17 April 2010

answer about the evil e-publishers

I've been trying to take part in a discussion on piracy on another blog, but the blog owner seems to have replies limited to somewhere around 100 words. To reply to her in detail, I would need to post more than 10 times, which is just not going to work. I have INVITED her to read this and reply either here or at his blog, since I imagine that further replies will be much shorter. So, don't be confused by this way the blog post starts

With all due respect, you are parroting a lot of craptrap and rationalization that the pirates use (not the publishers you call pirates...the pirates who are passing books to thousands at a shot). Example?

e-Publishers are fleecing the readers by charging too much and using DRM and releasing e-book later or not at all and so forth?

Get with the program. I agree NY conglomerate publishing are complete idiots when it comes to e-book, in general. The one that may have its head on straight is Carina Press from Harlequin. I agree that Amazon is just as backward, in many ways. I'd even go so far as to say that Nook's DRM needs work before it will stop hacking off readers. But...

This sort of blanket statement is neither representative of the facts nor helpful to the cause of more reasonable authors. Lumping all e-publishers together is doing a disservice to e-publishing, as a whole. e-Publishers include a lot more than NY conglomerate presses, and they don't deserve to be lumped together this way. Call it what it is...NY conglomerate publishing, and for what it's worth, they are NOT the larger e-publishers out there. Their print is the larger print market. Just so we're straight.

If you want to know the truth...

Indie press, who put out the lion's share of e-books from publishers today and have for the last 15+ years, usually charge $5-7 for a novel-length fiction book. From surveys I've run, 52.5% of readers like that pricing range, 27% are comfortable with higher than that amount...and only 20.5% want less than $5 (though 11% of them only want less than $5 for authors unknown to them, while paying $5-7 for authors they know, so the $5-7 gets an additional percentage from there that I didn't count above. From dealing with readers more directly than NY conglomerate does (indie considers READERS our market and the distribution channels as the means to get to that market, while NY conglomerates have already been caught saying they consider the distribution channels their market...rolling eyes), we know the balance with readers well. In the last 8 years, I have seen indie publishers drop their novel-length prices from $7.50 to $6 as a median, in their testing of what the readers want to pay. Saying that e-publishers (broad brush) charge too much for e-book is doing nothing but playing into the pirate's mindset. It's one of the excuses pirates use to justify not just passing NY conglomerate books but also indie books that are reasonably priced.

Would I agree that $15 for an e-book is too much? Yes. Do I think NY conglomerate needs to make mistakes and learn from them, because they are the babes in the woods? Unfortunate but true. This is one of the few things they refuse to take indie's lead on, Carina excluded.

Your average indie doesn't use DRM, save where the distrbution channel requires it. If you want to play in their pond, you play by their rules. According to the latest survey I've done on DRM, only 18% of readers don't care if the books are DRMd or not. 22% said they would pay more for a book without DRM than with. 50% said they only purchase a book with DRM when there is no other choice available, and 20% said they won't purchase an e-book with DRM ever. I didn't have a huge turnout on it, which may say there are more that are ambivalent (or decided) and didn't get counted, but to be fair...I invited Amazon readers to take part. Shrug. If they wanted to be counted, they had their chance.

Your average indie publisher and indie author knows that DRM doesn't work. We know the down sides and know there is no up side to DRM. We also know that any book can be pirated...with DRM, without, and even print only.

All the indies I deal with are doing e-book concurrently with print or before print. I had one that was doing print only, and I no longer work with them. Why? It was clear to me that they were far behind the curve of publishing.

The truth is that the pirates we loathe are the ones you say you don't want to address...the ones putting books on sites for thousands to download. Stopping incidental sharing is impossible. You can't police it, since it happens hand-to-hand off the big pirate sites. If it's limited to 6-10, it's no worse than the e-book library and Nook or Kindle sharing programs we already support. But, unfettered hand-to-hand passing can add up to more than 10,000 illegal copies of a book in 13 passes, even with a share with two to share with two passing and 25% or so not passing the book along. For obvious reasons, authors are going to educate readers to try and keep that from happening. And anywhere we can SEE piracy, we're going to try and stop it. Beyond the potenial lost sales, there's a lovely little piece of copyright law that says "Defend it or lose it."

