Right, so, first things first: I got the edits back for Midnight of Lanar’ya. There weren’t too many changes to make and so I should have a street date for it soon.
Also, because I am the world’s geekiest aunt, I wrote my niece a book for Christmas. It’s a kid’s book and it’s a little rough, I know. The artwork isn’t going to rival Van Gogh. But, it’s cute and she loves it. The non-hand-drawn images are stolen from Space.com, NASA, and a few other places that I can’t quite track down for provenance. So, without further ado, here is the story I wrote for her for all of you who were asking me about it on Facebook.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some short stories for The Red Collection to finish
It is done.
It has been an emotional roller coaster with the characters throwing me for a few loops here and there but it is done. It is done, I am exhausted but sated. Just one last editorial pass and Stolen Lives will be ready for beta-reading which is where you, my friends, come in.
Weighing in at 70,380 words and 276 pages in Microsoft Word, Stolen Lives is more than a short story and less than a novel. Set in the near future where medical advances have made the impossible “possible” and have brought out some dangers unforeseen, Stolen Lives takes you through the eyes of those who have lost everything — their lives, their memories, and their very selves. Read as they struggle to reclaim that which once they took for granted — their very identities.
If you are interested in beta-reading this and providing me with feedback to correct errors, fact-checks, grammar problems, plot holes, pacing issues, etc, then just post “I’m in!” in the comments below followed by your email address. I will edit out your email address when I approve your comment.
Interested? Well, get cracking then, would you?!
— G.K. Masterson
The release date has come and Twilight of Lanar’ya is now available exclusively through the Rooster and Pig store. It will be a few weeks before you can find it on Amazon or other retailers. But, if you want to get a copy, you can grab it now from the R&P digital download store for only $8.99.
And, to add to the news, I finished the first draft of Midnight of Lanar’ya and sent it for the first round of revisions back on October 31st. So, if you’ve been waiting to hear back on that, there you go!
For my friends over at FanFiction.net, I will be putting up a chapter of Adrift early to celebrate this occasion.
Now to get back to work on A Man’s Life, my NaNoWriMo project!
|ePub Format||MOBI Format|
Update: if you’re unsure what price to use, Rayne’s brilliant brain just suggested $666!
It seems that Kobogeddon is still going strong. Lots of indie authors are pulling their tradpubbed books off Kobo or deleting their accounts. Others who have had their books restored because Kobo “reviewed” them and found that they weren’t smutfests that lacked the imprimatur of one of the Holy Publishing Houses are taking their books down and going over to Smashwords or another indie-friendly service. The indies and their readers are getting pissed and Kobo (and hopefully W.H. Smith) are starting to feel their ire.
Now, while it would be great for all indies to refuse to sell through Kobo, that might not be enough to get the message across to them that indies are the future of the publishing world. After all, the traditional publishers have a lot of cash and influence. Indies are still getting established and breaking through to let readers know that the lack of an East Coast Elites Seal of Approval doesn’t mean squat (and that such a Seal of Approval might actually mean the book sucks). So, the ever-clever and brilliantly sneaky Rayne Hall has an idea that will hit Kobo where it hurts the most — it will keep them from attracting new customers and it might scare existing ones off. Her idea? Protest Pricing.
The concept is simple and brilliant. If you are indie or support indie and you have books up on Kobo, set the price to something absurdly high. Rayne’s setting hers to $999/£999 and suggests that others do the same. However, there is the concern that if everyone uses the same price, it will be simple for Kobo to just delist or delete those books. So, I’m suggesting that people vary the prices a bit, keeping them between say $/£/€59 and $/£/€999. Edit: Actually $666 would be the most epically awesome price ever. While this won’t net you any sales on Kobo (I mean, come on. You might be good but the only books that can command hundreds of dollars/pounds in pricing are either rare print editions, antiques, or college textbooks), what it will do is kill Kobo’s price competitiveness against other, more indie-friendly stores.
So, if you’ve deleted your Kobo account, create a new one if you can and put your stuff back up with an insane price. If you sell through Kobo using Smashwords, disable that distribution channel and create a Kobo account, adding your stuff back to Kobo that way and setting up the insane prices. Once you’ve done this, let us know by dropping a comment here or hitting Rayne and I up on Twitter (@RayneHall, @GKMasterson). I’ll keep a list of authors who join in this action and do my best to buy some books off you guys (not for the crazy price, though. Not unless I win all the lotteries) and give you a review.
