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Random WIP Snippets

Random WIP Snippets

IDK you guys. While my current project (a standalone paranormal i’ve nicknamed Oly!Necro!Prof if you follow me on twitter 😉 ) eats my brain and grows far beyond its planned length or scope, here’s a random snippet of an epic, sprawling scifi story i desperately want to write but am too afraid to write (it’s got human augmentation/disability, f/m/m, thieves, artists, insurance investigators, and references to Donna Tartt)

From the unwritten TRIPTYCH

Agent Carmine felt the distinctive tug as the cross-planetary sweep drew to its final destination. Near-instantaneous sweep travel had its uses, but she could never quite grow accustomed the feeling that came with it, like being sucked through a straw by the force of a mach wind tunnel.

She blinked into the blinding metropolitan sun and then down at her feet, just to make sure that they were both there, planted shoulder width apart on the white plastine Arrivals platform.

“Good morning. Are you the police detective?”

Carmine looked up at the docent standing next to the platform. Hidden behind a pair of bug-eyed dark glasses, her augmented eyes swept him from prematurely balding head to the dusty toes of his shoes. In the face, he did not appear more than twenty-five.

Her stomach flipped over as she slouched down the ramp, left hand clenched tightly around the handle of her slim silver briefcase.

“No,” she said. She flicked back the edge of her jacket to reveal a holographic badge pinned to the under lapel; it displayed her picture, name, and employee IDENT mark. “I’m with the insurance company.”

The docent swallowed. “They sent me out here to meet the detective.”

“Then you’d better wait for them.”

The weather over the city burned too hot to be comfortable in a dark purple suit, and Carmine regretted the lack of foresight which had led her to dress that morning—after The Call, as the blood rushed loud in her ears from anticipation—without first checking the forecast. She shook out her arm as she walked up to the post-post-post High Modern Institute for the Arts, and shoved both tight velvet sleeves up into the crook of her elbows.

This high above ground level, all of the cloud scrapers were faced in light reflective materials that did a good job of fending off the planet’s heat, but the glare they cast cut through the darkest glasses to leave one’s eyes watering. The High Modern Institute was the same, shaped in soft, sweeping curves made to look like white adobe, but were, no doubt, composed of some recycled plastine hauled out of the ocean on the back of a fishing trawler after there were no fish left to trawl. The architects and city planners made a good show of things though, composing this sprawling slice of Old Earth against a backdrop of washed out blue vaseline sky and wispy white clouds.

Carmine stepped through the automatic doors and showed her badge to the security attendant at the turnstile. They were closed that morning, but her company’s name was enough to gain attendance to the inner lobby—even if they hadn’t seen fit to send someone outside to wait for her. From there it was a matter of presenting herself to the Customer Service desk and waiting until a managing docent could be fetched.

She slouched against the chest high counter, one sneakered foot pressed flat against the smooth surface, and her fingers clenched still tighter around her briefcase. Her dark glasses remained on while she waited so as to facilitate her examination of the Institute’s employees. The building may have been closed to the public, but it appeared that no one had seen fit to give the exhibit guides day off, and now they clustered around the lobby in little cliques, whispering and staring towards the East Wing.

“You didn’t waste any time,” a man’s voice grumbled from her left.

 <—— and some random protagonist brainstorming art cuz never say i can’t procrastinate

IDK, I just find writing scifi really scary. Anyone else feel that way?

A Personal Post From the Closet

A Personal Post From the Closet

Winter is Here

It’s a dark day, literally and figuratively as I write this from my parents’ house in Western Washington. In the other room they’re listening, gleeful, to crowds celebrating the affirmation of The Great Orange Disappointment to the Presidency of the United States. I do not know what the coming year will bring, but I am devastated.

I am afraid.

I’m 27 this year, having come to age during a time of amazing progressive democracy. The 2000s and 2010s have been by no means perfect, but in many ways they have brought so much joy and pride and hope to me as I watched the LGBTQIA+ community make so many strides in visibility and policy. But this fall has shown me that, for as many strides we have taken, there are just as many people who would tear us back down, and those people now have a majority control of the United States.

Even more than that, our tenuous social contract called democracy has been irrevocably tampered with.

I heard someone say once that Democracy is not about a result, it’s about a process–a process by which we, as the people, come together to bequeath governing power to our government. That process has been tampered with. I think that’s a fairly safe comment to make, when even the FBI concedes it happened–keeping in mind that for all intents and purposes, the FBI’s pick for POTUS was elected. That act of tampering has broken the sanctity of democracy in this country.

