Monday, September 8, 2014

Black Market Anime better than mainstream? Nope, just harder to get

I just got back from a super big conglomeration of nerds. I admit, that the vast majority of fan interactions I had were really great. I got to chat with other people who liked the same things I do, and it was great deal of fun.

However, I’ve heard some talk around the interwebs that there were some fan-fan interactions that were less than stellar. I think the sort of hazing that goes along with old fans interacting with young fans comes with how hard it used to be to be a fan. Some of the properties that are mainstream (THANKFULLY!) were really hard to get a copy of. In college, I was part of the anime club strictly for the anime showings because they often ran stuff I couldn’t find (and I went to some shady places in Los Angeles to score copies of anime, it was like heroine dealer, coke dealer, anime dealer--no really). I know more about torrents and streaming from my love of properties not sold in the US 20 years ago than seems healthy for someone on the anti piracy side of the equation.

So yeah, I’ll admit, it was hard to access some anime compared to the kind of access that people have now.

And I’m going to say: I’m glad it’s easier to get the kind of movies that we love. I’m glad I can walk down to the book store, buy manga and browse the anime section at the local video store. And really, old fansyes, I include myself in some of these properties, but obviously not allshould be really happy that a bazillion teenage girls (and boys) are super stoked about a previously obscure fandom.

You know why, right?

The more fans, the more stuff. More movies, more merchandise, more creators at cons. More.

So, how do you make a new fan feel welcome? Try this:

Fan A: “Yo, I see you have a Groot on your bag. That’s pretty awesome. Have you been a fan for long?”

Fan B: “Nah, but I LOVED the movie. Groot is my favorite.”

Fan A: “It’s great to have new fans. You know <awesome comic book writer> had a great feature of Groot. You might enjoy it. Welcome to the club. You know, the more of us there are, the more Guardians stuff we’ll getlike movie two!!!!”

In short: all fandoms need new fans otherwise they die. The way to make new fans feel welcome in a fandom is to acknowledge their enthusiasm, and if they ask, or there's an aspect near and dear to your heart, you can direct them towards some of the facets of the property that you think are fantastic. (hopefully, the new fans won't just blow you off, but it's a possibility, because, you know, human)

The thing not to do to new fans is to be judgmental about the properties and the way the new fans find them.

Example: I love Green Lantern. I never knew the property existed until I saw the movie. I loved it so much I made a costume for it for my first dragon con. At that Con, I bought every GL comic book I could get my hands on.

I told no one of my ignorance for fear of being judged, and because the movie had just come out, there were GLs EVERYWHERE. Out of fear, I completely isolated myself from this vast group of people who love what I love.

The only person who I talked to about it? A bartender. He asked me if I thought the movie was as horrible as everyone said. It was the only part of that fandom I had experiencedAnd I’d LOVED IT. Yes, I thought the movie could have been handled better. Yes, the plot had MAJOR problems, but honestly, I sat through a full-priced showing of Batman and Robin, GL was at least firing on all cylinders, even if there was a knock in the engine.

So I made up something politic and slunk away determined to not be judged.

Try not to do this to new fans. It’s a horrible feeling. Ask them how they found out about it, and if they’re over the moon about one aspect of it (I’m looking at you MNight Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender), don’t rip on it. People can be a Star Wars fan if they love Clone Wars but haven’t seen the movies. They might really enjoy the movies, and you, as an older fan, might recommend those movies to them, but just because they haven’t seen them, doesn’t mean they aren’t a “real” fan.  

Okay, this could go on forever, so I’ll stop there. Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments. Or, if you feel like having a flame war: state why your favorite comic book hero is the best and defend it with nothing more than your biased opinion. Extra points for dissing both the major comic houses in the same post.

Joking! But, if you want to take this opportunity, recommend a comic book property to me (please include the writer and the issue to start with, but be aware, I've read a crap ton of obscure comic books), and I’ll see if it’s my jam or not (extra points if you recommend something I like as much as GL).

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group: It's sound advice

HOW on this green earth (though, admittedly not as green as it should be given the dire drought) did it come to be September???

Still, there’s one good thing about the months blending into each other: it’s time for another installment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Visit our Ninja Captain Alex, hop on the Linky, and give the cohosts some love: Laura at My Baffling Brain, Mark Koopmans, Shah Wharton, and Sheena-Kay Graham.

And what exactly am I insecure about this month?

It’s no secret I went to Dragon Con this last weekend. Fun was had, and I went to see some of my favorite makers of STUFF I LOVE. For the most part, people ask the creators about how awesome things are or if this obscure detail was actually something of importance. This time someone asked Jim Butcher what his advice was for getting published.

It was to move on.

Don’t get caught up writing and rewriting the same book. The problem is that the bad is already baked in. –Jim Butcher (okay, it’s paraphrased. I didn’t record it, but that’s the spirit of it).

