Archives for posts with tag: writing

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!

I’ve just had the pleasure of working with three different interviewers who each have terrific blogs dedicated to authors and writing. Each interviewer had very different questions that prompted me to ponder this arduous, exhilarating, frustrating, and rewarding enterprise of writing fiction. Each web site features many other authors with fascinating things to say. Happy browsing!

On the beautiful and intriguingly titled Write Castles in the Sky web site, I tackled the List of Five, covering such topics as cultivating the habit of reading and writing, embracing your writerly obsession, researching and writing what you don’t know, exploring the rich options every author has these days, and taking care of yourself. See it all here: http://www.writecastlesinthesky.blogspot.com/2013/09/list-of-five-with-lisa-mason.html#more

In December 2012, I answered Ten Questions About Writing with the dashing Author Ryan Schneider. Now Ryan and I are back with Ten Follow-up Questions, discussing sources of inspiration, the scene in which I’d like to make a cameo appearance in a Tomorrow’s Child movie, what I’d do if a Big New York Literary Agent approached me. One has; check out my response here: http://authorryanschneider.blogspot.com/2013/09/10-follow-up-questions-with-pkd-award.html

In the interview with Festivale, we consider such questions as with whom  I’m most like to be trapped in a spaceship and what essentials I’d take with me. Find out here: http://www.festivale.info/questions/lisamason2.htm

Do visit the Virtual Bookstore. There you’ll find fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, romantic suspense, literary, and a screenplay. All Lisa Mason Titles, All Links, All Readers, Worldwide http://lisamasontheauthor.com/2013/08/31/virtual-bookstore-fantasy-science-fiction-urban-fantasy-romantic-suspense-literary-screenplay-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle.

Enjoy the punch of a short story?

New! Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, and Smashwords (all other readers including Kobo, Sony, and Apple). Acclaimed short fantasy and science fiction by Lisa Mason published in top magazines and anthologies worldwide. From Goodreads: “Hilarious, provocative, profound.”

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

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

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

1. RS: This is a follow-up interview, but for people who are not already familiar with your work, tell us what kind of books you write and what readers should expect from your stories? What is your latest book about?

LM: I mostly write character-driven science fiction and contemporary or historical fantasy (as opposed to epic fantasy), but I’ve also written more mainstream works, romantic suspense, and a screenplay or two.

My latest release, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, is a collection of science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories published in top magazines and anthologies worldwide. I’m gratified to see the response so far has been awesome since I cherry-picked them from among my published (and as-yet-unpublished) short fiction.

2. RS: What was the duration of the writing process for Strange Ladies?

LM: Since this is a collection, the answer is difficult to summarize. Some stories are what I call “a gift from the gods,” landing almost full-blown on the page. They’re a gift because a story seldom happens that way.

But the core idea, the inspiration usually does, and then the hard work of making the story happen proceeds from there. I’ve taken three weeks to finish a story; I’ve taken six months and more.

As for these stories, some go back fifteen years. Yeah, I’ve been around for a long time, was building up my career. A few years ago, disgusted with New York Big Publishing and hit with a personal set-back, I dropped out of the business altogether and spent some years studying and writing screenplays. That was a mistake from which I’m only just recovering.

Now that I’m back, New York Big Publishing is even worse than before. Thank God for independent publishing. Viva la revolution! Not that taking your career into your own hands is ever easy.

I re-edited every story in Strange Ladies to the quality standards I hold today after fifteen years of studying fiction.

3. RS: To shift to a story of yours that’s already sold to the movies, when Tomorrow’s Child is adapted to film, and the producers ask for your dream cast, what will you say?

LM: At the beginning, there was talk at Universal Studios of Dennis Quaid as the father, Kirsten Dunst as the daughter. But really, as a full-time professional writer with forthcoming new books and the executive of a growing ebook empire, I don’t have time to follow all the new faces who might be right. (Though I do receive The Hollywood Reporter every week. Apparently I’ve been comp’d a free subscription for life. I have no idea how that happened.)

