Monday, December 5, 2016

Not quite human

Have you ever had anyone look at you like you were an alien from another planet?

And I know I shouldn't complain, not really. I'm white, and cis, and so I've never had hate speech tossed at me. I've never had to fear for my life. And on top of that, I have people who love me. In a lot of ways, I'm really lucky.

But there's a look, people get sometimes. It's not the same as the "oh, she's so quirky" look, or even the "you poor awkward thing, why did anyone let you out of the house?" look. The latter makes it clear they're slightly charmed, and the latter inevitably falls somewhere between amusement and pity.

No, the "alien" look is far more clinical, as if you're being genuinely studied. It's worse than an insult, sometimes, because the person honestly looks they have no idea what on earth you're doing standing in front of them. It's a look that says, at least to them, you don't quite pass as being human. And because they never actually say the words, you can't even fight it.

It burns. And it scars. Because no matter how many people are kind to you, who look at you and see nothing wrong, there is a part of you that will always remember that, in some people's eyes, you don't count.

To anyone who has ever looked at anyone like that, whether it's because of their race, their faith, their gender, their sexual preference, or the fact that they're the quiet kid in the back of the class who smells kind of funny, don't you dare think that you're any better than those people who hurl insults at them or try to hurt them. Don't you dare think your silence buys you any kind of civility, or that your thoughts don't condemn you just as thoroughly as your words would. Because you cut them just as thoroughly, your brothers and sisters who are just as human as you are (and how dare you even for a second think otherwise) and you should be just as damned for it. You are the reason the world is broken.

And if you've ever been looked at like that, by anyone, please know that they're wrong. The fact that they can't see you correctly is their failing, not yours, and I wish I could be there to punch all of them in the face for daring to be dismissive of your magnificence. Because you are magnificent. You are precious, you are beautiful, you are amazing, and whoever you are I know this to the very depths of my soul. I pray that each and every one of you find someone who looks at you and sees the wonder that you are, because you deserve it.

Friday, December 2, 2016

"Dreamless" fancast vol. 2 - starring Cate Blanchett, Patrick Stewart and Jeremy Irons

Back for more "Dreamless" fancasts, and this time we're taking on the book's main villain and some of the more colorful supporting cast.

Ariadne - Cate Blanchett

In my mind, Blanchett is the only choice for Elena's aunt, who needs to be so many things throughout the course of the story - loyal, loving, jealous, angry, passionate, heartbroken, penitent, cold, hopeful.... Not only does Blanchett have the range to handle all that and more, but she exudes the kind of poise and power Ariadne would have needed to have at the top of her game. Also, she actually looks like she could be related to Elena and Queen Illiana, which is always a nice touch.

Dr. Flyte - Patrick Stewart

I imagine this would be a voice acting gig, though it's possible the CGI team could use Stewart's features to make the suggestion of the good doctor's face in the surface of the magic mirror. I'd want Stewart for the gig because he could handle both the doctor's humor and more clinical side equally well, along with the caretaker-style warmth he feels for Elena. Also, his voice is rich and varied enough that it can make up for the fact that, as a magical mirror-turned-therapist, the character doesn't have any limbs or really defined facial features to act with.

Braeth - Jeremy Irons

Another voice role, this time for an undead wraith who also happens to be another old family friend of Elena's. Irons is perfect because he can inject so much disdain and sarcasm into his voice while still keeping it wonderfully cultured, which is just what I'd expect from someone who has hundreds of years of knowledge and experience on everyone he talks to. At the same time, he can also sound gentle, which is important because undead wraiths still know how to care about people. I might modify Irons voice a little to give it more of an echo, though - I'm not entirely certain Braeth has a mouth or vocal chords as we recognize them.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Update on short story collection!

So I promised you more on the short story collection, and here it is. It's called "Once Upon A Tale," will only be available in e-book format, and will ALSO only be available on the Tapas app. For those of you who don't know it, the app is available for both iPhones/iPads/etc and Android devices and lets you read ebooks and comics an "episode" (aka a smaller chunk of the overall book/story) at a time. You can either pay by episode, or earn points to get the next episodes completely free. More info about the app is available online here.

Now, about the collection. As I said before, there are four stories, two of which are connected to "Fairy Godmothers, Inc." and two of which are connected to "Beast Charming." Though some of my early, faithful readers may have seen early versions of one story and the beginning of the second, everything has been considerably expanded/rewritten and the experience is entirely new.

A breakdown:

"Uninvited Guests" (Beast Charming)
Beauty wakes up in a bed meant for another sleeping beauty. Now she has to find the poor enchanted girl her father hid somewhere and figure out how to save the day.

"Some Assembly Required" (Fairy Godmothers, Inc.)
On her current assignment, Kate tries to help a zombie girl find her happily-ever-after. Things get complicated when someone far more monstrous shows up.

"Belief" (Beast Charming)
Take a peek into Waverly and Manny's pasts, where the duo runs afoul of an enchanted ring and a ghost who really doesn't understand the whole business of being a conman.