I never imagined myself to be sitting here in my lifetime, contemplating the end of democracy in America, but here I am. It is too horrible a moment to let pass without some acknowledgement.

Why My Identity is Political

Some people would argue that for my own business interests I should keep my mouth shut and keep my politics away from my work. Book writing is my business. This is my full time job. And there is not part of my writing that is not political. There is nothing about me, as a person, that hasn’t been made political. It’s not only my desire to discuss this, but it’s my duty to be informed and to discuss it.

I come from a conservative Protestant background. My entire family is radically conservative Christian. I was indoctrinated in Christian private schools from kindergarten until I graduated high school. I struggled with religion for most of my teen years. I’ve never shied away from saying as much to peers and friends, but it’s the more intimate details that I’ve guarded more closely. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve begun to come out to a very few select people–and only those I know will never encounter my family.

All I’m doing is trying to write the words and those are so hard I’ve spent a half hour staring at this blank page trying to form them.

It’s always seemed easier to just be vague than try to explain, but as I try to unravel why my identity as a person is intrinsically a political identity, I think it’s important here to do so.

I am demisexual. I’ve dated women and men. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that I tend to only form really strong connections with women. The last couple of times I’ve tried to form deeper connections with cismen, when it came right down to it we were philosophically incompatible, which for me, is a no-go in the romantic department. I feel most comfortable labeling myself “queer” as a catch-all term (because I’m not technically bisexual and while I’m demisexual, I’m more gay-demi-romantic, and that’s just a mouthful to try to say when someone asks). I’m cis. I use she/her pronouns.

I’m an atheist.

I write gay fiction (for now, it’s my plan to include more letters in my writing in 2017).

All of these things mean that my entire life is tied to politics because all of these identities are under attack by politicians. And that is why I think it’s important to talk about what’s happening both in the USA and around the world.

The fact that I am white is literally the only thing about my identity that is not in some way radical. Subversive.

The Future

Hard times are ahead. I don’t have a lot of hope for the next four years. I’m afraid, both personally and professionally. And while I am afraid, I’m also aware of how privileged I am to be white and unlikely to be pushed out of the closet in front of my family.

I am looking back to my contemporaries from times past, who too experienced these sort of regime upheavals. The only thing I know how to do is write and speak, as loud as I can, in the circles that I can. My corner of the internet I hope to be a safehaven for other queer radicals. I will not suffer any Trump apologists.

As we move into 2017, all I can do here is continue to work in my own radical way. I feel this deep, fearful drive to write as many of the stories in my head as fast as I can. Before my voice is silenced.

You can follow me here on the blog or join me on twitter @LiaCooperWrites. I wish I could say it’s a fun place, but winter has come, and there are dark days ahead of us. To all my readers I want to send out a big *hug* and remind you that despite any forces arrayed against us, we have each other. I love you all.

Thanks for letting me vent here a little.

Lia

Lia Looks Ahead At 2016

Lia Looks Ahead At 2016

Happy New Year!

While my roommate yells at Halo in the other room, I’ve sat down to reexamine my goals for 2016.

2015 was a weird year for me. I opened a brick and mortar restaraunt, discovered that I do not have the personality to work in the service industry on a day-to-day basis, and sold that business after ten months. I spent most of last year not writing and it was incredibly frustrating and painful.

I also experienced several personal challenges between family, friends, guildies, and roommates. Basically, 2015 was a really turbulent year!

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But after a winning November 2015 NaNoWriMo, I’ve been able to get my writing back on track and finished the year with TWO new releases–crazy!

Pacchia 2 400x640   the hon beta

And I kicked of 2016, curled up in bed, typing away at my next full length release. I have a feeling 2016 maybe be a tough year fiscally (my living next September is going to be a headache thanks to the aforementioned friend-roommate drama but we’ll cross that bridge when it gets closer ;)) but I think it’s going to be an amazing year creatively!

Book Changes & The Profane Series

A few months ago I released a short story titled Lachlan Graham: Occult Investigations. Lachlan was written over the summer while I worked in my tea room and originally conceptualized to be written as a series of short stories in the same vein as Sherlock Holmes. At the time, I didn’t have much energy to write, so I hoped the short form would be doable despite my tight schedule.

