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reudaly July 23 2014, 17:54

[Writing Post] Life, Swag, and Other Things

Originally published at Rhonda Eudaly. You can comment here or there.

Today is supposed to be a writing post, but honestly – that’s not really going to happen. It’s been an… eventful…week, and it’s actually ramping up. I continued my word count progress – it may be small but it’s growing – around the North Texas Comic Book Show (managed to do a bit of editing there). I met a few people and sold a few books. It was good.

My dad was taken to the hospital on Monday evening. We still don’t know what’s wrong with him. He’s finally having some diagnostic work done (hopefully as I type) that will tell us what may be happening. But that’s a distraction no one could foresee. Forgive me if that takes a certain amount of precedence. And with it all, we had structural work done on the house this week, and my husband is fighting off something. And ArmadilloCon is coming.

So, I know it all comes off as excuses and such. But it is what it is. In all things, family comes first.
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I did have a very heart-warming moment at NTCBS. There was an adorable little girl (who’s apparently a staple there) in a green tutu Riddler costume carrying a Batman Doll with a green tutu. I gave her a notebook and pen (also green…because Riddler, hello). And she zipped around getting quotes and stuff. It was the most adorable thing EVAR.
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The next day I got emails from her mom and (apparently) aunt thanking me so much for that little act. And how much the child loved it. Almost made me cry. Will they be customers down the road? Maybe. Maybe not – the aunt did buy a coloring book to read to her new grandchild – but that kind of thing is better than a sale.

I bring it up – not because “aww, look at me”, but because I saw a post on Facebook a week or so ago about how swag was pointless. The only promotional thing an author needs to do is write the next book. And yes, that’s really, super important…but…swag (or promotional items) some opportunities can be lost. Especially at tables like the comic shows where someone might like YOU but is short of funds. A promotional item given freely is an impression on the potential customer. Something they can look at later – if they still have it, granted – and remember, “Hey, that person was cool, let me go ahead and check out that website now.”

It’s all important.

marthawells July 23 2014, 13:36

No subject

New books:

* Doghouse by L.A. Kornetsky
Even though she’s unlicensed as an investigator, the infamously nosy Ginny Mallard has begun to make a name for herself as an unofficial champion of the tongue-tied. When a mysterious stranger comes to her with landlord trouble, she convinces her bartender friend Teddy Tonica to help her once more.

* Dust and Light by Carol Berg is up for preorder
How much must one pay for an hour of youthful folly? The Pureblood Registry accused Lucian de Remeni-Masson of “unseemly involvement with ordinaries,” which meant only that he spoke with a young woman not of his own kind, allowed her to see his face unmasked, worked a bit of magic for her....After that one mistake, Lucian’s grandsire excised half his magic and savage Harrowers massacred his family. Now the Registry has contracted his art to a common coroner. His extraordinary gift for portraiture is restricted to dead ordinaries—beggars or starvelings hauled from the streets.

* Shattering the Ley by Joshua Palmatier
Erenthrall—sprawling city of light and magic, whose streets are packed with traders from a dozen lands and whose buildings and towers are grown and shaped in the space of a day. At the heart of the city is the Nexus, the hub of a magical ley line system that powers Erenthrall. This ley line also links the city and the Baronial plains to rest of the continent and the world beyond. The Prime Wielders control the Nexus with secrecy and lies, but it is the Baron who controls the Wielders. The Baron also controls the rest of the Baronies through a web of brutal intimidation enforced by his bloodthirsty guardsmen and unnatural assassins.

* A Plunder of Souls by D.B. Jackson
Boston, 1769: Ethan Kaille, a Boston thieftaker who uses his conjuring to catch criminals, has snared villains and defeated magic that would have daunted a lesser man. What starts out as a mysterious phenomenon that has local ministers confused becomes something far more serious.

