Death in a fantasy land

Just so long as you aren’t fridging some woman!  That trope is old and more than annoying.

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The People Who Help

Writing a book isn’t something you (should) do alone.  For me, I have multiple readers, graphics help, editing help, and on and on.  Never mind my better half, who keeps the coffee flowing and prevents the cat, dog, or friends from breaking my stride.  Writing can be very isolating, but it can also be social.

I now have a dedicated group of writing assistants.  They are my beta readers.  Picky, voracious, and brutally honest readers who don’t mind hurting my feelings… I love them.  We fight, we bicker, and together, we make the books better.  Among all of that, I have my alpha reader.

She is a true gem.  When I lose focus, she puts me back on track.  When I find something else shiny, she smacks me upside the head, and points to the unfinished novel I’m in the middle of.  And, best of all, she reads the work as it happens.

This is invaluable.  For her, she gets to see the story unfold, hear why characters do things, and get a peek inside their minds.  For me?  Yeah, no longer do I end up wandering chapters down the wrong path.  My romeo characters are much less likely to end up gay (yeah, I once had a guy just flip for a scene, then go straight again.  Oops!).  Places where **I** know what is going on, but the description kinda leaves that out?  She makes me fix before I can have continuity issues.

All of this, due to the wonders of google hangouts.  I write, finish a chapter, then copy it for her.  While she’s at work, being lazy, or doing whatever people do at their own homes (which, obviously, is not compulsively typing words to the next story.  That’s just me).

In each book, we get to make a dedication.  Now, I understand why these are always so long.  I’ve had so many wonderful people pitch in and help push my dream forward.  Whether that was reading through multiple attempts at query letters, checking a synopsis, or just hounding me for the next book…. guys, it really makes a difference.  Thank you.

Cover Art

Just got the first peek at a potential cover for the first gladiator book.  I’m pretty impressed.  The artist and I debated the positioning of the fighters, to make sure that the main female character is not seen as some flimsy damsel in distress.  It’s a story with a strong brains/brawn trope, where the strong man is smart and the smart girl has her own strength (including physical), they just have to realize it.  Unfortunately, while the story is fair to the woman, finding cover art that is both true to the story, and doesn’t portray her as a sidekick character?  Ugh!  Not easy.

It’s amazing to me what goes into preparing a cover for an ebook.  This is the main marketing option of most authors: see the cover, decide if you want to look inside.  It has to raise questions, peak interest, and not insult, all while being clean, clear, and legible.  And then the font……..Don’t leave it lack luster, don’t over produce it, don’t get too intricate, make sure it’s large enough to be seen, etc, etc, etc.  In the last two days, I’ve learned more about book covers than any human should try to cram into their mind.

Yep, we’re on the final stretch.  =)

Self Publishing Vs “Real” Publishing

Yes, I put that in quotes for a reason.  So many people think that if a book hasn’t made it into a trade publisher, then it’s not a “real” book.  I call BS.

The reality is that it takes just as much work, if not more, to publish a book independently.  Trade publishing is great for riding the wave of what’s hot (right now), but it doesn’t help for those stories that don’t fit into easily defined categories.  This is the problem I’m currently having.  I write a lot.  I mean, like a whole lot.  Like, my husband thinks I’m insane kinda a lot.  Fantasy, Sci Fi, some romance… and everything in between.  I’ve currently been shopping a novel about gamers.

Now, here’s the problem.  The book stars people who play first person shooters… niche market.  The characters are between 17 and 34 years old – so YA is out.  New Adult is a possibility, but still pushing the limits.  The main character is a strong willed (and then some) girl, trying to break into a scene that is dominated by guys.  Oh, and it’s set in modern day.  There’s no magic, no end of the world, no greater risks.  Just a story about one stubborn chick trying to live her dream, and often making it harder on herself.

So who do I sell that to?

It doesn’t’ really hit with the commercial fiction crowd.  It doesn’t appeal to most of what’s easily defined as the main genres.  If I guess wrong, agents think I’m an idiot, and pass me by.  I’m ready to pull my hair out!

So, while that’s making the rounds, I’m prepping a military fantasy with sci-fi elements.  Oh, yeah, and it’s epic fantasy… with sci fi elements.  Save the world, fall in love, kill some men and eat them…..  Yeah, this is what I write.  It’s NOTHING like the previous book.

And then I have the romance story about a girl with cancer.  Hmm, and there’s not a lot of sex in it, because um, it’s cervical cancer.  Its just a sweet love story.  It’s also pretty damned good, even if I’m not really into romances (usually, many disclaimers here about abusive men being a trope I hate).

So, I’m spending my free time writing a late roman era gladiator book, about a germanic type princess who is sold into the games for political reasons (let them kill her off) and how she learns that she’s not just good for being a wife and mother.  Much bloodshed, friendship love, and stuff.  It’s fun, it’s a bit tropey, but I’m still writing.

Four books.  Four very different books.  Numbers 1 and 2 are being prepared for trade publishing.  Three is going to be self published (soon!  We’re finalizing everything now!) and four?  I dunno, I’ll see how it turns out.  It’s not exactly something I see publishers falling all over themselves for, but that doesn’t mean people couldn’t enjoy it.

My point is – going the long way around – that I think there’s a place for every type of book.  For some, that might be the garbage, but for many?  I dunno, I like picking up a cheap and easy read to blow a couple of hours.  I can’t be the only one, and the costs of trade publishing make that (addictive) hobby a bit restrictive on my current budget.  I buy up self published books like kids eat candy.  I just don’t understand all the hate for it.

The Book is Coming!

Yeah, I’m getting into the home stretch of publishing my first book.  Ok, not my first book, but my first book to indie publish.  At the same time, I’m shopping around for an agent for about four other books.  I have GOT to slow down my writing.  My better half says it’s inhuman.  Between 5k and 10k words a day, usually, which has resulted in quite a few interesting stories.

And now, I need a platform.  Yeah, you know, that place where the fans will one day be able to reach me, if they even care?  Welp, I figure this is it!  Hi future fans.