Anyway, producers never ask the opinion of print authors or screenwriters about anything.

4. RS: Stephen King often makes a cameo in films adapted from his work. Stan Lee is also enjoying doing that these days. What supporting role would you like to play in the film adaptation of Tomorrow’s Child?

LM: In the scene in which Jack Turner confronts his spoiled society wife at a fancy brunch, and she tells him she knows that their daughter Angela is now a freak and that Jack should have let her die, and Jack smacks her on the face, I would definitely make a cameo as one of the society ladies at the brunch table, dripping in gold and diamonds, and dining on a caviar omelet and champagne.

The big studios always serve the real thing during food scenes.

5. RS: For a writer, word of mouth is everything. What was the last book you read that you enjoyed so much that you wanted to share it with everyone you know?

LM: I’ve got a TBR List as long as my arms and legs laid end-to-end. (Ooh. That’s a creepy image.) Let me rephrase. I’ve got a TBR list a kilometer long. I’ll have to get back to you on this one.

6. RS: As of this writing, the trend in publishing is toward series novels as opposed to stand-alone books. Do you have a series going?

LM: Yes, The Garden of Abracadabra is Volume One of the Abracadabra Series, and The Labyrinth of Illusions, Volume 2, is presently in R&D. Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is a miniseries of four books, which are done, though potentially Lily could go on. And I’ve got a new Top Secret High Concept Science Fiction Series in the works.

As a reader, I like stand-alone books; I also like series. It depends on the book I’ve read.

Authors and publishers love series because once the author has created a complex, multi-dimensional world, living and breathing characters, and plot arcs extending beyond what should be a self-contained, complete story in the first book, what’s not to love about creating more? From a marketing standpoint, a successful series will keep the backlist in print and win new readers of the later books. Always a good thing.

7. RS: Saul Bellow said, “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” Where do ideas for books come from, and where are you and what are you typically doing when inspiration strikes?

LM: Hah! That’s a great Saul Bellow quote. And very often, but not entirely, true. Everything needs more work in the morning

That said, there’s no typical inspiration for me other than paying attention to life, people, what interests me intellectually and emotionally, searching constantly for information, and my own feelings, intuitions, experiences, and observations.

A fine and unusual example of how pure inspiration struck me instantly—after half a dozen years of preparation—is in my 30-day blog The Story Behind The Story That Sold To The Movies, included in the ebook of Tomorrow’s Child.

8. RS: Brett Easton Ellis once said, “Do not write a novel for praise. Write for yourself; work out between you and your pen the things that intrigue you.” Indie publishing phenom Amanda Hocking has said that it messed with her head a bit when she realized so many people were going to read the books she’s now writing. Now that Lisa Mason is rapidly gaining recognition in the publishing world, has an established fan base anticipating her next novel, and is being talked about in the highly-reverent third person, will reader expectations influence how and/or what she writes? Or will she hold to Ellis’ suggestion?

LM: Oh, Ellis has it absolutely right for any serious writer—and by serious I mean if you write because you must, because your talent drives you to, because you always have something to say.

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.

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.

As a writer, you can only hope readers will share your obsessions. But if you chase after popularity and you’re not true to yourself, the readers will sense this, too. So what’s the point?

9. RS: The world of indie authors is the new slush pile. What are you going to say/do when a traditional New York publisher and/or agent contacts you and asks for a meeting?

LM: Well, I’m not quite an indie author, Ryan, I’ve been published by Bantam, Random House, Avon, William Morrow, Eos, Omni, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and more.

I actually presently have an email from yet another Big Deal New York Agent (I’ve hired and fired several over fifteen years). The printout has been sitting on my desk for two months. I haven’t responded to it yet.

I’ve got three blogs starting in February, 2013 on www.lisamasontheauthor.com titled “Crunching the Publishing Numbers,” which will provide you with a summary of the state of Big Publishing.