* The Seat of Magic by J. Kathleen Cheney
agical beings have been banned from the Golden City for decades, though many live there in secret. Now humans and nonhumans alike are in danger as evil stalks the streets, growing more powerful with every kill. It’s been two weeks since Oriana Paredes was banished from the Golden City. Police consultant Duilio Ferreira, who himself has a talent he must keep secret, can’t escape the feeling that, though she’s supposedly returned home to her people, Oriana is in danger. Adding to Duilio’s concerns is a string of recent murders in the city. Three victims have already been found, each without a mark upon her body. When a selkie under his brother’s protection goes missing, Duilio fears the killer is also targeting nonhuman prey.


* And there's a half-price ebook sale at Book View Cafe. The books on sale are here.
matociquala July 22 2014, 14:30

but she brings you only sorrow

We made a book! It looks like One-Eyed Jack is available a little early from Amazon (and possibly from your local independent bookstore--check there first, they love to order things for you!) both as Kindle and trade paperback. (Barnes and Noble should be in the game soon, I am assured.)

Oh, look! It's on Barnes and Noble!

BOOK!



Now, off to sign at Fantask in Copenhagen with that boy I like in an hour and a half! Eeeeeeee!

marthawells July 22 2014, 12:55

Audiobook News

Some great news! The audiobook narrator for Stories of the Raksura Vol I will be Christopher Kipiniak, who did the first three Books of the Raksura.

If you like audiobooks and are new here, all my fantasy novels plus the Star Wars novel are available in audiobook at Audible.com, Tantor Audio, Audible UK, iTunes, and other audiobook retailers.

A note about conventions, because this comes up occasionally: authors and artists (who are not in the top 4-5 or so headlining guests) do not get paid to go to SF/F conventions, to do panels or workshops, even all day long workshops. We pay our own travel, hotel, food, etc, and usually all we get is a free membership (the same thing volunteers who work on the convention get). For large conventions like World Fantasy and WorldCon, we have to buy our own membership. (Often, if a WorldCon makes enough money to pay its expenses and has money left over, it will reimburse panelists for their memberships. But that's never guaranteed.)

Couple of links:

Kickstarter: Imagined Realms: Book 1 - New Fantasy Art by Julie Dillon

Aliette de Bodard: Some thoughts on the Hugo nominees
alfreda89 July 22 2014, 01:12

Cat Servant Redux

I have reached the point of cat slave.

I held the bowl for him so he could stay in his warm basket and eat some of the meat.

No clue if he's just cold.  I may have to get him a fuzzy bathroom rug (with a rubber back so I don't slip) and place it before his bowls.  But he did eat over half his dinner, so I won't force a pill down him yet.  Am considering starting Pepcid once a day, however.
reudaly July 21 2014, 18:14

[Pen/Pencil Review] The Nock Co Hightower Pen Case

Originally published at Rhonda Eudaly. You can comment here or there.

I’m in a place where I need to find out what I’ve reviewed in the past and what I might still have left. My current “new” stuff has been done, for the most part. I do have one more Nock Co. pen holder to introduce you to, and that’s The Hightower.

The Hightower is more functional. There’s a three-pen side with a flap for protection and a single pocket on the other side that can either fit a notebook or more pens if you don’t mind some rattling around. I currently have six lower end pens and pencils on the single pocket side. It’s has a “heavy, DWR coated nylon exterior and durable pack cloth liner”. It comes in three colors – gray and teal, navy and silver, red and orange. I picked the navy and silver.
IMG_1971
This pen case feels good. The slots are wide to accept big barreled pens. The fabric feels like it’d described. I don’t get the impression I’m going to rip this thing if it goes rattling around in a purse, computer bag, or book signing box. Which is a good thing, because that’s EXACTLY what I’m using this pen case for – my everyday work bag pens. This holder is 8″ wide by 6.75″ tall and it folds in the middle to make it a bi-fold. This is the pen holder I throw into my work bag. It’s tough. It’s durable, and it’s easy to deal with.
IMG_1972
The Nock Co. store is now up and running with free shipping over $50. Oh, and if you’re a bigger pen geek than me, one of the founders of Nock Co. is Brian Dowdy of The Pen Addict. He knows his pen stuff.
The numbers:

