One of my students, Kathryn Kistner, found this. It’s a very attractive WordPress theme designed specifically for writers.
I have no idea how “limited time” this is, but the theme is free now, and will be $35 when it returns to being pain.
I’m passing on the recommendation. You can check it out here:
The Google+ Live Chat will start Friday at 12 NOON ET.
THERE IS NO SOUND on the first 45 or so seconds of this video. Skip past those. I caught the error quickly.
I’m going to answer questions you post here.
This is pretty wide open. Your questions can be professional or personal, and can be related to nonfiction or fiction.
Do you have a writing question I’ve never answered anywhere? A question about one of my novels? A question about me?
I’m not expecting a lot of questions, but if I get a lot, I know I won’t have time to answer everything in this one chat.
If there are a lot of questions, I’ll organize the ones I don’t answer into categories, and do a few more live Google+ chats to answer them.
I’ll post the link in this space once I get Google+ set up and know that it’s working. If some of you wouldn’t mind using the link in the top right corner to post it to Twitter once we get going, I’d appreciate it. I’m working with
I’m going to print off the existing questions right after I have everything set up, and I’ll either go down the list, or pick and choose, depending on how many there are.
Is there anything you can’t ask? No.
Is there anything I won’t answer? Probably.
Use your best judgement.
I started having headaches about halfway through last week.
On Friday, they turned into migraines and icepick migraines.
On Saturday, the vertigo returned, and the headaches stayed.
I got a few hundred words written on Saturday and again on Sunday on WARPAINT, but did not do anything online.
I’m working on LESSON 23 of the Self-Pub Expansion of HTTS today, and again, am working through migraines and vertigo.
I’ll answer the additional story and writing questions from the party as quickly as I’m able, but it won’t be today.
I apologize for the delay. I had a wonderful time at the party. Thank you again for coming.
- In a single sentence of thirty words or less, describe your main story, hero, conflict, and why my readers will love your book.
Physicist Dr. Skye Chadwick discovers an alternate reality wherein Sherlock Holmes is destined to die at Reichenbach and rescues him, but can Holmes thrive – even survive – in our modern world?
- What is the core of this story, your passion for writing it, the reason you wrote THIS book and not something else?
This is a fish-out-of-water story. I wanted to take one of the most brilliant men in literature and place him in a situation where he had only two choices – lose his mind, or man up and adapt.
I’ve been a “Holmesian” since childhood, so he was the logical choice. And once the “plot-bunny” bit, I couldn’t NOT write it. 215,000 words spilled out of me in two months. Which is why it’s a two-volume: The Arrival, and At Speed. The Arrival is an “origin story,” with foreshadowings of a spy ring after the project that brought Holmes here, and by its end we go full bore into the mystery, which unwinds fully in At Speed.
- Which character do you most love, and why?
I adore Holmes, always have, always will. He’s so brilliant, and so very human, at the same time. I wish he WAS real.
- What was the most difficult part of writing this book, and why?
Keeping Holmes true to himself as Doyle created him, hands down. Holmes’ character and quirks are fixed. And here I was, putting him in a situation that would stretch his very reason to its limits – imagine being jerked from your own world, leaving everything and everyone you have ever known and loved behind, and transmitted 150 years into the future! And yet I still had to maintain the essential Holmes.
- If you were to pick a quote from the book to represent you, your writing, and what readers should expect from you, what would it be?
“Everyone please stand behind the yellow line until the doors open. No food, drink, flash photography, or video cameras are permitted. Once aboard the ride, please keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times until we come to a full and complete stop. Otherwise, they’re apt to end up in another universe somewhere without ya, and wouldn’t that fry your noggin?”
—Skye Chadwick, The Case of the Displaced Detective: The Arrival
When I closed down comments on the slavery post, I got a lot of irate emails from folks who did not read closely, and who were under the impressions that I thought ALL taxes were slavery, that ALL grants were evil, and that anyone who accepted any sort of grant was a slaveholder by degree. I’ll get back to taxes at a later date, but for now I want to talk about Grants.