A month after I released that short story, I learned that there was a buyer for my tea room. Within a couple of weeks, I was free of the responsibility and time suck that was my restaurant and back to writing full time.

I think you’ll all agree, that we love longer novels than short stories around here, and the BLOOD & BONE series remains my most popular work. So, with that in mind I had a tough conversation with my editor: What do I do about Lachlan?

You see, Lachlan Graham lives and works in the same universe as the Blood & Bone series and it was always my intention for his story to cross over with Ethan and Patrick’s. But in writing that first short, I’d had to trim down a lot–an entire POV in fact!–and I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the way my plan for Lachlan. My writing partner made things easy though, she looked at me and said: so turn it into a full novel, you’ve got enough story for it, right?

And I do. I have a LOT to say about Lachlan (and Vector!).

A few of you have noticed that Lachlan Graham #1 The Suicide Case is no longer available on amazon and that is because that short is being retooled into a much longer novel, which will be part of a COMPANION SERIES to the Blood & Bone Series titled: The Profane Series.

Confused yet? lol

tl;dr

I’m writing a new series (The Profane Series) starring Lachlan Graham and Vector Clanahan, that will interweave with the BLOOD & BONE Series. Furthermore, I’ve got a FOURTH B&B novel in the works 😉 I just can’t leave Ethan Ellison alone, okay?

Here’s a sneak peak at the rough draft for the updated Lachlan 1 cover

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Looking Ahead at 2016

This post has gotten a bit long winded so let me wrap it up by saying I’m sorry I disappeared in 2015 and I promise that you’re going to be getting a LOT more from Lia in 2016.

And just to give you an idea how much more, here’s my updated publishing schedule for the next 7 months!

Publishing Schedule *Updated for 2016

  • February – 2016 – The Profane Series #1: Medium Rare Feb 2
  • April – 2016 – The Profane Series #2: Vaper Trail April 5
  • May – 2016 – Pacchia #4: The Line of Allora May 3
  • June – 2016 – Blood & Bone Series #4: Ex Sanguin June 7
  • July – NaNoWriMo Live Blogging!
  • August – 2016 – Pacchia #5: An Alpha’s Worth
  • September – 2016 – The Profane Series #3: TBA
10 Most Influential Books

10 Most Influential Books

Today I’m taking a break from all the book news and announcements to do something a little fun, that I stole the idea from the booktube tag of the same name, but I’m putting a little twist on it…the 10 Most Influential Books (to me) as a writer!

I’m going to list these in no particular order because I think ordering them from least to most influential would simply be impossible, and I’ll try to give a quick snippet explaining what it is about these books which has stuck with me as a writer or influence a specific area of my writing.

          • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson- I read this book in the course of late 2011 and through the first half of 2012, the second half of it read concurrently with my first draft of The Duality Paradigm and I think the reason this book resonates for me is that I see my own writing style or voice in Larsson’s. There’s a certain spareness of world building while at the same time a very specific attention to detail (exp the characters clothes, what they eat, the furniture in their flats etc) that I think I tend to do in my writing as well.

 

          • Monster by A Lee Martinez – This book showed me that you could have urban fantasy without wasting a ton of time on exposition. And you didn’t have to write in first person. yay!

 

          • Dracula by Bram Stoker – the language is beautiful and this remains one of the scarier things I’ve read and I think it shows that it’s more terrifying to leave things to your reader’s imaginations, to leave things poorly explained and unknown.

 

          • Sherlock Holmes by ACD – I’ve read a large portion of the short stories and novellas by ACD, not all, but almost all. This book challenges POV and protagonist. I think there’s an interesting question of the unreliable narrator in Sherlock Holmes which is rarely explored. But these are Watson’s diaries, journals, short stories, written and narrated by him about our ostensible protagonist. When I’m brainstorming a new story I always have a good long sit and think about who my protagonist and POV characters are before I begin.

 

          • Dune by Frank Herbert – there’s a denseness in the language of Dune that I worry permeates my own writing because as a young kid, Dune was the most amazing, best well written piece of literature I’d ever read. Dune Messiah is one of my favorite books of all time.

 

          • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde – Alternative Universes exist outside fanfiction theyre just hard to find! I love AUs in fanfic but it seemed like something that only existed in the fannish bubble before I stumbled across The Eyre Affair. This book is a DELIGHT and way under appreciated imho. It also taught me a lot about genre bending/crossing, which is part of the reason it’s a difficult book to pitch to other people. When you write a book for commercial publication it’s important to hone in early on to what about the book will resonate with a reason and entice them to read your book. EG figure out this sentence “if you like _____, you’ll like my book because of _______.”

