Thursday, January 31, 2013

Games and Stories and Werewolves in Trees

We used to tell stories.

As a culture, I mean. No TV. No video games. When you were done working for the day, you hung out around the fire and told stories, and who you were helped shape them. But we lost that somewhere, and now we're used to spectating. We go to the movies, and people tell us stories. We watch TV, and they tell us stories. We watch them pass us by. It's very melodramatic and has a soundtrack full of electronic violin music.

I think that's what attracted me to tabletop RPGs in the first place. I wanted to be a part of a story, and I wanted to get to do something amazing, even if it was only in my head. I learned what makes stories work. Our gaming group was full of theater people, so our games were less roll-dice-and-kill-monsters and more act-out-the-aftermath-and-the-beforemath-and-any-other-math-but-not-algebra. When we played, I learned about dialogue and suspense and drama. I also learned about humor, because it's impossible to play a game in which the giant werewolf hides BY PRETENDING TO BE A TREE without laughing hysterically. I don't know if this is true where you come from, but here, our trees don't have fur.

ME TREE. Still makes me snarf.

I've said this before, but I honestly think that gaming is a large part of my success as a writer. (All faults are obviously still my own.) I learned to love stories and to be a part of their making. I GOT HOOKED. Now of course there's a fine line between good-hooked and bad-hooked, and I've wandered over it a few times. You can forget reality if you're not too careful. But you can also use games to enhance your reality. To challenge yourself to do big things. To remember that you too have a story to tell, and it may or may not involve werewolves disguised as trees.

By the way, if you google "werewolf tree," you get THIS. It also makes me laugh.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Zombie Pants! And other things...

So. Two final orders of business before we move on to something awesome that may or may not have something to do with carnivorous clothing!

First, this is the last time I'll talk about Sally Slick preorders, BECAUSE THEY ARE ENDING. I have to make a confession here and say that I almost always turn down the whole preorder thing, because I prefer to buy the book at my local bookstore once it comes out. GO LOCAL STORES! But because this is a game tie-in book, I don't quite know where it will be sold at this point. Gaming stores? Bookstores? A little of both? I HAZ NO CLOO. Of course I hope for lots of locations and will certainly work to make that happen! But the last thing I want is for you to run all over the place, not find the book, and think that...A) All the copies have been beamed up to the mothership. B) I was hallucinating the whole thing and need copious amounts of medication. C) I really work for the gas companies as part of a secret conspiracy to make you drive to lots of bookstores and buy more gas.

None of these things is true, although I'd be pretty flattered if the alien hordes wanted to read my book. Anyway, the point is that I wanted to make sure that if you want to read it, you're able to do so as easily as possible. One of the easiest ways is to preorder by going to this kickstarter and pledging $20, which includes shipping. You'll automatically get a copy of the book plus lots of freebies. I'll keep you posted as we know more about where you'll be able to get it.

Next, WE HAVE A WINNER of the GODDESS INHERITANCE ARC! Is it you? It is if your name is Aza S! Congratulations, Aza! Email me your address!

Also, this weekend, I got a copy of the Gorgeously Gruesome Zombies kit, with instructions on how to make your own undead army out of felt. I love me a good nerdcraft. There is a pattern to make a zombie venus flytrap, and it seems to me that this is exactly what the world needs. MORE ZOMBIE PLANTS.

Which I accidentally typed as MORE ZOMBIE PANTS. I think the world needs that too.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sally Slick and the Steel Syndicate

I'm hard at work today trying to make the last third of the Sally Slick plot to cooperate. And when I say "hard at work," I really mean it. I put my hair back, which in my writerly world is something like taking off one's earrings and getting ready to throw down.

Close, anyway. Although probably not as intimidating, because as one of my old friends told me, the only way I'd be intimidating is if I had self-aware breasts. I still don't understand that, but I quote it all the time because I'm hoping eventually I'll run into someone else who understands it and can explain it to me. Because is it just me, or would that be funny/disturbing more than it would be intimidating?

So. All boobs aside, I wanted to let you know that the SALLY SLICK print book is now available for preorder! This is the part where I explain why preordering is a good thing, so if you already read that in one of my earlier blogs, you can skip on down to the next paragraph and learn how to do it, because I'm all about blogstomer service. And if you haven't read it yet, let me explain! Preordering now gets you awesome things at a price that isn't guaranteed to stick around. For $20 (and this includes shipping), you get a physical copy of the book (once said book has been written and printed, which is likely to be late-ish 2013) and electronic copies of the RPG game that inspired it. We're talking an ungodly amount of gaming material. If you're not a gamer, this is a great opportunity to try it. These books usually cost about $20-$30 a piece to buy in the store, and you'd be getting about three of them in electronic format for free. And we're looking at getting you a few preorder only bonuses of the swag variety, but I can't say more on that because I'd just be pulling it out of my heinie. I'll tell you more as soon as someone tells me more, probably after someone ELSE tells them more.

