Thursday, April 17, 2014

Face Me Out, Please

If you were a book, where would you be shelved in the library? Take this Dewey Decimal quiz and find out.

My results:

Yep, that makes all kinds of sense (when I visit the library I spend a lot of time browsing the 900's as it's my favorite nonfic section, so I'd be happy there as a book.) On what shelf did you end up? Post your results in comments.

(Test link nicked from Gerard at The Presurfer)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reject Sub Op

Harren Press has a very interesting open call for an upcoming antho: "We, at Harren Press, are hosting a REJECTED anthology! Any short story that you have written, submitted, and been rejected with; we are interested in seeing it and the rejection letter. We are accepting any genre, so feel free to submit anything you have. What we ARE looking for: Stories that have been polished by the writer, but for one reason or another were not accepted by the intended publisher. What we are NOT looking for: Stories that have obvious reasons for rejection. We do not want stories that are filled with several grammatical and spelling errors. We do not want stories that have no ending, have no plot, and have no character building. Your story should be a complete short story. Within this anthology, there will be a forward that discusses the various reasons that stories, even perfectly written stories, can sometimes hit the rejection pile at different presses, small and large." [PBW notes: How cool is this? I'm putting a reminder on my calendar so I can buy the finished product in December.] Length: 2.5-5.5K Payment: $5.00. No reprints (obviously), electronic submissions only, see guidelines for more details. Deadline: June 30th, 2014 or when filled.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Very Good Reading!

There was another very strange thing I saw on the internet last week, but this deserves a post of its own, as I think it will interest one of my friends and indeed every author out there who actively agonizes over the reviews and ratings of their work on

I took this screenshot of a page at Goodreads showing a sampling of the ratings given to three of my works:

What I'd like you to note is the rating for Forget-Me-Knot, the listing indicated by the pink arrow. I scheduled this story to release last October as a freebie novella to promote my new series. To tell you the truth, I was unhappy with how it turned out. Evidently this reviewer was, too, when she read it on March 24th, 2014.

Now I know that authors aren't supposed to make a fuss over this kind of thing, but stay with me on this. I don't have a problem with what the reviewer thought of the story. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Nor do I care that I got a three-star rating for it. I don't count or care about stars. The only problem I have with this three-star rating, in fact, is that I didn't release Forget-Me-Knot in October as planned.

What I actually did with it was delete it after writing the first draft. I know, that's pretty radical, but I want my free stories to be as good as my published works. Sometimes things don't work out, and often I've found it's better to trash a bad draft and start over versus patching and fixing. I did want to think about it a bit, too, and because I've been so busy with the launch of the back-to-back series print editions I haven't yet got back to the project.

Still don't get it?

To date I have not released the story because there is no story yet. There is no Forget-Me-Knot.

So how can someone give a story that doesn't exist three stars? I have no idea. Perhaps this lady did find a way to read the first draft before I trashed it. She could have surreptitiously dug through my garbage cans, for example, to retrieve the original manuscript. Oh, wait, I didn't actually print out that story, so it existed only as a file on my laptop. That laptop is never hooked up to the internet, so she couldn't have hacked into it, either.

Hmmmm, that makes the three-star rating a bit tougher to explain. Before I deleted the only copy of the file, she might have broken into the house to read the story on my laptop in the middle of the night while we were sleeping, I suppose. If she could bypass Casa PBW's security system, sneak past the dogs without waking them and then figure out my password, that could be the answer. Seems like an awful lot of effort to read a free story I never published . . .

Hey. Could she be psychic and have read the story by directly tapping into my thoughts? Is that how she did it?

What? It's possible.

This is getting kind of exciting -- I mean, I may have proof here of a genuine psychic reviewer! How cool would that be? I wonder what she thinks of the next novel I'm planning to write. I should e-mail her and ask. This kind of reviewing could really save me a lot of grief. I may never again waste my time producing a bad story; all I have to do is check Goodreads to see what everyone thinks of it before I actually write it.