Further, many indie authors and publishers give free reads, something you claim will help avert piracy. I personally have more than a dozen of them and still see pirated copies of my other works running rampant. I'm all for the free reads. I MAY even experiment with the free first book in a series option when one goes out of contract. I've done them short term, but I'd be willing to experiment with a free first book every day option, just for the experiment. I know how it works over a week, and I've seen how it works for Baen, which is why I'm willing to try it.

Most of the indie authors out there SUPPORT access to books that are legally purchased. Even my own publishers (indie publishers) don't mind me saying that breaking DRM to have a text to speech read to you or to backup copies of your books or convert them for other readers you own should not be illegal. It should only be an issue when the once-secured book is further pirated.

BTW, it's not just NY conglomerate presses (4 of which are foreign owned, BTW...which I personally find amusing, considering their lump name) who are causing the problem you perceive. Look at some of the advice Author Guild gives those conglomerates. If you want a headache, start there.

One thing pirates need to learn. If you want the NY conglomerates to change their ways, piracy is not the way to do it. They don't learn anything from boycotts. They don't learn anything from sales they never make. The only thing they DO learn from is which format you choose to buy when and at which prices. One thing that MIGHT make them think twice is if you tell them you will choose to purchase from the indies and your reasons why. If you do that, you make them look twice.


10 April 2010

Interview Time with Lynn Flewelling

A great author and a great cover! BroadUniverse's blog tour continues with Lynn Flewelling. Stay tuned for some great Q&A.

Lynn Flewelling is the author of the internationally acclaimed Nightrunner and Tamir Triad series, published in a dozen languages. Her first novel, Luck in the Shadows, made the Locus list for best first novel, and was a finalist for the Compton Crook award. Several of her other books have been Spectrum award finalists. She is adjunct faculty at the University of Redlands and also works as a freelance editor, writing instructor, and is a tea reviewer for Teaviews.com. Maine natives, she and her husband currently live in Redlands, California.

How long have you been writing? How long have you been published?

I started writing in junior high—terrible stuff, of course—and continued with it through high school and college, but mostly for my own amusement. The first inkling of the first Nightrunner books came to me in the early '80s and I spent the next ten years noodling around, refining my skills, and crafting the books, getting a few short stories rejected in the meantime. I found an agent in 1995 and the first two books were published in 1995 and 1996.

How long did it take you to publish your first book, once you started looking for an agent or publisher?

It took about a year to find an agent, and it took her only a few months to sell the book. It came out a little less than a year later.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I'd like to have two years, since my books tend to be long and detailed, but the market pressure has me cut down to a year or so. Fortunately I'm adjusting.

Do you write one book/story at a time or multiples?

I've always written one book at a time, but at the moment I'm trying to develop a new concept while working on another Nightrunner book. It's hard to channel my energy in more than one direction at a time, so I have to work on them on different days.

What genres do you write?

So far, only fantasy: high and dark, with elements of horror, humor, and social commentary.

Are there any genres you'd like to try but haven't?

I'd really like to write something set in present day, real world, so I don't have to describe, research, and invent everything! Fantasy writing is hard work.

What's your writing process? (i.e. pantser/organic writer or plotter or mix? write on the computer? longhand? mix? how many passes? etc.)

I start with a concept, a general idea of the story I want to tell. Sometimes the ending is clear, sometimes more nebulous, but there is always some major event or theme. From there I start making notes to myself, but not a detailed outline. I keep a notebook of every idea and inspiration and draw from that. But a lot of the best scenes I write happen when my fingers are on the keyboard. I sit down, thinking I'm going to write one scene, and get up two or three hours latter with something completely different. And usually better. The book takes shape like that, so I guess I'm an organic panster.

Once I'm under way, I write a chunk of chapters, then play with them for a while, then write the next chunk, go back and do some rewriting, etc. Once I have a completed draft I go back and really rewrite, hacking out things that didn't go anywhere, adding new stuff. I really enjoy second draft the most; that's where a lot of the magic happens. Then I do a number editing passes.

What are the strangest conditions you've written under? The strangest place and/or time you've written something?

