Friday, July 1, 2022

Taking a Break from Drama

 Funny that we should be writing about author drama this week. Because you'll note that I've been a no-show for a few trips around the ole blog cycle. I'd like to think I had a good reason - but I suspect that's how most author drama starts. With the best of intentions. >>Peers at Twitter. Okay. Maybe not. 

 Anyway - I bailed because I went to Ireland.So accept this writerly drama in the form of a few photos:

This is the Abbey at Cong. 7th Century. Lovely old ruin with a familiar story. Everything was going along just fine for the monks living here until the Vikings landed and started killing everyone and taking their stuff.
    This is at Dún Aonghasa on Inis More in the Aran Islands. It's an old        ring fort overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. That cliff I'm sitting on goes        100 feet down to crashing waves - but I swear I am NOT sitting on the         edge of  the world. There was another sizeable slab of stone under my     feet.

 This is Galway. Lovely little city. It is the oldest port in Ireland. There are buildings still standing and in use that were built in medieval times. Recent archeological investigation discovered 12th century castle ruins just beneath the shopping district. Many of the businesses have put plexiglass into the floors to expose a bit of the history. The streets in Galway are startlingly narrow. Because the city is medieval in design, the roads were built for horse and buggy rather than cars. Houses and shops stand right up at the edge of the roads. Two buses meeting and trying to pass can be an adrenaline rush.
This is just an short snippet of the River Corrib in Galway.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Life is difficult, but you don't have to make it worse

 This week we’re talking about author drama: is it idiocy or a PR campaign. And I’ve gotta say, I’m part of an incredibly smart group of authors. Check out their posts, there’s some great advice on how to avoid and extract yourself from amped up situations. 

Me, I avoid drama. It’s bad for the health. I much prefer to stay zen and be supportive. Life isn’t always easy, but that doesn’t mean you have to invite negativity. I looked up drama quotes and this one from Anita Renfroe (who I guess is an author, I might have to check out one of her books) was perfect: 

I hope you have a lovely weekend and enjoy my fellow SFF Seveners’ posts! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

When You're Caught in Author Drama: 3 Steps for Extracting Yourself

Monsoon rains in New Mexico bring green green green! 

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week concerns Author Drama. We're asking specifically if we think it's idiocy or a PR campaign.

So far the opinions this week have run to proclaiming it unwise at best and idiocy at the baseline. I don't disagree. I'm not much for drama in any aspect of my life, so I go to lengths to avoid it. Those of you who've followed me for a long time know I'm all about balance, that - as a practicing Taoist - I'm forever seeking the middle path and a place of equanimity. 

That said, sometimes the drama finds you. 

As with all of life, we are walking a fine line with author promotion. We put our books out there, and we put our SELVES out there, because the author is the brand that readers follow. When we post photos of our lives, our likes, our pithy observations, and so forth, we are doing it because we WANT attention, right? If nothing else, we've been trained by social media to court those clicks and likes and followers, in the hopes that they translate to book sales and readers. 

But we only want positive attention! you might say. Well, yes. Still, there's always the chance that a bid for attention can go too far and tip over into negative attention. These things aren't always controllable. When I see the latest kerfuffle and readers lining up on sides, it's easy for me to sit back and feel smug that they're not yelling about ME. I also have to be honest about myself and realize that they're not talking about me either. It's easy to declaim drama when you're not noticed at all.

What' most important to remember is: most authors who find themselves mid-drama did not intend to incite that level of reaction. What's happened is they handled it badly. They don't have the professionalism, the emotional maturity, the support network, the sheer ability to control themselves, to back away.

That's what it takes. The common wisdom holds, should you find yourself propelled into drama:

1) Step away

No matter what anyone says, you are not required to respond immediately. It's almost always better if you don't  respond until things have cooled. This includes not looking at what people are saying.

2) Apologize

Don't entrench. Don't argue. Don't try to convince everyone that you really are a Good Person™. If you don't know how to craft a good apology (which admits being wrong, makes no excuses, and includes real resolve to change), get help with it. 

