Tuesday, August 31, 2010

geekery extreme

It is a well known fact that I am not only a fantasy geek, I am also a typography geek. As such, this project made me squee on many levels.

A typography designer updated Tolkien's elvish script for the modern age. It's elivin Helvetica!

Mind: blown.

Monday, August 30, 2010


(30% shamelessly cross-posted from the front page news)

Closer to launch day and more reviews are starting to surface. SciFi Chick says "Full of humor and suspense, this action-packed fantasy adventure is highly enjoyable. If anything, this fast-paced novel was too short, having read it in just a few short hours. Fantasy fans will love this extraordinary new series." Now I'm blushing! Also, Genre Go Round calls The Spirit Thief an "amusing tongue in cheek thriller" which was kind of what I called it in my query. Was I just really right, or is Ms. Klausner reading my mail? The world may never know...

And since there's way more room here than up front, here's the link to Rob's excellent review at Rob Will Review. This one is from about a month ago, but it always makes me giggle like a school girl. I'll stop posting it when it stops making me happy (read: never).

Also! The folks at Good Reads have a lot to say. Some of it good, some of it not as good as I would hope. However, most of the complaints seem to be in the "this is too light for me" vein, to which I say, that's fair. It is a light, funny, fast book, and that's not everyone's flavor. However, I do hope that, even if you tend to like your fantasy on the heavy side, you will give the book a try (I make it so easy! You can read the first two chapters right now, for free, right here!). A little laughter and is good for the soul, you know?

And just a note to anyone wondering how I find these reviews, there is no author network that funnels them to me. I find everything the same way you do, Google! So if you've written a review or read one that I've missed, mea culpa! Let me know by leaving a comment here and I'll post it on the blog and front page.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

nothing is sacred any more

Last night my husband pointed out that the muffins I make for breakfast, my delicious cardamom, golden raisin, walnut, orange, carrot and oat muffins made with whole wheat flour, are, in fact, bad for me. DO NOT TELL ME THESE THINGS. The muffins have WHEAT BRAN in them. I put it in MYSELF. Sure they have 2 cups of sugar, but I can't eat cookies, ice cream, chocolate, cake, or ANYTHING I LIKE. DO NOT TAKE MY MUFFINS FROM ME YOU-

*deep breath to prevent murder of spouse*

I've never tried cocaine, and after seeing how I've dealt with the loss of sugar, I don't think I ever will. I obviously can not be mature about these things.

I'm going to go eat a god damn muffin.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My peeps

Orbit, my lovely, lovely publisher, is turning 3! And to celebrate this momentous event, Publisher's Weekly has a pretty neat little article on the ways Orbit is bringing new ideas to the Fantasy/SciFi genre shelves. A very interesting read for anyone who likes to know what goes on behind the scenes of the book publishing world. There was stuff in here even I didn't know.

Of course, Orbit is using their fantastic 1-2-3 publishing strategy for the first 3 books of my series, The Legend of Eli Monpress. I would say that it worked fantastically for Brent Weeks, but Brent also wrote a very awesome series in the Night Angel Trilogy, which certainly didn't hurt. Still, here's hoping the same strategy gets my books out to an equally large pool of readers.

In other "my publisher is so cool" news, Orbit has created a series of amazingly awesome graphs showing trends inside the fantasy genre in typical Orbit mega-style. If you don't understand how graphs can be awesome, you obviously haven't seen these yet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


It's 99% decided that I will be at DragonCon this year. Not as a guest or anything so special, but I will be around and handing out preview booklets for the Spirit Thief. If you're going to be at DCon too and want to hang out, leave a comment or, better yet, drop me a line and we'll see what we can do!

Friday, August 13, 2010

New post up on the Magic District

I explore a fundamental truth of series writing and wonder WTF is up with Monster High.

But I hate a too-short post, so here is another link to some amazing and inspiring landscape pictures! I could not write without beautiful and dramatic landscapes on my computer, which is strange because a lot of the time the landscapes in my books are fairly tame. I should change that.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

awsomesauce, also, win some books

Sorry if this is old news to some, but I'd never seen it before and I've been laughing about it for way longer than I probably should have:

It's true, Chuck Norris has nothing on Gaiman the Great.

I've been a pretty big fan of Jim Hines ever since I read his princess books, and if you haven't given him a look over, you're doing yourself a disservice. However, today you're in luck! Ann Aguirre is running a Jim Hines fact contest and giving away copies of all his books as prizes. So if you know that Jim Hines is the reason goblin is now a legal entry on the US Census form, go there and take a shot at winning! Who doesn't love free books?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

changing flavors

As I write book 4 of The Legend of Eli Monpress, I find that my way of thinking is changing little by little. Or, rather, my way of thinking about my audience is changing. I'm always saying that writing is not a performance art (i.e., it doesn't matter if I skip some horrible scene and leave a giant red note that says "REPLACE WITH SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T SUCK" so long as I actually remember to replace it), but writing does have an audience, even if it's just an imaginary one, and the way I see that audience changes the book I write.

