Lady Stardust Speaks

Over the weekend I conducted an interview–a rather strange one, at that.  But then, I like strange.  I hope you like reading this as much as I liked doing it.

Remember:  strange.

 

(Location:  New Oxford, University, Hyades Star Cluster. 2 June, a little more than 20 Minutes Into the Future.)

Greetings, young and eager minds of New Oxford and Miskatonic Universities. Welcome to another addition of Author’s Profile—or as I like to called it, “Audrey’s Excuse For Eating Up Web Time.” As you can see I’ve brought along the noted historian and local stuffy peer, the Duchess Scoth, the Lady Cytheria . . . That special personal I call “Sweetie”. Say hello, Sweetie.

*Glares at Audrey* Hello, everyone. To my students out there, please do ignore Audrey’s excessive rambling this day: I’m afraid she’s had a tad too much coffee.

It’s only too much if you start vomiting and get the shakes, my dear.

I believe you had both—

*Snorts* Well, then, lets move on. Today we have a special treat. We’re speaking with a new authors who’s sort of . . . It’s a bit confusing, but if you’ve been paying attention in class you’ll know what I mean. So, joining us now on the hyperwire, we have—

*Whispering* Did you clear this with—you know.

*Audrey speaking out of the corner of her mouth* On’tday alktay aboutway ethay imetay aveltray, neh?

*Cytheria sits back in her chair, shaking her head*

(Audrey) If you will please welcome, coming to us live from her home, the one, the lovely, Cassidy Frazee.

(Cassidy) Thank you, Audrey, for that warm welcome. Did you say “Miskatonic University”?

(Audrey) I think you mis-heard me.

(Ca) Ah. Okay, then . . . Thank you for having me, then.

(A) Yo have a new novel out, Her Demonic Majesty. It came out, what? A couple of weeks ago?

(Ca) Yeah, times flies, you know? Feels like yesterday.

(A) *Turns to Cytheria* If she only knew . . .

(Cytheria) *Ignores Audrey* Congratulation, Cassidy. It’s my understanding your endeavor to publish this novel has taken some time.

(Ca) Yes, that’s true. I’ve been working on this novel for a year and a half.

(A) Tell us what you’ve done during that time, if you would.

(Ca) As anyone who’s followed my blog since 2011—

(Cy) Blog?

(A) You remember, Sweetie? People write and then post their scribblings on the . . . “Internet”? *winking* Yeah?

(Cy) Oh, of course. Silly me. *Nervous laugh* Go on, Cassidy.

(Ca) Sure. I’ve been blogging since the middle of 2011, and it was in November of that year that I decided—well, was sort of talked into—writing something during NaNoWriMo—

(A) The National Novel Writing Month?

(Ca) Yes, that. I’d been asked to do it the year before, but bailed because—well, a lot of things, really. Mostly personal things, like just not being able to write due to depression.

(Cy) Audrey can certainly empathize with you there.

(Ca) Oh? You get that, too?

(A) *Mumbling* More times than I care to like. Tell us about the experience.

(Ca) It’s all about getting it written and edited. I wrote the first draft in twenty-five days, then edited it three times before handing it off to another person so they could give it a good cleaning. Even after that I found a few typos and cleaned them up—

(Cy) Not uncommon for any published work.

(Ca) So I’ve been told. Then it was setting up account, getting covers made, getting everything formatted . . . When you’re self publishing, there’s a lot of work involved in getting your story in a shape that makes it worth putting it out there for others to read.

(A) I know. I’ve been through my copy of your novel a couple of times, and you did a great job with the layout. Very professional.

(Ca) Thank you for buying it.

(A) *Sets hard copy down* Yes, buying it . . . Tell me, how do you go about promoting a novel?

(Ca) That, too, is an interesting process. You have people put out good word of mouth for the book. You set up a writer’s page and trying to get the message out to as many people as possible. You ask people to give you reviews and to spread the word. You listen when you have a mistake and fix things as quickly as possible. It’s a huge amount of hustle, and it wears you out.

(A) You write in a few genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, erotica. How do you classify Her Demonic Majesty? It seems like it should be fantasy, but it’s . . . not.

