jeanmarieward: (lexluthor)

Finally sat down with Lil Kids!, the first paper graphic novel by Von Allan of [livejournal.com profile] vonandmoggy .  Lil Kids! is a prequel to his web comic, the road to god knows..., which tells how the two main characters became fast friends.  Thrilling girl adventure stories and the friendships that make them possible are among my favorite things.  When I was the age of the girls in this story--and the road to god knows...--I generally wound up reading comics and boys' books, because nobody seemed to understand that small females were every bit as curious, ambitious and prone to getting into trouble as small males.
And, oh yeah, we wanted to be superheroes too, because it's fun beating up bad guys.
Now I know Von's a man.  I've seen his picture on LJ, and Moggy swears it's really him.  But reading Lil Kids! it sometimes feels like Von plugged right into the little girl I used to be.  And there's more.  Lil Kids! sets up the main plot threads of the road to god knows..., including Marie's awareness that her mom is different.  It also provides interesting insights into Von's creative process, from initial idea and thumbnails to fully developed comic.
In fact, I enjoyed the book so much, I'm going to give it away.  To my husband, another late-blooming artist.  If artists are like writers--always learning from each other--this could get interesting in the best possible way.
Today has been an all around good book day.  I decided to present my local Waldenbooks a copy of Here Be Dragons: Tales of Dragon*Con, the wonderful anthology I'm in with Jody Lynn Nye, Susan Sizemore, Quinn Yarbro, Todd McCaffrey, Teresa Patterson and the late Bob Asprin.  (Yes, I will post the cover as soon as the dh scans it.  Some people!  *g*)  Naturally, I couldn't escape without buying something, especially since they had only two copies of [livejournal.com profile] lilithsaintcrow 's Steelflower left.
Steelflower is Lili's sword & sorcery epic, and as fine as anything she's ever written.  But that's not why it holds a special place in my heart.  Steelflower was the first novel [livejournal.com profile] qnotku bought as a Samhain editor.  I read it in the manuscript, filching pages from Teri as she finished them.  It broke my heart when her ill health (and her all-too-sudden death) prevented her from bringing the novel from perfect ms. to published book.
Today the book broke my heart all over again when I read Lili's dedication: "To Teri Smith.  Go, blithe spirit.  You were a joy to know.  And I look forward to seeing your smile again." 
Somehow I missed that in the electronic version.  As soon as the budget permits, I hope to get a copy for [livejournal.com profile] hundakleptisis.  He needs to see that.
Was finally able to do all this good stuff because I shipped off the last section of a new book proposal early this afternoon.  The deadline for the proposal had been hanging over my head since Dragon*Con.  Ironically enough, the book is a how-to for aspiring fantasy artists.  (No ma'am, I don't draw; I just write like I know how.)  I'll share more if the project gets the green light, but for now, let's just say the artist is super and the set-up really intriguing.
The proposal is why I've been so slow about posting my Dragon*Con pics and report.  Nope, still not finished, and I have to get back to the Story From Siren Hell before I work through them.  But thanks to fellow DC Area Storyteller Anthony Stevens, I do have pics from this weekend's two book signings.  Yes, Virginia, little tomboys do grow up girlie.  Now if I could only figure out a way to get make-up on without losing that extra half hour of sleep...
Hugs and smiles,
Jean Marie
jeanmarieward: (Duzell3)
I thought this blog was going to be about my farewell to final line edits (FLEs) for Samhain Publishing.  Mom's getting worse and my concentration is deteriorating accordingly.  But Angie, who's now running the FL editors, offered me a deal I couldn't refuse--a nice, fat fantasy FLE job with no due date.  The book is Attrition by Keith J. Bowers, and it looks really good.  Thanks, Angie!
The change in plans didn't change my subject for tomorrow's Samhain blog, "Thirteen Things Final Line Edits (FLEs) Taught Me About Writing".  All the names and situations have been changed to confuse the guilty.  Which kind of pointless, because it's always the innocent who think I'm talking about them.  Go figure.
Much more innocuous--not to mention tasty--is the Fantasy & Enchantment blog I posted earlier today.  It includes the recipe for the world's best apple pie.  At least, it was the world's best apple pie when Greg's mom made it.  Results may vary, but even made by a mediocre cook like me, it tastes wonderful.  :-)
Finally, I want to let everyone know [profile] hundakleptisisis running a contest in honor of his late wife (and my writing partner) Teri Smith.  The details can be found here.  I think the prizes would've tempted Teri.  Well, she would've wanted the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab imps and one of hundakleptisis' beautiful handmade boxes.  They're fine
Cheers and smiles,
Jean Marie
jeanmarieward: (kick)


All right.  I admit it.  I was a DragonCon Bunny.  



The Press Room Gang: (from the left) Randi, Dorie, Dave (aka Silent Bob), me and Leigh.

You should be glad I didn’t look like this guy.


