Thursday, September 27, 2012

My novel's journey: Shambling in a Winter Wonderland

Frankly, this story should have been done by now.  I am being a lazybones, and I got a bad cold and my "muse" is calling in sick.  Plus, I've been working on editing Greater Treasures, a DragonEye novella to self-publish, having fun with Photoshop Elements, the trial version, and I listened to a rather discouraging teleseminar on how to get rich as an author.  (Verdict: I am not interested in doing what they suggest and thus am doomed to author pauperdom.)

Yadda, yadda, excuses, excuses...

Anyway, I did manage this cute scene, based on teh behavior of our new basset, Beaux.  It's for "Shambling in a Winter Wonderland," which goes live Nov 19 to raise funds for Operation Homestead. (

Cover by Frr Mallory

 Hambone bounded through the snow, the wide pads of his stubby legs leaving heavy footprints.  He struggled up the snowdrift, then paused, mouth open and panting, his breath making tiny clouds.  His ears dragged in the snow, and he shook them, annoyed at the cold tips.  He could hear his owner calling his name, but he ignored it.  There was a smell!

He raised his head, seeking the strongest scent.  The cold air stung his nose.  The cold air brought the best smells, and this one was strong and new.  What could it be?  It was kind of people and kind of raw hamburger…  Oh, he had to know!  

He lowered his head.  It was close, maybe even under the snow, close.  He moved further up the hill, sniffing, ignoring the exasperated cries of his master.  He always came back, and usually with something new and interesting to present.  The Master would put it on the Caroline’s desk and the laugh while she shrieked.  The more she shrieked, the better Hambone’s reward.  He’d get something grand this time, for sure!

He heard another sound, a kind of low moan.  Busted!  He tilted his head back, baying, and was rewarded by a sharp, commanding call of his name.  He ignored the call but galumphed toward the other sound.  The smell came from that direction.  The snow moved.  He paused, head tilted, then perked.  Something blue was under it.  Blue and moving.  Hooray—toy!

With scurrying legs, he dug up the prize and grasped it with his teeth.  It resisted at first.  Tug-of-war!  Hambone loved tug-of-war.  He braced his legs and pulled.  The toy’s groaning turned to growls and he growled back.  Mine, mine!

A rip and a wafting of hamburger smell, and it was his!  Just in time, too—the gentle snowfall had started to get icy.  Now that he had solved the mystery of the smell, he wanted to curl up in front of the warm fire and get belly rubs.  He turned his back on the groaning, spreadhis legs, and piddled so all the world would know of his victorious presence!

He trotted back toward his master, his mouth full of his prize—a partly rotted arm in a blue jacket sleeve, its blue-gloved fingers curled with the middle one extended in a universal symbol of anger and defiance.  

Wouldn’t his master be proud?
This is Beaux, a 9-year-old basset we adopted a couple of weeks ago.  He's a derpy dog and a cuddler, but I hope he never comes home with a zombie arm.

Monday, September 24, 2012

What do you want in a bio?

We're discussing bios on a Facebook group I'm in "Where Writers and Authors Meet."  It's been kind of interesting the variety of opinion. 

Some folks are of the "do it like the big wigs" camp:  Author writes x, y, and z, and lives in CITY with a cat.

Some sugest more background:  hobbies, family, inspirations, etc.

Others suggest something more professional:  awards, other books, professions, etc.

Personally, I'm somewhere between the first and last camp.  I don't think anyone cares about my family situation (unless it pertains to the book), and I don't think I'm especially interesting.  Anyway, I want you to love my characters, not me.  I'm the channel of communication between them an you.  However, I do default to "common wisdom" by tossing in a few things about myself.

Of course, writing a book bio is different, IMHO, than a general bio for a website.  In a way, they are easier.  I want to mostly focus on stuff that relates to the book, so in my Neeta Lyffe bios, I think funny and zombies. 

Winner of the 2010 INDIE for best Fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem) and a Global eBook Award for Best Horror (Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator), Karina Fabian’s writing takes quirky twists that keep her--and her fans--amused. Nuns working in space, a down-and-out Faerie dragon working off a geas from St. George, zombie exterminators—there’s always a surprise in Fabian’s worlds. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars online. 

For Why God Matters, I thought faith-filled and family.