I was still living in Maine when I wrote Traitor's Moon. It had run over deadline and the editor had asked for some pretty significant changes to several sections. Somehow I'd fallen into the pattern of working really late at my office (outside the house) and living on Thai take out. It worked, so I went with it for several months in the dead of winter. I remember the night I finally finished. It was two in the morning and there'd been a huge snowstorm. My car was parked on the street and the snow clearers had had to carefully dig around it. The entire street was clear and empty except for the tidy block of snow encasing my Jeep up to the doorhandles. I just stood there and laughed.

What is the funniest or strangest editor/crit request/comment you've encountered?

My editor told me I had to cut 100 pages from a completed manuscript—because paper prices had jumped to a very high rate. I was not happy, and I don't think I managed to cut that many, but it was a lot. At one point I told my editor that I'd axed a "color" section about some fantasy wildlife and she demanded that I put it back in because she liked it so much. I did so, and issued a "Aurënen Wildlife Federation Endangered Species Alert," announcing that the grey-backed porie, previously thought extinct, had once again been spotted in the forests north of Sarikali.

What is your ideal location to write a book, if you had the money to live there or sequester yourself there?

Sorrento, Maine. I've started and finished many of my books there.

What would you like to own/have that would make your writing faster or smoother?

I would like a big house by the sea with a butler, housekeeper, dietician, chef, personal secretary, personal trainer, and accountant, and plenty of room for friends to come and stay for weeks on end. Really now, is that so much to ask? Barring that, I'd like to be Bertie Wooster, with a Jeeves of my very own.

Introvert or extrovert?

Extroverted introvert.

What's the strangest/worst job (outside of publishing) you've held?

Strangest. That's an easy one. I was a necropsy technician at Oregon State University, during my brief stint in pre-veterinary medicine. I assisted in large animal autopsies, killed baby chicks and electrocuted sick chickens for testing, hauled carcasses, sawed open horse heads, extracted brains for rabies testing, and cleaned up (and fell down in) hundres of gallons of cold, half-congealed blood. All grist for the mill for my kind of writing.

If you could choose your dream job, besides writing, what would it be?

Photojournalist. I'd like to tell stories without having to use so many words.

What's your dream car? Your favorite car you've ever owned?

I jokingly say I want a Porsche, but in reality I think I'd be so afraid of scratching it or denting a bumper that I'd be nervous driving it. Then again, if I could afford a Porsche, I could afford to get it fixed, I suppose. But what I really love are Jeep Cheerokees, and they don't make them any more! Years back we had a second-hand one we drove the hell out of in the woods and everywhere else. Rust got it in the end. That was one great vehicle.

The best bumper stickers you've ever seen? The best you've ever personally had on your vehicle?

I like the "Coexist" sticker made of symbols from different religions. We have one on our car now that says "Made in Maine. Living in Exile." (We're in California now.) I also enjoy the various permutations of the "Jesus Fish." The latest ones I've seen said "Sushi" and "Gefilte" inside.

The #1 holiday or birthday gift to purchase for an author is...

Quality fountain pens!! I write on a computer, but I brainstorm in a notebook and love doing it with my various fountain pens, mostly in purple ink.

Your favorite leisure activity or vacation spot?

I love to travel to places I've never been before. There's such excitement and delight in seeing what's around the next bend or over a new horizon.

Have you ever included a real experience of your own in a book? Did anyone who knows you notice it?

I have included nightmares I've had, various childhood experiences, an altered version of a family suicide. Some are too personal for anyone else to know about, but family members have recognized some things. My grandmother was a worrier, and every time we'd head home from her place at night she'd say "Now you be careful! That road is just a ribbon of black!" I used that quote, but in a medieval setting.

Where do you get your character names?

A few are real names, like Alec or Micum, but most others I create and try to "tune" to sound like they are from a particular culture or region. It involves a lot staring into space and muttering.

What is the best reader or reviewer comment you've ever received?

"Your book kept me from committing suicide." Seriously.

One word to that one...Da-ahm.

What does your family think about your writing? How, if they do, do they support you in your writing endeavors?

My family is great. My relatives brag me up to everyone who will listen, face my books in stores, give them as gifts. My husband has always been my first (and harshest) reader and greatest support. He's my go-to guy when I get stuck. Now my sons are carrying on the marketing tradition.

When and where do you do the bulk of your writing?

