Wednesday, 27 May 2015

What is your career vision?

Fellow writer John Scalzi recently made a deal with his publisher to deliver thirteen books over the next ten years. The money mentioned was a nice thing, but what impressed me the most was the time-frame.

Essentially, this guy just scored TEN YEARS of Job Security as an author. He knows what he's gonna be doing for the next ten years and won't have to worry about where/when the money is coming from to pay the bills, or if anyone's gonna buy his next book. He's set for a decade.

What a lucky guy. I wish I had that sort of stability in my writing career.  Chances are, when my backlist is as long as his, I might get that chance.

Whenever I hear news of this sort, I give a review to my 50-Year Plan (aka writing career). Is my career on track? What can I do to improve the little things?

I have a business plan. After reading Scalzi's thoughts on That Deal, I reviewed my plan. I take comfort in the fact that I didn't feel the need to alter or change much of that plan. I did feel a touch more motivation. And I'm lucky to be able to act on that motivation today.

Last week was a Very Busy Week with lots of non-writing stuff. I had to put writing aside for 160 hours. Now that I've got my regularly scheduled life back, Scalzi's news came at just the right time to let me indulge in a motivational reaction, instead of whimpering uselessly while Everything Else pushed my writing aside.

I'm 60% through my current WIP, right on target for my August 1 deadline.

Meanwhile, I am happy and thankful to have a backlist. Feel free to read and review my books. I've got more coming out soon.

Question for comments: What is your career vision? Do you have a plan?

Her Grace dreams of the day she'll permanently be a full-time author.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Vocab: why I hate the word "cute"

This week I have come across the word "cute" used in contexts that annoy me.


  • The Cutest Blog on the Block
  • That friend who always looks so cute-and-put-together
  • You should wear this. It's a cute dress.
  • What a cute haircut!

As a single, standalone word, I don't mind "cute". It has its time and place. What annoys me is when people use the word cute out of its time and place.

Cute, for me (and Webster), is defined as "having a pleasing and usually youthful appearance". I'd describe a baby as "cute". A well-dressed little girl or boy as "cute". A Volkswagen Bug as "cute".

But I can't describe an adult as "cute". For me, "cute" implies a non-mature appeal to my parental nature. If I want to squeeze its little cheeks and speak to it in baby talk and feed it, then it's cute.

I'd never apply the label of "cute" to a woman because that would take away from her adultness.  I definitely do NOT associate "cute" with "sexy".  (Webster, you betray me.)

So whenever I hear the word "cute" applied to an adult, it makes me go *squick*. It's just not right.

Her Grace refuses to be described as "cute". If you must describe Her Grace, "elegant" is a more preferred term.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Head in the Game

I confess April burned me out a little when it comes to blogging. Fret not, I'll get back into a regular posting schedule in June. May is a very busy month for me, with the end of the Semester and about ten family birthdays and the onset of Winter (Makuru). The big rocks demand all my spoons this week.

The other day I was at work reading a manual. I got to the end of the page and couldn't remember a thing I'd read. It was just after lunch and my brain was drifting about. I couldn't stay focused. I kept thinking about my novels. I had to go back and re-read the page two more times. It took a lot of energy, but I got it done.

While daydreaming is a very important tool to the Artist, and it's good that a brain wants to sort out the WIP, doing it while I'm on someone else's dollar is not the done thing.

Most writers have the Day Job--that reliable source of income that enables a roof over our heads and food in our bellies and electricity to our computers. It is, essentially, our Patron. And as our Patron, you need to give it proper respect if you wish it to continue supporting your creative lifestyle.

And that means when you're at the Day Job, you focus on the Day Job. That's the etiquette.

But man, some days focus can be harder than others.

Her Grace's marketing tip: If you're allowed to put up stuff in your cubicle, put up pics of your book covers. Also, a Post-it saying, "Buy my books!" doesn't hurt either. Otherwise, head in the game.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

eBook readers

I've always loved sci-fi gadgets. They're so cool!

And now that we're in the 21st Century, many of the sci-fi gadgets I dreamed about as a child are a reality (except for lightsabres. I'm still waiting for one of those).

One of the nifty things I love is an eBook reader. I read on a Kobo Aura HD. It's got a touch screen and the most beautiful backlighting I've seen on an electronic device. 

I could read the thing for hours. (Waitaminnut. I do.) I've got nearly 900 books on my little cutie, and more are added every week.

While there is an old-school charm about print books, how they look so good on a shelf, how you can easily loan them to friends who never return them, how you can drop it in the tub and not worry about electrocution (or the mad, wet dash for a tub of dry rice), I must confess I prefer the convenience and ease of ebooks.

What I love about ebooks:
  • Lightweight. A thousand books weighing about 200 grams? Awesome. Not to mention the ease of carrying an ebook reader around. Few single books weigh less than my ebook reader, even with its protective cover.
  • Convenience. My ebook reader boots up as quickly as it would take for me to open to a bookmarked page in a traditional book.
  • Night reading. My Kobo Aura HD has a lovely easy-on-the-eyes backlight with adjustable brightness. Perfect for reading in bed at night. And should I fall asleep, the ebook reader will turn itself off after bookmarking my page. If I had had an eBook reader as a child, I would never have gotten any sleep!
  • Access. If I want to read the next Mary Robinette Kowal, I can. My Aura HD connects to the KoboBooks bookstore and I can have any book I want in their catalogue in less than a minute. As for library books, it's a little bit more of a song-and-dance, but even so, in under five minutes, I can check out eBooks from my local library.
  • Go-go-gadget coolness! Those readers who are nostalgic for the old-world charm of a print book can be nostalgic for that. However, as a child of sci-fi, my skiffy soul is thrilled with the sheer gadgetryness of an eBook reader. You can be nostalgic for the past. I long for the future.
Currently AS GOOD AS GOLD and FOR RICHER, FOR POORER are available on KoboBooks, and other good eBook retailers. So if you're a Kindle fan, a Kobo lover (like me) or a Nook addict, you can read my books.

My next three novels will also be available as eBooks.

Her Grace is looking forward to the day when books can be uploaded directly to one's brain.