Your Opinion Needed!

November 25th, 2016

I’m pulling together the new cover for My Immortal Assassin. Here are 4 possibilities. Which do you like? There’s a poll at the bottom of this post, but feel free to add other feedback in the comments. Models + backgrounds are not fixed, meaning, any of them could have a blue or orange background. So. What do YOU think?

Version 004

Blue glowy background, youngerish model with some tats, model is slightly to the right of the image.

blue glowy background, shirtless model with some tats

004

Version 005

Orange glowy background, youngerish model, tats, slightly more intense look. Center of image.

glowy orange background, no tat shirtless model

005

Version 006

Orange glowy background, olderish model no tats, hands behind head.

glowy orange background, no tat shirtless model hands behind head

006

Version 007

Orange glowy background, no tats, olderosh model, arms at sides.

glowy orange background, no tat shirtless model

007

Which version do you like best?

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Here’s Why

November 24th, 2016

Fahrenheit Press (if you love mystery and crime, this is a great press) just tweeted a link to this post about submissions in which they muse on why 90% of their submissions are from men. The post includes this:

a) men put themselves forward to speak more
b) men say yes more when asked to speak
c) women are more likely to refuse to speak when asked

I can tell you why A-C are true in addition to the fact that women tend to believe they need to be better even when they already are. Way better. (Because, as we so often see, we HAVE to be better. We don’t often have the luxury of being mediocre.)

a. Because women pay a high price when they put themselves forward. Men do not pay that price. Women have long, hard experience with seeing men chosen over them even when we’re more competent and knowledgeable. That high price includes being called a bitch, everyone saying we talk too much, silent demerits from management and colleagues (she’s not a team player, she complains too much…) and dismissal of our words– often those words and ideas are repeated by men to great accolades. The fate of Kathy Sierra and Anita Sarkesian are two obvious examples. There are millions more. It’s also wrapped up in b.

b. Women don’t say yes as often because of a. The abuse can be horrific. For God’s sake, not even Clay Shirkey understands this. Instead, he criticizes his women grad students for not putting themselves in line for being dismissed, called names, and generally devalued from the start. The playing field is not level, and women are not judged by the same standard as men. Heaven help you if you’re a woman of color. (Names reveal this. Google reveals this.) Until men like Shirkey understand this, we HAVE to consider silence as a survival tactic.

c. Because we know what happens when we speak out. Why risk it? Frankly, when it’s a guy saying he wants to hear more from women, we’re so cynical from years of A and B that we don’t believe in what may actually be a good faith offer.

If you’re not getting submissions from women, it’s because you have to say more than “we want to hear from women.” You have to prove you mean it and that you’re doing your best to recognize that everything about publishing privileges the male.

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Writing News

November 19th, 2016

Surrender to Ruin

I have sent Surrender to Ruin off to the first round of editing. I expect to have that back in 2-3 weeks. I hope, but cannot guarantee, that I can turn that around pretty quickly. Then it’s off to a second round of editing.

The story is done and I love it so so much! Honest to goodness, this book is in the final stages.

The current, unedited, chapter 1 (updated version already posted! Mostly, it was tidying up work).  At some point, I’ll post additional chapters, probably 5 or 6, to the Members Only section of my website. This area is for people who subscribe to my newsletter.

My Immortal Assassin

I’ve bought back the remaining print stock for My Immortal Assassin, book 3 in my My Immortals series, so this book is reverting to me. The only changes will be a new cover (in progress), new back cover copy (also in progress) and formatting — the files are ready to go. Expect to see my version released before the end of the year.

I will be writing “prequels” to this book that will provide a new and exciting lead-in to the series, by the way, since I do not expect to get reversions for the first two books any time soon. This will allow me to set up a free or heavily discounted entry to the series. It’s been tough to get new readers for the series with Books 1 and 2 completely cut off from the rest of the books.

Historical Anthology

I’m doing another anthology with Grace Burrows, Shana Galen, and Miranda Neville. The title is How to Find a Duke in 10 Days. It’s a fun premise that I’m looking forward to writing! Look for that in September 2017.

New Series

I hope to be starting a new series in the next few weeks. Dark Elves. It’s been percolating in my writer brain for some time.

