Tee’s Top 5 from 2011

Looking back on 2011Recently, J.C. Hutchins asked across various social networks for people to sum up their 2011 in one word, and then sum up their hopes for 2012 in another. I responded with three.

Yes, I’m a rebel. Screw the rules, ‘cause that’s how I roll.

Man, I really need to make “avoid talking street” a New Year’s Resolution. Now where was I? Oh yeah, Hutch’s “Sum Up Your 2011” question…

I responded with “The Small Step” because I’ve started looking ahead already to 2012. Planning for appearances. Pre-production for a book trailer. Considering a posting schedule for Volume Two of Tales from the Archives.  And, of course, the release of The Janus Affair. It just feels like everything is piling on already, and I’ve still not put away Christmas decorations.

Not sure what it was about this week — maybe the storm front breaking, maybe the sunrise, maybe the unusually smooth commute to work, who knows? — I started to look back. 2011 has been one astounding year. A year of change. A year of direction. Some of these items may some across as a touch trivial, but they defined the year for me, and are helping me work through tough spots and dark times. I stopped to think of those high points and put them out there on this blog, my intent being that you might find five things to be thankful for at this time. Continue reading

Going for Goodreads Gold…well, okay, how about Silver?

There’s a real two-edged sword when it comes to honors and awards. I remember reading about the “importance of awards” when reading titles about getting published, grabbing an agent’s attention, and even marketing a book once it is out there. Across the board: Awards and distinctions help sell books. At least that is what the pros I was reading were telling me.

For a while, though, I’ve been giving awards a sideways glance. yeah, they’re nice and all; but did The Case of the Singing Sword go gangbusters when it won a Parsec? No, not really. Picked up a few more listeners, sure, but it didn’t really give Billi a boost in print sales. So, yeah, awards — nice, and it was very cool going home with that trophy…but I can write without them.

Then Pip and I won the Airship Award for Best Steampunk Literature of 2011. Regardless of what it did for Phoenix Rising sales, I won’t lie to you — it felt good. Really good. I mean, coming-in-from-playing-in-the-snow-and-having-Cream-of-Tomato-soup-with-a-bagutte-side good.

Then, two days before heading out west to Blogworld and ComiKaze Expo, we received word from Goodreads that Phoenix Rising had been short listed for Best Science Fiction of 2011.

At first I was just happy with the nod, but then I took a closer look at the company we were keeping: Continue reading

Losing Your Heart (and Your Preconceptions) in San Francisco

You might have seen last week on my Facebook or Twitter stream a series of check-in’s from San Francisco. If it looked like I was having fun, I was. I caught up with my best friend from high school, touched base with a friend from Intersections, and even found a really fun Tiki Bar just across from my hotel! The funny thing was I was working (seriously, I was…), although it was the last thing I expected to do so passionately. I was expecting to be miserable, frustrated, and counting the minutes until it was time to go home.

This was one of those times when I was thrilled to be wrong. Continue reading

Come on, Baby, Cover Me!

Final Covert Art for Phoenix Rising

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We’ve been sitting on this cover art for months!

When Pip Ballantine and I first saw it, we were over the moon. Imagine the heartbreak when our editor, Diana Gill, told us “You can’t post this anywhere just yet.” To watch the evolution of this cover, from the earlier drafts to the final product, has been a real trip; and while this is my fifth novel, it feels like my first. Continue reading

The Price of Publicity

I promised myself to work on my blogging skills. It’s a bit like getting back into shape, you know? I’m struggling to get back into a routine, and everyone around me is telling to cut myself a break considering the year I have been facing. The reality is, just like staying in shape, I have to do this. Next year, as many of you know, I will be returning to novel-length fiction with my first mass market paperback novel, Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel. Me. The Kiwi. Steampunk. The cover is just beautiful, I’m telling you. Stay patient and, as soon as we get approval, we will go live with it.

2011 is a big step for me as a writer; and I’m trying to take everything I have learned since 2002 when Morevi first rolled off the presses, and apply it to the now. One of the hardest lessons I learned over this near-decade of writing professionally is just how easy it is to find yourself in the red. Not the red ink of an editor’s pen, mind you, but the financial red of your bank account telling you in so many words that you — the professional author — are flat broke. Continue reading