Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Head in the Game

I confess April burned me out a little when it comes to blogging. Fret not, I'll get back into a regular posting schedule in June. May is a very busy month for me, with the end of the Semester and about ten family birthdays and the onset of Winter (Makuru). The big rocks demand all my spoons this week.

The other day I was at work reading a manual. I got to the end of the page and couldn't remember a thing I'd read. It was just after lunch and my brain was drifting about. I couldn't stay focused. I kept thinking about my novels. I had to go back and re-read the page two more times. It took a lot of energy, but I got it done.

While daydreaming is a very important tool to the Artist, and it's good that a brain wants to sort out the WIP, doing it while I'm on someone else's dollar is not the done thing.

Most writers have the Day Job--that reliable source of income that enables a roof over our heads and food in our bellies and electricity to our computers. It is, essentially, our Patron. And as our Patron, you need to give it proper respect if you wish it to continue supporting your creative lifestyle.

And that means when you're at the Day Job, you focus on the Day Job. That's the etiquette.

But man, some days focus can be harder than others.

Her Grace's marketing tip: If you're allowed to put up stuff in your cubicle, put up pics of your book covers. Also, a Post-it saying, "Buy my books!" doesn't hurt either. Otherwise, head in the game.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

eBook readers

I've always loved sci-fi gadgets. They're so cool!

And now that we're in the 21st Century, many of the sci-fi gadgets I dreamed about as a child are a reality (except for lightsabres. I'm still waiting for one of those).

One of the nifty things I love is an eBook reader. I read on a Kobo Aura HD. It's got a touch screen and the most beautiful backlighting I've seen on an electronic device. 

I could read the thing for hours. (Waitaminnut. I do.) I've got nearly 900 books on my little cutie, and more are added every week.

While there is an old-school charm about print books, how they look so good on a shelf, how you can easily loan them to friends who never return them, how you can drop it in the tub and not worry about electrocution (or the mad, wet dash for a tub of dry rice), I must confess I prefer the convenience and ease of ebooks.

What I love about ebooks:
  • Lightweight. A thousand books weighing about 200 grams? Awesome. Not to mention the ease of carrying an ebook reader around. Few single books weigh less than my ebook reader, even with its protective cover.
  • Convenience. My ebook reader boots up as quickly as it would take for me to open to a bookmarked page in a traditional book.
  • Night reading. My Kobo Aura HD has a lovely easy-on-the-eyes backlight with adjustable brightness. Perfect for reading in bed at night. And should I fall asleep, the ebook reader will turn itself off after bookmarking my page. If I had had an eBook reader as a child, I would never have gotten any sleep!
  • Access. If I want to read the next Mary Robinette Kowal, I can. My Aura HD connects to the KoboBooks bookstore and I can have any book I want in their catalogue in less than a minute. As for library books, it's a little bit more of a song-and-dance, but even so, in under five minutes, I can check out eBooks from my local library.
  • Go-go-gadget coolness! Those readers who are nostalgic for the old-world charm of a print book can be nostalgic for that. However, as a child of sci-fi, my skiffy soul is thrilled with the sheer gadgetryness of an eBook reader. You can be nostalgic for the past. I long for the future.
Currently AS GOOD AS GOLD and FOR RICHER, FOR POORER are available on KoboBooks, and other good eBook retailers. So if you're a Kindle fan, a Kobo lover (like me) or a Nook addict, you can read my books.

My next three novels will also be available as eBooks.

Her Grace is looking forward to the day when books can be uploaded directly to one's brain.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

A to Z Challenge: Ze End of Ze Challenge!

I'm glad it's over. 

I don't know if I'll ever blog every single day ever again. I just can't keep up with the time demand. I'd much rather devote most of my time to writing excellent books.

I've read some spectacular blogs from my fellow challengers, and have been enlightened. I've loved seeing what people value and what interests them.

Me, I'm going back to my usual 2-3 posts a week.

Dear readers, what would you like to see more of from me?

I plan on continuing Interviews, whenever I find a victim willing participant (have a couple lined up, pending their schedules). I plan on speaking about ongoing projects such as "Marry Me" and "Victoria Arden" and "Currently Unsupervised" and whatever that other novel is that is knocking about my head.

I'd like to talk about my research into indie publishing as I consider going hybrid (I'm already commercially published). I'm seeing advantages to both systems.

I'd like to talk about the books I'm reading and the books I want to read. I want to tell you about spectacular authors I know like Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and Rae Carson. I want to gush about how much I love reading.

I want to have fun with TASE day and Randomosity.

I want to do all this. But not every day.

Her Grace wants a rest.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A to Z Challenge: What I Want & Y

Because it is April, I thought I'd try a poem.

What I Want & Y

I want to hide away; I've got so much to do.
Not to hide from the do, but from the world.
I need to work this project. I need to work on that.
I want to feel accomplished.Y don't i feel like it?

