Six Sentence Sunday!

It’s been a great week with the release of “Heroes Without, Monsters Within”, the superpowered sequel to “Blaze of Glory”!

 Come on and take a look inside!

******

“How can I have you out there with us, knowing you could get hurt again? This time you got lucky, but the next time, oh God.” I pressed my hands over my face, every word tearing at my heart. “I can’t lose you. I can’t go through this again, losing someone close to me. I can’t.”

******

I hope you’ll keep on coming back for more superhero drama as the Protectors continue to remake their own world and deal with the consequences of their actions!

 

Available at Amazon, B&N and Samhain Publishing!

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Just… read.

Not too long ago I was standing in my local Barnes & Noble and overheard a conversation between two women.

Note: This is what authors do. We eavesdrop at every opportunity. We will listen to your cell phone conversations if you stand behind us at Starbucks and brag about your hot boyfriend; we will listen to you prattle to your BFF about the price of suntanning. We may not be scribbling notes down in a journal but we are listening to every word, every phrase and every mangled theory. It’s what we do.

Anyway these two women began an indepth analysis of what people liked which genres. It went something like this:

W1: “You know, Pam reads those.”

*gestures to mile-high Harlequin display*

“I wish she’d read something real. Like this.”

*holds out mystery novel*

W2: “Well, she only graduated high school. What do you expect?”

Insert me standing nearby and about to burst into flames.

It never ceases to amaze me when people judge you by what you read. If you read *this* you must be *this* and so forth. If you’re a romance reader you’re obviously a spinster looking for twu luv and living with fifty cats. If you read mysteries you’re a failed Holmes working on those New York Time crossword puzzles in pen. If you read science fiction you’re one of those weird people who dress up in Star Trek garb and play WoW while waiting for mom to bring you more Hot Pockets.

And if you read “Twilight”…. well, there’s no hope for you. None at all.

*sighs*

I never judge anyone by what they read as long as they’re reading. There is nothing more thrilling than seeing kids running amok in a bookstore with an armful of books, faces bright with anticipation of the marvellous journey they’re about to undertake as soon as they get home. A few weeks ago my hubby and I were in our local comic book/gaming store and a family came in. Father walks up to the counter and says “We’re looking for my son’s first comic book.” and asks for recommendations.

I felt like I was at a coronation. Welcome to the wonderful world of reading, child. Comic books, Harry Potter, Twilight, Nora Roberts, whatever – welcome. Pull up a chair and sit awhile.

You’re never going to want to leave.

Now if we could all just get along and not snark at anyone’s reading habits… wouldn’t that a be wonderful thing?

Just a thought.

*****

BTW, my giveaway for “Heroes Without, Monsters Within” ends tomorrow night at midnight! Drop down a post and comment for a chance to win copies of “Blaze of Glory” & “Heroes”!

Welcome to 2011 Blatherings!

It’s been a while since I posted here and for that I should apologize – but, frankly, I’m one of those people that don’t really feel that posting nothing every day is a Good Thing. While there’s been things going on here and there I didn’t think it was worth wasting the bandwidth for bits and pieces that could be better combined into a decent fat post.

That’s me, saving the bandwidth.

XD

Anyway, bits and pieces as follows…

2010 = buh-bye. Good bye gall bladder, herniated back disc and root canal on the 23rd of December. Thanks for “Blaze of Glory” and “Wild Cards and Iron Horses”! Had an excellent year writing and looking forward to a good 2011 although I can’t promise two books a year, thank you very much!

Interesting links:

Toad’s Corner reviews “Blaze of Glory” 
 
Disclaimer: Nerine edited “What God and Cats Know” for Lyrical Press, so she might be a bit biased. But I still love having her review! If you’re looking for a good review site with plenty of odd books from small presses, check her out.

The Romance Studio review of “Blaze of Glory”

Pretty self-explanatory – but it led to… THIS! Updates to follow but thrilled to be noticed!

Mrs. Giggles, one of the best-known blogger reviewers, chose “Wild Cards and Iron Horses” as one of her best for 2010!

and AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review also liked “Blaze of Glory”… although I think the reviewer thought the book was YA.

And, finally, the current issue of Romantic Times Book Reviews gives three out of five stars to “Blaze of Glory” – no online link up yet but if you see the Feb. issue on your local magazine rack, sneak a peak at page 85. I’m happy!

“Blaze of Glory” is also set for a paperback release of February – as in, less than a month from now. If you’ve been waiting to grab an actual paperback copy. drop on over to your local B&N and snag a copy – or order it off a website!