(Ca) I like to call it my science fiction fantasy with touches of steampunk. I think this particular novel covers so many bases that it’s nearly impossible to pin to one genre. I want to write stories; I don’t want to think I have to write any particular kind of stories.

(A) You were always critical of genres, and it seems—

(Ca) *Confused* “Were”?

(Cy) Audrey tends to have problems with her tenses— *Glances to Audrey and smiles* Isn’t that right, my love?

(Ca) *Muttering* Wibbly wobbly . . . After reading the novel I wondered if there will be any sequels. Any chance?

(Ca) *Smiling* One never knows. Lets just say that I know what happens to the characters in the story for a few years past the events in the novel, so maybe their will be other books. I’ve got so many stories I want to do—

(A) Science fiction? Fantasy? Erotic Japanese Tentacle Romances?

(Ca) What?

(Cy) I’ve heard writers say that it’s not unusual for segments of their personality to make it into their stories. Did that happen with you here, with this novel?

(Ca) Let me answer that second part first . . . With this novel I wouldn’t say much of my personality entered the novel say for some of the more geekish parts of Jeannette’s personality. I drew on my own experiences as a reader and a gamer to get an idea about the sort of things she might enjoy and do.

Beyond that, I don’t put too much of myself in my stories. Though there are a few stories, as yet unpublished, where more of “me” shines through than in other stories.

(Cy) You seem to write a great number of female characters. Any particular reason?

(Ca) I like writing women; it’s difficult to get them right, I think. I hope I’m doing a good job at presenting characters who can handle anything thrown at them, who don’t need to go running to the nearest guy screaming, “Please save me!”

And if they do work with men—as one of my characters has done in two stories—they work with them as equals. They know what they’re doing; they’re not afraid to speak their mind and follow up with their own lines of inquiry. And the men they work with aren’t threatened by a woman who knows as much, or more, than they.

(A) Sort of like Cytheria and me.

(Ca) That would be true if you were both like a couple of characters I developed. It’s strange, you know: Cytheria, you have the same name as—

(A) Fascinating! So, a couple of human interest question. First: boxers or briefs?

(Ca) Um . . . Boy shorts.

(A) Really?

(Cy) Audrey loves bikini bottoms. Never took her for that sort of girl.

(A) Silence, Sweetie. Fly or drive?

(Ca) Depends on the distance. I’ll fly to other parts of the world, but if it’s less than a thousand miles, I’ll drive.

(Cy) What’s the furthest you’ve flown?

(Ca) Around the world: Chicago to Minneapolis to Amsterdam to Hong Kong to Tokyo to Minneapolis to Chicago. Not all at once, mind you: it took about eight weeks. But Chicago to Hong Kong is probably the longest continuous trip with layovers of a few hours.

(A) Favorite writer?

(Ca) Too many to list. I love to read.

(A) Favorite movie?

(Ca) It’s impossible to have a favorite. Maybe twenty, thirty favorites. But one? No. For the record, quite a few from the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s.

(A) If you could be a tree, what would you be?

(Ca) Um . . . Kristian Stewart?

(A) Cheap shot!

(Ca) Who wants to be a tree?

(A) Poison Ivy?

(Ca) Point taken.

(Cy) Would you prefer to live in the past or the future?

(Ca) There’s something to say about growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, though if I had to go through that again, I’d rather do it with a few things changed . . . If I had a choice, I’d pick the future—maybe two or three hundred years from now. Nothing’s happening these days, and I’m bored. I’d like to see what’s coming down the time line.

(A) Some interesting things, let me tell you.

(Ca) And you know this how?

(A) *Long pause* That was the drugs talking . . .

(Cy) Pay no attention to her, Cassidy.

(Ca) Thank you—Duchess? Like in the song?

(Cy) No, a duchess is what I am.

(Ca) Do you know Albert? He’s a born loser.

(A) *Now glaring at Cassidy* On that note . . . I’d like to thank Cassidy for appearing today. It’s been a lot of fun speaking with you.

(Cy) I agree. Thank you for agreeing to speak with us.

(Ca) Thank you both for having me.

(A) Oh, and August, 2015: if you’re smart you’ll cancel your trip to Boston.

(Cy) Audrey!

(Ca) I’m sorry—what?