If you want a truly scathing insider’s view of just how bad New York Publishing is, check out www.kriswrites.com. My colleague Kristine Kathyrn Rusch, a respected, award-winning fantasy and science fiction author, sets out the numbers and realities in excruciating detail.

10. RS: Someone once said, and it may have been my dad, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Where do you want your writing career to be in five years’ time?

LM: The Abracadabra Series is a happening thing; I can definitely see two or three more books in the next five years, and more books in the years to come. My new Top Secret High Concept Science Fiction Series will definitely go on for at least five years. I have a dystopian fantasy concept on the drawing board. Plus short stories set in all those worlds.

I have two additional huge backlist books, my early Avon cyberpunks, The Quester Trilogy, and my later Bantam science fiction epic, Pangaea, both of which will take time to develop as ebooks.

Print books of all the Bast Books ebook titles are definitely in the works, but take time and a capital investment to do it right. I’m hoping that will happen within the next five years.

I may return to New York Big Publishing; I really don’t know. No one knows what Big Publishing will look like in five years. I’d sure like to see Tomorrow’s Child as a movie but, knowing Universal, their product will bear almost no resemblance to my very personal story and might make me look bad. So I don’t know if I want that as much as anyone might think.

Finally, I sincerely hope we do not find ourselves in World War Three in the next five years.

And there you have it, my friend, Ryan! Thank you for this follow-up interview!

Here’s the link to Ryan’s site: http://authorryanschneider.blogspot.com/2013/09/10-follow-up-questions-with-pkd-award.html

The Virtual Bookstore

Fantasy, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense, Literary, Screenplay

Lisa Mason is the author of nine novels, including Summer of Love (Bantam), a San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book and Philip K. Dick Award finalist, and The Golden Nineties (Bantam), a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book.

Mason published her first story, “Arachne,” in Omni and has since published short fiction in magazines and anthologies worldwide, including Omni, Full Spectrum, Universe, Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Unique, Transcendental Tales, Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Immortal Unicorn, Tales of the Impossible, Desire Burn, Fantastic Alice, The Shimmering Door, Hayakawa Science Fiction Magazine, Unter Die Haut, and others. Her stories have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.

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

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

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

New! As Mason mulled over her short fiction, she found seven wildly different stories with one thing in common–a heroine totally unlike her. She’s the girl next door. She have no idea where these Strange Ladies came from.

In The Oniomancer (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine), a Chinese-American punk bicycle messenger finds an artifact on the street. In Guardian (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine), an African-American gallerist resorts to voodoo to confront a criminal. In Felicitas (Desire Burn: Women Writing from the Dark Side of Passion [Carroll and Graf]), an illegal Mexican immigrant faces life as a cat shapeshifter. In Stripper (Unique Magazine), an exotic dancer battles the Mob. In Triad (Universe 2 [Bantam]), Dana Anad lives half the time as a woman, half as a man, and falls in love with a very strange lady. In Destination (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction), a driver takes three strangers from a ride board on a cross-country trip as the radio reports that a serial killer is on the loose. In Transformation and the Postmodern Identity Crisis (Fantastic Alice [Ace]), Alice considers life after Wonderland.

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

Five stars on Facebook and Amazon! “Great work, Lisa Mason!”

From Goodreads: “Hilarious, provocative, profound.”

Romantic Suspense.

Lily is not quite a typical woman in Toledo, Ohio, 1896. She may be repressed and dependent on her husband, but she supports the vote for women and has a mind of her own. When Johnny Pentland is found dead at a notorious brothel, Lily discovers her husband is not the man she thought he was.

Pursued by Pentland’s enemies, Lily embarks on a journey that will take her across the country to San Francisco and across the ocean to Imperial China as she unravels a web of murder and corruption reaching from the opium dens of Chinatown to the mansions of Nob Hill.

Her journey becomes one of the heart when she crosses paths with Jackson Tremaine, a debonair, worldly-wise physician. Lily and Jackson begin a conflicted, passionate relationship as they encounter the mysterious Celestial Girl and her dangerous entourage.