I'm, shall we say, fluid. Generally, I do my best work between 2 and 6 pm but the closer I get to the end of the project, the longer hours I work. In the final stages I've been known to put in twelve hour days. As for the where, I have a lap top, which allows me to move around as the mood takes me. Sometimes I work on the couch by the fire or on the back deck, depending on the weather. Sometimes I go to a coffee shop. Sometimes I even work in my office! At the moment I'm at Panera.

Do you have animal companions while you write? How do they help or hinder the process?

I have two dogs, Emma (chihuahua/beagle, age 3) and Jackson (Akita/mastiff, age 17 months). They keep me company in my solitude, and interrupt me enough to keep me from fossilizing in my chair. Three o'clock is "peanut butter time." Emma is in charge of that. She comes over, claws at my leg, and makes a special weird noise in her throat. I have to drop whatever I'm doing and fill up a couple of Kongs with peanut butter for their afternoon snack.

What's your favorite part of being a writer?

Writing! I love it when the story all falls into place and everything makes sense, with all the good thrills and deceptions.

What's the thing you wish you could hire someone else to do or wish you didn't have to do as a writer?

It would be nice not to be alone so much. My fantasy is to share office space with several other writers. We'd leave each other alone, but take coffee breaks and lunches together, and be available for help and mutual support.

Do you use any special software to write? Voice to text? Audio edits? etc.

I write it all in one long Word document. Anything else frightens and confuses me.

What advice would you give a new writer?

Do the work. Don't think about publishing, just focus on learning the craft. As I often say, don't worry whether you're good enough or not. You're not. Keep at it until you are. It's hard, but it's worth it.

What are your writing goals? Where do you want to be in a year? Five years?

Still writing. It would be nice to get rich, win awards, or make a bestseller list, but that's nothing I'm really in control of. What I can control is me doing the work and trying to make each project as fresh, well-crafted, and engaging as I possibly can. That's the bottom line. Everything else will take care of itself.

What online lists or forums are your favorites?

Broad Universe, Outer Alliance, and SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America).

What book, if you have written several books, is your favorite and why?

I'll have published eight books as of May, and they're all my favorites for different reasons. :-) I love the Bone Doll's Twin because it's dark, showing the dark sides of childhood and magic. It has madness and ghosts and loyalty and gender issues. The two books that complete that trilogy carry on those to full fruition. But I love the Nightrunner books for their characters. I've lived with those people for over 20 years. They're family.

If you could have one magical power, what would it be and why?

To fly. What do you mean, why? It's—flying!

Do you teach writing?

Yes, every chance I get. In May I will be teaching a three-day workshop aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean during a seven-day cruise. We still have space for more students, too. It's going to be fun, with lots of time for writing and exploring new places, and evening salons to share our creations. For more information:

If you were the overlord of the world, what would your first decree be?

"OK everyone, use your words and play nice!"

Give us your backlist... with all publishers...Bold things that are currently available. Note the publishers they are with!

The Nightrunner Series: (Bantam Spectra)
Luck in the Shadows
Stalking Darkness
Traitor's Moon
Shadows Return
The White Road (May 25, 2010)

The Tamír Triad: (Bantam Spectra)
The Bone Doll's Twin
Hidden Warrior
The Oracle's Queen

"Letter to Alexi" Prisoner's of the Night Magazine 1995
"Raven's Cut" Assassin Fantastic Anthology, DAW
"Perfection" Elemental: The Tsunami Relief Anthology, TOR

Tell us about releases you expect within the next year... Remember to say which publishers they are with!

The White Road (fifth book of the Nightrunner Series) May 25, 2010, from Bantam Spectra.

Tell us about your current release... blurb... link to purchase is a plus!

The White Road is the sequel to Shadows Return. The Nightrunner Series is a collection of related adventures, rather than one long epic. I based it a bit on the way Conan Doyle wrote his Sherlock Holmes stories.

Blurb: "Dissolute nobles, master spies, and the unlikeliest of heroes, Alec and Seregil have survived exile, treachery, and black magic. But the road that lies ahead is the most hazardous they’ve ever traveled. For with enemies on all sides, they must walk a narrow path between good and evil where one misstep might be their last.

