Friday, February 25, 2011

Anti-climax

Sometimes weeks get away from you. I'm suffering from a family crisis that's pretty much ruined my week (and most likely next week). I also smashed one of my fingers at work, so It's nearly impossible for me to type (still wrapped in gauze).

Next week I'm introducing a monthly feature, but I'm done this week.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Carriger is Queen

Oh hey, it's Wednesday. I'm supposed to blog, but this is ANOTHER busy week (and I overslept this morning). But you SHOULD go check out Changless by Gail Carriger. The audio book is AWESOME!

You all know how much I love audio books, and I think this series, and the woman who narrates, is one of the best audio book sets in existence. So, go pick up the audio book for Soulless and Changeless. And go buy the paperbacks by Carriger. You won't regret it!

Oh yeah, and check out my review of Blameless.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Life's Too Short...

There are a lot of books out there that I want to read. Several that I want to read through again. The other day, I picked up one of those books, got three chapters in, and realized I just wasn't enjoying it. The book is Steampunk, and I wanted to take a look at it because it takes place in the late 1800s - the same time-period in which my Steampunk novel will take place. But there were just enough quirks with the writing that I knew I wouldn't enjoy it. So I put it down.

I've done this with three different books in the last month. And it's not that there's anything wrong with the books. They just didn't engage my imagination the way I wanted them to. Just after I decided to stop reading that last book, I realized that life is too short to force myself to read books aren't entertaining. Of course this does not apply to research or education. Just entertainment. For me, it felt like I got ten minutes into a movie, realized it wasn't what I hoped for, and decided that (since it's on Netflix Instant Watch) I would just turn it off and find something that will stimulate my mind.

I believe that it's important to learn from books, especially as a writer. And the books that I set down actually do have value. That's one of the reasons I'm not mentioning them by name: I hope many people read those books, and I hope that those reader truly enjoy them. But for myself, I'll pass on the Steampunk novel to finish the Hunger Games.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thoughts from a former employee

I know that by this point, the news about Borders is well-known. I refrained from speaking on the matter until now because (to be honest) I've been working crazy hours at work. Today, though, I want to write a few words about the bankruptcy filings by one of the largest book-store chains in the country.

To start, I'm not at all surprised. Even when I was hired in 2004 the company was struggling with money, marketing, and figuring out how to increase their customer-base. To fix that problem, they eventually put together an incentive-program that encouraged booksellers to sell a minimum amount of their promoted title each month. What was the incentive? You get to keep your job. As a result, customer-service slipped. Okay, it plummeted. This came after an intrusive rewards program got introduced to customers, re-branding campaigns, and all training personnel were cut from the staff (due to budget constraints).

The fact that it took seven years for the bankruptcy filing to occur really shocked me. And the fact that anyone was surprised by the eventual filing truly does amaze me. I don't want to see any bookstores get closed, but if a company refuses to build a business-model that takes care of customers and employees, they should be prepared for the consequences. I've heard B&N isn't a great company to work for, but they have an internationally established market. Borders just didn't do what it needed to to compete.

And this has NOTHING to do with e-books. They offered the Sony e-reader to their customers two years before the Nook came out. And each Sony-reader came with 200 free books. At the end of the day, it's simply bad business. I really want to see them come through this bankruptcy because I prefer shopping there (mostly because I don't have any indie-stores nearby). I did enjoy working for the store that employed me, but our staff was exceptional (and company numbers proved that consistently). They just went down-hill when the great staff got shafted by corporate. Those employees moved on to better positions, and the store fell apart.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Today I got three queries out. That's actually not as much work as it sounds. I've been doing research on these agents off and on for a couple weeks, now, so I simply took the time to query them. Fingers crossed for a request!

I'm going to take a week off from editing. In part because I haven't heard back from the people who are beta-reading the short story for me, but also because I need to let it simmer in the background of my mind before I tackle it again.

So instead, I'm going to try to put together the outline for another novel. I still haven't decided what that will look like, though. It's a tough decision, and I'm not sure which move to make. I know I have options at this point in my "career," I just don't have the time to work on both at once. Otherwise I'd do that.