How can I agonize over such an amazing discovery? Right, this is supposed to be depressing. Tell you what, I will try to work up the proper amount of devastation to merit a meltdown or something. Check back with me next week, okay?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Huh Ten

Ten Amazing/Strange/Inspiring Things I Saw on the Internet Last Week

#1: A man who spent $158K on plastic surgery in order to resemble a human Ken doll insults a woman who wears makeup and hair extensions in order to look like a human Barbie doll.

Already I need an aspirin.

#2: Bruce and Melanie's Steampunk Victorian House

Bruce and Melanie, adopt me, please. Or let me be your housekeeper.

#3: "Don't break anyone's heart
They only have one
Break their bones
they have 206"

My next hobby: evil cross-stitch.

#4: Google adds the temples of Angkor, Cambodia to StreetView

This is one of the places in the world that I've always wanted to visit but likely won't, so I'm totally in love.

#5: Sakura, Sakura ~ the cherry blossoms of Tokyo

Sigh. If I ever visit Japan, it will have to be during March or April.

#6: The 25 Stages from Courtship to Marriage (in hand-tinted stereograph)

My count is 24 -- apparently one of the cards is missing -- but still, quite charming. Also a good reminder of how lucky we contemporary women are for not having to wear those long skirts and all the corsets, crinolines and petticoats that went with them.

#7: What happens when you and your family stop eating sugar for a year.

I lost forty pounds my first year. Still sugar-free, too.

#8: The Ten Types of Writer's Block and How to Overcome Them

Number 11: You spend your creative time reading articles about writer's block instead of writing.

#9: Woman throws shoe at Hillary Clinton during speech.

Everyone thought this was funny but me. Probably because I'm thinking how it could have easily been a grenade instead of a shoe.

And #10:

Sony's version of Sakura, I guess. If more commercials were this inventive I might start watching television again.

(Some of the above links were found over at The Presurfer.)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Kit & Crew on LT

I'm cross posting this from the series blog as I know some of you out there are Library Thing members:

To spread the love among my fellow book lovers I'm giving away ten signed print copies of Disenchanted & Co. to members of Library Thing, and it doesn't matter where you live -- residents of all countries are welcome to put in a request (you can find the official listing here, about halfway down the page.)

My only request of the winners is that they post a review of the book somewhere online (I'm not picky.) The folks at Library Thing will choose the ten recipients on April 23rd, so you've got two weeks to put in your request.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Get Feedback, Help a Pup

Author P.N. Elrod is holding a virtual garage sale to raise funds to pay for her pup Fuzzy's vet bills, and among the treasures are donation critiques:

Limit is 2500 words. If it goes longer to finish out a paragraph, that's okay, but don't send more than that. Most editors and agents make a decision based on the first couple pages. 2.5K words = 10 manuscript pages. Send the start of the story or novel, no prologues, no middle of the story with your "best" stuff.

The author asks for a donation (minimum $10.00) in return for the critique, which is quite reasonable. I also have it on good authority that a very cool bag of convention swag will be added to the Garage Sale page in the near future, so check back for updates.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Birds & Art

Before we get to the Friday video, some of you know how my home is a magnet for nesting birds. I don't know why, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I feed them all year long. If you're going to have babies, might as well be near the best take-out place in the neighborhood.

For the last several years I have found birds nesting in the oddest places: on top of my birdhouses, in my potted plants and my hanging plants, but the absolute strangest spot of all time was in our backyard grill:

I thought I was the only author who attracted these ditzy birds, but it turns out they're after Shiloh Walker, too:

All I can say is lift the lid and check your grill before you turn it on, writers.

I do have a delightful video for you this week that features Lila, sort of an artist version of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amélie. It is long, but worth every second (and features music and background sounds, for those of you at work):

"LILA" from Carlos Lascano on Vimeo.