Wednesday, December 6, 2017

#IWSG-2017 Do over?

Welcome to another chapter of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! This is a monthly event where writers from all over join to scream our fears into the void—Join us!

This month the mothership had a great wrap up the year question:

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

 2017 was an odd year, I did get two books out, The Sapphire Manticore and Victorious Dead. But I’d been aiming for 3. Life happens and this was definitely one of those years. I am proud of the two books I did get out, however.

As for what I would do differently? Get on board with a marketing plan. I was lucky enough to get a Book Bub feature, and the sales told me there’s a chance for my books—but you can’t count on an event like that. It’s akin to planning to pay your daily bills with your lottery winnings—that you haven’t won yet ;). So, I would have actually tried marketing instead of a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” approach.

I would also remind myself how much I love telling stories. Part of only getting out two books when I’d planned for three, was because I kept stumbling—not on the writing directly  but on everything around the writing. I need to get back to what I love and do it in its time, and do the marketing in its time.

Taking better care of myself. Healthy writer is a strong writer and this year I wasn’t very healthy. I need to get healthier so I can write more books!

So what will I be doing next year? All of the above ;).

Happy IWSG Day!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

#IWSG NANO time!

Welcome to the monthly blog-o-rama of the Insecure Writers Support Group! 

A gathering of writers from all across the land join in the craziness that is being a writer.

Join us!

Sadly, I missed last month being as I was out of the country traveling :(. 

But as much as I love Conwy, Wales, I had to come back--so I'm back to blogging!

Today's question was aptly about NaNo (National Novel Writing Month--Google it ;)). It asked if we A) usually finish, and B) if any of our Nano's had been published.

Yup and yup- short blog ;).


This is my 9th year and up until I published I usually always finished. After publishing, not so much. But the past two years saw me editing one book at the same time I was writing the new book. That's messy folks ;). This year due to health and a few random reasons, I am so far behind on my book that I'm ONLY writing. So, that bodes well.

As for them going on to published book standing: The Glass Gargoyle and Warrior Wench both started as NaNo's and Obsidian Chimera, Emerald Dragon, and Victorious Dead all were worked on during NaNo--so yeah.

I love NaNo for the feeling of camaraderie it creates. It's a completely mad adventure but it's fun to mix and mingle with other writers at all levels.

So ONWARD my fellow nanoers!

And happy IWSG day!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

#NaNoWriMo is COMING!

Something NaNo this way comes!

For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a month (November) when writers decide to announce to the cyberspace world their intention of completing 50,000 words in a new manuscript.

Now there are guidelines: It should be a new work and it should be a book. Not a collection of short stories- a book. They say if you think you’re writing a book, they will also.  My first few years I always started a new book each time. That’s where The Glass Gargoyle and Warrior Wench both got their starts. But when there are deadlines, even as a self-published author, ya have them, starting a brand new book each November isn’t feasible. So I’m going in with the spirit of NaNo (50,000 words in a month) but not the exact letter of the rules.

This year I’ll be a NaNo Rebel yet again. The words counted for NaNo will all be new and only from November. But they will be part of The Golden Basilisk, Book Five in The Lost Ancients fantasy series.

Prepping for NaNo is as important for the ninth time as it is for the first. This is a writing sprint and marathon rolled into one. 

  • ·       If you’re a plotter, having an outline will probably save your rear and your sanity. Realize you won’t be getting an entire book out, but you’re getting the bones.

  • ·       If you’re a pantser, do whatever you do to grab a hold of your characters and world.

  • ·       TRAIN! Some folks can and do crank out 1667 or more words a day—EVERY DAY. If, like me, you don’t always hit that—prep now. Make yourself increase your writing. A short story, another non-NaNo book, something. Track your words. Know how many on average you can pound out in an hour.

  • ·       Adjust your schedule. Say good bye to TV. Figure out what days are going to be non-writing and take them out of your calculation. 1667 words per day is for 30 days. It goes up to 1786 a day if you take just two days out.

