Thursday, January 8, 2015

"I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must"

Feel free to grab this image and use it 

I don't particularly like Salman Rushdie. I haven't been a fan of crude, crass satire since I outgrew MAD magazine. But there's tremendous danger in keeping silent just because you aren't the immediate target.

Censorship is one of those things that can creep in on little cat feet. The nasty, rude, and badly written stuff on the fringes is easy to object to. It offends just about everybody. So it's easy to tell them to shut up, go away, you're just cluttering up the landscape.

Then the questions start about whether the better written satires are in poor taste. Whether offending anybody, or the chance of offending anybody, is a bad idea. Whether those offended people have guns and might kick in your door.

Jihadists? Maybe. Or maybe it will be governmentally sanctioned door-kickers.

Censorship is alive and well in the United States, of course. I first became aware of it as a comic book fan through the work of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund -- why does such a thing even need to exist? Because the fringe stuff in the comic book world is nasty, rude, badly written, and offends just about everybody.

Does it have a right to exist? Absolutely. Should the creators be called out on their rudeness, use of awful stereotypes, misogyny, and bad writing? Absolutely.

And on a more personal note, I've been mildly censored myself. Self-publishers may remember the purge of incest, under-age, and other fringe pornography from the ebook shelves a year or two ago. In the midst of all that, Kobo.com quietly threw my Disciple, Part II out of their store and blocked it. They never said why. I can guess, but why bother? I took all of Disciple out of Kobo and I won't do any further business with them.

Fortunately, I can do business elsewhere. But as I said, censorship can creep in quietly. It doesn't take masked thugs with guns.

Just some thoughts. What have the Charlie Hebdo shootings made you think about?

ETA: the CBLDF is brave enough to post the images -- bless them.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The case of elusive mojo

And so this is the closing of 2014. It's been a good year for me on the whole, but there are parts I'm not wanting to repeat.

It's said many times, many ways: a writer must write. I've blogged about how important a writing habit is, whether daily or weekly. 2014 reinforced the truth of that for me.

My daily word counts get tweeted and I track my progress in the sidebar of my blog. Down at the bottom you can see word counts from previous years. My peak year was 2012. I blamed the drop-off in 2013 on time lost to self-publishing and promotions.

This year I simply fell off the bandwagon. Yeah, I can blame personal drama and late editors but it comes down to: I didn't write. As a result, I didn't even break 100,000 words this year.

(ducks thrown tomatoes)

Everybody's different. I wrote 95,800 words in 2014 and for me that's discouraging. A project that felt like a major undertaking was stillborn. I spent too much time waiting for things.

On the up side, I self-published two volumes of Disciple and sold Hawks & Rams. I did finish the story I was writing at the beginning of 2014 -- Callisto's Ghost -- and my current WIP has surprised me.

Will 2015 be better? worse? I have to wonder whether I am in a slump or if the years that I was writing Disciple were unnaturally fertile. That sort of question does not have an answer, since I will never be the person I was in 2012 again (if I have anything to say about it.) Whoever I am now, I need to work on my writing discipline as much as I ever did.

My old word counts still stand as proof to how much you can get done plugging away with less than a thousand words a day. That's right, even at my best the daily average works out to less than you'd think. Less than it takes to win NaNoWriMo.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Update

My novella Hawks & Rams will be available starting the 31st from Dreamspinner Press (their pageAmazon) and I will be having a posting party at their blog on January 1st. Once I wake up from the New Year's Eve celebrations, of course. I will also be chatting on their FB page on the 4th.

I will be posting the map and character index for H&R over at my book blog.

If you're on my mailing list, look for an announcement about Disciple, Part VI's release date. :)

I've been keeping my head down and writing all month. After what a bad year for writing it has been, it seemed risky to divide my focus... though if you've been following my daily word count at Twitter or watching my sidebar here at the blog you can see the progress starting to pile up. I hit 35k on my WIP the other day and it felt good.

Keep writing, friends. Slow and steady can win the race.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Becoming a crossover author

Back in May, my novella Hawks & Rams was accepted for publication at Dreamspinner Press. Up to now, I've been a self-publisher so naturally I wondered how different the process would be with a publisher.

My novella is coming out December 31st (check it out!)... And here's the story so far:

Editing
The process was strikingly similar to going through multiple rounds of beta feedback. To be honest, I was expecting more conversation and some sort of comment on the changes I made, the new bits that I wrote. In general I agree with "no news is good news" but the process did leave me a bit uncertain about the final story. 

Blurb
I had to explain my story to the blurb department and they wrote based on that. Guess I should have known they weren't going to actually read it? Either way, they sent it to me for feedback and it was pretty good.

Cover
I had to explain my story to the cover artist. This, I can understand more why they might not read the book. I gave a couple rounds of feedback and I'm happy with the result. 

Strangest thing
I realized this a couple weeks ago and double-checked my correspondence with Dreamspinner... Aside from some generic compliments they gave me, I have no idea why they wanted to publish Hawks & Rams. I assume somebody enjoyed the story, liked the characters, found the sex steamy or something, but I have no direct evidence of that. 

I suppose I could ask, of course, but that seems odd as well. 

So overall, working with a small press publisher been similar to self publishing but I haven't had to pay anybody. There's the release and promotions yet to come, though. Stay tuned!
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