Read the whole miniseries at–

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.

Or try the miniseries in three installments–

Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Lily flees Toledo on the Overland train. She must share a seat with Jackson Tremaine and befriends the Celestial Girl, the daughter of a Chinese dignitary. But appearances are not what they seem.

Celestial Girl, Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Lily and Jackson arrive in San Francisco and discover the murder of an immigration official connected with the Celestial Girl. She and Jackson are compelled into a dangerous murder investigation. As they begin a passionate affair, a contract for murder is taken out on Lily’s life.

Celestial Girl, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom (A Lily Modjeska Mystery). Lily and Tremaine journey to Imperial China, confronting soldiers of the Boxer Revolution and brutal slavers. Lily discovers secrets vital to the identity of the Celestial Girl. In Celestial Girl, Book 4: Terminus (A Lily Modjeska Mystery). Lily and Jackson return to San Francisco and solve the tragic mystery of the Celestial Girl. Both books on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Urban fantasy.

At her mother’s urgent deathbed plea, Abby Teller enrolls at the Berkeley College of Magical Arts and Crafts to learn Real Magic. To support herself through school, she signs on as the superintendent of the Garden of Abracadabra, a mysterious, magical apartment building on campus. She discovers that her tenants are witches, shapeshifters, vampires, and wizards and each apartment is a fairyland or hell.

On her first day in Berkeley, she stumbles upon a supernatural multiple murder scene. One of the victims is a man she picked up hitchhiking the day before. Compelled into a dangerous murder investigation and torn between three men, Abby will discover the first secrets of an ancient and ongoing war between Humanity and the Demonic Realms, uncover mysteries of her own troubled past, and learn that the lessons of Real Magic may spell the difference between her own life or death.

“So refreshing. . . .This is Stephanie Plum in the world of Harry Potter.”

From Goodreads: “I loved the writing style and am hungry for more!”

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

Fun and Enjoyable Urban Fantasy January 12, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This is a very entertaining novel- sort of a down-to-earth Harry Potter with a modern adult woman in the lead. Even as Abby has to deal with mundane concerns like college and running the apartment complex she works at, she is surrounded by supernatural elements and mysteries that she is more than capable of taking on. Although this book is just the first in a series, it ties up the first “episode” while still leaving some story threads for upcoming books. I’m looking forward to finding out more.

Or try Volume 1 in three affordable installments:

In Book 1: Life’s Journey, Abby arrives in Berkeley, filled with hope and promise, hoping to land a new job and start magic college, when she stumbles upon a supernatural multiple murder scene. On BarnesandNoble, US
Kindle
, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony,
and Smashwords.

In Book 2: In Dark Woods, Abby is drawn into a dangerous murder investigation and torn between three men, Daniel Stern, her ex-fiance, Jack Kovac, an enigmatic FBI agent, and Prince Alastor, a potent supernatural man who lives in the penthouse and may be a suspect. On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.

In Book 3: The Right Road, Abby uncovers ancient supernatural secrets behind the murders and faces dangers and challenges ahead. On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.

Forthcoming! The Labyrinth of Illusions, Volume 2 of the Abracadabra Series.

Science fiction. The Bantam classic is back. A Philip K. Dick Award Finalist. A San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book.

The year is 1967 and something new is sweeping across America: good vibes, bad vibes, psychedelic music, psychedelic drugs, anti-war protests, racial tension, free love, bikers, dropouts, flower children. An age of innocence, a time of danger. The Summer of Love.

San Francisco is the Summer of Love, where runaway flower children flock to join the hip elite and squares cruise the streets to view the human zoo.

Lost in these strange and wondrous days, teenager Susan Bell, alias Starbright, has run away from the straight suburbs of Cleveland to find her troubled best friend. Her path will cross with Chiron Cat’s Eye in Draco, a strange and beautiful young man who has journeyed farther than she could ever imagine.