What I always hope is that people will read what I wrote, but most people don’t. And they reply to what they think I said, rather than to what I said. What I said was that government-funded grants were funded by slave labor. I was very specific about that.
I think grants funded wholly by individuals or their businesses who want to help writers and artists are a fine and lovely thing. I even think those folks who fund grants should get a legitimate tax write-off for their grant-funding, since they are in effect paying someone else to work—creating some part of a job—and that ought to count for something. I don’t care what sort of works these folks want to support: If you love something (that isn’t criminal), you have every right to spend your money to make more of what you love available.
At one point I considered—to the point of figuring out which works of mine I would funnel profits from in order to fund it—creating a Romanticist grant, a fund to be given annually to one writer of my choice who was working on a piece of Romantic fiction (Romantic fiction being that which presents the world as it could be and should be, and that stresses individual achievement, heroism, and villainy: in other words, the sort of fiction that does not EVER receive grants from anyone else).
I value Romanticist fiction. It’s what I write, it meets my strict criteria for fiction that is worth my time, and the good stuff is damn hard to find. It would be worth funding.
Then I realized that in order to create this grant, I would have to read a whole lot of applications, and that I did not have the time to do so. And I further realized there was no one else to whom I would be willing to hand over responsibility for choosing grant recipients. I knew what I wanted to reward, and knew at some point I would be unhappy with a work chosen by anyone else. So the grant idea died.
But my point here is that grants given voluntarily by people who value what they are funding are a wonderful and magnificent thing. They are Good, big G, on the scale of Good and Evil.
Grants funded by me (or you) with money taken at gunpoint by the government are Evil, big E. The government gives my money to agencies run by individuals who fund works I do not value (fiction from the school of Realism, deconstructionist crap, and other work I consider an utter waste of my time and money), which I would not voluntarily pay for. I don’t object to those works being created. I object to them being created out of MY effort, which has all been funded by ME.
And speaking now specifically to the folks who so kindly told me if I objected to having my rights voted out from under me and I didn’t like having my money forcibly extracted from me for uses I do not approve of, I could always leave…
Yes. I can. Taking a couple of jobs other than my own with me—jobs I have created and that I pay out of my own pocket because I am someone who knows how to create jobs. I’m sure the folks I pay will thank you for telling me to go away. If I do, you need to realize that I’ll be late to the party.
You folks have been inviting folks like me to leave—folks who do not wish to have our rights voted out from under us—for about half a century now. Amazingly, you do not realize how many have already done so, taking with them the jobs you bitch about not having, and putting those jobs in India, China, the Philippines, Mexico, Pakistan, and anywhere else in the world where folks who create jobs are appreciated rather than punished. (For now, anyway.)
If you insist on punishing the people who make your lives and your work possible, and if you do not actually know how to create jobs yourself, or are not willing to expend the effort, risk, money, and frequent failure that someone who creates jobs incurs, you might want to rethink this strategy of yours. Voting away the rights of the people who create jobs doesn’t seem to be working out too well for you.
Have fun, relax, hang out with friends or family, or kick back with a good book. Enjoy the holidays, however you celebrate them.
The revision of TALYSMANA is, has been, and will continue to be a bitch on wheels.
The problem I ran into 95% of the way through the first draft was the realization that my ending could not happen with the existing beginning. Like several other novels I’ve written, I stopped writing when I figured that out, so the first draft had no ending.
I left out something critical, only I couldn’t figure out what.
I was hoping it was something simple to fix, like a plot point.
It was, in fact, a whole entire character. This I discovered via a spiffy nightmare that tipped me in the direction of “This is what your story needs.”
Which means I’m going to have to create another character from the very start of the book (or perhaps turn one of the existing characters into the traitor).
I also realized (same spiffy nightmare) that I got half of my villain wrong. The part set in TalysMana is good. The part set in the What Is, however, is utterly wrong. Police would have been on him in three seconds. So that, too, is going to take heavy rewriting.
