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Dragon's Tongue, Book 1 of The Demon-Bound Duology is about to go on special.  On September 11th, you will be able to pick up a copy of the Kindle Edition for only .99 cents.

On September 12th, the e-book will retail at $1.99.  After that, it returns to its regular price of $2.99.

So if you have not read Dragon's Tongue, here is the perfect opportunity to get a copy at a bargain.

If you have read it, tell your friends.  Share this info.


http://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Tongue-Demon-Bound-Book-ebook/dp/B00658MMVG/ref=sr_1_8?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1410203993&sr=1-8&keywords=Laura+J.+Underwood

Remember, this is a two day deal.

And if you like Dragon's Tongue, you might want to hop over to www.yarddogpress.com and pick up a copy of the sequel Wandering Lark.

Enjoy

The Writer Writes...Time is Passing


And it seems like this year just started a month or so back. ;-)

I am preparing for a big journey south in a few weeks.  My mother and I and my youngest sister are going to Disney.  It is going to be different because Mom and I have our way of doing stuff, and the sister is going to have to learn to play along.

My ResinSoul Yu that was stolen off the porch has never shown up.  Sad that someone is so desperate for drugs, they would steal a doll.  Sad that they would steal a package without at least looking to see where it came from.  Of course, the doll was not your ordinary sort, and I am tempted to visit local pawn shops.

So I have been consoling myself by messing around with Monster High dolls I had plans to mod and repaint.  So far, I have done well.

First off, there was a much damaged Spectra Vondegeist that I got off ebay.  Poor dear was missing some parts (easily found), but she has also been "made up" with Sharpie's (tm), and no matter what you do, they do not come off vinyl easily.

So I just painted her over...  Gave her a face that covered the garish pink and blue.  Worked out better than I hoped.


MH2

Am still working on her costume.

The other doll was cobbled from bits.  She was a MH Create A Monster design kit head attached to a Draculara body.  These dolls don't have mouths and you usually put decals on their faces to make faces.  I chose to go one step more.  I decided to give her acrylic eyes by cutting holes in her head and painting on the rest of the face.  Even made the wig she is wearing from scrap yarn...


MH1

Not a bad look for her.

So yes, I am still playing with dolls.  I am writing too, working on stories that have been languishing incomplete on my computer.

But now and again, I must play.

It is what I do best.

The Writer Writes...Is It Worth It???


In this day and age when everyone and his brother can be a "writer" thanks to innovations in self publishing from companies like Amazon, one wonders why in the heck the more traditional writers like myself even bother to keep writing at all.

I started writing a long time ago.  I was just a child when I decided I enjoyed putting words on paper so I could relive my own imaginings.  I was a teenager when I discovered there were people out there who would give me money to write.

Seriously.  I was born in that era of typewritten script, where a writer sent queries for nonfiction and typed up manuscripts for fiction and mailed them to editors who would look at them, and either send them back and encourage me to keep trying, or send me a note saying they liked it enough to want to buy it.  Computers, in those days, were monster machines that filled warehouses and took ages to figure things out for people.

In my day, a writer worked at their craft.  They practiced writing daily.  They wrote and rewrote and got criticism from their peers.  They sent their stuff to editors with fingers crossed, and when they did manage to sell their work, they knew that was only a part of what needed to be done.  There was a copy edit to go through (in those days, publishers of magazines and books had copy editors whose job was to check grammar and continuity).  You saw galleys and proofs, and you had a time frame to work on each one.

And then you waited for your book to see print (or your article, short story, poem).

Yes, it taught you a lot about patience.

In this day and age, there is no patience.  There are writers who growl because, to quote a movie, "Instant gratification isn't fast enough."  Writers who fight for the position of top dog because the industry has suddenly become a place where numbers (yes, remember editors--they do not make decisions any more--bean counters decide what makes or breaks a book) are all that matter, so the impatient ones go and publish their own work, talking about how much control they have, never stopping and thinking that they might have control, but do they really have a decent product?

In my other profession (librarian) I look at product.  What I see is a lot of crap.  Now and again, there are gems among the self published.  I know several of them and they have taken the time to hire editors and proper cover artists and make sure their books sparkle.

But alas, the gems disappear among the sea of sludge.  And those who read the sludge and think it is magnificent, I am finding don't really have a clue.  Most of them have not lived long enough to have a clue.

Very annoying and very discouraging to a writer like myself.

Now I may not be the greatest.  There are writers who write circles around me.  But there are writers who cannot hold a candle to my work too.  And when I see those writers getting pats and lauds for doing nothing worthy of being called "craft" I catch myself wondering if I should just stop writing and let my career fall into the ditch.

