Sunday, May 26, 2013

Finally Published!

Weee! Earlier this month I FINALLY published Nenfari and Dark Moon Gates! LOL you'd think I'd have blogged about it before now, right?

Dark Moon Gates is the first installment in the Witches' Gates Saga.

Willa, high school Junior and witch-in-training has a problem. No, not the ordinary problem of being a lonely, geekish misfit, though sure, she can add that to her list. And not the problem that she's got a crush on a delicious and evasive lord of Faery, and her mom's got the hots for him too. That's the easy stuff.

Teachers at her school are disappearing. The substitutes are faery Sidhe in disguise, and they're trying to uncover the identity of the child who will, according to prophecy, open the Gates to Faery. That kid happens to be Willa's 3-year old brother Arrie.

Since opening the Gates means the humans will invade and ravage the realm of Faery, the Sidhe plot to sacrifice Arrie at the dark moon, two weeks away. If they manage to do it, the Gates will close forever and the human world will perish for lack of magic. They haven't discovered Arrie's identity yet. They're narrowing down fast.

Then there's that pesky detail in the prophecy: Willa will be struck blind if she manages to stop Arrie's sacrifice.

You can download a free sample of Dark Moon Gates.

At nineteen, assassin-in-training D'hara, is a disappointment to her parents, and especially herself.

Without the mysterious "Change" that should have come at puberty, her father the Khalji cannot make her an advantageous marriage. Nor can she follow in the path of her mother, the High Assassin. Their line has held that title for eight generations. D'hara will break the chain if she does not become fully Assassin caste.

In this city of political intrigue, cunning manipulation and betrayal, the only one D'hara can trust is her beloved born-for slave, Aldrar.

Now, Aldrar's newborn infant is in peril, chosen for ritual sacrifice as the ghostly slave of another princess. D'hara must brave the wrath of the Prophet God's priests and the hazards of the city Below to save him.

A dark Sword & Sorcery fantasy set in a violent world where poison and backstabbing prevail, Nenfari is the first story in the Assassin's Flower Series. You can download Nenfari FREE at Smashwords.

If you like my stories, I hope you'll review them on my Smashwords book pages.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

OMG Ebook Week Starts on Smashwords! Can I Get Nenfari Ready?

Ohmigosh! Smashwords announced that Read an Ebook Week starts tomorrow! I've been prepping four books for ebook publication, Nenfari (free), Bad Man (free), Dark Moon Gates and Spellcraft Secrets.

Not a one of them is done yet! Eeek!

Nenfari is mainly waiting for a cover pic before we can face the evil Meatgrinder (the Smashwords tool that converts docs to ebook). Hubby is on it, fortunately. Hopefully he can do something fantastic in the next few hours.

This is suddenly feeling scary and empowering and exciting and very real all at once.

In case you care, Nenfari is a somewhat "different" coming-of-age novella about a young assassin on a planet long, long ago and far, far away. As far as fantasy/sf stories go, it's on the dark side, considering that slavery and child murder are some of the themes.

I wrote this story about 20 years ago and because of its awkward length (too long for a magazine, too short for a novel) it sat in my computer files for all that time. Marion Zimmer Bradley herself rejected it with an amazing and kind personal rejection, saying that she loved it but it was way too long for the Sword and Sorceress series. She suggested I turn it into a full length novel.

Like seriously, and holy s***! MZB herself wrote me back! I was floored! I saved that gorgeous rejection until the fire that burned down our house. Otherwise I'd post it here just for proof. Oh, as I recall it was on teal paper too. Very nifty!

Well, Nenfari is almost ready to go...and what the heck am I doing even wasting time on blogging? And yeah, I took MZB's advice and am making it a full length novel...eventually. Soon maybe, even. It'll be part of the Assassin's Flower series.

Viva la ebook revolucion!

OMG eeek! Enough of a break. Time to get back to formatting.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Bitter Barista - What Not to Do If You're Writing True Story

I was pretty shocked by the BitterBarista debacle. Some guy blows off steam on Twitter. Some other blog exposes him and links to the company he works for. The guy gets fired.

Here were my first thoughts: The posts are satire, and people think he's funny. What's the big deal? Wow the blog that exposed him must be creeps! 

Based on the feedback they got, a lot of other folks thought that as well.

But I'm a writer, so I immediately looked at it from a writer's perspective.

There are plenty of funny books out there about people's exploits on the job. And many of them deal with wacky customers and many of them get written about. I recently read and loved, Pets in a Pickle (also available as an ebook)

Except it's not quite that easy. I went to, the site that allegedly outed him. I say allegedly, because according to their site he had already outed himself and that his real name is available on his twitter profile and that he says where he works in some of his tweets.

Further, they state: "Rough days at work? Of course. Upsetting interactions? Absolutely. Need to vent sometimes? That’s universal. But rape jokes? References to violence and animal abuse? Endangering customers with food allergies and dietary restrictions?" They also say that the posts were not posed as satirical until after the whole debacle occurred. Here's the post on Sprudge.

I haven't independently verified their claims, so please don't send me hate mail. ;) Whether or not their claim is true isn't the point of my article here. Nor is whether or not Matt Watson should be fired.

Instead I had two questions:

In books that tell all about the author's present or past profession how is this case different?

What lessons does this case teach me as a writer? Besides not to blog about my day job.

Say What Happened...

In most of the books in the True Story genre that I've ever read, and if the author has a story that might reflect unflatteringly on the people involved, The writer is generally careful to state the facts and leave it there. Sure the writer might mention that they laughed, were sad, felt hurt, were confused and such.

...Let the Actions Speak for Themselves...

These authors also don't resort to name calling. They don't say or imply that the folks involved were rude, stupid or anything else. The facts of the story are enough for the reader to make up their own mind.

Now I'm not saying that the Bitter Barista did or did not resort to name calling. I don't subscribe to his tweets and I really don't have the time or energy to do so. So I have zero idea. However it seems likely that he may have according to what I've read elsewhere.

...Don't Indulge in Fantasy...

Obviously if your intent is satire, ignore this one. However if you're writing true stories about your life, then it's unwise to go on about how you wanted to spit in their coffee. Or suggest that you actually did spit in their coffee. (Disclaimer once again: I don't have any reason to suspect that Watson spit in anyone's coffee or even said he did, this is JUST an example. However I did know one waitress long in the past who actually did spit in someone's food, and I was horrified.) Unless you're also willing to chastise yourself in the story for being a horrible person.

...Leave Out Suggestions of Rape, Violence and Cruelty to Animals

This one should be a no brainer. (Here's that disclaimer again. I don't know what the Bitter Barista said, I only know what Sprudge said he said.) Some things are just beyond the pale. Fantasizing about giving someone the wrong coffee order is one thing. Fantasizing about rape, violence and animal cruelty are just straight out! If you do, and you say you do, then expect that you're going to lose readers, tick people off and quite possibly lose your job. Unless you're a sociopath and the purpose of your book is to write about being a sociopath. These things are not funny. At least not to me.

I may or may not ever write a book about the true story of my life. For now I'll stick to fiction. But if I ever do, I've learned how to write it without getting myself in trouble or upsetting people whose worst crime was to be human.