Wednesday, November 30, 2016

In case you didn't see...

...Ms. Piper's Luminous Dreams has a new and sexy cover. But that's not all, there is also a new story in there, to celebrate the new cover she tells me.

And it's cool, as far as I know the story has a character from another one of her stories in there, although I couldn't quite find out yet who.

I will though. And while you wait, keep looking at this hot stuff or head over to World Weaver Press to read an excerpt. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Intimacy of Writing--Beta Readers

Do you know the feeling of making something all by yourself, finishing it, being very proud of it? At that point, have you ever wondered whether the thing you made is really actually any good or as good as you first thought it was?

File:Alphonse Mucha - Poetry.jpgMost of the time when you write something, this es exactly how you feel. And worst of all, you know you're not being objective, you can't be, because the story you just told is your baby after all. At this point, the beta reader is invaluable. First of all, a trusted beta reader will actually agree to spend some of their time reading through what you wrote. This is not a small sacrifice for most people, and I very much respect and appreciate that. Secondly, they will tell you the truth about what they think of what you put on the page. They will take it apart. They will show you what and why things don't work. They'll be straight with you.

It is this honesty that always makes me think how much you expose yourself when you ask someone to beta read something for you. Sure, submit your writing anywhere and get rejected, keep doing it over and over, that is a certain kind of exposure as well, but the thing with a beta reader--in many cases a first reader--is that your story just came into being and is probably full of faults and rough edges that still need to bee smoothed out or sharpened to a point, so it is much more personal than submitting finished work anywhere.

The tough thing thing is that only honest criticism can show you how to move forward. The beautiful thing is that being open to such criticism will get you moving forward, for sure.

So if you're a writer, pick your beta readers well. My experience is that the people who do find what's not working and tell me make the best beta readers. Someone who goes easy on you may make you feel good, but it doesn't help you improve your writing much.

And when your writer friend asks you to read something of theirs, don't take it lightly: know that it shows a lot of trust on their part, and know that in most cases, it took them some time to actually decide to ask you! Because showing someone your words for the first time is not an easy thing.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Reliable People

I realized today (by the fall of a tree, long story) that having reliable people in your life--and the knowledge that they are there--is a cornerstone of happiness. Which sounds as if I were speaking hippie, but that doesn't make it any less true. We all crave stability, sometimes more, sometimes less. Having reliable people near us can help us find that stability--or maybe make us go looking for it. why do I put a personal insight on the internet? Because I want to use it to make a point about character development.

Stability and the MC: Two scenarios: the MC either has or doesn't have stability. When they do, though the story that stability is just torn apart. After, the MC will find a new stability, and in doing so will realize that what they previously had wasn't really stability, just the status quo.

If they do not have stability, they will be made, throughout the story, to actively pursue it. This can be done by

A reliable person in the MC's life: this need not be a character close to the MC, not even a friendly character, many antagonists I would argue are fundamentally reliable people. But this person in the MC's life gets them moving, particularly if the MC lacks motivation to change in the set up.

Happy writing, she told herself.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Chimaera: A Monstrous Creature of Many Parts

 Chimera Apulia Louvre K362.jpg

In Greek tradition, the chimaera (or chimera) is a monster with the head and body of a lion with a second head growing from its back and a snake’s body and head as its tail. As if that were not illustrious enough, the chimaera also breathes fire.

A chimaera outside of mythology is still understood as one thing (or creature) cobbled together from parts of other things (or creatures) not unlike Victor Frankenstein’s monster.

It’s not surprising that an anthology that brings together 24 tales of 24 different writers all writing about chim(a)erae is an excellent idea, and I am very grateful to Rhonda Parrish for thinking it up. Her “C is forChimera” (part of the Alphabet Series) made me write the story for the letter A, and A is for Alchemy.

A is for Alchemy blends mythology and alchemy in a second world setting, which doesn’t sound very interesting, so I’ll quote someone else:

The story is an eloquent descent into madness, and the world-building is subtle and deft. “A” plunges the reader into the anthology full speed ahead. (Stephanie A. Cain)

For readers who enjoy Alchemy and it’s world, The Marriage of Ocean and Dust, which also deals with alchemy, is set in the same world. And if you haven't yet read the anthology but plan to, enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Author's Luminous Dreams

So living with an author is weird. Half the time you are wondering why they are looking at you like that. I mean, let's not kid ourselves, when an author's brain works part of you into a story, it shows in their eyes. The other half of the time, you are baffled at their utter hate for pants. Why can you not write in your pants? Nobody knows, but guys, someone should write their thesis on it, their pant-less thesis.

