The Storium Kickstarter is Live!

So I’m not burying the lede: like the post title says, the Storium Kickstarter campaign is live, and nearly funded after less than a day.

Let’s talk about stories and storytelling.

If you’ve poked about the blog at all, you’ve probably figured out that I like writing stories and playing in them. I don’t ever remember a time I haven’t been immersed in fiction in one way or another.

If I’m going to pick up a video game, 99% of the time it’s going to be story-based. Are there NPCs I can talk to? What do they have to say? If I go back to the town after I’ve completed a quest, do they say something new? (You don’t want to know how long my Dragon Age playthrough took. Once I realized my party’s dialogue was ever-evolving, I was stopping every few minutes to get Alistair’s and Wynne’s input.)

The earliest stories I told were some form of fanfic inspired by whatever series had caught my imagination. When my grandmother watched me during the day, I’d wait until she fell asleep during her soaps and switch the channel over to Super Friends. In my head canon, Green Lantern and I were BFFs, and Wonder Woman would come pick me up in her invisible plane and we’d go off and have adventures. A few years later, when our moms inevitably told us to shut off the Nintendo and go outside, we continued our Super Mario Bros. adventures on our own. Our backyards became the Mushroom Kingdom.

In college, I discovered tabletop roleplaying games. Time was, we were playing three times a week or more, as long as our GM had a chance to get some plotting in. We’re down to once a week now, because of jobs and that whole getting older thing. Once, I could game until 2 am, go to class, go to work, game again, and keep functioning enough to sustain a 4.0. Nowadays, not so much. But that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about those stories during the week. We’ll come back to this point, so remember it. There’ll be a quiz later.

Because I need to talk about MMORPGs, too. I play on a roleplaying server in World of Warcraft. We have a thriving community, and we’ve been telling stories with one another for the better part of a decade now. We’re scattered across not only the country, but the world. It can be hard enough for this east coaster to stay up and RP with the west coast crew, knowing there’s story happening while I really ought to go the hell to bed. Our Aussie contingent (<3 Nat and Sam) are on the flip side of the diurnal from us, half a day into the future.

Hectic schedules, real life obligations, and writing deadlines mean that sometimes, our game night gets postponed a week. Or all of the above plus time zone shifts means trying to catch a guildmate for RP can be tough. We look for other ways to keep telling the story when we’re not logged in: RP by email, in-character gtalk sessions, collaborative writing on gdocs. A few people on our server have created a whole website where the community can go and interact and keep our plots moving along (shameless Feathermap plug!)

And right now, up and running, and maybe even rolling towards being funded on the first day, is the kickstarter for Storium, which is a shiny new online storytelling game. You pick a world or create your own, create your characters, and get the story moving. Time zone conflicts? Can’t get together in person to play with your favorite people? SOLVED. Storium lets your group play on their own timetable. Maybe you’re all online and the story’s flowing quickly. Maybe you add a scene during your commute, your friend replies during her lunch hour, and your Antipodean player joins in while you’re getting your beauty rest.

And look at the sandboxes you get to play in!

Right now, there are genre settings for you to dip your toes into: cyberpunk, urban fantasy, epic fantasy, horror, medical drama. When it launches, the Storium team have brought in an incredible cast of writers to create new worlds: Delilah S. Dawson, Stephen Blackmoore, Karin Lowachee are you fangirling yet? Because the stretch goals give you MOAR WORLDS to play in, including ones designed by Saladin Ahmed, Mur Lafferty, Andrea Phillips, and Leonard Balsera. AND there are hints at more stretch goals (and stretch worlds!) to come. /kermitflail

If your heart’s not already going pitter-pat enough, Storium founders Stephen Hood and Josh Whiting brought in some of my favorite people in gaming, publishing, and transmedia to be on their team: Will Hindmarch, Chuck Wendig, Mur Lafferty, and J.C. Hutchins. Seriously, look at that list of awesome people omg. Which means Storium is in excellent hands.

I’m super excited about this kickstarter, you guys. Let’s get it funded! Let’s get it beyond funded and open up ALL THE WORLDS.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stlhood/storium-the-online-storytelling-game

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Fireside Year 3

The Fireside Magazine Year 3 kickstarter is in the home stretch. Less than a day to go to fund another year of fiction from a lineup of amazing authors.

