cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
For "Circus of Brass and Bone," I'm planning on putting it up online and doing a podcast. At good intervals, I might pull together what's written so far and format it as an ebook. At the end, if certain factors align (money, interest, etc.), I hope to print it as a book (and people who donated a certain amount will automatically get a copy--but this may not happen if not enough donations are made).

So--I need information/recommendations on distribution hubs for/producers of:
* Podcasts
* Ebooks
* Self-publishing/Small presses that might be willing to take something like this on


If you listen to podcasts, where do you go to find them?
If you read ebooks, where do you go to download them?

Buehler?
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
ETA: It's back up now, after popping the CD Drive out, it booted up again (?). Who knows if this will last.

But. It booted. Then it crashed. Blue screen saying something about "If this is the first time you've seen this" and something about the drive. (Sorry, I panicked and restarted and may not have paid as close of attention as I ought.) Then it couldn't boot. It would go through the booting up screen and then go to just a blinking cursor on a black screen and eventually give notice that no bootable drive was found. When going under settings, it did not see the internal hard drive. Multiple attempts to restart failed.

So, O My Fabulous Smart Computer People:
1. Any idea what's going on?
2. Will this happen again?
3. Anything I can do to prevent it happening, or is my laptop now toast as well?
4. Was I abducted by aliens? Why is all technology I touch dying?
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (crazy)
So, the short story that I'm about to start...assembling...is told in spam headlines. Like you would see in a Gmail spam folder. The sender, subject line, and the first few words of the email.
So...I need your spam headlines. The stereotypical ones, as well as the ones that just made you grin because they were weird or funny.

Don't tell me I'm the only one who reads her spam folder!

(And yeah, I'm a little worried that this will get my story submission bounced into *actual* spam folders when I try to submit it. We'll see!)
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
It's been brought to my attention that my 1st draft query has, er, a first paragraph sucks* problem.

[Poll #1579710]

Original:
Valinda only remembers life as a vicesteed, living in a theme park of depravity where her experiences are broadcast to a discerning audience. One of her scripted experiences goes wrong, leaving the other vicesteed severely injured. During the routine clinic visit afterwards, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augments she's been given to survive being a vicesteed, she breaks out and flees. She finds herself in an unfamiliar Victorian world where she must fight to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and what she really did in her role as a vicesteed.

Revision:
Valinda's only memories are of life as a vicesteed, living in a theme park that recreates the vices of decadent, evil Old Earth while her experiences are broadcast to an audience unknown to her. One of her scripted experiences goes wrong, leaving the other vicesteed dying at her feet. During the clinic visit afterwards, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augmented strength and speed she's been given, she breaks out and flees. She plunges forward into an unfamiliar Victorian world where she'll kick as much ass as necessary to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and what she really did in her role as a vicesteed.

Variant:
Valinda's only memories are of life as a vicesteed, a person who enacts dangerous or taboo scenarios and has their sensations transmitted to an unknown audience. She lives inside a theme park that recreates evil Old Earth in the 21st century, but she believes that this is how the world really is. At least, she does until one of her scripted experiences goes wrong, leaving the other vicesteed dying at her feet. [Then the same as the rewrite version.]



* Phil used other terminology. If you know Phil, you can probably guess what. He was not the only one commenting, he just said it most bluntly.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
So, this is the rough draft for my query letter. Suggestions are absolutely 100% welcome! No previous knowledge of Vicesteed required.

Dear [Agent]:

Valinda only remembers life as a vicesteed, living in a theme park of depravity where her experiences are broadcast to a discerning audience. One of her scripted experiences goes wrong, leaving the other vicesteed severely injured. During the routine clinic visit afterwards, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augments she's been given to survive being a vicesteed, she breaks out and flees. She finds herself in an unfamiliar Victorian world where she must fight to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and what she really did in her role as a vicesteed.

Rosemary is a gently bred young lady with an unfeminine inclination to build clockwork automata and dangerous ties to an anti-homechulus rebel underground. Troubled by what she experienced during sensorium treatments for her unfeminine inclinations, she seems to be easy prey for a charismatic rebel leader who plans an explosion to weaken the monarchy.

Quincy is hired to investigate the sudden, mysterious illness and eventual death of the Prince Consort. The answer lies with these two very different women. To find it, he'll have to rise to investigate a conspiracy at the highest levels, and he'll have to sink deep into a dark underbelly where the poor are put in workhouses to fuel homechuli, the artificial intelligences that the society depends upon.

Vicesteed is a steampunk, locked-room murder mystery.