1. How does it work?1 – It works really well. It holds three thick barrel pens (which it’s advertised for) on the flap side (you can probably get six). And at least six on the single pocket side or a 3×5″ (ish) notebook.
2. Grip and feel1 – Okay, so there’s no grip, but it does feel durable and solid while being flexible. The pens work out well in them.
3. Material1 – The material for the outside reminds me of canvas or heavy denim. I’m not sure what DWR coating is – but it feels water-resistant to me (and as someone who spills, that’s cool). The pack cloth liner is soft enough I don’t feel like it’ll scratch while being tear-resistant.
4. Overall Design1 – It’s well-designed for what it is. They don’t overhype the case. It’s a good, versatile pen case.
5. Price Point0.5 – None of these are going to be cheap. But they’re made here in the USA (in Georgia) by guys who know their stuff. This one retails for $20 on the Nock Co. Which isn’t horrible but it is an investment.

That’s 4.5 of 5 bronze pencils.
Pencil 4.5

marthawells July 21 2014, 12:52

ArmadilloCon and Not WorldCon

This weekend I'm going to be at ArmadilloCon 36 in Austin, Texas. Major guests are: Ian McDonald, Ted Chiang, Jacob Weisman, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Sigrid Close, Michael Walsh, and Mario Acevedo.


Here's my schedule. (I'm also one of the teachers for the all day writers' workshop on Friday.) For my reading I'll be doing a section of one of the upcoming Raksura novellas.

Fr1600E Tree Creatures
Fri 4:00 PM-5:00 PM Room E
Wells*, Clarke, Oliver, Stanley
Ents, nymphs dryads and more. Discussion regarding the various kinds of tree creatures from myth and legend.

Sa1000D Elemental Magic
Sat 10:00 AM-11:00 AM Room D
Kimbriel*, Pedersen, Wells, Wilson
What is elemental magic and which stories use it the best?

Sa1300DR Autographing
Sat 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Dealers' Room
Blaschke, Wells

Sa1400E Where Are They Now?
Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Room E
Carl*, Antonelli, Wells
Authors read short snippets from their early, critique and discuss what they learned.

Sa1700SB Reading
Sat 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Southpark B
Wells


The WorldCon is in London in early August, and I really wish I could be there, but I won't, because I just couldn't afford it this year. If you want to angst along with me, you can look at my previous worldcon tag, where I have photos and reports from the WorldCons in San Antonio and Chicago etc. (In the Chicago one, there's a favorite moment where a physicist who insisted he wasn't there helped us fix a tea urn.)
gloriaoliver July 20 2014, 15:56

Virtual Tourist - TERA 7/20/14

Morning all!

Running late. Been fighting a cold and it tricked me this morning. For shame!


TERA

Crecentia/Lumbertown areas

(I think)



Like totally friendly decor here, right?



Portable campfires to regen health, mps, and stamina.



Totally cute!



Yeah, totally friendly area. For sure! NOT



Such cool architecture!



Teleport portal. These guys do use antlers in all their decorating! Hee hee!



Cutest bag guys ever!



All sorts of interesting stuff.



Doesn't he look cool?



Latest armor of the moment.



Hubby's. Too cute



This thing was so creepy looking!



The rows of eyes. Eek!



Bunny in a rock.



Baby dragon!!!!!



Isn't that a glorious sky?

Gave a great day!

marthawells July 20 2014, 12:58

People Who Need Help

Save a Mule:
http://www.gofundme.com/b270fo
We took her to our local vet who did an ultrasound and biopsy which confirmed it is a type of cancer called a Mast Cell Tumor. The best course of action is to have it surgically removed as soon as possible! We contacted three seperate equine vets for estimates and have scheduled her surgery with Dr. Davis at Reata Equine Hospital in Weatherford, which is about an hour away. Once the tumor is removed she will have a drain put in and so she will have to stay there at the hospital for at least 3-5 days, possibly a whole week. After that I will be taking care of her here at Dancing Moon Farmstead.