WTG, everyone involved—especially [personal profile] vampry(SFLit Track), Nancy Knight (Writing Track) and Cathy Bowden (Star Wars Track).  My pictures, as many as there are on my Flickr page, just don’t do you justice.  Can’t wait until next year!
jeanmarieward: (Duzell3)
In fact, if you aren't in the mood for a little cranky, you might want to leave right now.
A little cranky.  I can't complain about life in general.  Not when I'm wrestling with plot bunnies--or in this case, plot bonobos wearing baseball caps of invisibility--for My Big Fat Olympian Wedding From Hell.  But all the ducks Denny Crain hasn't shot seem to be nibbling the parts not wrestling with over-sexed pygmy chimps.
First, I don't know whether to be worried about Duzell the Wonder Cat.  In the way cats do, he's just missed the litter box twice in three days--almost like a guy who overshoots the rim.  Since the litter box is downstairs, and he's still burying his solids, I'm hoping he's merely decided to get finicky about the litter.  Even so, it's a nuisance, and I've called the vet, just in case.  Duzie never ate any of the contaminated pet foods, so the problem should be, um, general pissy-ness on his part.  But I'm a Virgo.  Worrying is part of the job description.
Second, I'm really disappointed in the Compton Crook Award.  I'd hoped to submit With Nine You Get Vanyr for consideration in the 2008 awards.  I thought it met the qualifications.  It was a first novel for both [profile] qnotku and me.  It should be just the ticket.
Just received word they don't accept collaborations.  Wha?  I can understand that if the collaboration is between an experienced author and a newbie.  You wouldn't want to judge a book written with Anne McCaffrey or John Ringo as a first effort.  But when the book was written by two newbies who planned to write as a unit indefinitely?  That's just not fair.
I know, I probably should rejoice.  My first solo novel will be infinitely better than my first effort.  I know so much more than I did when qnotku and I wrote Vanyr--not only about writing but also about the peculiar prejudices of contest judges.  (Yes, I include myself in the peculiar part of that number.)  There is an art to contest submission, and the longer I work it, the better I'll design my books to win.
But the ban against all collaborations is flat-out unfair.  It's unfair to [profile] qnotku who will never have a book to call entirely her own.  With Nine You Get Vanyr and Highway from Hell were both written in collaboration.  Even if [profile] hundakleptisis finishes They Shoot Fairy Godmothers Don't They for her, it will still be a collaboration, which won't qualify.  Under this scenario, [profile] qnotku's freaking genius for comedy and dialogue will never, ever get the recognition it deserves.
It's also unfair to the other submitting writers.  It's like the bad old days before the better micro presses were recognized by Romance Writers of America.  For many years it was impossible for even the good small electronic and electronic-to-print publishers to meet RWA's sales requirements.  That meant writers working for good small presses with professional editing were eligible to compete in the Golden Heart (RWA's big unpublished writers contest) against people just starting out.  
With Nine You Get Vanyr has all the joy and love inherent in first novels, but I sincerely hope it's not the best novel I ever write.  [profile] qnotku and I never planned it to be.  It was merely the best book we could write at the time.  It should be allowed to rise or fall against others of its tribe, not dismissed on a quirk which sets up a less than level playing field for future competition.
*insert grim laughter here*  You know, the whole thing seems so very Red State--give the goods to them that has.  And I'm just ornery enough to object to something that gives me a leg up...to someone else's detriment.

Done

Apr. 13th, 2007 12:04 am
jeanmarieward: (kick)
At long last the revised version of Highway from Hell is done.  All except for two small descriptive paragraphs I've decided to change tomorrow--er, later today.  I plan to let it sit while I finish a copyediting job to die for (another Kate Johnson!)   Two days of proofing, and it's off to the beta-readers with thee.  
I'm more relieved than happy.  This is the last book I'll ever work with [profile] qnotkuon.  I think that's one of the reasons it was so hard to finish.  Finishing it means letting her go--writing solo forever, when all I want to do is sit down and swap stories with a friend.  
But stories don't get told unless you tell them.  I hope the beta-readers will like our take on Orpheus and Eurydice.  Even more important, I hope they'll tell me when I've screwed up the pacing, the dialogue and the bits that hurt.  I'm still a newb when it comes to the craft of writing.
Or should that be the Craft?  Stories are magic  The word gives meaning to the event, as qnotku always said.  I can only hope a little of her magic rubbed off on me.
Be good--or be bad if it's more fun.  Just try not to exceed the bail fund.  And be sure to tell me all the juicy details.  ;-)
jeanmarieward: (Default)

This has been a heck of a day--in the best possible way.  

- The print edition of With Nine You Get Vanyr went on sale.
- Preditors & Editors posted the results of their
2006 SF/fantasy Poll--and VANYR made #2.  (Thank you!  Thank you! to everyone who voted.)
- My bookmarks arrived (and they're gorgeous!)
- My local Walden's asked when I'd like a signing.

Whew!  
qnotku would've been so proud.  To celebrate, I'm...

It's Here!

Nov. 7th, 2006 01:29 am
jeanmarieward: (Default)

Tonight's the big night!  The electronic version of With Nine You Get Vanyr is now available for download from Samhain Publishing.  
There are so many people I need to thank.  My husband Greg and Teri's husband SJ for never doubting qnotku and I could do this--even when well-meaning friends told us we'd never pull it off.  All the beta readers who hung with us through what must've seemed like a hundred rewrites.  Our parents for instilling the love of reading and storytelling that made it possible to write.  Last but not least, our wonderful editor Jess Bimberg and Samhain Publishing for making this dream come true.  And how!  Look at that gorgeous cover by Anne Cain.  And the typography inside is just as lovely.
In honor of the event, there's a contest running on the
WardSmith web site.  The winner will receive a download of the ebook and three Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab imps.  Please, don't be concerned if the contest page flickers in and out.  We appear to have acquired gremlins...or ferrets.  ;-)  Besides, we have a work-around.  You can enter the contest here too.  Just send me the answer to the following question:

Which of the Nine Sisters used to work as an office manager?

The answer can be found among in the Nine Sisters section of the site.  You'll find three excerpts there too.  Enjoy!

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