Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Update

Got my proof copy of Killer back. Approved it. Which means very soon, it can be bought!!! YEAH!

On paper it's only 20 pages shorter than Fledgling, but the book looks much smaller. So I am dropping the price on Fledgling to match Killer. Both will be priced at $13.00.

Update on Minstrels. It is a monster to edit. But I am not to the last third of the story and enjoying rereading it.

Hopefully will have an announcement about the book launch/art show next week.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When you have to go...

Friday night, I was out on a little date with my hubby. He had been promising me a cup of bubble tea, and finally got him to agree to get one. At the tea shop, I checked my emails. And there is one from the store I had did the signing at the weekend before. "We are going to Pagan Pride, want to come and sell your books?" Do you think I said "no"

It went pretty good, considering I had a few hours to prepare and nothing for an outdoor show.

So to help you out; Start buying these supplies now, so you have them.
  1. Folding table. A MUST. I got away with a small computer table. But it was a bear to put in the car.
  2. Folding seat. Canvas one preferred. I brought a small chair, but did not fold. Same issue with the table.
  3. Money box. I used a locking plastic box.  But a metal one would be better.
  4. Display for your wares. I have one book. My hubby whipped something up with foam core that worked. When I have more to sell, I will invest in actual book display cases.
  5. Table cover: I didn't need it, but it would have been good to have.
  6. A sign display. My hubby came to the rescue again and fixed me up one with foam core and poster board. It's reusable, but if I do more of these things, I will get a stronger sign.
  7. Three or four fine line markers.
  8. TAPE
  9. Business cards.
  10. A good gazebo.  I got to share someone else's, but you should get your own. Look for a sturdy one, that can be weighed down.
Recommended
  1.  Portable credit card machine. NOT the sliding type. My friend had one that she got from her bank for a low monthly rent. It could connect wirelessly with her bank.
  2. Back display. I am not sure what you would call this, but something like a cubical wall or a wire display from retail. You could hang your sign up there, or display your books.
  3. Extra batteries.
  4. A radio. A booth next to ours was playing some really nice CDs for the atmosphere. Relaxed us too.
  5. Your own food. Yes most of these events will have food, and some even feed the vendors, but if you are busy you won't be able to get away. Unless you brought your go-fer with you.
  6. Calculator with paper print out. Doubles as a receipt.
  7. Bags, if you have more than one item to sell offer bags. I'm thinking next time I will bring a some reusable ones and giving them out with the sales as a free bonus.
I am sure there is more. But remember you have to set up and tear down your stuff too. So unless you do not mind getting very elaborate, the basics will do.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Update time!

The file for Killer is sent, waiting for approval and proof. I almost changed the cover at the last minute, but I was in a mean mood and didn't want to mess around with my files.
Chapter one illustration. And how I felt last night.

Launch party will included an art show! Times have been extended and moved to 1 - 8 pm. So I could run and see Disturbed if I want to after wards. The one artist confirmed does wonderful stuff with blown glass. Now this will not be the all out party that they had last Halloween. Flora wants it a little more laid back.

Arranging a breast cancer fundraiser to go with the launch/art show. Contacted the foundation I want to work with. To make sure everything is ok, when they get back to me, I will post the info.

On September, 28, 2010, my flash story "Legend Tripping" will be on http://www.flashesinthedark.com/ So exited about it. First time I tried flash fiction (harder to write than you think.)

Last but not least,  I have been conspiring with a group of wonderful ladies on a site called Indie Book Collective. Yeah, yeah, I know another site for indie authors. But we are doing things a little different. We are focusing on what happens after you take the plunge and get your book out. Marketing, social networking, you know all those buzz words. It's been a blast to help set up. We are still working out some kinks. But it's worth checking out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Artwork addition.


For your viewing pleasure! The front and back covers of Killer!

FRONT

There should be no doubt it is part of a series now.

BACK
I love the back. 

There you go, just a quick tease.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I know when I have made it when.....

Banned Books Week is coming up. Link

I read banned books. I always have. That is a bit of the rebel in me. If someone says they do not think this book should be out for what ever reason. I want to read it now, to see if that is a justifiable reason. It never is. Even with the argument of Twilight being unsuitable for the age group. I didn't like the book, but I never would want it banned.

As it was said in the TV movie of "Going Postal"

Ridcully: You the type to burn a book, Lipwig?
Moist Von Lipwig: No.
Ridcully: Why?
Moist Von Lipwig: Because you just don't *do* that sort of thing!
Ridcully: Correct. Books must be treated with respect, we feel that in our bones, because words have power. Bring enough words together they can bend space and time.
....
Ridcully: Read my lips: Words do not kill! People kill. Wild animals kill. But words... words have a totally different power. They enter in through our eyes and ears and work their way into our souls.