3) Don't fan the flames

Resist the urge to respond further. Stick to your statement and apology. Don't succumb to the lure of attention by stoking it just a little more. Actually do the work to correct what you did to upset people.

What happens with some Author Drama cases is that the person in question becomes so enticed by the attention that it all feels good. In extreme cases, it becomes their brand. It's a choice, but not always one that serves the books and the storytelling.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Bitcher Beware


Author Drama:  Idiocy or PR Campaign?

There are very, very few good reasons to raise a stink in public. When authors (or anyone in the public space) manufacture drama in order to get attention, they are proving themselves to have the emotional maturity of a toddler. It flies in the face of the governing principle of Don't Be a Dick. 9 times out of 10, the backlash earns curiosity clicks for an immediate gain but destroys any long-term benefits. If the plan is to be a career author (ie, more than one book) then showing your ass is the absolute worst strategy. 

When is it okay to get your open-mic gripe on? When issuing a public caution and you have the receipts to back it up. If you don't have the latter, don't engage in the former. Also, take a page from the School of Comedy, in which punching up is okay when you're calling out authority or using rhetoric to dismantle power structures. Don't punch down. That makes you a bully. 

What's an example of good drama? Fighting for your rights against a corporation or abusive business (E.g.: #DisneyMustPay or #AudibleGate). Again, you must have the receipts or you open yourself to legal problems around defamation. 

If you're defaming individuals on social media purely for the clicks or because your response to a perceived slight is a scorched-earth policy, congratulations, you're a cyberbully and subject to criminal prosecution.

In our litigious society, it's Bitcher Beware. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Author Drama


This week's topic at the SFF Seven is about Author Drama and whether we think it's idiocy or a PR campaign.

This post is going to be super short, because I think about author drama exactly 0%. What drama I've seen has usually been to the author's detriment, whether caused by them or inflicted upon them. I'm sure there are authors who seek drama for PR purposes, people who see ways to cash in on stirring the pot of their choice. To me, that's a pretty terrible tactic and not anything that's on my radar. I don't know how people have time for creating drama for PR purposes. I barely have time to look up from all my writer duties. 

So, I'll just be over here drama free, thank you very much ;)

~ Charissa

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Gateways to SFF


This dreamy-eyed bookworm grew up in a small, rural town in Canada at the end of the twentieth century.

I devoured the Masters of SF on my mother's bookshelf. I read the treasured volumes in our family bookcase by C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, the Grimm brothers, and Hans Christian Andersen. It was a challenge to fit in socially, so I made friends with Anne McCaffery’s dragons, Ursula K. LeGuin’s wizards, and Madeleine L’Engle’s Murry family tessering through the universe. They accepted me for who I was, while providing an escape from an often unloving, unfeeling world. 

When I grew into adult SFF, it was the late 1980s and early 90s. There were no ebooks. There was no BookTok and no Bookstagrammers to find book recommendations. So it was my big sister who introduced me to Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry.

Cover of the first Canadian and world-wide edition! (1984)

I fell hard and fast for the series. Kay wrote lush Mediterranean-inspired scenes, political intrigue that kept me turning pages, and complex characters that made me swoon. And he was Canadian, like me!

Many of us love SFF because its complexity keeps us engaged and feeds our imaginations. To find a series that appeals to our senses, emotions, and intellect—to all the sides of us—is a gift. It gives us hope. It keeps us going in a world that can seem small and dark.

Today, it’s my great privilege to teach SFF to college students. For some, it’s their first introduction to the genres and I love seeing them explore the thought experiments and new worlds in SFF. The stories that resonate best with my students now are Octavia Butler’s literary granddaughters, such as Nnedi Okorafor, Larissa Lai, Cherie Dimaline, and Nalo Hopkinson. These writers combine globally-influenced myths and legends with beautifully crafted characters to tell stories that reflect on our pasts and present.

They show hope for the future while challenging us to be better. They dare us to dream of a world that respects all of us. A world that cherishes our unique contributions to our families and communities—and all the worlds of our imaginations.

