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Pet Peeves and Good Advice

As writers, we have to balance a number of balls from the time an idea first forms to the post-publication promotion period. There’s the plotting of our story, the research that needs to be done, the actual writing of it. That’s followed by editing, promotion, finding the right cover, preparing for publication, publication, ore promotion. Then there’s the business end of making sure taxes are taken care of, supplies are bought, receipts are kept, etc. At each point along the way, it’s easy to take a misstep. Read more

It’s complicated: creating real characters

So Andrew and his husband Tristan are out from the city for a Sunday tour of boutique wineries and an organic produce market in their Prius – complete with its ‘meat is murder’, ‘Gun Free America’, ‘I’m with her’ stickers on the back. Read more

Random Musing on Writing: Something Completely Different

From one of Maximilian’s childhood textbooks. Author photo.

Celebrity books are not new. Nor are people angling for endorsements from celebrities in order to sell more books. It’s just that the quantity has increased since the mid-1400s.

I was intrigued and amused to discover that Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I Habsburg (1459-1519) wrote and published epic poems and novels. One of the poems, Theuerdank, is a fictionalized account of Maximilian’s trip to meet and marry his first wife, Mary of Burgundy. It falls somewhere between the literary allegory pattern of things like the drama “Everyman” (Jederman) and adventure stories. Theuerdank was originally released in a collectors’ edition in 1517 and given only to nobles. Then a revised popular edition came out for the general market two years later. Both had lavish illustrations via woodcuts. It is one of the early books printed in German, and in fact a special type-face had to be designed for the work.
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Constant Scrutiny

As I was chatting with a fellow author last night, the topic came up of Amazon and their predilection for pulling reviews they find suspicious, or suspending the accounts of authors they think may be gaming the system. It was something John van Stry had talked about on the trends in Indie Publishing panel he and I were on, along with Jim Curtis and Lawdog. (Great panel, I was listening more than talking, and we had almost two hours so we got into the meat of the matter).

The upshot of that conversation, and the more private one later, is that as authors we must avoid all appearance of evil. Read more

How to Talk with Veterans

Sit, kneel, bend. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. We gonna be here for a minute.

Last month, we talked about telling the stories of combat veterans as they really happened. Without whitewashing or varnish. Without embellishment. Without lies.
In the third-to-last paragraph, I make mention of sitting down and talking with veterans. Over the last month I’ve been looking around and realizing nobody has ever explained how to talk with veterans, as a writer looking for technical (and personal) knowledge about the profession of arms. Today, we’re gonna start down that rode.
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May the Fourth be with you

Today is my third Fourth of July as a real USAian. I took citizenship on July 20th, 2016, although I don’t know for sure when I’d started to be more American than Australian. I still sound Australian, and the Oz upbringing is still very much a part of who I am.

It’s been an interesting journey, learning just how much of my normal vernacular is/was Australian and needed to be suppressed or replaced with the American equivalent. Some of it is obvious, some isn’t – and some is really surprising. One thing I did notice – quickly – is that in general (more or less polite) conversation, Americans are rather less tolerant of casual swearing than Aussies. Not that ‘Merkins can’t be foul-mouthed when the occasion warrants it but the Aussie vernacular is rather more… robust even in polite-ish company.

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Yeah. I AM as a matter of fact delaying covers once more. Sorry. Two cons in two weekends were just too much for this introvert-who-hides-it-well. Dan says I can’t write for three days, but actually the big deal is doing creative work, not writing per-se.  So we’ll put off the covers, please and thank you.

Instead, having found that somehow, without passing through the middle, I went from being treated as a raw beginner to being treated as “wise older woman of Science Fiction/Fantasy” I’m going to answer questions everyone and their cousins kept asking me, all trending to: I’m a newby. How should I publish my work. Read more