Archives for posts with tag: writing

Some years ago, I wrote tax law books for a national law book publisher. I’d practiced tax law in a big San Francisco firm for a few years, but the time and commitment were overwhelming and I wanted—I needed–to work on my fiction.

Odd as it sounds, writing tax law books was easier.

The process went like this: my editorial director assigned me a topic, say, the charitable deduction. I researched the topic and wrote the chapter. I turned the manuscript in to my executive editor, who checked my research and tagged the manuscript for structure, language, and citation of authorities.

The editor returned the manuscript to me, and I responded to the tags and made changes. When the editor signed off, he or she then turned the manuscript over to a copyeditor.

We cranked out books on unforgiving deadlines. The director set up a production schedule for the hardcover book with facilities on the East coast before I had written one word.

We who wrote and edited substance were attorneys licensed by the State Bar of California and enjoyed window offices in a downtown skyscraper. The copyeditors, usually English majors, labored in interior cubbyholes. Like most business offices, we had a hierarchy and the copyeditors, all brilliant and educated folks who were probably working on their novels after their day job (as was I), harbored a bit of a grudge toward the lawyers.

Writing and riding. The two words sound almost the same, don’t they? I’m a huge fan of Blackfeet Indian pencils. I like to jot notes with Blackfeets. A sharpened point glides a soft, fine line onto paper that erases easily. Best of all, each pencil has a teeny, tiny Blackfeet Indian riding on a galloping horse. Love that horse and rider.

When you think about it, riding a horse is a lot like writing. The rider (your mind) guides the brute force of the horse (your material).

During my childhood and teens, I rode horses, trained at an academy, and competed in shows, winning seven ribbons in my day. I studied under a professional rider; I’ll call her Mrs. Grant. There she would stand at the center of the riding ring, a stern, silver-haired lady impeccably clad in canary breeches, black riding boots, and a tweedy hunting jacket. She would shout things like, “HEELS DOWN AND TOES FORWARD, MASON, YOU LOOK LIKE A DUCK.”

I loved riding horses. I did not love Mrs. Grant. But, like my fellow terrified riding students, I desperately wanted to please her. And she was always, always right.

The grudge match between the copyeditors and the lawyers sometimes went the other way when a copyeditor trudged from his or her dungeon down the hall to a lawyer-writer’s castle. After wrestling a manuscript out of thin air, many a lawyer-writer took a dim view of his or her masterwork beset by a million yellow tags, all of which had to be addressed in the space of two or three days.

My copyeditor, a stern, auburn-haired gamine in a slouchy sweater and tweedy slacks, would deposit my manuscript bristling with tags on my desk. Within, I would find comments like, “YOU’VE USED THE WORD ‘CONSTITUTE’ FORTY TIMES IN THIS MSS. ARE YOU WRITING ABOUT THE CHARITABLE DEDUCTION OR ORANGE JUICE?”

My copyeditor reminded me a lot of Mrs. Grant. I did not love her, but she was always, always right. And helped make my manuscript a polished piece of work publishable in a forty-dollar hardcover book. Which is just about as good as a blue ribbon won in a riding competition.

So there you have it, my friends. Here’s to you, my copyeditors. Your obsession with usage and punctuation has become mine, and everything I’ve learned about how to polish a manuscript for publication I’ve learned from you.

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction http://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? http://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades http://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro http://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 5: Authors’ Market Share Lisa Mason #SFWApro http://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/02/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-5-authors-market-share-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 6: Ebooks Versus Print Books Lisa Mason #SFWApro http://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-6-ebooks-versus-print-books-lisa-mason-sfwapro

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 7: Unlimited or Not Lisa Mason #SFWApro http://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/08/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-7-unlimited-or-not-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 8: Print Books in 2013 Lisa Mason #SFWApro http://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/13/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-8-print-books-in-2013-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 9: Amazon Vs Hatchett Lisa Mason #SFWApro http://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/16/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-9-amazon-vs-hatchett-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 10: Conversations with Author Elle Emerson Lisa Mason #SFWApro http://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/20/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-10-conversations-with-author-elle-emerson-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

Hate spiders? Fear spiders? Let me persuade you to feel otherwise in My Charlotte: Patty’s Story, a short, sweet memoir about a life in a garden and one writer’s first inspiration. Includes my first science fiction story, Arachne, published by Omni Magazine worldwide, by Hayakawa in Japan, and by Replik in Sweden.