Karina Lumbert Fabian was born into the Catholic faith, but truly grew to love it as an adult. As a busy mother of four, she finds some of her strongest encounters with God's love happen in the ordinary events of the day-to-day. Karina started her writing career with diocesan newspapers but has settled into writing fun-filled fantasy and science fiction that nonetheless incorporates the principles of faith-filled living.
For the website, however, I had to find a way to combine all my loves and quirks.

Karina Fabian breathes fire, battles zombies with chainsaws and window cleaner, travels to the edge of the solar system to recover alien artifacts, and has been driven insane by psychic abilities. It’s what makes being an author such fun. She won the 2010 INDIE Award for best fantasy for Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (her first DragonEye, PI novel) and the Global E-Book Award for best horror for Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator. She’s an active member of Broad Universe and the Catholic Writers’ Guild, and teaches writing and marketing online. When not writing, she enjoys her family and swings a sword around in haidong gumbdo.

But I have to tell you:  every time I have to write a new bio, I wonder "Does it really matter?"  So I ask you, do you read bios?  If so, what do you like to see?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Novel's Journey: Cart Before the Horse

I thought in May, when I took my six-week break for graduation and vacation, that I'd be reveling in normalcy by now, but "normal" (by which I mean a slower but still regular pace similar to what I'd enjoyed earlier this year) continues to elude me.

Case in point:  "Shambling in a Winter Wonderland."  You'd think this would be a simple matter of writing an episode a day, then editing, then putting together the website.  Somehow, though, things got mixed up.

First, I decided to play with Photoshop Elements to see if I want it for Christmas (or if I want the more expensive and powerful CS6.)  I'm not good at purposeless dorking around, so I made a cover for "Coyote Fires" which I am pretty pleased about.  Then a friend suggested this article about covers, so I tweaked it.

Thus emboldened, I decided to try my hand at a cover for "Shambling in a Winter Wonderland."  (Remember, I tend to get into obsessions, so writing has fallen aside while I play on Photoshop.)  I could not find any free photos of zombies, so I messed with silhouettes and tried to color them like skiers.  As you can see, the results were less than impressive, although I thought the font was fun.

Well, I posted it, and immediately, Frr Mallory said, "Yuck!" and offered to make me a cover for free.  Look how awesome--the difference between know-how and access to good graphics.

So all of this talk about the story has meant that I needed a website to refer folks to, even if it's just a stand-in until I post the first episode.  Rob and I came up with skizombies, which isn't the title but is catchier.  Today, I made the subdomain,, and designed the website, the home page of which is posted.

So, cover art, website, promotion...and no story?  Well, three episodes are written of an expected 19, and the others are planned out in very general terms.  What I need to do this week is apply BICHOK* and write them.

In other writing news, I finally found out that Discovery was rejected by Ignatius.  Somehow, the rejection letter had gotten lost in the mail.  The timing is good, though, since Harper Voyager is taking unagented submissions in October, so I'll start with them.  It's also with an agent, but I've not heard back from her yet, either.  I talked with the slush reader at BAEN about The Old Man and the Void, and it's made it to #2 in his to-read pile, which he says might not mean much as the publisher keeps handing him stuff to read first.  

So more waiting, but the best thing to do while waiting is write.

*BICHOK: Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Where Does Our Freedom Go by Steven Fabian

My son wrote this in English last year.  Thought it'd be appropriate to post now.

by Steven Fabian

Every day our freedoms seem to slip and split
Farther and into more pieces
Some fall to laws, but not most of it
Most of it has gone out of what is decent

Every day our freedom goes under for normality
Where does our freedom go?
Not into the hand of the law but in
Our hands to be discarded for what we find comforting.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Writer's Journey: Serial Stories and New Ideas

I have this bad habit of making my life more complicated.

First, take a look at this sweetheart.  I agreed to foster him over Labor Day Weekend, but he's made himself so at home, he's still here and we might keep him permanently.  The cat is not happy, but the kids sure are.  Frankly, she's not happy about Toby, who still thinks she should play with him and does not understand hiss-slap-on-the-nose.