This quick little discussion with the wizard and the post master is a great summery on why you do not ban or burn books. Part of me always thinks when someone burns a book that they don't get it. You just burned the physical copy. The words have been put down. The affect has been felt all ready. What has been said, cannot be unsaid. And your destruction only makes people want to read it more.

Banning, same thing.

So what does that have to do with me "making it" as an author. Take a look at the list of banned books. Which are available at the bottom of this page.

Do you see one book on there that has not been a best seller at any time?

You see people don't want to ban books that "nobody" reads. They want to go after the popular titles. So in a sick way, if someone brings my book up as a book to be banned. I would be pissed, but also flattered.

Believe me, there are reasons to ban Fledgling and the upcoming Killer; cannibalism, vampirism, drinking, drug use, sexual assault, necrophilia, the list could go on. Yet, no one should be stopped from reading it, because someone else says so.

I guess the rebel in me still enjoys messing things up. And if someone were to try to ban my books. I would know I reached enough people to cause an a stir.

But until that happens. Pick up a copy of a book that was banned or burned and see what the fuss is about. You might learn something.

Friday, September 10, 2010

These Creatures are up for Adoption: Part 4

Part 1 HERE
Part 2 HERE
Part 3 HERE

A few requests from my friends.

Mothman
On November 12, 1966 people around Point Pleasant, West Virginia began to report sightings of a strange creature.

From Unknown Explorers
The Mothman, a strange creature reported to haunt the Charleston and Point Pleasant areas of West Virginia between November 1966 and December 1967, was also sporadically reported to be seen prior to, and after, those dates, with some sightings coming as recently as 2005. Most observers describe the Mothman as being 5 to 7 feet tall creature with wings and large reflective red eyes, similar to the Garuda of Hindu lore.
...
Reports of Mothman sightings and events continue to this day. Instances of "strange flying creatures" and "winged men" have been reported in many American states as well as across the globe in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including supposed sightings in Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986, shortly before the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster.
Is it here to warn us? Or is it presence the causes the disasters? He/It could be a wonderful creepy addition to any urban fantasy story.

Chupacabra
A recent addition to folklore, or is it real? Could be a new animal.

From wikipedia
The chupacabras, is a legendary cryptid rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas. It is associated more recently with sightings of an allegedly unknown animal in Puerto Rico (where these sightings were first reported), Mexico, and the United States, especially in the latter's Latin American communities. The name comes from the animal's reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats. Physical descriptions of the creature vary. Eyewitness sightings have been claimed as early as 1995 in Puerto Rico, and have since been reported as far north as Maine, and as far south as Chile. It is supposedly a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail. Biologists and wildlife management officials view the chupacabras as a contemporary legend.
Creepy. Although a rural creature. This being could easily make the move into cities. Maybe the stray population starts to dwindle? Or maybe it goes after larger prey?

Kuchisake-onna

From Japan we have a very scary woman, one that makes Bloody Mary cringe.


From Scary for Kids.

Kuchisake Onna, also known as The Slit-Mouth Woman, is a scary Japanese urban legend about a disfigured Japanese woman who brandishes a large scissors and preys on children. She has an enormous slit mouth, which extends from ear to ear in a horrible, permanent smile.
...
The Slit Mouth Woman’s reign of terror began in the spring and summer of 1979, when rumors began to spread throughout Japan about sightings of the Kuchisake-onna hunting down children. The story spread like wildfire and actually created scares in many towns. Police increased their patrols and schools sent teachers to walk students home in groups.
What a horrible vision. Makes you wonder if the Joker's look wasn't based a bit on her.

 I like doing these little posts. If you have any other creatures, monsters, or strange things that you think would make a great urban fantasy novel addition, let me know.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

These Creatures are up for Adoption: Part 3

Part 1 Here
Part 2 Here

Selkie

I am surprised we have not seen these in more Urban Fantasy fiction. One of the first Sci-fi novel had I read had a love interest with a man that had been genetically engineered to be a selkie. It really keep me wondering about him.


Wikipedia:
Selkies are able to become human by taking off their seal skins, and can return to seal form by putting it back on. Stories concerning selkies are generally romantic tragedies. Sometimes the human will not know that their lover is a selkie, and wakes to find them gone. Other times the human will hide the selkie's skin, thus preventing them from returning to seal form. A selkie can only make contact with one particular human for a short amount of time before they must return to the sea.
So you have a shape changer with a long history romantic stories.  We really should see more of them, don't you think?

