Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Good Parts, Episode 2: Why buy the cow, when you can get the porn for free?

Helen E. H. Madden, Ann Regentin, and Nobilis talk about how much to give away and how much to sell, about electronic piracy and what it takes to build an audience.

You can download the episode here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

So, Marscon 2009

So I went to Marscon 2009 last weekend, and am only now starting to recover. That's because I came home on Sunday and immediately had to get back to work on the podcast and the book cover for Future Perfect. But now that I've got those things out the door, here's a few fond memories regarding Marscon.


If you have an author table, bring candy and set it out. People like candy, and you can use it to lure them to your table. Seriously. I dared author Beth Wylde to leave a trail of candy on the floor from the really cute guy in the sleek steampunk tux to our table, and he followed it like a charm!


If you agree to do panels for the convention, try to limit yourself to fewer than ten. Ten panels is a lot of work. A helluva lot of work. I know. From experience.


There are things you can do with tentacles that you probably don't want to know about. Again, I know from experience.


Sometimes less is more, as in costumes, but always remember that no costume is no costume.


If you throw on a plaid school girl skirt and a set of horns, everyone will automatically assume you are a wicked woman out to cause trouble. Not that the assumptions bothered me, or was untrue...


You can mainline coffee. If you agree to do ten panels at a convention, I would certainly recommend you try it.


John Ringo is very opinionated, and very interesting to listen to one the subject of e-books and digital rights management.


Ron Miller is the coolest person on the world to do a panel with, and he knows all sorts of nifty free and shareware graphics programs that I must now find and download.


You can do all seven Harry Potter books on stage in 45 minutes. Luna-C Productions' show was hysterical!


If you do an adult reading, prepare a piece that is not what people are expecting. Explicit sex scenes are fine, but humor and bad jokes goes over even better.


When I'm a little more coherent, I'll write a little bit more about this, but for now, you can enjoy a few choice pics of the con over at my Flickr page. Oh, and one last thing I learned... if you stick it out there, you will get flogged!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Beginnings, Part II

I suck at beginnings. Nobilis is editing my novel, and he always has something to say about the first few paragraphs. It never fails. It's gotten to the point now where I ask up front, "Okay, what's wrong with the first paragraph?"

Unlike Nobilis, I have no problem finishing things. I just can't seem to start them, which is why my first paragraphs suck. I don't want to write them. Once in motion, I'm fine, but it's the getting started part that's the problem.

However, this seems to have gotten started well ahead of me, so I'm going to hop aboard at this point, and use as my excuse for making it short that I have to do a bit of advance planning for our next podcast.

Yes, there is a plan.

Yes, I'm going to make it.

Yes, I'm going to procrastinate as long as I possibly can, because I hate starting things.

However, knowing this about myself is often all I need. It's helpful that my writing space is insanely comfortable, complete with a fleece blanket to ward off the Midwestern winter chill. Did you know that it's been colder here lately than it's been at the South Pole? I'm not kidding! I checked. Australia's looking pretty good right now.

But there's something wonderful about bundling up against the chill, and that brings me to my point. Often the kindest thing we can do for ourselves is to know and love our weaknesses. Procrastination is one of mine. I know this, so I set up this warm, snug spot to work in, where cups of tea can be placed within easy reach, and I use a program that creates a more attractive screen than a standard word processor. I may not like starting a new project, but I do like sitting here, and since I'm here, I might as well work. It gives me a good excuse to stay put.

cheers,
Ann

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Wrong Time to Start

Poor Nobilis. Poor, poor Nobilis. The three of us set up this lovely blog and so far he's the only one to post. We've left him all alone. Poor Nobilis.

Perhaps it's time I change that. In his first post to this blog, Nobilis wrote about beginnings and how much he liked them. I'd like to talk about beginnings too, as well as middles and endings. In fact that's the current theme over at my podcast this month. I usually have no problems with beginning a story. In fact, after the last year or so of pounding out a story a week, I've gotten pretty good at getting myself started on a tale. Nothing like a weekly deadline to spur the inspiration.