(A) *Mumbling* See who’s the loser now! *Turning to the virtual audience* That’s it for today! Join us next week when we interview Cleopatra and find out if she was bi, or just really horny. Bye!

 

Are you looking for Her Demonic Majesty?  Look here!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Sony

Smashwords

 

See you next time!

Where We Last Left Off

Sounds like I’m coming back from a cliffhanger of an episode, doesn’t it?

In many way publishing is episodic, and can turn into high drama when you least expect things to go sideways.  My experience has been very minimal to this point, as there are only two stories in my collection, but with Her Demonic Majesty being such an endeavor  it was bound to hit some snags.

Snag One:  the novel loaded to Amazon Kindle Direct without issues, and late Sunday night I was told it was live and ready for download.  Only one problem:  every time I tried to go to the novel page, I was getting a 404 message, saying the page didn’t exist.  I let that go for Monday, but by Tuesday the situation was the same, and I was having a not-so-good feeling taking hold in the pit of my stomach.

Snag Two then showed:  all of my work on Smashwords was rejected for Premium submission.  Going Premium on Smashwords means getting set up on Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, and a few other distributors.  What happened was this:  I’d altered the name on my Smashwords account to reflect the name on my new cover, but that was a no-no, because the cover names on my other works didn’t match, and all hell broke loose.

So I switched the account name back, and therein appeared Snag Three:  Her Demonic Majesty was rejected for Premium submission because, it would seem, my Table of Contents links were bad.  Could be they were pointing at the wrong thing, could be they were formatted wrong, could be there were hidden bookmarks–  Oops.  Yeah, I remembered that I did that during the creation.

With that in mind, I set about getting things right.

First, I created new accounts on both Smashwords and Amazon for Cassidy.  Then, I pulled up the Smashwords version of the uploaded document, removed all the bookmarks and hyperlinks, and started over, making sure there were no hidden bookmarks this time.  Put them in, linked them, checked the links–everything was super.

Then I uploaded again.

The novel processed in two minutes, because I watched as it ran through the meat grinder.  Everything came out fine, and the novel was at a new home with a new ISBN–yes, I couldn’t use the old one, because that one was assigned to my other name.  Another thing to keep in mind.  Right now the novel is going through review for Premium submission, and I’m hoping that all is well this time though.

What next?  Tonight I’ll pull up the Kindle version of the novel and redo the Table of Contents as I did with the Smashwords version.  Then, once that’s done, I’ll upload it to the next Amazon account, wait for the word that it’s been published, and look to see if it is, indeed, ready for selling.

Then I’ll get the world out.

Of course I could end up with errors I haven’t anticipated, but I’m hopeful that the current snafu came about because of the accounts, and not because the book format was sucky.  After all, the meat grinder told me all was well, and why would it lie to me?

I’ll be right here, keeping my fingers crossed.

Fast Lane to the Hinterland

There nothing like driving into Chicago at six-thirty in the morning with a cloudless sky above you, a lot of tall building before you, traffic filled with crazy people around you, and an old Japanese anime soundtrack blasting from your stereo.  It puts you in a certain frame of mine–unfortunately, for me, it was sort of the, “Why the hell am I doing this shit?” frame, and please don’t tell me it’s to pay the bills.

Still, there was a certain feeling while I was on the road.  I do love driving, if for no other reason that I can be alone with my thoughts, even if I’m accompanied by loud music.  When I used to make the weekly trek from and to The Undisclosed Location, I had two and a half hours to drive at 80 MPH, yell at drivers that wouldn’t get out of my way, and think out plot lines, scenes, and character development.

I thought a little about what I’m working on right now, which is editing and formatting Replacements so I can publish the work.  I’m getting this out of the way so when my covers arrive–that’s right, I was told I’m getting three covers for the low price of $200, and I can keep them or do some swapping, maybe using one of Smashwords and another on Amazon–I can then see about getting a cover for Replacements while I do a final edit and format on Her Demonic Majesty so I can get it online where it can take its place next to werewolf porn and a series about an eighteen year-old virgin who gets laid in about thirty stories–which means she must have regenerative abilities.