So. If'n you feel like ordering, here is what you do.
1. Go to the Kickstarter.
2. Make your pledge. The EXPANSIONS level ($10) will get you electronic copies of the game and Sally Slick. The FRIENDS OF CARRIE level ($20-and I have my own level, GO ME!) will get you a print copy of Sally Slick and electronic copies of the game. More money will get you more physical copies and the envy of all your friends.
3. Celebrate by flailing like a muppet.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

ARCs and Great Deals and Giveaways, OH MY

I feel a little like Dorothy, only minus the red shoes and the talking lion and the rusty guy and the dress and the witch and the dog, so not really like Dorothy at all, but I like the play on words in the title so let's just run with it. Anyway, there are a lot of really amazing things going on here! And I will tell you about them with lots of exclamation points, and you will read them to yourself in a high-pitched happy voice, and it'll be like I'm THERE, I tell you. THERE.

So. First of all, there's a little more info about the Sally Slick book! For those of you who haven't heard about it yet, I'll be writing a book! It'll be out this year! It's a pulp fiction adventure (and here's where you should change from high-pitched happy voice to movie voice guy voice) with fair maidens! Nefarious gangsters! Epic battles! Thrills! Chills! Exciting adventures! And a jet pack named after a guy named Jet because what in the heck else are you going to name it?

If this sounds like something you might like, we should be friends. Oh, and there's something you should consider. If you are the kind of person who likes ebooks, you can order the Sally Slick ebook NOW for $10. For that price, you'll also get a frakload of roleplaying game schtuff, also in ebook form. If you like to game, GREAT! If you think you might want to try it, GREAT! If you'd like to give the gaming stuff as a gift to a nerd you love (which is said with love because I too am a nerd) and keep the ebook, GREAT! The point is that it's the best price for Sally Slick that you are likely to find, and it's only good through January 29th. If this is something you're interested in, go to the Kickstarter and pledge $10. You can of course pledge more and get physical copies of said RPG books, which is also fun.

Speaking of physical copies, if you'd like to hold your very own copy of Sally Slick, there will be an option available to pre-order it for $20 including shipping. Again, this offer will be open through January 29th, but it won't BECOME available until the Kickstarter reaches $300k and Sally Slick is an official go. SO WE WANT IT TO REACH $300k. WE REALLY REALLY DO. You'll be able to order the print version by itself or add it on to any other order. And again, there will be an advantage to pre-ordering--we're trying to arrange a special surprise for people who pre-order a hard copy. I'll keep you posted on when that option becomes available, but if you think you just want the ebook, order now and lock in that price!

LASTLY, as if I haven't babbled at you enough, this weekend I saw my lovely friend Aimee Carter at ConFusion. The final book in her Goddess Test series, THE GODDESS INHERITANCE, comes out in February. I have a signed ARC. I'd like to give it to you.

Enter below via the rafflecopter! You know you want to. Sadly, I'm going to have to keep this one in the US. No time to make it to the post office, but I'll do my best to make the next giveaway international!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Stuff...and A FOURTH BOOK!?!?

So. I'll have you know that I'm bouncing around like a hyperactive ping pong ball right now. (Not just a regular ping pong ball. An EXTRA HYPERACTIVE one.) Please be prepared for lots of random capitalization and excessive exclamation point usage. You have been warned.

But first, la business! If you're not yet aware, this weekend, I'm going to be appearing at Michigan's sci-fi convention of awesomeness: Epic ConFusion! I shall talk about things like orphans and stealing ideas and why having naughty bits in YA is okay sometimes! And apparently, I've committed to walking around and randomly sticking googly eyes on people. I don't know how that happened either. But regardless, if you're a Michigander, you should come to this con. They have sandpeople who flirt and give people finger guns, or at least they did last year. More info (but not about the finger guns) is here.