  • ·       Tell your significant others what you are doing. You’re going to need support!

  • ·       Follow and buddy other writers—share your joy and pain on the forums on the NaNo page.

There’s no cost, you just go to their site and sign up. Then you look for folks you know and add them to your “buddy” list so that you can egg each other on. There are local groups for most areas, so even if you don’t know someone- you can meet some like minded folks.

Why would thousands of people, for the most part semi-sane, choose to inflict 50,000 words upon themselves like that? Why do people run marathons? Climb mountains? To have the experience. NaNo is like Mt. Kilimanjaro for writers. And it’s a great learning tool. Most writers, even we seat of the pants type folks- have some inner censor going on when we write. Some little voice that makes us stop and question ourselves mid-chapter.

You can’t do that during NaNo. In pure self-defense you have to take that little voice, stick a gag in his mouth, and ship him off to Siberia. When you’re cranking out 50,000 words (page count of 170-200 pages depending on the writer) in one month- you are writing FAST. Some may be crap, some not. But you cannot slow down to edit or self-censor.

It also teaches you to write through any blocks that come your way. You just bowl right over them. So when you return to your more normal level of writing, you’re not the same person. You’re faster, leaner, and more stubborn.

Welcome to the NaNo madness!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Imposter syndrome

 "Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud"."

The feeling of, “I’m a fake, and when people find out they will yell at me, mock me, tar & feather me, etc” can hit anyone in any field. It does however seem to be extremely common with writers.

Let’s start in the beginning. All writers start as readers. As readers we look up to those magic and amazing folks who create entire worlds out of thin air—worlds and people that can be as important as the real world to a fan.

Somewhere along the way, we get this idea that maybe WE could write a story. It doesn’t have to be big, or grand. Heck we won’t even tell anyone we’re doing it—what harm can it do? We’re not like REAL writers, right?

Then we start getting feedback, we’re showing our baby around—some folks love it and some folks hate it. But we’re just showing folks—no harm—and we’re still not a real writer after all.

That’s where this insidious imposter feeling starts. Those magic people who write the stories we love have some secret mojo that mere mortals like us could never have. Then the feeling of being “not a real writer” grows when we’re told we’re not real because we write in “XYZ genre”, and no “REAL writers write that drivel”. Or we’re not a real writer because we chose an alternative path to publication, “Well, you know self-published people are not real authors, right?”

We’re like Pinocchio—we look like a writer, but we obviously aren’t one.

I call bullshit.

If you write- you are a writer. You have every right to call yourself one and keep your head high. Not published yet? Still a writer- you’re working on publication. Indie? Still a freaking writer. Yes, some writers throw stuff up without even a second read, let alone beta readers and editors, but you’re not like that. Keep your head high.

Now I may sound all fierce about it now, but I did have Imposter Syndrome. Then one day I realized that I am a writer. I am not trying to be anyone else—I am Marie Andreas. I write Marie Andreas books. I publish Marie Andreas books. I write more BOOKS. I am the ONLY Marie Andreas around- therefore I am NOT impersonating anyone. I am genuine. I am a writer. I am Groot ;).

Folks don’t like it, they can go rot.

Now dig deep, focus your fierceness, and remind yourself you are YOU. There’s no impersonating going on.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Planning on going to a convention?

Ahhh-fall. The time when many writer/reader conventions come into bloom!

These events are wonderful for authors to gain insight to their craft, meet cohorts in the writing journey, and meet fans (or future fans ;)).

Just doing a Google search will bring up tons of these events and which one you go to depends on many variables--so you all go check them out on your own ;).

But here are some ideas for what to look for when picking one out:

Distance: how far are you willing to go? Does the city have other things you'd like to tag on as a vacation? Is it easy to get into? (I had a 45 minute cab ride to and from the airport for an event earlier this year--NOT fun, nor cheap). Look for travel deals​ for Las Vegas, or whatever city you're going to. Most cities will have many sites and options.

