Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Today I researched moose.

I'm supposed to be getting to the fire and brimstone (almost literally) of this story, but then my protagonist decided to go hunt a moose. Granted, he doesn't know what a moose is, but there ya go.

So now I have a dancing reindeer, a magical weasel, a dead pheasant, and a flayed moose.

I think I should include that in my query letter.

Excerpt a la day:

Dropping the large animal from his shoulders, Kylah said, “That will feed us for a while."
TDSF, chapter 8

Friday, June 24, 2011

As Joe Put It, "Welcome to the Dark Side."

Today marks a significant checkpoint in my life.

I downloaded my first Kindle book.

Granted, I don't actually own a Kindle (or any other e-reader, for that fact), but I keep seeing these free books promoted on Twitter and I want free books, so I downloaded the Kindle for Mac and "purchased" Sasha: A Trial of Blood and Steel by Joel Shepherd. Will I read it anytime soon? Probably not--I don't like reading off my computer (and being on a computer fo 8+ hours every day at work makes me not want to be on a computer* at home/on break). But for when someone a)buys me a Kindle, or b) Kindles suddenly become very affordable and I get one myself, I shall read this book and see if it was worth the whole $0 I spent on it.

In the meantime, one of you should download it and tell me how good/not good it is. :D

*I still believe that, had computers never been invented, I would still have 20/20 eyesight. Ah well, at least I don't need my AWESOME glasses (see picture, they're legit) when I'm on the computer. Huzzah for near-sightedness.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My First WotF Rejection

Got my notice from WotF today that I didn't win--a little funny, since this morning I was thinking about the contest and how I need to write more short stories so I can keep entering (since I presumed I wouldn't place), and I told myself, "Well, my official rejection will boost my motivation to work on those."

Har har.

I've been reading some of my WotF collections on and off between novels.* I need to enter again, but short story ideas are difficult for me, and I don't want to get distracted from my current book. HOWEVER, WotF is a great opportunity to break in, so I must press on. My one rule for myself is this: Don't work on your short story until your novel word count for the day is finished, you slacker you.

I know a few of you specialize in short stories--where do you get your ideas, and how do you keep them, well, short?

On the brighter side, the contest director recommended three things I should do to keep my writing up, and I'm already doing two of them, so win for me. :D

Look out WotF, you haven't seen the last of me!

*Both Shades of Milk and Honey and Eon: Dragoneye Reborn were really good. Put the sequel to the latter on hold at le library. Apparently Mary Robinette Kowal is writing a sequel to SoMaH, which surprises me, since the book ended quite definitely, in my opinion. Oh well, she writes well and actually replies to my tweets, so I'll check it out when it's published. :D

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

See? He's Not Caucasian!

Still trudging through TDSF, now on chapter 7. M'friend drew a picture of Kylah for me:

Also, I had a dream about registering for WorldCon and my tag was a special color since I was on the production staff. It made me feel SUPER important because I've never worn anything besides the "general fangirl" colored tag. And they gave me 20 free books that were really awkward to carry. Overall, good dream.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Renovation Staff!

Well, I'm officially on the publications staff for WorldCon 2011. I think this could be a fun opportunity, so long as I still get to attend panels and spend time with le sister! I haven't gotten too much information on it, but that will come (so I hope). I'll probably get to meet some neat people!

I think I'll be doing mostly copyediting, but again, we'll see. I likes me some colons.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Broke Two Staplers Trying to Affix a Rejection Letter to My Cubicle

Did anyone see that talking parrot on America's Got Talent? Pretty much my favorite thing ever.

Writing is going well; I seem to average out at about 1,400 words per day as of late, not that I want to jinx that. Chapter six's mission is to establish a bond between my two main characters (so chapter seven will work), and discovering a new clue to the sky. Also, for some reason, listening to "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele made me think of bonfires, so that's in there, too.

I didn't do a whole lot with characterization before starting this book--not as much as I usually do--but I think it's turning out. My hardest character is Kylah, of course, but all in all, the separate personalities are coming through well, especially with Duck and Reuben. I was happy how their scene(s) turned out.