Your song is way too noisy. You are all staticky.
Must you interfere with my simplicity?
I want to run away and take my blankets too.
And my books and my works and see what I can do.

Let me be. Please go away. I accomplish nothing here.
I beat in six-eight rhythm and you're all five-thirteenths.
Stop that incessant pounding! Stop your needless demands.
Can't you see I'm busy? Can't you see my plans?

I want to slide away. So much for me to do.
Clock, stop your ticking. I'm not listening to you.
Nor to my hunger or to sleep or to the world's demands.
Please, just let me finish this one thing.
And all the rest, it too.

Her Grace's fancy way of saying, "Bugger off."

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A to Z Challenge: X is a rather annoying letter

Alas. In every Alphabet-themed whatever, one must inevitably come to the letter X. When that happens, it's sooo annoying!

Every schoolchild remembers the long alphabet lists. A is for Apple/Alligator/Aardvark/Ant/etc, B is or Book/Bird/Ball/Botulism.  Every letter of the alphabet has a plethora of words to choose from.

But X?

What begins with X?  Very little.  X-ray and Xylophone are about the only two familiar words available to littlies. Prior to the 20th Century where nobody knew what an X-ray was but did have access to the Classics, there was King Xerxes. Otherwise? Nada.

Even Dr Seuss had issues: "X is very useful if your name is Nixie Knox. X is also useful in spelling axe and extra fox."

Now, the problem with X in the English language is how it functions. Most of its common application is in the middle and end of words. You almost never see it at the beginning of words, unless it's preceeded by E. Example. Explanation. Exactly.

X has a funny sound:  ks. Those two sounds might work at the end of words, but for the beginning it's uncomfortable. When an English word begins with X, it makes a zz sound.

That'll confuse the kiddies.

And why do we even  have it in the first place? It's not like X is a distinctive, unique sound, like B or T or L. We've got other letters that can take the place of X quite nicely.

Yet here we are, stuck with it in our Alphabet, cursed to have to come up with something for the letter X in lists like this A to Z challenge.  I blame the Etruscans.

Her Grace would love to leave out the letter X.

Monday, 27 April 2015

A to Z Challenge: I am a Writer

I am a writer. You cannot read this blog and miss that fact.

I have always been a writer. I've always loved stories.

Technically, I prefer to call myself an author or a novelist, as that's mostly what I do, and what I want my career to focus on.

Honestly, I don't know what I can tell you here about being a writer. I write to escape real life. My fiction reflects that. So to sit here and write about why I write, when the reason I write is so I don't have to face reality works rather counter-productively. My writing and my reality should be invisible to my readers. All they should see is the worlds and characters I've created. I want my readers to escape as well.

Maybe I should tell you what I wouldn't write.

  • True Crime Why: It's about Reality Gone Wrong. Humans are capable of wonderful things. Conversely, they are also capable of very dark deeds. I do not have the emotional capacity to write True Crime. In real life not enough crime is resolved by true justice. Even if a criminal is brought to justice, as our current legal systems know it, I still can't stand True Crime, because I never get to see the redemption of the criminal.
  • Contemporary Fiction. It's too close to reality. There's not much room for something wondrous and otherworldly. I'm okay with historical fiction, because people's lives and circumstances are very, very different through the various periods of history. The Roaring Twenties. The Regency. The Roman Empire. Pre-Revolutionary China. Because these places are very different from the life I've grown up in, they make lovely escapist settings. But contemporary settings? I'm sorry. They are a little too close to home.
  • Political Thrillers. Politics are a rich ground for thrillers because politics are a lose-lose situation. Politics have no shared moral values. It's essentially every one out for themselves, and doing their best to enforce their views on others. There is no such thing as HEA in political thrillers. (Sorry, Janet. I know how much you love them.)
  • Westerns. Westerns seem to be all about the cowboys. I don't like cowboys. I've known enough of them to be turned off by the double-standarded macho attitude. There's too much untrained testosterone going about for my taste. Too rough-and-tumble. Cowboys are very set in their ways. There's no wiggle room.
  • Christian Fiction. My real life is very much a Christ-centered life. But even the most devout of Christians needs a regular break from all the religiosity. It can be hard work being Christian. I have no desire to write Christian fiction because it's not escapist enough.
What genres would you not want to write?

Her Grace is happiest where she is. Now go buy her books. 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

A to Z Challenge: Victory!

I am pleased to report victory over the HP Laserjet 2015n formatter card issue.

You could google specific instructions like I did, but essentially I reflowed the solder by baking the formatter card in a 200C oven for five minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then replace in printer.

Thanks to my now-working printer, I've printed test prints, high school applications, recipes and newly-composed medleys.

I'd call this repair a success. Now, off to boast about it at the Daye Jobbe. They'll be suitably impressed.

Her Grace, while fully supportive of paper-free offices, still has a need for a printer from time to time.