But this year, I'm having a hard time getting started on certain things, like my involvement in this blog. And that's because I still feel like I'm stuck in the middle of 2008. Yep, we're two weeks into 2009 but I can't shrug off certain projects that had their roots in the beginnings of the previous year. And it's killing me.

I am so ready to be done with 2008 and all its assorted baggage. One project in particular has just about killed me with sudden deadlines and its drop-everything-and-work-on-this-right-now attitude. I won't get into details beyond saying I volunteered to help out with an event and now I sorely wish I hadn't. Oh, and I won't be volunteering for said event ever again.

But because I'm not quite done with this particular project, I'm still stuck at the tale end of 2008 and I'm reluctant to start anything 2009-ish just yet, which is why I've dragged feet to get over here and post on this blog. It just hasn't been the right time yet, you see? I've got deadlines, and oh I've got this project that won't quit, and don't you know I'm in the middle of editing a book that's due out in February, etc., etc., etc.

I've got a million reasons why I shouldn't be stealing time today to sit and start posting to this blog. But I've got one very good reason to do it any way. And that reason is...

It's never the right time to start, and it never will be.

There are some things in life that you do have to wait to start. Like getting married. I wanted to get married the day I met my husband, but we put it off until we'd both finished school first. Or quitting my day job. I hated every day job I ever had, and the last one actually caused me to black out from sheer stress in the ladies room one day. But, finances were tight and I couldn't just walk away from the paycheck. So my husband and I planned out a time-line for when I could leave, and I waited another year and a half before turning in my resignation (one of the happiest days of my life, by the way).

But there are other things that you can never prepare enough for, and so it's never the right time to start on them. Like this blog. I really do need to be working on a story for next week's podcast, and I need to get back to my book edits, and I need to throw more time at that project that I hate so much. But ya know, I signed up for this blog, and I need to get started. If not now, then when? Next month is just as busy, and so is the month after that? So why not start working on this at the wrong time? Why not start right now?

And what about you, dear reader? Is there something you've always wanted to start, but didn't because it was never the right time? Maybe you want to write a book, but don't think you can do that and juggle the J-O-B. Maybe you want to start submitting stories for publication, but you don't because you think you're not good enough yet to get published. Maybe this and maybe that. We've all got things we want to do, but we don't want to start before the time is right. Well I got news for you. There may never be a right time to start. Never. Ever!

But it's better to start at the wrong time than never start at all.

Hmmm, I think maybe 2009 finally showed up at my front door. Time for me to get started on the new year.

Monday, January 5, 2009

She Reads Erotica

I knew this all along, but one of my podcasting role models, Mur Lafferty, has put an article up on Suicide Girls (where she has a monthly column) about what's on her Kindle ebook reader. She raises an interesting question:
Should I own my interest in the books where the secretary is tied up as a Christmas present for her boss? Should I confidently hand over the Kindle when someone asks, with a, "you asked for it!" look on my face? Or should I continue to pretend to be a productive member of Puritan society?
This has meaning for me on many levels. Like much of Mur's writing, it's posted in a humorous tone, but once you've gotten accustomed to the idea, it starts to get deeper.

One thing is that the answer ought to be, "Yes! Yes, own up to it, the only way we can knock down the walls of false propriety that the Puritans put up is if ordinary folks admit to reading erotica."

And then I realize that by using a pseudonym, and not owning up to writing erotica to anyone who asks, I'm doing the same thing as when Mur 'straightens up' her Kindle before handing it to her daughter's best friend's father.

So what's the answer? I don't know. I think there are good reasons for keeping sex in its place, but at the same time it's place isn't in the tiny little ironclad box some people want to keep it in. Society will keep looking down its collective nose at erotica as long as people hide it, and people will hide it as long as Society keeps looking down its collective nose. Change, if it happens at all, will come slowly.

And then, someday, Mur Lafferty will hand her Kindle to any adult who asks to see it with that shit-eating grin she gets, and I will proudly put my given name on the covers of my books.

Someday.

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