I have had short stories accepted at publications including Jim Baen's Universe, Art Times, Allegory, and Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine. I also maintain Aswiebe's Market List, a resource for science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Abra Staffin-Wiebe
[contact info]
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
May is the only human female on Neuva Nova station who rents out her reproductive system to aliens, so when Dives-from-Above Red2 needs a surrogate for his pouchling after his mate is killed, he hires her. What May learns too late is that the people who killed Red2's mate will now be after her.

That's the basic premise of "Alien/Whore/Mother," the science fiction story I've been writing on lately. It's almost done. And then [livejournal.com profile] mmerriam went and mentioned that Lightspeed is closing to subs on the 15th. And they have a really fast turnaround time. So I'm hoping to get this finished, typed up, critiqued, edited, and submitted by then--basically, try it at a pro-level pub before I submit it to the anthology I had in mind when I wrote it.

So I need critiquers and first-readers who could read and respond in a day, maybe two depending on how long it takes me to finish. Any volunteers?
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Let Me Tell You a Story)
Ugh. HELP! I'm working on writing up synopses for Vicesteed, and elevator pitches, and all kinds of things. Anybody who's read any of Vicesteed and/or heard me blather about it probably has some kind of idea what it's about. I need to distill it down to a nutshell--like the cover copy you read on the back of books. Advice, suggestions, and what you think this book is about (even with extremely limited exposure) are all welcome.

This is what I've got for the 1-paragraph summary:

Vicesteed is a steampunk locked-room murder mystery that follows the struggles of three people bound up in the mystery of the Prince Consort's death: VALINDA, an ass-kicking 21st-century woman in an 19th-century world, in search of her own identity and on the run from those who want to wipe clean her memory; ROSEMARY, a young lady whose unfeminine desire to be an inventor has led her into bad company even as she tries to find her place in society; and QUINCY, a detective who's seen hard times but hasn't let hope for a better future die.

And that's leaving out a lot. Is it leaving out anything crucial or especially gripping? I mean, there's romance and explosions and androids and forbidden technology and--damn it. I'm so bad at this.

I still need to distill it down further into an elevator pitch, but I have no idea how to do that. Specificity is important. Avoiding cliches is important. Getting in the reasons why it would appeal to readers is important.

Mrglflop.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Dear MN friends,

Do you have the equipment to do a good quality audio recording? I'd like to turn one of my short stories into an e-audiobook, and I'm really hoping one of my friends will have the right set-up.

Pretty please?

Love,

Me

ETA: Set-up tentatively acquired.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Let Me Tell You a Story)
If any Critters are looking for something this week, my fantasy short story (the one with gender identity issues and God in), "Ekaterina and the Firebird" is up!

Excerpt:

Ekaterina's seventeenth birthday ball would be completely overshadowed
by the adventures that followed: seeing the Firebird and chasing it
into Chyorniy Forest, being treed by wolves, nearly splitting open
Nikolai Semyonevich Egorov's skull with a tree branch, discovering that
everything she believed herself to be was a lie, and being told the
truth about the family curse.


There will be massive editing before I submit it for publication, but I think I'll keep that first sentence!

Edited to add: Unless a substantial portion of critters take objection to it. Sigh....
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
x-post fb/lj--

My current, consistent (okay, consistent-ish--most of the time, but not always) schedule has me at the day job afternoons until 6 PM. This means two major things (in addition to a host of minor things like, "Oh lord, I hope the roomba didn't hurl itself off the stairs while I was gone," and, "I'm so pleased City Center lets people waiting for the bus hover inside by the door and doesn't kick us out into the cold," and, "I have to figure out my optimum schedule again?"):

1. Cooking is a problem. I'm the main cook, I don't get home until 7, which means food wouldn't be ready until 7:30-8:00, and I have a husband who practically self-destructs if he isn't fed immediately upon arriving home. Sometimes he has been cooking, but he's got a really limited repertoire, about where I was at 6 years ago. Sometimes he eats before I even get home, which is great for marital bonding. Sometimes I have been using the slow cooker. But here's the thing. Most of the slow-cooker recipes I have kinda suck. They're from a midwestern cookbook that's all about mixing together stuff in cans, especially canned cream-of-stuff, and the results are not great. So I ask you--what are your favorite slow cooker recipes and/or cookbooks? Bonus points if it's not soup.

2. Mornings are for working on writingy things. Right now, that means lots of editing. I can edit in company just fine. So if anybody'd like to socialize by co-existing in a coffee shop and working on projects, let me know. I'd love to hang out in a coffee shop with friends some morning.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • "Yer not at work right now." A low chuckle answered that and made Carl stop eavesdropping. He'd found what he was listening for. #nwm
  • Critters--I have the last chapters of Vicesteed up for critique if you have the time!
.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Is anybody in Minneapolis going to Tonya's baby shower that I could get a ride with?