With the help of Ruby A. Maverick, a feisty half-black, half-white hip merchant, Susan and Chi discover a love that spans five centuries. But can they save the world from demons threatening to destroy all space and time?

Nineteen five-star Amazon reviews
“Summer of Love is an important American literary contribution.”
“This book was so true to life that I felt like I was there. I recommend it to anyone.”
“More than a great science-fiction, a great novel as well.”

A harrowing coming of age. A friendship ending in tragedy. A terrifying far future. A love spanning five centuries. And a gritty portrait of a unique time in American history.

“Captures the moment perfectly and offers a tantalizing glimpse of its wonderful and terrible consequences.” San Francisco Chronicle

Summer Of Love, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Science fiction and mainstream. A New York Times Notable Book. A New York Public Library Recommended Book.

The year is 1895 and immigrants the world over are flocking to California on the transcontinental railroad and on transoceanic steamships. The Zoetrope demonstrates the persistence of vision, patent medicines addict children to morphine, and women are rallying for the vote. In San Francisco, saloons are the booming business, followed by brothels, and the Barbary Coast is a dangerous sink of iniquity. Atop Telegraph Hill bloody jousting tournaments are held and in Chinatown the tongs deal in opium, murder-for-hire, and slave girls.

Zhu Wong, a prisoner in twenty-fifth century China, is given a choice–stand trial for murder or go on a risky time-travel project to the San Francisco of 1895 to rescue a slave girl and take her to safety. Charmed by the city’s opulent glamour, Zhu will discover the city’s darkest secrets. A fervent population control activist in a world of twelve billion people, she will become an indentured servant to the city’s most notorious madam. Fiercely disciplined, she will fall desperately in love with the troubled self-destructive heir to a fading fortune.

And when the careful plans of the Gilded Age Project start unraveling, Zhu will discover that her choices not only affect the future but mean the difference between her own life or death.

“A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

The New York Times Book Review

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

Science Fiction Thriller. The Net Meets Conspiracy Theory with Earthquakes.

Emma J for Joy Pearce is at her editorial offices on the twenty-second floor of Three Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco when the long-dreaded next Great Earthquake devastates the Bay area. Amid horrific destruction, she rescues a man trapped in the rubble. In the heat of survival, she swiftly bonds with him, causing her to question her possible marriage to her long-time boyfriend.

But Jason Gibb is not the charming photojournalist he pretends to be. As Emma discovers his true identity, his mission in the city, and the dark secrets behind the catastrophe, she finds the choices she makes may mean the difference between her own life or death.

A List of Sources follows this short novel.

This sexy thriller is an ebook adaptation of Deus Ex Machina published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Transcendental Tales (Donning Press), and translated and republished worldwide.

Shaken on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.

Science fiction. The Story That Sold To The Movies.

Jack Turner, a high-powered executive, is about to lose Angela, his estranged teenage daughter, to critical burn wounds and only desperate measures may save her life.

Tomorrow’s Child began as a medical documentary for the 3M Company, then got rewritten and published in Omni Magazine as a lead story, and finally sold outright to Universal Pictures, where the project is in development.

The ebook includes Mason’s 30-day blog, The Story Behind The Story That Sold To The Movies, describing the twists and turns from inspiration to movie deal.

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

Contemporary Fantasy.

Laurel, in the terminal stages of cancer, is obsessed with the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Jerry, her homecare nurse whose lover is dying of AIDS, gives her a surprising gift. A hummingbird feeder.

As Laurel comes to grips with her own death, she learns powerful and redeeming lessons about Egyptian Magic from the hummingbirds that visit her.

HUMMERS was published in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, chosen for Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 5th Annual Collection (St. Martin’s), and nominated for the Nebula Award.

Terri Windling received the World Fantasy Award for her contributions to the fantasy field and her editing of anthologies, including this one. Here’s her introduction to Hummers from Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 5th Annual Collection:

‘Ursula Le Guin has described fantasy as a different approach to reality, an alternate technique for apprehending and coping with existence.