Also, my sister has discovered that yes, she CAN finish her MS by WorldCon! I'm super excited. I think this will be the first independent book she's finished, but I'm not sure. (She used to write a lot of fanfiction,* like myself, but actually completed all of hers.) I really want her to submit to Tu Publishing.

World Con in just over two months!

Excerpt a la day:

Henny danced, feeling the stress of the day free from her body, the music penetrate her sores and worries. Fire and stars filled her vision as she stepped and leapt, spun and waved her arms in such ridiculous ways she would have been embarrassed, had the others not been doing the same. Her hair flapped around her like bird wings, and for a moment she felt sure she would fly, rising with the smoke toward the endless indigo sky.
TDSF, Chapter 6

*I hate to admit it, but yes, anime is what first got me into writing. Don't judge.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stairs Make Me Sleepy

Submitted to my first publisher last week--Ace/Roc at Penguin publishing. Expected wait time: five months. Whee. At least I'll have this Chicken Little story done by then, so if/when I get my rejection, I'll have another MS to shoot their way!

Side note: It's amazing how draining taking four flights of stairs can be. I need to go to the gym more.

I get to introduce a new character pretty soon--tomorrow's word count, methinks. Well, two characters, but only one of them is important. (Sorry Cocky Locky, I just wasn't super creative with you.) And my protagonist gets really mad for the first time. Yeah, it will be a fun scene, methinks.

Currently reading Eon Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman, and also started Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, who is a new host (speaker? What word do I want here?) for Writing Excuses. We'll see how that goes.

Excerpt a la day:

The plump man nodded. “Big ol’ mane of red hair, nice and long, but not like yours, son,” He gestured with a tilt of his head. “You’ve got somethin’ else growin’ out of ya, let me tell you. Nah, he was the one leadin’ the thing, hair red as ripe tomatoes. Headed that way,” he pointed down the street, “but don’t tell them I said anythin’. I don’t want no trouble, see?”
The Day the Sky Fell, Chapter 5

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Random Question of the Day*

Charlie's Random question of the day:

How exactly are you supposed to pronounce "Kvothe"?

*While we're at it, what about "Szeth," from Sanderson's The Way of Kings? The "S" and "Z" sounds don't really work for me. Should I just say "Seth," (which is what I do), is he trying to go for the French "J" sound, or am I completely off?**

**Did you notice that my footnote question is actually longer than my body-post question? Entropy at its finest. Someone open a refrigerator.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chapter 4 and JABberwocky Open!

I've been killing the word count for TDSF. Go me. I'm on chapter four, around the time when my protagonist discovers he's lactose intolerant.

ALSO, if any of you are interested, JABberwocky is open to submissions! I'm mailing mine today. :D

Excerpt of the day (OMG it's back):

“Kylah?” Henny’s voice came through the outhouse wall, her fingers lightly tapping on its side. It was growing dark—Kylah could see the dimming light through the cracks between wall and ceiling. So much for gaining more ground. The last thing Kylah wanted to do was ride.

His stomach gurgled once more. He had only consumed half a bowl of soup, but it had been enough. The Orroki had blessed him with strong body, but it had its weaknesses. At least he hadn’t broken out in hives, or had his windpipe swell. At least it wasn’t nuts or shellfish.

-The Day the Sky Fell*, chapter 4

*FACE I really want a real title! I feel like I'm lying to myself.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Epublishing: Guest Blogger Joseph Vasicek

The publishing world is going through a period of tremendous change, but not in any way that should frighten us writers. In fact, the changes are incredibly empowering. Instead of having to rely on a bloated corporate infrastructure centered in one of the most expensive cities in the world (New York), we can now cut out the middleman and epublish their own works for virtually nothing.

Because of this, agents and legacy publishers are doing all they can to convince us writers that producing an ebook is somehow a difficult process requiring professional help. Well, guess what: it's not! Using 100% free and open source software, I can produce a professionally formatted ebook in less than an hour from the comfort of my own home.

Less than an hour.