What is the make up?: If you're a writer, are you looking to mingle with readers? Want some craft and business workshops? Network with the high and mighty in the publishing world? If you're going as a reader--do they have parties with lots of authors? Panels discussing aspect of books you love? Plenty of wonderful authors to mingle with?

Cost: This is where it gets messy kids. Most of these events aren't cheap. But they have some amazing experiences for attendees, so plan for the cost. Share rooms, drive it you can, whatever.

How to prepare once you've picked one:

Plan to wear comfortable shoes! You might think you'll be inside all day--which could be true, but might not be the case. Even if you are inside, some hotels are HUGE! I've done two events at the Rio in Las Vegas--mega walking and you never go outside!

Pack pens, notebooks, your cards. Writers- you need to be ready to hand out cards, bookmarks, whatever from the time you get there. Even readers--if you have personal cards and want to give your favorite writer something, drop your card in with what you're bringing. Plus, some events do giveaways, so little things with your name and email are dang handy. 

Plan who you'll see: If you've got some favorite authors attending, bring things for them to sign (and buy a book or two ;)). Read everything in ebook? No worries- make a scrap book of print outs of the authors' covers you want to see. Have them sign their page. You end up with an awesome keepsake.

Be social! Okay, this one can be hard for everyone. But writers can be very reclusive. So, if you're an author, practice smiling at folks. Nothing more--just smile. And readers, if your favorite author is looking lost--share a smile with them--they are more scared of you than you are of them!

There's an event coming up in Las Vegas, Love N. Vegas (no, I'm not going to be there- but a heck of a lot of authors are!) and the fine folks at would love to help you get ready to go.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

#IWSG Surprise! You're a (published) writer!!

Welcome to another chapter of how the pages turn....oops. Another chapter of the famous, Insecure Writers Support Group! (let ya in on a secret--most all writers are insecure, so if you are one, and you haven't joined us--do so now!)

The wonderful folks behind this global event, offer a question that can be addressed each month in our blogs--today's was if we had surprised ourselves with our writing at any time.

IF? Every single time I write I am surprised by something. Now granted, sometimes it's a "who wrote this crap?!" thought. But many times it's more of a shock at what I have created.

I have a mini book empire!

Now the fact that I write isn't a shock. I've done it off and on for as long as I can recall. But the fact that I went forward when editors and agents were finally saying, "love this" but it was followed by the, "But I have too many of this sub-genre", or "Humorous fantasy isn't selling to NY right now".  I went forward and shoved my babies out into the wild anyway.

Now self-publishing isn't for the weak at heart. You have to know what you can do, and what you can't. I hire professional editors, an amazing cover artist, and a formatter. 

But my books are out there.

Two have won awards recently.

Three have been "Top Picks" from RT Book Reviews.

I've had all four of the fantasy books in the top twenty for their category at the same time.

Can I quit my day job? No. Am I a household name and auto buy for millions of readers? No.

But I am a published writer. I did what I had to do to get my worlds (two so far, more on the way ;)) out there. And folks like them (some do, some don't--it's the way of life ;)).

So, my biggest surprise about writing, is just that, writing. The stories are a surprise, my path as a published author is a surprise. Everything.

Happy IWSG day and may all your surprises be good ones!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Down time and why we create

Summer is a very busy time for me. Not sure about other writers, but last summer got hectic (in a good way) and this summer even more so. Summer might be my books' time of year ;).

This is good. Books need notice and hectic means noticed books.

But it still takes a lot out of a person. Positive stressors are still stressors. So down time is important. This year I fell upon the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas. This is their big event and so many awesome actors were there it was a joy.

I went by myself, drawn by the 30th Anniversary of Star Trek Next Gen (yes, gasp and feel old--I do ;)). But they had actors from all of the series, and even one or two from the movies. I made a shocking realization that the last "Big" Trek even I went to was the original series in it was 31 years ago-LOL.