Fantasy, like myth and legend, provides a means of storytelling that at its best goes beyond entertainment to travel the inner roads of the human soul. The following story does this beautifully, using the form of fantasy fiction and the symbols of Egyptian mythology to enter one of the most mysterious lands of all: the one that lies at the threshold of death. Readers who have experienced the loss of loved ones to cancer or AIDS will find this story cuts particularly close to the bone, but the fear of death is universal, and Mason’s exploration of this fear is both unsentimental and compassionate.’

Hummers on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.

Literary fantasy

The year is 1941, and Hitler’s armies have swept across Europe. Nora, a budding young Surrealist artist, has fled to Mexico with B.B., a much older and acclaimed Surrealist playwright down on his luck.

Hundreds of European artists and writers have formed a colony in Mexico City, and Nora befriends Valencia, a fellow Surrealist artist and refugee. Together the friends explore Jungian psychology and the power of symbols in their visionary Art.

But Nora is plagued by an abusive relationship with B.B. She embarks on a harrowing journey of the soul deep into her own troubled psyche.

The novelette was inspired by Mason’s favorite Surrealist artists, Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo. An Afterword summarizing the lives of Carrington and Varo and a List of Sources are included.

The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria was published in the acclaimed anthology, Full Spectrum 5 (Bantam), which included stories by Neal Stephenson, Karen Joy Fowler, and Jonathan Lethem.

The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.

Historical fantasy

The year is 1895, and Danny Flint is a young man living in the shadow of his controlling father, Professor Flint, a famous stage magician whose fortunes are fading. Uncle Brady, Professor Flint’s trusted assistant and business manager and Danny’s best friend, cannot stay in the same hotel as them—Uncle Brady is African-American.

Danny is grieving over his mother’s recent accidental death, for which he feels he is to blame.

When a mysterious beautiful lady asks them to contact her husband, Danny and his father confront the ethical dilemma between spiritualist séances and faked séances performed by stage magicians like them.

But things are not as they seem.

With the help of the mysterious beautiful lady, Danny learns to reconcile himself with his grief and guilt, learns the secret of Uncle Brady’s identity, and assumes his place at center stage as a talented magician in his own right.

Every Mystery Unexplained was published in David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible (HarperPrism), an anthology including stories by Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, and Raymond E. Feist.

Every Mystery Unexplained on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.

Historical Fantasy

Sing Lin is a mooie jai, a girl sold into slavery at the age of five to a wealthy merchant in Tangrenbu, the ghetto of her people in the new country across the sea. One lucky day, while she is out shopping by herself, she meets another mooie jai, Kwai Yin, a bossy, beautiful girl two years older. Kwai has a secret. Before she was sold into slavery, she had a Teacher who taught her about Tao Magic.

But Sing watches Kwai succumb to the terrifying fate of all slave girls in Tangrenbu.

Soon Sing is destined to go to the same fate. But will her invocation of Tao Magic save her?

Daughter of the Tao was published in Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn (HarperPrism), an anthology including stories by Charles de Lint, Karen Joy Fowler, and Robert Sheckley.

5 out of 5 stars
a beautiful novella! April 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
The characters in this little book jumped off the page and you really cared what happened to them. It is a rare talent that can do that so well! This was a compelling tale of a girl sold into slavery as her culture allowed. I found myself hooked from the very first page as I followed her through the twists and turns of her life. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a character-based story with a touch of magic and fantasy to it!

Daughter of the Tao on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.

Humor. Knocked Up meets E.T.

Nikki and Josh really want a child but have infertility issues. Gretchen and Mike have the same problem. When Nikki meets Gretchen at the Happy Daze Family Clinic in Pasadena, they discover that they share a love of music and have asked for a donor with musical talent. Nine months later, they each give birth to very unusual babies and, seeking an answer to why the kids are so special, they meet again at a pediatrician’s office. And the search is on: who—and what—is Donor Number 333?

