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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Blog Vacation

I’m taking an internet hiatus for a while. I’ll be around a bit, but probably not updating here much.  I’m going to resume the weekly Casimir Hypogean posts as well as the Neo-pro Interviews in January.  I have a ton of work to get done between now and the new year, so I’m taking a brain break from everything else.  Which is not to say I won’t post if I absolutely feel I have something to say, but I’m not going to try to keep myself on a schedule or add any more things to my to-do list.

For the next couple months, life has to be all about the writing. I’ll be back in January with new goals for the new year and a summary of how 2010 went.

Thanks.  Hope everyone has a great holiday season.

My Orycon 33 Panel Schedule

Yes. They are putting me on panels. Seriously. It’s a squee Immareelritur moment.

So here is where you can find me during Orycon 33, which takes place in Portland, OR from Nov 11 to the 13th.

Fri Nov 11 2:00:pm- 3:00:pm The Real Middle Ages
Why do writers love the Middle Ages? What do writers leave out or get wrong?
(*)S. A. Bolich, Donna McMahon, Annie Bellet, Renee Stern

Sat Nov 12 11:00:am- 12:00:pm Heinlein’s Rules
What are Heinlein’s rules of writing, and should you follow them all to the letter?
Steven Barnes, (*)Edd Vick, Mike Shepherd Moscoe, Mark Niemann-Ross, Annie Bellet

Sat Nov 12 12:00:pm- 1:00:pm Kung Fu vs Wire Fu
Are your fight scenes realistic? Even if they are, do they work on the page? What makes combat feel real, what makes it clunk, and how much blood you can get away with splashing on your readers.
Sonia Orin Lyris, Rory Miller, (*)Steve Perry, Annie Bellet, Steven Barnes

Sun Nov 13 1:00:pm- 2:00:pm Self-publishing, the new vanity press?
Will going it alone work or not?
John C. Bunnell, (*)Jess Hartley, Annie Bellet, Victoria Blake

Sun Nov 13 2:00:pm- 3:00:pm Getting your first professional sale
An author can struggle for months or years before achieving their first success, but even after writing their opus, they can be tripped up by a process which is both entirely new to them and yet critical to their success. This panel describes what an author may experience as they revel in their first success.
(*)Jess Hartley, Mary Robinette Kowal, Annie Bellet, Edward Morris, EE Knight

So if you are in town, Orycon is a pretty sweet little convention.  And you could watch me get kicked out after being mobbed by my fellow panelists (note: mobbing is not promised.  But my friends have always said my special superpower is that I can make anyone want to hit me and I have some pretty strong views on writing as anyone reading this blog might have noticed, so I predict at least a few sparks in some of these panels).  I also am doing the writing workshop and have multiple victims stories to read and critique for that, which any of my fellow Clarionauts can tell is my favorite thing, ever. Really.

It should be fun though. I enjoyed Orycon when I went a couple years ago, and it is neat to be able to come back as an invited panelist.  Shows that even though I still feel like I’m sitting in the ditch, I have actually come quite a ways in the last couple years with this whole writing thing.

New Collection and Also Music for Writing

First, the business stuffs or whatever.

I have a new fantasy short story collection out.  Here are the shiny details:

A pregnant witch must decide between protecting her heritage and protecting her unborn child… A man looking for a better life learns there is a permanent price attached to change… Grieving for his lost brother, a man faces the mother of all tornadoes with a little magical assistance… When a social worker threatens to break apart her family, a single mother of two must use all her imagination and courage to escape to a better world.

This is a collection of four fantasy short stories from Annie Bellet.  Included are: River Daughter, La Última Esperanza, Roping the Mother, The Scent of Sunlight.

*Bonus Material*
The first five chapters of “A Heart in Sun and Shadow”, a fantasy novel set in a re-imagined ancient Wales.

You can buy it for Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/River-Daughter-Other-Stories-ebook/dp/B005SM8372/

And in all other formats via Smashwords here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/93998

Now, on to what I want to talk about in this post.