A hard decision to make.

Though I doubt I will actually stop writing.  It is ingrained in me.  It is in my blood.

And I still have that "Never give up, never surrender" attitude.

There are just times like this that I wonder why I keep doing what I do.  And then one person writes me a small note, telling me how much they loved a story of mine, and I know that I cannot stop.

The Writer Writes...Bats and Boxes...


Well, it turns out the box was indeed stolen from my porch.  I was able to talk to the postal courier, and he is NOT the one I thought he was.  He is a nice man, and he assures me he put the box on my porch.

Suffice to say, I am now the loser of $100 worth of merchandise and postage.  I am chalking it up as an expensive lesson, and in the future will ask for signature on all things I buy that are doll related.

But I am so disappointed that someone was evil enough to steal my doll.  She was a ResinSoul Yu, a tiny thin little girl with elf ears.  No more than 16 cm in height, and I am going to miss her even though I never saw her in person.  ;-)

As for other things, my family issues are dwindling.  Things are getting back on an even keel, so to speak.

And then there are bats.  Yes, just last week, I had to play Bat Catcher once more, as one managed to find its way in, terrifying my mother.  I called animal control once I had it cornered in a room, and their dispatcher insisted I had to call pest control, until I pointed out that they had come to collect the last bat that got loose in our house.  The dispatcher didn't sound pleased, but an officer did arrive.

Of course, I did all the work, because the bat was too small for his cage and escaped under the bed, and I had to crawl under and capture it.  In the end, we put it in a bag before putting it in a cage, and it went off to be tested for rabies and white nose syndrome.

The funniest part was when I was trying to capture it under the bed (the officer was too tall and large to get under there) it started hissing and snarling at me in a high-pitched way, and I SO wished I had a camera so I could snap a shot or two and a video because the noises were So Cute...

Yeah, I know, it is a bat.

There was also one thought that struck me after the officer left.  I wondered if he noticed the basket hanging in the hall corner full of stuffed bats...

Yeah, we like bats.  Just not in the house.

The Writer Writes...This and That


Seems like about the time I start thinking life is getting simple again, fate laughs and pulls a "let's see what THIS button does..."

Suffice to say, I have spent the last month after going to SoonerCon dealing with Many Family Issues, and am just now starting to see the light again.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that all the Mercury Retrograde is finally calming down and I can breathe again.

We shall see.

But there are still issues to deal with.  The post office has apparently "misplaced" an order of mine.  They "claim" to have delivered the package to my doorstep on the 1st of August.  No, they did not.  I was home.  I was there with the door open.  No postal person showed up at my door at the time listed on the web.  In fact, I went shopping with my mother, and getting her out of the house is always a slow process because she finds reasons to fiddle-fart as we say, and a simple walk out and get in the car turns into an exploration of the garden, a pulling of weeds, I noticing of things that are not where they should be...

Not that I mind.  My mother has a mind of her own, and will do what she wants, and I am just the driver on these occasions.

But at any rate, we both agreed that we were home and the postal service is mistaken about the delivery time.  Leading me to believe that the new postal worker was not paying attention when he dropped off my package.

That does annoy me on some levels.  The last delivery person was efficient.  She checked on deliveries of special things, made sure meds we get for my stepfather were in out hands, returned on occasion to make sure packages got found...

The new guy works two routes and spends more time on his cell phone than looking at where he is going.

But I digress...

It it frustrating when you are expecting a package and a postal worker is not on the ball.

At any rate, it has caused me to sink back into sullen despair as to what has happened to my new doll.

Like I need another one, you say.

I do.

The Writer Writes...Meeting Other Writers


When you write, naturally, you seek to sell (unless you are a hobby writer, and I do know a few of those, but that is another blog).  When you sell to a professional publication, anthology or publisher, you then find yourself being invited to conventions and other events.  And of course, you meet other writers.

This is part of the process, and yes, there are times it is like dogs sniffing each other's rear ends to determine who is gonna be the top dog.  Writers are social animals by nature, who congregate to reassure themselves that they are not the only people crazy enough to spend their solitary hours creating believable characters and worlds.

Other times, it is a wonderful chance to see people you have only read the books of and admired and considered your inspiration.

Now as a rule, I am a quiet, reserved person (shut up, Selina  ;-)  ) who mostly sits back and listens to others.  Some times it takes me a few meetings to warm up enough to talk to another person whom I have admired for years.  Other times, there is a spark that assures me I have met a fellow goofball and am going to have a good time.  (Yeah, I am talking about you, Selina Rosen...)