Reading Charlotte’s Web, the classic children’s book, inspired me to write my own novels at the age of eight. My quest to discover the meaning of the spider led me to Jungian psychology, myths, and symbols. The classic myth of Arachne became the subtext of my first story, Arachne, published in Omni. My first two early cyberpunk novels followed, Arachne and Cyberweb, published by William Morrow and Avon Books. I am presently working on an adaptation of those books as The Quester Trilogy.

So there you have it, my friends. Plenty about reading, writing, my roots as a writer, my journey and struggle to become a writer, the life-long process of inspiration, and how I broke into the professional market.

And spiders!

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.

If you’re reading on a Kobo, the link to My Charlotte: Patty’s Story should post in a day or so. Check in at all my titles on Kobo.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

Happy Patty’s Day!

The Apple Link Is In!

I can’t think of a better reason to indulge in an Irish coffee, a delightful concoction invented in 1895 by the Buena Vista Café at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Made of coffee, Irish whiskey, and whipped cream, the drink satisfies what the late, great Herb Caen called “the four basic food groups: caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and fat.”

This is also the day when I discovered a large orb weaver in my garden. Hate spiders? Fear spiders? Let me persuade you to feel otherwise in My Charlotte: Patty’s Story, a short, sweet memoir about a life in a garden and one writer’s first inspiration. Includes my first science fiction story, Arachne, published by Omni Magazine worldwide, by Hayakawa in Japan, and by Replik in Sweden.

Reading Charlotte’s Web, the classic children’s book, inspired me to write my own novels at the age of eight. My quest to discover the meaning of the spider led me to Jungian psychology, myths, and symbols. The classic myth of Arachne became the subtext of my first story, Arachne, published in Omni, a magazine with a circulation of five million at the time. My first two early cyberpunk novels followed, Arachne and Cyberweb, published by William Morrow and Avon Books. I am presently working on an adaptation of those books as The Quester Trilogy.

So there you have it, my friends. There’s plenty about reading, writing, my roots as a writer, my journey and struggle to become a writer, the life-long process of inspiration, and how I broke into the professional market.

And spiders!

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is $.99 until March 22 on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.

If you’re reading on a Kobo, the link to My Charlotte: Patty’s Story should post in a day or so. Check in at all my titles on Kobo.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Happy New Year! Now that everyone is earnestly making resolutions for the year ahead, we asked authors Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason, and Linda Nagata to chat about fitness and writing. We’re focusing here on exercise. (We promise not to mention this topic again for at least a year.)

Q: What is your philosophy about fitness?

Kevin: I live by the philosophy that it’s easier to *stay* in shape than to *get* in shape. I keep myself moving, work out, expend the effort to keep myself healthy because if my body doesn’t function well, then I can’t DO the things I want to do.

Lisa: Yes. You have only one life and one body: Take care of it!
I was really active as a child, climbing trees, bicycling, dancing ballet, swimming, riding horses. I walked several miles to school, even in three feet of snow. In college, I hiked and biked all over the sprawling campus at the University of Michigan.
But when I started working as a lawyer, all that activity dwindled to walking to the office in downtown San Francisco from my apartment on Telegraph Hill. When we and the office moved to East Bay, we bought a home where I could walk to work again, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t feel comfortable in my body anymore.
On my birthday in 1996, I made a vow to get back in shape and, as Kevin says, stay that way. So far, I’ve been doing pretty well. If I used to walk to school in three feet of snow, now I’ll go for my walk in pouring rain. I’m committed!

Linda: I’ve always enjoyed being fit. I competed in swimming in high school, ran track one year, did a lot of hiking. In my early twenties I was into weight-lifting/strength training on my own machine, but I stopped when I had children. I was just too worried they would venture near the moving weights and get hurt. After that, fitness became an intermittent thing. Lots of heavy-duty yard work, occasional jogging, some hiking, but it wasn’t until my late forties that I got serious again, returning to weight-lifting and fairly regular running. My philosophy is to aim for both cardiovascular fitness and strength. My quirk is that when I do work out, I like to work out hard. I’m not sure that’s really a good idea now that I’m 53 years old, but it keeps the routine from getting boring.

Q: What is your exercise regimen?