Having escaped death and slavery in Plenimar, Alec and Seregil want nothing more than to go back to their nightrunning life in Rhíminee. Instead they find themselves saddled with Sebrahn, a strange, alchemically created creature—the prophesied “child of no woman.” Its moon-white skin and frightening powers make Sebrahn a danger to all whom Alec and Seregil come into contact with, leaving them no choice but to learn more about Sebrahn’s true nature.

With the help of trusted friends and Seregil’s clan, the duo set out to discover the truth about this living homunculus—a journey that can lead only to danger or death. For Seregil’s old nemesis Ulan í Sathil of Virèsse and Alec’s own long-lost kin are after them, intent on possessing both Alec and Sebrahn. On the run and hunted, Alec and his comrades must fight against time to accomplish their most personal mission ever.

Give us your URLs (web site, MySpace, Facebook, blog, etc.)

Email: lbflewelling@roadrunner.com

Website: http://www.sff.net/people/lynn.flewelling

Live Journal: http://otterdance.livejournal.com/

Facebook: Personal page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=532719346
Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynn-Flewelling/145593970532?ref=ts

Yahoo Groups: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Flewelling

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LynnFlewelling

The LJ is my main hangout these days, but I repost to the FB fan page, Yahoo, and Twitter, too.

Do you have any goodies for my readers today?

I sure do! I will send signed White Road bookmarks to the first ten people who comment, and lucky eleven will get a signed copy of the White Road as soon as it comes out! Keep count and email me your addresses, folks.

Interview Time with Trisha Wooldridge

Please welcome the fun and fanciful Trisha Wooldridge! If you don't know her already, you definitely want to.

Trisha J. Wooldridge, a member of the Broad Universe Motherboard, is a freelance writer, editor, and educator whose experience includes Dungeons & Dragons Online, animal rescue public relations, and web-based learning. She loves interviewing goth and metal bands, reviewing food and wine, helping other writers, and giving words a dark yet whimsical twist. Her fiction is in Bad-Ass Faeries 2: Just Plain Bad, the upcoming Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory ( both co-authored with Christy Tohara) and Fantasy Gazetteer. http://www.anovelfriend.com/

How can we find you?

Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links. Hi! I'm Trish Wooldridge, and you can find me at www.anovelfriend.com, novelfriend.blogspot.com, novelfriend.livejournal.com, @novelfriend on Twitter. (There's this theme thing…) I'm on Facebook and LinkedIn as Trisha Wooldridge, or Trisha J. Wooldridge. I've done my best to become Google friendly.

Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?

I write in non-fiction and fiction. In non-fiction, I love writing about writing (of course), food, wine, horses, animals, art, education, music, feminism, and various spooky things. In fiction, I tend to lean more towards action-packed contemporary and urban fantasy. That said, I have a Blade-Runner-esque android story in the works and a mid-grade/YA science-fantasy about a deaf girl destined to hear the future from the songs of stars that I'm querying. In May, the latest Bad-Ass Faeries anthology, In All Their Glory (Mundania Press), includes a piece by me and Christy Tohara, my co-author and good friend. Faerie is more than a little pissed when relations between human and fae have ended in nuclear war as surviving human and fae factions battles decide whether Faerie will take over the human realm--or leave it forever. Also, in May, I've got a poem coming out that I wrote for my parents, "To Me, You are Holy," in Eye on Life Magazine's Poetry Locksmith.

What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?

You mean writing for hours over a keyboard isn't relaxing? Shoot… I must be doing it wrong.

I kill stuff in writing to get over a bad day. Mercilessly and with utmost cruelty and fervor. But… when my wrists are in pain because I have horrific posture… I do occasionally watch TV. My favorites include House, MD; Caprica; Burn Notice; Castle; Fringe; Bones; Doctor Who; and Eureka when it comes back. Movies… my husband could open a branch of Netflix, so it's hard to pick a favorite when I can pick just about anything.

For non-writing hobbies, I work with horses at the Bay State Equine Rescue. It's an amazing experience to communicate with these majestic creatures who have suffered so much by human hands… yet still want to trust us more than anything (except food. They want food most of all. Even if they are a pushing the limits of a healthy weight.) I also have a few artistic endeavors: I love painting, drawing, wood-burning, and other crafts. Hiking and playing with pets and hanging out with my Husband-of-Awesome are the rest of my favorite things.

