Archive for the 'Books' Category

01
Oct
10

Contest winners!!

I think any writer will agree that there is no better feeling in the world than people wanting to read your book. I got way more entries than I was expecting! I am so humbled and happy at all the excitement going on about Eli and his crew. Thank you all SO MUCH for entering. I wish I had books for all of you! T__T!

Sadly, though, there could be only 20 winners. The magic number picker ate all the entries, and these are the people it coughed up:

  1. Tegan
  2. Susan
  3. Greg
  4. Ashley
  5. Laurel
  6. Jennifer
  7. Jason Bull
  8. Atsiko
  9. Karen Senoo
  10. Minamostaza
  11. Amanda Jones
  12. Melissa (Books and Things)
  13. Maggie Lloyd
  14. April X
  15. Judy Adler
  16. Deb Salisbury
  17. Emmad
  18. Arkib
  19. Elizabeth Briggs
  20. ab

I will be sending emails to all the winners asking for mailing addresses today. If your name is on the list and you don’t get an email by tomorrow morning, please contact me and we’ll get things straightened out. For everyone who didn’t get books, I am so bummed I couldn’t give you all copies. I still greatly value your input and reviews, and I sincerely hope you’ll still give The Spirit Thief a try. Thank you again for participating!

Eli officially launches today! Catch him wherever new books are sold.

– Rachel

ETA: I’ve sent emails to everyone except Jason Bull, Karen Senoo, Amanda Jones, Maggie Lloyd, Judy Adler, Deb Salisbury, Emmad, and Arkib. Guys, I could not find your emails, so now it’s up to you! Send me a message and I’ll get your book off! Thanks!

04
Aug
10

if you tell the truth, you don’t have to have a good memory

I have not posted in a long time, and I offer a solid dogeza in apology (see below).

So my series, starting with The Spirit Thief, comes out on October 1, followed by The Spirit Rebellion in November and The Spirit Eater in December. So many books! But don’t they make such a lovely little set? Anyway, while all this is going on, I am busy at work on Book 4 in the Legend of Eli Monpress, and I am running into some interesting situations. See, back when I wrote the Spirit Thief, I knew it was the first in the series, but I didn’t actually know much about the series other than how it ended, which was very far from where it began. Over the course of three books I’ve had to get a lot more specific and detailed.  This has caused a few problems because I’ve never written a series before and I was wholly unprepared for the level and amount of detail I ended up having to keep track of. Thousands of little decisions made over years of writing that have to be kept in mind because, in the world of the books, they are now history, irrefutable, and completely un-fudge-able should I find them inconvenient later down the line.

Some of this was alleviated by my wiki, especially the dry, bookkeeping kind of detail, but more and more as I dig into book 4 I find myself face to face with decisions I made about my characters months or years ago, and worse, decisions I made and now don’t remember making. I remember hearing a story about J.K. Rowling writing her later HP books and having to go into bookstores to buy the earlier ones to check things because she didn’t remember what she’d written. At the time I first heard this, I thought it was stupid. What kind of author doesn’t remember what she writes? But I own Ms. Rowling an apology, because I’m now in the same boat (albeit a far smaller, less grand boat). I have an ARC of the Spirit Thief on my desk at all times that I use to constantly check things, and search is my favorite feature in Word. But as my story grows, the process of self checking gets trickier and trickier. But though I do check all the time, I often find that, especially for things like character decisions (who did what when), my first intuition is the right one. I’ve been wondering lately why this is. Does some deep part of me remember? Am I clairvoyant? That would be nice, but I think the actual reason if far simpler and, by extension, more reliable.

One of my favorite ladies ever, Judge Judy, always says that if you tell the truth, you don’t have to have a good memory. Tuns out this is equally applicable whether you’re suing your neighbor over a fence on TV or writing fiction. My characters are the most interesting part of writing for me, and I put a great deal of thought and consideration into keeping them true to themselves. Sometimes this has the unfortunate side effect of characters bucking the plot when it asks them to do something they wouldn’t do, but while that can be annoying (read catastrophic while it’s happening), I think my books have always been better for it. But another lovely, unforeseen side effect of this is that, by staying true to my characters, telling the truth of my people, as it were, I don’t have to have a good memory about what they’ve done in the novels. I just think of the situation in question and I know how they would have reacted, even if I can’t remember exactly how I wrote it.

What have I learned from all this? That it’s worth the time to really know your characters for practical reasons as well as artistic ones. Because sometimes you end up writing a fourth book when you only really expected to write one, and you should always build on a firm foundation. Especially if you’re like me and Diet Coke has eaten your memory and you need all the help you can get.

Mmmmm… diet coke…

18
Feb
10

Written. Edited. Published. Now What?

The second book in my Haven series, TWICE DEAD, was released last week. The writing for that particular book is done. The words are set in stone–okay, ink, but still, there is no more editing to be done. The book is out there for all the world to see. So, besides work on the sequel, what am I supposed to do now?

Tell people about it, of course! But how?