Save a Hip:
http://www.gofundme.com/alj39o
On July 14th I am having hip-replacement surgery and will be out of work for at least two months. I've been suffering from severe pain and loss of mobility, and also spiking hypertension and pre-diabetes as pain and lack of exercise have increased over the past few years. I am at the point where I can barely walk even with a cane, and now that I finally have health insurance and have lost a little weight and dropped my blood pressure I can have the surgery I need to, literally, help me get back firmly on my feet. But because of this condition I have only worked part-time for the last few years and have almost no resources to use as I face several months without a real paycheck.

Save a House:
http://www.gofundme.com/b5ez3o
We're under forclosure with the sheriff's sale date set for August 16th. We have no where to go. I'm worried about my two boys and I'm scared about what'll happen to my cats. I work two jobs and have applied for a third. My husband is a truck driver who is gone six days a week. We need help getting back on our feet. Thank you so much for your support and help. It means the world to me.

Save another House:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/please-help-me-repair-my-mom-s-home
They are divorced, but the damage to the house remains and is a constant reminder. He ripped a hole in the bathroom "intending to fix the plumbing", but never did. This gaping hole has been here for over six years, and because of that we can't take showers for longer than 5 minutes otherwise the entire apartment will flood and it will go into the apartment below. The mirror is falling out of the wall, and the shelves inside it are broken because of his tantrums, the pan beneath the bathtub is busted (the original plumbing problem he was "going to fix"). Essentially, the entire bathroom needs to be ripped out and redone.

Remember even small amounts can help, and reblogging is really appreciated.
boogieshoes July 19 2014, 00:10

Health Reports for: H. Sapiens Equinus, Canus Domesticus Abbiecus, Hauseii Boogendius, and Gardenicu

So it’s mostly good news at Chez Boogs. Abbie and I had our vet appointments recently, and health ratings are up.

Abs gained 15 lbs, I lost 2 lbs from the last visit, for a total of 10 lbs weight loss – slow and steady wins the race. I also realized I lost two pants sizes, from size 24 (US) to 20 (also US). First time I’ve enjoyed shopping in a long time.

I have a heart rate of 78 BPM; Abbie’s is ‘hey, wait, I’m not finished taking your pulse yet!’.

My Blood Pressure is 123/81, Abbie’s is ‘yeah, whatever.’ (It’s so hard being a dog).

And I don’t have heart worms, and am up on my rabies, shots, and Abbie’s had her flu shots, so that’s all good, too.

I’ve been trying to focus on sticking a little better to my low-carb high-fat diet, and I can see and feel a difference.

tmi partCollapse )

house goes and woesCollapse )

the garden giveth... surprisingly well!Collapse )

-bs, free and easy on the road I go
jongibbs July 18 2014, 15:41

Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e July 18th, 2014



Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:

Practice, Persistence, Professionalism (Nancy J. Cohen)
http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2014/07/practice-persistence-professionalism.html

How to Find an Agent (Rachelle Gardner)
www.booksandsuch.com/blog/how-to-find-an-agent/

6 Ways Writers of Any Genre Can Benefit from Science Fiction Conventions (J. Thomas Ross)
http://authorchronicles.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/6-ways-writers-of-any-genre-can-benefit-from-science-fiction-conventions/

The real solution to Amazon vs. Hachette (Nathan Bransford) http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2014/07/the-real-solution-to-amazon-vs-hachette.html

Picture Book Wisdom From Without vs. Within (Mary Kole)
http://kidlit.com/2014/07/14/picture-book-wisdom-from-without-vs-within/

When the Happily-Ever-After Ends… (Stina Lindenblatt)
http://querytracker.blogspot.com/2014/07/when-happily-ever-after-ends.html

