Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

I gots my first blog award! I's so excited that I forgots my personhood rules on verbs!

…Well, not really, but grammar nuts like myself find such pretense funny.

The award is the Versatile Blogger Award!

I got nominated by Mireille Chester, a friendly lady who isn't freaked out when a random stranger offers to help with something. I discovered Mireille from a retweet from someone I follow on Twitter (Draven Ames, I think). I noticed she was having problems with getting her books' cover images to be able to work with e-book vendors. I figured I had enough programs on my old Mac that I might be able to figure something out.

Mireille says she's not tech-savvy, but when she told me what she'd already tried… She's a lot more computer literate than she thinks she is!

The blog award rules are simple:

  1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.
  3. Pass the award on to 5 newfound blogging buddies.
  4. Contact the winners to congratulate them.

So, now for 7 random facts about myself:

  1. When I'm happiest, I listen to gothic metal; when I'm the most depressed, I listen to chipper Christian teen pop.
  2. I've been a player moderator in a big MMO you've probably heard of; but I'm not allowed to admit which one, because you have no way of verifying that I'm telling the truth. (I can't play it any longer because it crashes my poor outdated computer).
  3. I tried the WoW demo and didn't like the combat interface.
  4. I'm a devout Christian, specifically reformed presbyterian.
  5. I wish I could write "light but serious" like Shanna Swendson in her Katie Chandler series that's Harry Potter meets Bridget Jones.
  6. My friend who does wildlife rescue jokes that I'm the "squirrel whisperer", because I can often get the more skittish squirrels they rescue to trust me within minutes.
  7. I'm rice intolerant. That means I get severe pain and stomach upset from eating it. I can't have rice flour, starch, vinegar, etc—and Pringles have rice in them. I learned that the hard way.

Now for passing the award on! Woo! 5 versatile bloggers… Hm…


Darn. Only one of the folks I wanted to nominate is in a position to accept, right now, so here goes:

  1. Kait Nolan - has a day job that's full-time+, self-publishes fantasy, runs a writer blog and a cooking blog, and manages to get lots more done, too!


P.S. A Fistful of Fire's sale price has ended, but Destiny's Kiss has now been released for $2.99!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Current Release Plans

Welcome new followers! You've come from a variety of places, and I'm glad to see you!

As an independent author (translation: I self publish), I've decided I need a plan. Otherwise, I'm going to muck about and be all irregular and everything. And if I list my plan publicly, you readers are my witnesses who can harass me if I get off schedule.

So. My plan is to release 1 new story the first week of every month. That story may be anything from flash fiction to a novel, but a story a month. My goal is to release on the 1st of each month (on Smashwords, at least), unless the 1st is a Sunday. In which case, I might release the day before or after; it all depends on what's going on in life.

In fact, I already have a nice little schedule sitting on my desk. This schedule reflects my hopes and is subject to change:

  • July: Destiny's Kiss (Darkworld Chronicles; Destiny Walker: Book 1)
  • August: "Romeo & Jillian" (Tales from the Darkworld)
  • September: "Of Her Own" (Tales from Aleyi)
  • October: A Fistful of Earth (Chronicles of Marsdenfel: Book 2)
  • November: ?????
  • December: "A Summer Birthday" (Tales from the Darkworld)
  • January: [Untitled] (Darkworld Chronicles; Destiny Walker: Book 2)

Yeah, still working on that gap. And "Of Her Own" is currently on submission with "Weird Tales"; I should get their "Yay" or "Nay" in August.

As you can see, I want to release a novel every 3 months, but we'll see how that goes. If I need longer, I'll take longer—but I know my own abilities and know that such a pace is doable.

Do you have a plan for what you want to get done over the next few months? (Doesn't have to be writing or publishing.)


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Great INDIE Summer Read Giveaway

See the pretty pink button in my sidebar? I'm a participating author in The Great INDIE Summer Read Giveaway being hosted by Coffee Mugged, which for whatever reason has put "indie" in all-caps. It starts tomorrow, 6/15/11, and will go through 7/31/11.

This is one giveaway to check out. Over a hundred books will be given away, and it isn't US-only. I've seen a draft list of who's participating and what they're offering. You want to sign up for this giveaway.

My offerings? An e-copy each of A Fistful of Fire and Destiny's Kiss.

I'll also be guest posting on what made me come up with those two books. Per the last contact I had with the hostess, my post will go up this Saturday, 6/18/11.

For further news, you might notice that page I have in my navigation bar: "Why I Self Pub". Self publication isn't for everyone, and I chose it for a variety of reasons, some that are perhaps a bit different than you might expect.

I'm also in the process of prepping both Destiny's Kiss for e-publication and A Fistful of Fire for print publication… and I'm working on the sequels to both. I'm currently hoping to have another book ready for release the first week of October, but I'm in no position to set that in stone.

So. What are you still doing here? Go bookmark that giveaway!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Darkness Too Visible?

The Wall Street Journal created a bit of an uproar this past weekend with its article "Darkness Too Visible". The article presumably laments how "dark" graphic topics and language are prominent in modern young adult fiction, and how parents who protest are accused of "banning" the books. (I'll explain that "presumably" in a minute.)

Folks like Josin L. McQuein and Pam van Hylckama Vlieg have posted rebuttals. Josin says that yes, topics are dark, and they well should be—only by putting the darkness under the spotlight will we actually be able to drive it back. Pam says that she wishes she had such dark YA available when she was a young adult, because then she would've known she wasn't alone.

The #yasaves hashtag on Twitter is filled with people who agree that the "dark" fiction has benefits. People also point out that the WSJ article might be an intentional attention grab, because it ignores the many "light" YA titles that are widely available.

I find myself in my usual middleman position. I actually find myself agreeing with everyone, here.

How is this possible? Because the two sides are talking about two different things. The WSJ doesn't do a good job of making the actual crux of the issue obvious, burying it under extremist comments, which is what's produced the wildfire response.

The crux of the issue: Some people find "dark" fiction useful, and others don't want to read it or to have their kids scarred by it.

Sure, some kids can handle it. But some can't. (Yet.)

I don't care for graphic language or sexuality, but I like dark topics. But I've had a fairly "light" home life. When I was 12, I had less exposure to objectionable language and sex scenes than was contained some PG-13 movies. I'm a visual learner, particularly from typed monochromatic words, meaning what I read impacts my memory. Reading graphic YA fiction wasn't educational for me—it was scarring. I talk to myself, and one day I caught myself muttering a curse.

I don't curse. I had to go cold turkey on reading anything that looked like it would have objectionable language to get the word out of my head. Which leads to another complaint that was in the WSJ article: finding "clean" YA fiction is hard.

Oh, sure, there are titles to find. But how on earth do you find them? Books don't exactly come with advisories. More than once, I've read a book and been startled about halfway through when some foul-mouthed character enters the scene. It makes me feel cheated, because the first half of the book is false advertising for the rest.

These days, "dark" is what's chic, so "dark" is what's before our faces. People remember negatives better than they do positives, and "dark" is a negative for some people. That means they remember the "dark" books they see better than they do the "light" ones.

Yes, "dark" fiction is a good thing. Yes, "light" fiction is also a good thing. And yes, "light" fiction, though it exists, is a bit hard to find at the moment.


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