Up until I became famous myself (well, in as much as I am known to a few fans and fellow writers), I was very reserved around big name writers.  In a group, I could stand quietly and listen to the conversation.  One on one...whee doggies, I turned into the trembling chihuahua that ducks under the table and whimpers, tail tucked.

I remember meeting Lawrence Block for instance.  He was teaching at the Craigsville Writing Center, and I has signed up for a one on one critique of one of my mystery novels.  When I sat down with him, I started biting my tongue because I was scared.  He was reassuring when he told me there was a talent visible in my work, and I just needed to work at it more, and I remember walking away thinking I was going to faint and puke at the same time.  I was in my early 20s at the time, and I still remember there were tears trying to track down my cheeks, not because of what he said about my work, but because I was so terrified at actually being in the presence of a man whose writing I had read and admired for years.

I got better, of course.  I think when you actually start selling what you write to professional publications, there is a change in your ego level.  Hey, I was published now.  I was an equal.

Still...

I sold my first short story in 1987 to Marion Zimmer Bradley.  She continued to buy my work until her death.  But in the mean time, I felt a little bolder when I met people in person.

Still...

The year was 1999, and I was a sort of "other guest" at ConCat 11.  The GoH was none other than Neil Gaiman.

I was a little surprised when I was asked by the ConCom to join their GoHs at dinner.  And suddenly I found myself sitting right across from Neil Gaiman.  I felt a little shy, and even a little guilty because nine years before when Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman was released, and I reviewed it for my local papers, I said that the novel was a collaboration between Terry Pratchett, the author of the Disc World novels (which I happened to have been reading at that time) and a comic writer named Neil Gaiman.

If Mr. Gaiman knew I was that person, he never let on.  Probably never even read the review.  He was polite and I loved the sound of his voice (okay, he's a Brit and I always love the sound of a British accent), but I think I spent most of the meal praying, Please don't let me spill food on myself or flip something across the table on Neil Gaiman because I would die right here!!!

Yeah, I was that scared.  I was never a neat eater, even though I tried to be.  But if one tries too hard to be proper and doesn't just relax and eat, one is more likely to have a food accident.  As I recall, I dropped my knife on the table and got a little food in my lap (on the napkin, fortunately).  Otherwise, I lived to tell the tale.

As time progressed, and so did my career, I learned to relax.  I still listen more than I talk (that is just my way), unless you get me started on something I actually feel comfortable expounding on, but for the most part, I tend to ascribe to the philosophy of Better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Over time, I have met a number of big names.  A few of them, I noticed were shy around me, not so much because I was famous but because they were just the sort of people who were introverts.  Others greet me like an old friend when they see me.  Some look at me like they might remember my name, or my face.

And some still make me want to squeal with fannish delight.

But in the end, to paraphrase my friend Selina Rosen, who says it best, everyone has farted and pooped in their pants at least once in their life.

Because we are all human beings.

The Writer Writes...Still Among the Living


I have been trying to post here once a month, but lately, I have been kinda busy.  Apologies.

Mom and I recently went down to Louisiana to visit my sister.  Her youngest turned 3, and Mom loves going to see the girls, and I love getting out of town now and again.  Win-Win.

Now I am prepping for SoonerCon.

I have a busy schedule:

Friday:

2:00 pm: Ethics in Art
3:00 pm: The Seven Deadly Sins and Writing
5:00 pm: AG (aka autographing session)

Saturday:

9:00 am: KaffeKlatche
11:30 am: READING
12:00 pm: The Philosophy of Fantasy
3:00 pm: Fantasies Dark and Light: What's the difference.
4:00 pm: Yard Dog Press Traveling Road Show (a great venue)

Sunday:

11:00 am: Ball Jointed Doll Meet-up
1:00 pm: The Hobbit On-Screen: Enjoyable Films or Insulting LOTR fans
3:00 pm: Where Wolf: a Case for Urban Fantasy

As you can see, they are making me earn my keep (which I do not object to if it helps my publisher sell books).

So if you are going to be there, PLEASE come by and say hi.  PLEASE buy my books from Yard Dog Press and other sellers of my stuff.

Make it worth my time.

And Thank You...

https://www.facebook.com/events/1602260276665936/

I will be doing a book signing on Tuesday, May 13th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Gallery Nuance in downtown Knoxville.  The above link is to the Facebook invitation.

http://gallerynuance.com/news-and-events/

And this one is the calendar for the gallery, including their information.

If you are in the area, please come.  There will be free refreshments and a cash wine bar.

And you don't even have to buy books.  Though I will have plenty for sale.

No, I am not depressed about my lack of fame and fortune.  It was just the first phrase to pop into my head.

As usual, I am just trying to keep this journal alive.