Amazon and B&N are taking pre-orders right now… right at your fingertips. How I love online shopping! It’s also up onBorders, but frankly you’ll save more on both the ebook version and the print on other sites. Sorry, Borders!

Let’s see…. my views of self-pubbing haven’t changed much, other than to remind me that there are always people ready to take advantage of others to make money. Self pub if you want, but be careful – there are a lot of self-proclaimed prophets and experts ready to take your money and not give you anything back. And the prophets saying that print is dead are definitely shooting smoke out their collective butts since I don’t see it happening within my lifetime. But that’s just me.

This year? Well, right now I’m working on the sequel to “Blaze of Glory” and a short story to sub to a Samhain anthology – but we’ll see where the tide takes us. A year ago I had no idea what was going on and I don’t like to make those sorts of predictions.

XD

Anyway, that’s the blatherings from this old dragon – best of the new year to you all and hope to chat soon!

Change isn’t always good…

A few dribbles and drabbles in the heat…

They’re changing Wonder Woman’s costume. Again. And her origin story.

Not happy.

I’ve noticed this trend happening in comic books a lot, and the Wookie agrees – a new writer, usually a Big Name, gets onto a title and decides that he just HAS to put his Mark on It for All Time. So we work up the costume, kill off a few beloved characters and/or change the origin story because, well, we have to.

I like Wonder Woman’s Origin story. I like Steve Trevor.I *love* Nathan Fillion doing the VOICE of Steve Trevor. And, yes, you can bring the origin story up to present day without sacrificing a whole lot of integrity, as this animated movie shows. So why, for the love of Zeus, are you dumping Diana in the middle of an “urban environment” sans Steve?

Idiots.

I mean, who wasn’t a hopeless romantic on the whole Diana/Steve thing? I never liked the Clark/Diana shippers much… or the Bruce/Diana. Sorry.

😉

Next:

I’ve decided to pull my works off of Smashwords, and by proxy B&N and other venues whenever they get around to updating their files. The sales were awful, to say the least, and considering I don’t get paid out by Smashwords until I reach $10… I won’t be getting any money for years, if that. It was a one-year experiment with short stories that I’d already sold and had the reprint rights for, so nothing lost there. However, I should warn potential self-pub addicts racing to Smashwords not to expect much. After a year none of my works ever appeared on Kindle despite my continued questions – I’m not sure if it’s Amazon being the big green monster or the Smashwords staff not doing the work, but considering that Amazon is a prime ebook market, well… It may be easier to get stories out to different markets using Smashwords, but the only thing that I sold were my free stories. Not that it’s a bad thing and I’m hoping some of those sales translated into sales for my actual novels, but can’t say much good about the year-long experience. That’s just my story, YMMV.

Along the same lines, one self-pub author (’cause I just can’t be a cool kid and say “indie”) recently commented on her blog about how much time she was spending promoting her works and how little time she had left for writing.

Allow me a snerk here.

*snerk*

Folks, don’t get into self-pubbing unless you really know the score. Sure, you may have all the control, yatta yatta yatta, but you have to be your own publicist as well. And yes, that may mean less time for you to write while you run all over the place Tweeting and FBing and whatever to sell your work. That’s part of the deal.

Me, I’d rather let my publisher do that and give them part of the royalties for doing so. The self-pub author may get higher royalties on one hand, but are you ready to run your butt off doing promotion? Most of which, btw, takes money. Not to mention community contacts and professional friendships that you’re unlikely to get being a lone author.

I’d rather just write.

Stay cool, everyone!

We could be heroes…

One of my earliest memories is of running down the narrow hall in our apartment, my blanket tied around my neck and flying out behind me as I leapt into the air, prepared to take flight.

I broke two toes. And didn’t quite get the altitude I planned. At least, that’s what my mother tells me. I think that secretly I did fly and she just wanted to keep me under control.

But I wander…

I think that we’ve all secretly wanted to be superheroes at some point, be it Wonder Woman or Batman or Superman or Black Canary (who, I understand, dresses like a tramp according to Tim Gunn). Why, well… I suspect it all comes down to just wanting to help people who we can’t usually help because we *don’t* have the ability to fly or to lift cars or scream at and break their eardrums.

Oh, sure, there’s the temptation of being a bad guy – thus the attraction to the Joker and to Lex Luthor and who doesn’t want to date the bad guy, like Harley Quinn, right? But eventually we all turn around and head for the good guys, because that’s one of the ways we keep civilization going and all that. And, frankly, after a certain age you know the bad boys are going to STAY bad boys no matter what you do.

Trust me on this.

