Decisions, Decisions

It’s been a very busy summer, and it’s only been summer for a week. I’m sure not complaining, just trying to keep up and keep it going. It’s more difficult than it sounds.

I’m very happy with the beta responses to “Athena’s Promise”, and the revisions shouldn’t take long at all. I’ve even started the first chapter of “Athena’s Chains” and I plan on having that done before I release AP so I can include it. Of course, that brings me to the Ultimate Plan.

I have no idea what the Ultimate Plan is. Besides total Universal Literary Domination, that is. How to get there is the real question.

With the publishing world in such flux, I’m really struggling with making a decision on which way to jump. Do I trust my precious work to a “legacy” publisher and hope for the best? Go with a small press, an indie press and retain a better measure of control? Or do I indulge my inner control freak, and blaze the trail on my own?

I’ve been back and forth so many times I’m dizzy.

By the time I get off this ride, I'll probably puke.

I won’t go in to all the pros and cons of each path or I’d be here all night. Suffice to say it’s not an easy decision and I will most likely wait to make a decision until next week.

Why wait, you ask? Well, because of the First Annual Intergalactic Pretendacon Sporkfest (A Very Serious Writing Conference). I plan on picking the brain of my esteemed colleagues, all of whom are in various stages of their own successful writing careers and whose opinions I value highly. I am very, very excited about this conference, especially since one of the participants I have known for nearly a decade yet have never met in person.

I will be connecting with my tribe. Like the Bee Girl. I’m so happy :)

In the meantime, I plan to keep writing. And editing. And writing some more.

This is what I see, night and day. Eyes open and closed. Makes it difficult to drive. Heh.

I have a great support system, online and offline. I have great friends and special people supporting me, and I appreciate that more than I can say. Although there have been, and probably will be, very difficult times, I still consider myself quite fortunate.

Thank you, supportive peeps! You lift me up and I love you.

I’m old enough to know everything works out the way it’s supposed to, so I guess for now I’ll just hang on to that.

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Bona Fide Link Loving, Netta-Style

It’s been way too long since I did a Link Loving post, and I have a lot to share. Hey, even accomplished Premier Lady Ranters (a nickname bestowed upon me by the lovely and talented Eden Baylee, a HAWT erotica writer and All-Around Awesome Person!) can have a non-ranty day. It happens.

I think as a Premier Lady Ranter, I should have a tiara. Definitely a tiara.

I get around the Intertoobz. (Oh, not like that! Get your mind out of the gutter.) I call it “research” for my job, which most of it is. Most of the time. Okay, some of the time. (ALL RIGHT! Occasionally it’s for my job. Happy now?)

Regardless, you are the beneficiaries because I’m going to share some of the cool things I’ve found so you don’t have to dig around and get all dirty and sweaty! You’re welcome!

I really like book trailers. I have no idea how effective they are as sales tools, but when they’re well-done I’m mesmerized. For instance, take a look at this trailer for Patti Larsen’s new release this summer from Etopia Press:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjBH1BNp0Ls

How cool is THAT? I love it.

Next up, also from Etopia Press, is the release of Ralph Hartman’s Ever Since. I can’t review this book, because it would be a conflict of interest, seeing as I was privileged enough to serve as editor. But I have to tell you, I love this novel. It is thought-provoking, unique and it was a true pleasure to work with Ralph. Check it out — you won’t be disappointed.

Ever Since by Ralph Hartman

If you think you know all about me, you’re wrong. I’m a mystery wrapped in an enigma, but author J.D. Riso gets to the bottom of the genesis of Not Nice and Other Understatements in a probing and in-depth interview in June’s edition of Skive Magazine, edited by the awesome Matt Ward. Not only that, but there’s some awesome fiction in those pages, as well.

Skive Magazine - Australia's largest literary magazine! Does this make me an honorary Aussie?

Go! Buy! Support your indie artists!

And, of course, I can’t leave you without a little fun for shitz and giggles, right? Check out The Dullest Blog in the World. I don’t know why this blog is so appealing to me, but it is actually hypnotizing. I don’t know whether to be disturbed or take a nap. Heh.

If you want to know how to tell a story, visit this little girl. She’s got it down!

If you ever wanted to know how to embarrass your children, this guy has it all figured out. He is my new hero. Heh.

Do you like horror? Of course you do! Everybody likes horror, and Rebecca Treadway, aka Creepy Walker has a great blog about her horror exploits. A talented and accomplished graphic artist, she also pens stories to chill your very soul. Man, I love it when that happens. Keep your eye on her — she’s got quite a future ahead of her.