I had a lot of fun and running solo meant I could do what I wanted when I wanted. Once I got into the swing of it, it was good to be on my own (okay, not completely alone, I posted everything on Facebook ;)).

I needed that escape, that time just to do what I wanted. To recharge. 

Which leads to the second half of this post--why we create.

Creating art (books, paintings, drawings, movies, acting, music, whatever) is hard. There are times it's a joy, but alot of time it is work. And stress. So why do we do it?

Aside from being deranged people who can't NOT do it?

We create to bring something to other people. Life is scary, even more so these days. Creating something that makes folks laugh, dream, move beyond the scary for just a while makes a difference. The other night I was upset and channel surfing. I hit the last part of Shrek. I've seen it many times, but just getting lost in the silliness and charm did wonders for my spirit.

That's why I create. I hope that my books bring some joy, laughter, and escapism to people out there.

Take care of each other (and yourselves ;)).

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

#IWSG Peeves and life

Welcome, yet again to another episode of how the neurotic writer turns! This is a monthly blog list where writers from all around the globe join forces and yell at the Universe :). Join us!

With this group, we have the option to run wild on our own, or answer a monthly question. Today I decided to do both!


First, my own little bits of madness. Writing life. When something bad happens to a writer: rejection, bad reviews, more rejection, etc, we often go global on it.  The "Oh my GAWD! A reader hated my book! An agent rejected me! I MUST SUCK!" This is true for all aspects of life but I'm just focusing on the writing part ;). One apple is bad, therefore we must burn down the entire orchard in our woe.

Yet when something great happens--good reviews, nice agents, winning awards, we get excited immediately, then it fades. Part of our tiny lizard brain is certain it was a fluke or mistake. We don't go there with the bad stuff, oh no. That is clearly an indication that we are awful writers.

But the good? "Gotta be a mistake."  I very recently (like last Friday) won an award through the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal chapter of the RWA--a Prism. I had my moments of doubt when I was named a finalist for Warrior Wench. Then extreme happiness when the book won. Then back to doubts. Seriously? Why is it we are conditioned to make the bad global and the good a "fluke"? (I'm asking- if any of you know why ;)).

I realized that was pretty dumb (and yes, I have a Master's in Psychology and it took all these years to realize that was a dumb way to operate ;)).  

Did the win change my life? I now get to call myself a "multiple award winning author" so that's cool. But aside from that-no changes in sales, or life in general. But guess what? The bad things didn't destroy me either.  So to all of my fellow neurotic writers out there- let's treat our successes at least as focused as we do our failures!

Onto the IWSG question of the month--Peeves.

My biggest as a reader is when an author focuses on something, extremely focuses on it...then doesn't do anything with it. I read a lot of series, so I know sometimes a focus on one book doesn't pay off until a future book. But when it never does? GRRRRRRR.

What's your biggest peeve?

Happy IWSG Day!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

In which I pontificate about Comic-Con International

Yes, it's that time again kids--momma's going to Comic-Con International, San Diego!

Way back in the day, I wouldn't have needed the full name. Just Comic-Con worked as this was really the only one of it's kind. Also, back in the day, even telling local "mundane" people where I was going would bring a, "what?". Then I'd explain until their eyes glazed over or they ran away in terror.

Now when I say where I'm going there is envy there. Sometimes even a bit of drool. This is in part because of the rise and acceptance of nerdom. I think that back in the day there were a lot of closet nerds who refused to let their inner geek flag fly.

It's now okay to be geeky ;).

Plus, there is the cred. Folks want to be able to say, "I went to Comic-Con!" (ergo- cool by association whereas in the past it was un-cool by association ;)).

But we are here! It is time! This my 25th year (started in 1991, but missed a year early on). I have seen some changes.

 I remember when one of the registration folks was going up the escalator and yelled to another, "we hit 50,000 people!"

