~~ "She has so many aliases, you'd think she was a spy!" ~~

Friday, March 18, 2011

There's a moonchild for everyone

In honor of tomorrow’s moon of rare size and beauty (which I may not be able to see due to the clouds), I give you my Moon Playlist:
  • Desert Moon, Dennis DeYoung
  • Drawing Down the Moon, Gaia Consort
  • Falling From the Moon, Marillion
  • Full Moonlight Dance, Libana
  • The Light of the Moon, Emily Mitchell
  • Moon Cradle, Loreena McKennitt
  • Moon Dance, Enaid and Einalem
  • Moon Over Bourbon Street, Sting
  • Moonchild, Shakespear's Sister
  • Moonchild's Psychedelic Holiday, Gowan
  • Moonlight Desires, Gowan
  • Moonlight in Samosa, Robert Plant
  • Morgana Moon, Woodland
  • New Moon on Monday, Duran Duran
  • Poet's Moon, Fish
  • Rocket to the Moon, Runrig
  • Shadow of the Moon, Blackmore's Night
  • Shepherd Moons, Enya
  • Sister Moon, Sting
  • Sisters of the Moon, Fleetwood Mac
  • Tea-House Moon, Enya
  • Under a Violent Moon, Blackmore's Night
(And I confess I’m astonished to discover we don’t have Ozzy’s Bark at the Moon album in our collection.)

What's on your list?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2011 Census

I saw this cute census me!me! on someone else's blog and thought it would be fun to play along. What a trip down memory lane! I guess I never really looked back and processed how much can change over 10 years.

The original me!me! I saw started in 2011 and went backwards, but being the rebel that I am, I went chronologically. (That is not an easy word to type.)

1961 – I wasn’t even a glimmer in my dad’s eye yet, but in five years my sisters would be mildly disappointed at what they got instead of a pony.

1971 – I was five. We lived on New Cumberland Army Depot in Pennsylvania, and I went to kindergarten, which involved walking down what seemed like a really long neighborhood street to get to the bus stop. It was probably only a block. I shared a room with my sister Donna, and would sit at the end of my bed after I was supposed to be asleep and read Bobbsey Twins books by the light of the hallway through the half-open door. Sesame Street was on at 3 p.m. weekdays, we went boating/waterskiing on the river every weekend in the summer (or so it seemed), my grandmother fed me Bugles, and life was pretty idyllic.

1981 – Ah, teenage years and the Eighties! I was 15, ending my freshman and starting my sophomore year of high school in upstate NY. Styx put out Paradise Theatre and we sang “Too Much Time On My Hands” on the bus to track meets…although I never participated in a meet, because I severely sprained my left ankle practicing the long jump, and that ankle has never been the same. I wrote 40-page letters to my best friend Sarah every few weeks, receiving the same from her. I was also writing some novel or another. The following year, on my 16th birthday, I would receive my first-ever rejection slip for a short story from Seventeen and think “I’m a real writer now!”

1991 – What a difference 10 years makes! I was 25 and married to my first husband, and that January we moved from upstate New York to the Bay Area. We adopted our first cat, Porthos. I went to three Styx concerts and thought it was a lot (hah!), and a couple of Damn Yankees concerts. I had a couple of freelance gigs with local weekly newspapers and worked a temp job or two before getting a part-time job as an assistant to a guy who handled magazine distribution in the area; he let me play on this new Internet thingie and on Prodigy, I found other Styx fans (!). I finally found the SCA, although I would make it to only one event (in January 1992) before we moved again. I finished my novel Fantasy in late 1990, and in early 1991 got an agent who was shopping it around.

2001 – Damn, talk about life changes. I was 35. I’d married Ken, given up a pretty damn good job as a production editor, and moved to Wales. We were living in our third house there, in fact, with three cats (Eostre and her kittens Grimoire and Eclipse). I was at the Celtic Manor Hotel for a spa day with a friend (our birthday present to her) on 9/11; Ken had flown home from the US the day before. I got chicken pox (Ken brought them with him—thanks, honey). I finished up my tenure as Kingdom Chronicler, founded the Incipient Shire of Mynydd Gwyn, and stewarded at least one event. I flew back to the US to visit Sarah and see my 15th and 16th Styx concerts, and also saw Blackmore’s Night in Cardiff. I finished writing Waking the Witch.

2011 – I’ll turn 45 next month, and I’m kind of looking forward to it. I’m working out, have changed my eating habits, and am overall trying to focus on my health and self. I’m living in southern California with Ken and 4.2 cats (two indoor cats, Eostre and Grimoire; two outside cats, Teddy Boy and Zip; and one cat, Mr. Churchill, who lives with our tenant but we pay for his food, care, etc.). We own a 100-year-old Craftsman-style bungalow and I know more about Victorian and Arts-and-Crafts decorating than I ever thought I would. I’m Kingdom Chronicler again (albeit for a different Kingdom). I hit Styx show #109 this year (so far), the band knows my name, and I’ve hung out drinking with some of the crew. I’ve had two novel sales and seen publication of more than 100 short stories (holy moly!), and I’m working full-time at this gig (although still not actually making a living at it…yet!).

Monday, March 14, 2011

The derriere dilemma

Can you judge a book by its cover? Well, it’s far from an exact science, but a good cover can entice you to pick up a book by someone you haven’t heard of before, and a bad cover (whether one that misrepresents the book or one that is just poorly designed) can turn you away without giving the text a chance.

Even though e-books don’t have physical covers, a cover image is important when you’re browsing on Amazon or B&N or wherever. So Soul’s Road Press and I design covers for all of the short stories and novellas I’m selling, and we try to be as eye-catching as possible.

I had no idea designing covers was so much fun! and I think we’re doing a reasonable job at it. One of the challenges is that the stories we’ve been putting up so far are of the erotica/erotic romance type (don’t worry, SF/fantasy and romance fans, those stories will come!), and we have to find images that are spicy without being crude—along with being appropriate to the individual story.

So when we were ready to publish “Artistic License,” about an Italian statue come to life (or is it just a smoking hot dream?), we found a great statue image.

Here’s the first cover we put up:

But then we got a little notice from Smashwords:

Although your cover image is tasteful, some of our retailers are super-sensitive to nudity. Please consider uploading a new image where his derriere is covered up a bit.”

The use of “derriere” made me laugh and laugh. (That and the fact that I’m pretty sure the derriere in question belongs to a female.)

Anyway, we went back to the drawing board, and you know what? I think the second cover is even better!

(We love feedback on our covers, so feel free to check ‘em all out at Soul’s Road Press and let us know what you think!)

And if you'd like to read "Artistic License," it's available for 99¢ as these fine venues: