Monday, February 28, 2011


Here's where I am right now.

After the massive edit/rewrite, I am putting it aside for at least a month. I need to look at it with fresh eyes before the next round. I already have some parts of the plot that still need to be reworked. Don't worry. Steopa's story will be out by the end of the year. Aiming for October.

Never Got Paid:
My Minstrel story is still making the rounds of rejection. Planning on running another round of editing on that once Patriarch is out of the way.

Troll WIP:
Yup, I did it. I am writing a story about trolls. The best part has been the research. Unfortunately, if you just put Troll in the search bar you get either "Internet trolls" or "WOW trolls". Which is a bit sad. I did finally find some great sites on the original myths and folktales about trolls (pre-Tolkien). It's been fun coming up with their culture.

And an announcement:
TADA! In April, Fledgling will be a year old. I will be running a contest. So far two of the prizes are an Amazon gift card and an original drawing from Matt Miniatt. The third, and I think the best prize, has not been secured yet. I will announce that and the contest rules on April Fools Day. But the contest is not a joke. I am running it through all of April.

So that's where I am. Next week I hope to have a post about characters up!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pow, Smack, WOWIE

If you are going to have a detailed fight scene, please do your research.

First I would like to say, I am NOT a weapon's expert, or a martial arts expert. And I understand that most people are not. But recently, a book that I have been wanting to read, made me mad. So mad I stopped reading it. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, you lost me at the ninjas.

Why would that bother me? I know I have to suspend my disbelief for that story. I can accept the zombie plague, I can accept the young women being raised to be killers for their own protection, but I cannot accept the ninjas or even the katana. It's like watching a non-martial arts movie and all the Asian characters are clones of Jackie Chan or Jet Lee. No matter how outlandish the story, if you want it to be real - you have to make the fighting real.

Maybe because eastern martial arts look cooler in movies that we have accepted in fiction that the hero would know them. For me, that is an insult to the people that study martial arts, all forms. This sort of thing irked me for a long time. When I set out to finally write down the Coiree Series, I did make notes on how each of the characters would fight. Because it is part of their personality.

Lets look at Steopa: Born in Lithuanian. Served in the army as a cannoner. Stayed in Saint Petersburg after he became a vampire. So would it make sense he would know Karate? No. Doing a little research I found some forms that he could have been exposed to: Fencing (partially the European Dueling Sword), Russian Fist Fighting, Stick fighting (although no evidence that it was in the region, it had versions all over), and folk wrestling. With his military background; guns and cannon included. When he fights, he is more likely to pull out a sword, than do a block and a kick. What a way to define a character!

Then there is Vincent: No formal training. His fighting style, if he didn't use his powers, would be the down and drug out bar room brawl type. Dirty fighting. He knows how to fire a gun, but would not be his first choice in a weapon.

Like I said, I am not a weapon's expert. I do know the difference between a rapier and a German Broadsword. Just like I know, there is no way some characters would know Jujutso. It is easy to copy what you see in the movies and TV when you are writing. But you have to ask yourself, is it plausible?

Why did the ninjas bother me so much? Because in that time period, there would not have been much interaction with the East and Britain. On top of which, ninjas were outlawed at that time. I know it sounds nitpicky, but it ruined the story for me. So you can see why spending a little time researching (especially if you are writing a historical novel) can make the story more interesting.

I don't expect anyone to write out a detailed fight scene, describing each blow and block. I have read those. They are boring. But you should respect your reader's intelligence enough to not have a 17th century French nobleman practicing Tai Chi or a Japanese warlord, sumo wrestling (although a Samurai might). You don't have to study the different styles to write about them. But you should be aware of the wide variety there is out there. It should be part of your characters background, even if it's a note like: fights - avoids them.

Fighting is a basic response to a situation. Fight or Flight cannot get any more primitive than that. It is a part of life. Granted you might not think your character will ever fight in your story, but just knowing how they would react makes them more believable. And if you want them trained, make sure you have the right style.

Want help? Start with Wikipedia:
Martial Arts
Historical European Martial Arts
Western Martial Arts
List of Martial Arts

And others have noticed this too:
Martial Arts Do Not Work That Way

And now if you don't think "real" fighting is dramatic enough, these cats will prove you wrong.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Merchandsing? Should I or Shouldn't I?

"If we win the battle of the bands, it won't just be Knives wearing Sex Bob-Omb shirts, the cool kids will be too." - Stephen Stills: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

With being ill and getting prepared for my 40 birthday, I haven't done much in the way of business for my books. But that does not mean life doesn't throw you a curve ball.

Last Friday, a friend and now a major fan of my books, kept coming up to me and telling me what parts she loved. It would have been creepy except I have known her for years and we were at work, so the conversation was splintered.

She wants copies of the jewelry featured in the books!

Then I get two requests for a particular image from Killer made into a T-shirt!

I am floored. Part of me wants to jump on it. Hell most of me wants too. I had already worked out the logo for the Burgundy Rathskeller and that was going to be my first set of T-shirts. Its saved on my hard drive and I never thought much about it, until last week.

I have not sold that many books. Word of mouth is slowly growing my fan base, so there is the extra publicity that these t-shirts and jewelry could give me. I do know some great artisans that could hand craft the jewelry for me. I have a few places in mind for printing shirts. So coming up with the product is not a problem either.

But one little thought nags me. Does this make me an author or a pimp of my stuff?

I want to give my fans a little extra. Because even if it is a small base, it is full of really awesome people. I love the idea of the jewelry and the t-shirts. Not just for them, I would wear them too.

I don't know many indie authors that even think of doing this, I might be the first for all I know. So if I do take the plunge (it feels like I will right now) I want to do it right,

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Steopa and Rebecka done by Tiffany Blondin.

My first fan art that was sent to me. Check out the artist on Deviant Art if you would: Tiffany There is a much larger version of it there.