28 February 2009

New art!

I just love new art, especially when the artists are so very talented and spot on with the covers! I've had a ton of great luck this week. This first cover has been described by friends in NY as better than their covers, and I'd have to agree. Kudos to LooseId for this first cover.

Close Enough To Human is coming from LooseId in late March or early April. This great cover was created by
Christine Griffin. If you can see the hero's eyes, do so. She got the snake eyes SO right, it's eerie.

And then we get treated to the first two Night Warriors covers. The very talented artist is
Kendra Egert, working from model photos by the ever-wonderful Andrei Vishnyakov. First up is Night Warriors (book one), which is slated to release April 20th!

And Will of The Stone (book two), with a release date of May 25th. If it's possible, I think I love this cover more than I love the one for Night Warriors. The cover artist and photographer are the same talented pair, as well. Can't wait to see what they come up with for the rest of the series!

22 February 2009

the life of a writer...

Anyone who has looked at my release schedule lately knows that I'm busy as a one-armed paper hanger...and then some. I've been bouncing back and forth between edits and ARCs for three separate companies and four separate series plus stand-alones.

Not that I'm complaining. I'm usually a quick edit, sick or not...and sick I've been. And the edits have been staggered just enough to make the whole thing highly comfortable. Just as I come out of one edit, I pop into another. I'd almost swear my publishers were coordinating, but I know they aren't.

The hardest thing isn't time but rather the note-taking and organizing of house style A as opposed to house style B. Again, not that I'm complaining. My typical answer is, "Ah...your house style. I've got it." Grinning... I think two of my editors think I have it on a meta for ease of posting it back. House styles are something an author learns to roll with. I try to learn to include them, at the get go to save time in edits on subsequent books.

The other (VERY minor) problem with working in so many worlds and with so many publishers is that editing a story/book fires the love of that world and gets the juices flowing on it again.

What does that mean?

It means that I've got four panes open (at this moment) on my writing computer. One has the cleaning edit for the next Night Warrior book, since I've just cleaned and turned in the two before it to Kat at Phaze. One has the next Xxan story, Mating Season, (with 10K of it ready to rock and roll), because I just finished first and second round edits on Close Enough To Human with my editor at LooseId, and I'm waiting for line edits to arrive. (Note that I also wrote a bonus short for readers of Close Enough, before I settled fully into the new story.) A third has the next Kegin book, Double Image, (30k typed in now), because I did ARCs on Matchmaker's Misery for Kat at Phaze. The final has an Urban Grimm I'm playing with, because I just did edits on The Temptation of Eve for Under The Moon.

Such is the life of a writer. We love our worlds. We love our characters, and we love nothing more than adding to our own mythos, when we can!


Looking at the books in the Night Warriors series, I realized that they really could fit well on either the Mundania or the Phaze side of the company, so I discussed moving them to Phaze with Dan and Kat. Both of them in agreement, we did it, and I've got the release dates for the first four Night Warriors world books! I know everyone has been waiting patiently for this, so here are my notes.

Night Warriors (re-edited but not significantly changed from the original version) will release April 20th.

Will of the Stone (containing the former releases of Konig Cursebreakers, Stealing Innocence, Autonomy, and Claimed: Konig Mate) will release May 25th.

Bearing Armen (containing the former releases of Armen and Dangerous, Devon's Price, Heart of A Warrior, and The Blade Chaser's Son AS WELL AS the new Night Warriors stories of The Warrior's Widow and Daddy's Little Girl) will release July 6th.

Veriel's Tales I: Crossbearer Turned (re-edited but not significantly changed from the original release) will release August 17th.

Though the full series (as I know it) has signed to Mundania/Phaze, I don't have release dates yet for the rest of the books. For the Night Warriors enthusiasts, I will tell you what's in each coming volume.

Veriel's Tales II: Losing Regana contains the previously released stories Fair Caitrina, Sweet Jacquine, and Remember Me as well as the new story Fierce Ilona.

The long-awaited Hunter's Moon is all new work from the world, save the re-issue of The Lord's Daughter.

Maher Men includes the previous releases of Opposites Attract and The Black Knight as well as the new story Once Marked.

Bear's Women is comprised entirely of new work, as is the final book in the series, Born To The Stone.