If you are of the word-ful persuasion yourself, you'd think it ain't so bad, but then, one day, said fellow writer will have a book out; their behavior will get weirder.

I don't live with another author in the traditional sense, Alexa Piper happens to be my alter ego. This is probably worse. Or better, cuz we are never alone (insert weird grin here), but that really depends on where you stand in regards to...loneliness.

The other day (yesterday, I am being euphemistic), Ms. Piper had a book come out. It is a pretty book and all. It's called Luminous Dreams. It's paranormal romance, which means a lot of baseball metaphors happen in there. Additionally, it's a nice piece of writing.

Ms. Piper has been doing strange things since that day (I'm being even more euphemistic. It's only been strange around here since yesterday.) She has been staring at the computer a lot. I think she's been looking at the cover, or at the book listing on Goodreads or Amazon, or she's been re-reading the entire thing; potentially, she has been doing all of the above, the empty coffee mugs everywhere would certainly seem to indicate as much.

Well, I suppose there is really nothing wrong with any of that. I might act a lot like Ms. Piper did, that day (yeah, you guessed it. Euphemize me.)

However, when you have a muse, things are not always so simple.

Oh, and I am not talking about the muse from Luminous Dreams, that muse is tame compared to Ms. Piper's muse.

I am talking about Valerian (he appears here) who is not a muse at all, come to think of it. He is a taotien who is potentially pissed off by Ms. Piper's insistence to not write exclusively about him. Oh, he is also fictional. Or so I am told. Yeah, he's totally not real, no reason to worry at all, it's not like he might pop up anytime soon in a dark alley near you. Totally not gonna happen.

Anyways, as I was saying, Valerian is pissed, and Ms. Piper... I dunno. She seems not to care very much right now. I think she's looking at Amazon again.

Personally, I don't know how any of this is gonna end. There are no more clean coffee mugs to drink coffee out of; there is an angry taotien stalking the alley outside; also, Ms. Piper insists on keeping the lights on so she can continue to look at the cover of Luminous Dreams, and now no one can get any sleep.

Basically, if you consider moving in with a writer, I recommend you get a cat instead.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Luminous Dreams

So it would seem Alexa Piper (who happens to be my alter ego) has a book out today.

Ms. Piper is very excited. She is also very busy with staring at her book's cover. Of course it is a very pretty cover as you can see, but not so pretty that it warrants leaving fingerprints all over the computer screen from where you have been trying to feel the book reach for you with its luminous serenades, it's enthralling dreams.

Anyway. I tried talking to Ms. Piper about it all, but really, she's too busy with hitting the refresh button on (it is also the reason why she has been unable to update her own website I suspect.)

Should I be able to get a few words rather than cooing sounds out of her, I will inform you, dear Reader, of what she has to say.

All I could gather was that you'll find eight tales in here, that Ms. Piper has attempted to be realistic in her fantasizing (meaning not everyone's straight and white), and that the cover really captures the mood.

Feel free to spread the word. And let me know if you wanna invite Ms. Piper over to your online home to say a few things about her book; she should be able to talk coherently again real soon. ;)

ETA Sep 27: She finally managed to write her own announcement; how she is not concerned about Valerian, I have no idea...

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Announcement: All Our Dark Lovers

A long while back, a little over three years actually, I announced publication of my first collection of stories and poems with Morrigan Press. This will not happen. As you can see from the original post, the collection was supposed to come out in 2013, but that never happened. There was hardly any noticeable movement in the production process, very few updates or progress reports, and in the three years since I have lost count of the many unanswered emails I sent to Mark Deniz (when I asked about voiding the contract, I received a response within two hours.)

This is disappointing, hurtful, and just plain sad on a number of levels, but I do not really want to spend time outlining everything here. I do feel sorry I made the announcement and was never able to show any progress to people who might have been looking for it; this must have seemed like an insincerity on my part, but it was not. After all, I had a signed contract and the hope to be able to rely on that. Whatever the worth of experience might be, I could have done without this particular one.