Thursday, August 26, 2010

Research Happens

No matter what, just like death, taxes and manuscript revisions, research is inevitable. Especially when you're a writer. No matter how well you know a subject it's always best to check your sources. So here's what I'm up to nowadays.

First out of the box -- the research for my panels at Dragon*Con. What, you say? Research for a panel? Don't you wing it?" It really depends on the panel. Some I can, others require my nose in a book or some surfing on the Internet. I research the panel topic because I have no desire to look like a complete idiot in front of a roomful of people. Who will tell their friends. And their pets. And all of Facebook that Jana is *cough* dense. Hence the homework.

Currently, I'm collecting data for my Myth and Reality of Victorian London panel, digging through my extensive collection of Victorian tomes to tease out just the right (and hopefully intriguing) facts. The Face of the Demon panel has me scrabbling for all my demon/Fallen angel reference books, along with some of the fiction that has defined demons over the centuries. The other panels require less research, which is a blessing.

And I'm researching tattoos (the history of) for an essay I'm writing for an upcoming BenBella SmartPop anthology on the House of Night series (by my buds P.C. and Kristin Cast). Fascinating subject, tattooing. Now I just have to boil all the info (and the HoN lore) down to less than 5K words.

Finally, there's the history of Lucifer, from the first appearance of hasatan (The Adversary) in the Hebrew Bible all the way through the New Testament and Lucifer's metamorphosis into Satan. That research has me parsing Jewish, Christian and Muslim resources. Some aren't that easy to understand, but as long as I get the drift of the commentary, I'm good.

All of this research will spill over into my writing, of course. Even the Victorian bits though I'm not writing about that time period. There's an "additive" effect when you conduct research -- it sparks the brain cells, gets you thinking in new directions. And more times than not, that leads to a another story idea.

So what are you researching at present? The history of stamp collecting? How to balance a plate on your head? Come on, don't be shy. We really want to know.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dragon*Con Ahoy!

As always, I'll be at Dragon*Con over Labor Day weekend. Here's my schedule lest you'd like to encounter me in person, have me sign a book or just bend my ear. It's less intensive than in previous years and I'm glad of that. I might even pop down to the Decatur Book Festival to have a look around. Never been there so that should be fun as long as it's not raining.

Here's the schedule. Hope to see some of you at Dragon!

Friday, Sept. 3rd

Time: 5:30pm
What: Reading
Where: University - Hyatt Regency
I'll be reading from my Demon Trappers Series and from something new.

Time: 8:30pm
What: The Myth and Reality of Victorian London
 It's been steampunked, rebooted (in the latest Holmes movie) and time-traveled through...but what was it REALLY like?
Where: International C - Westin

Saturday, Sept. 4th

Time: 1:00pm
What: Steam Queen and Clockwork Hookers: Women in Steampunk
Sprouting from pulp sci-fi and boys' adventure tales, is steampunk then a masculine genre? Panelists debate women's roles in literature & film.
Where: International C - Westin

Time: 2:30pm
What: Critique Groups vs. Beta Readers
Critique Groups/Beta Readers- Is there a place for both? Which is the most effective? What do you look for in each?
Where: Manila/Singapore/Hong Kong - Hyatt Regency

Sunday, Sept. 5th

Time: 10:00am
What: Face of the Demon
Depicting demons in literature; what shapes them, what influences their appearances both physical and behavioral?
Where: Fairlie - Hyatt Regency

Time: 10:00pm
What: Marketing Yourself
Finding effective ways of expanding your fanbase.
Where: Manila/Singapore/Hong Kong - Hyatt Regency

Monday, August 16, 2010

Shifting Gears

Demon Trappers Book #2 is now in the hands (or at least on the computer) of my editor. It was a difficult book to write because it was an emotional one. I do emo fairly well, but prefer action and mayhem. Combining the two takes some serious effort, but I think I got the balance just right. I'm hoping the readers like the twists and turns because there are quite a few.

Now that the book is gone (at least until the editor sends me revisions) I can revel in the euphoria of another major project off my list. That "Whee! It's outta here!" sort of buzz. It is always tempered by the "What if it really sucks?" Gollum-type murmurings in the back of my mind. Every writer has them. If you don't, I worry about you.

This is why a supportive spouse is very helpful. The convo went like this:

(In the kitchen during one of my caffeine acquisition treks).
Me: I'm not sure if I did everything I wanted in this book. It's good, but... (mumble, mumble)
Him: Is this version better than the one the betas readers read?
Me: Oh hell, yes.
Him: Then your job is done. Here, have some wine.

He also kept me fed, watered, ice-packed (for my neck, wrist and arm) and did all the errands and bought groceries so I could put in my 12 hour days without worrying about anything but The Book. He gets instant sainthood in my book. I think he'd rather have another banjo book instead.

I'm taking a week off before I start Book the Third (due April Fool's Day -- hold the jokes please). This week is promo and marketing. The good folks in the UK would love a playlist for the first book (titled DEMON TRAPPERS: FORSAKEN over there) and I've got Guild patches and a tee shirt to order and other good stuff to happen. All of this is rolling toward those Jan and Feb launch dates when Book the First toddles out in front of the cameras and takes a bow.

But for now it's back to the coffee then I'll cue up Pandora. Life is good here. But then I wouldn't want it any other way.