My first short fiction sale at a professional pay rate was to Fireside.* They pay 12.5 cents per word, which is just over twice the pro rate established by Science Fiction Writers of America. That’s a pretty big thing for a short fiction market these days. Figure a 1000-word piece of flash fiction earns the writer $125. In this endless fimbulwinter we’re having, that’s a significant chunk of my heating bill for the month.

This is actually a significant point, so I’m going to stick on it a bit longer. A lot of markets pay lower-than-pro rates, and suggest that exposure is payment itself. The first thing I look at when I come across a new venue is their submissions page. Far too often I see variations on “We can’t afford to pay our authors right now, but hope to be able to in the future!” And, just, no. (Writers respecting their own craft is a whole other post, so I’ll resist the digression.) The point is, Fireside could offer semi-pro rates and call it good. They could offer the minimum pro rate and call it good. But instead they’re paying their writers above and beyond. That’s pretty damned awesome.

Also important: the Fireside lineup isn’t only straight white dudes telling stories about (and for) straight white dudes. The list of contributors is diverse, as are the stories and art. It doesn’t take a lot of googling to see that that’s something writers and readers alike are clamoring for.

You get a lot of story for a little money. Each issue is $2 through the Kickstarter. $2 for an installment of Lilith Saintcrow’s serial fiction, set in the world of her issue 9 story “Maternal Type,” plus another short story, two pieces of flash fiction, and Galen Dara’s art. That’s less than the cost of a medium coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, and is certainly less than the same at Starbucks.

I also recognize that, in this economy, and with heating bills extending into ridiculosity due to polar vortices, even $2 might be hard to come by. If that’s the case, and you can’t contribute, maybe consider boosting the signal on the social media platform of your choice?

As of this writing, the project has a little over $5500 left to raise in the next 16 hours. It’s doable, but kind of a nail biter. Let’s get ‘em funded, shall we?

*The story, “Ex Astris, is here, in Issue 9, if you have a couple of dollars burning a hole in your pocket. It has been pointed out to me that Issue 9 is free until tomorrow so readers can get a taste of “Maternal Type,” next years serial fiction setting! So if you were fixing to buy the issue, you can take those couple bucks and send ‘em to the kickstarter instead! Win!

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They’re Still Letting Me Talk on the Internets

Last week of the blog tour, cats ‘n’ kittens! If you haven’t had your fill of me, here are the upcoming Q&As, interviews, and giveaways for this week:

3/10 – SciFi ChickQ&A/giveaway
3/11 – Bea’s Book NookQ&A
3/12 – Bookworm BluesReview/giveaway
3/13 – BibliosanctumReview
3/14 – Parajunkee – Review/giveaway

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. I’m still not super-used to being the center of attention, but last week was sales conference, which meant seeing many of my colleagues for the first time since pub day. So many people wished me well and congratulated me, and I received good advice about being, y’know, more assertive and less shy about asking for things from people who are happy to help me out. I signed more than a few copies. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the people I work with.

I also learned that Night Owls was #26 on Barnes & Nobles science fiction/fantasy bestseller list the week it released. Not too shabby for a debut author.

Onward into edits for book two!

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One Week On

Night Owls has been out for a week today. I’ve done the nervous new author things, including checking reviews (they’ve been good!) and wandering into a bookstore, looking at the book, and forgetting to offer to sign the stock. I’m off travelling for work this week, and my coworkers have been bringing me copies to sign, which is humbling and amazing.

More when I’m home and have a chance to catch my breath.

The blog tour continues! Surf on over to these sites for reviews, interviews, and giveaways this week:

3/3: Literal AddictionReview and Q&A
3/4: Yummy Men and Kickass ChicksReview
3/5: A Book ObsessionReview
3/6: On Starships & DragonwingsReview, giveaway
3/7: I Smell SheepReview

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Release Day!

Night Owls cover

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here!

Night Owls officially releases today.

One of my booksellers and I were discussing how weird publishing-time is. You see books months ahead of pub, so once they’re actually out on the shelves there’s this moment of hasn’t this been out forever? It hasn’t, of course, and now comes the part where other people get to read and enjoy and share your enthusiasm.

