The Strange Case of the Big Sur Benefactor has won second place in the 2016 Rainbow Awards, Lesbian Historical & Paranormal category. Thank you, Elisa Rolle, and thank you judges! The Strange Case of the Big Sur Benefactor is available now at Bold Strokes Books.
|Volume 5 of the MCB Quarterly, featuring my story Glow Bunny is out! You can find it here in all ebook formats. Glow Bunny is the story of a veterinarian, a lawyer, and a little bunny with a price on its head. Cheaper than a fancy espresso drink, and twice as entertaining.
To celebrate my first release in too, too long, I’ll be tweeting pictures of Bunnies I Have Known at @jessfaraday. Come join the fun =)
The Rainbow Awards are the brainchild of Elisa Rolle, author of Days of Love, a retrospective of LGBTQ love through the ages. Every year, Elisa single-handedly wrangles books, judges, charitable donations, communications, and promotions, which is quite a job. This year, for example, there were over 450 books, nearly 170 judges, and a total of $17,300 raised for numerous charities around the world. I’m honored by my award, but if anyone deserves a medal, it’s Elisa.
There are so many wonderful books on the list of winners, honorable mentions and runners-up. Why not toddle over and pick out a few new favorites?
Some excellent news today–Fool’s Gold has received an honorable mention in the Rainbow Awards! An Honorable Mention means that the book has received a minimum of 35 out of 40 points from the judges. Winners will be announced on December 8. *flailing happy dance*
Here are what the judges had to say:
Taut, intriguing, companionable—three words to describe the reader experience of Fool’s Gold. In this beautifully written story, we find, as we always do, that all that sparkles is not gold. What we lose in the discovery makes Faraday’s theme of what we gain in the recovery all the more satisfying.
Thank you judges!
Thank you Wendy for this excellent opportunity!
Jess Faraday and I met in a writing community on LiveJournal in 2004, and did our first Nanowrimo together in October that year. Along with several others, we formed our own writing and critique group, which has been going since January 2005. Jess was one of the first of us to get published, and she’s certainly one of our most prolific members. She has too many published books to be considered “emerging” any more, but it has been my pleasure and privilege to be part of her journey to publication — to see her emerge — and I’m thrilled that she agreed to do an author interview.
JESS FARADAY is the author of the Ira Adler series (including the Lambda-shortlisted Affair of the Porcelain Dog), the steampunk thriller The Left Hand of Justice, the Stein & Vincent adventures, and numerous articles, short stories, and translations. She teaches a short fiction…
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Getting back into the work-year–always a little difficult after summer break, and what an excellent summer break it was. Three weeks in New England, including a week on a working farm. Absolutely fabulous, but now it’s time to buckle down again.
Spring showed that last year was actually a lot more productive than it felt. But one can’t sit on her laurels. To that end, here’s what’s currently in the hopper:
- Reading the submissions I received for the Undeath and the Age of Steam anthology. There are quite a few from people I’ve worked with before and am looking forward to working with again, as well as some new faces.
- The aforementioned gothic m/m story.
- An anthology of short historical lesfic pieces I’m collaborating on with two other authors whose work amazes and thrills me.
- A 19th century detective novel set in London’s Caribbean immigrant community.
- A short story about a Very Important Rabbit.
Of course I could go chuck it all and cuddle the kitten instead. For those people playing at home, this makes 1 dog, 2 rabbits, a cat and a goldfish. I think I’m done as far as pets go, at least for now.
A number of things swimming in my mind today.
First, I read this article from BBC, speculating about robots writing novels. We already know that computers can and do generate news and sports stories–as well as children’s books. The latter are easy to pick out, because they’re generally assembled in China, feature licensed characters, and the sentences, while following the “subject verb object” format often don’t make either sense or story. And of course anyone who has cracked a book in the last five years won’t be able to help noticing that even Big 5 publishers seem to be trying to replace actual editors with a run through spell-check. And it shows. It really, really shows.
But does anyone aside from curmudgeons like me actually care?
I’ve been reading a novel from a well-known small publisher, and it’s breaking my heart. The story is outstanding. The characters are amazing.
The proofreading is appalling, to the point that it distracts me from the story. Of course the publisher already has my money, so what do they care? Pride in work? What’s that?
At the website of the publisher, who shall remain nameless, there is a job solicitation for proofreaders. The payment? A free copy of the e-book that they edited.
Yes, it all makes sense now.
I both edit and proofread. The last thing I want is a free copy of something that I’ve been laboring to bring to a publishable state–especially with no other compensation forthcoming. Nothing would make me care less about doing a thorough job. Literally nothing. This policy goes a long way toward explaining why shitty production values are such a stereotype in some circles.
This publisher currently has proofreader vacancies. Color me surprised.
A lot of people think “content should be free.” I’ve posted about this before, so I’ll let that poor, dead horse lie. A lot of people–enough people to support cheapshit bottom-of-the-barrel ebook production–apparently don’t mind a crap product if it’s cheap. Cheez Whiz for your brain.
I wonder how long before a computer can generate a novel that is sufficiently readable, and no one will pay authors at all?
Considering my knack for entering a profession just as it’s winking out, I’d imagine it won’t be long.
We get what we’re willing to pay for.