Music. Specifically, the music I use when writing.  I’m always curious about what other people listen to while writing (or don’t listen to) but I am not sure I’ve shared some of my favorites.

It often depends on what I’m writing, but generally, I can’t write without music.  I gotta have it.  I prefer music without English or Spanish words (or at least pretty incomprehensible lyrics if they are in a language I understand).  But instead of just waxing on forever about this band or that song or whatever, I figured I’d just post some links so you can listen to things yourself.

For writing SF, lately I’ve been totally hooked on the Halo 3: ODST soundtrack.  Listen to this and tell me it doesn’t make you want to go write something full of spaceships and brave people and guns and stuff:

I’ve also been listening to the Bastion game soundtrack a ton.  You can get the soundtrack (or listen to it) here: http://supergiantgames.bandcamp.com/

For writing fantasy, especially epic-feeling fantasy, Two Steps from Hell is pretty much the winner.  Listen to this and then go write a giant sword fight or sweeping reunion among long-lost companions: 

In general, I’ve been enamored of the Red Sparowes lately:

And for writing romances or fantasy or pretty much anything highly emotional scenes, you can’t go wrong with anime soundtracks.  I really love the work of Yoko Kanno:

So that’s the story with me and writing music.  The right song while writing a scene can help me tap into the emotional core I’m looking for or help me visualize the story I’m telling.  I don’t know how people write without music.  It works for some. Just not for me.

By the way, I’m always on the lookout for more writing music.  So if anyone has suggestions of things I might not have heard of, don’t be afraid to post some links in the comments.

September and Sundry

September was a stressful month.  I was still recovering from the summer and Clarion (and all the other travel I did).  I was also doing a lot of sitting around and trying to figure out what I should be writing and where my energy should be going.  I think I’ve  got that sorted at least, though it means writing in other genres.  Science Fiction just doesn’t have the large readership I want to tap into, so I’m expanding my horizons and testing new waters.

Ebook sales started out amazing and then died off almost completely until the very end of the month.  I don’t know why but I wasn’t the only one seeing the Kindle sales fall like a stone, so who knows.  I put up another short story collection and a novel in a different genre under a pen name.  Over the next six months or so I’ll be putting up quite a bit of work under pen names, so Annie Bellet probably won’t have much new (other than The Raven King which is coming this winter at some point, I promise).  My Clarion project book is also in the works and that will be up in the next month or two.

Here are the stats, such as they are:

Ebooks sold: 102

Paper books sold: 0

Words written: 11,206

In other news, Daily SF got SFWA qualified, which means that if I can scrounge up 80 bucks, I, too, can be a full SFWA member.  At the moment I’m super broke, so I won’t be joining.  But I will before WorldCon next year, probably, even though I’m more or less leaving NY publishing behind and focusing my efforts on publishing my own work.  I am still going to write and (hopefully) sell stories to magazines, so it might be useful to be an SFWA member.  We’ll see.

I will be a panelist at the Portland, OR convention Orycon.  I’ll post my schedule closer to the convention.

So that’s the news with me lately.  Chapters of Casimir Hypogean will still go up each Monday and I have many new victims for my Neo-pro Interview series, so look for those on Thursdays.

New Short Story Collection

I released another short story collection as an ebook. This one is all science fiction and all the stories deal with space travel or distant planets in some way.  It includes my other Clarion application story, “Pele’s Bee-keeper”, which also was a semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future contest.  “No Spaceships Go” appeared in December on Daily Science Fiction and will be reprinted in the third issue of Scapezine: the magazine of Young Adult SF.

Here’s the cover:

Here’s the blurb:

A shuttle crash and a rescue by a mysterious woman alone on a deserted planet leads to political and physical dangers… A captain facing court-martial discovers an alien in hyperspace… In the not so far future, a teenage boy has to choose between love and traveling to the stars… On a far away planet, one old miner finds something beneath the ice that forces him to face his grief… Two brothers offered a second chance at their dreams of manned space exploration face technological and personal dangers that could cost them far more than just their program…

This collection of both new and previously published science fiction contains four short stories and a novella. Included are “Pele’s Bee-keeper”, “The Memory of Bone”, “No Spaceships Go”, “Beneath the Ice and Still”, and “The Light of the Earth as Seen from Tartarus”.

