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Welcome to the Hellmaw !

…in which that which has been secret is now partway revealed.
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I’m pleased to be able to announce that my novel OF THE ESSENCE is going to be unleashed upon the world in May 2016, as part of The Ed Greenwood Group’s Hellmaw setting. For more info on the setting, and the other authors fortunate enough to get to play in it, please click the happy, friendly logo above. 🙂

This will be my first published novel. (The second novel I sold, but the first one to be published. Because: publishing!)

And here, at last, is the catalog copy.

When a powerful daemon warlord is murdered in modern-day England, all signs point in the same direction: to Tehru, his nemesis throughout the dynastic war on Araunt. But Tehru knows that someone else has access to her power: Quills, a back-alley magic dealer and tattooist who once received a sample of Tehru’s essence as payment for her services. Now the murdered daemon’s followers are coming after Tehru for retribution, and Quills has to track down the real killer and clear her client’s name. If Quills doesn’t solve the murder in time, she’ll be the one to take the fall.  

Ships of the Line (Edits)

Ever wondered how and when to italicize ship names in your fantasy, or spaceship names in your sci-fi?

It’s easier for your reader if you adhere to real maritime style and procedure as closely as possible, unless you establish a clear and rational reason for doing otherwise. For your reference, here are some good guidelines to follow.

per Chicago Manual of Style (section 8.115: Names of Ships and other Vessels):

  • Capitalize and italicize ship names. (The Enterprise)
  • Do not put ship names in all caps.
  • Do not use italics for names of makes/classes or routes of ships, trains, cars or other vehicles, or names of space programs. (Metroliner, Ford Mustang, Project Apollo)
  • Never italicize abbreviations such as USS or HMS when they precede a ship’s name. (The HMS Pinafore)

per Chicago Manual of Style (section 7.28: Possessive with italicized or quoted terms):

  • When an italicized term appears in roman text, the possessive s should be set in roman. (Destiny’s anchor)
  • (File this one under “right, but looks wrong.” I know. But you do get used to it eventually, and I think it can make a subliminal difference to the reader.)

NOTE: any term within an italicized passage, if it would itself be italicized in running text (such as a ship name) should be set in roman type (reverse italics). (What was she trying to do? Sail Nautilus right off the edge of the world?)

per the U.S. Navy Style Guide:

  • Do not use “the” (the definite article) in front of a ship’s name: “USS San Jose,” not “the USS San Jose.”

(NOTE: There is plenty of debate on this in actual usage. The rule in general practice seems to be that “the” is acceptable informally, but not formally. 
Other rules of thumb for fiction-writing suggest that “the” is reserved only for particularly well-known ships (“the Black Pearl ”). 
Or, alternately, that it should be reserved for ships that have no prefix (HMS, USS, etc). 
Or, that it may be used when the ship is referenced by nickname or abbreviated name. (Referring to Orin’s Pride as “the Pride”)

(As an editor, I acknowledge that sometimes leaving out the “the” just looks wrong. Consistency and ease of readability are a writer’s goals, not strict adherence to the protocol of a system that doesn’t exist in the world you’ve created, anyway. As long as you’re consistent about it, I won’t fuss at you. The rest of these rules are good habits to get into.)

(originally posted 3/24/2011 on gabrielle-edits.com)

6 Tips For Successful Readings

Performing a reading from your novel is a great way to get an audience interested in buying your book. How do you choose an excerpt to read and what should you watch out for?

1..A reading from your book should be entertaining, but it should also be a promotional tool. You’re giving your audience a sample because you want to intrigue them and make them want to buy the book. Choose an engaging excerpt with some action, some humor, and some drama. Show them that you can do all three.

2..Choose a section that more or less stands alone. Something that requires minimal set-up and minimal knowledge of the story is best. By minimal, I mean something like, “This is our protagonist, this is his passenger. We’re joining them just as they’re about to land on the asteroid.” More than that will make your listeners feel overburdened with facts and relationships to keep straight before the reading even starts. Listeners will be able to figure out a certain amount of backstory just from context, and those context clues help to intrigue them. Instead of picking a section that requires that you explain why they’re on the asteroid, pick a section that your audience can follow along with even if they don’t know all the background, and one that makes them curious about the background. The best reading is one that intrigues them to pick up the book and learn for themselves.

3..Choose a section that involves your main character. It might be easier to find a sampling to fulfill the “stands alone” requirement by focusing on a side plot or a minor character, but remember that your goal is to draw your audience in and make them want to read the book. Focusing your reading on a minor character, if it succeeds at that goal, will get them interested in someone with relatively little “screen-time,” and doesn’t necessarily present an accurate picture of what the book is like or what it focuses on.

4..End your reading on a cliffhanger. Draw your audience into your world, get them invested and make them care what happens next… and then don’t give it to them! If you build sufficient tension and drama in your reading, you’ll hook them into buying the book on the spot: they’ll be caught up in the urgency of the scene, and they’ll need to know! If you end on a resolution, they’ll walk away thinking it was a nice little story and that you’re a talented author, but they won’t feel as driven to give you that sale.

5..Choose content that translates well to the spoken word. A passage that relies on a diagram, a mathematical equation, a written measure of music, or something deliberately unpronounceable will only get in your way. If you really must choose a selection that relies on your audience’s ability to see the page, prepare a display in advance and make arrangements with your venue so that it can be of a size and form that the whole audience will be able to see clearly.

6..Time your reading. Practice it. I can’t stress the importance of this. Be comfortable with your words and be used to saying them out loud. A reading is a performance, and your ability as a performer affects your audience’s interest, too. Don’t just start at page one and go until your timekeeper cuts you off. Make sure that your reading fits your time slot so that you can end on that perfect note.

(originally posted August 2009)

Impending Projects

I do plan to gradually reprint some of the content from my previous blog, especially the more popular entries, but it will take a bit for the dust to settle here.

In the meantime, before we get to the old, here’s what’s new:

  • My first novel is complete and turned in. It’s now in Paizo’s skilled hands, and I’ll share a title, some art, and a release date as soon as I can. Yes, it features Zae, Keren, and Appleslayer. If you’re already a fan from the web-fiction (my short story “Inheritance“), the novel will have more of everything you love about them.
  • My second novel is an urban fantasy endeavor, with The Ed Greenwood Group. As I write this, it’s nearly halfway written, and it’s due in November. I’ll make it, really! It’s forthcoming in May 2016, and I can’t wait to tell you more. The veil lifts, at least partway, on October 19.
  • Women in Practical Armor, my next anthology with Ed Greenwood, had an amazing Kickstarter campaign. If you didn’t get in on the action as a backer, you’ll be able to pick up a copy in April, 2016. This one is hopefully the first of several anthologies that Ed and I are doing for Evil Girlfriend Media.
  • I have a very short story called “575” that will be appearing in C is for Chimera, edited by Rhonda Parrish, also in 2016.
  • My story “Descent of the Wayward Sister” from Cthulhurotica has officially become my first reprint sale.
  • Two recent acquisitions for Dragon Moon Press are on their way to the printer, and another is close behind!
  • I’ve had to scale back on editing because of the novel deadline, but there are still two novels in my editorial queue, one for Dragon Moon and one for a freelance client.
  • I will definitely be attending CanCon in Ottawa this October, and I’m confirmed to some degree for Norwescon (Seattle), GenCon (Indianapolis) and DragonCon (Atlanta) next year.
  • Despite the busy, I’m missing my daily slush fix. I’m looking forward to Apex Magazine re-opening for submissions.

Whew. So, that’s me. More details to come, on all of the above. But for now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a manuscript tugging at my sleeve.