#Kobogeddon continues on!
Or “Riding towards Kobogeddon.”
The Twitterverse is all aflutter with the latest screw-up from across the pond. Rayne Hall, the first horseman of the TradPubocalypse has been sounding the horns over W.H. Smith and Kobo’s recent dumping of every indie author from their shelves — virtual and otherwise. If you’re curious to get caught up quickly, the tag #kobogeddon should get you started. Or you could just keep reading.
So, what kicked off this kerfuffle? Apparently, the webmonkeys at W.H. Smith and Kobo are too busy playing around to code filters and search-check results. They could be relying on the ancient “show all keyword matches” method that ceased being effective sometime back in the mid-1990s. So, if you had a book that had the word “Daddy” in the title, their search engine would show it in the results page for any search involving that word.
Even if it was clear that the book in question was part of a genre called erotica.
So, chances are that someone’s kid found an erotica title while searching innocuous keywords. It happens. While I don’t write or read erotica myself, I know that it exists. I’ve known that it existed since I was a teenager. Used to be that it was treated a lot like porn magazines and movies and kept tucked safely away where kids couldn’t come across but those who wanted to get at it could do so. Stores generally wouldn’t sell erotica titles (though one could argue that the entire freaking romance genre is just “erotica acceptable to middle class housewives”) but, if you really wanted to find the stuff, a trip to your local adult bookstore would net you some results. You could also order it via mail. Advertisements in certain kinds of magazines told those who wanted to know where to go to get their fix.
So, a kid or something finds one of these rather disgusting books and their parents get their knickers all in a twist. Complaints are made, cries about the collapse of civilization because someone wrote erotica that would fit comfortably in Genesis (like, oh say, Lot’s daughters, perhaps?) and W.H. Smith pulls down their website. Okay, so far, so good. After all, if you come across a book that is offensive during a common keyword search, you should let the site owner know so that they can tweak their search engine results or their user-controlled search filtering/browsing preferences so that erotica is only found by people who honestly want to buy the stuff and not by kids or people who would like to pretend that the dark side of humanity doesn’t exist.
However, instead of, you know, filtering their site better and going over to ensure that keywords return better results and possibly kicking off authors who purposefully mis-tagged their books to get higher search results, W.H. Smith and Kobo kicked off every. indie. author. They didn’t just kick off erotica writers. They threw out authors who have never written a sex scene in any of their books. They kicked out children’s writers. They kicked out sci-fi writers. Fantasy. If you were indie, you were out. Meanwhile, erotica itself is thriving on both sites, just so long as it’s backed up by a publisher. So, you can still find all the disgusting erotica you want…but you can’t find any indie-published books of any genre.
That, to be charitable, was pretty freakin’ stupid.
Erotica exists. People buy it. They read it. Not too long ago, Fifty Shades of Gray was all over the place. You couldn’t take two steps without someone talking about that book. And it’s erotica in an almost pure form. Not my cup of tea but then, I’m not getting my knickers in a twist or my corset knotted over someone else wanting to read about Sub/Dom relationships. I am, however, most displeased at the thought that someone like Sarah Hoyt, Jonathan Broughton, or even David D. Levine would have had their works pulled down because some idiot thinks that all indie books are erotica.
Sure, the traditional publishers are probably clinking their champagne glasses together now, all celebratory at us upstart indies getting pulled because W.H. Smith and Kobo can’t be arsed to hire competent web developers. However, their victory will wind up being as short-lived as Valenti’s attempts to make VCRs illegal (“The VCR is to the movie industry as the Boston Strangler is to a woman alone at night.”) Indies aren’t going away and traditional publishers aren’t going to stop being dinosaurs. The “gatekeepers” have had control of the market for way too long. They let in crap like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Gray and shut out things like Harry Potter (seriously, J.K. had to go to twelve publishers before she found one willing to print her work. She’s made over a billion dollars now. Tell me again why I should take the big houses seriously?) Indies are telling stories and building worlds that people want to read about. We don’t all hew to the politically correct lines and some of us aren’t to the left of Stalin (go ahead, try to get an in with a sci-fi house if you’re not an authoritarian. Go on. I’ll wait). In the indie world, you really do sink or swim based on how good your story is and how hard you’re willing to work to get word out there. You don’t wind up in print-hell because your publisher decides to only do one print run and then, if it sells out in a week, won’t do another because, well, you forgot to bow and scrape properly while doing your daily rounds of arse-kissing.