Also, if you haven't heard, WriteOnCon is doing a midwinter pitch fest! And because I am completely bizonkers, I'm coordinating the event with my hilarious, lovely, and generally awesome bacon sister, Elana Johnson. This is a great opportunity to get feedback on your YA or MG pitch not only from awesome agents, but also published authors and dedicated book bloggers who are ready and eager to advocate for the books they want to read. And if you're not a writer, it's an opportunity for you to advocate for said books and then see them on the shelves later, and go, "HEY! I REMEMBER THAT BOOK WHEN IT WAS A WEE BABY PITCH!" Anyway, you should check it out. We have badges. They're shiny.

And lastly, here's where I get really capsy. See, I got my start as a writer working on tabletop roleplaying games. My first paid gig was 2000 words for a gaming book, and I really couldn't believe that I was going to get paid for each and every word. Like, I'd type the word "the," and that would be WORTH SOMETHING. It was the first time that I started thinking about writing as something more than just a hobby. Without those freelance gaming assignments, I don't think I ever would have gotten up the nerve to write a whole book.

So recently, I was contacted by the super-mega-holy-crap-awesome people at Evil Hat Productions. They do a variety of games, and they were looking to possibly add a tie-in YA novel. And they were looking for a writer. Which is me.

My reaction was something like this. First, I made the googly eyes, then I squealed aloud, then I reassured my kids that I hadn't sat on something yucky, then I sent off an email to my writers group that was completely incoherent and said something along the lines of "HOLYCRAPOHMYGODWTFBBQ?!?!?!?" And then we got down to the business of figuring out what this book could be and how it would work.

That's where you come in. Evil Hat is financing their latest in a series of awesome games with a hugely (HUGELY) successful kickstarter campaign. If you think you might want a copy, you will be able to pre-order one through said kickstarter and help make sure this project gets off the ground. (I'll let you know when that option becomes available.) And there are lots of other options too--if you're just interested in the book, you can do that. But if all this talk of RPGs interests you, there are also options to get copies of the gaming books, PLUS a whole freaking slew of ebooks...which I believe will include MINE.


Yeah, it bears repeating under the circumstances. :)

But what is the book? It's called SALLY SLICK AND THE STEEL SYNDICATE, and it's going to be a pulpy, campy adventure about a 14-year-old girl who builds racing tractors, saves siblings from robotic mafiosos, and somewhere along the way manages to invent the jet engine. I expect that writing this book will be a crazy, hilarious ride, and I can't wait to see what you think of it. Luckily, you won't have to wait too long, because it looks like it'll be out THIS YEAR.

I owe seven thumbs up (I'll borrow five) to the fabulous people at Evil Hat for working so diligently to put this project together. I'm so thrilled that I've been squealing pretty much nonstop. People think I have a gasket broken. Maybe I'll be all meta and ask Sally to fix it. I hear she's good at that.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Behind the Scenes Timecrunch

I have a confession to make--I never quite understood why people would blog like crazy and then shortly after their books came out, STOP entirely. I bought the books because I liked the blog, and then they took away the blog, and that was kind of sad because why couldn't I have both, dammit!? It's funny seeing it from the other side. Not funny ha-ha, but funny ironic.

Part of it I guess I could have anticipated--I got burned out on blogging. By my count, I wrote about two or three books' worth of stuff on this blog before BAD TASTE IN BOYS came out. And there's only so much you can say about silliness and monsters before it starts to repeat. But some of it, I don't see how I could have anticipated. I didn't realize how long edits take. Or how many complete rewrites I'd do. I had no idea how much work was involved with arranging an appearance. I bit off more than I could chew.

I'm slowly learning how to manage this whole author thing. And one of the things I miss the most is getting to talk to you guys. That was one of my favorite things about blogging--talking back and forth with people. I'm not sure what the solution is. I know a lot of people have migrated to tumblr, since it's easier to reblog and like and comment and all the things, but I'd hate to lose all the old stuff here. And I do feel like my priority needs to be writing good books and getting out there and meeting people to talk about good books. (And there is some serious excitement going on behind the scenes, let me tell you. OH--also, if you're in Michigan, come say hi to me at ConFusion this year!) I thought about vlogging instead, but I'm an obsessive vlog editor, and I have this weird habit of blinking rapidly whenever I video myself. If I was an RPG character, one of my flaws would be "blinks under pressure."

Weird, right?

But there's a lot of awesome stuff going on behind the scenes here, and I really hope it pans out. And one of the side-effects of said awesome stuff will likely be that I will blog more. Hopefully you consider that a good thing.

And really, I need to do this. Because someone else has taken my top Google ranking for "batman eyebrows." THE TRAGEDY. We may have to have a Batman eyebrow week to remedy this situation. What other Google rankings should I attempt supremacy over?