Also of interest is that this is on the same day as the proposed sumo party. Sigh. But earlier--so it probably wouldn't be much of a conflict.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
What is a serial killer without victims? Rick wakes up the day after New Years Eve to find a dead woman in his bed. He expected that--what he wasn't prepared for was a world where everyone else died mysteriously in the night.
Excerpt )

I wrote this to submit to the Dead Bells Anthology. Technically, I suppose this is a horror story, but it's psychological and creepy, not violent or gory. I need to cut about 600 words to meet the preferred 4,000 word max, but that's not an unusual percentage for me to cut during edits.

Title suggestions are always welcome, whether you're interested in critiquing this or not. Possible thematic elements to reflect in the title: death, being left behind, memory, illusion, murder, the sea, a high heeled shoe, or a woman named Lily. Right now I'm calling it, "Missing You In Pieces," but I'm not sure if that's a good title or not.

I might or might not run this through my MinnSpec writing group, too, depending on timing. Subs run through Oct 15th, but if you get a story in earlier, it's better.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
Chapter 29 of Vicesteed (and everything you need to know to critique it) is up for critique at Critters this week. If you're a member of Critters and looking for something to critique, check it out!

In a far-future recreation of the Victorian Age, homechuli are robots directed by artificial intelligences created in part by linking together the processing power of the minds of unfortunate people housed in workhouses. Rosemary is a young, gently bred woman who has been undergoing unpleasant sensorium treatments for "unfeminine inclinations": she wishes to be an inventor, a most unsuitable avocation for a female. She is a member of the anti-homechulus movement, whose leader, William, persuaded her to hide a device to cause disruption and proclaim their goals in the artwork of Owen Gregorson, an artificer of automata. She created another device instead of using the crude one that he gave her. She enjoyed meeting with Mr. Gregorson and seeing his workshop despite the reason that she was there. She was devastated when she saw her handiwork destroy his creation.

In this chapter, she learns that she was being used, and she goes to make amends to Mr. Gregorson, an encounter that ends up going much better than she expected.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 09:29 I'm decorating my work cubicle with shiny-side-out CDs, so if you're throwing out CDs or DVDs, give them to me instead!
  • .

Wiscon?

May. 17th, 2009 07:08 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (spacecat)
Yikes! Wiscon is so soon. I'm hitching a ride up this Thursday, and that's so soon! But I still have to start (and finish) all my writer's group crits!* And I need to figure out what's going on with this fancy dress ball! And figure out what panels I'm going to! And pack! And figure out if anyone and if so who on my friendslist is going to be there for the purposes of hanging out!

People who've gone to WisCon previously--any words of wisdom? What should I try to do while I'm there? What should I try not to do?

I'm also miserably failing in finishing the revisions to Vicesteed before convention season started, but...I should still get it done before knee surgery season, I think.

* And I think my work downtime is about to evaporate for several weeks, which will make this all more complicated.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
I have a massive and ever-growing list of books to read. It seems unlikely I'll ever make the list vanish--I tend to add 2 new books for every 1 I read. With that in mind, I'm soliciting for people's opinions on which books within this list I should read first. Take a look under the cut, if you feel like it!

Suggestions for additions are also welcome, though as you can see, it might be a while before I get to them!

The List )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Let Me Tell You a Story)
In a Victorian steampunk future, QUINCY is a private investigator ordered to find the cause of the comatose Prince Consort's affliction. Two very different women are the key to solving this locked-room mystery: VALINDA, a former vicesteed searching for her identity--and her revenge--after escaping a theme park of depravity where her experiences were broadcast to a discerning audience; and ROSEMARY, a gently bred young lady with dangerous ties to a rebel underground and an unfeminine inclination to build clockwork automata. They unravel the conspiracy, but not before they find passion, betrayal, unwanted truth, and murder.


That's my attempt at writing a 3-sentence summary of Vicesteed for this Book In A Nutshell Competition. Feedback, please? Suggestions for improvement?

Edited to make minor revisions.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
It's almost upon us. Convention season. I'm planning on attending 4th Street Fantasy, CONvergence, and Wiscon.

CONvergence

Would anybody like to share a hotel room with me? I'm tidy and fairly quiet. It will be just me. And yes, I require my own bed.

Wiscon

1. Is anybody else going? Could I hitch a ride? I'm pretty unobnoxious on road trips--mostly I read.

2. Would anyone like to share a hotel room with me? Again with the clean, quiet, and requiring a bed of her own.
Accomplished!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

Does anybody know what the flower is?

Edited to add: Got it! Hibiscus, also known as Rose-of-China. Y'all are awesome.

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Abra Staffin-Wiebe

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