This collection by Joseph Paul Haines remains one of my favorite reads ever. If you haven’t picked this up, you should. There is not one stinker story in the bunch and plenty to make you laugh, cry and cower in the corner. Amazing stuff.

If you don't love this, you're dead inside.

In other news, Lori Whitwam and I are in the end-stage edits or “Make or Break”, which will be released later this year (updates as they happen). I have gigglesnorted my way through this book and it has been a blast. I can’t wait until it hits the ground running. What a riot :) While you’re waiting, pick up a copy of Monster’s Unmasked. It’s a fabulous read!

Zombies! Love! Darkness! It's Fabulous!

And of course, I have to keep current with Joshua Guess and the happenings over at his Living With the Dead blog. Don’t forget, he’s got year one complied neatly for you, with a ton of bonus material including an exclusive short story by moi, titled “Rollin’ In The Deep”. Feed your zombie love!

I LOVE ZOMBIES!!

This should keep you busy — and this is all great summer reading that should also entertain you for hours. Some great, great fiction here, seriously. All indies, and all deserving of your support, otherwise I wouldn’t have them here. Your Fearless Heroine don’t do junk.

Yeah. Not doing this.

So cuddle up in the air conditioning, swing the hammock, lounge on the beach and enjoy. Let me know what you think about my picks, and don’t forget to like or review what you’ve read to help support these talented artists. They work their asses off.

Viva la revolution!

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Tending A Social Media Garden

I love social media. Maybe it has something to do with the fact I work as a freelancer from home and I seldom venture into the Out among people without a good reason. I guess you could say I’ve become somewhat of a hermit.

Some might also call me crabby. But not to my face.

Of course, even though NOW I spend most of my time locked away working from home, I have worked with the public for many, many years. You could say too many. (Go ahead. I’ll let you.) While some people may say social media is not really a reflection of “real life” (whatever the hell THAT is) I have to disagree. In social media, you will find a microcosm of what’s on the outside of the walls. It is amazing to me not only the diversity of people, but how social media exposes you to different cultures, ways of thinking and opinions. It’s glorious.

But what brings me here today is not to extol the virtues of social media and how fabulous it is. Because there are people who have no right to be anywhere near a social media platform. People who should really check theyself before they wreck theyself.

You know who I mean. Don’t play.

The great things about social media I really love besides the exposure to the Unique, Unusual and Just Plain Fucked Up is the ability to weed the annoying behaviors from my feeds. Oh, how I wish it were that easy outside of social media — but I digress.

In social media, I want my garden nice and peaceful.

This is my imaginary garden tended by imaginary naked minions. They do a great job, don't they?

That’s not to say I exclude everyone who may have a different opinion than mine — that would be egotistical and detrimental to the whole point of social media. I appreciate a pungent and tangy exchange from time to time, and I look to expand my horizons, not limit them. With that being said, I have to draw the line when someone is really behaving like a buttmunching ignoramus. When my blood pressure starts to hit the roof, I’m out.

Oh hell, no. I'm not going to let you put me here. I have family members who can do that.

The other type of personality on social media that really dances on my last nerve are the salespeople. The ones who are constantly hawking their wares like in the days of snake-oil and gypsies. No offense to the gypsies. Sell, sell, sell. They don’t talk to other people, they don’t listen to other people, all they do all the live-long day is post about their software/books/websites and talk about themselves. That really goes against the whole point of social media which is…INTERACTION.

And then they wonder why no one talks to them, buys their products. DUH. You haven’t made them care. You haven’t connected with other people, can you dig it. You’re just one endless loop of infomercial, social media style. STOP IT. Not only is it ineffective, it’s annoying as hell.

OMG make it stop!

Finally we have those who have an ax to grind.

Who doesn't have one of these lying around needing a good edge? You know, for the Zombie Apocalypse.

I understand being passionate about things that mean a lot to you. Of course I do — have you MET me? But there is a time and a place. I don’t think the 140 characters on Twitter or someone else’s personal page on Facebook is the proper location to express intense amounts of emotion. Get a blog. Like I did.

Although sharing is caring, there is such a thing as WAY too much information. You don’t have the room to express yourself completely, and if you cross the line from a passionate opinion to out-and-out offensiveness or fucktardary on my personal page, you’re getting voted off the island. Sorry.

This looks like a nice island. I think you'll like it here much better.

In any case, in order to be a blooming flower in social media and not the dreaded dandelion or worse yet, the ubiquitous crabgrass, keep these points in mind as you tend your own social media garden:

1. Don’t be a fucktard. Just because you’re behind a monitor and other people are behind theirs does not give you permission to act in such a way to make your mama want to slap you. Behave yourself. Just as you are real behind your monitor with real feelings, the same goes for others.