Kevin: I am 51, last summer I did two segments on the Colorado Trail out in the deep wilderness (38 miles in two days), climbed a couple of 14,000 ft mountain peaks, and did some other strenuous hikes. This winter, I plan to do some great snowshoe hikes.
I have a weight room in the house and I do about a 45-minute workout every day when I can (and because I travel a lot, sometimes it’s hard to keep the schedule.)

Lisa: Wow! You’re one of a kind, Kevin.
I speed-walk 3.5 miles carrying 6 pounds of weights four to seven days a week. I always carry a pencil and notepad and jot down ideas, paragraphs, snippets of dialogue.
On days when I don’t do the long walk, I’ll walk to chores (we’ve got a fabulous Whole Foods a few blocks away), use the stationary bike and the stepper in my office.
I don’t run marathons or engage in extreme exercise. I’m mindful of my joints, which are good. I want to keep them that way.

Linda: It sounds like I’m the only gym rat here! I am utterly without Kevin’s discipline, and I’m sure if I had exercise equipment at home, I wouldn’t use it, but I love to go to the gym. Even if I don’t particularly feel like working out, once I walk in the door I almost always get into the flow. Getting your head set to want to workout is critical to staying in shape and for me, the gym does that. And the people at our gym are terrific, and very inspiring to watch.
The problem with the gym, for me, is that I live outside of town, so it’s a twenty-five minute drive to get there—which means I only go if we have other business in town.
I’m supposed to go jogging when I can’t get to the gym. Sometimes I’m dedicated about that, running five miles or so in hilly terrain, but sometimes I let weeks go by in-between runs. I try not to be too critical of myself, and do what I can.
There is a terrific book called Younger Next Year, which I highly recommend. It’s very inspirational. It lays down a regimen of exercising an hour a day, six days a week. That’s what I aim for, even if I rarely actually meet that goal.

Q: Where do you exercise?

Kevin: There’s too much to see and do out there in beautiful Colorado; what’s the fun in a sedentary life? I don’t much like to drive to a public gym and work out with a bunch of other sweaty people, so I’m glad I have my own equipment in the house. I also try to walk as much as I can, and I prefer to take the stairs rather than waiting for an elevator. I see people (without physical handicaps) take the elevator up one floor. Really? I don’t get that.

Lisa: Oh yeah, there are so many opportunities to walk, to take stairs. And I’m not a gym person, either.
I grew up with an old-growth forest in my backyard, so I too have a deep appreciation of nature. I’m fortunate now to live on the edge of a park with a hundred-year-old bird sanctuary and a lake with an excellent trail around it. Giant eucalyptus, pines, palms, oaks, and other greenery line the paths. I love watching the mallards, snowy egrets, and Canadian geese gracing the lake, along with the occasional swan, great blue heron, and red-tailed hawk.

Linda: I live on the island of Maui, which sounds like it ought to be a great place to work out, but things aren’t always what they seem. I live “upcountry” at an elevation above 3000’ where nearly all the roads have a significant grade, so jogging is either uphill or downhill—neither of which is easy!—but when I break out from the trees, the views are beautiful.
I almost never jog outside at lower elevations. Even though I’ve lived in Hawaii almost all my life, I’m a wimp when it comes to the heat and humidity we have at sea level. Even jogging in the evening down at the coast is a slog for me—but strange as it may sound, I really like running on the treadmill at the gym. The terrain is flat and nothing gets in my way, so this is where I do my “speed” workouts. I put “speed” in quotes, because fast for me isn’t going to be fast to someone else, but on good days I can run 3.5 miles in under 32 minutes, and I feel pretty good about that.

Lisa: I used to jog on my 3.5-mile trail. Then I caught my toe on an uneven edge and down I crashed on my right knee. Nothing broke or tore, but my leg turned an interesting shade of green for a week. After that, I started speed-walking, with the weights for calorie burn. The problem I have with jogging is your torso is tilted forward so your center of gravity is off. When I walk, I keep my torso centered over my hips. For me, it’s more balanced.

Q: How does exercise affect your writing?

Kevin: I have to stay healthy because I do most of my writing by dictation as I hike the trails. If I’m not moving, I’m not writing. I also find it very energizing and inspirational to be writing as I’m out in the mountains or forest. (This method doesn’t work, however, on a busy and noisy city street.)