Back when I was still an aspiring author my audience was very simple, I was writing for agents and editors. While the average book reader doesn't see hundreds of fantasy plots every week, these people do. So it wasn't enough just to write a good book, I had to have a new, fresh good book. My audience was rushed, distracted, and I had one paragraph to make my case that mine was a book worth reading. Knowing this, I was desperate to make The Spirit Thief the most exciting, grabbing, original, fast-paced romp of a story I could squeeze into 80,000 words.

Of course, I'm still trying to do that, but now that my books are actually coming out and I'm working on the 4th book in the series rather than the first, things are different. My audience isn't made of just publishing people, but all kinds of people. People who, in this case, have already read and hopefully enjoyed 3 other books I wrote about my wizard thief and all the problems he ends up in. These people have done me the great honor of sticking along and letting me entertain them and allowing me to keep writing books, and for book 4, they are my primary audience. So the focus of my writing is shifting away from "how can I make this book really good?" to "how can I make this book holy shit awesome for people who've read the other books?" Because really, I read a lot of series, and there is nothing, NOTHING more disappointing and insulting than an author who lets her later books slide. I vow to never, ever become that person.

This new focus is actually a lot more fun to write, though. I know I can trust my audience to know most of the basics of the world, and that lets me dive right into the action. But it's also really really stressful because the bar is so high. People are rooting for these characters. If I flub a scene, someone will be horribly disappointed in me. That's some kind of pressure, and my books aren't even out yet! Still, I've always been the kind of person who gets more focused under stress, and so far, book 4 is shaping up to be the most complicated and, I think, most character driven of all the Eli novels. Also the most intense, especially with what I've got planned for the end. Trust me, you will be standing up in your chair screaming at me when you read this ending. Or at least I hope you will.

This is the new bar, and I'm putting everything I've got into jumping it. As Eli would say "Just don't flub things and it will all work out fine."

Humph. Easy for him to say.

Monday, August 9, 2010

CSS programmer is a great subjob to writer!

Ok, fixed my homepage and everything to point to this blog as my new blog, complete with nifty buttons. If you got here from there, congratulations! Things work!

Back when I had a day job (and a life), I was a CSS programmer and designer for a web dev company. This has been IMMEASURABLY useful in pretty much everything I do. For example, when my editor says "hey, BEA's coming up. You need a website!" - there's no problem. Bam, website. Of course, it also helps if your husband is a PHP programmer. I did not design my homepage, that I left in the capable hands of Mr. Ryan White, who is the soul of The Thornhill Group and the best and most artistic designer I've ever had the pleasure of working with. Check out his page, you won't be disappointed.

I'll probably be redesigning the site in a year or so, but until then, I'm going to enjoy the distressed beige.

If anyone has opinions on the site (good, bad, or neutral), or if there's anything you'd like on the site that I've left out, let me know! I'm always looking to make things better.

Friday, August 6, 2010

fresh coat of paint, ready to go

Ok, so I have now taken my old blog and officially made it into my new blog! There are a few Magic District cross-posts here just to get things a tad more up-to-date, but that's not going to happen after today.

So, now that's out, what is on this blog? Fun stuff, hopefully. Starting with tonight's topic: writing to music.

When I wrote my first novel (the one I never sold that came before The Spirit Thief), I listened to the Amelie soundtrack on constant repeat. Looking back, I don't really know why. The songs didn't match the novel at all. Music was just always something I had on whenever I was at my computer, and the Amelie soundtrack, being mostly instrumental, was safe and easy to zone out to. Now I can't hear any of the songs without immediately going back to the world of my first novel, which is both cool and kind of sad, because I would love to be able to watch Amelie again without being reminded of the book I never sold.

I had several flubbed starts at novels before finally settling in to write what became the Spirit Thief, and it was during these that I learned not to be afraid of silence. There's something hypnotic about the clicking of keys and nothing else. But I felt I should have something, so I tried relaxation music, chill techno, even those cheap-o CDs with forest sounds (which are creepy as shit when you leave them on repeat in a room and forget they're going). But the more I wrote, the more I realized that music was a distraction until, eventually, I phased it out all together. Now, I can't have anything on while I'm writing or I get horribly distracted. This is weird, because I can write in a crowded coffee shop or library no problem, but music at home? Forget it.

I feel like a real weirdo about this, though, since I know lots of authors love music to help set the mood when they write, even going so far as to make playlists for their characters. I just never got into that part of character development. Still, I respect those people who can write with music. Though I maintain that nothing is better than hearing your characters voices in your head and nothing else. That is the best music of all.

I'm curious though, if you're a writer, do you work with music on or not?