What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to a music, and do you want to share your playlist?

Music. Music, music, music! I have very eclectic taste, but the Crüxshadows are almost always in my list, as is Nightwish, and frequent regulars (because I still use a CD player and not my mp3 player for writing) are Voltaire, Blackmore's Night, Roger Cline & the Peacemakers, Within Temptation, Loreena McKinnet, La Oreja de Van Gogh, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Omnia, Emerald Rose, Brobdingnagian Bards, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Bruce Dickenson (apart from Iron Maiden), Ozzy Osborne, Unto Ashes, and some soundtrack of something or another. Current CDs: Crüxshadows' Birthday, Lady Gaga's Fame, Band of Skulls' baby darling doll face honey (from their being featured on an episode of Castle), Omnia's Pagan Folk, and Nightwish's Once.

"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?

I have found this to be mostly true. I have a few writing friends who are exceptions… they may be the exceptions that prove the rule. Who knows. J I have both a cat and a rabbit. In fact, I've had three rabbits in my life; two have since passed away. I've noticed the rabbit trend among comics, however, and know of at least two top webcomic artists who have house rabbits… which I include as support for a project I haven't done a LOT of talking about yet, but will when more is done on it. ;) My sweet cat (well, sweet to me; my husband is another matter) is Nylis, a mackerel tabby. My brother adopted her from the MSPCA, then a couple years later, got a promotion and had to move to Florida - so she moved in with me (an act which required great feats to obtain the forgiveness of my otherwise Husband-of-Awesome). Her original name was Nile, which didn't work for any of us, so with the suggestion of a fellow writing friend of mine, she became Nylis - the name from a race of cat-people from said friend's work-in-progress. For as fabulous as my kitty is, she is in the running for the Dumbest Cat in the World.

Loki is my appropriately named rabbit. He is a grumpy 10-year-old, 3-lb Siberian Rex who has no problem letting people know his opinion of everything (which can be summed up "I am the most awesome being in existence, worship me now! With food! Or nose pets! Better yet: Both! Now!") At his venerable age, it goes without saying he usually gets what he wants - including getting the cat in trouble/injured for his amusement and knowing neither the H-of-A nor I have the heart to scold him. (So we occasionally find ourselves apologizing to the cat when we find out she was NOT, in fact, chasing the rabbit - or at least not without due cause of him teasing her first.)

What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?

Broad Universe!! Some of the best contacts I've made as a writer have been through my work and membership in Broad Universe. Besides Broad Universe, I'm also a member of the Editorial Freelancer's Association (which is on the higher end of membership dues), where I've gotten several jobs in editing and writing (such as editing the text for the MMORPG Dungeons & Dragons: Stormreach!) I follow the blogs of Writer Beware! and QueryTracker, and have found both some of the best resources for information and advice on the business of writing. There are two important pieces of advice I can offer. One is to read everything you can get your hands on: fiction to enjoy and study, blogs, books, and articles about both the craft and business of writing, and each other - with heart and mind to help one another. That leads me to the second piece of advice: be part of the greater community. There are some wonderful communities for writers out there, and we should seek them out and put our positive energy into them; it really does get returned exponentially. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, speculative… our niche has one of the most amazing communities of fandom. If possible, get to know the community online - or in one of the hundreds, thousands, of conventions across the world. Being involved in the community - and sharing my active reading within the community - have been the two most important parts of making my career happen.

What writers inspired you to become an author?

I wanted to be an author for as long as I remember, so you could really date things back to Dr. Seuss, Judy Blume, whoever wrote those many Classic Children's Stories that my mother read me… and Jane Yolen and Ruth Sanderson are in my childhood collection. I have always been a voracious reader, but one of the key persons who showed me how amazing writing could be was Madeleine L'Engle, who I discovered at 11 with A Swiftly Tilting Planet (kudos to the person who decided to throw a unicorn on the cover!) From there, I found even more SF & F lit, like The Last Unicorn, and eventually the pulp series of DragonLance and Forgotten Realms and other Dungeons & Dragons-Lord-of-the-Rings-esque stories. (Though, I never read LOTR until college.) Currently, I'm a huge fan of Neil Gaiman for the same reason I loved L'Engle: the breadth of each work. Gaiman also works in multiple media, which I also want to do. Besides Big Names, there are many colleagues who inspire me to no end, particularly members of Broad Universe, who write mind-blowingly amazing work and are Real People I have gotten to know on a regular basis - like the other women featured in this blog series. I've read a lot of their work and just love it!8. Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?