12 Tips for Writing Blog Posts That Get Noticed (Jodie Renner)
http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2014/07/12-tips-for-writing-blog-posts-that-get.html

Writing Doesn't Make You a Better Writer (James Scott Bell)
http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2014/07/writing-doesnt-make-you-better-writer.html

Twitter Etiquette 101 (AnnieNeugebauer)
http://writerunboxed.com/2014/07/12/twitter-etiquette-101/

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2013, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.
marthawells July 18 2014, 14:34

Date for Raksura Novellas Volume II

Raksura News: It looks like the second volume of Raksura novellas will be scheduled for April 2015. (first one is out on Sept 2 this year.) It's going to be: Stories of the Raksura: Volume II: two novella collection, with "The Dead City" and "The Dark Earth Below," plus some additional short story reprints. Night Shade Books, ISBN 978-1597805360

We had a huge storm last night with several power losses. Also, the neighbors on one side have a giant vegetable garden, and they've done something to it that's causing rainwater to draining off to miss the stand of trees in the way and come along the fence right up to the side of our house. I've gone out and dug around and moved some landscaping rocks to hopefully deflect it down toward the street, but it's hard to tell how much it will help until the next rainstorm.


Kickstarter:
Dreamers of Wonder photographer Beth Gwinn will do a photo and interview book of SF/F authors, artists, producers, etc.

Article:
Entitlement In Writer Culture by Kait Nolan

Link:
Welcome to Rereading Melanie Rawn: The Dragon Prince Trilogy! a re-read by Judith Tarr, at Tor.com
reudaly July 18 2014, 13:11

[Spotlight Post] Celtica: Pipes Rock Legends and Visions – Crosspost

Originally published at Rhonda Eudaly. You can comment here or there.

Celtic-Music-Magazine-Header-2

This is a repost of the review I wrote a couple of weeks ago at Celtic Music Magazine. If you like this review, check out the website for more.

When I wrote a review of Celtica Pipes Rock Oceans of Fire, they asked if I might do one of their new album, Legends and Visions which was only being sold at shows when I wrote the last review, now it’s available for sale in other venues.
celticapipesrock1
To recap. The band is back together, Celtica: Pipes Rock is once more a six-piece band. Their piper, Jane Espie is back. That’s one of the things that makes this band great, not only is it real rock and roll, it’s real Scottish pipes with a female piper, to boot to complement Duncan Knight’s awesome work. I’m sorry I missed seeing them perform live at the North Texas Irish Festival, but I will see them in concert one day. Just not when they’re in Tulsa in a couple of months, darn it.

Legends and Visions has a similar format to their other albums. It’s set up as a “show” or story. There’s an intro before going into their tracks. One of the main things I like about this album is that it has a fun sci-fi/fantasy theme to it along with rock and roll and Celtic standards done in their signature style. What’s different is the naming conventions. In the past they’ve told you what songs they’re mashing up in their medleys. Now you get to guess – except for “Love U2!”, that one’s pretty self-explanatory – and an excellent medley of songs skillfully woven together.
celtica
Their versions of “Albas Shore” and “Whiskey in The Jar” probably aren’t what you’re used to, but I rock out to them – as with all the tracks. The vocals are minimal – mostly instrumental. I keep this band on my Writing AND Road Trip playlists for those times I need LOUD but good because this band has more skill than I could ever imagine. It’s also good fun – especially if you’re having a bad day and want to hide. You can’t listen to this album and sit or stand still. “Rolling with the Goblins” has a SWING DANCE beat to half the song, how does anyone stay still for that?

They did put a track on this project that I’ve been waiting for. When I was introduced to Celtica, I looked them up on YouTube and fell in love with their video for their cover of “Don’t Stop Believin’” – which they encourage the audience to sing. They did a compilation video from their tour of the song. I believe it was their encore song, and now it’s the encore of Legends and Visions and for a live track, it’s fantastic.