Lisa: I feel more alert and just generally better after my daily walk, which segues into more and better writing. When ideas and words aren’t flowing as freely as they should, it’s good to get out of the office and exercise a different muscle in my brain.

Linda: I’m envious of writers like Kevin who can think and work out at the same time. For me, it’s rare to come up with any useful story ideas while exercising, or even when doing yard work. Mostly I just zone out. But exercise still benefits my writing, in part just by making me feel physically better and stronger, but it’s also an emotional boost. I just feel happier when I’m working out regularly—and I’m a much better writer when I’m happy.

So there you have it, my friends. Writing may be a sedentary occupation, but you don’t have to live a sedentary life. Find the exercise regimen that suits you best and stick with it.

We thank Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason, and Linda Nagata for a lively and provocative discussion. Be sure to visit them at their websites and buy their books.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Kevin J. Anderson has published 125 books, more than fifty of which have been national or international bestsellers. He has written numerous novels in the Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune universes, as well as a unique steampunk fantasy novel, Clockwork Angels, based on the concept album by legendary rock group Rush. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series, the Terra Incognita fantasy trilogy, and his humorous horror series featuring Dan Shamble, Zombie PI. He has edited numerous anthologies, including the Five by Five and Blood Lite series. Anderson and his wife Rebecca Moesta are the publishers of WordFire Press. Wordfirepress.com.

Lisa Mason is the author of ten novels including Summer of Love, A Time Travel (A Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (A New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book), as well as dozens of stories published in magazines and anthologies worldwide. Her latest release, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories was called “a must-read collection” by the San Francisco Review of Books. Visit her at Lisa Mason’s Official Website.

Linda Nagata is the author of multiple novels and short stories including The Bohr Maker, winner of the Locus Award for best first novel, and the novella “Goddesses,” the first online publication to receive a Nebula award. Her story “Nahiku West” was a finalist for the 2013 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. Though best known for science fiction, she writes fantasy too, exemplified by her “scoundrel lit” series Stories of the Puzzle Lands. Her newest science fiction novel is The Red: First Light, a near-future military thriller published under her own imprint, Mythic Island Press LLC. Linda has spent most of her life in Hawaii, where she’s been a writer, a mom, a programmer of database-driven websites, and lately a publisher and book designer. She lives with her husband in their long-time home on the island of Maui.
Find her online at:
MythicIsland.com
twitter.com/LindaNagata

facebook.com/Linda.Nagata.author

From Lisa Mason, the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India,

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

The September 3, 2013 Times Literary Supplement reviews Kurt Vonnegut, Letters published by Vintage Classics: “Some of the letters in this collection are hurtful, were even written to hurt, and this is true of letters to friends and members of his family who had disappointed him or let him down, not to mention reproofs directed to reviewers. A number were doubtless written late at night was he was in liquor… Vonnegut was known to lurk by the postbox waiting for mail to be collected so that he might retrieve letters when he had thought better of their content.

“…he wrote to a reviewer, Anatole  Broyard, to say, “thank you for your comments on how slowly my literary reputation is dying. Part of the problem, surely, is that my books remain in print, and people continue to give me credit for having written them…I am presently working on yet another novel which may mislead readers into believing that I should still be counted among the living for a a little while yet”. When his books were banned from public libraries, as several were, his tone was much sharper. A hostile reviewer was not only a jerk, but a censorious public official….an enemy. In the manner of writers, Vonnegut was quick to spot an enemy…” www.the-tls.co.uk

Authors! Don’t go there! You may be able to delete posts on Facebook or Twitter, but you can’t wait by the postbox to unsend an email (at least AOL no longer offers this option.)

You can’t please everyone all the time. Or even some of the time. And everything you write may not always be your best. That’s life.

Apparently reader reviews on Goodreads that attack an author personally have become such a problem that Goodreads recently issued a policy statement that the site will take down such reviews. (I haven’t observed this, myself.) Troll reviews on Amazon have also become such a problem that there’s a thread on a writers group at LinkedIn entitled, “What to do about a bad review.” (I haven’t had time to follow this, either, but may look into it.)

The fast answer is: you don’t do anything. Read the review if you wish, glean whatever may be a valid criticism (sometimes there is, sometimes isn’t, and that’s true of professional reviewers as well as reader reviewers), and move on to your next project.

