Free for All: Collateral Goods

Once upon a time, musicians used to make their money on the albums that they sold. Now, though, most musicians make their money on concerts. Some make substantial money on “collateral goods” — T-shirts, belt buckles, other physical goods sold at concerts or elsewhere. Some musicians have found it financially wise to give away their music, so that more people attend their concerts and buy their collateral goods.

And authors might be heading in the same direction…

Okay. Not exactly. While some authors give away books (or sell them at super-discounted prices), we generally do so to introduce readers to our series. We still charge for the other books in the series. For example, the first book in my Diamond Brides series, Perfect Pitch, debuted at $0.99, a $2.00 discount off its standard price. (To date, the price has not reverted.) Catching Hell, the second book, debuted at its full […]

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On the Writing Life (Nine Novels in Eight Months, or Insanity)

Several months ago, I told folks here on Magical Words that I was going to write nine novels for publication in 2014, publishing one a month from April through December.

I lied. I’m writing nine novels for publication in 2014, publishing them all in eight months. Perfect Pitch debuted on March 31, and the ninth novel, Always Right will appear on November 4, 2014. The second Diamond Brides novel, Catching Hell, debuted on April 13. That “double dip” — two books in one month — was designed to bolster sales for the series, to let readers who liked the first one know that there’s more where that came from, and to keep them looking on the first Sunday of every month till the series ends.

I’ve talked elsewhere about how I alternate writing days and administrative-task (including household task) days. And I’ve explained my strategies for writing fast. Today, I’m […]

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On Plot (Baseball Games and Beauty Pageants)

Welcome back to my ramblings! This week we’re going to talk about plot, specifically as it applies to romance novels. As I mentioned last week, romance novels tend to have the same general plot: people (usually two, often-but-not-always one male and one female) meet, fall in love, face some great barrier to staying in love, conquer that barrier, and end up in love. Therefore, the challenge in plotting a romance novel is to make that basic plan seem fresh. That challenge is even greater when one is writing a series of romances–say, for example, a series of nine short, hot contemporary romance novels, like my Diamond Brides series. I’ll use the first volume, Perfect Pitch, as an example.

Here’s the back-of-the-book-blurb for Perfect Pitch:

Reigning beauty queen Samantha Winger is launching her pet project, a music program for kids. All she has to do is follow the pageant’s rules—no […]

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On Character (Baseball Players and the Women Who Love Them)

Hello folks! (::waves madly to old friends and new::)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on Magical Words. A lot has been going on in my writing life, as culminated in yesterday’s launch of the Diamond Brides Series. Now bear with me. I know that, here at MW, we primarily focus on speculative fiction. And I know that Diamond Brides is a series of nine short, hot contemporary romance novels. There is not a single fantasy element in the series, and the books definitely aren’t science fiction. But over the course of the next four weeks, I look forward to explaining how my romance novels dovetail with my speculative fiction work, how the craft lessons I learned in the SF&F genres carried over to romance, and how writing is writing, no matter what labels we apply. (Yeah, that’s an ambitious goal, for four posts. We’ll see how […]

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Peering Into 2014

Following up on John’s post from yesterday…

Anyone who has read my posts here knows that I’m very interested in the business aspects of writing, including the care and feeding of a strategic plan. My strategic plan helps me to know when I’m on track for the career that I desire. When I try to decide whether I have resources (time, money, energy) to devote to a new idea, I can check it against my strategic plan. If the activity in question doesn’t advance the plan, then I’m much less likely to make the investment of resources. When I question whether I’m making progress and whether my career is where I want it to be, I can measure with my plan.

So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m hard at work on my 2014 strategic plan. As always, there are personal goals I want to achieve. I won’t bore you […]

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With a Little Help From My Friends

Once upon a time, I was the Lone Writer. I drafted my novels, chapter by chapter. Occasionally, I shared them with a single trusted confidant, chapter by chapter. When I did, I got feedback on what worked, chapter by chapter.

This system worked. I published twelve novels with two traditional publishers with this system. (Of course, I shared those novels with my agent, and he (very, very rarely) told me what he thought worked and didn’t work. And once the novels were sold, an editor had input about what worked, chapter by chapter, and overall. A copyeditor had input about continuity and consistency. Sometimes, editorial assistants conveyed their opinions as well. But in the writing stages of my work it was me, all me, with maybe one other person.)

As a side note: I was a member of an SF writing group for a couple of years. The group has […]

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Bill of Fare

Okay. I started to write another Then and Now post. But it was boring. So I deleted it.

Instead, I thought we’d play a bit of a game.

‘Tis the season for feasting. I’m just back from a wonderful holiday trip to visit family on the other side of the country. My mother met me at the door with a half dozen types of cookies (including her can’t-be-matched sugar cookies — heaven!) During the course of one week, I indulged in Mom’s incredible teriyaki chicken wings, her brisket, and her mashed potatoes, along with Dad’s turkey (one of my favorite “big meal” stand-outs!). That doesn’t even count my new favorite pie — Mom’s key lime, with homemade cookie crust.

All of which leaves me thinking about the food and drink in the novels I write.

It’s no secret that food is important in my novels. Jane Madison has her […]

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