Archive for My Books

TV, My Books

Mental Casting

If you’re subscribed to my newsletter, you should have received the link to get the Enchanted, Inc. short story (it was in the newsletter). If not, you can still get it by subscribing. A link to get the story should be in the welcome message (if I did it right).

Re-reading and editing that story was an interesting experience, taking me back to when the series was brand-new, with everything but the first book only being a vague idea in the back of my head. I have to admit that the story got me a little misty. I’ve generally felt like writing emotion is my weakness, but it seems I can do it when I try. I think it helped that this story was purely self-indulgent. I didn’t think anyone else other than maybe one friend would ever read it, so I went further than I might normally go with the pathos. Maybe I should let myself go more often.

It’s been interesting continuing my rewatch of The Office while working on this because it reminded me that one reason I first started watching that show was that when I saw one of the promos, it hit me that Pam was pretty much the way I imagined Katie. The series came on not long before the first book was published, so at that time I’d written two books in the series. I didn’t have strong mental casting for Katie, but then this show came on, and there she was. I didn’t imagine Katie with the curly/frizzy hair Pam had in early seasons. Physically, she looked more like Pam did when she got a bit of a makeover and her hair was straighter and a little shorter. But the way she dressed and her mannerisms were very much like the way I saw Katie. It’s weird to have a character you’ve been writing suddenly be brought to life for you in some entirely unrelated thing.

But then over the years as I wrote more books, Katie became more her own person in my head and although she still looked more or less the same, I no longer saw that specific person, mostly because I wasn’t thinking about The Office anymore. Then lately, the two things converged once more, with me editing a story in which Katie was discussed and made a brief appearance while I was watching the part of the show where she changed and started looking more like Katie, and poof, the Katie in the story was basically Pam in my head.

Alas, even if they did make an Enchanted, Inc. series, Jenna Fischer has probably aged out of the role, since Katie was 26 in the first few books and turns 27 between book 3 and book 4.

I have no idea who would be good casting now. When they were talking about a TV series, they were planning to go with an unknown they could make into a star, though at one time there was mention of going after Hillary Duff. And before that, there was a time when apparently Anna Faris was trying to get something put together for a movie. I don’t know how real any of that was or if it was just agents and producers talking and spouting off names.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the story (or enjoy it, if you don’t have it yet). I’m planning to add some other free stories as newsletter exclusives along the way.

My Books

Return of the Blog

I know it’s not September, but it’s close enough, and I have some things to discuss and announce.

For one thing, I think I figured out my blogging problem. A lot of it has to do with a change of routine with a ripple effect. I used to use writing a blog post as a kind of warm-up exercise as I eased into my day. I’d sit down with a cup of tea, read through the blogs I followed, catch up on social media, read and respond to e-mail, and then write a blog post. After all that, I’d be ready to write.

But a couple of years ago, I learned that I was actually far more productive if I wrote first. Instead of easing into my day, I’d go straight to work, then get at least an hour of writing-related work done before I took a break to check social media, read and respond to e-mail, and write a blog post. I generally wrote the blog post first, while I was still offline, then let it rest while I read stuff before I went back to edit it and post it. That made for a huge mental gear shift. I’d be deep into whatever I was writing or editing, then stop to write a blog post and had no idea what to write about and wasn’t all that enthusiastic about any topic because it felt like an interruption in my work.

Which goes to show that you can’t change one thing without changing other things. I think what I may do is start writing posts in the afternoon, after I’ve done my writing quota for the day, then post the next morning. That way, I don’t have to stop work to think of something to post, and posting doesn’t disrupt my writing groove.

I think I’ll also start a schedule of posting on Wednesdays and Fridays. The blog will focus on longer-form discussion. If there’s any news, I’ll post it in the “news” block on the home page and on social media, though there may be longer discussion about the news in the blog.