This morning I spoke with a friend about a story I’d submitted to a publishing house last May, and have heard nothing in return after they requested, and received, the full manuscript.  I’d mentioned that I’d sent two follow ups to the publishing house requesting an update on my novel, with none forthcoming from their end.  My friend’s comment was short and to the point:  “Fuck ’em, publish it yourself.”  This has pretty much been my attitude as well, since I’m getting antsy to find out what’s going on with that particular story.  If you want it, fine:  if you don’t want it, fine as well.  Just let me know, ‘kay?

This seems to be a common occurrence these days, where people send things out and sometimes never hear a thing back.  Or maybe it’s jut me:  maybe I’m stuck on this one with a lost in the aether and constantly waiting for it to return from the hinterlands.  Though I’m coming up on a year with it being out, so it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what I’m going to do with the story–

I’ll fix it up and I’ll publish it.

There’s no guaranty I’ll make any sales if I do this, but then there was no guaranty I’d make any sales by selling it, either.  Just as once I pay a couple of hundred scoots for a book cover there’s no guaranty I’ll get any sales from Her Demonic Majesty.  I do know this, however:

It will be out–and, with the right cover, it will be noticed.

The question then becomes:  by whom?

In Perago Est Hic

Writing is not for the faint of heart.  Sure, you can keep a diary and spill your guts to yourself every day, and hope that no one ever reads it and discovers that you spent a lot of time talking about sex and even giving your genitals a name.  This happened in one of the most famous diaries to be published, although in the original version all that stuff was cut out–about thirty percent in total.

It’s a long. torturous journey that doesn’t always end well.  It’s entirely possible that you’ll spend months, maybe years, working on a story that you need to tell, only to see it rejected by publisher after publisher.  It’s enough to drive you mad, and there have been instances where people have simply given up for a while, or for good, or, in the case of the guy who wrote A Confederacy of Dunces, he killed himself, and it took his mother another eight years to see the book published.

One can find a lot of pain in writing.  It pulls at you, it frustrates you, it takes so much of your time.  It’s exhausting, because most writers are working a regular job, and a lot of times when you have your work in progress before you, it’s about nine o’clock at night, and you’ve been up since four AM, and you only have about ninety minutes to get said what you want to say.  It’s sometimes more of a job than it seems, because maybe times you don’t want to write; you want to call it a night and play games all night, and let your brain become mulch for the vegetables.

Then again, when you reach the end of your story, one that you’ve worked on for weeks or months–or even years–you feel such satisfaction.  You’ve finished a task and you realize what you’ve created, and it’s suddenly like all the emotions you’ve poured onto each page comes back and hugs you hard . . . and you know you’ve done something good.

Yesterday I finished Suggestive Amusements.  Last chapter, a few thousand words to write, I wrote during the afternoon and into the evening, and somewhere past nine PM I wrote “The End”, and it was all good.  As I neared the end, the emotions began manifesting as something real, and I was both sad and ecstatic.  The ending, particularly the last few hundred words, brought forth the tears, but at the same time I was happy the story was finished.

The novel was a chore at time.  It was a tremendous undertaking.  It caused a bit of soul searching, and even came close to beating me about enough that I needed to step away a few nights and just enjoy life.  There were moments when I wondered if I would ever finish the story–or is what I was writing was worth finishing.

Now is the time to publish.  Now’s the time to get one of my novels formatted for Smashwords and Amazon, and get a good cover made.  Then edit another story, and get it published.  Then . . .

Write the next tale.

It’s what I do.

Goddess Slapping Time

Yes, Cassidy, it is possible to write and do several things at the same time.  You aren’t going to crank out that thousand words in an hour, but then, you weren’t looking to do that.  You were looking to get the words down, and in an order that made sense.

In that effort, I succeeded hugely.  But that wasn’t the full extent of my greatness.  Oh, no.  Pay attention, class . . .

I knocked around this idea of doing something quick and dirty for Camp NaNo in June, because I feel like I have nothing better to do than write stuff.  One of the things I’ve considered is doing a ten thousand word soft core erotica because I’ve been busting on a lot of the stories I’m finding on Smashwords and Amazon, and wondering (1) how the hell this is getting published, and (2) who is buying this stuff?  There is a another component to that, which is (3) are they making money?  Not that money is my driving motivation  but it’s still nice to have for all your hard work.

