Sunday, July 29, 2012

Oh, no! It's a Kelpie!

Ok, there wasn't really a kelpie. What did happen is that the fabulous Trisha Wooldridge has a novel coming out, called The Kelpie, and she asked me to take a few pictures for the cover.

Being that kelpie's are quite dangerous, this meant we needed a stand-in. Enter Sue, Horse Mistress Extraordinaire, who let us invade her yard and photograph Dancer. Following are a few of the bazillion pictures I snapped:

Our cover model, Dancer

                                                         Yep, she's a quick one


                                                     Rusty, Dancer's barn mate

                                                       Sue hosing down our star

There was a rooster, too! He was a bit camera shy.

Trisha cuddling Barbie, another of Sue's horses

As for the final cover, it is now in the hands of the capable folks at Spencer Hill Press. Stay tuned for the reveal! And, don't forget to pick up a copy of The Kelpie by Trisha Wooldridge, available December 2013.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Are Ebooks Really Sounding the Death Knell of the Printed Page?

A few days ago, I came across a meme on Facebook (For the life of me I can't remember where, so please forgive the lack of attribution) that read something like "Ebooks are no more a danger to print that elevators are to stairs".

In my opinion, that pretty much sums it up. Just becuse information is available in a new medium, doesn't mean that the old medium dries up and blows away. I mean, the first drums were created thousands of years ago, but the advent of the synthesizer didn't render drums obsolete.

Here's a post from my prior blog that went up 02/22/2012, in which I compare ebooks to digital photographs. Let me know what you think, either in the comments below, on FB or Twitter.

Ebooks are like digital photographs. No, really.

Now that Heir to the Sun has made its ebook debut, I've been fielding all
sorts of new & exciting questions. Most of them seem to be about the
process of converting a "regular" book to an ebook - no, I won't bore you
with the drudgery of formatting (and there are others far more qualified to
speak on the subject).

The other heavy subject is one that's hotly debated of late: are ebooks
going to replace printed books? The situation does seem dire, what with
small indies falling prey to those digital pages, and even giants like
Borders going out of business. Will ebooks eventually replace printed books
all together?

In a word, no. Not within my lifetime, and probably not ever.
Consider digital photography. In the old days (read: ten years ago) we had
to ration our 35mm film OMG - remember film???) while we were on vacation, lug around lead-lined camera bags so the airport scanning devices wouldn't wreck our negatives, and
spend a small fortune developing it. Now, we click with abandon,
chronicling life's moments down to the second.

As awesome as digital photographs are, they have not totally supplanted
real, printed pictures. The ones you hold in your hand, hang on your wall,
tuck inside your wallet. We still want real, tangible memories, not just a
few pixels flitting by on a screen. Are we selective about what we print?
Yes. But then again, now we have the power to only print selected images,
and we can reprint at will, whether in the privacy of our home office or
local drugstore's photo kiosk. Or, umm, at work on the really nice commercial-grade color copier.

Flexibility is good.

Yes, some companies went out of business as a result of widespread digital
photography, but they refused to change with the times. You can't
stubbornly adhere to an outdated practice, or product. The consumer always
wants something new and shiny.

And as for print books, they aren't going anywhere. I don't care if I can
get it faster/cheaper/with exclusive content on my ereader, there are some
books that I want - need - to have in a tangible format. I love to turn
the page, run my fingertips across the type, and reconnect with characters.

Ebooks are like digital photographs: new and shiny. Ereaders are fun, and
we as consumers love gadgets. Are ebooks here to stay? Yes. Will some
publishers suffer? Most likely, but I wonder if any suffering will be due
their stubborn adhereance to an outdated, geriatric business model that should have been
polished up decades ago.

Maybe they just need to shake the cobwebs out of their
corners, and maybe ebooks are just the excuse to do it.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Review of Heir to the Sun

Scott over at Indie Book Blog posted a review of Heir to the Sun! Go have a look (hint, it's 4 stars!) right here

Also, Scott makes a point of reviewing independent authors. I highly recommend following his blog, both for the new authors and his  succinet reviews.

Thanks again, Scott!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Editiors: The Good, The Bad, And Those Who Bring Ice Cream

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an author in possession of completed manuscript, must be in want of an editor."

Okay, maybe that's not exactly how Pride and Prejudice begins, but you get the point. If you, humble author, want your work to be even moderately successful, you'd best find yourself an editor.

Now, I've worked with my fair share of editors, and let me tell you, they are not all created equally. Some are fools, some are passably competent with grammar, and some--the rare few--are worth their weight in gold.

Disclaimer: I will not name the editors, or what projects of mine they worked on. Every editor I've ever worked with (save one) truly did have my best interests at heart, even if we weren't quite compatible.

And that, my friends, is the key: compatability. If at all possible, you need to find an editor with similar tastes to yours, hopefully with a similar woking style. For instance, I'm a long sentence writer.  I'm well aware that there's nothing wrong with this, being that it's a matter of style. However, I had one memorable experience with an editor who favored short sentences, a la Hemingway.

She took out all my commas and semicolons, and made my sentences like eight words long.

Was it grammatically correct? Yes.

Did I hate it? Yes.

Did I spend the next week re-lengthening my sentences? Yes.

Was that childish? Well, no. I told her what I was doing, and she agreed that sentence length is mainly a matter of style. After reviewing the finished mss. she even confirmed that my sentence structure was grammatically sound. I, in a feat of self control that nearly caused an aneurysm, refrained from asking her why she chopped up my lovely sentences in the first place. After all, I knew the answer: style.

I've since had many more adventures in editing, including a memorable face-to-face session when I was asked, "You do know what a semicolon's for, don't you?" (I'd used one incorrectly. Perfectly reasonable question, but at the time I was speechless.)

I've also had the pleasure of working with editors I absolutely adore, mostly because they are compatible with me. Not only with my long sentences, but with my wacky, lack of a schedule lifestyle, and they don't mind the gallon of coffee I ingest every day, or the constant stories about the dog and Wonder Twins.

I've yet to get an editor to bring me ice cream, but I remain hopeful.

What are some of your editing adventures?