This has been the year of going back through old stuff for me. I’ve been working on projects that came to life in 2009 and 2011. Could he mean me? One of them is a complete rewriteand by complete, I mean I threw out all the words, started again, then threw out all the words and started again, changing major plot points and attempting to rearrange the bad bits.

And this is where my insecurity comes in.

Am I just rehashing all the baked in good? Are my stories the ones Mr. Butcher is talking about? Are my stories being rewritten fatally flawed like a batch of cookies with a cup of cream of tartar instead of flour?

So yeah. There’s that.

How to combat this insecurity?

First, I’m going to write books. Some will be good, and some will be my attempts to justify why I sometimes wash the clothes but don’t put them into the dryeronly with magic and monsters and mayhem.

Second: people are going to dislike my work. Maybe many, maybe few, but there will be haters. The people who have made things I love, did so against all odds and against the better judgment of everyone they knew professionally.

This doesn’t mean we should just throw caution into theyou know what? I think it does. Throw caution into the wind and write stuff you love. This is the new motto: If you love it, write it. Even if you’re writing dystopians, you’ll eventually find that perfect combination that rocks it out of the park. I know, you’re all getting mad at me now, but the first reader, the one we need to please most, is ourselves. I’m currently cleaning up a novel that I thought I was done working on. Instead, I’m prepping to do an edit, then a full edit, then one more time for good measure, and THEN read through it not once, but twice more (possibly three times). And this is after all the work that I did on this novel, which was not insubstantial (draft, edit, edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite, edit, EDIT ONE MORE TIME), so if I don’t love the story, what’s the point?

Thankfully, not all novels will go through the grinder this much, but many, many do.

But the real key to the “move on and write something new,” is that eventually, you will hit the perfect combination. You will write something you love and many many other people love too. It’s all just a gamble anyway, so why not have fun on the ride?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Shelfie blog hop

I'm pleased to be teaming up with a great group of writers led by Tara Tyler to bring you: THE SHELFIE BLOG HOP!

Dates: Now thru Monday, Oct 6
Entries: Take a picture of you and your book(s) - your favorites or your own novels. Or you can just arrange the books in a special way and take the picture - but you do get extra points for being in the photo.
Formats: Tweet, Facebook, Blog - just make sure to include a link(s) to each.

The lovely co-hosts, co-conspirators and contributors: Heather M. Gardner, Christine Rains, Vikki Biram, CD Coffelt, M.J. Fifield, Elizabeth Seckman, and Rena Rocford

But that's not all - check out the fabulous prizes! It's easy and profitable! I hope you'll join us and spread the word =)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 22, 2014

News, the Good Kind

So this thing happened over the summer.
Summer is for making pumpkins.

I saw a contest being held on the Aussie Owned and Read site. It looked pretty cool. Pitch your novel directly to editors from small presses.

I was ecstatic, except, I knew from reading Dahlia, that you HAVE to choose which way you’re pitching a book: agents OR editors. My current query bait was having a pretty good run, so I wasn’t ready to jump into editor land, since a no from a publisher is a burned bridge, and I didn’t want to have a bunch of those on a book I was querying. Agents might not be all that enthusiastic at having their stories head hunted by small presses (who usually offer small money, and agents have to eat, too).

But I had another story (news flash, if you’re a writer, you write: the longer you’re in the more manuscripts will haunt you from the trunk), a story I’d written back in 2011, entered into the 2012 Writer’s Voice. Stuff was going on in my life, so I put that book away, and hadn’t really chased all the rabbits down the holesI was REALLY Busy. But it was collecting electrons on my hard drive. I had this vision of just dusting it off and entering it.

Ah, Naïveté, thy name is writer.

Some time between when I’d put that story away and when I opened it for the Pitcharama contest, the fairies had failed to clean it up and make it ready for the eyes of others (faeries don’t follow orders well, I tell you). I busted buns, cleaned up the manuscript, fixed up my pitch and posted it on the blog.

Then I waited.

And waited.

And then I saw that the other participants were getting picked to teams, and I had a sad face.

Sad face… until Stacy Nash posted on my pitch that she wanted me for her team!

Everything went live. Pretty quickly, I got requests from two editors at different presses. I gave my first three chapters one more read through, and sent them off.

I’d like to say that at this point, I happily went about my complicated and well adjusted life, but who am I kidding? I’m a research scientist by training. I looked up every scrap of information I could about the presses. I maybe wore out the refresh key on my computer hoping to get an email.

Then the editor from Curiosity Quills got back to me and said she loved it. Please send the rest.

Loved it? My book? I was pretty much in a state of shock.

I did the happy dance, then tried to talk some reason into my brain. I’ve had full requests before.

I’ve had full requests from publishers before. It’s a guarantee of exactly nothing, so I settled in to wait the long wait. The “Please love my book” wait.