With me, there is no half-way:  either I dismiss these niggling ideas that take hold in my head, or I hop in the car and drive it like I stole it.  Unfortunately, someone left the keys in a 2005 Lamborghini Murciélago, and I’m damned if I can’t help but get behind the wheel . . .

The idea is crazy, and it’s goofy–but it’s also one I can tie into Camp NaNo in more ways than one.  Plus, I’ve decided to include two of my writing friends as characters in the story, which means I get to do naughty things to them, or with them, or . . . who knows?  I only hope they forgive me when strange things happen . . .

With that, I put this down in my Idea File, and I have it set up with a little notice about what I think will happen, or what I want to happen, or what will happen.  Then when I finish it, I give it a quick polish, another polish, then get a cover (maybe something as cheap as the covers that tend to accompany these stories, because I’m all about fitting in), get it out into the Internet, and watch the money roll in.

And if it does, I’ll be surprised–or will I?  Because if there’s one thing I never underestimate, it’s the kinky tastes of the reading public.

Speaking of ideas . . .

I did get my thousand words in last night, with the final total being just short of eleven hundred words.  In the course of working on my chapter, I did something that I hadn’t thought of when I was working this story out in my head.  After I wrote the scene in, I thought about what had happened, and went, “Damn, I just figured out how to make the next chapter work.”

That’s how my stories go.  As far as people saying I plot everything out–in a way, yes, I knew something was going to happen in Chapter Sixteen that will effect the last two chapters, but I didn’t completely understand the mechanism that would make something happen that I need to happen.  Now I have it, and I can go into the next chapter with an understanding of how to set up the scene.

Yeah, imagination is a great thing.

I should use mine more often.

The Tarnished Ring

It came in the night, sneaking into my mail box like a virus trying to convince me it was really a cute video of a dolphin–and since I know dolphins are all a bunch of thrill-kill rapists, I won’t ever look at that mail . . . but I had to look at this one.

It was a message from Harper Voyager.

I knew what it was going to say the moment I saw it in my inbox.  There was nothing in the title that made me believe I was going to find a pot of gold inside.  So rather than play the guessing game, I opened it–and within was the rejection.  They’d read my novel, or at least looked it over, and decided it didn’t feel right for the Harper Voyager list, so thank you for the submission, and wish you well on your career.

As I told the two people I know the best right after I received this good news, I’d expected this.  Forty-five thousand manuscripts shows up in the HY inbox, and they were choosing a dozen, or perhaps a little more, so the odds of getting that brass ring were incredibly high.  I didn’t get it, so the world has come to an end–right?

The hell with that noise.

George Clooney is quoted as saying, “The only failure is not to try,” and that’s all the truth you need to know.  I wrote, I edited, I polished, and I sent the damn thing in.  It came back with a big “X” on the sucker, but it was marked.  The try was there, and Yoda can eat a flaming bag of cat poop for all I care, because o say you either do it or don’t is bullshit.  You have to go for it, to take a chance, and if you don’t, then nothing was accomplished.  You ain’t gonna win every time, and it does no good to bitch about how hard it is to, you know, write these damn things, and then clean them up and send them out.

So, the story is still mine; I don’t have to worry about an editor going, “Okay, there’s way too much lesbian stuff going on in this story, can you do something about that?” and throwing out an answer along the lines of, “I’m thinking orgy.”  No, it’s up to me to decide where Her Demonic Majesty is going, so I should start with the deciding, right?

What’s next then?  First comes the ebook formatting.  Then comes the cover–one that, I hope, does not land me on Bad Romances Tumblr, home of Objectified Scotsman Thursdays!  This means I want something that doesn’t suck, got it?  Once that’s all done, then up to Smashwords to take it place alongside the forced dragon breeding porn, then over to Amazon and get it uploaded for the Kindle.  Then promote, and do the interview things on different blogs, then I don’t know what, followed by profit!

Really, though:  that’s the plan.  Finish Suggestive Amusements, then get Her Demonic Majesty ready for self publication.  After that’s finished, then get Replacements ready for self publication as well, because why not have two stories up and ready to go?  And then . . .

You only win if you try.