Today is a bit like that for me. This book has been in the works for me for a long time. I’ve gone through all the writing and rewriting, edits and copyedits. I’ve ticked off the milestones I’ve learned are part of the life of a book before it hits the shelves: cover reveal, appearance in the publisher’s catalog, the book feeding out to online bookstores, ARCs, early reviews.

So in a way, I feel like Night Owls has already been out forever.

Same time, it’s utterly surreal that this day is here. Wasn’t it just yesterday the offer came in? Didn’t I only finish writing it last week?

Like I said, time gets weird in publishing. I’m off to boggle at February 25th finally arriving, or having been here all along. If you see Night Owls out in the wild, post or tweet me a picture? And if you read it and dig it, spread the word?

<3

Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

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JK Rowling Doesn’t Need My Advice

…but damn does this Huffington Post writer get it wrong.

Dear god, why do I fall for the clickbait.

Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way: with my publisher hat on (complete with the Fascinator of Cold, Hard Logic), of course I want her to keep writing for adults, because her success helps my company, and keeps me in a job. Okay? Okay.

Next: bookseller hat.

The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo’s calling brought people into bookstores. How is this a bad thing? Oh, right, it’s not. With all the people out there writing eulogies* for bookstores, it’s books like these that help keep their doors open.

*(So many eulogies. Decades worth, akin to those placeholder celebrity death announcements CNN has queued up just-in-case. Except people keep hitting publish. Bookselling’s still not dead, though.)

Someone walks in looking for the new JK Rowling, they might browse through other sections and pick up other books, too. Because that’s how it works, book buying. That’s the reason Amazon and B&N have those sections beneath your purchases for other stuff you might like. “People who bought <this book you’re buying> also bought <other book>.”

Book sales drive more book sales.

Writer hat:

There are readers out there, for sure, who have very limited funds. If given a choice between JK Rowling’s book and a lesser-known writer, they might very well pick her book. Quite possibly because they read and enjoyed the Harry Potter series. Or because they know her name and figure she must be able to tell a good story. Or, yes, because they read a review. Thing is, their money was never anyone else’s to begin with.

That goes for readers who can afford more than one book at a go, too. Sales to JK Rowling are not sales stolen from your pocketses.

In fact, let’s say a person who doesn’t usually read mysteries picks up The Cuckoo’s Calling for the sole reason it was written by JK Rowling. Let’s say they like it. There’s a year between The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm. You know what that person who has learned they like mystery novels will quite possibly do?

Buy other mystery novels.

This is why you see (/plops bookseller hat back on, atop writer hat) displays in stores that say “If you liked Twilight, you’ll like…” or “If you like Stephen King, you’ll like…”

For most writers, books take time. Fans read other books in between, while they’re waiting. Epic fantasy readers did not spend the six years between A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons twiddling their thumbs. They sought out other books that scratched that same itch. They discovered other writers in the meantime.

So no, Ms. Rowling writing more books in the Cormoran Strike series doesn’t hurt other writers. I don’t know enough about how the review process works (as in, how big professional publications decide which books will be featured). But I’m pretty sure she’s not sitting there cackling at having stolen the spotlight from a lesser-known writer. I would also put money on “that review space would have gone to another Big News Book” if she didn’t have something coming out that month. Just saying.

I don’t need to address snobbery of the slam on adult readers who read the Potter books for themselves, and not the children, do I? Good.

Point is, one author telling another “you’re too successful, get out of my yard,” is ridiculous.

As my friend Camille said, “The writers I know celebrate each other’s successes because readers win when another book is born.” Which is exactly right.

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Countdown to Owl-ageddon

One day! One day until release! Got a little hairy there last weekend, with Ragnarok scheduled for Saturday, but the wolf didn’t eat the sun, so we’re good.

These lovely blogs are hosting yours truly throughout the week. Check out the reviews and guest posts and giveaways:

2/24 – Tynga’s Reviews – Review/giveaway
2/25 – Bitten By Books – Release party and Rafflecopter giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway
2/26 – Manga Maniac CafeReview, Q&A/giveaway
2/27 – My Bookish WaysQ&A/giveaway, review
2/27 – TerriblemindsFive Things I Learend While Writing Night Owls
2/27 – Fresh FictionFresh Pick and review



February 27, 2014

2/28 – Urban Fantasy InvestigationsGuest post/giveaway

 

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Burninating the Internets

(See? Because “blog tour” rhymes with “Trogdor.”)