On the discussion front, I was talking about naming dolls, and it occurred to me that I have a lot of dolls, and so far, I have managed to name them all.  For those who worry that the dolls have taken over my life, they have not.  They are a joy and a pleasure, and they give me something to focus on while I am thinking things through.

Never let it be said that writers just write.  We think a lot too, mostly about writing.  But I am the kind of person who needs to be doing something even when I am thinking, and the dolls have provided me with the right amount of mindless distraction so my brain can work on the things it needs to work on.

But back to names.  As a writer, I name characters.  I keep lists of names, and I check them off when I use them (generally giving myself a notation so I know which story I used them in, and why they cannot be reused in a particular world).

Common names--yeah, they can be used more than once, though one has to be careful that one does not use them in the same tale.

It is the same thing with the dolls.  The ones I purchased to become characters from my stories are easiest to name, of course.  Conor, Eithne, Rhoyd, Anwyn, Alaric, Fenelon and many others are characters I have put into stories and novels, and they just amuse me.

Other dolls--I call them want dolls.  I wanted them.  Didn't need them.  Just found the sculpt attractive enough to intrigue me as to what I could do to them.

I recently added three want dolls to my collection.  All of them are Doll Leaves sculpts.  The Wish sculpt is a 42cm elf.  I fell in love with him the first time I looked at Doll Leaves, but I held off because I didn't "need" him for a character.  Recently, however, Doll Leaves lured me to get him and a little girl sculpt called Fay and because of those two, I earned a tiny doll sculpt called Ovid.

I did not have names for them when they arrived.  I sometimes don't have names until I actually do faceups or costumes.

But these dolls earned names rather quickly.  As a rule, I don't use a sculpt name as the actual name, but Fay is a cute name, the doll is cute, so Fay it is.

The Wish--his name came the moment I settled on what wig to use, and he became Finn.

The Ovid took a little longer, but she is now Olivia.

Meanwhile, a ResinSoul Lan I had gotten a while back had not inspired me to call her anything but Mi'Lady.  It might have been because until I sueded her (that is added hot glue to her joints to keep her from slipping and sliding around), she had kept kicking me, and being resistant to getting clothed.

Once I gave her a face and sueded her, she settled down, but there was still no name.

Then just when I was thinking she would always be Mi'Lady, I looked at her expression and said, "Elizabeth."  So Mi'Lady is now Elizabeth, and has more personality as a result.

Now before you start thinking I have gone around the bend and need therapy, there is a point to all this.  There are times when I start a story, and I have no idea what to call a character, so I randomly grab a name from my list.  Sometimes, the name will determine the character's behaviors and the story might launch in a different direction from what I planned.  Sometimes, the name becomes a place-holder and half way through the tale, it occurs to me that "Charlotte" is actually a "Serena" or an "Anne" and the personality that was trying to shine through bursts forth.

And yes, I know, many of my characters have celtic and nordic names.

The process is still the same.  A name can make a character more realistic.

And that is what it is all about when you write.  Making a character live and breathe so that your fans want to be that character and enjoy seeing the world through the eyes of that character.

Makes the world a little more realistic.

The Writer Writes...Wrong Way Harping


I am not that much of a stickler for details as a rule.  I watch movies based on books and know that the film and the book are two separate mediums.

But it never fails to yank my chain when I see someone playing a harp the Wrong Way.

And I am not talking about improper fingering or missing notes.  Stuff happens.

What I am talking about is artist AND doll photographers who draw or portray someone at the wrong end of the harp.

While cruising the web looking at harp art, I notice there are still people who think it is okay to portray a harp with the pillar against the shoulder of the player.  I have seen dolls posed this way a lot.

Well, it is WRONG on so many levels.  The soundbox is the part of the harp that should be leaning against the harper.  And I cannot understand why doll photographers and artist insist on drawing it the wrong way.  It's not like you cannot go to the website of someone who is an actual harpist and see photos of them playing harp.  It is not like you cannot go out on YouTube and see videos of harpist in action.

So why do these people insist on doing it wrong?  Granted, one can play a harp that way, if one knows how to reverse the fingering.  I have been known to stand near my harp Glynnanis while he is in his stand and pluck the strings from the wrong side and the wrong direction because I am trying to get a song in my head.

Would I play that way in public?  No.  Would I draw anyone playing harp that way?  No.

So get it right, artist and photographers.  The soundbox goes against the chest.  The pillar is away from the harper.

At least, if you cannot remember this, go out and look at the parts of the harp on the Lyon and Healy website, or any of the professional harp builder sites.

Otherwise, I am going to have to keep complaining.




FYI, THIS IS HOW YOU HOLD A HARP

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