Yet another episode of “Ask Andi Random Questions”

Greetings, peeps!

I know. I’ve been out of the loop for a bit. Traveling and the like.

I did get some STELLAR news a couple days ago, however. The anthology that I co-edited with fellow author/editor R.G. Emanuelle made the finalists’ list for a Lambda award. That would be All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Romance and Erotica. Hit that link to find out more. Many thanks to all who contributed (list at the link), our designer, Sue Niewiarowski, and to Ylva Publishing. We are honored to be a part of this. See you in June!

All right! Now let’s talk about Q&A. Every once in a while, I ask people to ask me whatever questions they want and then I post those along with the answers here on my blog. For those of you who asked more than one question, I took one from each. So let’s get to it!

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Questions answered!

Hi, everybody! Every once in a while, I take random questions from people and post them here along with my answers. This is one of those times. So here, you go. Auntie Andi’s on it.

1. From Fran (a 2-fer!)
A. “Is it easier now for lesbian authors to get published without having to go the vanity press route?”

Yes. That may or may not be a good thing, depending on your view. Here are my pros and cons, which I stated elsewhere today:
PRO: gets more books to people, allows easier access for those who are isolated.
PRO: brings more attention to lesfic and F/F writing, which allows access to more “mainstream” venues.
PRO: expands the audience for lesfic and F/F
PRO: expands networks of writers worldwide

CON: through “mainstreaming,” are we perhaps losing an aspect of creative lesbian culture that has sustained us for decades?
CON: (this applies across the board, though)–loss of “gatekeeping” and, in some cases, quality control (not all, and I’m certainly not suggesting that traditional houses don’t publish poo or mistake-ridden books–this does happen).
CON: perhaps unravels tight-knit lesfic creative culture and instead creates disparate pockets of lesfic without coherent networks.
CON: an overabundance of writers means a market glut and it becomes more difficult for individual writers to find an audience.

NOTE: I am not in any way judging either traditional or indie publishing, as I do both. These are merely observations.

B. Also from Fran: “Are you seeing more lesbian/gay content in mainstream writing? Is it gaining cultural acceptance?”
I’m not sure how to define “mainstream.” I think that LGBT characters are appearing more and more in so-called “mainstream” fiction, but I think it’s harder to find LGBT main characters (a few exceptions–e.g. Ellen Hart, Sandra Scopettone) and when you do find them, their sexual relationships are totally curtailed. Whereas in, say, a “heterosexual” thriller you’ll have the main character having sex (however that author expresses the scene, there’s no mistaking what’s going on), but you certainly won’t have an LGBT character having sex (not even a hint of it) in a more “mainstream” book. If there is stuff out there along those lines, let me know!

Overall, I think that will change, with time, however, and same-sex relationships will start to be accepted within mainstream canons. It’s a matter of time, I think.

2. Eh: “Beer or Wine”
Yes.

3. E.J.: “Are you going to get married?”
Dunno. Depends on the woman.

4. From Stephni (another 2-fer!):
A. “Of the seven deadly sins, which do you think is the lesser of the aforementioned?”

I don’t believe in “sin.” Everything on that list is a personal choice, so it’s your choice whether you want to engage in it. Too much of any of ’em might make people think you’re a douchecanoe, so it’s in your best interest, I suppose, to not be a douchecanoe.

B. Also from Stephni: “Lastly and to finish the seven theme which of the 7 heavenly virtues is the most trying for you to maintain?”
None of them. I try not to be a douchecanoe overall. Except sometimes at the holidays, I might get a little crazy and suck down too much chocolate, which could mean I’m being a glutton, but it seems to me that to be a glutton, you have to do that stuff all the time and not share your chocolate. Is it gluttony if you share your chocolate? I don’t think so. 😀

5. From Daniela: “Have you met a deaf person?”
Yes. Several.

6. Also from Eh: “Ever consider updating your covers on your older work? (Just looking at your Far Seek Chronicles)”
Yes. But I don’t consider it “updating.” I consider it “changing.” And if you’re an artist who does that sort of thing for this genre, send me stuff from your portfolio to have a look at.

7. From Joan: “Do you approach fiction writing differently than nonfiction? Are there different rituals or habits of mind you employ? Do you find it harder to do one or the other? Or easier? Wording of your choice, my friend!”
Yes. I enjoy writing fiction more than nonfiction. I write to music, incense, and candles when I’m working on a fiction project (which makes it sound like I’m dating my fiction). Nonfiction stresses me out a bit more because I’m super-anal and it has to have valid, solid sources that support it. I don’t really have a ritual with regard to nonfiction, though I have been known to procrastinate a lot more before working on a nonfiction project than a fiction project. I’d rather be in my own private batcave, writing fiction.

8. From Tara: “Is there anything you can’t do?”
Yes. I still can’t fly, walk through walls, go invisible, or run faster than a speeding train. I keep trying, though. And I can’t field dress a deer. Though it looked pretty cute in that matching camouflage outfit. Oh, and you probably wouldn’t want to trust me with brain surgery.