Yes, I’m off on a blog tour! I picture myself ordering virtual room service and drinking all the expensive virtual booze out of the mini-fridge before I jet off in virtual first class seats (more booze! fancy airplane food!) to the next tour stop.

So, here’s where you’ll find me in the coming weeks. I’ll update links as the posts go up. Lots of the blogs that are kind enough to be hosting me or putting up a review are also doing giveaways for Night Owls. Hie thee forth and enter!

I’ll be doing weekly roundups of these so I’m not overwhelming you with links. Here goes:

2/17 – All Things Urban Fantasy, review

2/18 – My Shelf Confessions, Q&A/giveaway and a review

2/19 – Fade Into Fantasy, Q&A

2/20 – That’s What I’m Talking About, review, guest post and giveaway

2/21 – Candace’s Book Blog, review/giveaway

Bonus! Check out this write-up over at Badass Book Reviews – I consider the Buffy reference the highest compliment.  My nerd heart went squee when the reviewer compared the Night Owls crew to the Scooby Gang.

Also hooooooooly gee, you guys I have a book coming out in a week!
/flail

 

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State of the Things, February 2014

The first Thing, I suppose, is whoa, holy crap, we are now in the same 30-day period in which Night Owls gets published!

My mind still reels at that. Someday soon, finished copies will arrive, and then… and then… /wibbles

If you’re attending Boskone this month, I’ll be participating in The Book Launch Party on Saturday the 15th from 7:30-9:00 in the Galleria Con Suite. Come say hello! I plan to have a few copies of Night Owls to give away.

Also, Publishers Weekly gave it a pretty solid review. Huzzah!

On the new writing front:

  • Hill and I have started something horror-flavored. I’ll get a wordcount link over on the sidebar when it has a name. Which it currently doesn’t. Titles are hard, kids.
  • I’m writing some shiny freelance stuff for games I really dig. Stay tuned!
  • Getting back to work on Adrift, including reading the two books that were recommended to me several times, by several instructors, at Viable Paradise: Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny, and Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian. Totally disparate works, but each with elements I can learn from for my own.

Short stories! It feels strange to have some time to really think about these, since they’ve been showing up in my updates for uh, a long time now, but the ideas are still with me, and now and then I’ve looked longingly at them in my ideas folder and whispered not yet. Thinking it’s time to dedicate one night of writing a week to them, see how they shake out.

  • “Wolves”
  • “The Desert in Fimbulwinter”
  • “The Reunion Tour of Billy James and the Flamethrowers, or How Billy Got the Band Back Together”

You might notice Ghost Town, the sequel to Night Owls, is complete over there on the sidebar. First draft is done, done, done, and my editor did not send it back to me on fire fueled by a gallon of red ink. So, edits for that are also on the docket.

/googles “Is pen ink flammable”
/wastes five minutes in research spiral
/answer is: “probably not, but some dudes lit a pen on fire and posted it to youtube.”

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Shut Up and Take My Money

Because this blog has been a lot of me me me lately, here’s some stuff that’s not!

Kickstarter has introduced me to so many new and shiny creative projects. These are a few that tickle my fancy, and I hope might tickle yours. If you dig the sound of any but can’t contribute, how about a signal boost?

Gaming

First off, we have Will Hindmarch’s Project DarkAre you a fan of Thief? Do you play a rogue in any game that offers it as a class? Do you secretly wish you were one of Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards? Then this game is for you.

Iron Edda: War of Metal and Bonean inclusive Norse fantasy RPG using the Fate Core setting? Yes please!

Anthologies

Women Destroy Science Fictionif they reach their stretch goals, we’ll get to destroy horror and fantasy, too! Huzzah!

Dark Trails: An Anthology of Weird Western StoriesJust look at that table of contents. /makes grabby hands

Streets of Shadows: A Noir Urban Fantasy Fiction Anthology – Again with the TOC.

Unidentified Funny Objects 3Editor Alex Shvartsman is one of my Viable Paradise classmates, and he’s bringing us a third collection of humorous SF stories. Have I mentioned the contributors? Because /glee

Are there any projects on your radar that I’ve missed? Drop a link in the comments! (No need to limit it to Kickstarter, by the by. Projects hosted on Indiegogo, GoFundMe, Patreon, etc are all welcome.)

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