Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Orycon 35

Okay INKers, it's Orycon time again. Orycon has a really nifty online program. Hopefully this link will take you straight to my schedule, forever. Maybe. As long as it lasts, anyway. I'm not sure if the individual program schedules stay on their respective websites forever, or if they get overwritten by the current year. I suppose I could go test it out, but ... meh. Anyway, I have a reading. A fifteen minute reading. I'm more than a little nervous about that. Put me in front of lots of people to blather about pretty much any ol' subject, I'm good. Put me in a room with 1-12 people where I read my stuff aloud? I get all shaky and shy. What's with that? It's not like my words on the page are all that different from the words I say out loud during a panel. Are they? What's the difference?

Maybe in conversation and on panels my words have no soul, no emotion, no life. Zombie words. But on the page they come alive! They have fears and courage, pleasure and pain ....

It seems kind of backwards. I mean, I've had time to revise and polish words on the page (though I'm not supposed to, ahem, do too much of that.) In theory I'm prepared, right? All I have to do is read those words. I'm much more likely to make a fool of myself saying something wrong while yammering on. And yet, I'm more nervous about the works that I picked carefully. Very weird.

Maybe it's because I wrote them without any feedback. I mean, you can get feedback after the fact, but that's not the same as talking. When you're talking, you have the opportunity, even if you can't or won't take advantage of it, to read your audience's expression and reactions and adjust accordingly. When you're writing a book or short story, you just keep marching on and hope that you aren't marching right off a cliff.

Or maybe I'm just being silly. That wouldn't surprise me in the least.

I'm also Nanowrimo-ing. I've got a personal goal of 80,000 words this time. It's kinda touch-n-go as far as whether I'll make it or not. I'm on track for 50,000 so far (can't get cocky, especially this early on. Remember the time my office flooded? Yeah, me too) but behind if I want to make the eighty. And so I'll spend part of my time at Orycon adding words.

This year I'm doing something YA-ish. I'm not convinced it *is* YA. I'm not familiar enough with YA to make that call. But that's not my job. Right now my job is to write. Lots. Lots and lots.

Which I should go back to, but I think instead I'll make some tea because my butt is going numb.

See some or all of you at the con!

Friday, July 12, 2013

If I had a choice

If I had a choice, I would quit my day job right now.

Not because I want more time to write, though I do.
Not because I believe I can make a living at this, though I do.

Actually, I think I *do* have a choice, but common sense requires me to wait, though I think we could stay afloat if I quit my day job.

Two words.

Health insurance.

Crunching the numbers, I think I could compensate for the loss of health insurance, but I would give up more than just those benefits. Right now I could probably quit and break even. I'd like to do better than that. I don't want to leave the benefits and security behind just because I think I could get by without them on my own.

I'd like to be ahead of the game, with a big financial cushion in case things go wrong. I want, instead of leaping off the cliff and having faith in myself, to do what I did when I learned how to paraglide.

I want to inflate my paragliding wing, look up into that glory of color and engineering, and run, and leap, knowing I will fly, and that I've done everything in my power to save myself in case that beautiful creation starts to collapse and the winds of fate spin me around and drop me toward the unforgiving earth. It's not just a matter of being responsible, or playing it safe. It's a matter of exercising patience, and trusting that however sweet quitting my day job today might be, that leaving my safety net behind when I'm truly ready will be not just be a step closer to freedom, but will be the first step into actual and real freedom. Going out without the financial support of a steady paycheck right now is do-able. Moving forward without the financial support of a steady paycheck in the future will be the right thing to do.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Being Good

Just got off the phone with a friend who thinks she is not a good writer, even though she has completed two excellent articles in the last two days.

Here's the deal.  Assuming you have basic writing skill, if you feel passionate about something you will write something raw and powerful.  It will be good.

If you feel nothing about a subject but have basic writing skill (and intelligence), you will write something very clear.  It will be good.

Both are good.  Both are different types of good.

If you try to edit the passionate to make it more clear, you will ruin it.

If you try to edit the clarity to make it more passionate, you will ruin it.

Run with the type of good that you have.

Message ends.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Needed to rant.
Remember that contract I refused to sign?  I got an alternate contract, similar to the one from the previous editor.  All good.  They still had the right to publish it in the magazine, on the web, e-mail it to subscribers... only real difference is that I owned it.  Which is what writing is.  Publishers don't buy your writing, they pay for a license to publish your writing.

Sorry, you probably don't need a Business of Writing 101 recap.

Anyway, noticed the article was on their website the yesterday with a handful of very positive comments from readers.  Except the byline said it was written by 'staff.'  I sent this e-mail:

(Name Redacted)-

Just noticed that my last article is up on the website without my byline.