I remember getting a text from a friend in the "big" room saying, "IT's ARNOLD!!!" The first REALLY big star to show up. Prior to that there would always be rumors, "Johnny Depp & Tim Burton will be at the Sleepy Hollow panel!" Then there would be the, "they are unable to attend--due to traffic" (they couldn't get out of LA-LOL- right ;)).  Casper Van Dien held that panel all by himself and did an awesome job.

I remember walking by the reg booth for the next year, and the folks working it becoming very excited when we stopped to actually by our tickets.

I remember preview night being mostly empty and finding all sorts of deals (and prior to that when it was for the vendors).

We would have huge groups of friends meet for breakfast downtown. Ya had to get there early to fight for parking, and back then you didn't have lines, so we'd go have a nice, obnoxious meal together. The buffet at the Marriott (sadly, now long gone) was the usual place.

I remember joining with friends under the sails to dance, drink, and snark during the Masquerade. The line for that is not doable anymore. 

Up until a few years ago you could still get into Ballroom 20 (the second largest room at 4600 seats) with a few hours of line waiting. Now the line loops a mile or more away from the convention center.

The ol' con is not what it was. But it is still an amazing tribute to popular culture--comics, books, movies, games, groups, fandoms, you name it, it's there.

I still love it. In part for all the amazing memories of hanging out with long lost friends there. In part because the creative energy there is something that rolls off your skin. It hits you like a wave when you go to the exhibit floor, then just buffets you the entire time you're there. It's an amazing thing.

* almost forgot my shameless plug- if you're going to be there, I will be signing at booth 1119 (Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore) on Thursday from 12-12:45. Come say hi!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Maybe I'm getting the hang of this

I've got a confession, I'm a worrier. If something can go wrong I have already thought of ten other ways it can go even worse.

But, I'm trying to take my own words to heart (see prior post about pivoting ;)) and be more adaptable and not as freaked out.

I just released the Victorious Dead. Now, book releases are stressful and scare the crap out of me. This was book 6, so I doubt that is going to change. (Note: I need to build a reward into the process, to reinforce the good and change my reactions to these ;)--hmmmmm).

Anyway- so this one was extra stressful because I had it on pre-order (if you don't make your deadline, Amazon locks you in their jail for a year and your books are only fed food and water. It happened last year ;)). And I'm signing at Comic-Con International, San Diego NEXT THURSDAY.

I always underestimate the time it takes after the drafts are finished, but this was the closest I've ever cut it.

You don't have to order a print proof, but I'm old school and so I did from Createspace and Ingramspark (my two distributors for print). They both should have arrived yesterday.


Createspace couldn't track it and finally came back this morning saying, "Ooops- there was an error, you'll get the proof Friday." *buzz!* too late.

Ingramspark probably won't even respond until a few weeks from now and I can't track on their website.

Me: "OMG!! It's the end of the world! ARGH!!!"

Me pivoting: "Okay, worse case scenario- I order without print proofs. I really want to do the Comic-Con signing, but the world won't end if I can't."

Now, I know many authors do order without print. The online proofs are very good. But again, champion worrier here folks! However, I have just ordered some print copies. Without a print proof.

After six books, maybe I'm getting the hang of this thing (doubtful, but I remain optimistic ;)).

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

#IWSG- flying by the seat of your pants

Welcome to another Insecure Writer's Support Group blog-o-mania!  Join us!

Today's prompt was one valuable lesson we've learned since we started writing--there are way too many!

But since I do need to narrow that down, let me say, "Being able to pivot".

Now, there are plenty of ways to interpret that. As a writer, it's important to be able to change with the publishing world. The publishing world wasn't buying humorous fantasy (people were, NY wasn't)- so I pivoted and went Indie instead.

We also have to adapt in our stories. Even a plotter is going to have moments where things go left instead of right. For us pantsers, it's even more common. But, you can't freak out. You simply turn and move on.