I'm wrapping up the details of the charity fundraiser for the victims of the Colorado Fires.  Someone mentioend to me that the Red Cross will not dedicate donations, but put them in a common pot.  I need to check on this and if that's true, then I'll find a different charity to give the money to.  In the meantime, I've mailed off six books to the folks who donated $25 or more, and am working on a cover so I can send them the novella that I ran in serial.

Speaking of novella, I saw a post on Facebook from Sarah-Jane Lehoux that she was trying something new--pre-made book covers for $30 each.  You'd give her the text to put in, and she'd customize the cover and give it to you, all rights.  I thought it was clever and went to check them out and saw the most awesome cover for a DragonEye novella.

I'd been toying with the idea of self-publishing the novellas on Kindle, and this cover has pushed me over the edge.  As you can see, I bought it.  Now I need to figure the rest out.  Don't know if the rest are sold, but you can check them out at

So, who wants to read about Vern taking on Neo-Nazi cultists?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Looking for a Singer--Is It You?

Damnation Books Seeks “Zombie Idol”

It’s not “American Idol,” but it’s all in good fun, and with zombies making a comeback, it’s a chance for zombie fans with a fair singing voice to strut—or shamble—their stuff.  Damnation Books and I are looking for someone to sing the theme song for the video trailer for I Left My Brains in San Francisco by Karina Fabian.

I Left My Brains in San Francisco is the second novel in my Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator series.  Neeta Lyffe is an exterminator with an unusual specialization—destroying zombies, the latest and most dangerous of the world’s household pests.  The first book in the series, Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, won the 2011 Global eBooks award for horror and was an eFestival of Words runner-up. 

In the second book, Neeta takes on a hoard of zombiefied environmental terrorists targeting the Bay Area.  It's a lot of fun, with zombie sightings all around San Francisco, lots of chain-say and sword-hacking action, and an invasion in a refinery!  You'll see some old friends form Zombie Death Extreme, and meet some great new characters with a few surprises up their sleeves.  Plus--Neeta my finally find the love of her life.

But what's this about a contest?  I got silly one night and wrote the theme song using music by Kevin MacLeod on   I can't sing it well, however, so we are looking for someone else--ans we thougth this would be more fun than hiring someone.

 The details of the contest, plus the music, lyrics, and a demo of Karina Fabian singing the song can be found at   Contestants need to create their best interpretation of the song and post it in the comments section on YouTube, or post a link in the comments section of the blog. Entries will be judged on singing quality, and the winner must produce an .mp3 or .wav file in order to receive the grand prize, including both books,  a Napalm Sticks to Zombies t-shirt and a $25 gift certificate.  One in ten entries will also receive a copy of I Left My Brains in San Francisco, and especially creative video entries may receive prizes as well.

The contest runs until November 1st, with the winners posted by November 15. 

Learn more about the books at  I've updated the site with everything but bios on the ZDE-Bayou crew.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

My Novel's Journey: Sins of the Brother & Charity of Others

This past week, I finished "Sins of the Brother," which I submitted to Weird Noir.  It felt good to finish the novella.  It will feel even better if I get accepted.  Here's an excerpt.  This is a noir story, not comedy, and is from before Vern met Sr. Grace.  Here, he's checking with a source about a kidnapped mage:

