Saturday, 4 July 2015

Wherein I write a guest post

I've got a guest post up at Tara Maya's blog BestFantasyNovel.com wherein I speak about why I love escapist fiction so much. (Spoilers: I used it to escape from the miseries of real life.)

Shameless plug: Tara Maya writes the kind of fiction (Fantasy Romance... or is that Romantic Fantasy) I love.  I'm totally digging her series The Unfinished Song.

Meanwhile, go read about

The Escapist Nature of Fantasy Romance 

Let me know if you have experienced the same desire to escape reality.

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Her Grace believes everyone needs an Out.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Website Updated

I've updated my website. (Ignore the fact I don't have my domain name running yet.) Find it easily with http://tinyurl.com/heidikneale.


  • Find info on my current releases and upcoming projects.
  • Browse my backlist and bibliography.
  • Get a glimpse into my secret music life.
  • Learn fifty things about me that aren't true.
  • Sign up for the Quarterly Newsletter.
  • Find as many variations of Fluff as you can. (Can you find them all?)
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Her Grace believes a job done imperfectly is still a job done.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

State of the Union Address

I've been busy. (I'm sure you could tell.)

What I've accomplished recently:

Marry Me: Got to write "The End" on the first draft while at Write Club. Did a quick'n'dirty edit pass then it's off to some critters. This novella has to be in to my editor before 1 August. Currently up at the Online Writing Workshop if you want to give feedback.

Her Endearing Young Charms: Based on some feedback from a trusted beta-reader, I've rewritten the beginning and tweaked some character motivations in the middle. As soon as I've finished this draft and my betas finish finding the big plot holes, HEYC is off to the agents.

Victoria Arden:  I've started outlining. I confess I'm totally up in the air for the official title. Considered the rather twee "Ardent Victory" and am currently entertaining "Pon Rep" (as in "Upon my Reputation", a common saying in the Regency).  I'm open to suggestions. Also, looking for more character names. I need to name a Dukedom and an Earldom, as well as a few other characters.

The Website: I finally got my website up after far too long. Instead of waiting for 100% of everything I needed, I figured a job done imperfectly is still a job done. Feel free to have a gander. I threw up some musical easter eggs.

Real Life: I have a Very Important Project connected with my 20 Year Plan that I'm trying to arrange. This is taking a lot of my time and energy. Specifically, this project needs a particular location to grow best. I have one guaranteed spot I could put it in, but it is far, far from ideal. Far. So I've been scouting locations and putting in applications for spots and am waiting. I've had the best place turn me down. It's broken my heart. This project would have succeeded to its maximum potential had I been able to place it there--such a sunny spot. I've got a few other hopeful tendrils out, but the competition is fierce. I've got a couple more places to submit applications. I really hope one of them pans out. (Heh,"pan".) I really don't want this project to wither.

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Her Grace believes quietness is not necessarily a sign of dormancy.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Hello Summer at All Romance Ebooks


The Northern Solstice is here. For you in the Northern Hemisphere, it's Hello Summer. For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, it's time to curl up with a cup of Milo and let a good Romance keep us warm through the dark winter months.

Get "For Richer, For Poorer" and "As Good As Gold" at 25% off, one day only, 20 June (US Central, UTC -6:00).

Visit All Romance Ebooks and score yourself a hot deal.

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Her Grace is excited for the solstice, not only because the long dark hours make for excellent astronomical viewing, but that it now means we're on our way towards summer.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

600 Year Old Butt Song From Hell

See this guy's butt?

It's got the music of the damned tattooed all over it. What sin did this guy commit to get his own cursed song inked into his behind?

Here's a pullback shot of the picture:

And here's the whole triptych by Hieronymus Bosch - "The Garden of Earthly Delights":


Anyhow, some genius student by name of Amelia from Oklahoma Christian University noticed this guy's shame in a painting. After she and a mate had snickered over it a while (embarrassment is part of this guy's penance for his sin. Man, what did he do?) she decided to transcribe it.



I'm liking Amelia. She's a music/arts major with a bit of computer science thrown in. This is exactly the sort of whackadoodle thing I would have done at university.

Apparently I'm not the only one who's intrigued by her music.  Will, the wellmanicuredman, was also taken by this cursed little tune and he did a rather lovely arrangement, with lyrics. I can't embed it here, so go listen to it. You'll like it.

I wish I knew the guy's original sin. Must have been a doozy, because here we are, six hundred years later, giving him grief.

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Her Grace's blog post today is brought to you by a love of music, a strange sense of humour and TASE Day.


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Patronage, or "How the Author Gets to Eat"

Antonio Verrio had the patronage of William III.
Until very recently in human history the Artists (aka painters and playwrights and composers, etc) were supported by Patrons (aka the King, the Lord, the Rich Men, the Bishops of the Church, etc). In exchange for the basic necessities of  life, artists painted or wrote or composed whatever their patron wished.

Down side: they didn't get much choice in what they had to produce. He who has the gold makes the rules.

Up side: at least they were doing their art, and there was time to work on their own projects, if permitted.

The 20th Century changed much of how humanity functions socially. Patronage, in the old sense, has all but disappeared. However, nothing will ever change the fact that an artist needs to eat.

