Practice, Practice, Practice

You’ve probably heard that old joke, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Click the link – it’s a cool little New York Times story about Jack Benny and the origins of the joke.

But I digress, which seems to be a problem today as I am getting no writing done. Bleh, Mondays.

Anyway, I was toodling around on some message boards this morning, and there was a question from someone who was getting ready to publish his first book, and then I got an email from someone, and then I started thinking about a blog post I read the other day about self-publishing, and now my mind is wandering so I need to do a brain dump so I can make room in there for what I need to be doing. Whee, run-on sentence!

There was another thread on the message board from someone who was complaining about 1-star reviews on a couple of short pieces they had published as free downloads. As far as I could tell, this person’s beef was that these were practice pieces and s/he didn’t want any reviews on them because they weren’t very good. Sorry, poppet, but once you’ve got something out there, someone’s going to have an opinion about it, and you won’t always like it.

Self-publishing is here, and it’s working for a lot of people. It’s easy, which is good, but it’s also bad. Now anyone with an internet connection can publish. Again, obviously, both good and bad. The thing this author did, that I can’t understand, is put something out there that s/he wasn’t proud of and didn’t want people to read.

Self-publishing is easy, but it is also a little tricky and fiddly. You have to get everything formatted just so, you need a cover that’s the right size, you have to navigate the forms and make choices and so on. I can see how someone would want to practice before taking the big plunge.

So practice, by all means. But do it with your best show piece. Keep those practice pieces to yourself. If you’ve ever visited a university music department, you’ve seen that the practice rooms are soundproofed. Think of your writing this way – practice behind closed doors, and then perform your best work for your audience.

When you’re ready to practice the mechanics of self-publishing, do it with your show piece – put it out there when it’s ready, not before. Chances are that after it’s gone live online you will find some things that need to be fixed – you can do that easily on Amazon by uploading a new file to overwrite the old one. It’s a learning process, no doubt, but don’t make it harder on yourself than it has to be!

Writing Update – Cable’s Bend #1

I’ve been plugging away at my vineyard story this week, and I kept coming up with side stories and new characters, so I finally had to admit that we’re looking at the start of a series here.

The setting will be the fictional town of Cable’s Bend, and Thom (the vineyard owner) and Ben (a home-brewer) will be the first installment.

The inn-keeper story I had been planning will now be a Cable’s Bend story. I had originally pictured it in New England, but the more I think about it the more it starts looking like it should be in Cable’s Bend.

There are a couple of characters in the first story that will also get their own stories. I’m even thinking about a kind of prequel – a historical about the founding of the town. There are so many possibilities!

But back to the matter at hand – the vineyard story. Still trying to come up with a title, but I’ll be honest – the title for Just That Easy didn’t come to me until I was writing the blurb on the day I decided to publish it. I am so, so rubbish at titles. I’ve got about 13,000 words drafted, and shooting for 60K. This will be a more developed story than Just That Easy, with more conflict and challenge for our guys before they get their HEA!

I blame the manga…

It’s no mystery that a majority of M/M romance readers and writers seem to be women. For some reason I found myself thinking about this today as I was toodling around on Twitter.

My gateway drug? Manga – specifically yaoi and boys’ love manga. I don’t read it as much as I used to, but I still have some favorite mangaka whose work I follow in scanlation and whose books I buy when they are released in licensed English-language versions – Yaya Sakuragi, Hyouta Fujiyama, and Hinako Takanaga are all in my top 5. At one point I was even proofreading and editing for a yaoi scanlation site – I was working from home and had some down-time during the day. Also, the clumsy grammar and incorrect use of homophones in many of the translations was driving me nuts – I had to do my bit!

Just like here in the US, boys’ love and yaoi in Japan are mainly read by women. I don’t know why so many people find this strange – no one bats an eye about men getting off on lesbian porn. Boooo double standards!

Anyway, if anyone out there is interested in dipping their toe in the manga waters – yaoi, boys’ love, straight romance, or giant robots – here’s a great place to start: You can set up search criteria, and when new manga matching your choices shows up on the daily releases list it will be highlighted. You can even keep track of which chapters you’ve read. If you enjoy something, you can go to that mangaka’s author page and find a list of their other titles, and those that match your search criteria will be highlighted there as well!

Location, Location, Location

I like setting my stories in places inspired by locations I’ve visited. Some of my locations might be recognizable (like the eucalyptus grove on the UC-Berkeley campus in “Just That Easy”), and others may just feel like they could be real. In any case, when I use a real location, I use it with poetic license, so if you’re thinking, “Hey, I’ve been there, and it’s never empty at that time of day,” I apologize in advance, because I know how irritating it can be when an author doesn’t get those details right!

Lucky Friday the 13th Book Launch!

The book should be available on Amazon tomorrow, Friday the 13th. Yep, it’s releasing early! Everything came together much quicker than anticipated, and I saw no reason to delay. Unless something unforeseen occurs, it will be available tomorrow.

What kind of story is it? Well, like I said yesterday, it’s witty, sweet, and mildly kinky. One of our gentlemen has a bit of a fetish, and the other is more than happy to oblige. It gets pretty steamy, and there are some graphic descriptions of hot M/M action, so if that’s not your thing then this isn’t your book.

Here is the cover blurb:

Sean was the prom king, David was a nerd. But years later, when the two meet again in graduate school, they’re worlds away from what they had been in high school. After years as a closeted athlete, Sean is ready to live life on his own terms – and for him that includes a relationship with the handsome and prickly David Harper. David can’t believe that someone like Sean would actually be interested in him.

When they finally connect, it’s intense, erotic, and a little bit kinky – a surprise for both of them. Will their insecurities keep them from giving their romance a fighting chance? Or will they be able to admit that sometimes it really can be just that easy?

All New, All the Time

Evil Genius at Work is now the online home of Madeline Kirby!

I am about to self-publish my first novel. I like to think of it as a witty, sweet, and slightly kinky M/M love story. Of course I hope you agree, and obviously I hope you’ll buy it! I hope to have it available on Amazon by the end of March (fingers crossed).

This story has been in the works for a long time – it started as a NaNoWriMo project, which I didn’t finish because of time constraints, and then languished off and on until I finally got my act together and gave my guys the HEA they deserved.

Anyway, just popping in to make a quick announcement – more soon, when there’s more to tell!