Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Goatastic Meme

Mel over at http://melaniemccullough.blogspot.com/ tagged me for this, and thus; she is officially on MY LIST, yeah… that list.

1. Are you a HOT rutabaga?

Sure baby, you can call me whatever you want *wink wink*

2. When was the last time you ate lion meat?

Last week, Thursday.

3. Upload a heartwarming picture that makes you smile.


And if you know me at all, this makes perfect sense.

4. What song would be playing when you go back in time to beat the crap out of someone, and who, may I ask, would be this someone unfortunate enough to be in your time traveling dimensional line?

Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things To Do Today by FALL OUT BOY because it’s perfect ass kicking music if I ever heard it. And this one chick, in my old critique group. Yeah, she has it coming Winking smile

5. Name one habit you want to change in yourself because it makes people plot your demise.

I have no bad habits, I am perfect… oh wait.

6. How many goats, stacked atop one another like Yertle's Turtles, would it take to reach the moon?

I am not taking goats to the moon you idiot, that’s totally not FAA approved.

7. Describe the person who tagged you in obscure Latin words.

credo quia absurdum est it means “I believe it because it’s absurd” and I chose that because she believes me, and I’m absurd.

8. Where da muffin top at?

I refuse to confirm or deny the existence of a muffin top. Here or anywhere else.

9. Do you have nicknames?

None people use to my face.

10. What the fudge were you thinking as you were doing this?

I was thinking of telling That Mick that he was on my list of things to to do today. Darn catchy songs about ass kicking.

Now, tag as many people as you want.

Write a rhyme for #1

Karen has OCD.
Just like me. <3

#2 dreams about...

Where would #3 hide in the event of an apocalypse?

Monday, July 25, 2011

If it smells like crap, it’s probably crap.

I have touched on this before, but previously skirted the issue because of friends of mine that had fallen into this trap. I always felt very guilty about not telling you the complete truth, I after all, prefer to always be honest even if it’s not easy.

Well I am not friends with those people anymore so now it’s entirely too easy.


How To: Spot a Dead Beat *Indie* Publisher

I use the term indie loosely because loosely is all it’s ever used these days. This of course does not mean all indie publishers are bad, but I am going to tell you how to spot the really smelly ones, and show you how people wind up falling into these traps.

Indie publishers are any publishers independent of the big time publishers and their imprints. Sometimes you don’t even realize you are reading a book by the main guys because they have so many names, so many aliases that oddly often do the same things and the same genres.

But I digress…

If you really wanted too, and trust me, you don’t. BUT IF YOU DID you could find a crappy little e-book only (or mostly) publisher to ‘publish’ your book no matter how bad it is. WHY? Because it’s almost impossible to lose money on an e-book if they aren’t going to invest any money to begin with. This to me, is more of a vanity publishing than going your own on Amazon ever could be. You want to be able to say you have a publisher (even if they suck) you want to have that validation.

Oh trust me, I do too, but not at this kind of cost!

Red Flag #1: Publisher Website. Does their website look like something I could have designed in 1994 with remedial html skills in under five minutes? Are their broken links? Could your mother do a better job? Professional publishers need to have a professional website. End. Of. Story. NO EXCEPTIONS!! If they don’t care enough to put their best cyber foot forward, how are they going to treat your book?

Red Flag #2: Fill in the blank contracts, or contracts with unspecified terms. I will preface this by saying, everything I learned about publishing contracts I learned from people on Twitter, but a little common sense in this industry can go a long long way. A professional contract is NOT fill in the blank. All terms and lengths of time should be clearly defined, nothing should be left hanging. The contract should clearly state how long it is good for, I have actually seen fill in the blank contracts that state they are good until basically the ‘publisher’ decides otherwise. I have seen contracts that state they basically own your next book(s). Sure, that would be great (maybe) if you are with random house, but your crappy little e-book publisher could go under tomorrow and then you are in a mess of trouble.

Red Flag #3: You do all the work they still get half the money. If they are taking 30-50% (or God more) of your book sales ask yourself WHY. Most bad indie publishers will require you provide your own cover art, all of your own marketing. (Yes I know even the big six publishers don’t do much marketing these days BUT ask yourself why a small press can’t even have a Twitter account to tweet about new releases) You will have to pay for any review copies. They do not offer any editing services, or worse make you pay them for the services, or they will even claim that your book is good enough with out being professionally edited. YES! I have had friends who believed their publishers when they said they did not need to be edited! AHHHH!!! If all a publisher offers you is to put your book on their crappy little website (see red flag #1) and format your e-book run away! These things are not worth their price tag of never ending profit splits.

