Category Archives: writing

My First Lesson

 

So here is my first lesson as an indie author:

Check your title on Amazon first to make sure it is unique enough!  There are at least five other things on Amazon with some variant of the title “Daughter (or Daughters) of Atlas.”  Who knew?

Check it out, here are the search results:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_pg_1?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Adaughter+of+atlas&keywords=daughter+of+atlas&ie=UTF8&qid=1497884544

At least mine is first, for now. That’s something.

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Filed under Daughter of Atlas, self-publsihing, writing

Big News! (Finally)

 

So I have some news. Big news! I finally stopped screwing around and published my Atlantis novel, now called “Daughter of Atlas,” as an Amazon e-book!

Check it out!

 

DoA Cover

So what I need you to do now, if you ever read or critiqued it, is to jump onto Amazon and leave a little review. Reviews are the driver of success on Amazon. It’s doesn’t have to be long or detailed, it just has to be an actual written review. It would help me out and be a real vote of confidence in me. Thanks so much.

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What To Write Next?

I’m wondering what course I should take next to advance my writing, hm, project? I can’t really call it a career, as I don’t work at it full time and it earns me little money.  Maybe one day.  But the question now is, which of the several things in front of me should I do?  Well, of course, I need to do them all, but which should I do first?  Which would most benefit me at this time?

Here they are:

  • Atlantis novel — publish.  My Atlantis novel is complete and I have done my own editing of it.  I’d say it’s on the fourth draft by now.  I would like to indie-publish it as an ebook, just to have done it.  It needs a copy-edit, a cover, formatting, etc.  This would be the obvious next step, but as written I find myself strangely afraid of it.
  • Write some short stories — selling the first Steve McCray story to Dirty Magick: New Orleans has interested me in writing short fiction again.  Urban fantasy was not previously my thing, but that story practically wrote itself.  I already have a second — no, a third! — one in the works.  And I have a few partial stories from before Katrina that I should complete.
  • Grandmother Theory for Baen Books — I have a hard science fiction story, “The Grandmother Theory,” that would be a good fit for the Baen Books Jim Baen Memorial Award.  It needs to be shortened slightly and could use a polish. The contest opens on October 1st.
  • Get back to Lion of the Dawn — I could get back into writing the first draft of my follow-on to my Atlantis novel, which I am calling The Lion of the Dawn for now.  This was my Nanowrimo effort two years ago and I’ve got about 60,000 words.  It has a LONG way to go, though.  Really epic.  I may split it up into two books in the end.
  • Prep for Nanowrimo — I could spend the next month getting ready to participate in National Novel Writing Month again this year.  Doing Nanowrimo is fun, it’s a special time, and it also gets easier each year — unless something happens like a bad bout of the flu, or your cat’s fatal illness, which are the things that have torpedoed my efforts in the past.  Also a lot of the local genre writer’s community does it every year, so there’s a good hangout scene during the month.  This could either be a continuation of The Lion of the Dawn, or a new effort.  These evening my husband gave me an idea for a Steve McCray novel.  I could write that.

Any of these would be good.  I should do them all, but in what order?

What, in your experience, would be your suggestion?  What should I write next?

UPDATE: I forgot that life has a way of often resolving these questions without your input.  I received an invitation to submit to an anthology with a two-month deadline.  So, that pushes the third Steve McCray story to the top of the list, because it would be a perfect fit for this anthology.  It is started but not yet completed.  Have to finish writing it.  So thus my dilemma is resolved.

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Filed under procrastination, writing

My Thoughts on the Hugo Puppies Fiasco

I was delighted when I first heard about the results of the Hugo Awards, last Sunday.  But after a several days of reading the reactions within fandom on Twitter and blogs, I just feel kind of sad and tainted.  There’s so much bad blood on both sides.  And the Puppies/Gamergate people tend to be such tiresome, grandiose blowhards, it’s really hard to slog through their shit.  I suppose there could maybe, possibly be something to their view that withholding so many awards is like destroying the Hugos to save them, but I still think this was the best possible outcome of the whole sad affair.