If the muse adds more books, I'll deal with that later! But, I do promise that you'll get to read about stories I've hinted at in the past, including Kord Maher's trial and the story behind Laura Briony, the Hunter doctor.

NEW RELEASES- Kegin and Renegades lovers pay heed!

TYGERS, book one in the Renegade's Series is available in print for the first time from Under The Moon.

It's a brand new book in the Kegin universe, MATCHMAKER'S MISERY, available from Phaze!

Eve wants a man who is seen by Keen nobility as an unsuitable mate for a re-bred. Pilar is pursued by a man who wants position -- until he meets her. After her near-brush with death at her first mating, Eve doesn't ever want a man in her life. If Kegin had matchmakers, the women would quit!

VA Schools Need an Education!

I've always said that I preferred MA schools to VA ones. The special ed people (not the teachers, who are exemplary in both states but the office dweebs in SPED in VA) are a nightmare, compared to MA, for instance. Just one of many complaints I had, while we were in VA.

But, I have a new one that takes the cake, sent to me by a friend who is still a teacher in VA.

According to my friend, the teachers were administering a standardized test that was to test "history," history being used in the general to mean geography, culture...all the social studies subclasses, on grade level. Now, on one hand, that's pretty cool. I don't know if this was a city-standardized test or state or school-administered to test their teachers against each other, but... MA standardized testing does math, reading, vocabulary...science, at the upper levels. I've never heard of a standardized test for social studies, so I found that of note...a plus, until I heard the rest.

One of the other teachers on the floor came up with a problem. Her students insisted that the correct answer to a question wasn't ON the test. The question was: "Most of the rivers in VA flow which direction?" with a multiple choice set of directions the rivers might flow. The students insisted (and are correct) that most of the rivers flow west to east, which wasn't a choice.

Said teacher got a proctor and went off in search of the testing specialist, who informed the classroom teacher that she was incorrect and the correct answer was north to south. Knowing that was wrong, the teacher produced a textbook proving her case, at which point the following (more or less) occurred.

S: "Water flows from high ground to low...north to south."

T: "You're correct that water flows from high ground to low, but that high ground is the mountains to the west, and the low ground is the ocean to the east."

S: "It flows north to south, high to low. The children must be able to pick the right answer out of those given, and that would be north to south."

T: "You do realize that compass points and high ground have nothing to do with each other, right?"

Blank stare.

T: "So...what you're saying is that the people in Egypt are happily watching the Nile run from the Mediterranean Sea back down into the center of Africa?" (the opposite of the direction it runs, since the Nile is one of the notable major rivers that runs south to north)

Why are you screwing with me stare.

Apparently, according to my friend, the poor teacher involved proceeded to repeat this head-banging experience with six other teachers. The first FOUR of them fully believed that north was uphill and south downhill, and obviously the rivers SHOULD run north to south as a result of that.

Finally, she talked to my friend and another teacher, who both thankfully not only have brains (because the evidence of speech and vital signs prove the other five had brains) but also have the ability to logically follow a simple scientific principal to its end results. Ah...maybe that's why they teach social studies? They don't understand science?

Those two understood the problem perfectly, though it probably won't help the VA students with a woefully incorrect standardized test question. Dare I suggest that, in VA, you get a better grade if you get the same wrong answer that 60% of VA teachers get? (NOTE: Tongue in cheek and admission that eight teachers is a lousy cross-section sample with a huge standard deviation. I taught statistics.)

Clue to VA teachers... Standing in front of a mountain and holding up a map does not make the top of the mountain north nor the base south. If rain falls on top of said mountain, a portion is going to flow in each direction, and where it goes at the base will be based on grade of the land and other topographical elements.

It's yet another case of the teachers needing an education. And here I thought NOTHING could top the one teacher in MA who didn't know simple Roman Numerals, because she taught second grade, and the kids didn't learn them until fourth. Um...didn't SHE learn them in fourth?


14 February 2009

Author's Guild Sticking their Heads in Uncomfortable Orifices Again?

Several friends in the last few days have sent me messages from Author's Guild and/or news stories from Publisher's Weekly about the message from AG concerning the fact that the Amazon Kindle 2 will read e-books to you. I can sum up my reaction in one question...

Would anyone be offended, if I called this man an idiot?

