Tempest Fugiting

So, apparently there’s another controversy in RWA land (is there ever one not going on?).  This is over to epub or not to epub…only that is not the question.  It’s more like where’s the money, dude?

Or maybe the recognition…I’m not clear on that one.

Honestly, the gossip always gets to me last — this has been my life since high school when the first awareness that such a thing as back channel chatter filtered through my horse-crazy phase (the one I never out-grew).  Anyway, the tempest of the day is this epub thing, and head over to Google if you want the full set of opinions.

Myself…I don’t know.  I have nothing against e-books, but then I have nothing for them, either.  When a good reading device comes along I suspect I’ll make the jump, but I’d still rather buy a book and read it, not download it and read it.  Or maybe it’s that the right book hasn’t come out only on epub to grab me.  On the other hand, saving trees, good stuff, less paper around, even better.  But then, transporting bytes still takes power, so we’re still into the grid and still warming the planet, and you can offset your books with donations to Tree People.  So…no decision in that round.

As to its viability as a publishing business–sure, heck, why not.  But if you look at the epub best seller lists, more sex seems to sell more (as in, duh).  So it’s probably like any other publishing business in that some titles do better than others, so it works for some, not so much for others.  Meaning some folks will be happy there, others not.  But then I wonder why epublished authors also seek out traditional houses, too.  The ones who write for both–well, why not.  It’s about the money there, too, I’m sure.  And making money.  And still no decision.

So what’s the real deal here?  Is it about fame more than money?  The desperate need none of us have ever outgrown–the desire to be “in the club” to be so hip slick and cool?  I think only MJ Rose has made her name into a almost household one, and that was with a jump from epub to print, so it may be that epub still has the glamour of the gizmo stuck to it.  There’s no Stevie King yet for the epub–but that’s coming.  (Well, actually, it’s here, but King’s books still come out first in hard cover, which really shows where the big money is.)

So it’ll be nice when we can get back more to the content, not the format.  When print or bytes are a second thought, and maybe you can only get this great book by download (on a reader with a decent cost and display, please) and we’re back to talking about the words and how well they fit.

Something Fresh

In the quest for something fresh to stir up the pond, I’ve taken an online workshop — which ended up showing me I have a better idea of what I want to do, and really wasn’t my cuppa since lists were involved — and I’m reading Karl Iglesias’ Writing for Emotional Impact.  (Well, technically, that’s the non-fiction currently going, the fiction is Silent in the Grave, although I’ve a couple of other things going on — does anyone else multitask their reading these days — I have to believe yes.)

Anyway, so far Inglesias is very clear — great quotes, good examples — but the best advise yet is the old ‘if you were this person what would you do…’  yes, yes.  I’m now tempted to skip ahead since chapters 8 and 9 have promised more specific techniques, but I’m being the good student.  There is a reason for the order here, and refresher course stuff is always good.  There’s been many a workshop I’ve sat through that was just redudant enough that I could daydream and let things shift like a shuffled deck of cars — and that sounds terrible.  But I mean that in the best way.

Learning sometimes isn’t just finding out new stuff–it’s seeing the old stuff in a new light.  It’s a fresh pair of glasses, or it’s even pulling the glasses off for a change.  And maybe some fresh music to go with–eh?

It must be the autumn–and there must be deeply nomadic blood in me, because fall and spring always make me want to move things around (mostly myself), and make shifts.  It’s a good time to write bad poetry, and try exotic drinks, and go someplace where one can sit and soak in experience.

One thing leads to another

One of the truely enjoyable things about the Internet is that stuff links.  Unfortunately, this is also the best way to spent lots of time on the ‘Net (not writing), but there’s a good article on Wired: “How to Get Published and Avoid Alien Bloodsuckers“.  (Blood being a touch more of a metaphore, and one only wishes they were alien, and not a pretty typical get-ahead human.)  But the good stuff is the mention of Yog’s Law, which is posted on SFF: Money Flows Toward the Writer.  This is a good thing to remember, and it is interesting that good advice often seems to come in small words.

From here you can get to SFWA’s Writing FAQs, with lots of good basic info. Now, it amazes me with all this good info — easily Googled, another way to spend hours tripping down the WWW garden paths — that folks don’t know or find this stuff out.  Is it fear that keeps people from poking around?  Or perhaps that blank stare that often hits when all those pages and pages of possible links show up on Google (and did they ever do a study to find out just how many links they could put on that first page without really freakng someone out?).

Ypulse’s book blog is another good source of info, and links off to a list of 100 books most often found on top 100 lists.   (There’s something very circular about that reasoning, but, oh well.)  I’ve read 26 of them, which goes to show my top 100 are not here — and why are so many of these books so old?  Does this mean it takes time for a book to show up in top 100’s?  Or is it that so many of these books are on reading lists in English classes in every English speaking country, and thus get put here?  Or, is it that these lists are generated by critics, not readers, and therefore are highly suspect, just because you have to worry when someone tells you to read a book, unless that someone is a best friend who is also pushing the paperback your way.