 

          • Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper – this is a book from my childhood that has always stuck with me. The poltergeist scene was the scariest thing I had read up to that time as a kid. the entire concept of timeless characters and quests has stuck with me. I’m a sucker for this sort of book (I was obsessed with Narnia as well). Actually idk if this book influences me, I assume it does because there are portions of it that remain vividly burned in my mind.

 

          • Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – this book is one of the best examples of an introvert written in literature imho. Don’t give me any of this Bella Swan introvert crap or how YA authors seem to love pigeon-holing introverts. Mr Darcy is where it’s at and not because he’s the greatest hearthrob in western english literature but because he is the epitome of “shown not told introvert” and i love it.

 

          • Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques – this was the first Redwall novel I read as a kid and it haunts me to this day. I think in my heart I don’t believe in happily ever afters because of this book. Love does not save the day. Love often gets killed and theres nothing you can do about it. And even when that happens, maybe youre never totally a whole person but you can still go on to do great things.

 

        • The Horse & His Boy by CS Lewis – this was the first Narnia book I read (i know!) and I do still love many of the Narnia books, including this one. But the thing this book reminds me, because I keep it in my head often when I write, and I’ve been thinking of it recently as I worked on The Kingdom of Pacchia (weird connection maybe if you don’t live in my head), but pervasive unconscience racism is very prevalent still and I think it’s helped by a childhood of reading books like this, which were chalk full of straight up muslim villainizing. There’s a certain “darker = evilier” in several of the Narnia books which if you’ve grown up reading things like this (because CS Lewis isn’t the only author who does this obvs) then you may start doing it yourself unconsciously (I’m speaking as a white writer) in your own writing and that’s NEVER something I want to do. I constantly challenge myself to really think about how I’m portraying other people, even if theyre in a fantasy setting, because nothing is innocuous. This is another reason I cannot forgive Tolkien for his treatment (generally) of the dwarves in his books (it’s pretty damn racist, let me count the ways). I never want to do something in my book for no other reason than because ‘that’s how it’s done.’ I want to be better than unconscious stereotyping privileged western white writer.

What are the 10 most influential books to you? I’d love to hear in the comments or on twitter!

A Disconnect Between Readers And Authors

A Disconnect Between Readers And Authors

Have you noticed I’ve been trying to write more regularly here? 😉

Today I want to talk about something I hope will prompt some reader responses. I hang out on a couple author forums (notably Kboards) just to see what other people are trying because I’m curious what has and hasn’t worked for them.

Write A Series

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I hear this advice given all the time. I’ve HEARD this advice given since I was a kid. If you want to make some money, write a series. It’s not new advice.

In 2014 Write A Serial

THIS seems to be the new tweak to the above adage. If you want to make money, write a SERIAL, and it seems like everyone is doing it!

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Okay, but you’re thinking to yourself, technically serials aren’t a new thing–they’re a pretty old thing. Serials are how ACD, Dickens, Poe and a bunch of other authors were published back in their day. True–but I think we can make a distinction between the sort of serials that Poe was publishing and the sort i’m talking about now. Namely, that Poe’s serials were part of a larger work–e.g. a newspaper–and today’s serials are stand alone ebooks.

The Caveat

So, I see people advising other writers to write a serial–readers love them! they say–but this advice always comes with the caveat that these same serials always attract low-star reviews. Specifically low-star reviews from readers complaining about the length of the work.

This brings me to the DISCONNECT I’m seeing between readers and authors. Authors say serials are great, readers love them, they make them lots of money, etc. But then you have a huge chunk of readers unhappy because of the length of the serial and the fact that it is NOT a full story (obvs, it’s part of a larger body of work, it’s a piece, hence serial).

What’s the break even point here? Do readers actually love serials or are they just buying them because that’s how authors keep breaking up otherwise great stories and thereby deluding authors into thinking the serials are doing great because hey, their sales numbers are still good, even though the whole format is leaving the reader cold?

Cliffhangers

And on a related note, going back to my first point which is GO WRITE A SERIES, this bit of advice is usually coupled with: be sure and use a cliffhanger so that your readers have something to look forward to in the next book. With this, however, I see some unhappiness cropping up over cliffhangers. Are they good? Are they bad? Are they something readers suffer through because they enjoy the story?

