Monthly Archives

April 2009

Valor of the Healer

Wait, what, Chapter 19 is done?!

I should have actually posted about this on Saturday, only I was entirely distracted by the fun of going to see State of Play. Which of course leads me around to a traditional fallback of mine any time something sets back my writing: blaming Russell Crowe. (All my typos are his fault, you know.)

But I did actually finish up Chapter 19 on Saturday, one last little gasp through the final pages. Which means Chapter 20 is now finally on tap, and I began a cursory poking at it today. It is a measure of how long it’s been since I’ve actually worked on that chapter that I forgot completely about the opening scene in it, to wit, Ulima Secretly Plotting Secret Plots. But once I remembered that, I was able to mentally call up the rest of what to expect. Faanshi and Alarrah’s conversation scene is going to have to be completely redone, and if possible, I want to revisit some of the content I had to cut from this draft’s Chapter 17. Specifically, the bit where Kirinil actually checks Faanshi out magically for the first time.

So the beginning of Chapter 20 probably won’t change much, but most of the rest should wind up looking fairly different. I may have to write out a summary before I tackle it in prose.

And oh yes: pre-emptive thanks are going to have to go out to the spouse of one of my fellow Drollerie authors, who has kindly offered to beta read this draft for me when I finish it. For that matter, my editor at Drollerie also kindly offered to give it a once-over, although she knows I’m intending to fire this book at agents. I mention this not only to give them both public appreciation, but also to hold myself accountable for, y’know, actually finishing the draft. Note to self: YOU’RE ON NOTICE. GET WITH IT.

Edited up to tonight: -157
Chapter 19 revised total: 5,252
Chapter 20 revised total: 4,509
Lament of the Dove revised total: 121,904

Drollerie Press

Drollerie Blog Tour: Catherine Schaff-Stump on poetry

This month’s Drollerie Blog Tour is shifting the schedule to earlier in the month to accommodate monthly themes in a more timely fashion; as of this month, we’ll be putting up posts on the 21st instead of the end of the month. You can find all of this month’s posts here!

For the month of April, our theme is “poetry”, and I’d like to introduce you all to Catherine Schaff-Stump, who is in turn hosting a post from me today! Here’s what she’s got to say about the poetry that’s influenced her as a writer.

The first poem that reached out to me was Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach. When I was a sixteen-year old kid growing up in Southern Iowa, my tiny school started sending me to community college two days a week during my junior year. Well, back in the day, in the hollers of America, there were no talented and gifted programs, so the district made it up as they went along. Relevance? I had a college text book to read in my spare time, and Dover Beach was in there.

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The Internet

More on #amazonfail

Okay, so as of today the prevailing winds of opinion on the Net appear to be hitting three major points:

  1. It’s nice that Amazon did acknowledge their error, although from scattered reports I’m picking up, not everybody has had their previous sales rankings restored. I have not yet been able to confirm any specific de-ranked books that haven’t been restored, myself.
  2. It’s not nice that Amazon hasn’t actually come right out and said “we’re really, really sorry about this, yes, this was a screwup of the highest order”. I’ve seen at least one author outright demanding an apology since her writing is her only source of income, and Amazon screwing this up therefore adversely affected her.
  3. It’s also not nice that the mechanism for hiding items globally is there to begin with. Charles Stross ably expressed concerns about this over here.

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Valor of the Healer

Last couple of pages finally

Closing in on the tail end of Chapter 19, at last. It’ll feel good to finish this up.

I know I’ve said this before, but it continues to amaze me how much better Faanshi (to me at least) comes across when I tighten up her dialogue and actions. Even if I don’t actually change her words much. I’m hopeful I am now better walking that line between keeping her gentle and making her strong.

Edited tonight: -58
Chapter 19 revised total: 5,362
Lament of the Dove revised total (fourth draft): 122,061

The Internet

Here, have a heaping helping of #amazonfail

So as I was waiting for Norwescon to wind down, I settled in to hang out in the lobby and check in online. And I found that the Internet has apparently exploded this afternoon. Yeah yeah yeah, I hear you say, isn’t the Internet always exploding about something or other?

