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    • michelle

      Living Room Etiquette   07/25/17

      Welcome to my living room on the internet.   Let me talk a little bit about the history of my home on the internet. I started out blogging on LiveJournal, which is a blogging community. And I talked about publishing and process, but in a fairly general way.   And that worked for a number of years.   What I almost never talked about was my books. But over time, people found my LJ, and they wanted to talk about my books, and I felt a little self-conscious talking about my books on LiveJournal, where the community was more general and more social, and talking about my books felt a little conspicuously like shouting: Me Me Me!   So: I started my author web-site. I posted sample chapters. I talked--when I had any news--about my books. I didn't post often, because I didn't want to drive people who came to the web-site purely for news or information away.   And that seemed to work.   But a funny thing happened. I'm not, and have never been, Robert Jordan, George Martin or Patrick Rothfuss in terms of my reach. I don't have the kind of buzz they generate, and I'm fine with that. I'm not Misty Lackey or Melanie Rawn, either.   I write my books. I try not to say too much about them, because some people hate spoilers. I try not to complain too much about the process, because every job anywhere is difficult sometimes. But… I can't really talk about my books as if I were a reader, because I can't ever approach them as a reader would for the first time. Or even the twentieth.   And sometimes people want to talk about the experience of reading my books. But given my general invisibility on fantasy reader radars, they haven't found many places in which they can do that.   A few years ago, my readers began to talk to each other - on my web-site, because they found people who were also interested in talking about my books there. On a release-day post about the latest novel. This made some readers unhappy because of course discussing the books meant spoilers. I then made a separate SPOILER thread, which people could easily avoid.   That worked, and I made a spoiler thread for almost every subsequent book.   So readers who wanted to discuss the book with other readers spoke to each other on the spoiler threads. I stay out of the spoiler threads. I stay out of the discussions about my books. And I've been able to do that because, while people don't always agree, they don't descend into acrimony and flames.   But the spoiler thread for Cast in Peril was 369 comments long. And that's a lot of comments, and possibly a long load time.   And I thought: maybe it's time to try forums.   I wouldn't have considered forums at all if the spoiler threads had descended into invective and angry ranting; they never have. The people who post and discuss on them have been helpful and reasonable, even when they don't agree with each other.   And what I want out of forums is for that to continue. I don't expect my forums to be crowded; I don't expect that they'll need to be moderated or policed, because of the history of the readers who have posted on my web-site.   But forums in general have rules and policies, and it's best to be clear about those up front, in case of future need. So.   The Living Room rules:   1. Since it's my Living Room, there's a strong possibility that children and grandmothers will stroll past or stop in, since both frequent my house. So I'd ask you to keep that in mind when it comes to profanity. Swear as much as I do.   2. Door to door salesmen frequently interrupt social gatherings, and they're not there to join the discussion. So: don't be that person. This isn't a tupperware party, and I don't want anyone to attempt to sell things to my visitors. If you notice that someone is advertising cheap watches or winning lottery numbers or any variant thereof, report it - and ignore it. It'll be cleaned up and swept out the door.   3. No flaming. Which is to say: no personal attacks or insults. I don't expect this will be a problem because it hasn't been - and I'd really like that to continue. Also, and this is a personal thing: don't accuse someone of trolling just because they disagree with you. Sometimes people disagree; they're not doing it to enrage or derail.   4. Things NOT to discuss on these forums: Real-world religions (any). Real-world politics (any). Explicit sexuality (because: children & grandmothers. And, to be fair, me). There are many other places to discuss any of these things - and I ask that you discuss them there. Here is not the place. This is possibly the only thing I'll be draconian about.   If, in the opinion of the management, you break these rules, we'll probably ask you to sit out the topic. If you break these rules more than once, we may ask you to sit out the week. If you can't communicate without breaking these rules, this is not the forum for you; there are lots of forums on the internet that will be more to your liking.   Also: I believe that readers should be able to discuss what they want to discuss, even if what they want to discuss is how a particular book I've written didn't work for them. For obvious reasons, I would like to personally avoid those discussions because I don't want to be a damper, and because it's not possible for me to be consistently objective about my own work. It's not entirely possible to avoid these discussions on the web-site; on the forums it will be. I've asked Tchula Ripton to moderate, as she's been the list-mom on the Yahoo West list for a number of years.   So on those parts of the forum where the discussions are about my works, she wears the big hat where necessary, because I'm not there.   As for the forums: any member can create topics, and any member can read any forum and reply there. If, for instance, you want to get people's opinions on ebook readers, you can start a post in the “Random†category, and ask.


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  1. The Harlequin Mira website now has the first two chapters of 'Cast in Oblivion' available to read as an excerpt. Go to the harlequin mira website -> search for 'Cast in Oblivion' -> click on the 'free preview' link -> wait 5-10 seconds for the next page to fully load -> click on the 'read a sample' link that after a while pops up over the cover pic.
  2. Well, it WAS up, and unlike the blog link it was for the first 3 chapters, not just the first chapter. But now they've taken it down... which is really frustrating coz I've been using those 3 chapters as my 'fix' in these hard-done-by, downtrodden, the-world-is-a-cesspool, pre-book-release times of hardship. Add to that instead of having a January release date the harlequin site now says the release is 2/2018. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY? {sobs inconsolably}
  3. The Cast in Deception excerpt/preview is now available via the harlequin mira website: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781488027949_cast-in-deception.html Cheers.
  4. Cast in Flight excerpt

    First few chapters of Cast in Flight can be viewed by "view inside" the book image on the harlequin web site's page for Cast in Flight : http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=64606&utm_campaign=general&utm_medium=social&utm_source=Blog_HQ&utm_content=Cast_in_Flight&utm_term=
  5. Hype Baby, Hype! I've already got the shakes waiting for the release date (and I'm a bit worried since on some sites it seems to have slipped from July to August ), but why not work me up more? Work me into a full-on frenzy and I just might do something so crazy it'll grab headlines ... like maybe dress up as an Aerian and walk around Commercial Road flexing my wings whilst questioning passers-by on whether they've seen a suspicious Tha'alani male, or write a letter to the editor of my local rag questioning why the Lords of Law have failed to take action on the Norannir menace... the possibilities are endless...
  6. Hi Michelle, Can you give me a name of someone at your publishing agency that I can go harrass re: a pre-release excerpt teaser?
  7. Cast in Flame has a cover!