Any questions? Really, I could go on all day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Writing Process Demystified #4 Can’t get away to an island paradise for inspiration? You aren’t trying hard enough.

I’m on vacation, and since most of you follow me on Twitter you probably already know that because I haven’t stopped tweeting about it. Today I am going to share with you how to get away with out getting away, because I often can’t get away and most of the time when I do there is extended family involved.

Some people need a change of scenery to really get their creative juices flowing. I have a good imagination, and can usually just pretend I am somewhere else, but there is nothing better than this when you really need an island get away:


I dig the sound of water splashing into pools blow my feet, but this isn’t a real island; this is the Butterfly Exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

I’m a big fan of museums in general, and have come up with some amazing ides at the including Pigments of My Imagination.

Say you wanted to write about a dinosaur, or even better yet—a dragon.Need something so you can adequately capture the sheer size of it?


Thoughts are fleeting, sometimes trying to describe something you saw in a mirage. There for a second, then gone. Solid things like this can help you gain a foothold on a tone or image you need to capture.

No matter where you live, there are things around you, ordinary things or dinosaurs, that can inspire you. Do try and keep your eyes open.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Defining inspiration in 140 characters or less. Where mine comes from, and how to get inside my head.


If you are a writer who hangs out with other writers chances are someone has DARED ask you about your process. (Since you are here that is a big affirmative.)

I always ask other writers about their process on my blog because it helps to understand it. Make them think about it, make them think period. Trust me, it can only help.

I’d understand my writing as effortless. I just write and there is very little fuss. I have spent more than half my life learning to manipulate my own process and I like to share that with my friends. The more awesome writers there are the more fabulous stories I have to read, and that is really what it is about for me; awesome stories.

The thing I get asked the most (Other than when my book comes out.) Is:
How do I come up with my ideas?

It’s a loaded question. Some people want to to know how I come up with my plots, others how I come up with characters, settings, and  million specific other things but the truth is I never really have an answer. Until today.

I tend to tweet about ideas I have. Not specific ideas because I am not running a free idea bank, but when I have ideas, or sometimes even teasers about them. I know every book I am going to write for the next three years, and I am as disturbed by that as I am proud. Tweeting about them—and they often show themselves in large clumps—leads to people asking how a lot more often than I am ever going to be confortable with. I often find myself trying to explain, only to end up apologizing for not being to find the words to explain in properly, and ending with a promise that I am actually a writer.

To make it easy on both of us, I am going to start by listing the top places ideas tend to come to me. On my Sunday special The Writing Process Demystified I will explore some of these ideas in details.

#1 The shower. I hear this answer from many other writers. A couple of weeks back just before one Ninja Chat or another and in that brief moment in time I came up with an entire book plot, and wrote word for words the first 3 paragraphs. I came up with main character names, and in less than minutes I felt I knew them all. Here is how I do it:

Forget everything. For me, writers block doesn’t exist. Writers block is something more appropriately named life or stress. If you removed that from your head creative you will have no inhabitation. If you don’t worry about failing, you never will. So don’t think about any of that. Close your eyes, and pretend you are someone else.

#2 Parks/Museums/art galleries. Turn off the world, and look at everything with fresh eyes. Don’t think about what you want have for dinner, or bills you have to pay. Go through these places like a child would, seeing everything for the first time. You know Rorschach tests? Do this with yourself, write down what your initial thoughts are on everything,and keep them for later.

#3 Traffic. I think I would have serious road rage if not for the people watching I do when in traffic jams. Need a character? Look around you.* Since it is likely you will never see these people again feel to draw up hasty first impressions to use in your fictitious works.

*Coming soon: http://caricaturereferences.blogspot.com/ a blog for characters of all sorts by me and the talented (and insane) Heather Jacobs at http://wickedlytwisted.wordpress.com/ 

I probably shouldn’t call other people insane that is like the pot, and the… oh don’t make me say it. I’d love to hear about your top inspiration spots, and make sure you check back for Writing Demystified this Sunday I am going into spot #2

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why do I need a platform? This soapbox works just fine.


Yesterday I wrote a guest post over at Harry Potter for Writers here:

In the comments people mentioned that I *might* be the kind of gal who speaks her mind—and that’s true. I like to climb the tallest mountain and shout from its snow covered peak about things that I believe in. There is no shame there, I never claim to have all the answers but I will always know what I feel is right. No amount of naysayers or industry experts can take that away from me, or away from you.

Lately I have been reading a lot of about the importance of author platforms. Previously I ignored these types of informational posts, author platforms are for nonfiction writers, right?

Yes. But no.

If you are a politician, and you campaign on health care reform, that is called your platform. If you are a nonfiction writer you would need something that would make you an expert in your field, or qualified to write about your subject. Do you have a cooking blog that reaches 100k? That would be your platform. Are you a show dog judge with years of having your name out there? That would be your platform.