Living on the academic calendar, I mark time a little differently. The beginning of my year is in the autumn, and the end is sometime in the middle of summer, when we head off on vacation–because really, how much work does anyone do on vacation?
The past few years have run on a cycle of book proposal in the late spring or summer, followed by 9-12 months of work, culminating in turning in the book the following Spring. This past year I tried something new.
This past year has been The Year of Short Projects. To wit: a novella, two short stories, and an anthology–plus the release of the novel written the previous year.
This year started out with the release of a short story I did for Obverse Books, called Eliminating the Impossible. The anthology is a collection of alternate-universe Sherlock Holmes stories, and it’s quite unique. All of the stories are really well done, though I’m partial to Kelly Hale, after reading her wonderfully irreverent (and prizewinning!) novel Erasing Sherlock.
Fool’s Gold was a behemoth of a novel, but it came out quite well, I think. It completed the three-book plot cycle started in The Affair of the Porcelain Dog and continued in Turnbull House. Ira Adler has been such a part of my life for so long, it was difficult to turn this one in. I’ll definitely be doing some shorter work with him, though.
After that, I wanted to do something light, hence, The Strange Case of the Big Sur Benefactor, which is so light it’s almost slapstick. It was huge fun to write, and I hope is fun to read as well.
On July 30, my short story About A Dog will be coming out in volume 2 of the MCB Quarterly. It’s another Amy Archer story, and is not only about a dog, but also about the tunnels under Los Angeles and the legends of the things that live down there.
Finally, what I like to think of as The Haunted Anthology, Death and a Cup of Tea is slated for release on August 1. It’s a terrific anthology–one of our best, IMO, but the production was beset by so many problems–staff disagreements, technical troubles, and more–that part of me thinks it must have been cursed from the outset. Please buy a copy and help to lift the curse! And for your help, you will receive a $3.00 discount for pre-ordering.
Right now, I’m working on what started out as another short project set in London in 1889. It was meant to be a bit of fun, but it’s taken a dark, gothic turn, as well as deciding that it needs to be a bit longer. Ah, characters. Why can’t they do what we tell them? It may be time to send them to what my writing group calls Pesky Character Camp while I head off to Lovecraft Country for a few weeks.
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending CCWC (the California Crime Writers Conference) for the first time. It was a small, friendly, well-organized conference with interesting presentations, and I’ll surely be back next year. Here are the takeaways:
PEOPLE: The panels were interesting and informative, but the best and most useful result of the conference was meeting people. Writing is isolating, and I tend toward isolation by nature, so this was stretching some unused muscles. In fact, if it were between a Volkswagen full of dinner-plate sized poisonous spiders and introducing myself to someone I don’t know and omg asking them for something, I’d take the spiders.
But alas there were no spiders at CCWC, so I girded my loins and (1) pitched my book idea to three agents (two were very pleasant, one was less pleasant) (2) approached several writers whose work I admire without acting like the gibbering fangirl that I am (3) chatted up someone in the bookstore and inadvertently talked them into buying my book.
I also did some payback and paying forward. There were a few people at the conference whom I had either met years ago, or had only known online, who had been encouraging, kind, and helpful about my writing. I made a point to go up to them, tell them how much their encouragement had meant, and by the way, I sold that book! Take my card! Take it! And when I met writers who were newer on the path, I shared some of my experience (and cautionary tales) that I hope will save them time and trouble.
Keynote speaker Anne Perry (who sat right next to me for half an hour and God help me, even though I’ve read her books I did not recognize her face) reflected on why crime writers are such nice people (because we take out our aggressive impulses on fictional characters), and it’s true. To a person, everyone I met was lovely.
QUOTES & OBSERVATIONS:
“Be professional, be polite, but have a plan to kill everyone in the room if you have to.” – Rich Lopez, L.A. Sheriff’s Department (lecture on Prison Gangs & the Mexican Mafia)
“Show up every day. Finish a book.” –Charlaine Harris
“Because I have the ability to look at this stuff every day and deal with it, I consider it my duty to do so.”
– Professor and criminologist Donald Johnson, during his excellent lecture on forensic investigation. (It was an outstanding lecture, but I don’t think he realized that his audience would be largely women—many with children—when he decided to show horrifically graphic slides of unspeakable things that had been done to a child murder victim. And this is why I write about fictional crimes instead of investigating real ones.)
MY PANEL: I was part of a lively panel on historical fiction. The panel was moderated by the inimitable Rosemary Lord, who did a magnificent job coming up with interesting questions, and keeping everything moving on time. I was also pretty psyched that the room was full, as the last historical panel I was on, there was one less audience member than people on the panel. I did not gibber, ramble, lose my train of thought, cough excessively into the microphone, or otherwise make an ass of myself—or if I did, people were too kind to mention it to my face =)
FINDING MY PLACE AND FOCUS: The conference left me with the overall impression of just how vast the field of writing is. There are unpublished writers, self-published writers with teeny distribution, self-published writers with wild success, traditionally published writers of different standings, agented, non-agented—and all with different experiences and expertise. The different directions in which one can take her career seem endless.
In the end, I managed to answer the one question I’d hoped the conference would help me with—what’s the next step? I formed a vision and a plan. Now to carry through.