Friday, October 31, 2008

Touring Two Books in November!

I'm touring two books this month!

Leaps of Faith is an anthology of Christian sci-fi that Rob and I edited. It was an EPPIE finalist in 2004 and is now in print from The Writers Cafe Press. Here are the dates of places touring:

Over the next month, Leaps of Faith is touring the blogsphere. My husband and I edited this anthology of Christian sci-fi, which was a finalist for the EPPIE award in 2002 for best anthology when out in e-book and is now available in print.

I'll be doing some special posts during the week and here's where you can find more:

1 Book Info and Interview with Editors Free Spirit
1 Author's Interview and Book Info Time with Tannia
3-9 information, reviews, interview Christian Fiction Review Blog Roll
2 Book Information Tree-lady
2 synopsis of some of stories Cathi's Chatter
3 Interview with Karina Bibliophile's Retreat
3 review Cathi's Chatter
4 Interview with Susanne Bibliophile's Retreat
5 book trailer Cathi's Chatter
5 Information, Interview Joy in the Journey
7 (Review) Bibliophile's Retreat
12 (Interviews) Review Hutch
13 (Interviews) The Book Connection
14 (Interviews) The Book Connection

NEXT, is Firestorm of Dragons. This one features my story "DragonEye, PI," which starts the Vern stories!

All month, the fantasy anthology, Firestorm of Dragons is touring the blogsphere. We'll be doing some special blogs on it next week, but in the meantime, here's the list of who is featuring interviews, reviews and more:

1 (Authors and Characters Interview) Time with Tannia
1 (book Information) Tree Lady
3 (character interview) The Book Connection
3 (Information) Interview Joy in the Journey
5 (summary) Brenda Weaver
6 (Summary) Kim Richards on Live Journal
6 (summary) Kim Richards on My Space
6 (summary) Kim Richards on Blogger
10 (character interview) The Book Connection
13 (Kim Richards Interview) Bibliophile's Retreat
14 (Review of Anthology) Bibliophile's Retreat
15 (summary) Cathi's Chatter
16 (review) Cathi's Chatter
17 (character interview) The Book Connection
20 (book trailer) Cathi's Chatter
22 (Bios/book information) Books and Authors
24 (Karina Fabian and Vern Interview) Bibliophile's Retreat
25 (Sandra Ulbrich Interview) Bibliophile's Retreat

Thursday, October 30, 2008

DragonEye, PI research

My friend and fellow author Grace Bridges is visiting this week and we had some fun yesterday doing research for Vern.

I don't know if other authors ever do this kind of stuff. I do tend to leave ordinary citizens flat-footed by my requests, but they always play along. Probably because they're afraid of the crazy lady.

Don't forget--if you like Vern, go register at his website to get a free story!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Need a Socialite's Guide to Social Networks

Social Networking 101, anyone?

I've never been a social person. I was shy and unpopular in school, had a small cadre of friends in college (who I hardly hear from anymore), and don't have a lot of local friends as an adult. When I was in the military, my lack of insight into the social structure of the workplace hurt people's impression of me; like one commander told me, "You do excellent work, but no one knows it."

Small talk doesn't make sense to me. If I need something, I ask for it; if I get it, I think the person. If I don't, I ask again. I'm a good nag. If I see someone in need, I offer to help. I'm a good helper, too. What I'm not good at is the in-between: just hanging out, making contact for the sake of contact, calling someone up "just 'cause." I feel like I'm wasting their time--and I guess I give the impression that someone who did that to me is wasting mine.

You'd think, then, that writing would be the ideal job for me. I sit at my computer, wrapped in my own little world, chat with writer friends via IM or the couple of chats I attend, and sometimes meet others in person at conventions or events. If I need to interview someone, I've no compunction about getting on the phone and cold-calling.

Unfortunately, my social ineptitude is hurting me where marketing is concerned. I belong to a few dozen social networking sites, form MySpace to Ning, Yahoo to forum groups. I make my little sites, post my little news...but then what?

I really hate glitter graphic comments of "Have a happy..." I don't want a strawberry on facebook. When someone posts news on a Yahoo group and I see there are already 20 congratulations, I don't feel like I need to add to the traffic just to add a "ditto." And while I answer questions and occasionally ask for help, I feel like most of the time, I'm just promoting myself as a product. I don't much like that either.

So, like in high school, I'm present. I'm known. But am I "popular"?

No one gave me a handbook on how to be popular in high school. I'm still looking for one on how to make real connections on social network sites. Telling me to just leave comments is very artificial to me. what do I say if I don't want to post a useless glitter smiley?

Got any ideas?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Barak Obama's stand on life

Do you support infanticide? Do you believe a baby is a punishment? Do you believe your "pay grade" determines your ability or right to make tough moral decisions?

If you said, "no," are you planning on voting for a candidate who does?

Barak Obama has shown in his words and his actions that he is pro-abortion--and, if his comments to Planned Parenthood are to be believed, that he knows he could be president at a key time when the issue that's "above his pay grade" must be addressed. Whether or not he wants to admit it, he's passed his judgment.

Here's a video that says it succinctly. Ignore the rest of the message if you want, but listen to his words and the reports of his political actions on this issue.