Here’s where you can buy it:  For Kindle, For Nook, All Formats.

Tomorrow- another chapter of Casimir Hypogean!

WotF Results, August Summary

Well, in what very well might be my second to last quarter of eligibility, I got another honorable mention in Writers of the Future.  Go figure.  At least I’ll pro-out with a stack of certificates, right? Bright side and all that.

Ebook sales held steady for August despite people apparently thinking that summer would be the slow months.  I’m hoping they were right and that this fall is going to be even better.  And I’m really looking forward to the holidays when many more people will acquire e-readers.

Here’s the numbers:

Ebook sales: 105 (Note: Smashwords hasn’t updated since June for most of the places other than Apple, so I don’t know about some sales yet)

Paper sales: 3

Words written: 19, 904

Yeah. My word counts have died down horribly.  But that’s okay. I’ll make up for it this month.  There’s probably no way I’m going to hit 900,000 words this year, but I think I’ll hit 500,000 or so, which is more than half of goal. Clarion and my husband losing his job side-tracked me a lot.

I have another SF collection ready to go (just waiting on one rejection (or sale) ) and I’ll start the weekly chapters of Casimir Hypogean tomorrow so that my blog is totally neglected while I’m writing The Raven King.  Most of the plot for Raven King fell on my head while I was driving to Reno for Worldcon, so I feel confident that I can bust out the novel in good time.

 

New Month, Some Changes

Hey. I’ve been super neglecting the blog lately, sorry.  I will do a monthly round-up post this weekend plus talk a bit about Worldcon.  I’ve also been trying to write a post about Clarion, but I’m honestly not sure I’ll be able to do it.  There was so much that happened and so much I’m still processing that I don’t know how to sum it up in 500-800 words.  I’ll have to think on it and maybe I’ll just put it up as a blog post at the same time I get my Clarion project book out and use the same thing as a sort of forward in the book.  We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I have a book to write in September.  This means I’m probably not going to feel much like updating the blog with posts since my brain is hopefully going to be full of novel and not blog posts.  However, I think I’m going to serialize my cyberpunk/dystopia SF/pseudo-thriller novel Casimir Hypogean here with weekly posts.  It’s just a rough draft and I’m not entirely sure I’m not going to tear this novel apart and redraft it from scratch (I’ve already done that twice), but we’ll see.  If I get good reader response, maybe I will just write the sequels instead.  So starting next week I’ll post a chapter or at least a part of a chapter a week.

Here’s the cover, by the way, and the rough description of the book:

A genetically engineered bodyguard addicted to the drugs that prolong her life. An ex-cop struggling to provide for his children. An obsessive-compulsive cybernetically enhanced computer genius.  This band of misfits  scrapes by below the radar of their iron-fisted government in an enclosed city where all is not as shiny or under control as it appears.

Then they uncover a plan with deadly side-effects aimed at taking control of a top government position.  As hundreds start dropping dead in the streets from an engineered virus, the criminals find themselves in a race to decode the information they’ve stumbled upon and unravel a terrifying plot.  Faced with betrayal and pursuit on all sides, the three quickly realize that they must save the spiral city and very government that has outlawed them if they are to have any chance of saving themselves.

One Year of Indie Publishing

Yeah, I am not sure I like the term “indie” either, but it has become pretty common usage, so here goes.

In July of 2010, I decided to test out the e-book waters with three short stories.  I put them up under a name that has no internet presence (you can find those stories here if you are curious) and sat back to see if anyone would buy them.  That’s right. I didn’t bother with promotion or anything because hey, they were just short stories and literary short stories at that.  Since then, well, Music in the City became my bestselling story, outselling anything until I put up Surfacing.  When I wrote Surfacing and put it up at the end of April, it then became my new bestselling story (usually it accounts for 30-40 of my sales each month, which, as you will see, is the bulk of my sales).  Under my published/known name (Annie Bellet), my short story Broken Moon was my bestseller (10-15 copies a month) since it went up in April until I put my SF novella Light of the Earth as Seen from Tartarus free. Since it went not-free, it has sold over 40 copies in just a couple weeks though that appears to be slowing down.