I’m working to put together a list of authors who had their non-erotica works pulled from Kobo and W.H. Smith. If you like good literature and are sick of reading the same regurgitated crap that hits all the acceptable politically correct points but neglects to develop an actual, you know, plot, then consider buying from an indie.
And yeah, I’ll keep posting about how Kobogeddon is going. Earlier this evening it looked like they’d banned Rayne Hall’s account entirely because she’s stirring up trouble. Methinks someone’s never heard of the Streisand Effect.
Yesterday, my new publisher Rooster and Pig let me know that they’ve set a release date for Twilight of Lanar’ya. It will be out for sale again with a new cover and less typos on November 4. I’m really excited about this and loving the new cover by the super-talented Lex Valentine. So, if you’d like to get your hands on a copy, I’ll be posting the information about where you can get it here on November 4.
Tell me that isn’t awesome looking.
And, in other news, I’m close to finished with the first draft of Midnight of Lanar’ya. I’m hoping to get it wrapped up before the end of October so that I can focus on one of my back-burner projects for NaNoWriMo. I’ve already outlined the third book in my Lanarian Empire trilogy and will probably get cracking on it in December or January — once I’m done with the edits and revisions on Midnight. It’s not a good idea to try to write a follow-up book while you’re still working through revisions of its prequel. Too easy to give into temptation and move scenes around and all that.
I’m also, as always, looking for a better job. I’m going to break down and take the LPI 1 exam in the next few weeks to get that certification and open my horizons up to a broader array of jobs in hopes that I can at least get somewhere better than where I am where the hours don’t leave me so drained and worn down.
Well, for now, I’m going to go get some more rest. My room-mate brought home Con Plague and I caught it. Once I’m back on my feet tomorrow, it’ll be back to the grindstone on Midnight of Lanar’ya.
Cross-posted over at Rooster and Pig’s blog
It’s no secret that many of us — especially fantasy writers like me — got our start by working in someone else’s established universe. For me, my first “real” creative work was from the Legend of Zelda when I was eight or nine years old. After that, it was the worlds of Dragonlance and the Death Gate Cycle when I was thirteen years old. I did also work in my own universe, though the concept (Atlantis) wasn’t terribly original (hey, cut me some slack, I was fifteen), and the execution was…well…adolescent to say the least (again, I was fifteen).
In time, I graduated to world-building while playing and writing campaigns and adventures for Dungeons and Dragons. I also developed a healthy dose of respect for cartographers, artists, and dungeon designers — not to mention architects! By the time I got into college, I was generally writing my own original works, mostly plays and short stories as I had not really developed the chops for novel-writing. I did, however, continue to write fanfics. I wrote several set in the Star Trek: The Next Generation universe and one set in the world of Final Fantasy VIII. The fanfic that really got me convinced I could finally do a novel was Alayne’s Story. I spent the better part of five years writing that story, posting it on the World of Warcraft European forums every Friday. Even today, I still dabble in fanfics when I need to just build up my chops or let something original percolate so that I don’t over/underwrite it too badly.
The Internet, through services such as Fanfiction.net, have really given a good boost to remix writers. None of us ever think to try to profit from our works. After all, the characters and the settings are not “ours” in the ownership sense of the term. However, it is distressing to sit back and see just how many authors and corporate owners feel threatened by fanfic writers or feel as if having fanfics written with their property would somehow diminish the value of that property. This is a rather blinkered view, if you ask me. Yes, certainly, there are a lot of poorly-written fanfics out there. I’ve seen plenty of them where I wondered if the writer had any concept of grammar, spelling, or readability. There are some fanfics that, while earning passing marks for grammar, spelling, and formatting, fail because the story is unoriginal, the pacing is poor, or parts of it were too gratuitous. Granted, I’m sure all of us have written at least one or two scenes or treatments just for catharsis (and if you haven’t, you’re either not a writer, lying, or under the age of six). But, for the most part, we wouldn’t show those to anyone. There are many fanfics out there that cater to a specific audience or attempt to “fix” the story that the creator told because parts of it were unsatisfying. There are some, like mine, that delve into the “what if?” realm where we change events and then ride the ripple of that change throughout the universe (these are often called “alternate universe” or “AU” fanfics). There are some that attempt to tell the story of the characters in the days after the ending. And many of these are quite good. Many are very original. Many, in my opinion, rival the “canonical” or “licensed” works in quality.