The lighting was low, but not dim, and scented candles filled the room with lavender. A simple but comfortable chair faced a large gilt mirror. I pushed the chair aside and sat on my haunches.
“Mirror, doomed to affirmation, I’m looking for some information.”
The glass smoked, then a face appeared—noble, compassionate, understanding radiating from its eyes…
Then it saw who was talking to it and dropped the façade. “Vern! By all that is clear! What a relief. Get me out of here.”
Oh, no. I was not carrying this conversation in rhyme. “Bad day at work?”
His jowls drooped and circles darkened around his eyes. “You have no idea what it’s like—having to find nice, truthful things to say all day long. These people are so...needy!”
I shrugged. “It’s this or back to the vaults in the Vatican.”
“It’s not fair!”
“You’re the one who took a confident queen and turned her into a megalomaniac—“
“Hey! I warned her beauty was fleeting, and she was the fairest in the land until her stepdaughter just…blossomed. I mean, seriously! Did you ever see Snow White? What a dish. But you know, at least the Queen believed me. The losers I get in here are always doubting me! Me! The Magic Mirror who sees all and speaks truth. But no! It’s always, ‘I still think my nose is too big,’ or ‘You haven’t seen me without make-up’—“
“Babbling mirror of affirmation, I came here for information!”
Shiny huffed, but he could not resist a command in rhyme. “Fine! At least it’s a change of pace. What do you need, O Great Dragon of the Church?”
 I hated when he called me that. “Mage Willard Whitehaven—what have you got?”
“One moment, please.” The face disappeared, replaced by an hour glass that kept flipping. Cute.
After several long moments that I spent dozing off the food, alcohol, and pain, he returned. “Willard Whitehaven, Mage of Natural Magics, Seventh Level, theorist more than practical. Wonderful beard—quite vain about it, too. Has some very nice mirrors in his office as well as at home. Quite popular at university—particularly with his fifth-level interns. Likes them smart, but not too much—“
“Annoying mirror, full of gossip; cut the crap.”
The mirror raised his brows.
“That’s it.”
“Well, what are you looking for?”
“He was doing research on the transference of magical energy across the Gap—large scale, generalized transfer, is my guess, not contained in relics or artifacts. How close was he to a breakthrough?”
The mirror laughed. “Depends on who he was talking to-- Sorry, no gossip, just facts.” He released his mirth with a sigh and spoke slowly as he pulled truth out of the complexities of university politics and (apparently) romantic pursuits. “He has some interesting ideas and much confidence, but they still know too little about the Gap. No one’s even sure that magical energy does spill from Faerie into this world. I mean, it stands to reason there is, or I would not continue to function and you would not be able to do whatever magic it is you do when not harassing honest mirrors like me. However, some say we carry that much magic within ourselves and our time is running out.”

I also raised $234 for the victims of the Colorado Fires through my serial story fundraiser, "Coyote Fires."  You can read the story at, although I'm no longer taking submissions.  I'm actually a little disappointed in how much we reaised, but I have to remind myself that if I'd sold the story, I'd have never gotten that much for it, anyway, plus it's something for the victims.  I still need to see what we made via book sales.

Even though I didn't do as well as I'd hoped, I will be having another fundraiser around Christmas.  the story will be a Neeta Lyffe one, "Shambling in a Winter Wonderland."  I enjoy doing these and it does raise more in donations than if I sold the story outright and donated the profits.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Authors: Don't Spam on Me

Is it just me, or is there a growing trend among authors to use their e-mail to spam friends, acquaintances and business associates alike with their writing news?

I'd already seen it on Yahoo groups.  Some of my groups are more "I'm blooging about this today!" than the discussions, requests for help, offers of assistance, etc. that I used to enjoy.  In the last couple of months, I've been getting LinkedIn e-mails from people announcing this or that event as well.  A couple of weeks ago, I gave my e-mail to someone for a particular reason...and found myself subscribed to his newsletter, and another person e-mailed me and (I guess) all his mailing list about a local book signing--never mind that we don't even live in the same state.

The social networking era has given us great opportunities for getting our own personal news out to the masses--however, it's also given us a way-too convenient means to annoy those masses, and thus turn off potential readers.

Yet, too often the advice is: use your e-mail and contact lists!  Announce your writing, yes, even your blogs posts!  Get the word out!  So where's the happy medium?  I'd like to suggest some guidelines:

1.  FB and Twitter are great places for announcements.  People expect them here.  There are also venues for announcements on Goodreads, LinkedIn,etc., where people can mark their settings if they are interested in such things.

2.  It takes a little more time, but rather than sending a blanket e-mail to everyone on your list about your local event, find out where you can post about your event in your local online newspaper or author events pages (AuthorsDen has something, I think).  Find out if there are bloggers who post about events in your area and send them the info.

3.  Press releases for the big events!

4.  Use your e-mail list to occasionally invite people to sign up for your newsletter, and use that to send out announcements.  You can make this even better by providing a couple of ready-made tweets and asking your readers to use them to share your news.

5.  Print up some nice flyers and post them in your local businesses for your big events, and if you are part of a big event that is already being advertised, offer to help with publicity for some in return.

Finally--BE INTERESTING.  "Come to my signing at..." will work with friends, family, and fans, but if you want to get new readers, give them the payout.  "Like zombies? Like to laugh? Like signed editions?  I'm signing I Left My Brains in San Francisco at..."