We'll see. I'll keep you updated as my mind makes itself up.

Fortunately, I may get a full week of work, so there's a possibility that I'll only have enough time to focus on the projects I've already written. This is great because my bills are getting paid! I shall strive to move forward, though, and I eagerly await the work ahead of me.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dilemma

I'm reaching the end of my short-story project, and I'm getting ready to sit down and write another book while I query for The Wyrm Fiend. (I'm considering resuming the query process for Defender of the Crown, too.) But I find myself wondering what I should do with my next novel. I have a few ideas, and let me throw them out at you.

YA or adult? I've heard it time and again: YA is hot right now. That's not why I write YA. I just love writing those books. I enjoyed reading Harry Potter, I'm loving Hunger Games, Paranormalcy really entertained me, and many other books in YA fill my bookshelves. That's an audience I genuinely want to write to. But is it over-saturated right now? There are a ton of aspiring authors who write to that audience. Many of the collaborative blogs that I run across also discuss YA. And at this point, I'm not having a lot of luck getting representation for my Young Adult titles.

I'm not going to give up, of course. I fully intend to sell my YA books at some point, but do I forge ahead with more titles, or establish a name for myself in a different market and then publish a YA book? (You know, kinda how James Patterson and John Grisham did it).

My other dilemma is the choice between genres. I don't want to write another urban fantasy, classic fantasy, or attempt paranormal fiction. Defender is almost a steampunk/magical story, and I really enjoy the steampunk stuff that I've read. So I'm considering a steampunk novel. The problem is, that genre is getting popular. Is it going to be over-saturated when I start to pitch it? I know, don't write to the audience, and that's not what I'm trying to do. I just don't want to throw something out into the world if it's going to be like every other book out there. I want to write something that's different from the "popular" books on the shelves.

So I am strongly considering the Flatiron City novels. After all, that's where my short story takes place, and I have a solid back-story for the setting, decent characters, and ideas for plots. I know sci-fi is a tough sale these days, but again, I'm not "writing to the market."

Any thoughts? What sounds the most intriguing to all of you out there?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Work day... Hard work.

Working setups for my day-job can be stressful. That's mostly because I grew up setting up and tearing down audio, video, and lighting equipment. It just stresses me out. I don't like the schedule, the time crunch, or the type of work. But I'm REALLY grateful for the work. And today is supposed to be a really easy day.

Many setups take six hours or more, sometimes with just a 30min. lunch. This one is expected to take about four or five hours. Max. Which means I have an easy day. I have to drive to the south side of town after the setup, but then I'm done for the day! I get to come home and... make supper. I'll try to work on editing, but this job is EXHAUSTING.

But I'm not working tomorrow. I think. I will DEFINITELY edit tomorrow. Even if I have to work the day-job.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Back to work!

After a week off (because I was too sick to do anything but work the day job), I finally have the energy to get up in time to write. I'm editing today, and I'm really enjoying it. I love this process, and this short-story exercise is teaching me a lot.

I get to work tomorrow, followed by work on Wednesday (setting up a show in town), but I'm not sure what else I'm doing this week. I really want to get the second draft of the story done by Friday, and hopefully I'll get to reveal some of my plans for this story before the end of the month.

Since life got in the way of my other blogging plans last week, I'll leave you with that brief update until Wednesday. I should have something more interesting to talk about then.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Crazy times

Life gets crazy sometimes. This week, for instance, I expected to have two and a half days off. But instead of that happening, my supervisor got sick. That means I had to cover the rest of his shifts for the week. It's great because I need the work, but at the same time, I haven't had any time to write. In fact, I've been sick enough that I've needed to sleep in every morning, getting up with just enough time to come to work.

I really hope I have more time to write next week. As for this week, I'm definitely grateful for the hours.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Ug

I meant to have an awesome, exciting blog post up for today, but then I started feeling sick. And then I had to work REALLY hard today. Oh, and it's been below zero for two days straight.

See you on Friday.