Not in April; it's my birthday month - along with about 20 of my closest friends and family. However, in May, look out for the release of Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory at Balticon, and my poem in Eye on Life Poetry Locksmith. I'll be at the following conventions:
Wiscon, Readercon, Pi-Con, and Dragon*Con… and I'm considering World Fantasy. On June 12, there's a Massachusetts release party for Bad-Ass Faeries 3, at Generations Herbal Apothecary and Gift Shop. My good friend who through the successful MA release party is holding it again.

Lastly, thank you to all of the wonderful Broad Universe authors who are taking part!

03 April 2010

Interview Time with Pauline Baird Jones

Please welcome the fabulous Pauline Baird Jones! Pauline Baird Jones is the award-winning author of nine novels of science fiction romance, Steampunk, action-adventure, suspense, romantic suspense and comedy-mystery. She's written two non-fiction books, Adapting Your Novel for Film and Made-up Mayhem, and she co-wrote Managing Your Book Writing Business with Jamie Engle. Her seventh novel, Out of Time, an action-adventure romance set in World War II, is an EPPIE 2007 winner. Her eighth novel, The Key won an Independent Book Award Bronze Medal (IPPY) for 2008 and is a 2007 Dream Realm Awards Winner. She also has short stories in several anthologies. Originally from Wyoming, she and her family moved from New Orleans to Texas before Katrina.

How long have you been writing? How long have you been published?

I’ve been writing forever, possibly since chisels on stone or maybe papyrus, but have been published since 1998.

How long did it take you to publish your first book, once you started looking for an agent or publisher?

I finished my first novel in 1992 and it was published in 1998. I had two agents, but neither was able to sell my quirky fiction to a NY publisher, so I’ve been indie for most of my publishing span. My story is the “little writer that could and did” variety. When NY failed to fall down in awe for PIG IN A PARK, I started exploring alternative publishing. The internet was just starting to explode and I wondered if electronic publishing might be an option. I found several e-publishers and the rest is history (for me anyway!).

What genres do you write?

I write science fiction romance, Steampunk romance, action adventure/WWII Time travel, romantic suspense, romantic mystery/comedy and have one gothic in my backlist (lost my sense of humor for a book).

What's your writing process?

I’m totally a pantser. When I first started writing, I wrote longhand but as soon as my creative juices got up, I’d switch to the typewriter. When I got my first computer, I was able to phase out the long hand time (since I couldn’t read what I wrote anyway). Now I totally create on the computer and try to avoid writing anything by hand, even checks.

What authors inspire you?

My early author influences were: Mary Stewart, Elizabeth Cadell, Alastair Maclean, Helen McInnes and Georgette Heyer. From them, I learned about creating great characters, pacing, writing action and humor, and how to tell an unforgettable story (at least I hope I do!).

How many books do you read in the average month? e-Book or print or both?

Digital reading dominates my reading, though I do still buy the occasional print book. I find it harder and harder to read print, though. When I’m not writing, I read a lot. I can read a book in a few hours, but when I’m working on my own stuff, I tend to limit my reading, using them as rewards for getting pages, etc done.

What would you like to own/have that would make your writing faster or smoother? (Yes, you can name everything from computer programs to a personal maid here.)

A device that would let me think my book onto the page.

NOTE FROM BRENNA: Wouldn't we all love that?

Introvert or extrovert?

Introvert. Hermit. Live in a gated house.

The #1 holiday or birthday gift to purchase for an author is...

An iPad. It would look so sassy with my iPhone!

Your favorite leisure activity or vacation spot?

Going to the spa with my sister.

Have you ever included someone who irritated you in the book? As what, and what comeuppance did he/she get?

I may have. I may have killed them or something. Maybe.

What is the best reader or reviewer comment you've ever received?

I love this one because she missed me!