For those authors and owners who either tolerate or, better still, embrace their fans and their fans’ written fanfics, these things can enrich and enhance the community — not only of that particular work, but the writing community in general. For those authors who try to stamp out fanfics using their works, who focus on exercising complete control over their works, the community of writers is left much poorer for their successful efforts.
After all, in the end, we’re all fanfic writers of one kind or another. All of us grew up hearing nursery rhymes and fairy tales and I’ll bet every last one of us, even the non-writers out there, would sometimes imagine “what if?” “What if Snow White didn’t eat the apple?” “What if the evil stepmother was actually nice to Cinderella instead?” “What happened during ‘happily ever after?’” “Why was the Wicked Witch…well, wicked? What made her like that?” From these questions and our imagination, new stories were born. And from practice in doing that, we began to build original tales with new characters, new roles, new monsters, new conflicts.
“There is nothing new under the sun.” By tolerating — nay, encouraging — fledgling writers to test their wings out with established characters, events, and universes, we enrich the literary universe and ourselves. At least, that’s what I think. And I will always be eternally grateful to Nintendo, Shigeru Miyamoto,* SquareSoft (now Square Enix), Blizzard, and the BBC for not suing the crap out of me whenever I, unlicensed and unauthorized writer that I am, decided to dabble in their universes for a little bit when I needed a break from my own.
Shigeru Miyamoto, Robert Jordan, and Brandon Sanderson are my Holy Trinity of Writers. They are served by the Archangels Russel T. Davies, Margaret Weis, Tracey Hickman, Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and Piers Anthony. Don’t you dare judge me.
I get knocked down but I get up again. You’re not ever keep me down.
Well, I’m a horrible blogger, aren’t I? I keep saying I’m going to update this site and then I go off and get busy with other things. I’m done making promises because every time I make a promise, I promptly break it. Part of it is that I’m working on three different projects at once: The Chameleon, Midnight of Lanar’ya, and Adrift. The other part of it is that my day job is dragging me down. However, things are really looking up for me after noticing that my friend Vicktor’s publishing company is hiring. A couple of rather lengthy Skype conversations later and I’m on board over there. If everything goes well for the next month, I’ll even be getting paid to edit, help out with recruiting new authors, getting my own novels published through them, and helping out with the online marketing and community building.
I’ll still have my day job, of course. Until I can be certain I’ll be bringing in enough from R&P to pay the bills, I’m going to keep the job I have. But should it get to the point where I can go full-time with R&P, I’ll go in a heartbeat.
Well, I’m going to get back to working on my three projects. Just wanted to let everyone know what’s going on with me.
PS — If you don’t get the title of this post, watch this:
Right, I’ve not updated here since July. It’s now November. No, I’m not shrugging off the novel. I’ve finished the first draft and am going through making a lot of revisions and getting the second draft going. However, the hours I have at work are somewhat crazy so I don’t have a lot of time or energy in the evenings to do much work. I usually wind up playing World of Warcraft or Star Wars in the evenings just to unwind a bit before going to bed.
However, I am going to try to finish the second draft this month and spend the next couple of months polishing it and getting it ready for release next spring. Then it will be time to start working on the third and final book in this series before moving on to other writing projects.
So, that’s where we stand for now. I will try to get back here and do regular updates more in the future. But no promises. The more time I spend here, the less time I’m spending writing.
I’ve not forgotten about this place and I’ve not forgotten about my novel. I’ve been working on it and just have gotten so busy with other things that I’ve not found time to update this site.
Quick overview: Midnight of Lanar’ya is nearing completion of the first draft. I will be releasing a new edition of Twilight of Lanar’ya to correct a few formatting errors and typos that some of you have spotted (and thanks for those!) I imagine that there will probably be up to three revisions of Midnight of Lanar’ya before I publish it. I’m also planning to do a few things different with releasing it to take care of some of the problems I had with the release of Twilight of Lanar’ya.
And now, I’m going to get back to work on writing. The more time I spend on that, the sooner you’ll have the book in hand.