Kolbolds

If you have played Dungeons and Dragons you have run into these little creatures. But the orginal folklore is much more interesting.
 


Wikipedia
The kobold (or kobolt) is a sprite stemming from Germanic mythology and surviving into modern times in German folklore. Although usually invisible, a kobold can materialise in the form of an animal, fire, a human being, and a mundane object. The most common depictions of kobolds show them as humanlike figures the size of small children. Kobolds who live in human homes wear the clothing of peasants; those who live in mines are hunched and ugly; and kobolds who live on ships smoke pipes and wear sailor clothing.
I know they sound like the cobbler elves. But they adjust well to the urban setting. And because some of them look like children, it could cause some interesting plots. I wonder what the kobold that lives in the bank would wear?

Domovoi
And now from Russia...

 

Wikipedia

A domovoi is a house spirit in Slavic folklore. Domovois (the Russian plural form is domoviye) are masculine, typically small, and sometimes covered in hair all over. According to some traditions, the domovoi take on the appearance of current or former owners of the house and have a grey beard, sometimes with tails or little horns. There are tales of neighbours seeing the master of the house out in the yard while in fact the real master is asleep in bed. It has also been said that domovoi can take on the appearance of cats or dogs, but reports of this are fewer than of that mentioned before.
Similar to Kobolds, the Domovoi would be another one that could easily make the adjustment into the urban lifestyle. Just think if you got one of these in your home. It would be like having a doppelganger that would help you out with your work. Check out this post on English Russia to see how different these creatures could be.

I hope you have found these little tidbits enjoyable. I have a couple more posts planned.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

These Creatures are up for Adoption. Part 2

Part 1 is HERE:

Perhaps I did not give any authors enough humanoid monsters to work with in their Urban Fantasy. So this post will present three that might not have ever been considered before.

Wild Man:

I did write a few stories with one of these guys. Wonderful stuff. One of the first characters I have to say I fell in love with.
A Wild Man is a man that lives on the outside of society, he is usually covered in fur. And is the master of the forest. Unlike a bigfoot, he is closer to man than animal. He has a small social structure. He will marry and have children. He lives in a hut, but controls the forest.
From Wikipedia :
The wild man or woodwose is a mythical figure that appears in the artwork and literature of medieval Europe. Images of wild men appear in the carved and painted roof bosses where intersecting ogee vaults meet in the Canterbury Cathedral, in positions where one is also likely to encounter the vegetal Green Man. The wild man, pilosus or "hairy all over", and often armed with a club. The image of the wild man survived to appear as supporter for heraldic coats-of-arms, especially in Germany, well into the 16th century. Early engravers in Germany and Italy were particularly fond of wild men, wild women, and wild families, with examples from Martin Schongauer (died 1491) and Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) among others.

Huldra

The Huldra is a female with a cow's tail or bark for skin.
From monstropedia.org
Seen from the front she is a stunningly beautiful, naked female being with long hair; from behind she is hollow like an old tree trunk. In Norway she has a cow's tail, and in Sweden she may have that of a cow or a fox. In Norway she has often been described as a typical dairymaid, wearing the clothes of a regular farm-girl, although somewhat more dazzling than most girls.
Close to nymphs. These women would lure men into the woods, have their way with them. If they like the man, he lives, if not, they will kill him. They will also marry humans. There are males called huldu.

Troll


Trolls don't live just under bridges. They are usually ugly, strong, and a bit dumb. Yet, if you do not mess with them they will be good natured and nice. In Hellboy 2, you got to see a whole society of Trolls, living in New York City.
From Trollmother
Trolls are described as being of any size, great or small, and of having one characteristic in common, they are very ugly, with small, beady eyes and large, bumpy noses. Their appearance is usually on the sloppy side with bits and pieces of last week's meals stuck to their stringy hair and clothes. Their ears are mostly large and floppy and dirty enough to grow rutabagas in!! They are also not too careful about brushing their snaggley teeth, which is not very obvious as they do not smile that much anyhow. (Maybe they don't brush them because their mouths are so very large.) They are also ugly and sloppy in their behavior, which is of more importance than their appearance.
Trolls are still very popular. Bands like Finntroll and Mortiis keep the legend alive.

There you have three humanoid creatures that could work their way into urban fantasy. I am partial to the wild man, but I think trolls could be fun too.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

These Creatures are Up for Adoption. part 1

In a recent #UFchat on Twitter, pet peeves of the Urban Fantasy genre were discussed. One that came up was the lack of "new" monsters in the genre. Just how many vampires, werewolves, and demons can you handle?