So there you have it, my friends. Everyone gets a bad review at some time in his or her life. A little rain will fall. Turn what is always very unpleasant and distressing into a learning experience, if you can.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

SHAKEN on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Tomorrow’s Child on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords,  and

U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords; and

New! Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

For urban fantasy, science fiction, fantasy, romantic suspense, humor, and a screenplay, visit the Virtual Bookstore! All Lisa Mason Titles, All Links, All Readers, Worldwide. NYT Notable Book Author http://lisamasontheauthor.com/2013/08/31/virtual-bookstore-fantasy-science-fiction-urban-fantasy-romantic-suspense-literary-screenplay-sfwapro/

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy this title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.

I tackled the List of Five on the beautiful Write Castles in the Sky blog hosted by Jaye Viner. Here’s the interview and the link: http://www.writecastlesinthesky.blogspot.com/2013/09/list-of-five-with-lisa-mason.html#more

Five Views of the Writing Life

1. Cultivate the habit of reading and writing every day.

People used to keep diaries and write letters to each other by hand. For a writer, this provided a way to tap into the flow of words without the pressure of writing for publication, to let loose the emotions in an informal way, and was, I think, a useful exercise.

These days we don’t write diaries and letters anymore, so it’s imperative to constantly keep in touch with your flow of words, ideas, and emotions in other ways. Keep a notepad and pencil on the night table beside your bed, always carry these items with you (you don’t need an electronic device) even to the grocery store, maintain a blog, post on Facebook.

If you’re working on a story or book, naturally you’ll want to write that every day, but don’t worry overmuch if the flow isn’t happening today. Do keep taking notes, though, and reviewing your progress.

Read published fiction every day. Keep a book beside you always—at the office, when traveling, at your bedside. Maintaining interest in a novel can be a huge commitment, which is why I love short stories. In a day or two, you can whip through a story, watch a character arc unfold and resolve, witness a plot begin and end.

Ten million and one things compete for your attention these days. I believe it’s essential that you make daily reading and writing your obsession. Which leads us to—

2. Embrace your obsession.

I mean your writerly obsession, the essential core that drives you to write and underpins everything you write, no matter how different the material may be on the surface. Every writer writes only about one thing—his or her obsession.

Edith Wharton, for example, wrote about women exiled to the wilds of snowy Massachusetts, women in the thick richness of New York high society, and women in some pretty good ghost stories. But in all the variety of her writing, the story was always an Edith Wharton story, the writing was always her vigorous Edith Wharton style, and the underlying theme was always a woman in an unhappy marriage. Always.

Michael Chabon has said he’s obsessed with relationships between men. Louise Edrich with Native Americans and their uneasy relationship with Caucasian society. Jonathan Franzen with dysfunctional families. J.R.R. Tolkien with world war.

My writerly obsession is with self-realization, how life and circumstances may try to thwart you from what must be your true destiny, how you must overcome all the odds to realize your true self and find your personal power. My new book, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, is a good example. The stories are wildly different but in each, the heroine empowers herself against the odds.

Your obsession is the underlying driving force, but the surface can and, I believe, should vary. Authors, even bestselling authors, may become pigeonholed—you know, those authors who only write about a particular nationality of immigrants—may become stale and fade away as readers grow bored with the same old thing.

You always want to search for new spins on your obsession, new surfaces to explore. Which brings us to—

3. Write what you don’t know.

The truism and cliché is “write what you know,” but if you embrace your obsession, you’ll always be writing what you know. The key to keeping fresh as a writer and creating stories that feel authentic, that feel truer than true, is to inform the work with research. To use just the right detail proving you know your subject better than just about anyone and that’s why the reader should invest his or her time in your work.

As a true believer in the power of research, I give a tip of my fedora to the excellent previous post, “Five Traps to Avoid as an Author,” Trap Two being “The Rabbit Hole of Internet Research.” Research is indeed a siren’s song. You’ll always find one more fascinating thing (or a million more fascinating things) to research. The trick is to recognize when you’ve found the telling detail that will enrich your story and make it special. At that point of the research, you’ve got to give it up. Which slams us headlong into—

4. Never give up.

I recently heard a radio interview with Ann Rice, who sold millions of vampire novels decades before vampire novels were trendy. She perfunctorily answered the usual questions, but when the interviewer asked her what advice she’d give to an author struggling to break into the business, her voice became animated and she said with great passion, “Never give up! No matter how many people say no, never give up!”