Now, for the announcements …

If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, you may want to do so soon, especially if you’re an Enchanted, Inc. series fan. I found an old story I wrote soon after I finished writing the first book. It’s essentially fan fiction of my own book that I wrote because I wanted to keep playing in that world, but I was waiting to hear from an agent who was looking at it, so I didn’t want to start writing the sequel yet. It’s really more of a vignette than a story because there’s no real plot. It’s just what happens with Owen right after the events of the first book, from his viewpoint. I’m going to make this story available for free to my newsletter subscribers. The info on how to get it will be in the newsletter I send out early next week, and later it will be a welcome gift to new subscribers. I’ll be adding more free fiction for subscribers as I go along. You can sign up for the newsletter here. I put out a newsletter once a month with some behind-the-scenes discussions about my books and news about what I’m working on, and then there will be notices when there’s a new book coming out, so you won’t have to worry about missing anything.

The other announcement is that I’ve settled on a release date for that mystery book I’ve been working on. Interview with a Dead Editor, the first in a new series, will be published October 1, and probably up for pre-order before that. I’m wrapping up the proofreading, and covers are being designed right now. I’m excited about this series and hope that my readers like it as much as I do. It’s a humorous paranormal mystery with a hint of slow-build romance, and I think people who liked Enchanted, Inc., will also like this. I’ll be sharing more info about this series in the next month as we count down to release day.

My Books

Enchanted, Inc. Anniversary

Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the first publication of Enchanted, Inc. I can’t believe it’s been so long. Amazingly, that book is still in print and still selling. It’s never been a bestseller (outside of some really narrow Amazon categories), but it’s sold steadily for a decade and a half, which is pretty good.

Thanks to all the fans who’ve gradually spread the word over all these years so that people keep discovering it.Enchanted, Inc.

My Books

New Book, Mailing List, and Other Updates

The e-book of Spindled has been set to publish and should start showing up at the various retailers soon. It’s already available at Amazon and Kobo.

I’ll keep posting chapters for those who want to keep reading that way.

I would say this is the fastest I’ve gotten a book published, since I really just started getting things in motion last week, but considering that I started drafting this book in 2007, it may actually be the longest time it took me to get something published.

Meanwhile, I’ve finally gotten around to starting a mailing list. People keep asking me if I have a mailing list, and I’ve resisted, but I’ve realized that it might be a good idea. The plan is to have a monthly newsletter that would have content similar to what’s in the blog — what I’m working on, some behind-the-scenes info on my books and their inspirations, what I’m reading, what I’m watching, maybe some insights into the writing process. Then there would also be reminder e-mails when there’s a new book coming out. You can sign up for the newsletter here.

I think after I’m done with the serial, I’m going to stick with doing blog posts just a couple of times a week (unless I’m inspired or have news). I don’t seem to have a huge blog readership, so it’s probably not the best use of my time to compose daily posts. I’m trying to focus my efforts on the most effective things, and if I put the number of words that go into the blog into books, I could probably write an additional book a year. For little daily updates, there’s Twitter, but otherwise, I’ll focus on putting meaty content in the newsletter and spend my daily time actually writing books. I’m doing occasional guest posts on writing at Fiction University, and I’ll be submitting some more posts on writing to the SFWA blog. That kind of thing broadens my audience because it’s not just going to people who already read my books.

So, that’s what I did yesterday — formatted a book, set up a mailing list service, and got a book published. Not bad for a day’s work.

My Books

New Anthology on Kickstarter

I mentioned a month or so ago when outlining what was coming up for the year that I’d contributed a story to an anthology that was going to be Kickstarted soon. Well, that Kickstarter is now live.

The anthology is called Where the Veil is Thin, and it’s a collection of stories about the fae from a range of authors, including me. I don’t write a lot of short stories, and if this book ends up happening (it has to be fully funded up front), it will be my first official short story sale.

Here’s the Kickstarter page if you’re interested or want to support it.

I’ve toyed with the idea of doing a Kickstarter for a book, mostly as a way of raising awareness/excitement, but I think for now that it would be a lot of work, so I think I’ll just keep funding the production costs myself and hope that the books turn a profit. It is cool that things like this exist to help people get their dreams out into the world, though.

