Monday, June 28, 2021

What's in a Name?

What's in a name?  Would an author by any other name write as sweet?

Years ago, when Wish in One Hand was newly birthed and out in the world, I stumbled across a website that trashes bad book covers.  (Yes, my original cover for WIOH deserved to be there.)  Only problem was one of the people trashing my book's cover went after my name, too.  

They accused me of trying to riff off of Brandon Sanderson.  Like this was some kind of name I made up to lure unsuspecting Brandon fans.  I posted about it on my blog and then went on about my merry way, because it's not like I was doing what they accused me of, we don't even write the same genres, and it wasn't like I was going to change my name.  

I'm kind of proud of my name.  After all, I chose to be a Sanderson when I married Hubs.  I could've easily kept my maiden name.  I chose not to.  I use my initials because it gives me some small measure of anonymity in this weird world.  And while I do like my first name, it doesn't necessarily say AUTHOR.  Some of you know it, most of you don't.  (Yes, it does begin with a B.  No, it doesn't rhyme with witch.)  So, B.E. Sanderson.  Tada!  (For the record, before I got married, I was B.E. Meissner online and in print - LTOE's and whatnot.)  

Five plus years later and I thought this issue was done.  But once something sticks in my head, it's in there.  So, lucky me, when I was laying in bed thinking about this fantasy novel I'm writing, the old criticism jumped out of my memory banks and slapped me across the face.  If you're not familiar with Brandon, he writes fantasy.  If I got tagged for being a Sanderson with an urban fantasy, which he doesn't write, how will people react to seeing my similar name on a fantasy novel?  

Blerg.  And since I have never read anything by him, now I'm wondering if what I'm writing is even a little bit close to what he's already written.  How gauche would that be?

Since I don't want to stop writing this fantasy, I'm debating on whether to switch back to my maiden name for this venture.  But I like my name... :whines:  And writing under a pseudonym is such a pain in the ass.  I'd have to go get a DBA registered and find some way to market that name without linking it to my name and... :collapses:

The really stupid thing about all this is that the need for any of this is so far away I really shouldn't be letting it hamper my writing.  But, sure enough, it derailed me.  Of course, I've already talked about this book using my name and I've posted snippets of it under this name and if I really wanted to divorce the book from the name I should've already started that process so there'd be a clean break.  :shrug:

It is what it is.  

Have any of y'all read Brandon?  He's like a big best-selling author and junk.  I so do not want to ride his coat tails, even a little bit.  I also don't want to get smeared as being someone who's trying to make money off his name, even if it isn't true.  He's got money for lawyers and stuff.  I don't want to get sued, but I don't want to stop writing my fantasy either.

I'm probably worried over nothing.  But on the off chance it's something...  Gah.

Yep, neurotic writer is in residence this morning.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Writing for the Love of Writing

Yesterday, my friend Silver posted about writing for herself.  Which dovetailed nicely into something I've been thinking about this week.

Why am I suddenly writing right now when I hadn't been able to write for a while?  I stopped thinking about what was marketable and started writing what I wanted to write.  If for no other reason than I needed to write again.  

Hell, the whole reason I never finished this fantasy in the first place boiled down to worrying about whether it would be something I could sell.  It's why I couldn't muster the will to finish Duke #2.  It lays beneath every unfinished novel I have on my harddrive.  Including the ones I didn't finish before I started publishing my own books.

Of course, back when I wasn't publishing, I was querying and the thought was more along the lines of 'why finish this is no agent is going to want to look at it?' Which in a circuitous way led back to selling books. Down the road.  Eventually.  

I get to worrying whether anyone will want a book and I lose faith in the book.  Yep.  That shit's a killer.

So, yeah, I picked up this old book I never finished and now I'm working on finishing it.  And still, the demon whispers that I'll never sell it.  I'll never be able to make a cover for it or buy a cover for it.  I'll never be able to pay for marketing.  Why bother finishing it?  

Because it's the book I want to write and I'm going to fucking finish it this time.  Screw the market.  I realized a long time ago that the market - as traditional publishing sees it - doesn't jibe with my set of philosophies anyway.  And no, that isn't sour grapes.  It just is what it is.  

There's a market out there for me somewhere.  It might not be huge.  Or it might be bigger than I think.  It's filled with people who want a good story, well-written and well-organized* and well-edited.  People who want to be entertained and maybe think a little while they're doing it (or not because my some of my books encourage rather than force you to think about issues).  I seek to entertain.  I seek to uplift through heroic actions when I can, but the entertainment is the priority here.

Anyway, you might not see me publish anything else any time soon.  I'm writing.  You also might not see me marketing stuff because putting all that effort into marketing and not seeing sales harshes my groove.  And I certainly don't need that.  

I'm writing for the love of writing again.  And that's all that really matters.

*Typing those words made me remember a particularly heinous reaction to a paper I wrote in college.  The prof said it was well-written and well-organized but he didn't like the topic, so he gave me a D.  (The assignment was to write a paper on some form of aggression.  I chose to write it on 'assertiveness as positive aggression'.  He hated that.  Buttwart that he was.)  Looking back, it was probably my first taste of a bad review of good writing.  He was definitely not my target market.