2. It’s NOT all about you. I know, hard to believe, isn’t it? But try reaching out once in a while, interact with your fans, friends or followers instead of coming across like that dead guy with the OxyClean, okay? You might even sell more stuff that way.

3. Check thyself before thee wrecks thyself. Are you angry? Frustrated? Just step away from the keyboard and go eat a cookie. Think before you speak. The whole wide Intertoobz is watching.

What will they see in your garden?

Find “Not Nice and Other Understatements” at Amazon and now at Smashwords in any format you desire! Autographed copies are still available through the link on this page. Spread the word! And thanks for all of your support!

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Social Media, DirecTV and the Power of the Hive Collective

I know this has been used so much it has become a cliche — “With great power comes great responsibility.” Spiderman’s Uncle Ben sure hit a nerve there, even though he wasn’t speaking of social media but more about his nephew’s atomic spidery- superpowers. (Oh, so ICK!!! I have a thing about spiders. But I’ma let it pass for the sake of this argument. The things I do for you people!!!!)

OH MY GAWD THIS THING JUST AIN'T NATURAL

Case in point:

I saw a posting on Facebook about DirecTV telling their customers in Joplin, MO in the wake of the devastating tornado they would have to turn in a box or remote in order to cancel their service or be charged a $500 penalty fee.

Say WHAT?

I don’t reside in Joplin, nor am I a DirecTV subscriber. But this caught my attention because I don’t live all that far from Joplin, and am in fact living in what is known as “Tornado Alley”. There but for the grace of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and all that. I have spent many an anxious moment in my bathtub waiting for my roof to be blown off and to be transported on an unscheduled visit to Oz.

Oh, yeah. I've seen skies like this. Shortly after I have to change my underwear.

However, before I reposted such information, I needed to verify it. Because, what if it wasn’t true? Then DirecTV is painted with the Asshole brush, and if the rumor is false, that’s hardly fair.

So I employed my Mad Social Media Skillz.

I posted on Twitter and asked if anyone could verify the truth of this rumor. I posted on Facebook and asked the same thing. I visited the Joplin, MO Recovery page on Facebook, and asked. DirecTV started following me on Twitter and at first gave inconclusive answers, but I persisted. I wanted a “yes” or “no” answer. I finally got one this morning. Here is the recap:

There’s a rumor going around Facebook that residents of Joplin, MO with DirecTV services were being told unless they turned in a box/remote in the wake of the tornado, they would be assessed penalty fees of $500 for cancellation of services. I ran this down as far as I could — DirecTV followed me on Twitter and I received this response to my question about the situation:

“Absolutely not; we do not want to make things any more difficult for them than what they are already going through.”

I also posted the question and responses from DirecTV on the Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery page on FB. No one has confirmed the rumor, and this was posted:

“Camille Ramsey: If anyone who’s (sic) equipment was damaged by the tornado in Joplin has a CSR (Customer Service Rep) tell them that they will be billed for the equipment, they need to be asking for a supervisor, because that would be incorrect info. As per guidelines for natural disasters, once an area has been determined to be a natural disaster area, equipment lost/damaged during the natural disaster is to be at no cost to the customer for replacement. I am a Directv employee of over 5 years.”

So there you have it. Don’t mindlessly re-post stuff without first checking it out. Social media is a powerful weapon. Unfortunately, too many people will copy and paste the negative rumor, never checking it out for themselves. Like sheep.

Oh sure, they're cute. Just not all that bright.

Now, I just spent at least four hours chasing down this one rumor. Time I should have spent working, time I will never get back. And what do I get out of it? A free subscription to DirecTV for a year? I’m not even a customer. How about a t-shirt? Nope. Didn’t get anything, don’t want anything. What I did get is a feeling of satisfaction of keeping my integrity intact and not just copy and pasting information because it’s out there and it SOUNDS titillating.

The Hive Mind can be a good thing. But sometimes it's a load of shit.

If you’ve been involved with social media for any length of time whatsoever, you have to be more than aware of its astounding reach. A rumor like this could really destroy a company, or at least do some damage. You have to consider the source, take time to verify the info otherwise don’t friggen’ post, okay? Not all links take more than a minute to check out, but jeezum fecking cheeto, be responsible.

Otherwise, we’ll have to revoke your spidey-powers.

Find “Not Nice and Other Understatements” at Amazon and now at Smashwords in any format you desire! Autographed copies are still available through the link on this page. Spread the word! And thanks for all of your support!

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