I should probably try to write more short stories, but I’m more of a novelist and most of my stories tend to grow into novels. I think having a prompt helped. They invited me to contribute to this book, which was a huge honor. I guess it helped that I knew one of the editors. We met at the Serenity premiere event in LA years ago and ended up sitting together at the movie. It’s strange how something like that ended up coming around to something work-related. You never know. The world is a funny place.

My Books

Audiobook Day

For those who’ve been waiting for the audio version of Enchanted Ever After, it should be available today. Once they got all the contract stuff ironed out, they moved pretty quickly. It’s the same narrator as in the other books. I love what I’ve heard of what she does with them, though I have to confess that I haven’t listened to much because hearing my words spoken by someone else kind of wigs me out. It’s really weird and unsettling.

Then again, I’m not big on audiobooks, in general. I have a hard time staying focused on people talking when I can’t see them, and it takes a really good speaker for me to stay tuned in to someone reading something even if I can see them. I also don’t listen to podcasts or talk radio. I can deal with audio dramas with a cast, but just someone reading a book will go in one ear and out the other, and I won’t register the words at all. I can just barely manage to take in the information from a radio weather or traffic report.

This is highly ironic for someone who trained in radio news and used to produce radio feature stories.

I’m not sure how I’d react to seeing a film or TV version of one of my books. I suspect it would be a bit weird because the people playing the characters wouldn’t be precisely the way I pictured them, even if the casting is just about perfect. But for film or TV, they’d rewrite it pretty thoroughly. It wouldn’t be exactly my words being read, and it would be translated to a totally different medium with different visuals.

I am willing to test my reaction, however, if someone who knows what they’re doing wants to give it a shot.

Anyway, new audiobook today, hooray!

My Books

New Book Day

It’s new book day! My Audible Original book (which means it’s only available in audio), Make Mine Magic, is available today.

This is a fun contemporary fantasy with a touch of romance, along the lines of the Enchanted, Inc., books, but in a different fictional “universe.”

A woman taking her dream vacation honeymoon on her own after getting left at the altar does a good deed that leads her into a strange and magical side of New York that tourists don’t often get to see, and she finds herself in the middle of a magical power struggle.

The germ of this idea came from something that actually happened to me, though the outcome was very different. When I was in New York doing my location research for the Fairy Tale books, I was waiting for a “walk” signal to go from Columbus Circle to Central Park, and the woman standing next to me asked if I could help her cross the street. She was blind and using a white cane. The funny thing was, when I was in college, I volunteered for the services for blind students office, which mostly meant recording textbooks and exam questions by reading them out loud, but I sometimes was asked to escort students around campus, so I knew how to assist the woman. I found it interesting that out of all the people who were at that intersection at that time, she managed to ask a person who knew how to assist her.

When I was brainstorming ideas for a book proposal, that incident popped into my head as a good “what if” — how did she know, what if she had some way of reading who/what I really was, and what might have happened next? In reality, we went our separate ways after I got her safely to the other side of the street, but what if …?

Incidentally, this was an “oh, by the way” idea. When they asked if I’d like to write an Audible Original, I gave them several ideas. A couple of them were story ideas I’d been playing with for ages. I had chapters already written and had thoroughly developed those worlds. Right before I submitted the proposal, this idea popped into my head, and I added it as an “oh, by the way” thing. It was the idea they chose.

There may be a print version coming later, but it’s exclusive to audio for at least a year.

My Books

My Award Eligibility Post

It’s award season for books as well as movies. Ours aren’t quite as glamorous as the Golden Globes, but it is nice to be recognized. My books cross genres, so there are a variety of areas where they might be eligible for awards, but probably fit best in science fiction and fantasy, where the main awards are the Nebulas and the Hugos. The Nebulas are given by and voted upon by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (of which I’m a member) and are more of a peer award. The Hugos are nominated by and voted upon by members of the World Science Fiction Convention, and although there are probably a lot of writers voting, they’re considered more of a fan award. People who were members of the previous year’s convention and those who have already registered for this year’s convention are eligible to nominate.