Briefly, if you’re not aware, there were two groups of people, called the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies, who rallied movements to get slates of works that meet their aesthetic and ideological preferences onto the Hugo Award nominating ballot.  The Hugo Award is nominated and voted on by the members of the World Science Fiction Convention, so it is a very inside-baseball, old-school fandom thing, a very small voting group, and it takes a very small number of votes indeed to get nominated, a couple hundred.  The Sad Puppies, led by authors Larry Correia and Brad Torgerson, had the putative stated goal of returning tales that were fun and pulpy to the Hugo ballot — spaceships, lasers, dragonslayers and derring-do.  They felt the Hugos had been “hijacked” in recent years by “the left,” and only rewarded works that were literary, excessively stylistic, and politically correct.

The Sad Puppies have fielded slates for the past couple of years, but only this year were they successful — helped it seems in large part by splinter group the Rabid Puppies, led by absolute piece of human garbage Theodore Beale AKA “Vox Day,” who fielded a slate with a more explicitly racist and chauvinist purpose — to return the White Man to his place of honor on the Hugo award stage.  So, together, the Puppies, campaigning by web and social media, managed to ram their slates of chosen nominees through the balloting process of the Hugos, leading to nominee rosters that were dominated, or in some cases, completely composed of the Puppies nominees.

IO9.com has a pretty good overview of the controversy here.

Leaving the quality of the Puppies’ arguments aside, the real problem I saw here, as a marginal writer and member of fandom, was the process of slate voting.  It is explicitly not against the rules of the Hugo nominations process, but it is certainly against the spirit of them, for the Hugo awards are supposed to represent the critical acclaim of best work by fandom as a whole, not the opinion of a vocal minority.  (The Nebula Awards, by contrast, are voted on by the members of the Science Fiction Writers of America.)  If you can’t win on your own merits, trying to win by rigging the elections is a douchebag move.  It totally corrupts the whole process.  To counter your slate, fans of other writers will have to organize slates of their own, and then the awards would just become another tiresome arena in the “culture wars,” or worse, some kind of high school student body popularity contest.

The Puppies have always vigorously maintained that there already were secret, left-wing cabals drawing up secret slates of nominees and shutting “their” type of authors out of the awards.  But there has never been any real evidence that that is the case.  And even if it were, two wrongs don’t make a right, now do they?  If the Puppies think the “SJWs” (Social Justice Warriors, a charmless term they seem to have co-opted from Gamergate) are so evil and corrupt, how does it behoove them to adopt their tactics?

No, slate voting is bogus and done in bad faith.  And really, anything that follows the lead of Vox Day is nothing I can support.  (The guy wants to strip women of the right to vote.  How could I put any truck in someone who wants to disenfranchise me?)  So in my own mind, I’ve been against the Puppies from the get-go.

That’s why I think the results of the Hugo vote are the best outcome of this whole wretched affair.  The Puppies were soundly thwacked with a rolled-up newspaper.  Far more fans bought a membership in Worldcon than ever had before, and more chose to vote in the Hugos, by a factor of 65 percent.  Any category of award that was wholly dominated by the Puppies slate nominees presented No Award (which has always been a viable Hugo option, by the rules.)  The only real exceptions were the Best Dramatic Presentation awards (film and TV, mostly) — where it was understood by all that the Puppies could have no real influence over the powerful Hollywood types who create those things, and where the winners, Guardians of the Galaxy and Orphan Black, were popular enough and good enough to have been nominated, and won, even without the Puppies.

Awards that had one non-slate nominee went to that work.  Any award that did not have a clearly Puppy-rigged slate seems to have been judged on its own merits.  The Best Novel Award went to The Three-Body Problem, written by Cixin Liu and translated from the Chinese by Ken Liu — the first time a translated work has won that award.  Take that, Puppies!

The Puppies’ gambit was a total failure.  With the increased membership and attention, fandom as a whole stepped up and said, No, you’re not going to game this award.  This is ours and we won’t allow it.  

Recriminations by the Puppies across social media have been intense.  They’re claiming now that this was their plan all along, that this was their victory condition, that No Award proves that the SJWs are totalitarian and McCarthyist.  But I don’t think even they really believe that.  No, this was a defeat, and they have to choke it down.