I don't want to argue this. I know plenty of people don't feel as I do about the issue of life. But if you do, please watch this video and think hard about who you vote for in November.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Playing catch-up

Still recovering from the conference and gearing up for the February Catholic Writers Conference Online. Be back Thursday.

In the meantime, Vern did post some MuseCon homework. Check it out--and if you like what you see, sign up for his website.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My Novel's Journey: "Second" Edit Done

This week, I finished reading Live and Let Fly to the kids. That ends what I usually call my "second edit." We had a 2-hour marathon read toward the end; I was anxious to be done, and the kids were anxious to get to the "Loki chunks" line. Like "Run Away!" from Monty Python's Holy Grail, I think that's one phrase that will be heard in our family for a long time.

My oldest son has a new saying, "That never gets old." He sometimes repeats a punch line or gag to himself, then chuckles, "That never gets old." Usually, it's about something slapstick or puerile, but funny nonetheless. He's now quoting Live and Let Fly. How could I not agree with him?

One thing I discovered this time is that I'm using phrases and in-jokes that are at a more mature level than I'd expected. Many times I had to stop to define a word, explain a situation or joke, or remind them of how something earlier in the book applied to the current situation. I enjoyed it--and I found it encouraged my younger boys to ask me about words they didn't understand in other situations as well. (Liam has asked me several times in Church to define a word from the Scripture reading.) We still read to the younger two at night, but usually the stories they want to hear, so I enjoyed expanding their horizons with my story.

I did find the epilogue needed a restructure, but it was a simple enough change. Now I wait for the critiquers.

Fave Phrase: Here's one of Steven's "never gets old" and has Monty Python elements, too.

Sister Michaela Joan hopped onto my back, strapped and bucked herself on and declared herself ready to rope an errant demigod.

The command crew gathered outside to watch us.

The lieutenant said, "You know, when we got called to duty yesterday, I never expected to see something like this."

I reared up dramatically and Sister Michaela Joan, an experienced rider, held her balance.

I said, "No one expects--"

"The Spanish Inquisition!" my caballera nun finished with me.

I flapped my wings, applied my magic, and we flew off amid applause and calls of "Oorah!"

"Someday, you must tell me why that is so funny," Sister Michaela said to me as we gained altitude.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Some Actions in the "Name of God " Really Take His Name in Vain

The past couple of weeks, I've been thinking about how we take God's name in vain. It can be a simple as showing disrespect, whether inadvertently as many Catholics had been doing with songs like "You are Near," which have a popular mispronunciation of God's name, to actions that we do in the name of God that are not Godly at all.

What a coincidence that this article should appear in the AP last week. Here's an excerpt:

In Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, where the rule of law takes a back seat to the rule of God, religious zealots are on a crusade to stamp out unchaste behavior. They hurl stones at women for "sins" as trivial as wearing a red blouse, and attack stores that sell devices that can access the Internet. In recent weeks, modesty enforcers have been accused of breaking into the apartment of a Jerusalem woman and beating her because they suspected she consorted with men. They also torched a store that sells MP4 players, fearing devout Jews would use them to download pornography.

I don't know a lot about Orthodox Judaism, but it does seem to me these vigilantes are more interested in giving reign to their own desires for violence than they are to upholding the Word of God.

I have a friend who is an atheist. He said he came to his decision because so much violence has been done for God. Sadly, this kind of nastiness is exactly what would fuel his fire.

The problem is, they aren't doing this because of God. They are simply using God's name as an excuse.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

My Novel's Journey: Third Stage Edit Brings Embarassing Results

This week, I started the third stage edits of Live and Let Fly.

Second stage is read aloud, which I'm still doing. (Reading aloud lets you hear your book: its cadence, phrase choice, joke set-up and execution. You engage a different part of your brain, and it judges your manuscript differently.) Since my kids love Vern stories, it's become our nightly routine. However, that takes awhile when going one chapter a night, so I also started the third edit, which is read it backward.

That's right, backward. Starting at the bottom of page 192 and working to the top of page 1, one sentence at a time. Some people like to read backward one word at a time, but I prefer to do it one sentence at a time, so I can check punctuation and meaning as well as phrasing.

Why read backward? When we read forward, especially when reading fiction, we tend to get caught up in the story. As a result, our minds overlook errors, fill in blanks and "forgive" clumsy phrasing in order to continue the story. When you read backward, you separate the sentence from the context, and you mind can focus on it alone. As a result, you can catch more errors, especially in grammar and word usage.

Well, I thought I'd done a pretty good job with my first edit, but when I started the third, I was mortified at the errors! Using the same word twice within a line of each other. ("...bring them in," he said. The doors opened, and they brought in..., for example.) I also found misspellings and grammar that Word didn't catch. (Never trust Word alone.) I had phrases that added nothing and some sections that didn't make full sense without a little more explanation. I found things I brought up in the end that I didn't set up earlier on. I also found (partly through read aloud, partly from thinking back) that I didn’t tie up all my loose ends in the last chapter. I had to add several pages.

Here are a couple of pages with edits. I used red for one edit and black for another. (They get mixed up in the middle, so don't ask which is which.)

In all, the manuscript was such an embarrassing mess that I wrote my critique crew and begged them not to look at it until I'd sent a better copy. It took about five days to read it backward and will take three to put in all the changes. It's worth every minute.