Thursday, June 23, 2011

Site Feedback, Anyone?

Hey Yall!
I maintain my own, very informal, free Roadrunner web site. It has no whiz-bang or flash, but I've been updating it the last few weeks to standardize the links, improve the look of the blurbs for each novel, and have added missing excerpts.

If you have a moment to give it a quick visit, let me know what you think? I'd appreciate any and all feedback.
(I already know it doesn't display correctly in Chrome, and I have no idea why. So if it looks broken in a browser other than IE, I've decided not to worry about it.)

Working on novel number nineteen!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Redundant Rejections

Is it just me, or do you get redundant rejections from the same agent/agency?

Do they hate my work so much they just have to reject it a second time?

It may be a good thing multiple readers from the same agency look at my query.

Should I be doing something to ENSURE redundant reviews occur more often?

Working on novel number nineteen!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Fourth Self-Published Read

I'm three-quarters through my fourth self-published novel, and I see a strict trend, one that isn't too unexpected, but which should be avoidable.

Every day I come nearer the decision to self-e-publish, but I don't want others to find the myriad examples of poor editing in my writing as I've found in these.

I'm convinced a single beta reader would have caught a lot of the errors I'm finding. I'm not expecting to make boo coos of money self-publishing, so I'm not interested in spending much for editing.

The first self-published novel I read of a peer's, he admitted to spending less than four-hundred bucks on his editing. I told him, "I could tell." He had good bones, but the fleshing out left wants. A good editor doesn't come cheap.
It's a given writers struggle to see their own errors, even if they are otherwise excellent editors. I believe I am an extraordinary editor but admit my wife can find plenty of typos in a piece of mine I've edited five times.
With so many of us writers, why aren't we leveraging each other's skill?

If you're a novelist interested in tit-for-tat editing, give me an e-mail. (I write lighter SF/F/Paranormal.) Maybe we can help each other publish better novels.

Working on novel number nineteen!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bubba and the Dead Woman – C.L. Bevill (2010)

This self-published story reminded me of my seventh grade reading of Twain and O.Henry, which significantly influenced my becoming a life-long reader. Ms. Bevill represents those authors who should be making a living in the traditional publishing industry, if story mattered more than a name.
Bevill's voice and characterization was charming and amusing. However, I'm from Texas. Texans don't consider themselves "Southern." They are Texans and dang proud of it. So all the southern and civil war references were…I don't wish to be rude. I'm a polite Texan. Ms. Bevill would have been wise to set this story outside Atlanta, not Dallas.
Bigger Picture/Mac's Ranting
Dead Woman is the kind of story that should be on store book shelves. If the industry wasn't so skewed to living off cash cows (previously published authors, regardless of the quality of their latest work) Ms. Bevill would have gone through the professional edit process, and this piece would have been clean of the many errors strewn within its pages, which frequently induced me to close the book. As with many early works where the unpolished author gets in a hurry to tie things up, the back-end of the novel was lacking in the earlier voice and detail, and fell into a drudging narration. Alas, if this had received the appropriate editing, it could be a classic for every library.
This work epitomizes why I haven't personally self-published yet. I want my best to hit the market, and without trained professionals supporting an author for editing, cover design and the myriad of skill-sets that go with the publishing business, despite a good story, the rough edges leave a poor impression.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

After a Week with my Cruz Tablet

I upgraded to Android 2.2 the other day, and all of the glitchiness I first experienced with my tablet has gone away. The device exceeds all of my expectations, and the reading experience is far more enjoyable--more than holding a clunky book and turning pages. One tap on the margin, and I am instantaneously on the next page.

It is nice not to have to worry about the level of light cast over my shoulder. Amazing how comfortable it is, modifying the intensity from the Cruz based on my ambient lighting. The brighter the room, the dimmer the room, I simply match the display, and it is so much more comfortable for my old eyes.

I could recommend only one improvement: The tablet automatically adjust to the ambient lighting. Oh. That would be perfect.

Working on novel number nineteen!

My Writing Career Thus Far

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mac Rants About Plot and Structure

Plot is about context and balance. I love Janet Evanovich. But I don't read Janet because of her plots. It's her characters, humor, twist of words, and ridiculous situations which enable me to plow through her novels in one sitting. But if a novel is propped up to be "realistic," and premise after premise is simply plain stupid, then all the great characters and use of language isn't going to make it a good read.

The writer must keep all of the elements of fiction in mind, balance their needs to the genre, mood and voice. The realism of plot must fit a drama, while it may take a back seat in slapstick and light paranormal.

It doesn't bother me at all if Evanovich is all over the place. But if Sandra Brown's characters or plot wander, I close the book and find another.

Characters, scenes, dialogue and description don't all have to be exquisite, as long as on balance, there is enough there to carry the reader from plot point to plot point.

So I rant, you pansters out there, take care your plot and structure has purpose.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Cruz Tablet

I'm excited about my first technology purchase in ages. Taking the full-time-writing plunge, and quitting the day job has meant not buying a lot of man-toys the last couple of years. I told Dina I would buy a Kindle when they dropped below $75. They aren't quite there, but Dina says she's going to buy herself a Kindle for Christmas. So we'll have both a tablet and a reader. Woohoo.

I won't say my Cruz rocks. It more like crawls, but since I'm going to use it more as a reader than a tablet, that's cool. (My brother's IPad croaked on him. So was spending an extra $400 worth it?) I purchased my Cruz at RadioShack on sale for $149. I'm cheap. Got more functionality for my money, and I'm satisfied with the speed/slow.

I read inside, never sit at a pool, so I love the TFT. I can read in bed with the nightstand light off. Dina loves that.

I've got my music.

Alas, it's twice as heavy as the Kindle, but I'm a manly man. I can handle it.

Alas-deux, haven't figured out if there's a way to transfer the books I have on my computer's Kindle app to my Cruz. Gotta be a way.

Alas-trois, the buy-with-one-click is glitchy. It frequently get's hung up on an unnecessary sign-in screen.

Other than that, I love not holding back the wings of a book, and taking care to slide a marker to keep my place when I fall asleep on the couch.