I forgot how much I dislike the actual "self-publishing" part of self-publishing.

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The fun never ends.

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Learning a thing or two about women

The #YesAllWomen avalanche has been instructive. I already had no patience for the alpha male / pickup artist / brociopath subculture that makes life difficult for women. It's an infantile, short-sighted, self-centered approach to life. Once I figured out that girls and women were, like, ACTUAL PEOPLE (a realization which I came to around age 18, when the fog of puberty cleared), I tried to treat them as such.

This outpouring of information in the wake of the misogyny-driven killings in California has increased my understanding of the daily humiliations women endure, or have to structure their lives to try to avoid.

I dislike being lumped in the same shit bucket as the swaggering, cocksman bros, those guys who see women's role as a limited mixture of servant and lust-receptacle, as mindless object and walk-on character. Unfortunately, the circumstances are such that it's not possible to paint us men with anything other than a broad brush. The day-to-day reality is that, for too many women, it's safer to assume the worst about the men she meets and wait for evidence to the contrary.

All I can do is be part of the right side of the equation in the present, and to teach my sons to make society a better place for everyone in the future.

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A fresh review

A new Goodreads review of "Verbosity's Vengeance" appeared recently. Like many of the reviews, it falls squarely on the "You Should Read This" side of the ledger. It reads (in part):
For the tl;dr crowd: This is a great and fun book about superheroes, with a sprinkling of grammatical humor. If you like either of those things at all, you'll enjoy it!
The wordplay, alliteration, and grammatical puns that effectively make up the entire section are brilliantly dense and put me in the mind of such writing geniuses as P.G. Wodehouse.
...It's got a good sprinkling of humor, like in my opinion any good superhero story should, but it's also got plenty of seriousness and deals with things like getting injured on the field. The combat scenes – which are, let's face it, absolutely integral to any sort of action novel such as a superhero novel – are excellently done. I kept finding myself thinking about how well the scene would work as a movie.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys superheroes – even if you don't consider yourself a “fan” – and to anyone who is a bit of a grammar geek. For those of us who like both? Consider it the jackpot.
So there you go! If you live at he intersection of superhero fan and grammar geek, this is the book for you!

Also, since I'm a tremendous fan of P.G. Wodehouse, this review gives me lots to be happy about.

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Only funny in the sunshine

This year has been really hectic from January on, but things have settled down a bit in recent weeks. This means I've been able to be on twitter more (as @TonyNoland... duh), and to give more attention to those social interactions. My book promotion (and my book sales) are still for shit, but that's nothing new.

What I want to point out is this assessment of me, offered by Karen Mulholland (@kemulholland):

This is the first time in a long time anyone's said something like that about me. Aside from thanking Karen for the compliment (thanks!), I'd like to acknowledge that for several months, I haven't been terribly funny, or very fun to be around on social media. Stresses of life, family, and work piled onto me, and did so at the worst time of the year: the bleak midwinter.

Every year, from the gray snows of January until the irises are in bloom in the warm, sunny springtime, it's always a struggle for me to be anything but depressed... and depressing. My seasonal affective disorder is hardly crippling, in that I can function OK, e.g. go to work, eat and sleep properly, etc. However, it hits me every year, and this year harder than usual.

I did my usual countermeasures: exercise, bright lights, social engagement, the standard repertoire. But this winter was much worse than usual in the northern part of the U.S., with weather than kept many of us indoors for weeks on end. It hit me pretty hard, mood-wise. I knew as it was happening that some of my mates on twitter and around the blog world got a little tired of the dark cloud of bleak hopelessness that I carried with me. I knew, but I couldn't really do much about it. It felt like melodrama to me; God only knows what it looked like to you.

However, it's spring now, so I'm back to the way I like to be. I won't say that I'm back to my "normal" self, because my version of normal contains a lot of variability. I will say that I'm very glad the sun is shining and that the rains are warm again.

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What am I working on?

