Friday, March 29, 2013

Spec Fic Writers 101: in which I talk pacing

Matt Gilliard of 52 Book Reviews has been running a nifty blog series called Spec Fic Writers 101, in which he's invited various SFF authors to discuss the nuts and bolts of writing craft.  I was delighted to be asked to take part (thanks to Stina Leicht for suggesting me, and Matt for the invitation!).  Today's my turn on the stage, and I chose to discuss pacing: one of the most important things to get right in a novel, and yet one of the most difficult areas to evaluate in your own writing.  Addressing the issue of pacing was what helped me take The Whitefire Crossing to publishable level.  So come on over and benefit from my hard-earned lessons, as I share all my best tips, tricks, and examples.

I also heartily recommend the other posts in the series, all chock-full of great advice:
Spec Fic 101: Prose with Myke Cole
Spec Fic 101: Characters with Stina Leicht
Spec Fic 101: Plotting with Michael J. Sullivan
Spec Fic 101: Worldbuilding with Ken Scholes
Spec Fic 101: Research with Teresa Frohock

Thursday, March 28, 2013

BookSworn Masked Ball Reveal, and SF Signal Mind Meld

Two quick things:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Tainted City takes the ring in BookSpotCentral's 7th annual book tournament

BookSpotCentral holds a fun little tournament every spring in which the editors compile their picks for the 64 best SFF books of the prior year, and then face them off in pairs.  Blog readers vote to determine the winner, which then advances to the next round and faces off with another champion.  This year I was delighted to find out that The Tainted City is among the contenders - truly, it's an honor to be nominated!  I'm up against a real heavyweight, though: NYT bestseller Brent Weeks's The Blinding Knife.  So please, go vote for me, so The Tainted City can face only crushing defeat instead of utter annihilation!  :D

In other news, all of the character masques are now live at BookSworn.  You've got until midnight US Eastern time on Monday Mar 25 to send us your guesses as to the characters, so head on over for your chance to win a whole pile of awesome books!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thursday Adventure: Dachstein Alps, Austria

Looking at the snowy peaks of the Rockies on my commute to work inspired me to show off some nice glaciated mountain pictures for this Thursday's adventure.  And if you want to see glaciated peaks, what better place than the Alps?  (At least for now.  I hear the glaciers are shrinking fast in Europe, just as they are everywhere else.  Famous climbs like the Eiger are becoming more and more dangerous, as the ice melts to leave friable rock that all too easily shatters and falls.)  

On our trip to Austria back in 2005, my husband and I hiked many beautiful mountains, but my favorite spot was the Dachstein massif.  Craggy, glaciated peaks with ice caves in their upper reaches, and abundant wildflowers covering the verdant meadows at their base, the Dachstein Alps are a hiker's paradise.  A climber's paradise, too, as they are home to some of Austria's most difficult klettersteig routes.  We had our sights set on the infamous Johann Klettersteig, but upon arrival in Ramsau, we found a storm had left a treacherous combination of verglas ice and deep snow coating the rock of the upper mountain.  We hadn't brought any crampons, hand axes, and other technical gear required for safe climbing in icy conditions.  So instead of attempting any summits, we trekked over the glacier and around the peak of the Hoher Dachstein, scrambling over ridges while wistfully admiring the other, better-prepared climbers.  Next time we visit, we hope to join them!

The Dachstein Massif, viewed from our hotel in Ramsau
The Dachstein Gletscherbahn gives access to the upper mountain for climbers and skiers.  (You can ski all year long on the glacier.)
Robert trekking on the glacier; the remnants of stormclouds still shroud the peaks
Sinuous curves on the glacier

The Hoher Dachstein appears at last from the mist
Climbers on the start of the klettersteig route up the Hoher Dachstein
Robert on the ridge beside the Hoher Dachstein
Climbers high on the route
Stark but beautiful scenery as the storm clears out
Climbers near the summit
Looking down from the ridge, at the village and meadows far below
Robert at the base of the Hoher Dachstein

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

BookSworn Launch Celebration

Last week was pretty epic, and not in a good way.  Two massive day job deadlines, a nasty cold, and other associated difficulties made for a grueling couple of days that I'm very, very glad to put behind me.  Fortunately, the times they are a-changing, and today is epic in all the best sense of the word.  Why?  Well, for a few months now, I and a gang of fellow fantasy authors have been making plans and hammering out details for a brand-new author collective called BookSworn - and today, we go live!