This one, though, is personal. They’re calling it #amazonfail on Twitter, and here’s the sitch: apparently Amazon has started de-ranking books on “adult” topics. This has the effective result of making books so quantified very, very hard to find on the site; it’s the equivalent of pulling them off the shelves in a physical bookstore and forcing people to go to the Customer Service desk to ask for copies.

The problem? By “adult”, they’re including a whole host of GBLT-themed books, many of which aren’t “adult” in theme at all, such as Heather Has Two Mommies and John Barrowman’s autobiography. To add insult to injury, if you search for “homosexuality” on Amazon right now, the top hit is something called A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. Books of similar nature also show up in the top ten search results.

And this hits me where it hurts. Those of you who have read Faerie Blood know that two of the second-tier characters are a male couple, and should I get to write Books 2 and 3, chances are good that a couple of the other second-tier, female characters will form a couple as well. So if this policy of Amazon’s remains in place by the time Faerie Blood comes out, it’s certainly possible that you’d have a hard time finding the book there.

While I respect the principle of needing to be careful with adult content on a site that can be searched by minors, I am deeply offended that what’s getting called “adult” in this case is so blatantly discriminatory. I’ll be telling them as much, and I’ll be prepared to take my business elsewhere if this policy does not reverse itself pronto.

Pertinent links I’ve found so far include:

http://community.livejournal.com/meta_writer/11369.html
http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2009/04/12/amazon-censors-its-rankings-search-results-to-protect-us-against-glbt-books/
http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2009/04/12/amazon-rank/
http://markprobst.livejournal.com/15293.html
http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/amazon-rank/

For those of you on Twitter, follow the #amazonfail hashtag. There’s also a petition you can sign if you choose to here.

ETA: Since I’ve been asked on Facebook, here’s a quote from dearauthor.com about how to express your opinion on this matter to Amazon:

Amazon executive customer service email is: ecr@amazon.com and the customer service phone number is 1-800-201-7575.

Valor of the Healer

Editing! From the con!

I suppose it’s hopelessly lame introverted of me to have spent a good chunk of last night holed up in my hotel room editing Chapter 19 of Lament rather than being out talking to people. But this is what I get for being a hopeless introvert. Hey, I figure I did exchanging words with one total stranger in the bar, and letting another one fasten one of those glow-bracelets around my wrist.

Besides, Lament is waking up again with a vengeance and I need to humor it as long as possible.

Read over a couple of pages and realized that yeah, there’s still some work that needs to be done to finish this off. The last big scene in the chapter–Faanshi, Julian, Alarrah, and Kirinil trying to figure out what the hell they’re doing–is not fundamentally changing in terms of basic detail. And yet, it is; I am finding myself still rewriting a lot of Faanshi’s specific actions in an attempt to strengthen her up. Hopefully it’ll read okay; I’m not sure yet how the Faanshi of Chapter 17 and Chapter 19 will flow out of the Faanshi of the earlier chapters of this draft. Will definitely have to have a beta reader or two make another pass through this when I’m done.

Edited last night: +90
Chapter 19 revised total: 5,420
Lament of the Dove revised total (fourth draft): 122,119

Valor of the Healer

And now that round 1 of Faerie Blood editing is done…

This means I need to beat up on Lament of the Dove some more.

Fortunately, my brain’s come back enough that this is an option. I’ve actually made significant progress on Chapter 19; there’s some stuff that still needs to happen to polish this file up, but the end is in sight on it now. Soon I’ll be able to proceed to Chapter 20, which also promises to give a few editing challenges given how much I’ve had to do with 19.

But then there’ll be 21, and I’ll be back to Kestar, and can hopefully spend just about all of that chapter doing a serious word count reduction. I still have about 5K to kill, and I’ve got five more chapters and an epilogue in which to do it.

Edited as of Wednesday: -413
Chapter 19 revised total: 5,330
Lament of the Dove revised total (fourth draft): 122,029