So how does any of this relate to the fiction writer?

It’s not like Amanda Hocking is qualified to write young adult vampire novels because she is a young adult vampire. I mean she could be, but I don’t know her business.

The more information I see on platforms for fiction writers, the more I realize they are using platform in the place of something else. A combination of audience, fan base, and followers. I see some people ask “What is your platform?” But what I hear is, “Who is going to buy your book?” Who, not what is the important part.

A million years ago Writer’s Digest had an article of platforms and it can be found here:


I think it’s more accurate than a lot of the platform blogs I see out there recently. I’d say the first section is the best, after that it gets into the same thought process that platform= some kind of angle. Which again is more true for nonfiction writers.

You don’t need an angle, you need a captive audience. People could argue my platform is writing, but it’s every other writer’s too. Other people would be compelled to say my book is my platform, or my genre is my platform but none of those are quite right either.

I have come to the conclusion, I don’t need to define a platform. The soap box of my blog is just fine. What I need is to sell a number of books, that no one can define but enough to be called a success, and then no one will care about a few planks of wood.

So when people tell you that you need a platform, take a second to think about what they are really saying.

Monday, June 27, 2011




I decided to do this fun little number on a whim, you can check it out here:

All the cool people were doing it!

After that I weighed on and off all morning WHICH ‘wip’ I should use. I am doing my final few edits on SKELETON LAKE and writing my first Draft of a Book called Those Damned DeLeons which you wont even get to see until next year.

So since TDD’s release date is so far away I went with Skeleton Lake! Pigments of My Imagination will be out soon, and after that is Skeleton Lake which is the first book in a 4 book series.

The RULES for this Blogfest:
Pick any five lines or any five SHORT excerpts from one of your WIPs. If you're feeling shy, and don't want to share from your own work, share from something you LOVE.

So here I go:

1.) "The lake is nothing but a false idol. Tormenting me like a cruel god. Reminding me for all my days, and every last dream filled night, that what it gives to us it can so easily take away." –Raiden

2.) Most of all I wanted to hate her, needed to. Because she had died and stayed that way, because she had left him alone and that made him miserable, and because no amount of anything I had to give would ever take that away.

3.) Raiden had invaded my heart; my very existence was of him, false flesh and bronze bones.  I couldn't let him live here, permeating the walls of my family home too.

4.) "I chose you from all the others," she sang. "to give you the life I gave away, to save you from sharing a fate with me. Don't make the same mistake again."—Cassie

5.) Conrad walked out into the muddy water of the lake. He did not use the dock. I watched him shed layers like every part of him was screaming in pain. I knew that it probably was. His back was turned to me, and I was grateful I couldn’t see the parts of him that made him what he was. A Hallow.

So what do you guys think?

Just FYI tomorrow I am doing a guest blog over at Harry Potter for Writers:

I am very excited about it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Writing Process Demystified #3: To Tweet, or Not to Tweet? That is the Question.


If I am writing book, which is often, I am writing it longhand. My first draft is always done in legal pads and spiral notebooks, with the exception the the middle grade books I write; those are done in composition books.

None of them involve actual skulls (well maybe Skeleton Lake) or soliloquies.

I have been writing for more than half my life, at twenty seven I am very set in my ways.

The one really bad thing about that is I HATE typing my book when it’s done, mostly because when you have to transfer it you get in your first good edit. I read my book out loud as I type it and I pick up on awkward sentences and things that do not work at all.

Only sick people like editing.

There is a battle being waged by those who think the pen is mightier than Microsoft Word; but there is an even more epic controversy.

To tweet, or not to tweet, (while writing) that is the question.

Coming from the girl who tweeted her way through the 3 Day Novel Contest, I guess it’s easy to see what side of the fence I typically end up on. Typically, but not always.

I think you can always tell when I am tweeting and writing. Mostly because those tweets make little sense, and are often entirely random and not about writing at all.

It’s true I have managed to ability to write longhand and tweet at the same time. That is because I don’t have to be looking at the paper to form the letters, and I already wrote the sentence in my head so the words are just there—on the tips of my fingers.

But sometimes… sometimes I need a reason to slack off. Sometimes I am looking for that distraction.

I have experimented with programs like Write or Die, I ground myself from twitter, and even the ability to mess with my playlists if I don’t hit my goals. BUT what it really comes down to is your ability to tune out the distractions, to make yourself do whatever it takes. If you can’t teach yourself discipline your writing career with be fraught with uphill battles that lead to no where.  No amount of fancy gadgets or anything else will save you from yourself.