So here are some suggestions for lesser known monsters that would love to be in the spot light.

Hodag:


I am giving away my upbringing here. What the heck is a hodag? The hodag is an American Folklore creature that made its appearance and home around Rhinelander, WI.

From Wikipedia:
In 1893 newspapers reported the discovery of a Hodag in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. It had "the head of a frog, the grinning face of a giant elephant, thick short legs set off by huge claws, the back of a dinosaur, and a long tail with spears at the end". The reports were instigated by well-known Wisconsin timber cruiser and prankster Eugene Shepard, who rounded up a group of local people to capture the animal. The group reported that they needed to use dynamite to kill the beast. A photograph of the remains of the charred beast was released to the media. It was "the fiercest, strangest, most frightening monster ever to set razor sharp claws on the earth. It became extinct after its main food source, all white bulldogs became scarce in the area."
Could you not see a herd of these things menacing a tourist town in Northern Wisconsin. I know in Rhinelander they help bring in the tourists, but what if they got mad?

Another one from the Lumberjack lore

Agropelter:
This one is nasty: It is a primate that lives in the tops of hollow trees and throws dead branches down on the lumberjacks.
From American Monsters:

The Agropelter is a relatively small HAIRY-HOMINID which — much like its more famous cousin BIGFOOT — is said to reside in the lush arboreal forests of the Pacific Northwest and Canada, although there have been reports hailing from other states such as Minnesota.
Eyewitnesses claim that the Agropelter is approximately 3-feet in height with a slender simian body and long spindly limbs. Often seen in trees, these creatures are said to be omnivorous and ostensibly nocturnal, with a bizarre penchant for tormenting humans, particularly lumberjacks — who, of course, are more prone to spend their time in deeply forested regions — by throwing dead tree limbs at their heads.

I can already see a environmental story forming with this one. A forest gets cut down for the new shopping center and the Agropelter attacks!

Last one for this post, is the most famous of the three.

Jersey Devil.

You should recognize the name if not the picture. Wikipedia:
Most accounts of the Jersey Devil legend attribute the creature to a "Mother Leeds", a supposed witch, although the tale has many variations. According to one version, she invoked the devil while giving birth to her 13th child, and when the baby was born, it either immediately or soon afterwards transformed into a devil like creature and flew off into the surrounding pines.
The creature has already been in TV shows and Bruce Springsteen wrote a song about it. So it is already familiar to many people. In some of the sightings it appears more human like. If you want to have demons menacing in your UF story, why not the Jersey Devil?

Monday, September 6, 2010

In Defense of those Naughty Words Part 2

Part 1 is here

Let's say you want to use swear words, but your target audience wouldn't care for them. Or you are looking at your characters and know they swear, but it doesn't sound right. If you are writing fantasy the solution is simple. Make up your own swears!

This is not a new idea. I was first exposed to it through Douglas Adams. I listened to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy as I laid in my bed. The episode where you are informed that the most vile, offensive, and rude word in the galaxy is Belgium. I laugh so loud I woke the house.

Another good example was the TV series Farscape. "Frell", "Greebol", "Yotz", "Frelnik", etc all replaced the swear words we would have used. We still understood what they were saying. I09 has a great article on other examples of made up swears; Frak Off! We've Got the Best Swear Words from Scifi
Also everything2 has a great list of made up swear words too.

As I was writing my minstrel story I realize something. Because this is set on another world, would they have the same swear words? The more I thought about it, the more I realized they would not.  Just like here what one culture would consider a swear another one might not. So I had to come up with my own lexicon.

How did I do it? I supposed the easiest way would be to make a word sound like the swear you were substituting for, like Frell in Farscape. I did something a little inventive.

There is a site I found years ago called The Alternative Dictionaries.  This person has collected swears from every language and lists them for your enjoyment. So I dug in and found some really good swears in multiple languages. Then I rewrote the words, hoping to make them sound nonsense enough, but still recognizable.

The find and replace function on open office came in handy here. I replaced the common swear with my made up ones. I reread the story. It worked! You could still recognize the words as swears, but they were basically nonsense, at least in English.

Examples:

“What the fenn is going on here?” Grail's voice echoed through the grove.

“I'm koping my pants and you expect me to calm down the crowd now?”

“You are the pulting Regent, you took an oath to the Commonwealth.”

Can you figure out which word is which? Even if you can't, you can still get a sense of what they are saying.

I don't think this would work with a modern day novel, but if some genres would welcome a creative way around swearing. Even if you are comfortable with using swear words, perhaps you can make your scifi or fantasy world richer by inventing your own.

Who knows in a few years people might say "For Zarks sake those words are great!"