And for this, some agents and e-stributors are asking for a 50% commission--potentially thousands of dollars. That's like writing the kid down the street who mows your lawn into the mortgage of your house!

Of course, that doesn't mean that the process is easy--at least, not at first. There is definitely a steep learning curve. When I made the decision to epublish, I put out a few short stories first because I knew I was going to make mistakes. And oh boy, did I ever.

First, I uploaded my stories as .doc files and trusted Amazon's automatic converter to magically turn them into ebooks. But doing this limited the number of features I could include, such as cover art or a table of contents. And the automatic converter did all kinds of weird and wacky things to my formatting, too.

So I downloaded a program called Mobipocket Creator, which compiles HTML files and JPEGS to produce an ebook in the .prc or .mobi format. All well and good, except when I tried to save my manuscript as an HTML file, it would still have problems (like extra spaces between paragraphs, for example).

How did I fix that? I downloaded a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor and tweaked it that way. HTML and CSS are fairly easy to learn--in fact, you can take free tutorials at you have to be willing to break into the code and play around with it for a while. For example, I fixed the paragraph break problem by inserting margin-top: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; into the CSS code for Western style paragraphs at the top of my HTML document.

So now, here's what I do: I make all the formatting changes (font, spacing, italics, em dashes, etc) in my word processor, save as HTML, tweak the HTML file in the WYSIWYG editor and include anchors and links for the table of contents, compile it with the cover art in Mobipocket Creator, and export as an ebook. Voila!

I could give a long and detailed description of all the little formatting tweaks I did for my novel Genesis Earth, but the truth is my process is always changing, and I might figure out a more efficient way to do it tomorrow. The point is, this is totally something that you can teach yourself. All you need is patience, tenacity, and a willingness to do some research and make mistakes.

And seriously, if you're a writer, aren't those qualities you already possess?

This is something you can do--it really is! Six months ago, I knew nothing about ebook formatting, and just last week I produced a professionally formatted ebook without paying anyone to do it for me. And the really cool part? Every time somebody purchases my book, I get 70% of the cover price. I'm earning more per book at $2.99 than a traditionally published author at $7.99, and my readers have the satisfaction of knowing that their money is going directly to support me, the author, not some overpaid corporate executive in New York.

The publishing world is changing, but not in a way that should frighten us writers. If we take the time to learn the new technology, there's no reason why we can't do it ourselves. And if we can build a successful business model doing that, we can earn more from our craft than writers have ever earned before.

And isn't that the dream--to write full time for a living? It's certainly mine, and that's why I'm more excited now than ever.

Joe Vasicek is an indie published writer whose
first novel,
Genesis Earth, is now available on Amazon. A coming of age story with spaceships, wormholes, first contact, and a touch of romance, it was a quarter-finalist for the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Tiff with Titles Part Dos

Holy banana, every one of those titles is a book. ("The Day the Sky Fell" is about terrorism. Go figure.)

At this rate I'm just going to revert to "Chicken Little" and let all the <10-year-olds be super confused when they look it up in the library catalog. (Assuming it makes it to the library catalog, of course.)

Alas. I'll come up with something!

A Tiff with Titles

So I've been going back and forth on titles for my Chicken Little story. It will remain "The Day the Sky Fell" until I decide for sure. Yesterday "A Piece of Sky" was winning, but today I'm leaning toward "A Crack in the Sky," especially since I've been using the phrase somewhat frequently.

So I put up a poll, since I know you all care a great deal about my crap. :D

Meanwhile I've been invited back into a writing group--I don't usually do writing groups on my rough draft work, as I'm writing it--I'm focused on getting the book done, so I don't want to hear about its problems until the first draft is complete. But writing groups are good, and I like the people, and it doesn't require me to drive 40 miles like last time,* so . . . I'm going to try it out.

What are your thoughts on writing groups, by the way? Do them right away, or wait until you're finished with the ms?

*Did I mention the time I got pulled over whilst driving home from writing group? The FIRST TIME EVER that I've been pulled over, and how it's scarred me for life? Can't remember. . . .