Big Publishing has always been tough, though in the 1970s through the early 1990s, the business was much more open and willing to support authors building an audience. All that’s changed (for reasons too complex to set out here), and these days Big Publishing is brutal.

Independent publishing is giving Big Publishing a serious run for the money. The business is changing almost daily. You must read the free portions of Publisher’s Weekly website, and Publisher’s Lunch free newsletter to keep tabs on developments. Independent publishing is a gigantic opportunity that literally didn’t exist before.

Make no mistake, though, independent publishing is tough. You bear the burden of producing a professional-quality product. But as a traditionally published author, I’m here to tell you Big Publishing is tough, too, and has shifted the burden of marketing and promoting a book squarely on the author’s shoulders.

That’s a huge burden to bear, so—

5. Take care of yourself.

Authors and artists notoriously abuse mood-altering substances. By definition, such substances induce a different consciousness, loosen up the subconscious mind, free inhibitions. At the beginning of a career, an author may pull a brilliant story out of his or her mind while smashed on a mood-altering substance.

Don’t make this a life-style habit. I remember how shocked I was reading about Stephen King in the throes of his cocaine and hard booze addiction, bleeding from his nose all over his keyboard and thinking, “This has got to stop.” He was one of the lucky ones. Mike McQuay dropped dead at age 48 from his cocaine habit.

Many authors today are also notoriously overweight or obese. Yes, we sit a lot. So do lawyers and accountants and corporate executives. Those folks, though, get out of the house, commute to an office. Authors tend to be house-bound.

Don’t go there. You can’t write well if you’re in poor health. You really can’t write if you’re dead. Eat right to write! Don’t do drugs, easy on the coffee and wine, rest, de-stress, and, most importantly, move your butt. Turn off the TV and go for a jog. Keep a stepper, treadmill, or exercise bike in your writing area. If you get stuck on a scene, pedal for fifteen minutes. Trust me, after fifteen minutes on the bike, you’ll be rarin’ to go on that scene.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

SHAKEN on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Tomorrow’s Child on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords,  and

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add a bunch of stars, write a review, blog it, post it, Tweet it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters!

Thank you for your readership!

Ali at the Festivale Website recently interviewed me, asking questions about—surprise!—writing. Many other terrific authors are  there, too, discussing their work. Here’s the link: http://www.festivale.info/questions/lisamason2.htm

1–Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

Fans and readers are what make the lonely pursuit of writing all worthwhile for me.

2–Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

Whenever someone approaches me for an autograph or contacts me online and tells me one of my titles is his or her favorite book, that’s memorable. Luckily, that’s happened more than once!

3–Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

I don’t have a single answer. I still love the books I read as a child, E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web and P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins. These days, I read many different genres and appreciate authors in them all. In urban fantasy, I like Charlaine Harris. In comedic romantic suspense, I like Janet Evanovitch. Sue Grafton is always good for a woman detective. I reread the classics, too. Raymond Chandler for hardboiled mysteries, Edith Wharton for fin de siècle commentaries on marriage. Ursula K. Le Guin for women’s science fiction. Frank Herbert for epic science fiction. The list goes on.

4–Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift (elevator) with? or a spaceship?

I can’t think of anyone I’d like to head out into space with other than my husband, Tom Robinson. I know just what we’d argue about.

5–Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

A whole lot of nasty people appear on this list. Too many to mention.

6–What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn’t do without?)

A great bottle of Napa Valley chardonnay, well chilled. The space ship would have to have refrigeration. Give me some smoked salmon, too, and I’m good to go.

7–What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

A vast and loyal readership because that would mean people understand and appreciate what I’m writing about.

8–What is the special satisfaction of your work?

9–The opportunity to express my deepest thoughts and sentiments about life.

10–Born? (can be date/place as preferred)

I was born in the heart of the American Midwest, graduated from the University of Michigan, College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts, and the University of Michigan Law School. I briefly practiced law in Washington D.C., then headed west to California.

Resides? (can be region, country as preferred)

11–I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband, the renowned artist and jeweler, Tom Robinson.

Lisa Mason

Lisa Mason

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

SHAKEN on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Tomorrow’s Child on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords,  and

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add a bunch of stars, write a review, blog it, post it, Tweet it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters!

Thank you for your readership!

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