What inspired me to write “Blaze of Glory” was a bit of love for the entire superhero genre, mixed in with my incredulous watching of professional wrestling and how the fans swear up and down that it’s for REAL, darn it, and nothing is faked. My fertile ‘lil mind took the idea of staged fights and ran with it.

What if you acquired superpowers through an accident and found out that you no longer controlled your life?
What if you were forced to fight other supers in staged battles, the outcome already pre-arranged?
What if you didn’t have a choice – stop fighting and be killed?

and the classic What If…

What If some alien race, watching the transmissions sent out from our Mother Earth, thought this was all for real?

Jo Tanis is a bookstore clerk with nothing more super about her than her ability to make change. But one late-night mugging gives her the power to control the electromagnetic waves around her, turning her into a super. And just like that, she’s thrust into the arms of the Agency that controls the superheroes and villains. Trained and set up with a Guardian who could kill her at any moment, she fights in the Roman Circus on the public stage, battling other villains in arranged battles. It’s not a bad life, not really. Except for the entire lack of freedom of choice and the ever-present threat of termination if she dares step outside of the ring…

Then, one night, she’s watching yet another super fight on the television screen; one of the best doing what he does best – beating up on a bad guy. But it’s not on the schedule…

Well, that’s where things get interesting.

“Blaze of Glory” is now available from Samhain Publishing as well as at Amazon.com and other fine ebookstores everywhere. I hope you’ll consider picking up the ebook or make plans to grab the trade paperback when it comes out in early 2011.

Me, I’m getting my old blanket out of the closet and heading for the roof.

What could possibly go wrong?

Steampunk and Superheroes – why here, why now?

I’ve noticed over the past year or so the rush of readers to both the superhero genre and the steampunk genre – not that the two haven’t been around for decades, but the surge to the forefront of the media is somewhat interesting. I’m going to put forth a few theories as to why I think movies like “Dark Knight” and “Iron Man” have really put us comic geeks into our Happy Place and why steampunk is picking up steam, especially in the romance area.

First, I’m a comic book geek. Used to devour Alpha Flight, West Coast Avengers and everything I could get my hands on. Unlike my hubby, I can’t tell you anything about the artists or the plotlines or anything like that, just that I like comics. And I *loved* Classics Illustrated, which I hear is making a return. I remember being startled by the violence in “Miracleman” and “Watchmen” and suffered through the bad comic book movies that we had for so many years, until “Iron Man”, “Spiderman” and his kin brought comic book movies into the mainstream and out of the back alley, badly-written and under-financed darkness. Suddenly we could go watch “The Fantastic Four” movie with our heads held high and without being mocked by most of our associates. And, Lordy, we got the full Manhattan in “Watchmen”, though I disagreed with them changing the ending.

I think the reading/watching public has rediscovered comic books because it shows a reality much like a soap opera – there’s always something going on, be it someone betraying their friends or having an affair or making The Wrong Choice. I lived for every issue of “Alias” until it went under, a faboo comic about an ex-heroine trying to deal with being famous and then NOT being famous. And who doesn’t love a good story dealing with real people dealing with real issues, like being pregnant and having superpowers? Talk about stressful! But like all the daytime soap operas, it offers up a good story and lets us destress with people who are nothing like us, but are so much like us.

Steampunk, well… I analyse that quickly with one word – civility.

Now, I *know* that the Victorian Era has been greatly magnified in our eyes, especially when it comes to the area of fiction. It was a dark, dank time when you could die in childbirth or before having a few years of life due to a plethora of diseases racing around, or be killed under the wheels of a carriage or chewed up in machinery. Very few lived well, and those that did still died from diseases that we treat as trivial now.

But steampunk… it moves that less-than-glossy time into a new era where men were men and women were women being treated nicely by men while they stood alongside them, making the wheels turn. Where a woman could be just as much of an engineer as a man, but still have the door opened for her as she flourished her latest invention.

Steampunk, basically, lets women be equal without giving up the courtesy that many have forsaken in this current age. You open a door for a woman and it’s almost treated like an event. You help a mother with a stroller to get up onto a bus and you’re stared at like you’ve grown a third eye. You offer to assist a wheelchair-bound person in the Walmart by reaching something on the shelf for her/him and it’s a novelty that has people whispering behind their hands.

Personal manners has declined so much in our current world, it’s sad. It’s a rare time that I see a young person opening a door for a senior; more times than not they intentionally slam it in the person’s face while laughing or texting about it to their buds. And we have an entire generation who seem to think that saying “Thank you” is some sort of anchronism.

Steampunk, well… steampunk reminds us of a kinder, gentler time when being polite and nice wasn’t seen as a personal flaw. Where men opened the doors, women thanked them and children said “please” and “thank you” without any curse words involved.