After a month, she got back to me with a contract.**


That’s right, I sold my first book, ACNE, ASTHMA, AND OTHER SIGNS YOU MIGHT BE HALF DRAGON, a YA urban fantasy to Curiosity Quills!

Me, signing at the desk of awesome.

I’m so excited!

Thanks to Stacy for picking me for your team!

Thanks to Aussie Owned and Read for hosting Pitcharama. ALL THE FEELS.

And thanks to Kathleen for loving my book (like really, I’m still in shock!), and I'm super excited to be joining Curiosity Quills!

Okay, now back to work.

**Turns out, I have an odd response to too much emotion, good or bad: the part that feels shuts off. It goes into overload, and only the cold, logic remains. It’s the weirdest thing. It’s sort of like in that Star Trek movie where Data tells the Captain that he’s scared and he’d like permission to turn off his emotion chip. Apparently, that’s my default happy mode.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Lazy Days of Summer

I know, I should be elated that it's back to school time. Which I am. My daughter is so excited and I'm excited for her.

But let's face it: I'm not ready for the end of summer!

I don't like the hectic schedules of school time. It seems like school causes the schedule to explode. And add to it all the other obligations, like writing and working and helping with homework (what moron thought it would be a good idea to send kindegardeners home with homework? All it tests is how much the parents are involved), and it's a miracle anything gets done.

Now that that's out of my system, I guess I should get back to working on my writing while I still have a chance.

::swishes cape dramatically before stalking back to the writing cave::

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On limited resources

I write because I sort of have to (I know, I'm one of *those* writers). 

Then real life kicks in. Get to work. Get kids to school. Cook dinner. Clean house. Do laundry. Move the house. It’s not like I don’t want to have a clean home (actually, I sort of don’t care), but I don’t have time for it. I barely have time for anything. And the amazing thing is that I always manage to find time for writing.


I’m starting a new job soon (Yay!), but I’m worried about the time it’ll take away from my writing (boo!). I probably shouldn’t be. It’s not that I’m some super organized person, but as more hours are eaten, I spend less time watching TV and messing around on the internet. (confession: I sometimes tell myself that I’m giving my brain an opportunity to receive inspiration, but I’ve never had inspiration while messing around on twitter**)

At one point, I thought I should be careful with my ideas, that I might one day run out of them—HA! I wish I could go back and tell that person not to be so careful with those ideas. I might have made some cool stuff if I’d let some of those ideas out into the wild. Now I can barely keep them in orderly queues as they wait their turn to be turned into words on paper.

The time doesn’t run out.
The ideas don’t run out.

So instead of saying goodbye to my blog—like I’ve done when things get all tied up in my head—I’ll just say, I'll post when I post. I'll probably post about the same, but maybe less. Maybe I’ll give up agent and editor stal—research! I was going to say research. So if you see less of me on twitter or blogger or facebook (yeah, I’m on facebook), it’s not that I’ve lost weight, I’m just busy writing.

**I did once get an idea when Bridget Smith, an agent, tweeted that she wanted an MG based off a song. I held that song in my head for 9 months before the characters from that book showed up and introduced themselves. Like all my other characters, I told them to get in line—I have stuff to do.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Insecure Writer Support Group: Support, support all around…

Ah, somehow, we’ve hit the first Wednesday of the month. How? How—I ask—could the world have possibly managed to spin all the way to August? Still, here we are, and it’s time to send some love to the Ninja Captain, Alex, and this month’s cohosts: Sarah Foster, Joylene Nowell Butler, Lily Eva, and Rhonda Albom!

This month I’d like to talk about something that doesn’t always occur to people.

It really isn’t you, it’s me.

I know, that’s so cliché, but it turns out, it’s true.

On this journey as a writer, I have been met with some incredible support.* My family. My friends. My fellow writers. And through it all, I was the one who doubted. I was the one who poked holes in my projects, told myself my writing wasn’t good (to be fair, it hadn’t evolved yet). But it was me. I tore myself down and refused to listen to the people around me. I refused to believe my family and friends and even my fellow writers. I even refused to believe strangers when they said nice things about my writing. Even when it was anonymous.

Then something changed. I heard them.

What they were saying hadn’t changed.

It was me. I changed.

One day, all the support in the world didn’t help. The next, it did. It was like the channel was scrambled.

I know it’s a little corny, but take a moment today and listen to the actual support around you. I know that my inner voice wouldn’t make a very nice friend, so I encourage everyone to take a moment to let that voice in your head be quiet and listen to others. Allow your loved ones to give you the support they have been offering to you.

That’s all.

Simple right?

Well, talk to me again tomorrow. I’m sure the little voice just took a vacation.

*to be clear, I’ve been met with some amazing a$$hattery as well, but my big problem has always been disregarding all the nice things and only ever hearing the negative ones. I bet I’m not alone in that regard.