EDIT: Gajus Stappen commented on the original post that all the songs – including Alba Shore is written and/or arranged by Celtica: Pipes Rock. This is a truly unique sound.

Artist: Celtica: Pipes Rock
Buy Album: CD BABY

alfreda89 July 18 2014, 03:12

Back blurb for Spiral Path?

So, I'm leaning toward this for the back blurb for Spiral Path.

"The world is woven of secrets."

Ritual magic and wild magic are a dangerous mix.  That's what they believe at Windward School.  But when Alfreda Sorensson leaves her pioneer home in the Michigan Territory to take refuge at the elite New York academy, her wild magic places her in direct conflict with the ritual magic taught to both young Americans and Europeans.

There's a steep learning curve for ritual magic and for getting along with other magic users.  Windward is a curious place where half the professors may not be human.  It's a last chance for students who can't control their magic, and a place where everything is a test, in one way or another.

At first Alfreda thinks her greatest challenge will be mastering ritual magic.  Then she learns that there may be traitors close at hand--traitors to the school and to the new nation.  War between the United States and England is looming, and Alfreda answers the call.  Only after she spies her way into an enemy magician's estate does she learn the true challenge of her power--

Because when dark magic finds her, she's utterly on her own.

marthawells July 16 2014, 14:13

No subject

Recap from yesterday:

* My good news from yesterday:
Stories of the Raksura vol. I was reviewed by Publishers Weekly:
"Wells is adept at suggesting a long, complex history for her world with economy, and, while her protagonists may not be human as we understand it, they are definitely people, sympathetic figures constrained but not defeated by their environments. Longtime fans and new readers alike will enjoy Wells's deft touch with characterization and the fantastic." —Publishers Weekly

* New story in new anthology.


links

Posting this again, as it's getting closer to the Hugo voting deadline: An important note for Hugo voting.
More so this year than most years, it's important to understand how voting "No Award" works.

The Teal Deer: If you want to vote No Award over something, put No Award at the end of your ballot and DO NOT list the things you're voting No Award over.



Kickstarter: A sequel to The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
reudaly July 16 2014, 13:35

[Writer Post] The Surreal Life

Originally published at Rhonda Eudaly. You can comment here or there.

A writer’s life is sometimes very surreal… okay, well, at least mine is. I probably shouldn’t speak to other writers’ lives, but yeah, mine can be very surreal. It’s a very weird mix of “Mundane” with spurts of “Holy Cow”. I’m kinda going through one of those spurts at the moment and part of it is convention season when we get away from the laundry and have people treat us like we’re special (and sometimes “Special”).

But sometimes… it’s just weird.

Like when you write a bizarre little story that has an editor saying, “you better send that to me”. Yeah, that doesn’t normally happen (but when it does, it’s usually when you’re throwing up your hands saying, “I’m never going to sell anything ever again!”). I’m not saying I was there, but I haven’t been as prolific on the short stories lately, so this is gratifying.

I’ve been approached by SciFi4Me.Com to be part of their radio show in August for Book Month. Their show is live on BlogTalkRadio Monday-Thursday from 10:30-11 pm CST – and yes, that’s late for me. I hope to be coherent on August 5th. They do archive, and I’ll mention it again before time, but dude, I’m going on the radio(ish).

Then the really weird but cool thing…last week, I got a private message through Facebook. A musician I used to hang with at a coffee house was looking for lyrical inspiration for his band. I flippantly threw out some of my more bizarre story topic. He jumped at them. So there might be some very bizarre music coming out of the DFW area in the not too distant future. It’s hugely flattering, but so far beyond what I would consider the norm that…hey, surreal.

So yeah, that’s my highly non-standard week as a writer. These are very, very few and far between unless you’re much, much bigger than me. But it’s still cool when it happens. Now… on to the North Texas Comic Book Show on Saturday and ArmadilloCon next weekend.

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