9. From MM Perry: “Boxers or Briefs?”
Yes.

10. From Linda: “Have you ever written a time-travel story? If not, would you?”
No, I haven’t. I don’t know if I ever will. I have written historical fiction (19th-century; unpublished), but there are lots of time travel stories out there, so I’m not sure what would make anything I’d do different or interesting in that regard. If a story comes along in that vein, I suppose I’ll write it. None have, though.

11. From Diane: “You are a fan of Walking Dead – have you ever thought of writing a lesbian-themed zombie story?”
Yes. I’ve got one kicking around in my head and it has been for a few years. Not sure I’d call it lesfic, though, since it’s the apocalypse and there’s not a whole lot of sexy-time going on. And honestly, there shouldn’t be. You should be busy surviving and not getting your swerve on with every survivor you think is hot. That should be the farthest thing from your mind. Having said that, the MC in the story I’ve been kicking around identified as lesbian prior to the collapse of civilization as we know it.

12. From PA Andrews: “Do you listen the music when you write? If so, what type do you prefer?”
Yes. Each genre has its own type of music and each project has its own soundtrack. You can find out what by checking out my playlists at Spotify. Here are links on my blog:
Far Seek Chronicles: Friends in High Places, A Matter of Blood; Land of Entrapment; From the Boots Up; From the Hat Down.

13. S. Marie: “Toilet paper roll- over or under?”
Depends on whose house I’m visiting. When in Rome…

14. JRob: “How tall are you?”
Not very. But I’m loud, which makes me seem ginormous.

15. J. Chavez: “What are your ties to New Mexico?”
I was born in Albuquerque. I ended up growing up in southwestern Colorado, but spent a lot of time in NM with the family. I returned to Albuquerque in ’92 and was there until ’04. Returned to the Southwest in ’08. New Mexico is home, and will always be home, whether I’m living there or not.

There you go, peeps. Another round of questions answered. Here’s the first round, in case you wondered.

Happy Monday!

Questions from the peanut gallery

And I love me some peanuts!

So here we go, people. Questions people asked me on Facebook.

Daniela:
“What is the most crazy thing you ever did…and why?”

Gurrrrrrrl, there is no way I can answer this with just one crazy thing. And sometimes, it’s not like I planned to do crazy things. Crazy things just kind of happened. And my definition of crazy might not be somebody else’s definition. So here, I’ll share 3 weird incidents:
1. Walked across the border from San Diego, California into Tijuana, Mexico with friends one night. Went bar-hopping then came back and got caught in the middle of a fight between a group of Mexican guys and American frat dudes at the border crossing. I was the mostly sober one, so I had to maneuver a bunch of drunks through that hot mess. I’m pleased to say we made it pretty much unscathed. Why did I do that? Cuz it seemed like a good idea at the time. LOL

2. Got stuck on the island of Lesvos (Lesbos, people) for a week. No place to stay in town, so I lived on the beach instead in this cheap-ass tent I and a friend managed to score in this weird little store. After a week, I managed to catch a ferry back to Athens, but I left the tent with my friend and she went on to Mykonos with it. Why? Hell, it was Greece! Who WOULDN’T want to live on a beach for a week there?

3. Drove to New Orleans from Denver with a group of friends non-stop for Mardi Gras. It took us about 18 hours one way driving in shifts. We’d all pitched in to rent a place in the French Quarter. I slept on the floor all three nights but hey, it was Mardi Gras. Why? Two words: Mardi. Gras. 😀

Suzanne:
“Why is New Mexico “the land of enchantment”? Or really entrapment?”

Those of us who are New Mexicans really can’t explain this to someone who’s never been. Trust me on this, people who have not been. It’s the Land of Enchantment because it’s like no place you’ve ever been. It’s where the past has melded with the present in this really awesome blend of cultures and customs across high desert landscapes of such preternatural beauty that you can’t believe you’re on Earth.

It’s the Land of Entrapment because really, once you go, it’s extremely difficult to leave and when you do, you miss it constantly.

Kaysi:
“Have you ever worn a flannel shirt with matching argyle socks and birkenstocks?”

I have, indeed, worn a flannel shirt with Birkenstocks. However, I do not wear such an ensemble with argyle socks. Rather, in the winter, I wear my Birks with thick hiking socks. And if all of y’all must know, I have one pair of Birks, the Arizonas. I have worn them for 10 years, just getting them re-soled about every 3 years. Oh, and my middle name is Hermione. (not really, but wouldn’t it be kind of cool?)

Emily:
“What is wrong with people?”

Gurl, if we knew that, we’d solve all the world’s problems. I’m thinking part of it might be more legal pot and craft brewing and distilling for all. Plus neighborhood community centers that had great day care for working parents, national Hawaiian Shirt Days once a month, more telecommuting, health insurance for all, cheap higher education, and casual Fridays every day.

Joan:
Would you pay $200 for a pair of jeans? Or even $50? What do you think of Crocs footwear? (There’s only one correct answer.) Who has more gray hair, you or me? I’ll bet it’s you because I dye mine. Finally, and most importantly, what is your secret? You are so much more productive than any other writer I know, by which I mean me. I want to be as productive as you are. Vitamins? A tonic? Electromagnetic socks? What?!