"Happily Ever After" (Fairy Godmothers, Inc.)
Set after the novel. Rellie takes on her very first Fairy Godmother assignment when a toad shows up at the castle to insist on his very own dose of romantic magic.

A sneak peek is going up on Tapas TODAY, and the entire thing will be available next Tuesday. If you have any questions, let me know.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Local Authors and You event

I'll be signing books at this, as well as teaching a workshop on how to get started on all those fantastic novel ideas many of you have burning inside your heads. If you're in town, I'd love to see you there!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Update and exclusive!!!

As you may have heard, it turns out that Jolly Fish has been sold rather than shut down completely. What this means is that "Fairy Godmothers, Inc.," "Beast Charming" and "Dreamless" will live on, though they'll now be published by North Star Editions. North Star, for those of you who don't know, also owns the Flux imprint, which was the first home for author Maggie Steifvater (of "The Raven Boys" fame).

In the meantime, feel free to get excited about my brand-new e-book short story collection, "Once Upon A Tale," exclusive to the Tapas reading app. The collection includes brand-new short stories featuring characters from both "Fairy Godmothers, Inc." and "Beast Charming," including a short-story sequel to "Fairy Godmothers, Inc." It's being put together at the moment, and I'll let everyone know the second I have more details.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Jolly Fish may be dead, but I'm not

So, as you guys may have heard, there’s no more Jolly Fish Press. Which means that, as of Oct. 31, there will be no more copies of the Jolly Fish Press version of any of my three novels.

The good thing about this is that, when that happens, the rights to everything revert back to me. The bad thing is that it’ll take a little scrambling to get the books available again once Jolly Fish finishes imploding, since I’ll have to find new covers for everything. E-books will come up fastest, but physical copies are going to take a little more time.

If there are any graphic artists out there who want to talk to me about new covers, I’d LOVE to hear from you. Otherwise, feel free to e-mail me at with any questions you might have. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

So You Want to Rule the World: : Writing the Perfect Villainous Note

At some point in whatever evil plot you have brewing at the moment, you may be tempted to compose some sort of threatening missive for either your heroic arch-nemesis or a government of some kind. Done correctly, these notes can be particularly chilling, and will help spread the word about your evil. 

Done wrong, however, they can make you a laughing stock of everyone from nearby villains to the local news media. A misspelled threat can turn you from a credible enemy to an Internet meme in moments, at which point the only solution is a complete costume/theme change and a year-long hiatus so that everyone can forget who you are.

In order to make certain that doesn’t happen to you, it’s imperative you follow these handy guidelines.

1. Examine your reasoning

First, be honest with yourself. Do you really need to write the note at all? I understand wanting to, of course – part of the reason we got into this business in the first place is because we love an audience – but in some cases your crimes should speak for themselves. Which will the media take more seriously – a written taunt, or freezing an entire bank (after you’ve made off with everything of value inside, of course)?

Be particularly careful when writing notes to heroes. Yes, threatening them can be entertaining, but saying too much can also give away vital details of your plan. A villainous monologue can be dangerous, whether on paper or out loud, and you don’t want the authorities to get wind of your plan until it’s too late for them to stop it. Remember, signing your work is just as much fun after it’s already happened.

The one exception where you should always write a note is if you’ve captured their family member/sidekick/love interest/friend. The entire reason you kidnapped that person in particular is to watch the hero’s pain, and the entire thing will be pointless if he or she is too busy fumbling around somewhere else looking for clues. There’s nothing that kills a villainous buzz more than a clueless hero.

2. Consider your medium

The key to a successful villainous note is drama. Handwriting is for shopping lists, not villainy, and letters cut out of magazines are meant for criminals far more common than you are. The only time paper should be involved at all is if the note is written in blood, and even then it would be more effective scaled up to a wall in the target’s home or private sanctum. It doesn’t even have to be the blood of someone particularly special – unless they have a forensic lab, or have special super-sniffing powers, they won’t be able to tell.

Unless blood is involved, scale up even further whenever possible. Outside walls are better than inner walls, so more people can see the note, and surfaces that are harder to clean/paint over are preferable. Burning can be fun, whether it’s fire or a laser beam of some kind, though more traditional kinds of carving can often take too long to be efficient.

Note: Don’t scale up too high unless your target/nemesis can fly or has regular access to some sort of jet. There’s no point in burning letters big enough to be seen from space if the person who’s meant to read them can’t make it up that high.

3. Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck

In some ways, this is the most important thing you can do. There’s nothing that robs a threatening note of all its horror than spelling a word wrong, or using a word that’s technically spelled correctly but is used in the wrong context. Since spellcheck and grammar check aren’t an option on your final work – why type when you can carve the words into the side of a mountain with a laser – write it out in advance and copy from there. If you make a mistake in the transfer, turn whatever you were writing on to rubble and start over again on another building or landmark.