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Begin At The Beginning

When I was a very young writer, whose “professionalism” was measured in the number of rejections I got every month — a prodigious number.  I usually hit 100 by March of every year.  I was the writer of no future — I was offended when I heard that most editors only read your first page and rejected on that.

The thought went something like “but I have all that good stuff afterwards.  So, what if my first page isn’t brilliant.”

Years later, when I was the editor of a micro press, I found that I could reject stories on one paragraph and that if — because I was young and stupid — I forced myself to read to the end, the story never improved. Read more

The writer has no brain

The title says it all. The writer has no brain this morning. I’m a week away from the release of Light Magic, the next book in the Eerie Side of the Tracks series. That means I’m living on lots of coffee, not enough food (because I forget to eat) and a brain turned to mush by editing. Add in the fact I’m also writing on the next project for a couple of hours at night because, as usual, Myrtle the Evil Muse is evil. It is so bad that I haven’t taken time to read a book I’d been looking forward to that was released yesterday. Sniffle.

So figuring out what to blog about has had me staring at my computer screen without inspiration coming. Well, that’s not exactly true. Myrtle, laughing maniacally, reminds me that I didn’t finish a certain scene I’d been writing last night. She oh-so-subtly reminds me I could post it here, let you see a scene in progress. Not only no, but hell no. For one, the scene isn’t finished — do you have any idea how difficult it is to write a sex scene with your mother sitting across the room from you? Read more

Don’t Step On The Wrong Square

Writers and artists and other obsessives are not very nice people, I’m afraid.  We will do anything to have our work reach the public.  Sometimes we will do anything to research for our work too.  Well, not anything, but I have stories.

My research mania is not so much criminal as odd.  At death’s door, I made notes, in case I survived, because I was going to need it for a novel.  I made a friendship because the (future) friend’s brother had just suffered an injury similar to that of the character I was writing.  I tracked that recovery more than if the stranger were a child of mine.  Stories strike suddenly too.  Once while following my husband into a massive dark warehouse of used moving boxes for resale, I said without thinking “What a great place to kill someone.”  The face of the poor girl leading us, as she turned back to look was a thing to behold. Read more

Bare is the brotherless back.

“Even leaving the oceans was bad idea, and the concept of leaving the trees, bound to end in tears and New York City…” I never had a lot of time for genealogy. Life is really about who YOU are and what YOU make of your life. Still genetics – or perhaps family traditions — do seem to if not so much repeat, to follow trends. In some ways my family are a hidebound a set of conservatives – at least about family traditions. The Freer coat of arms, registered in the 1540’s IIRC was granted to William Leacroft Freer. The use of Leacroft as a second or third Christian name is still inflicted on the boys. It was very useful for those games where you could pass if your name had the right letters, and a pain in butt for signing any official document. But no Freer would dream of abandoning the family names. We just inflict them on the next generation. Read more

How do you measure up?

I’ve recently been looking up a number of measurements for a book in progress.  To my delight, I’ve learned that there are many humorous systems of measurement.  Some made me laugh out loud.  Others produced a quiet giggle.  I thought you might enjoy learning more about them.

Most of us have heard of the (in)famous “furlongs per fortnight” as a measurement of speed.  It’s actually part of the FFF System:  “The length unit of the system is the furlong, the mass unit is the mass of a firkin of water, and the time unit is the fortnight. Like the SI or metre–kilogram–second systems, there are derived units for velocity, volume, mass and weight, etc.”  For science fiction writers, “The speed of light may be expressed as being roughly 1.8 terafurlongs per fortnight (or megafurlongs per microfortnight)“.

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When a product can be easily and quickly price-shopped and compared apples to apples, the consumer is more likely to select the same product for the cheaper price. This process is called commoditization. When a product is first introduced, the novelty and scarcity drive up the demand, the supply is slimmer because it’s not yet in mass production, and the producer can charge higher prices.

Books have been undergoing the commoditization process for the last decade. While an individual work is not, perhaps, a commodity, books as a whole are, and must be considered as such when developing a marketing plan. Your book, if you are an author, might seem like something unique, and special, and a novelty on the market, but to a reader, this is not usually the case: you are competing for a sale not with another author who writes similar books, but with the mass of books in that genre (or for the voracious reader, the mass of books in general, but that’s another topic). Read more

The Calm at the Eye

First up, a little state of the writist. Mrs. Dave, Wee Dave, and Wee-er Than Wee Dave Dave, and I are in the midst of a cross-continental PCS (permanent change of station) move to an undisclosed location on the left coast. It’s actually going to be in spitting distance of where I grew up, which should be interesting. I’ll be able to do locational research for more of the Edge of Faith books, which should help. Also attend my twentieth high school reunion this year. Which, again, could prove interesting.

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Practically Painless Backgrounds


The original colonists of Caspicia had not exactly been Earth-normal types. They were nut cases and dreamers and visionaries, each of them convinced that they had paranormal powers that set them apart from the rest of humanity.

Some of them had been right.

But after twenty generations of interbreeding had distributed those powers among the population, many had forgotten their origins. Merelinde’s family were among them. They prided themselves on an exclusive line of descent from the most important colonists and considered themselves superior to the other families.

“The opening is boring – all background, no story,” Frank told me.

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Return to the Extreme Pantser’s Guide: Editorial Sorts

I probably need to add a bit of explanation here: the term “editor” is one of those overloaded words with more definitions than a dog has fleas. When a copyeditor and a developmental editor (also referred to in the post as a “real” editor – namely what most of the authors I know think of when they use the word ‘editor’ without any qualifiers) can both call themselves editors despite doing vastly different things with a manuscript, it’s a bit challenging to avoid getting confused.

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Imposter Syndrome by Blake Smith

Ah, imposter syndrome, that feeling you get when someone praises your professional work, that little voice in your head that says, “No way. My book/painting/invention/etc. can’t possibly be good. That person is just trying to make me feel better. What happens when they find out I’m just faking it?”

It’s an insidious little worm of doubt that slips into one’s consciousness at the worst moment, and it can turn people into stressed-out perfectionists or burn them out so badly that they stop trying to accomplish anything. Even worse, imposter syndrome should be a silly thing- it makes no sense to feel awful because of too much praise, yet it’s surprisingly common among successful people. Read more