(What is an author collective, you ask?  At the most basic, it's a way for us to gang up for joint promo efforts, which I've found are more fun not only for authors but for readers, too.  Just look at the parties those of us from Night Shade have held at WorldCon the past 2 years, haha.  Our other goal is to foster a community, not only among the authors participating, but fantasy readers who visit the site.  When I ran the Night Bazaar blog back in 2011, one of my favorite parts was the community aspect, and I'm hoping to expand upon that here.) 

The Book Sworn
To celebrate our launch, we're having a fun "masked ball" contest: all this week, we'll be posting snippets from our novels that describe an unnamed character; guess the character right, and you'll be entered to win a whopper of a prize: signed novels from 15 of us.  The first masked ball post is up, so head on over and check us out!  (Hint: it's pretty easy to enter even if you've never read the other folks' books and haven't a clue.  Google search is your friend. :) 

So yeah, I'm pretty excited to see BookSworn launch at last, and hoping it'll be a success for all.  And in other "cool things on the internet" news, here are 2 other posts I want to share:

And now, for the rest of my lunch hour, I will go WRITE.  For the first time in almost 2 weeks!  (My day job ate my time and my brain so thoroughly during that time that I didn't manage a single sentence.  Which I hated.)  I'm so, so glad to get back to Labyrinth of Flame...Dev and Kiran were in an awfully sticky spot when I last left them. :)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Interesting Things on the Internet

I'm laying low this week and next due to massive day job deadlines. Love the day job, but there are occasionally weeks that put all the stress of the publishing industry to shame.  To survive, I slouch about muttering NIN lyrics and reminding myself that this is why they pay engineers the big bucks.  So, no deep thoughts or even cool pictures this week.  (Haha, I know, as if I ever have the time and/or brainpower to write deep thinky blog posts.  But you know.  Hope springs eternal.)  Instead, I shall share a few interesting things I've stumbled over in the past week while procrastinating taking brain breaks.  Because other people *do* have time to write deep thinky blog posts, thank goodness!

Oh, and The Whitefire Crossing has gotten a few new reviews lately - nice to see people are still discovering the book!
  • A review at Worlds Without End for their Women in Genre Fiction Month (check out all the other reviews of female-authored fantasy! Loads of excellent new books to discover.)
  • A review at the blog Adventures in Vanaheim
  • I'd rather have a detailed, thought-provoking mixed review than a super-short glowing one any day of the week. (Unless the super-short one is from an editor saying, "I want to buy your next 10 books," haha!)  As proof, I offer you this review at Ladybusiness, which is probably the longest and most conflicted review that Whitefire will ever get.  Also, it has hilarious gifs. Seriously, I love this reviewer for taking the time to discuss the book in such detail, both good and bad!  

Friday, March 1, 2013

Thursday Adventure: Third Recess, Sierra Nevada

Two words: norovirus sucks. I'm writing this post at 3am in between praying to the porcelain goddess (oh please don't let my husband and son get this too!).  But since looking at pretty pictures of mountains helps me feel better, here are a few of one of my favorite spots in the Sierra Nevada: Third Recess, a canyon in the Mono Lakes area.  Last year I did a Thursday Adventure post about Fourth Recess Lake, in the next canyon over, and Fourth Recess is lovely too - but Third Recess is my favorite, because it doesn't have a trail and therefore sees very few visitors.  Wish I was there right now, without any norovirus.

Third Recess Canyon.  You can scramble up that slope behind the lake to a higher cirque and then make a few 3rd and 4th class ascents of various peaks.  
The lake is gorgeous - a deep blue-green and perfectly clear.  For some reason you never get the same shade of blue in Colorado lakes.
My husband Robert, enjoying the view.  We were the only people in the canyon.

Ruby Lake and a variety of peaks, seen from the trail over 12,000 foot Mono Pass
View from near the Mosquito Flat trailhead, after hiking out.  This is the highest trailhead in the Sierra, at  10.300 feet.