. I will tell you why on the 20th, mwahaha.
Meantime, I have all these books to finish. Mostly ready for a baby at this point, so I no longer have to think about that. Will be mostly done organizing the house after this weekend, too. Basically April seems to be the month I get many things off my brain and free up some space for stories.
While I finish stuff behind the scenes, I'm listening to story music so things can grow in the free space. Music is a great jump-starter for me. Muse food. The energy helps me get a handle on the energy of a character, a scene. Sometimes you have to move sideways to move forward, and decluttering a room while listening to music can set things up for forward progress.
Thanks to random.org, we didn't have to choose between the entrants ourselves, because I couldn't have.
And the winners are:
Annmarie, 1 signed print copy of Sexy Devil by Sasha White and a $10 Amazon gift card
Heather Miller, 1 signed print copy of Animal Attraction by Charlene Teglia and a $10 Amazon gift card
Annmarie and Heather, please use the contact form on my site to send me your mailing address (for the books) and email address (for the gift card), and we'll get your prizes out to you.
A huge thank you to everybody who played, we loved seeing your responses.
I'm doing a lot of behind the scenes stuff right now, mostly involving organizing and prioritizing. I have a list of projects which need to get shuffled into priority order beyond the two I already have determined. Office got cleaned and filing caught up yesterday, and I think this morning saw the last of the immediate paperwork out the door. Which just leaves the rest of the house to deal with.
My plan is to have things set up so that taking 6 weeks off will be fairly unnoticeable, and so that I'm streamlined for functionality and scheduling through next summer. Soon I should have at least a tentative publication schedule and I'll update my new/upcoming sidebar as that solidifies. It's a good thing I have 4 single title length projects in various stages of completion, because that'll help a lot as I juggle writing with new baby.
No clever April Fool's stuff, but Sasha and I will announce our contest winner shortly. Thanks to everybody who participated.
Contest reminder! A Rock and A Hard Place is still at the special price of .99 until the end of March, and there's still time to post a review in a blog, on Facebook, Goodreads, B&N, Amazon, or Smashwords to be eligible to win signed print books and Amazon gift cards! Fabulous review posted last night by Mean Marie.
Operation Auction went live over the weekend, and the bidding is fierce but the cause is just. Fatin, tireless romance supporter, needs our support. Go shop, there are amazing offerings for readers and writers alike.
Men of Action has a gorgeous cover, courtesy of the so-talented April Martinez, and is already for sale on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble. Should be live on Amazon later today and I'll be adding a book page for it here on the site.
And now, back to work.
Men of Action has a cover!
So many things to do. Here's what's in process right now:
1. Men of Action preparing for e-release. This combines my stories from Mammoth Book of Special Ops Romance (Shoot to Thrill) and Passion: Erotic Romance for Women (3rd Time's the Charm) in one convenient ebook. I'm taking the opportunity to make these slightly expanded versions, because I can, and because it's a nice way to add value to the e-release.
2. Red Queen, the final version. So help me God. I don't know if there'll be a "next" in this series, but it sure has been fun to do a trilogy. And I think I can leave the door open for more in this world while leaving things in a very satisfactory place.
3. A read and crit, which is always both fun and a learning experience. Really, crit helps you self-edit. And having crit partners means somebody is always around to give you a second pair of eyes and perspective when you need it.
I can get two out of three off my desk today, maybe. Pushing hard to get as much work done as possible in the next 90 days.
There's a lot of stuff going on right now about Us vs. Themism in publishing, which is nothing new, and nothing I haven't been hearing my entire publishing career. But since I've recently taken the self-epub plunge myself, I thought I'd talk a little bit about the whys and wherefores.
Have I turned my back on NY? No, actually. I have another traditional print release coming up in August. I just happen to have some projects I think are better suited to the independent publishing path. For instance, Mad Stone is a novella (technically, a novelette) and I've already discussed why there isn't really a NY market for it.
I don't think traditional publishing is history, by any means. Changing, yes, but people are still buying books in print, and I would still like to see my books in stores and on shelves. Also, selling specific rights to a work for a specific amount makes it much easier to budget than trying to guess what monthly royalty earnings will be. And there are things a publisher can do for me and my books that I can’t do myself.
What about an established epublisher? Again, there are things that can be accomplished through that route; for starters, books published that way are eligible for awards, and in the case of Samhain, have the opportunity for brick and mortar bookstore distribution.
I’ve always appreciated having choices and options for my career. I thought epublishing and traditional publishing were both valid choices when I first started selling, and I still think so. I also still think it’s up to authors to educate themselves about the pros and cons and really investigate the business angles before making a choice; I saw way too many people leap on the epublishing bandwagon, for instance, with no real clue what they were getting into. Many wound up crushed by their failure to earn over $100 on a title or tied up in epublisher bankruptcy litigation. (And the awful truth is that some didn’t care as long as they got to be recognized as Published in RWA.)
It behooves every writer to treat their business like a business, to do their research and not get sucked into hype. To know their goals, and to choose the path that works for them. And in at this point in time, to be open to possibilities. The more emotional the arguments for and against any particular publishing path become, the more important it is to stick to facts when trying to make a decision.