Oh, you want more definition on my reaction. Since several people have asked me to make this one a blog post, I will happily do so.

First of all, Amazon isn't EXPLOITING anyone's e-book rights. Books don't magically appear on Kindle. They are placed there by authors or publishers, and the distribution of books is a publisher's purview, if you're working with a publisher. If you don't want Kindle books, you need to discuss that with the publisher beforehand, but if they do it, expect to make a choice of not signing the contract or of accepting that it will be distributed there.

And, I've been able to have an e-book read to me by no less than three programs
I can name (ReadPlease, Adobe Acrobat, and MSReader) for YEARS (at least 4 years). This is not a new development to Kindle. Nor is it somehow news that it's possible. Unless the book is a secured format, this was always possible for e-books.

Take note. It hasn't killed audio sales yet. Know why?

I can give several reasons. The people buying audio books are purchasing them for the voice actors (not the tinny computer voices, good as some of them are, and the errors in pronunciation computers make in reading), for ease of using them in Mack trucks, etc. None of these things have been effectively overcome by computer text-to-speech/voice yet.

While I have been busy making a big deal out of the fact that you can text-to-speech many e-books (not all), and they are much cheaper than recorded audio books, it hasn't caught on yet. It won't, until computer can match or exceed what they already get for quality and ease of use, and it can't yet.

If it DOES take off, it will simply mean that people who need audio books will have a much wider choice of reading material, unsecured e-book formats that may never have professional voice actors doing "real" audio books of them. And those publishers who don't want this to happen will simply have to invest in DRM that stops text-to-speech, as they already can.

This isn't the time to start negotiating your e-book rights? Snort. I'm sorry. For them (the ever-wise voices of AG), it's NEVER the time. The doom-saying these people do is fairly amazing to me. We haven't seen this sort of uproar since Gutenberg unveiled his great machine. And it's no more helpful now.

Oh, and his footnote is even more ridiculous. Blind people USE computers. Perhaps not the Kindle, but text-to-speech as a computer software is not new, and there are all sorts of accessories and software to make computers accessible to the blind. Rolling eyes.

IMO, telling the blind that they cannot use perfectly legal text-to-speech programs to read their e-books to them IS infringing on their rights to access (legally) books they bought for their own enjoyment. I'm sorry. As an author, if a blind reader wanted to enjoy my books, why would I balk at them using such a program? As long as they aren't pirating the copies (audio or e...and Kindle won't allow that), why should it be any of my business how someone "reads"/accesses a book he/she bought? It shouldn't be Author's Guild's business either.

These people should join the 21st Century for a few days.

02 February 2009


Tuesday, 3 Feb 2009, 10 am-noon EST

Don't forget to join Brenna--along with Rowena Cherry, Mark Terence Chapman, Kellyann Zuzulo, Emily Bryan, Lillian Cauldwell and Sara Taney Humphreys--on Crazy Tuesday. We'll be talking about HEROS. What is heroic? What isn't? How do these great authors write their respective heroes?

AWARD news!

Predators and Editors are announcing their yearly polling results. Not all of the results are up yet, but guess who won a Top Ten slot? "Comfort Food" took the #9 Horror Short Story of 2008.

And, lest I forget, LAST CHANCE FOR LOVE (which was nominated for the Best Sci Fi book of 2008 at Love Romances and More) took Runner-Up in that award!

NEW RELEASE and art!

I adore my cover for Renegades Run (Renegades series book two--available now in e-book and coming in print in April). Sam is just a doll at capturing my vision for a book!

While I'm at it, take a look at this! I made the badge for the DoPT, and Sam turned it into this piece of internal art!

The Randalls are back in the follow-up to TYGERS. In a world where the type of power Katie and Kyle possessed is now commonplace, psi-gifted are urged to serve the government. The Supreme Court has ruled that forcing compliance is unconstitutional. Thus, major powers like our old friends are free to live in peace as long as they don't use their powers for illegal gain.

Jonas Paige was sent into service at ten, when his family decided that they didn't want a freak in the house. Now, he is given what sounds like a simple assignment. He has to get close to Sarah Randall, the weakest member of the great family, to get the others to come into service. No one has managed infiltrate them so far, but Jonas is the best. Is Jonas willing to accept that his bosses are using a threat to Sarah to ease his way in?