My only publication last year was Enchanted Ever After. I don’t have any expectation of it being nominated for best novel for either the Hugos or the Nebulas. It’s not the kind of book that tends to get nominated, and the final book in a series most people haven’t heard of is a long shot.

But the Hugos have an award for best series, and the Enchanted, Inc. series would be eligible for that, and since the series has ended, this is the last year it would be eligible. I think it’s a series worthy of consideration, with nine volumes ranging from 2005 to 2019. It’s mostly flown under the radar in the SF/fantasy, but it’s been consistently well-received critically, and even the first book in the series is still in print and selling steadily.

So, if you were a WorldCon member last year or have registered this year, I hope you’ll consider nominating this series.

There are supporting memberships available, so you don’t have to be planning to go to New Zealand in order to nominate and vote. All voting members get access to the voting packet, which generally includes electronic versions of all the nominated works. In the series category, it often includes the entire series, so it’s more than worth the money just for all the free books.

So, that’s my awards pitch. Thank you for your consideration. I don’t know what difference a nomination would make for sales. It might boost my profile a bit and help me sell other books. It might even revive chances of a TV show or movie based on the series. But it would be nice to have all these years of work recognized.

My Books

Coming Attractions

Early next year is going to be busy with publishing activity.

My first Audible Original book will be released in January, and it’s available now for pre-order. Here’s the Audible page with all the details. This is a contemporary fantasy with a touch of romance, so along the lines of Enchanted, Inc., but in a different fictional universe (if the same real-world setting).

There may be a print version of this coming, but that will have to wait for a year later.

Early next year there will also be a Kickstarter campaign for an anthology I’m involved with, but I don’t have all the details yet. I will share when I do.

Meanwhile, in case you weren’t aware, I wrote a Christmas novella a couple of years ago. It’s basically a Lifetime or Freeform Christmas movie in book form, with a touch of magic and romance. It’s a short read, about the right length for sitting down to relax in the evening.

I hope to have a number of new things out in the world next year.

My Books

News Updates

I’ve got a few updates about what’s coming and what I’m working on.

First, my next release will be an Audible Original, coming in early January. It will be in audio only for the first year, but I’m hoping to have an e-book edition after the end of that exclusive period. Stay tuned for more info about this one. It’s a contemporary fantasy romantic comedy unrelated to any of my other series. By the way, I get a bonus if this is the first book you get after joining Audible, so if you were thinking of doing that, keep that in mind.

Second, there’s going to be a delay in a Rebels book 4, for business reasons. One of the problems I have with that series is that the first book is controlled by the original publisher. That means I can’t do anything about the pricing, which is way too high for an e-book, especially for hooking new readers into the series, and that means there’s little I can do to promote it. I can’t do BookBubs or Amazon ads. The publisher certainly isn’t doing anything to promote it (they didn’t even do anything when it was first released), and since they don’t have any more books from me, they have zero incentive to do even so much as lower the price. Sales are really tapering off, and I’m getting to close to the level where I can ask for the rights back and republish the book myself, which would give me control over the whole series. But if I put out a new book, that tends to boost sales for the rest of the series, which would delay me getting control over the first book because I’d be farther from the threshold once more, and yet that boost wouldn’t be enough to really make a difference in income for me. So, I’m holding off on doing a fourth book until sales either surge so significantly (for whatever reason) that it’s worthwhile to do another book anyway, or until I get the rights to the first book back and the whole series is mine. It’s weird to be in a position to tell people not to buy or promote one of my books, but unless whatever promotion is so big that several thousand copies sell all of a sudden (it’s been selling under 400 copies a year), it’s better for me if sales drop off entirely.

Third, I’ve sold a short story to an anthology. There will be a Kickstarter to fund that anthology, so when that comes about, I’ll be letting everyone know. I don’t want to say anything more than that because I don’t want to steal their thunder.