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What are your thoughts? Do you like serials? Do you hate them? Do you think serials belong as independent ebook entities or does the format really work best as a larger body of work?

Understanding Your Own Romantic Tastes

Understanding Your Own Romantic Tastes

I’ve struggled writing book 3 in the Blood & Bone Trilogy and I thought it was just because I struggle with romance in general (I know–a romance writer who struggles with romance???). I ask myself why I write romance and I do it for a couple reasons:

  • I love reading romance
  • It seemed the easiest place to dip my feet into self-publishing
  • I REALLY love reading romance
  • I have the most experience with what could be classified as romantic stories (from, again, a reading perspective and I feel it’s pretty sound advice to write in a genre you’re familiar with)

But like on a personal level I am about the least romantic person I know. I don’t get real life romance. I feel like a computer going DOES NOT COMPUTE. So, I’ll read a story where two people falling in love is the central theme and just goggle over how amazing it is, sitting down to WRITE the gritty details of how that works has been…difficult. Overwhelming. Like staring up at a clifface knowing I’m supposed to climb it and being frozen with fear because guys–i HATE rock climbing, legit hate it.

Falling-in-love vs Realizing-you’re-in-love

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But in the last month, while I tried to wrangle what it was about Book 3 I was stuck on specifically I realized something both about the book and about my own reading tastes:

I almost always read stories where the characters are basically already in love and either a) pining or b) oblivious to their own feelings. But the point is, the “in-love” stuff already exists.

Book 3….well…Pat and Ethan aren’t pining OR oblivious to their own feelings. Like, they legit are not in love with one another. The thing that was tripping me up is how do two people FALL in love? This is a conundrum that is not readily answered in the sorts of stuff I like to read AS A READER. It’s pretty uncharted territory.

I keep wondering, if I just lock them in the starboard broom closet and mash their faces together will they eventually fall in love?

(also searching Getty Images for “two men in love” returns srsly hetero results, what’s up with that getty images?)

Looking For Lesbian Romance Book Recs

Looking For Lesbian Romance Book Recs

Hey guys, so at some point I do plan on getting this blog back to its regularly scheduled programming.

One of the things I want to do is another book review. Specifically, I’m looking for something in the f/f genre. Any of you have some recs? Books you liked, authors you love? I’m pretty easy for genre as long as it’s well written and character driven.

Summer’s Out

In other news, the draft for Book 2 has been sent off to beta readers and I’m waiting to hear back. My writing partner and I have started a new summer schedule (M-F 8:30-10:30) which is rough, lmty, but productive. I’ve been editing her sci-fi novel while I give Book 3 some time to percolate in my brain.

Next month I’ll be taking an intensive drawing class (it’s called Drawing Marathon and meets 9am-4pm 3 days a week, whoa!) Maybe I’ll post some scans if the end results aren’t too terrible 😉

What are your summer writing plans? Tell me about them in the comments or find me on twitter! @LiaCooperWrites

~Lia

CampNaNoWriMo 2014 Week One

CampNaNoWriMo 2014 Week One

2014-Participant-Square-Button

You may have noticed there was no blogpost last week–my apologies! I fully intended to write a short sum-up of my first couple days of Camp this year but Camp had a bit of a late start in Lia’s world.

News

  • The draft for Blood & Bone Book Two: The Convergence Theory is done!

word count paranormal romance

 

  • Writing has begun on Book Three! I’m a little (see: A LOT) behind on my word count but I’m steadily catching up.
  • To everyone who has volunteered to beta read book 2–my editor is about 3/4 finished so the book is still on track to reach you by the middle of the month!
  • To anyone interested in reading chapter 1 before release day, I will be sending out a sneak peak of Book 2 to mailing list subscribers 😉
  • To everyone else, be sure to check back here May 1st for The Convergence Theory cover reveal!! I’m super excited to share it with you guys, I’ve been sitting on this cover for months.

A Few Words About Camp NaNoWriMo Week 1

My goal was to write 2800 words/day. I started a couple days late and I had a couple slow days. So far my mean word count has been ~1000/day. Not great but not the end of the world. I’ve also been interviewing for a barista job and started a 7 Week Walking Challenge, all of which have no helped me be more focused on writing. Nevertheless, the month and my goal of 85,000 words is not lost!

This weekend I’m planning on doing a bit push to close the gap and get my daily word count back down to 3k/day to finish on time.

