Friday, December 30, 2011

Have you hugged your blog today?

How important is your blog? Do you keep a backup of your posts? Would you mourn the loss of all your content?

I think some of my best (and some not-so-best) writing resides in my blog posts. In fact, I often review some older posts for inspiration.

This is why I decided to back up my entire blog using the settings tab on blogger. It took only a few seconds and the result was an xml file but all the posts were there, with the html code.

This is a good thing. Not only will you have a complete blog backup, you'll also have the files you need should you (gasp) decide to move your blog to another format or site.

Hug your blog. Embrace it. Keep it. Export it frequently.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011


Can one be "more" doubtful? Is doubt, like the word unique, so emphatic that it can't (or shouldn't) be modified, embellished, or increased in value?

I guess it doesn't matter. What's more important is how the word applies to you (and me) as a writer.

Once I put the finishing touches on The Mine, a different kind of thriller, I set it aside for years. It had been gone over by an editor who enthusiastically recommended some changes and polishing, which I attended to -- before storing it on a floppy disk, a CD, and a backup drive. Storage and backup had nothing to do with doubt, understand. I just didn't want to face the arduous task of looking for an agent. Something to do with rejection, I'm sure.

As I began working on other projects, I allowed this manuscript to linger until finally, I decided to put it in eBook format.

It was well after submitting the work in kindle and smashwords format that the doubt set in. Was it good enough? Would anyone buy it? Did I have what it takes to promote the book myself? Was it priced right?

Months and months later, I decided to look for answers to some of these questions, and to do that, I pulled up my final draft and read the novel again.

I think overall it's good enough. In fact, it's pretty darn good -- except. I think it starts too slowly. After the prolog, the pace could use a little help. However, about half way through, the plot gets more involved and eventually, it turns into a rather exciting finish. People have purchased it, although not as many as I'd like. As for self-promotion, I'm working on that. But, even at the bargain price of $2.99, only one person reviewed the book on Amazon.

I hate to tell you how I feel about my second novel, the start of a detective series, but I will. It, too, starts slowly.  I think the twists and turns of the plot are good enough and the ending is great, if I say so myself.

I'm just wondering ... how does doubt fit into your work? Do you ever wish you could have a do-over? More importantly, do you make amends for your doubts in your next work?

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ten best science fiction/fantasy books of the decade

More than a month ago, I took some of my Las Vegas bookstore owner friends to task to name the top ten books in specific genre. The challenge was not just the number – ten and only ten – but also the time frame, the last decade, 2000 to 2010. Oh, and the books had to be printed on paper.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Despite the fact that my work is electronic, I figured people in the business of selling and trading books in brick and mortar stores should stick to that format.

The first person to respond to the request was Ann DeVere, owner for seventeen years of Plaza Books. Her customers might try to stump her but they know better. Ann’s familiarity of this genre goes beyond extensive. (I believe she’s read every one of the thousands of titles on her shelves.)

Here then is Ann’s list submission.
There have been many excellent SF/Fantasy novels published since 2000. The list below is not an order of preference since all can be considered outstanding examples of the genre.
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi -- Some of the best science fiction writing since early Heinlein. Read them all.
The Traveler (The Fourth Realm Trilogy, Book 1) by John Twelve Hawks -- This dystopian novel, beautifully written, will really creep you out. Just because you’re paranoid …
The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 1) by Patrick Rothfuss  --One of the best new fantasy series around.
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi -- A Fantasy thriller, winner of the Hugo Award in 2010
The Final Empire (Mistborn Series, Vol. 1) by Brandon Sanderson -- The unusual premise of the series makes it well worth reading. His stand alone novel, Elantris, is also great.
The Blade Itself (The First Law, Book 1) by Joe Abercrombie -- Violence, bloody battle scenes and extremely compelling story. The whole series is great.
Faith of the Fallen (The Sword of Truth, Book 6) by Terry Goodkind -- Okay, I’m cheating. Start with the first one in the series, Wizard’s First Rule (1996)
The Way of Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy, Book 1) by Brent Weeks  -- Another good  fantasy trilogy
Fool’s Errand (Tawny Man Trilogy, Book 1) by Robin Hobb -- Continuation of the Farseer Trilogy. Another cheat. Start with Assassin’s Apprentice (1995)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy, Book 1) by N.K. Jemisin -- Author’s first novel, Hugo nominee, 2011.
So sue me for leaving out Robert Jordan’s epic. I never read the second book. Same with George R.R. Martin’s series, Game of Thrones. I may revisit them at a later date, but so many books, so little time….
Don't sue me, either. Just leave a comment. And if you prefer electronic sf/fantasy, submit your own list.