Five-star Amazon review:

A very clever humorous novella! July 26, 2013

Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase

I had never read any work by this author, but I met Lisa on Facebook and twitter and she seemed a very nice person. For that reason, I thought I would try one of her books, but I really had no expectations; being a nice person is no proof that she will be able to write. As it turns out, she also was an excellent author!
By about the time I was halfway through the book, I found myself very involved with the characters and wholeheartedly cheering them on! I took a chance on someone I never read before and was rewarded by finding another favorite author. It wasn’t until I had finished the book and read the end material that I learned that she had many other works published and some with pending movie contracts.
I would highly recommend this 82 page funny novella to anyone who enjoys a well written book with excellent character development in unusually subtle ways. Read this little book and I’m sure you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was. I am looking forward to reading more of her works as I’m sure you will be, too!

Mason adapted U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy as a novella from her screenplay for a producer looking for the next Galaxy Quest or Men In Black.

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

Genius. Visionary. Madman.

Nikola Tesla (1856–1943) was the pioneering genius who invented the AC electrical system that powers our world to this day, as well as radio, remote control, the automobile speedometer, X-ray photography, the AND logic gate that drives all our computer systems, and countless other devices and precursors to devices such as cell phones, television, and the Internet that we so effortlessly use today.

Strikingly handsome and charismatic, fluent in half a dozen languages, mathematics savant and master machinist, a reed-thin perfectionist who quoted poetry like a Victorian rapper, Tesla became one of the most famous men of his day. Friend of tycoons like John Jacob Astor and Stanford White and celebrities like Mark Twain and Sarah Bernhardt.

Yet Tesla was an intensely driven and lonely man, beset by inner demons, and cursed with a protean inventive imagination a century ahead of his time. He died in obscurity and poverty and, to this day, his name is not widely known. How did that happen?

Blending historical fact with speculative imagination, Mason explores the secrets of the Inventor’s inner life and his obsession with Goethe’s Faust set against the backdrop of sweeping technological changes at the turn of the twentieth century that have forever changed the world.

Tesla, A Worthy of His Time, A Screenplay was read by the producer of Aliens, The Abyss, and The Hulk. A List of Sources follows the Screenplay.

Tesla, A Worthy of His Time, A Screenplay on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.

Coming soon! A brand-new high-concept science fiction series (Secret Title), The Labyrinth of Illusions, Volume 2 of the Abracadabra Series, and The Quester Trilogy, an ebook adaptation and update of Lisa Mason’s early cyberpunks, Arachne and Cyberweb.

I’ve told you a pundit once said, “Every book has a beginning, an ending, and a muddle.”

Not so funny, really. Especially if you’re reading a published book, and you want a good experience from start to finish. Especially not so funny when you’re working on your own book and slogging through that problematic middle.

I’ve just discovered a more positive way to view middles, one that should inspire you and me to devote our utmost attention to the middles of our books.

The lead article in the July/August 2013 issue of The Atlantic is “The Cure for Obesity, How Science is Engineering Healthy Junk Food.” It’s an excellent, insightful, well-researched article, the gist of which is how Big Food, like the McDonald’s fast-food chain, are making great strides in improving the quality of their low-cost fare and how “whole foods” activists like Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman are wrongfully denigrating such efforts while, at the same time, pushing “healthy foods” that are often more fattening and filled with problem carbs than an Egg McMuffin.

The efforts of McDonald’s and other fast-food chains will especially redound to the benefit of the lower-income people who patronize them, a demographic that has significantly more obesity than other segments of the American population.

This is a good thing. Something to applaud.

In the middle of this very long and fascinating article, author David H. Freedman notes, “. . .companies are investigating ways to exploit a stream of insights that have been coming out of scholarly research about the neuroscience of eating.”

Candy companies, for example, are improving the nutrition of their candy bars by slipping healthier ingredients—lower fat, higher fiber stuff—in the middle.

Why does that work? The Oxford professor, Charles Spence, who studies such things notes that, “We tend to make up our minds about how something tastes from the first and last bites and don’t care as much what happens in between.”