Here are my 4 strategies for beefing up my word count:

  1. Outlines: so far I’ve got an outline for the first 8 chapters of Book 3 and I’ll be adding to that the more I write. I use my daily walks to brainstorm (aloud, since I live in a pretty isolated place and I like to talk to myself :))) and then type up what I’ve worked out into scrivener.
  2. Timed Writes: these are invaluable! I set the online timer for 30 minutes and start typing in scrivener. I can’t do anything else while I’m on a TW except write (this means discipline, no checking social media, no responding to facebook IMs, no reading, nada) and I try not to check my word count until the timed write is over. I find that as long as I’ve got a general idea what needs to happen in the scene, I can bust out anywhere between 700-1000 words per timed write.
  3. Take Breaks: I break my timed writes down into 30 minute blocks and I take breaks between each block to read, check-in with my writing partner and check twitter. The key (and I don’t always do this well) is to keep the breaks to a reasonable amount of time–e.g. 20 minute break not a 60 minute break.
  4. Start Early: The day’s I’ve met my word count goals I started early (by early I mean 2 PM, or early afternoon). The day’s I’ve struggled to meet my goals or failed to meet them, I didn’t start writing until 9 PM or later. You don’t have to wake up at 6 AM and jump right into your story, you just have to give yourself enough time to write comfortably.

That is all for this week. If you have questions or comments leave a comment down below or feel free to email me ( liacooperromance AT gmail DOT com) I always love hearing from you guys! And come hang out on twitter @LiaCooperWrites 😀

Buckle up guys; week two is about to begin!

 

Is The Pen Mightier Than The PC?

Is The Pen Mightier Than The PC?

Writing In The 21st Century

Writing is a craft, it’s an art, and as a writer, you are an artist. That being said, the tools that you choose to use are ultimately going to be the ones that best compliment your style of creating. My intention this week is not to advocate one way or the other for writing by hand or writing directly into Microsoft Word, but rather to address some of the hipsterish and/or regressive sentiments I see floating around writing communities.

Language Evolves When People Use It In New Ways

raised hands by Izquierda UnidaRaise your hand if you’ve ever run into someone condemning internet chatspeak, tumblr tags, keyboard shorthand, emoticons, Doge, the use of the phrase “was like,” or social media in general? Raise your hand if you’ve run into people condemning ebooks because reading words is somehow not the same thing as…reading words. I bring this phenomenon up because it’s a piece of what I see as regressivism at work on the web. The same sort of people who say that your “online friends” aren’t really your friends. That anyone who communicates via the web is lying about who they are—obviously, they’re a 51 year old serial killer necrophiliac.

It’s 2014—and yes, I totally wrote 2013 at first and had to fix it—but we still have people calling computers soulless and people glued to their smartphones shallow. And if you use your computer for your art—well, is it still art?

Guttenburg printing pressJust like the printing press was the great equalizer of the 15th century, so too is the PC. For writers it means research at your fingertips, limited only by your googlefu. It means connecting with people all over the globe. Exchanging stories in real time. Exchanging ideas freely 24/7. It means collaboration across the globe. It means being able to pull up a Google Street View of a road that appears in your book without leaving your bed because we can’t all afford to take writing vacations or live in Paris.

Free Books

I read a lot, big surprise I know, but it’s important to say that I read a lot but I don’t buy many books. I read online, not news stories or blogs, but fiction (both fan and original) being posted by writers at no cost to themselves and free for me. And this is the power of the internet, the way it frees us from the shackles of traditional distribution institutions. If you only ever read things being published by the Big Six (or should I say the Big Five?), you’re missing out on a wealth of innovative, progressive and often radical storytelling that is unapologetic and beholden to no one’s bottom line.

I Can’t Help It, I Love My MacBook

I said I wasn’t going to take a stand for or against writing by hand or writing on the computer but it looks like I’ve failed at being impartial. Woops?

I keep several notebooks, I love writing notes or brainstorming by hand and writing in my composition book when I don’t have access to my computer. And when I have writer’s block one method I use to get past it is to freewrite in a notebook until I’ve got a good groove going. But everything I write will end up on my laptop eventually.

lia with her macbookI love running word counts. I love spellchecker. I love being able to google things. I love being able to post snippets for people on tumblr, facebook, twitter or my blog. I love having a plot-chat on facebook at 1 AM (a plot-chat is where I stream-of-conscious explain the idea for a story to my alpha reader and get her feedback, course corrections, answer her questions, etc until I’ve fleshed out a more complete story idea). I love pulling Scrivener up on my MacBook and finding all of my stories neatly(ish) organized and ready to be worked on.