(Website Redacted)

The contract I refused to sign would have allowed that.  That's one of the reasons I didn't sign it.  Can you have this fixed please?

Thank you,


Checked this morning and the article has been taken down.  The editor would rather lose the article than put my name on it.  Not happy.  But if this is the way the magazine has changed I do expect it to lose all of the professional writers.

Maybe not.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Publishing Books Galore

Wyrd Goat Press, LLC has been busy busy busy.

First the books.

Right now I have quite a few ebooks out, but I'm most excited about the print versions.
*Tammy Owen's "House of Goats" is in print and available.  It was my first in-print book and I learned a huge amount, almost as much as I've learned from making covers over the past couple of years.
*Violence: A Writer's Guide by Rory Miller just has to be proof-read and approved.  I have a feeling that I'll be able to approve it minutes after I get that hard copy in my hands.  Lots of eyes on this one, so hopefully there will be no typos or other issues.  I love the cover on this one, even though it made me a little crazy to make it.
*Horrible Stories I Told My Children by R.A. Ellis has been proofed.  I found issues with the cover.  I'm all eager about this book, both the full color and b&w version, so it's a little frustrating to have to resubmit it, especially since it was just a tiny tweak and it'll still take up to 24 hours to get the okay.  Wah.  The color book turned out to be really expensive, as in I have to charge $19.99 on it.  The b&w is much less expensive, but the illustrations aren't as much fun with dark gray blood.  Oh well!
*I started work on Masks by E. M. Prazeman and hope to have that puppy ready to go before the end of the month.  It'll be tight, because:

I started working with InDesign.  It's super, extra frustrating because I'm so much faster at working in Word.  And I can almost do everything I want in Word.  That almost is what convinced me to learn InDesign.  And the most aggravating part is that I don't know how to do stuff in InDesign that I can do in Word.  Like headers.  Should be easy, right?  Well, I imagine that eventually it will be easy.  Right now it's like pulling teeth.  I may have to get a book on InDesign.

Last but not least, I have a new version of GIMP to play with.  I'm at the stage with the program where I feel limited only by my talent and rendering capabilities.  The program is powerful, easy, and fun.  I hope I get to this point with InDesign.  It can't seem to happen fast enough.

It's all amazing.  I wish I was doing and learning all this when I didn't have a day job.  But that was a different time, different circumstances, and it's a whole new world of publishing now.  I had the time, but not the options.  Now I have the options, but I don't have the time.

Will it ever come together?  Stay tuned for the next episode!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

No Thanks

For the third time in my writing career, I've cut ties with a publisher.  New editor, new policies, and a new contract.  This contract granted all rights to the publisher and 'generously' returned to me a limited license to my own work.

No thanks.

"Writer transfers to XXRedactedXX right, title, and interest, to publish the Work, in all languages, throughout the world, in any form or medium now known or hereafter developed. The rights transferred and assigned include but are not limited to the rights to edit, publish, reproduce, distribute, license, prepare derivative works, sell and convey the work without further payment to Writer. Writer shall make no claim to have any right, title, or interest of any kind in the Work, ...  Writer shall have no right to sell, distribute, display, exhibit, or otherwise make available the Work to anyone other than XXRedactedXX, by any means, other than those set forth in Section 5, below.

I'm curious to see what happens to the magazine, since I don't see any professional writer signing this and the previous editor had groomed a crop of pretty good writers.  Time will tell.

So, what's wrong with it? Well, for one thing it allows them, should they wish, to remove the author's name and say simply, 'staff'...and protesting or even saying that I wrote it would violate the 'make no claim' clause.  Though the license granted (the 'section 5') would allow me to collect the stories I wrote and create a book... they could do so as well.  And put my name on it or someone else's.  And I wouldn't be able to upload it to, say, kindle or smashwords because both require, in their contracts, that I have the copyright.

It's not the worst contract I've seen.  The worst (and they are the other two markets I don't write for) were even more restrictive.  Had I signed the contract, not only would I have sold rights to the story, but the rights to teach my own classes. The contract was written so that the knowledge that qualified me to write the articles in the first place now belonged to the magazine.  Sigh.  Needless to say, like with this contract I refused to sign.  And unlike the publishers I've worked with who were professional (pros negotiate-- thanks David and Kathy) they refused to negotiate.  Sign or else.

I'll take the 'or else.'

And that has opened an interesting can of worms in that two of these magazines had already gone to print without a contract.  Interesting.

So, if any magazine publisher with integrity and a good contract wants some articles, let me know...