"After a multiyear absence, Baird Jones makes a very welcome return by once again visiting the alternate reality first explored in The Key. Time paradoxes run amok in this extraordinarily complex tale. Amongst the densely packed and mind-bending action, there's also some welcome humor. A spectacular ride!" Romantic Times Magazine, Jill Smith, 4 and 1/2 stars!

What's the thing you wish you could hire someone else to do or wish you didn't have to do as a writer?

I would LOVE to have a personal assistant, because what I wish I didn’t have to do changes from day to day. I saw this funny bit on you tube about a personal assistant and I thought, that’s what missing from my life!

If you were the overlord of the world, what would your first decree be?

If you don’t use a turn signal when you are turning, you never get to drive again.

Give us your backlist... with all publishers...Bold things that are currently available. Note the publishers they are with!

(all books are with L&L Dreamspell)
The Key
Dead and Breakfast Anthology
A Death in Texas Anthology
A Box of Texas Chocolates Anthology
The Mystery of the Green Mist Anthology
Adapting Your Novel for Film
Made-up Mayhem
Managing Your Book Writing Business

Tell us about releases you expect within the next year... Remember to say which publishers they are with!

(From L&L Dreamspell):
Tangled in Time, 12/2010
Back list (releasing in 2010 from L&L Publishing)
Out of Time, L&L Publishing
The Spy Who Kissed Me
Do Wah Diddy Die
The Last Enemy
Byte Me
Missing You
A Dangerous Dance

Tell us about the awards you've won...

Romantic Times Reviewers Choice (2)
Dorothy Parker Award
Dream Realm Award
Bronze Ippy
Eppie (now called the EPIC book award)

Tell us about your current release... blurb... link to purchase is a plus!

Girl Gone Nova (don’t have a purchase link yet, but should by the time the interviews start)
Doc--Delilah Oliver Clementyne’s—orders are simple: do the impossible and do it yesterday. A genius/bad ass, she does the impossible on a regular basis. But this time the impossible is complicated by an imminent war between the Earth expedition to the Garradian Galaxy and the Gadi, an encounter with some wife-hunting aliens, and not one but two bands of time travelers.
The only way it could get worse? If the heart she didn’t know she had starts beating for the wrong guy…
ISBN-13 – 978-1-60318-204-1 ISBN-10 – 1-60813-204-7
Ebook: 6.99 Print: 18.99
Give us your URLs (web site, MySpace, Facebook, blog, etc.)


01 April 2010

Too tired for April Fools Day?

You know... I would love to play an April Fools joke on people, but life has intruded too much today to even consider it, I think. Want to hear about my day so far?

Our cat delivered a litter of kittens overnight. Hey...I get to count that, since some of it happened after midnight. One of said grey fluff balls has a real set of lungs on him...her? It's a little early for that determination, I guess. So...not a whole heck of a lot of sleep.

I woke up this morning and started on e-mail...and power went out for two hours. For a while there, I was afraid I'd have to go to somewhere that had free WiFi to make my chat today at Coffee Time Erotic list. I'm still not sure I won't have to.

Of course, said power outtage covered most of the city and came at the point where high school students were prepping for school, so my younger two will be home for the day. My oldest attends school in another city, so she ends up going to school when we have off for reasons like this. She's caught her school bus in blackouts twice so far this year. Being home means the younger two will be here to appropriately interrupt my chat. Grinning...

And now, Yahoo is claiming they are going to have outtages today, during the chat. I really HOPE that one is an April Fools joke, but I suspect not, considering the rest of my day so far.

I'd really like to offer a great joke about the awards I've won. Oh wait...I did win two of EPIC's e-Book Awards recently. Or maybe about my book translations. Oh wait...Phaze has just announced that my books will be available in translations soon. The geek in me can't wait to see the new covers.

But the truth is... I'm just too tired to come up with anything spectacular this year. FWIW, I'm as tired today as I was this time nine years ago...when I was a chapter or two into my very first novel. No, that's not a joke either. I started writing PROPHECY on April Fools Day 2001.

Guess I'll have to settle for my own sort of torture for people. The EPICon 2011 web site goes up in a week. Until then, only six people know who our special guest presenter is. I'm one of them, and I'm not telling you who the other five are. Grinning... For the record, that's not an April Fools joke either. That's real. Have fun postulating until then.