A few days ago, my pal and fantasy writer Sabrina Zbasnik (@introvertedwife) tagged me in a bloghop meme, along with Monica Marier, Mandaray, and Brian Schwarz. No fancy title or special graphic icon, just a few questions to answer. Let's get to them, shall we?

1. What am I working on?

My novel WIP is a corporate thriller about a rising hotshot who, failing in his attempt to escape The Managerial Assignment From Hell, is forced into a struggle that's way, way beyond his control, wrestling with the dirtiest bunch of black hats ever to wrap ivy league M.B.A.s around longshoreman brass knuckles. Why does the Board of Directors want him in the scorpion pit so badly that they'd use blackmail to keep him there? What can they possibly hope he'll accomplish? Most importantly, can he survive long enough to come out on top? Or at least find a way out with his 401K intact?

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

As for my WIP, there are a lot of corporate thrillers out there, but I don't think many other corporate thrillers are liberty-taking retellings of the book of Jonah. And as for Verbosity's Vengeance... well, I believe my work with that novel stands alone as a unique accomplishment in the superhero genre.

3. Why do I write what I do?

There are some stories that just won't let you get on with your life until you deal with them first.

4. How does my writing process work?
  1. Think up an interesting core idea.
  2. Frame a general beginning, middle and end of a plot arc.
  3. Work up an outline, including complications along the way from A to B to C.
  4. Write a first draft, assigning 1000 - 2000 words to each point in the rough outline.
  5. Finish the first draft, complete with a placeholder ending.
  6. Walk away from the first draft in disgust.
  7. Drink.
  8. Swear to one day find the strength of character to admit to myself and to the world at large that I can't write worth a damn, that I was never meant to write at all, and that I should never try to write again. [This phase can take a little while to get through, and is always problematic, for me and for the people around me. - T.N.]
  9. Drink.
  10. Come back to the first draft and start editing.
  11. Drink.
  12. Find all the gaping holes and ugly bits in the first draft.
  13. Drink.
  14. Find ways to fill the holes and paper over the ugly bits.
  15. Finish second draft.
  16. Drink.
  17. Edit second draft.
  18. Drink.
  19. Edit third draft.
  20. Find a few gullible lucky people and convince them to throw away a couple of months of their lives help me out by beta reading my novel.
  21. Collect the beta comments, consider how to incorporate them into the next draft.
  22. Content edits.
  23. Polishing edits, followed by a read through, with more polishing edits.
  24. Line edits.
  25. Publication.
  26. Fame, fortune, movie adaptations, action figures, etc., etc.


Now, the folks whom I tag are supposed to answer the same four questions. Those people are:

Icy Sedgwick, author of (most recently) the Necromancer's Apprentice.

Larry Kollar, of the Accidental Sorcerers books.

John Wiswell, Godzillaphile and host of the Bathroom Monologues

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My Voice, For What It's Worth

Good news: I've been editing the first draft of my next novel. In the course of these edits, some of the underlying problems with the plot & character motivations have become clear, as have the solutions necessary to address those problems. In needs tighter pacing, more compelling dialogue, and a better ending, but there are parts of what I've written that could (in the right light and with the right amount of scotch) be mistaken for decent writing. Because of that, I feel OK.

Bad news: I spent this morning singing at the funeral of a friend who died unexpectedly. She was a smart, talented, devoted, and stylish woman, someone I'd sung with in our church choir for years and years. The last time I saw her (a week ago), she was smiling and in conversation with someone. I didn't interrupt them to say hello, but figured I'd catch up with her later. I had no idea that I'd never see her alive again. Because of that, I feel like I let her down, and will never have a chance to make it right.

The thread that connects these is my Voice/voice, such as it is - the words I string together on the one hand, the chord-flapping sounds I make on the other.

There are only so many words in the dictionary. There are only so many notes on the scale.

Dynamics, harmonics, rests, tempos, blends, solos... after years of practice, sometimes - sometimes - I can actually convey what I want to convey.

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Not devoid of content

It's not that I'm devoid of content. I just don't have any that I want to share.

Here, have a video that makes fun of a game I've never played.

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