Where does the means for food & shelter come from? The modern-day equivalent of the patron.

Artists need patrons to support them. In the beginning of the career art isn't financially self-sufficient, so the money to feed and house the artist/writer has to come from somewhere, whether that be a Day Job, a supportive spouse, investment funds or even grants. These are our modern-day patrons.

Until the art/writing can bring in enough money, patronage is how an artist eats.

Patronage isn't free money (unless you're a trust fund baby). You've got to give something back to the patron in exchange for their support. In the old days (oh, 200-plus years ago) patrons supported artists, writers, composers, etc in exchange for them painting/writing/composing what the patron wanted them to. There are many a great composer who wrote brilliant music, but not necessarily the music they wanted to write. They were at the whim of their patron. They patron wants a series of chamber music sonatas? The patron gets a series of chamber music sonatas, even if the composer has dreams of composing a symphony.

Now, many an artist has what they call the Day Job. This is a job that is most likely not related to their field of art. The novelist is an accountant by day. The artist works as a secretary. The actor turns to waitressing. 

Others may have something more akin to the traditional patronage pattern in the form of a Supportive Spouse. Your engineering husband doesn't mind you staying home with the kids and your novels. Your actuary wife is okay with you working on your music all day, as long as the house is clean when she gets home.  Some people might dream of a Sugar Daddy, thinking that all he would do is throw money at you to do whatever you want. Unless you're the spoiled, pampered princess descendant of a rich, indulgent father, ain't no way you getting any money from anyone without them expecting anything in return. (What does the Sugar Daddy want from you?)

Then there's the grant model.  Modern Patrons of the Arts do provide scholarships and grants to allow an artist to pursue the project they want. However, grants often require projects to fit certain criteria. If your pitched project doesn't fit what the grantor is looking to support, you might not get funding.

Crowdfunding fits in under the grant model of funding. You pitch your idea and whoever's fancy it tickles will toss money your way.  Does your idea have enough merit to attract funding?

Currently, I am using a combination of a part-time Day Job and Supportive Spouse to enable me to have enough writing time. As the children get older, the necessity of my staying home during those crossroad  moments isn't as necessary. As soon as the kids old enough to not need their mommy, I will no longer have a reason not to seek out full-time employment.

However, I don't want to go back to a day job. I want to proceed to that fourth, most glorious, free-est category of artist there is: Self-Funded Artist.

This is the mode we all dream about. Imagine, not having to be dependent on a modern-day patron for your day-to-day needs! Wake up in the morning without the stress or grief of having to put aside your artistic desires so you can go fix someone else's computer, answer someone else's phones, give someone else fries with that.

There are two modes of Self-Funded Artist: Financially Independent and Income Generating.  

A Financially Independent artist has a source of passive income, usually from investments, patents, trust fund, etc that provides a steady flow of spendable, regardless of what they do. If they wished to sit around all day and write the word "Wibble" ten thousand times, they could.

An Income Generating artist is one whose artistic work has enough value to bring in enough income to live on. Full-time authors with a decent backlist. Steadily-employed actors. Essentially, this is the Day Job in your chosen field of art. Lucky is the artist who can unlock this achievement.

My ultimate goal is to become a Financially Independent artist whose capital arose mostly from earnings from my Income Generating art. Not only will this free me from the Day Job but will also free Supportive Spouse from his so he can pursue his own projects.

After all, he has dreams too.

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Help Her Grace achieve her dreams; buy her books, review them honestly and tell your friends to buy her books as well. If you don't buy her books, buy someone else's or give patronage to an artist.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

What is your career vision?

Fellow writer John Scalzi recently made a deal with his publisher to deliver thirteen books over the next ten years. The money mentioned was a nice thing, but what impressed me the most was the time-frame.

Essentially, this guy just scored TEN YEARS of Job Security as an author. He knows what he's gonna be doing for the next ten years and won't have to worry about where/when the money is coming from to pay the bills, or if anyone's gonna buy his next book. He's set for a decade.

What a lucky guy. I wish I had that sort of stability in my writing career.  Chances are, when my backlist is as long as his, I might get that chance.

Whenever I hear news of this sort, I give a review to my 50-Year Plan (aka writing career). Is my career on track? What can I do to improve the little things?

I have a business plan. After reading Scalzi's thoughts on That Deal, I reviewed my plan. I take comfort in the fact that I didn't feel the need to alter or change much of that plan. I did feel a touch more motivation. And I'm lucky to be able to act on that motivation today.

Last week was a Very Busy Week with lots of non-writing stuff. I had to put writing aside for 160 hours. Now that I've got my regularly scheduled life back, Scalzi's news came at just the right time to let me indulge in a motivational reaction, instead of whimpering uselessly while Everything Else pushed my writing aside.

I'm 60% through my current WIP, right on target for my August 1 deadline.

Meanwhile, I am happy and thankful to have a backlist. Feel free to read and review my books. I've got more coming out soon.

Question for comments: What is your career vision? Do you have a plan?

______________________
Her Grace dreams of the day she'll permanently be a full-time author.