Eureka!

If a book is a candy bar, does this observation let us writers off the hook when it comes to the integrity of book middles? That it’s okay to digress, wander off on too many subplots, or pontificate?

I suppose you could say so, if you think the reader won’t notice, but I want to cut it just the other way. Remember that candy companies are using the opportunity presented by the neuroscience of eating to make the middles (and therefore the whole candy bar) healthier.

If your beginning and ending are the buttery, exciting parts of the book, your book’s middle is your golden opportunity to make the case for your story. You want to make as strong a case as possible. So when the reader is ready to gobble down your denouement, he/she will not be disappointed. The ending, which hopefully is not too predictable, will seem inevitable.

Even a literary novel, with time inversions and subplots, differing POVs and flights of lovely prose, needs that sense of inevitability to succeed.

So there you have it, my friends. If a book is a candy bar, you as a writer want a beginning and ending that taste great. But you also need nourishing middle.

New! Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, and Smashwords (all other readers including Kobo, Sony, and Apple). Short fantasy and science fiction by Lisa Mason published in magazines and anthologies worldwide.

From the author of Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, UK Kindle, and Smashwords, The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle.

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

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add a bunch of stars, write a review on the site where you acquired it, blog it, Tweet it, post it, and share the word with your friends.

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Back in the days when people wrote on typewriters, the adage went, “Writing is easy. You stare at a blank sheet of paper till blood pops out of your forehead.”

Now it isn’t a blank sheet of paper, it’s a shining screen, photons of white light beaming your brain.

The fluidity and immediacy of the shining screen seem to demand that perfection appear—right now. There’s nothing like expecting perfection to stop you in your tracks.

I’m a huge fan of scribbling. The award-winning, bestselling author Jennifer Egan has said she writes entire books by hand before she turns on the computer. I don’t necessarily advocate that, but sketching out your scene/outline/story, allowing your thoughts to flow freely without the pressure of perfection, goes a long way toward helping you make words appear on the shining screen.

I’m a huge fan of Blackfeet Indian pencils and Moleskines. Henri Matisse and Ernest Hemingway wrote they never went anywhere without a Moleskine. A Moleskin is a five-and-a-half inch by three-and-a-half inch slim notebook of unlined paper. The cover is so thin and flexible, you can open it flat and not worry about ring binders (always a problem for left-handers like me).

With a Blackfeet pencil and a Moleskine, you don’t need batteries, electrical outlets, or a carrying case. No one will knock you down and seize your Moleskin the way they may if you’re lugging a two-thousand-dollar laptop. You can scribble in your Moleskine in a bright café, a sunlit meadow, or a dark bar. And if someone—friend or stranger—wants to know what you’re working on, you simply close the Moleskine, slip it in your jacket pocket, smile enigmatically, and say, “None of your damn business.”

Writing is a process though often it doesn’t feel that way when you’re struck with an inspiration, with a holistic vision of your book, and you’re aching to see it done—right now. I’ve said writing is a road trip, a mountain climb. Dare I also say writing is like birthing a baby? No person on the planet goes from conception to full-blown adult instantly. Many people haven’t achieved full adulthood after thirty years. (Joking.) Like life, a story, let alone a book, takes time and commitment.

So there you have it, my friends. If you can bang out a first draft on a computer from scratch, more power to you. By all means, go for it. All this technology is incredible for inputting, revising, editing, and polishing. I don’t know how people ever wrote and published entire books before computers, but obviously they did, sometimes writing masterpieces. But if you’re stuck on the shining screen, turn off the computer and reach for a pencil and paper.

New! Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, and Smashwords (all other readers). Short fantasy and science fiction by Lisa Mason published in magazines and anthologies worldwide.

From the author of Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, , US Kindle, UK Kindle, and Smashwords, The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle.

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

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add a bunch of stars, write a review on the site where you acquired it, blog it, Tweet it, post it, and spread the word to your friends.

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

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