At least, that’s what I’m thinking right now. It could change, but it’s a start as to why I think these two genres are becoming more common in our society.

Now, how long until that second part of the Castle ep comes on?

😀

Comic books are NOT for kids anymore…

When I was growing up I thrived on comic books. My grandmother would take me over to Nan Rousseau’s, a family friend, and I’d curl up with a stack of comic books from one of her many children and read until my mind exploded and my grandmother had to cart me back out to the car, half asleep. Those were good days.

When I was older I managed to collect a few here and there, but they soon got too expensive for me to keep up with the storylines. As well, I was getting a little frustrated with the depth of the storylines. I mean, I read comics to ESCAPE, not be reminded about how ‘orrible my life is along the way with death and destruction. Watchmen graphic novel nonwithstanding, of course.

And now this.

Right… so now Batgirl, who I darned well loved because Barbara Gordon kicks butt in a wheelchair as Oracle, is now a foul-mouthed little monster? And we’re PRINTING this for who?

This entire thing wouldn’t have come to light except for the fact that they’re recalling all the issues with the situation above because… get this… the black bars to cover the swearing AREN’T THICK ENOUGH TO HIDE THE WORDS!

Yep, folks… we’re hitting the wall hard on this one. We’ll write cursing like a sailor into the story and then black-bar it out as best as we can.

Here’s some of what’s been blacked out. (WARNING: EXTREMELY FOUL LANGUAGE THAT YOU WOULDN’T WANT YOUR MOTHER, BOSS OR BEST FRIEND TO SEE!)

Now, I’ve always had issues with Frank Miller, the supposed GREAT MAN of comics at present. Didn’t like his Dark Knight, didn’t care for his "300", didn’t think much of his Sin City. I think the man has issues. Lots of them.

But he’s obviously getting approval for this sort of silliness from the higher-up at DC. And, obviously, it’s going through.

But wait! There’s more!

Batgirl and Catwoman… naked in a night-club.

Not Miller, thankfully… but I have to wonder who’s the target audience for this sort of stuff. It ain’t me, a grumpy old broad who doesn’t like to be reminded constantly that superheroines have breasts larger that physically possible for them to stand. Are you really targeting the kids, the next generation with this sort of writing and imagery? Really?

I can’t wait, then, for the Tony Stark/Steve Rogers slash to make it to the trade paperbacks, then. Might as well go all the way and push all those buttons, boyos. What’s left now?

And who’s reading it?

rant endeth.

Watchmen… you should be reading/watching for it!

Well, the first trailer for Watchmen is out – and running not only online but also in front of “Dark Knight”, as if you needed a bigger audience to discover/rediscover this masterpiece.

Now, I know that if I say it’s based on a graphic novel that some of you are going to shrug and go “Comic book? I don’t read comic books!” – which is a fine decision based on some of the crap out there that’s being published, to be honest. I love comics dearly but some of the stuff that’s being illustrated nowadays makes me shudder – and not in a good way.

However, I remember when the first issues of Watchmen hit the stands at the Silver Snail on Queen Street West in Toronto, many many years ago. It was incredible to watch the people stripping the racks of every copy and racing to double/triple bag extra copies. It was truly a comic phenom that hasn’t really been duplicated, though many have tried.

Why?

Well, it basically turns the comic book world you may know via Batman and Superman on it’shead. The only thing that I can think of that may come close is the real-world feel of Iron Man as of late; with the movie accentuating his humanity over the cool gadgets. But I digress into a RDJ fangirl swoon…

I later purchased a copy of the graphic novel (here on Amazon, if not on the shelves of your fine local bookstore) and just wallowed in the excellent writing, drawing, extras and just plain old everything. If you’re interested even slightly in writing this is a book you need to get and devour. Each and every panel has so much symbolism and depth to it that it boggles the mind. Even now, decades later, I can pull out my ragged old copy and see more and more that I’ve missed. Not to mention that the alternative reality presented has a new perspective in light of recent events. And no, I’m not talking about more Bush-bashing. That’s gotten very old and I don’t think people realise that it kills a story/movie/comic book when you link it to a specific time in history that will eventually be over. Sort of like reading the stuff being put out during the Cold War and not understanding the perspective the people were writing from. But again, I digress.

From the main story about retired superheroes (some with powers, some not – average joes, as it were) to the bigger story to the epic sidebar of a comic within a comic and the rampant symbolism wrapped up in a beautiful package you can’t afford to not at least look over a copy of the original before the movie comes out. Really.

Get thee hence before the movie comes out and be amazed. You’ll never look at Batman or Superman or Swee… er, Iron Man in the same way again.

🙂