This is what I learned as I read beside my family bookshelf and as I grew into SFF as a young adult. I hope I will always remember this lesson as I try to inspire the next generation of readers.

Until next time,

Mimi B. Rose.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

ROGUE'S PAWN, Rights Reversion, Hybrid Authors, Dear Hollywood and Gateway Drugs

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Things have been busy in my part of the world...

So much so that I missed posting for the last two weeks - and I'm posting late in the day today. Madness!

This is my brilliant (one hopes) catch-up post. 

In book news, I got the rights reverted on the ten (10!) books I did for Carina Press. I started with my first dark fantasy romance trilogy, Covenant of Thorns, which meant new covers and new back cover copy (BCC). Done and done, times three. (What about the other seven books, you ask? I'M WORKING ON IT, OKAY?) I'll be re-releasing these three books over the next several months. 

Here's for Book #1, ROGUE'S PAWN:

Be careful what you wish for…

When I walked out on my awful boyfriend, wishing to be somewhere—anywhere—else, I never expected to wake up in Faerie. And, as a scientist, I find it even harder to believe that I now seem to be a sorceress.

A pretty crappy sorceress, it turns out, because every thought that crosses my mind becomes suddenly and frighteningly real—including the black dog that has long haunted my nightmares.

Now I’m a captive, a pawn for the fae lord, Rogue, and the feral and treacherous Faerie court, all vying to control me and the vast powers I don’t understand. Worse, Rogue, the closest thing I have to a friend in this place, is intent on seducing me. He’s the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen, enthralling, tempting, and lethally dangerous. He’s as devastatingly clever as he is alluring, and he tricks me into promising him my firstborn child, which he intends to sire…

I don’t dare give into him. I may not have the willpower to resist him. He’s my only protection against those who would destroy me

Unless I can learn to use my magic.

Exciting milestone, to be re-releasing these!

As for the actual topics I'm supposed to address:

What do you see in your crystal ball for publishing? Will the Big 5 become the Big 4 and what would that trickle down cause throughout the industry?

I doubt that the merger that would make the Big 5 become the Big 4 will be approved. Even if it does, there are still other publishing houses that aren't the "big" ones. Also, traditional publishing is only one part of the market and one that's no longer at the forefront of everything. I think there's value to trad publishing still, but I also think most authors will become hybrid, since we want to be able to pay our bills.

Dear Hollywood: Which of your works would you most like to see made into a movie or miniseries What makes it stand out above the rest?

My Twelve Kingdoms and Uncharted Realms series. I really want to see these books as an ongoing miniseries, primarily because I'd love to write the other POVs that are going on simultaneously with the 1st Person POV of these books.

Your gateway drug: the book that made you love SFF

DRAGONSONG by Anne McCaffrey. I found it in my school library in 5th grade and it opened up a whole new world to me. Possibly also the first time I glommed an author's backlist. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

My SFF Gateway Author: Morgan Llywelyn

 My gateway drug: the book that made me 💖SFF

As a wee ankle biter, I learned to read using the Oz books by L. Frank Baum. My dad read them to me until I got old enough to try to read to him (the fact that he napped through most of my efforts while remaining alert enough to help me sound out a word is a testament to his training as a soldier, I reckon). 

Then, I went through my Horatio Hornblower (series by C.S. Forester) phase. ~waves to the Indy~ Oh, and Poe. Can't forget the guy who wrote The Bells, which I imagine is a giant FU to his critics and debt collectors.

Then, school happened with its mandatory reading lists, which, blerg.

The books that finally brought me back into the fold of SFF were anything by Morgan Llywelyn. The Lion of Ireland, Red Branch, The Bard, Epona: The Horse Goddess, Grania, etc, etc. Sure, her Celtic works are typically classified as historical fiction, but stories dealing with magic and gods on earth are also fantasy. So, yeah, I credit her historical fantasies as my gateway, a divine door that's always unlocked and ready to welcome the world-weary to the time of legends and mythology.