Nevermind that, however, since I have new books found, and already treasured.  Deanna Raybourn, Silent in the Grave, and Silent in the Sanctuary, and I so want to spell her last name with an ‘e’ tucked in there (for not particular good reason, other than it feels like it ought to be there).  She’s on my top 100 (currently, I’m always hoping for a new book to come along and bump off the old).  And she has a link to cool, goth photos by Simon Marsden, (and his name is spelled as it ought to be), and I’ve already ordered as cards.  Because you really do never know what one thing will lead to another thing.

Writers Talking

Third day of a writers’ conference and I’m ready to go home.  I’ve also come back to the same conclusions I always reach–writers are better at writing than talking.  It’s not so much that too much talk of writing and my eyes glaze.  Love to talk plot, character, technique, structure.  It’s fun to listen, too–sure is easier to talk than to do.  But, the business stuff–that’s where my eyes glaze.  These conferences always remind me I don’t care about the business stuff–that’s not why I started writing.  I like writing.  I like writers.  The rest of it–well, it’s necessary, but not exciting, and I can’t do without it, but I sure as hell don’t have to talk about it any more than necessary.

Third day and I also want my bad habits back.  I’m ready for sweat pants and my dogs and meals that are just snacks pulled out of the fridge.  I’m ready for a writing binge so I don’t have to talk about it.  Some times I do wonder if, as writers, we should talk less, and just keep the keyboard humming.

Reading for a good cause…


2008 “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing

The “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing has become one of the most popular events at RWA’s annual conference. Over 500 romance authors participate in this two-hour autographing event, and each year we raise thousands of dollars, which are donated to ProLiteracy Worldwide. Since 1991, RWA has donated over $600,000 to literacy charities.

The 2008 “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing takes place on Wednesday, July 30, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the San Francisco Marriott, Yerba Buena Ballroom. (This event is open to the public.)

Writers in SF

Next week is the RWA conference in San Francisco, and it’s a bit sad when that kind of event looks restful. It’s not, but it’s sure as hell a change of pace, and that’s sounding very, very good. But, honestly, it’s a bit silly that every year when I go to one of these, I spend good money to not listen to workshops–but the bar is worth the price of admission, and I at least get to listen to Susan Elizabeth Philips, who is as funny and charming and smart as she writes. That is no small thing. Writers are often not what they write. Actually, writers usually aren’t what they write. There are a few times when I’ve met someone and they’re so much like their books, it’s just silly. Usually, it’s a disappointment–I’ve learned to be very wary of meeting favorite authors (or even finding out much about them, since if the fiction is good, much else should be ignored). But the real fun of conference is often to be found in the bar, because that’s where you find someone who’ll talk about the craft.

And that’s what gets me jazzed.

A late night with too little sleep and just enough to drink that regular boundaries get a bit slurred, and that’s the kind of madness where you can dig a little deeper into questions about what does matter. My suspicion is that this is my frustrated desire to have been a member of The Algonquin Club–or at least a waiter at the hotel, someone who could eavesdrop shamelessly, and don’t tell me that Parker and Benchley and the like didn’t know they were playing to an audience.

Conference, however, always makes me wonder why a couple of thousand women in one room do start sounding like chickens in a coop. That’s just not fair. And why is it that the two things you never pack are the two things you need most, while the five things you were sure you needed remain unused? My other fantasy of convention travel is to show up with an Amex card in hand and nothing more and buy everything as needed–that’s not happening this year, but that’s one of those someday promises. (Along with getting out of the conference hotel more, and also finding the time to take a real vacation.)

And there will be books–not that I don’t have a stack of twenty to be read (and two I’m wandering my way through). But, lord help me, I can no more resist a book that looks interesting than I can stay out of a conversation about writing. So much easier to talk about, than to do. Back to doing more now….

Moving Day(s)

My mother passed on this week. Which may seem to have nothing to do with my shifiting my web from a site to a blog, but it’s all related. I’ll be painting the bathroom cabinets this next week, too. It’s my way of coping with change–I throw myself into even more change. The house got painted the last big stress that hit (yep, every room except the kitchen…and the bathroom cabinets)…that was for a divorce. So, death in the family–ah, why not not think about it by futzing around with webwork that I’ve put off far too long.

So…big shift. (Or is that plural?)

What I hope this new site will be is a better, more active site–and much more posted about what’s going on currently, rather than past. I’ve two new manuscripts done (and making the rounds, and making the rounds). And a couple more started…one about half-way. I’ve gone back to my roots again with spooky stuff (never did get Poe and Bradbury out of my blood), and there’s new ideas to mix that up a bit–and I so wish it did not feel like running after a trend. But, hey, I’d be writing weird stuff anyway, since I’m not under contract.

So, here’s to change…may we meet it with grace, and only a little craziness. May it encourage us to growth, not to running away–and if we do run, may it be to better pastures, with some good sights on the way. And here’s to new homes and fresh paint.