Efforts are in place to rewrite the Hugo rules to circumvent slate voting.  But any such rules changes have to be ratified by the memberships of two Worldcons, meaning this year and next year.  So the Puppies have a whole ‘nother year to continue their mischief.  But I think they will be able to inflict much less damage.  People are on to them now.  Authors who might have this year idly rode the slates to nomination will probably recuse themselves next year, knowing that the slate nominees will be forever tainted.  Who wants to be forever allied with the people who tried to burn down the Hugo Awards?  And fandom is much more aware now, and will be watching, and reading, and nominating the books, comics, and movies they love.

TL; DR — trying to rig the Hugo nominations was a stupid, counterproductive move.  The Puppies, are a tiny, reactionary, and not well liked subculture within science fiction fandom.  And fandom will work to protect that which it loves — SF, and the Hugos — from being destroyed by haters.

Thank the gods.  And thank you, fandom.

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Fear

So I have a problem.  Fear of success I think it is.  My novel is complete, ready to be prepared for publication.  There’s no reason I couldn’t throw it up on Amazon as an e-book next week.  But I find myself procrastinating.  As much as I want to write, there is a part of me, equally as large — perhaps larger  — that doesn’t want to. After everything I’ve done, I’m scared to take that last step. Actually publish it.  I don’t really know why, but I am.

So I have conceived the idea of serializing my novel on one of those amateur writer websites, Wattpad or Jukepop or such, as an intermediate step between  … nothing …  and fully, publicly publishing..  It’s complete, so I would be able to upload chapters rapidly, and maintain interest among the readership.  I’ve long since given up any idea of earning a living by writing.  I just want people to read what I write. On one of these sites, I could get some feedback, have some interaction with the reading public, maybe get over some of my fear.  Gain some experience, however half-assed, at publishing and being in the public eye.

What would be better would be for me to bite the bullet, and just publish it.  But for whatever reason, I can’t bring myself to do this right now.  So, going the website route—would this be a productive recognition of my limitations and an attempt to work within them, or a bullshit, craven move that is really just procrastinating?

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New Orleans Genre Writers Conference

This weekend I went to the New Orleans Genre Writers Conference.  This was the first, inaugural one. Man, I’m tired.  I don’t know why, but these sort of conferences really take it out of me.

One of my fellow attendees suggests its because you are concentrating so hard, listening to the speakers, taking notes.  This makes sense to me.  Your brain is only five percent of your body weight, but consumers twenty percent of your body’s resources. A very energy-intensive organ.

Well, as the first conference, it was a bit ragged. A lot of the programming went over time, and some of the presenters really rambled, saying little of value.  But any conference is like that, I’ve found, whether a professional conclave or a science fiction convention – some panels are great, some are terrible, most are mediocre.

I also wish it was, as advertised, a little more genre-specific. Like, how to create voice in science fiction, instead of just voice in general.  Or a panel on what, if anything, joining the genre professional associations like RWA or SFWA can do for you.

I also expected somewhat bigger names for the price, than just the local crowd.  Its good to get to know your local writers, but I can meet them at more reasonable venues. Well, it is just the first year.  I imagine a busy New York editor doesn’t want to commit to a newbie local con.

It would be good to have some programming about “independent publishing,” as they call it these days.  Its a viable alternative for people now.

But since it was the first year of local people bootstrapping a conference from nothing, I think it was a good effort.  The venue at the Courtyard Marriott in the Warehouse District was quite convenient for me.  I hope to be back next year. Maybe I’ll even be on the other side of the table.

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Dirty Magick Blog Tour Begins

So, this is cool.  Charlie Brown, my editor for the Dirty Magick: New Orleans anthology that I recently placed a story in, has organized a blog tour to celebrate the publication of the book.

The first stop is at book review blog Mythical Books,  with a guest post by editor Charlie, and excerpts from several of the stories in the anthology, including my story, “The Sacred Marriage of Etienne McCray.”

There is also a giveaway of five paperback copies (US only) and five Kindle copies of Dirty Magick: New Orleans.  You can follow me on Twitter @kmcorby in the Rafflecopter there for an extra chance to win!

I’ll follow along with the blog tour as it progresses.  I’m writing a guest post in the tour later on in the month, and I’ll link to that blog when it goes live.

This is my first blog tour ever. I’m psyched!

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