Other Projects

Additional projects on the schedule include a historical novella, Miss Fiona Harper’s Night of Passion.

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Penguin

November 6th, 2016

So, I saw the penguin video,* which depicts penguins fighting for the right to perpetuate the species.

I am totally cool with the nature thing of penguins. The narration, however, is NOT a nature thing. The narration is exactly the kind of bullshit that reinforces the message that male humans have a right to female humans and that violence is A-OK in enforcing that right.

Because lookit. Penguins are not people. They do not live by the norms of human culture. The female penguin wasn’t anybody’s wife. Male Penguin No 1 was not her husband. In fact, that male penguin had exactly ZERO right to the female penguin. ZERO.

Allow me to provide a different script:

Here is a female penguin with a Hot Stuff male penguin she believes is way more likely to be right for raising the kids successfully than the loser she used to be with. OH NO!!! Here comes that loser asshole male penguin No 1 who was such a major mistake. Now hot stuff and asshole are fighting! Wow. That is a lot of blood, but when a female penguin finds a better mate, an asshole’s gonna be an asshole and someone’s gonna lose.

I submit that this is an equally valid narration to what National Geographic supplied.

Thank you.

*Google Penguin Video, but be warned it’s bloody with bonus human misogyny

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Period

October 29th, 2016

So there I was on my lunch hour revising a scene in the MS when I suddenly needed to know a bit more about what women used when they had their periods. (This is for Surrender to Ruin, a historical romance, fyi). I had some ideas, but it’s always nice to do some research on such points. So off to Google I went. Fairly quickly, and not unexpectedly, I found that documentation is somewhat sparse.

This should be obvious to you-all, right? Not only is this a 100% female related event, but no one wrote much about going to the toilet etc. We know something about what people used for toilet paper in the Medieval era because there are a few places where conditions ended up preserving the material — moss, for example. But it’s not something people wrote down and then saved for posterity. I did not expect to come across copious documentation.

But I did expect to find some scholarly speculation. My quick and dirty research came to a quick halt when I came across this article about what American and European woman might have done historically. Why this would be materially different from what women all over the world have done, I’m not sure, but people specialize in all sorts of arcane areas.

The author notes that ancient Egyptians made tampons and mentions evidence in other countries that women used rags and other materials such as sheep wool wrapped in cloth. So far I was thinking, yeah. This sounds totally reasonable. Some of this evidence includes European women. And then the author says:

“Read why I have concluded, in May 2001, that most European and American women probably used nothing at all, bleeding into their clothing.”

Here is a representation of my reaction:

What do you mean my files are gone?

What????

The article gets even more ridiculous. Apparently, several woman contacted him to relate their actual personal knowledge of what their relatives did, many of said relatives having been born in the late 1800’s. Some of those people were actual historians with actual evidence. Those emails are posted, along with rebuttals.

Rebuttals. Please go on. Tell us more about your theory that defies logic and actual experience of the subject matter.

My suspicion that the author had never had a period turned out to be correct. The author is a man. And in epic fashion, he has decided that he, a person who has never menstruated, can deduce what women did and to hell with all historical evidence and the women who basically said a nice version of “You are an idiot, and here is why.”

No woman would decide she’d just bleed into her clothes, particularly when the vast majority of women would not have been able to afford to replace their clothing that often. There would be evidence of blood-stained clothing. There would be references to the epic consumption of shifts among the female population. There would be references to monthly replacements of mattresses among those who could afford them.

As a person who has personally experienced periods, I can say with 100% confidence that no woman would just bleed into her clothes as a matter of course. It’s just so ignorant and insulting. I can’t even.

I will leave you with one of my favorite videos by one of my favorite YouTubers, Sabrina, of Nerdy and Quirky, in which she addresses the subject of period euphemisms. Enjoy.

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Progress is Made

October 23rd, 2016

OK, so yes, I am still working on Surrender to Ruin. The first round of revisions are done. My plan this weekend were to start a last paper read through before it goes to my editor. Last week I was pleased with the back half of the novel and really glad to see that I had very little work to do for the final chapter, which I finished Friday. Saturday was going to be that paper read through. Only, I ended up being really unhappy with Chapter 1. I love this chapter. I really do, but it wasn’t right and I decided I was done trying to make it work so I deleted it. And then I spent all day rewriting the new Chapter 1, which used to be Chapter 2 and it went really well.