Ultimately, it’s important that you choose a writing tool that encourages your own creativity. If that’s writing in pencil in a handmade notebook: go for it. But don’t ever try to convince my my computer and my social network are soulless. Because at the end of the day, I’ve come to recognize and appreciate the fact that my computer is the tool that works best for me.

☼ Do you enjoy reading ebooks or stories on the web? Let me know in the comments.

Lia’s WIP Corner

Lia’s WIP Corner

Indy's_whip by Edward LundGosh, the title for this blog sounds kinky. I kind of like it though. Let’s start with the word “WIP”; it’s a term bandied about fanfic circles but maybe you’ve never heard it before. WIP stands for work-in-progress, and in this recurring feature of the blog here at The Speculative Romantic, I’ll be taking the opportunity to talk a little bit about what I am working on at the moment.

I have several works in progress right now. I’m waiting for a beta reader to get back to me on The Duality Paradigm so I can start on the third draft. Writing on the sequel The Convergence Theory is temporarily on hold while I a) wait to hear back from beta on the first book, b) work on other projects and c) while I figure out what happens next. In other words, I’m suffering some real Convergence writer’s block that I’m treating by backburnering.

Thieves Who Are Bad At Feelings

Toronto by paul bicaI’m also editing a soulbonding heist novel called The Source and the Wire—of which the draft was written back in 2011 but I’ve only just gotten around to editing. I’m roughly 50% through the first round of edits though there are already a dozen places I’ve marked for rewrites.

The bulk of the story takes place in Portland and Toronto, which makes this the second major story I’ve written with scenes in Toronto and a Quebecois character. I think a writer’s vacation to Toronto will be in my future as soon as I can afford it.

I’m tentatively scheduling Source&Wire for a February publication on kindle and nook. The story is very intense and relationship-heavy for me. It tells the story of how Simon accidentally soulbonds to longtime colleague and one-time lover Luc Allard on a fraud job gone tits-up. Simon, unwilling to reveal his own dependence on Luc, tries to seduce the other man under the pretext of “letting off steam,” unaware of Luc’s own feelings for him. I’ve always thought of Source&Wire as a story about two people like trains that keep missing each other in the night. I’ll post an excerpt next month after I’ve finished editing it.

Writing Outside Lia’s Comfort Zone: Exploring Narrative Through Short Stories

On a different track, about three weeks ago a friend from Evergreen approached me to write a short story for a collection she’s putting together. The theme for this short story collection will be the exploration of relationship narratives that are not commonly portrayed in media: eg queer, trans, intersex, ace, poly, functional and non-functional. I wrote the first draft of a short story (tentatively titled Ava, sublime.) for that collection and sent it off to my beta. Ava is a very narrow exploration of a polyamorous relationship between two men and an aromantic woman, with very minor D/s elements. I have the feeling that it will need quite a bit of revising before I’m done with it but for the most part I’m quite pleased with how it shaped up and initial reaction from my alpha reader was positive. Here’s a short excerpt, feel free to drop a quick word and let me know what you think!

On Sundays she stayed late to get the bulk of the week’s roasting finished up, so during the week she could leave early. It was a Tuesday, unremarkable but for the fact that Patrick was out to dinner with some friends from college, leaving Ava and Brenden alone for the evening.

Brenden cooked, which was not out of the ordinary, something with meat balls made up ahead of time and defrosted, and a fancy sauce that involved white wine and fresh garlic and linguine—also fresh though Ava wouldn’t swear that he had made it himself.

There’s a baguette next to you.”

Hey, look at that, you’re right.” Ava grabbed the slender loaf of bread wrapped up in brown butcher paper, purchased from the french patisserie across the street from Brenden’s work.

Slice it.”

Got a knife?”

In the block, to your left. You know that.”

Forgot,” she said.

Brenden flicked one end of a hand towel at her bum.

Hey!” Ava pointed one stern finger in his face and scowled, “None of that for me, sir.” He grinned back at her, all shiny white teeth and crisp dress shirt, tucked into expensive slacks. He even had his dress shoes on still. It felt a little like being scolded by her prep school principal.

And that’s the highlights—tune back in next week where I talk about writing Dialogue!