Changes can come from outside sources as well--editors, cover art, formatters, proofreaders- all of these folks can through you for a loop (rather, your well-made plans ;)). Pivot and move on. Keeping in mind that changes happen and aren't the end of the world--AND that I can just keep moving forward has been my biggest lesson--I think. I could be wrong. ;)


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

So ya wanna be a published writer....

Every once in a while people will mention they have always wanted to write (and publish) a book. Or they want to ask questions about how they can get rich (the whole writing part being secondary ;)).

So, I just thought I'd outline the path to writing--the brief version.

You're NOT going to get rich ( almost all published authors have a day job for a reason, folks ;)).

Let's say that you're just starting out, brand new, wet behind the keyboard. You have an IDEA. I won't go much into the actual writing--first off it's different for each author, and secondly, that would be an entire series of blogs.

But you take your idea, and you settle down to tell your tale. There are two types of writers with a million variations, but basically : Plotter (also called an architect writer) or Pantser (also called a discovery writer).

Plotters are outliners. Some have outlines over 50 pages, some just a brief run down of the book. Thing is they know where they are going before they start the book. (JK Rowling is a famous plotter)

Pantsers are just jump in and start swimming. We (yes, I'm one) have a general idea or concept (usually) but definately a character or two we want to mess up. Then we write. For many of us, plotting would destroy the story--we write the same reason people read, to find out what happens! Now in a series, ya do have to have some points in your head to build the overall arc.(Stephan King invented the term, Ray Bradbury was also a famous pantser)

There are so many sources of help to write, I won't even go into it here--find groups, reference sites, writing books, go to conferences, talk to other writers.  The only words of wisdom I have is take all writing advice with a grain of salt, and be wary when someone says, "You ALWAYS/NEVER do blah blah blah." You'll hear a lot of conflicting advice.

So now you have your book. You've had a critique group, trusted friends, anyone you can find, look at it. You've also edited it a few dozen times. Now what do you do with it?

Two paths: Traditional publishing (you have an agent or submit directly to the publisher) and self-publishing (aka Indie--you are doing everything-- you HIRE a great editor or three, you HIRE a great cover artist.)

I do think that even indies should understand a bit on how the traditional side works--we're all part of the same business afterall. 

For info on traditional options: check out Writer's Digest, Query Tracker, Publisher's Weekly. Find out as much as you can about the business and which agents/editors are right for you. Submit it--a lot. Write another book while you wait...maybe a few.

For indies (aka self-pub) you need to really do your research. You are the one in charge, it is your name out there, and you control everything (which is great and scary ;)). I waited a year before I published The Glass Gargoyle. I was checking out cover artists, editors, web folks. Swag ;). Was everything perfect when it came out? Hell no. Still isn't. Perfection is a dream and you will drive yourself crazy over it. Make things as good as they can be right now. That's why it's so important to hire professionals to help you. Yes, it does mean you're shelling out very nice money for covers, editing, formatting, etc--but it is an investment. If you can't pay right now, hold off a year. Save your money. Write the next book.

Pretty much the bottom line is, if you want to be a published author--you can be. But you have got to LOVE the process. And have a day job ;).

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Contests, awards, and not giving up

As you all know (and if you don't, you should ;)) writing is pretty solitary. Those of us with day jobs do get interaction from real humans (usually) but those jobs may or may not be related to writing.

So we lurk in our little writing caves, pounding out words, editing words, slicing and dicing words, then writing more words. Mostly all alone.

Entering contests is a way to not only gain some attention and hopefully new readers, but to interact with the writing world. It's completely subjective, one person's winner is another person's "DNF" (Did Not Finish--isn't that charming?)

Right now The Glass Gargoyle is entered in the fun and kinda crazy, SPFBO (self-published fantasy book off) a year long event that I don't have a chance of finaling in, but looks to be a lot of fun and I've already met some new fellow fantasy authors.