    I find myself wondering what the dress Kaylin is pictured in represents in the upcoming story. It seems very 'dressy' and I wonder whether she might be gaining some diplomatic tasks on the draconic court level. But more than anything I find myself biting my nails down to the nubs over when we might get to see an excerpt ;D
  8. My one new thing learnt for today - 'cant' (not 'can't'). I like cant in stories. When used judiciously it helps to immerse my mind more deeply into the story-verse. Whether to use a little or a lot depends on the story being told. Again, it comes back to whether the prose flows, or whether it seems forced. I wanted to mention that I'm a speed-reader - as in, normally I'll glance at a line for a moment and capture the sense or feeling of what I'm reading, but I normally don't pay attention to every single individual word. I know there's a good many people who read this way. Speed reading helps me enjoy books by better immersing my imagination within the story world rather than be distracted by having to pay close attention to the mechanical process of reading. However the mark of a truly great book (IMO) is when, after the first speed read run, I go back again and again and each time take the time to savour the prose, word by word. Find a passage I may have mistakenly skipped. It's like I get to enjoy a new book with every re-reading I would, at this point, mention that your books make me do this, Michelle, (as in re-read and pay much closer attention on the subsequent readings) but I don't want to leave the impression that I'm some sort of sycophant So instead I'll mention Dune. Gawd I love that book. Have been reading and re-reading it since I was 12 (a good couple of decades ago), and it still gives me an imagination-gasm every time ('Eeeew' I hear some people say ) LotR also, of course. Can't say I ever really got into The Hobbit. But anyway - Dune. Now, there's a book that likes detail. You read 10 pages of it and realise that in the story-verse only a moment has gone by in those 10 pages, yet every single word (ok, saying 'every word' is probably overkill .... every sentence perhaps?) was so sublime, was such a joy, it was almost transcendental. I was just now reading an article from last year on Charlaine Harris' final Sookie Stackhouse novel - about how some readers became so upset with the ending they made threats against her. Apparently it was a very negative experience overall. (Never got around to reading the last 3 or 4 Sookie novels myself. It seemed to me it was getting a little to encompassing, trying to tick too many boxes, so I stopped reading any further books so I could remember the characters how I like them.) I also note that JK Rowling recently stated she thought she may have made a mistake not having Harry end up with Hermione. (I don't know why - I quite liked the Ron & Hermione thing). So anyways, this got me thinking that with all these recent successful fantasy serials from various authors in recent years, rather than stand-alone novels, and with the greater access fans have to their favorite authors through various media/communication channels these days, that being able to keep demands and expectations of fans from perversing the author's original intention for the story arc must be a growing problem. I mean, even on your own forums we've had a Severn vs Nightshade discussion going. So I wanted to ask you how you cope with those pressures? Whether you've steeled yourself to stick true to the story you want to tell? Whether you find feedback from readers causes you to doubt or revise what you originally intended/planned? In other words, I suppose, how do you keep your individual sanity from being overwhelmed by the voracious hordes?
  9. This, so much this. If there is anything I hate it's reading a scene which is supposed to be intimate in some way or another but that is mechanical and (to me) obviously something the author is not comfortable writing. I get this impression that the agents who manage authors are browbeating them "Sex sells! You need to get some sex scenes in so your book will sell more!!!" Hopefully this isn't the case, but if it is ... PLEASE DON'T LISTEN TO THEM!!!!!! I'd rather the author just left things to our imagination and skipped on to the part of the story they obviously (at least to me) are more comfortable writing about. (Apologies for the overuse of exclamation marks). As a reader grabbing my imagination is key to enjoying any book. Mechanical stilted prose stops imagination in its tracks. A story that flows is what I want. Whether that flow involves detail or not depends on the context of the character or story or scenario. Lord of the Rings is a good example of where detail helps - as you mentioned Michelle - basically you've got a couple of home-bound Hobbits who go off and explore the world. The awe inspiring details of that world are key to that experience. So yeah, what you say about the viewpoint of the character I basically agree with.
  10. Raising Steam (Pratchett)

    If they were giving a publication date you'd have to think he finished it at least a few months back. From what I read of various authors blogs they seem to do so. I remember once finding out that a JV Jones sword from red ice trilogy book had actually been finished years ago, but the publisher had just taken that long to actually print the bloody thing. At least, I think it was years, my memory might have exagerated things. Didn't realise Terry Pratchett had another book coming out. And it's a Von Leipvig book too, apparently. Kinda of two minds about his books these days. On the one hand I relish any opportunity to revisit the Discword verse, but on the other it's sad to see the lack of wit and coherency compared to his earlier novels. Oh well, I hope Terry is at least still getting joy from writing. Here's hoping he's keeping well.
  11. Cast in sorrow

    I'm in Aus, Linda19, and I got my copy very quickly. If you are still getting notifications about warehouse delays I'd skip waiting on it and relying on the messaging system and contact the store's customer support directly. If they can't confirm that, whatever the problem is, it has been fixed then I'd demand a refund and order it from another store instead.