Monday, June 21, 2021

The Floodgates Have Opened

After too long a time not being able to see the story... any story... the floodgates have opened.  My brain is being blitzed with idea bombs.  But do the bombs come when I'm doing nothing and have all the time to sit down at the keyboard?  Nope.  They come when I'm trying to fall asleep.

Last night was a particularly spectacular show.  The hamster-wheel in my head must've been hooked up to some kind of Van de Graaff generator and shit was sparking all over the place.  And I was all like "Doood... I'm trying to sleep here.  Come ON."

I did get up and write some of it down.  The rest?  Well, I can only hope that when it comes time to work on the story, my brain cooperates and shows me once more all the wonderful things it was trying to show me last night.

Unfortunately, when the floodgates opened, they opened wide and hosed me down with ideas for not only this book but the book after this book, wherein our intrepid hero and his merry band move onto the next part of their story.  

I seriously did not want another series like this.  But the story does what the story wants.  I wanted to finish this and then get back to Duke.  Unfortunately, the crime fiction writer hat has been thrown into the wind in favor of the fantasy writer hat... purple velvet with a pointy top gently crumpled over and replete with sparkly stars, comets, and crescent moons.

This probably isn't the best for maintaining a fan base, but... :shrug:  I can't do it any other way.  I can't force the story that my brain doesn't want to write.  Wish I could.  Can't.  

Right now, I'm just happy to be writing again.  Although I do wish I could get some sleep.  Thank goodness there's always coffee.  

Friday, June 18, 2021

Back in the Thick

I finished reading the unfinished manuscript yesterday.  And I started writing on it again.  Only 500 words, but it's a start.  It'll just take me a little while to get back in the swing of it again.

I bet you're wondering which manuscript I restarted.  It's the Untitled Fantasy from several years ago.  (I think I started it in 2011 and then wrote some more on it in 2019.)

I think Aryl and the gang deserve to have their story finished.  It's a good one.  New and fresh... I think.  Admittedly, I haven't read a ton of recent fantasy novels, so how ground-breaking it will be remains to be seen.  :shrug:  It's got some elements y'all will be familiar with - young guy, school for mages, dragons... the battle between good and evil.  There's plenty of new stuff, too, though.  Dark stuffs.  This ain't Harry Potter, folks.

As I said in a previous post, it's a behemoth, but some fantasies are.  I'm still playing with the idea of breaking it into a series.  Once I get it all written, I'll decide.  I'm not promising when that'll happen, though.  There's still quite a bit to be written on the first draft and a lot to be inserted in the second draft.  

But I'm excited to be back in the thick of it again.  Hell, I dreamed about it last night and figured out a plot point, which I got up and wrote down in the dark last night.  (With a dull pencil.  Luckily, I can still make out enough of it to figure out what I meant. LOL)

I still don't have a title for it.  I haven't named the kingdom.  Or many of the monsters.  (I have a lot of :insert bad critter here: littered throughout.)  But I have the magics figured out and how everything fits together.  Sort of.  

It'll be fun figuring it all out.  Or it'll kill me.  One or the other.  We'll see what happens.  Woohoo.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Deciding About Book Length, Etc.

So, yesterday on The Writing Spectacle, I talk a bit about what I'm currently doing.  I've pulled a forgotten manuscript out of the dank corners of my harddrive, shaken the dust off, and am reading it to get back into the swing of the story.  I'm still not ready to say which one, but I'd like to talk about a couple things regarding it.

I'm still not sure if this is one book or several.  It's already at 78K words and it's only 2/3rds of the way through the story.  Plus, I have ideas that need to be inserted throughout what I've already read through to make the story fuller and richer.  (I had an awesome idea last night as I was trying to sleep that I got up and wrote down.  Woohoo!)  That'll swell the story up to upgodly pages for a single title.  

I'm not super afraid of putting a big book out there.  Lord knows I have a few titles over 100K words out there already.  I just want to do what's right for this story.  

There are definite places where the story could be broken into three to make a trilogy.  Without making it too cliffhangery.  I hate stories that leave too much hanging from one book to the next.  

The genre could handle a single title of epic proportions.  It could also handle a trilogy.  

Decisions decisions.  

Any way I slice it, I'm still working toward having the whole story done before I decide.  It'll either be a behemoth or it'll release one after the other as a trilogy.  Which brings me around to another point...

Will the market bear paying for three separate books or would it be better to lay out a single book?  Personally, I like big books.  It's hard to hold them these days, but I manage, and if they're ebooks, even better.  I'd rather read one big book than three little books, especially when I have to pay for them.  But that's me, and I know I'm not the typical reader.

So what say you?

Monday, June 14, 2021

Doing the Job

It seems like I've come around to that time again,  You know the time... when I sit here wondering why I bother to write books and wondering whether my time would be better spent  by getting a job outside the house.  