I was recently notified that Warrior Wench is a finalist in the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter (FFnP) of the RWA's contest-- the Prisms! Very excited about that one, very heavy competition, but seriously, even just being a finalist is a major item on my list :).

And, last weekend, The Glass Gargoyle, WON for best published SF/F in the San Diego Book Awards!

 It was very exciting and I will say seeing this award daily makes me extremely happy :).

Each one of these is a chance for myself and my books to get out into the writing world. I've entered plenty of contests and come back with nothing. Yet, I'm glad I entered, I got the books out there! And I think it's worth the attempt--ya never know what will happen!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SFWA Nebula Weekend

For today's blog, I figured I'd ramble a bit about the Nebula Weekend event I just attended this past weekend. This event is put on by SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) and is built around their pinnacle awards ceremony, the Nebulas.

This was my first one of these (but not my first convention ;)) and I've only been a SFWA member for less than a year (you do not have to be a SFWA member to go though!). 

First impressions--very, very, small. LOL. Yes, I have been going to Comic-Con, International San Diego for 25 years, so my world is skewed. But even compared to other writing conferences I've been to, this was by far the smallest. While it was kind of nice it being so tiny, I'm hoping more can be done to get the word out and make this a bigger event. I think that it's a great way for both members and new writers to mingle, network, and learn. Perhaps different panel tracks will eventually emerge for different levels of writers. The way for SFWA to grow is to support the new writers while bringing in established writers as well.

Everyone was extremely nice and helpful and they gave me a huge bag of books which will always win me over (thank you TOR and the other publishers who sent book copies ;)). I met some really great folks in the mentor session, at the signing, just walking around, and at the banquet--it was great to be around my tribe ;).

There was an amazing Grand Master- Jane Yolen. She is funny, charming, extremely intelligent and an amazing person to listen to. I'd say she was an excellent choice for Grand Master.

We also had a great Toast Master-- astronaut Kjell Lindgren. He was funny, poignant, insightful and had great stories--another excellent choice.

There were some very good panels-- just wish there had been more, but like I said, they are building this event still.

All in all, this was a wonderful event, and I would recommend ANYONE who is writing Fantasy, SF, or any sub-genre within, to attend at least once.

I'm now going to start pleading for them to move one of the cons to San Diego ;).

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Riding the rollercoster

Eons ago--seriously, in the dark ages folks--I read Battlefield Earth. It's a huge book, and while I sort of enjoyed it  at the time, nothing sticks with me except really tall aliens and that L. Ron Hubbard was very verbose.

Except for the concept of rolling in a plot. 

That was the first book where I became conscious of the ups and downs in storytelling. At the time I thought of it like a roller coaster. Or what I call down time. We've all read books where things just keep building and building with no let up, no quiet moments. They can be exhausting! (Some folks love that--more power to you!)

For me as a reader, a book needs to have an ebb and flow as it works its way up to the "Everything has gone to hell and we're all gonna die" moment. I like those quiet moments in a book. I can breathe a bit (a good writer will have you racing alongside the characters), there's often a bit of humor, or character development that makes the characters a little more real. Then I'm ready when the next massive battle, attack, mission, or whatever, happens.

This is more noticeable for action heavy books. For me, if there's too much going on and not enough down time hanging with my peeps (aka book characters ;)) I usually don't enjoy the book. I'm all for a great plot, but I LOVE characters I can fall in love with.

But even more subtle stories can benefit from the roller coaster. They too, can benefit from stepping out of the story for a moment. The sitting around a kitchen, the club, the favorite diner. Just a chance for the characters to decompress and show sides that might not have been noticeable before.

 But please, don't just use that time for an info dump or recap of what just happened in the story ;).

Sunday, May 7, 2017


For a VERY limited time--the ebook version of The Glass Gargoyle is FREE! If you know someone who could use some mayhem, murderous mages, and drunken faeries- send them over to get started with the series now!

(It's the faeries who made it free---I can't get them to sober up enough to unlock my Amazon password!)