But here is a year of sales, by month:

July- 3
August- 4
Sept- 3
Oct- 4
Nov- 2
Dec- 12
(released Spacer’s Blade & Other Stories)
Jan- 17
(released Light of the Earth as Seen from Tartarus (LoTEaSFT)
Feb- 18
(released Heart in Sun and Shadow)
March- 39
April- 34
(Released 3 short stories)
May- 84
(Released Gifts in Sand and Water collection, lowered LoTEaSFT to 1.99)
June- 87
July- 103
(LoTEaSFT was free for 2.5 weeks of July on Kindle with 3257 downloads)

I have also sold 2 print copies of A Heart in Sun and Shadow, one via Amazon, one through the distribution.  (If you are in the Portland, Oregon area and want a print copy, Annie Bloom’s Books in Multnomah Village carries a few and they (and I!) would be thrilled if you went and bought a copy there.)

I don’t know about all the June and July sales yet since Smashwords hasn’t completely updated, but usually for this sort of recording purpose, I count sales in the month they show up, not when they were actually sold (I don’t do this for my tax/permanent records, for obvious reasons).

But a year of ebooks looks like I’ve sold about 410 ebooks and 2 print books across 10 titles.  Only one of the ebooks up is a novel. I have two short story collections, one novella, and the other six ebooks are short stories.

By December I should have at least three more novels out (including the sequel to A Heart in Sun and Shadow), so I am optimistic that this next year will look even better since releasing new work has so far been the best way I see to increase sales.  I also have three more short story collections in the works including my Clarion project book.  Everything should be out by the Holidays.

Speaking of sequels- The Raven King, book 2 of the Chwedl duology, has been delayed. When I set the deadline for Summer ’11, I didn’t realize I’d get into Clarion.  So I’m pushing it back to Winter ’11 because I want to make sure I have time to write the book I want to write and make it awesome.  I also need to re-acquaint myself with the world I built for the first book.  So it is coming this year, just a little later than I’d originally planned.  Also coming in December are at least the first two books of the Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division.  Book 1: Avarice is mostly complete, I’m waiting to write the others before I release it.  I’m also waiting on the cover artist (the covers are paintings!). I’m really excited about this series though (it’s my Law & Order with sword fights series).

So that’s a year in indie publishing for me.  Here’s for a kick-ass Holiday season for all of us. *grin*

Quickie July Summary

Final week of Clarion is upon me.  I’ll have my post-Clarion wrap-up post (and Kickstarter project book update) AFTER I get home and find out what sleeping in a real bed is like again.

So here’s some number for July (that’s the reason you are here, right? Dirty little numbers):

Ebooks sold- 103

Free ebooks “sold”- 3,257

Print books sold- 1

Words written- approximately 29,275

Stories sold- 0

So yeah. That’s my sad stats.  So far I’ve written 8 stories at Clarion so far with two more on deck this week (one will be workshopped, one will just go into the project book) and maybe one more started this week so that I can slot it into the project book if I need to.

WotF Q2 Results and Sundry

I got a Silver HM for Writers of the Future 2nd Quarter 2011.  My second Silver HM in a row.  Guess I need to step up my game somehow.  If only I could go to an intensive, 6 week workshop on writing SF/F fiction.  (Oh, wait….)

My SF novella is still free on Kindle for a limited time and over 3,000 people have downloaded it.  Want to be cool, too? You can Get it Here!

And my SF collection “The Spacer’s Blade& Other Stories”  was featured on Daily Cheap Reads.  Go here, check it out.

There. That’s all I got. Sorry.  Clarion has 2.5 weeks left, and then I’ll try to formulate some thoughts on it, etc.