Let’s see. $200? NO WAY. That’s almost a plane ticket! $50? No. I mostly buy in the $30 range.

Crocs: ugh. I owned one pair once. I’ll just take responsibility for that right now. They were red. And they were good for dog walking in Nashville, because the grass was often wet in the spring mornings. But yes, they started to reek. And that’s when I put them out of my misery.

More gray hair: Probably me. I stopped highlighting my hair in 2008 because it cost too much to do that in the recession. So now I have “recession” highlights (i.e. gray).

My secret: A vitamin tonic that I strain through electromagnetic socks. It contains glitter from sparkle ponies and the hair of a unicorn.

PAGE:
“Marshmallows. Where do they come from?”

DO NOT THINK ABOUT MARSHMALLOWS.

Karelia Stetz-Waters
“Why is the song ‘Wonderwall’ so great …even though the Wonderwall was just an old school LCD projector?”

The song is way better than those projectors because the song only lasts about 4 minutes while it took about 10 times that to actually get a wonderwall to work.

THANKS, Gallery! Happy weekend!

Questions Answered: Music and Writing

Hiya, peeps.

Whew. Another busy week. Got through the edits to Day of the Dead (you can read more about the upcoming Book 4 in my New Mexico series on my “Books” page — cover image and excerpt to come!) and now the manuscript is going through a second edit to make it all sexy-time (one hopes).

So I thought I’d do another quick Q&A. Every once in a while a reader asks me if I listen to music when I write and if so, what kind?

Yes, dear readers, I do. Every book and story have their own soundtracks in particular genres. I listen to a lot of chill and trance when I write the Far Seek Chronicles (as an aside, www.di.fm has some great internet channels in those categories). Some of the artists that I listen to quite a bit when I’m working through particular scenes in that series are Chicane, Blank and Jones, ATB, Hammock, and Psh Project, and JES.

I’ve also got chill channels on Pandora internet radio, and yes, I do pay for the premium services on both Pandora and di.fm because it’s better sound and no commercials.

Each book in my New Mexico mystery series also has its own soundtrack. The Ties that Bind (Book 3) involved a lot of Robbie Robertson and Primeaux and Mike. Book 4, Day of the Dead (forthcoming this fall), involved some chill (for some reason, the character of Chris Gutierrez digs chill), some Robbie Robertson, but also a lot of Jewel, Tristan Prettyman, Rachael Yamagata, Mumford and Sons, Matt Nathanson and, yes, some ranchera and mariachi. If you read it (and here’s hoping you will. . .heh), you’ll see why.

And, yes. My novella From the Boots Up has a soundtrack, as well. Lots of Jewel, Dixie Chicks (if you read it, you’ll see why), and a few different songs from different artists in the folk/pop/Americana genres. The follow-up novel I’m writing to that story has a soundtrack, too. But I’m keeping that under wraps until it’s done. 😀

Anyway. Not all writers write to music. Those of us who do have certain genres/artists we dig. I’m one of those who uses music to evoke a particular mood as I’m working on particular projects, so I do actually put some songs on “repeat” while I’m writing certain scenes. Music has always been part of my writing process.

How about yours?

Happy Friday!

Questions Answered

Hi, kids–

First, go see the movie (just released) Warm Bodies. Even if you’re not much of a fan of zombie movies, I think you’ll like this one. It’s got a great comic sensibility, and the underlying message is super-sweet and exactly what the world needs, about the power of human connection. I loved it. And yes, it’s based on a book by Isaac Marion. Read that, too.

Second, I will now answer a question put to me by a reader. This particular reader really enjoyed my novella, “Some Kind of River,” which is available on Kindle. Here’s the link, if you wanna see. It’ll set you back $0.99.

WARNING! SPOILER BELOW! Read no further if you haven’t read “Some Kind of River!” FOR REALZ, yo.

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Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

Hey, kids —

So there’s this thing going on where if you’re tagged by another writer, then you do a blog that answers the questions they did on theirs. Then you tag somebody to keep it going. So it’s kind of like a chain letter, only not. Because if you choose not to do a blog, well, you’re not going to cause somebody to lose a million bucks and you won’t break the mysterious ju-ju of the chain letter and cause small animals to cry or whatever the hell. Instead, you might miss out on an opportunity to chit-chat about yourself and your work.

Anyway, I was tagged by author Cheyne Curry (you can see her answers on her blog). So let’s go check out these questions, which I may or may not answer correctly. And I’ve re-worded a few questions for ease of grammatical flow.

So clickie on to see.

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“What gave you that idea…”

Hi, kids–

Hope everyone will have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend. Amidst whatever you’re doing today, please remember that this is also a day to remember those who have died in military service to the nation. Here’s a link for more information on that.

Anyway, got a nice comment from “Lisa,” on the “Book List” page here on my site. For those not in the know, my Book List is a list of books in both my series (mystery AND sci fi) and the order in which they should be read. You can either print it out from my site or download a .pdf (there’s a link on that page) to frame it or put it up by your bookshelf or Kindle/e-reader. Or use it to line the bird cage. Whatever floats your boat.

So join me while I answer (or attempt to answer) Lisa’s questions!

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