This morning I reworked the new chapter 1 a bit more and then I had an opening I really really like. I printed it off and started my paper read through, with violet ink for those interested, around 11:30 AM. I got up to Chapter 7 without any drastic changes and then I had to go grocery shopping because otherwise there would be no food in the house.

And there is the Progress Report.

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The Disguise of Author Services

October 2nd, 2016

Here’s what I’m starting to dread and despise. I hear an interview with an author of fiction, and talk about their fiction etc and what they did to publish and market. And then there’s something along the lines of “Oh, and I put together this free resource, go here to check it out!”

And you do, and every damn one follows the same website format. A long, long, long, long page where you keep getting a bunch of marketing language, usually with big bright arrows and buttons, and all you really want to know is where you can get the material promised at the website/interview, which eventually you do get, along with the requirement that you turn over your email and HEY, HERE’S SOME PAID CONTENT where I tell more more stuff.

And then the content you were promised is really nothing that any reasonably informed author doesn’t already know. And ALL THESE GUYS — because they’re all guys, it turns out, actually got their start in non-fiction of some vague business-y content, and if they write fiction, they often won’t reveal the name their fiction is written under — OR they won’t reveal the name their non-fiction is under.

Because their real business is selling “self-help” which is either completely inappropriate for fiction or is something every dialed in romance author already knows. You have to have a great cover!!! OMG. WHO FUCKING COULD EVER HAVE GUESSED THAT!!!! You have to use the right keywords. Like some how that’s the formula for cold fusion which you can ONLY get from them because they are being so generous. You need a great cover blurb!  Really? Like that isn’t obvious? You need reviews! And on and on and on and just shut up already.

And then it starts to turn out that all these guys know each other from before they started writing fiction/selling self-help to authors.

And I am just really cynical now and it makes me want to cry. That’s all.

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In Writing News . . .

September 11th, 2016

Surrender to Ruin is back from my trusted first pass reader. I’ll be diving into some revisions before it goes off to my editor.

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A Penny Loaf Made my Head Hurt

September 10th, 2016

I was writing and then I needed to know some details about food in the Regency and so, off to Google Books Advanced Search.  . . . two hours later . . . I came across an interesting recipe for bread pudding, which I happen to love.

image of a recipe. Text below!

Recipe!

 

Bread pudding

Take the crumb of a penny loaf, and pour on it a pint of good milk boiling hot, when it is cold, beat it very fine, with two ounces of butter and sugar to your palate, grate half a nutmeg in it, beat it up with four eggs, and put them in and beat altogether near half an hour, tie it in a cloth and boil it an hour, you may put in half a pound of currants for change, and pour over it white wine sauce.

To make a boiled bread pudding a second way.

Take the inside of a penny loaf, grate it fine, add it to two ounces of butter, take a pint and a half of milk, with a stick of cinnamon; boil it and pour it over the bread, and cover it close until it is cold, then take six eggs beat up very well with rose water, mix them all well together, sweet to your taste, and boil it one hour.

I figured it would be interesting to attempt this. My first hurdle is figuring out the size of a penny loaf. It turns out the size/weight of a penny loaf was dependent on the cost of wheat. I read a bunch and saw all the formulas and as near as I can tell a penny loaf had to weigh anywhere from 11 to 16 troy ounces.  A troy ounce is 31.1034768 g (1.097142857143 ounces.)  Some more googleing . . . .

16 troy ounces is 17.554285714288 regular ounces.

Let’s just say a penny loaf is about 16 ounces. I’ll get some bread and attempt this. I’ll report back.

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The Wired Ear

September 10th, 2016

For people worried about losing their soon to be delivered Apple wireless earbuds, I HAVE SOLVED THIS PROBLEM in what I think is a truly elegant manner.

Drawing of an ear (pretend it's artful) with an earbud attached to the peirced ear via a chain.

Storage!

 

Here’s the “In” position:

Drawing of an ear (pretend it's artful) with an earbud in the ear but still attached to the peirced ear via a chain.

Useful!

Pretty much genius, am I right?

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