And oh, hell, not via nightmare but though the real-life pain of reading the manuscript, I’ve discovered the Kettan I’ve read through so far is whiny and weak, and both missed the opportunities in her past, and failed to utilize her present. There are sections where she’s okay, but overall, I loathe her. The revised Ketten will be someone I can stand to be in the same room with.
Will Grey is good, though. I like him. Emerald is good. And Fred is awesome…but he’s based on my daughter’s basset hound, who is also awesome. Fred will come through this revision unscathed.
This is not going to be any quick, easy revision, though. This is going to be a Book Is Wrecked revision. My notebook is filling up already.
After years of publishing my publishing my fiction through big commercial publishers, with thirty-two novels sold to the big New York houses as well as to international publishers around the planet, and more than a million books in print, I have decided to move to self-publishing my fiction.
Why am I going to start publishing myself?
First, because books don’t stay in print anymore with major publishing houses, and my 32-novel backlist has just about vanished.
Second, because I know self-publishing works, and doing this will allow me to write the books I want to write the way I want to write them, and present my stories to my readers without an intermediary.
I imagine it seems a little crazy to walk away from twenty years of publishing with the major New York publishers to go into indie publishing and do all the work myself.
The thing is, as fun as it is to walk into a bookstore and see your novels on the shelf, the rest of the experience gets old fast. Prior to reading Locke’s book on self-publishing, I was going round and round with myself about giving up on fiction altogether.
I was already publishing non-fiction (my writing courses), and the experience was FUN. And all the frustration, headaches, and fury associated with my fiction career stood in stark contrast to me being able to talk live to my students in a forum, get immediate feedback on work, and, frankly, get paid regularly.
But I LOVE writing fiction. I didn’t want to quit—I simply didn’t see a way to make it fun again. To make it as immediate and joyful for me to create as my nonfiction.
When I read Locke’s book, I saw myself. Someone who does not care about the numbers, who is not interested in constantly pushing for more readers, who wants only to write stories people love and to get them to the people who will love them.
Being a “team player” has never been my strong suit. Not school, not in nursing, not in writing. I’m not writing for everybody, and I’m not interested in pretending I am. I want to write for the folks who already love what I’m doing, not to have someone constantly push me to make my work blander, safer, and more commercial so it will appeal to people who don’t like what I’m doing.
I was BORN to be indie. And now I can.
I hope you’ll join this adventure with me.
Back when I first got published, I signed a lot of my books with a little extra exuberance—I drew a toothy smiley face and wrote in under it the words “Fun…With Teeth.”
Which was how I saw my fiction—I always wanted my readers to laugh, but I wanted some real edge in there, too.
Because, let’s face it. Sometimes I want to scare your socks of.
As the wear and tear of publishing (and some pretty hard times in my life) began to get to me, I lost some of that exuberance. All of my books have funny places in them, but with some of them, you have to wade through a whole lot of darkness to find it.
But when I decided to walk away from the meat grinder that is professional publishing, to deal directly with my readers, and to publish my own work, something strange happened. It was as if someone switched on a light inside me.
I was digging through my early works, the ones for which rights have reverted to me, and I discovered how funny some of those early books were.
I’d forgotten. From cats with hands who liked to play with matches to winged horses with bad brakes to a Miata-driving, beer-swilling dragon to infesting the entire state of North Carolina with the denizens from Hell (to the serious detriment of Hell), I had a lot more fun back then.
I want to find my way back to that.
I’d like to have you share a part of my return to laughter. In my case, laughter with really big, sharp, pointy teeth.
In the next couple of months, as I start getting my reverted novels converted into digital and print versions and moved onto platforms like Kindle and iBooks and Nook, I’m going to put together a little private membership site especially for the folks who like my fiction. You’ll have a bulletin board there where you can talk to each other, and tell me what characters you’ve missed and who you want to read about next, as well as a place where I’ll post some snippets of work in progress, cover images, and news about each book as I release it.
I don’t know what else I’ll put in there. But it’ll be free, and I’ll make sure to include some nice surprises from time to time.
Here’s the place to ask questions, offer your wish list, comment on my radical career change…
I’m glad you’re here.