Of course, who would hire me?  I haven't worked outside my home in 17 years.  

Seventeen years...  I've been writing now for SEVENTEEN YEARS.  God, that's depressing.  

Yes, I know.  I have sixteen books published.  And umpteen others in various states of finished.  It's not like I haven't done anything.  But if I had an employee who was so sporadic in her efforts, I'd have fired her years ago.  Hit the road, you lazy bitch.

So, yeah, I looked at jobs.  Writing, editing, proofing... you need a degree.  Umm...  I don't have one of those.  And I haven't been able to write to spec since I worked for other people (and even then, it was like pulling teeth).  Editing/Proofing other people's work?  Well, that would be fine if it was for other people I like who write the stuff I like.  I'm at the point in my life where I can't stomach reading stuff I don't like written by people I don't like.  

Why yes, I would like some cheese...

Anyway, I'm thinking housekeeping would be an awesome job right now.  Loads of places around here - resorts and things - are hiring housekeepers and the pay isn't too bad.  

Or I could just get up off my lazy ass and get back to writing.  The pay sucks and the benefits are for shit, but it's my job.  Maybe I need to get back to treating it like one.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Time for the Genie Sale

ONCE UPON A DJINN is on sale now. Get the complete fun, snarky, paranormal, 4-book series for less than the regular price of one. And the last book is FREE worldwide for the next 5 days. (They're all always free with Kindle Unlimited.)


#fun #snarky #paranormal #completeseries #ebook #urbanfantasy #99cents #FREE

If you haven't read the last book yet, now's the time.  

Monday, June 7, 2021

Details Details Details

I came across a post in one of the book groups I follow, wherein the individual asked if readers preferred books with maps included so they could get a real sense of where the book takes place.  And he wasn't talking about fantasy.  He was asking because the book he's reading is set in Switzerland and he'd like to know the layout of the particular town.

My thought was: NO.  And I expected to see a whole lot of people saying the same.  Wow, was I ever wrong.  

The majority of the comments - 30 when I wrote this - wanted a map of some kind if the book was set in a place they weren't familiar with.  Some also wanted family trees.  Others wanted deeper explanations of food and customs and clothing.

Many of them use Google maps to check out where the story takes place.  And they'd still prefer a map in the book.  Not a detailed one, but one that shows them the key places where the story occurs.

Ummm...  Yah...  I totally don't do this.  As a reader or as a writer.  I fill in the details in my head.  And I had assumed other people do that, too.  Which was rather shortsighted of me.  Oops.  One reader said that's what he does - fill the details in himself.  Another person, a writer, said he never thought about it.  Which is where I was with it.  A third person said she'd only want a map if it was necessary, and I can see that, too, but how do you decide what a reader thinks is necessary?

Personally, I'm not big on details.  I spend a lot of time scanning past the details to get to the plot.  I'm very plot motivated.  So that's the way I write.  I sprinkle in details and descriptions with a very light hand because that's what I want to read.  But I'm weird, I guess.  

Now, this particular group is international, and they're reading widely - stories set in the UK and the European continent, Asia, Australia, etc.  As well as US stories.  So I'm not sure how that translates to readers of US fiction here in the US.  And it's a crime fiction group, so I'm not sure how that effects the answers either.  And maybe the dissenters didn't feel the need to comment because the subject didn't pertain to them.  :shrug:  I'm going to go out on a limb and figure this group was a pretty good slice of readers to poll and they want more detail.

Which means I'm screwed.  Oh, henceforth, I could try to put more details in my novels.  But the sixteen that are already out there are what they are.  And if I suddenly start being all detail-oriented, those older books are going to be weird and set the readers up to expect I don't do details.  Maybe I could slap a sticker on the new books: NOW WITH 42% MORE DETAILS!

I guess I'll just have to be satisfied sitting here and waiting for readers like me to find and enjoy my sparsely detailed books.  

How about you?  Do you prefer loads of details and descriptions?  Or are you like me and insert those yourself as you're reading along?  Can you go either way if the story is good?  Is there hope for me?

Thursday, June 3, 2021

RUMOR HAS IT - On Sale Now!

RUMOR HAS IT is on sale for the very first time. Here's the marketing verbiage I'm using today:

When a lifelong friend dies under mysterious circumstances, it's up to Duke Noble, P.I. to cut through the rumors and bring the old gal's murderer to justice.

Take a trip back to the way old crime stories were told with DUKE NOBLE, P.I.: RUMOR HAS IT -  available for the first time at only 99c/99p.  (Always free with Kindle Unlimited.)



#gritty #noir #hardboiledcrime #ebooks #99cents #KindleUnlimited

Here's hoping that grabs people's attention and makes them want to slap down 99c for the book.

I'm struggling with writing the second book, but I'll get there. Maybe if I see sales for this one, it'll spur me to work harder on getting the next book out there.

So, there it is. Grab a copy if you haven't already. Gift a copy to a friend. Share it all over the place. And thank you for your support.