I’ve been guest blogging and holding contests to celebrate the release and get the word out. Blog tours, signings, and convention appearances all give writers an opportunity to not only interact with our very awesome readers, they also (hopefully) expose our work to potential new readers. Giveaways are fun, though not always easy to come up with. The hope with a giveaway is to get people excited about the book, but there are a lot of mixed opinions among authors about what is good to give away. In the picture here, you can see a Twice Dead notebook and mug I recently offered on my blog.

At signings and conventions, I keep hundreds of bookmarks on hand to give out and to leave in places where they might be picked up. The bookmarks tend to be well received; I’ve even had readers ask for them because they can’t see me in person. I do wonder if they are useful promotional material though. Personally, I love bookmarks and have picked up books by author’s whose bookmarks I’ve snagged at conventions. But then, I’m a big dork and if I know I have the bookmark, I typically search it out to use in that book because well, that seems to make it even more special. (See, dork. ^_^)

The thing about getting the word out is that I’m not sure how people find their books these days. Observing my own book buying habits can’t be considered standard anymore as I now know many of the writers I read. I talk to them on the SFWA forums or RWA loops, I sit on panels with them at conventions, I share an agent with them, or I blog/guest blog with them. That changes things. I’m not exactly the typical reader anymore.

So, here is my question for everyone out there. How do you find new books/authors? Do you peruse the shelves at brick and mortar stores looking for covers/titles/blurbs that catch you? Do you use the ‘recommended for you’ or ‘customers also liked’ suggestions in online stores? Do you read reviews? Go on friends’ recommendations? Run across authors on blogs or at conventions and take a deeper look into their books if you’re interested in what they say? Something else entirely? What do you think is the best way for an author to get the word out about their books?

I hope everyone is having a great Thursday!

14
Jan
10

Bringing it

Hello there, allow me to introduce myself. I’m M.K. Hobson and I’m one of these new Magic District bloggers you’ve been hearing all about. I was supposed to start blogging all the way back in December 2009 but I was in the midst of being attacked by book edits. This can be likened to death by a thousand paper cuts with copious quantities of Rockstar and other stimulants poured over them. But luckily, once the battle is over (assuming you’ve won) the wounds heal quickly and, even though your ears are ringing from lack of sleep and overcaffienation, there’s a delicious feeling of victory.

The book edits in question are for my forthcoming duology with Bantam Spectra. The first book, THE NATIVE STAR, is coming out later this year. It’s set in a magical America circa 1876, and features stones of power expelled by the consciousness of the earth, biomechanical flying machines, the transcontinental railroad, blood-sorcery, huge slavering slimy beasts called aberrancies, and, of course, young love.

When I’m not writing about biomechanical flying machines, slavering beasts, and young love, I enjoy walking my dog, debating anarchocapitalist political theory with my pinko pal Doug Lain, doing intros and readings for Podcastle (of which I am, apparently, a co-host), and participating in pie-eating contests. (I only added that last one so I could tick the “pie” ticky-box under “Categories.”)

Anyway, I’m excited about blogging here at The Magic District, and am looking forward to, as the kids say, “bringing it.”

23
Dec
09

In the dead of winter

Darn you, Tim!  The one day I manage to get a post written while I’m stuck at the day job for more overtime, and you go and write it for me!  Of course, this could have been avoided had I checked the blog before writing but that’s not the point now is it?

Anyway.  Consider this post an extended comment on Tim’s post of yesterday.  In revenge the spirit of fellowship and goodwill, I’m going to switch off comments here and send any commenters to his post.

Onward.  Most of these aren’t strictly Christmas stories, but books that I find myself rereading in this season, for a number of reasons. Continue reading ‘In the dead of winter’

05
Dec
09

Question for the audience

So it is gift giving time again and I am stuck with an interesting conundrum. I have 2 teenage boys and 1 eleven year old boy on my list, and I’d like to get them books for Christmas. Trouble is, I don’t read a lot of YA or know what’s cool (nor am I seen as being particularly cool). One of the teenagers and the eleven year old both read well above their level, I don’t know about the other teenager (other than he likes XBox and BMX racing).

SO, if you, lovely, well read readers, can suggest books boys would like and not just shove under their beds, I would be ecstatic.  I’d really love some good SciFi, since all 3 like that sort of thing, but I’ll take whatever recommendations you think up! Thank you in advance for helping me save Christmas!

15
Nov
09

a consumer’s take on why ebook readers still have a long way to go

As an author I’ve been thinking a lot about ebooks – how they’re changing/may change publishing, if we’re going to eventually move to the ebook business model of high royalties instead of advances, (but not piracy, I’m with Cory Doctorow on this one: An SF writer’s biggest problem is obscurity, not piracy) etc. So from the writer mind side I’m wringing my hands, which is kind of stupid, because my reader mind (which is deeply tied to my consumer mind) is pretty made up on the subject: ebooks, specifically ebook readers like the Kindle and the new Nook, are a bad choice if you like owning books and saving money.

Continue reading ‘a consumer’s take on why ebook readers still have a long way to go’