JFC I just have not been in the mood to write. And for writers, that might be a problem. But whatever. I’m trying to hold down a fort here with some relatives who are in higher-risk groups for COVID-19, so I’m making a lot of decisions about how we get supplies and what they can or can’t do. They’re not always happy about it, but then, nobody is truly happy right now, so we’re all just sucking it up and being responsible toward each other and our larger communities.
I have, however, been doing a bunch of editing and prepping as the publishing house I co-own is putting out a couple of things in the next couple of months. Check out the Dirt Road Books Facebook page or Twitter account (@DirtRoadBooks) for deets.
I’ve also been able to do some small projects around the house like painting and doing some grounds cleaning and other stuff of that nature. I’m still podcasting biweekly with author and colleague Lise MacTague — we do the Lez Geek Out! podcast, which deals with queer and feminist rep in various media. We just posted episode #76, which is about representation and gender in media, and we had awesome queer book reviewer Tara Scott with us to talk about things gender-related like gender expression, gender presentation, gender vs. sex, butch and femme, gender queer, gender nonconforming…you get the point.
You can check that out HERE on Apple podcasts (but we’re on a bunch of other platforms you can think of, too). If you dig it, please like and subscribe so others can find us, too. 😀
I know. I’ve been neglecting all of you. But I have been writing a ton of Fangirl Friday blogs over at my other site, Women and Words, so if you wonder where the hell I am, check there. And the Twitterz, where I go by the cryptic handle @andimarquette.
Anyway, I’ve got a lot of things in the works right now. I recently published a short novel at Ylva — it’s a thriller with a little romantic undercurrent. Here’s the link, if you want to see more.
I’m working on some rewrites of my other stuff to get it back on the market…yeah. That’s been kind of a clusterfuck, and I apologize a jillion times over for that. Hopefully that will be remedied soon, but seriously. Clusterfuck. I can’t even with that. Sigh.
Plus, I have to admit, this election season has given me super angst. This whole fucking year has given me angst because of all the shitty-shit that’s gone down in a variety of quarters, which means I’ve sought escape in order to maintain my emotional and spiritual (and physical) health.
Along those lines, I’ve basically reclaimed my 37th childhood and decided to go fangirl for various things (see my posts at Women and Words) and seek solace with like-minded people. At least we can all fangirl together.
Geez, WTF, Andi? It’s been, like, forever and a day and all kinds of THE THINGS happened and where the hell were you and just what are you doing?
I know. Straight up, I’ve been FB’ing incessantly about the Women’s World Cup (OMG YAY TEAM USA) and writing for deadlines and then there was the amazing historical BOOM when marriage equality was ruled the law of this great land and then there was a horrific tragedy and then all kinds of crazy over certain flags. I decided much wiser heads than I can address those two latter issues, and I still haven’t quite been able to wrap my head around the whole marriage equality thing.
At some point, I will blog that, because I’m coming from a perspective of believing that I probably wouldn’t see it in my lifetime or if I did, I’d be in my 60s or 70s. This perspective, I think, causes a fatalistic outlook on relationships. Marriage was something I thought I could never have, so I never planned for it. I educated myself about the issues, worked to advance them as I could, but I never thought it would be something that I myself could enjoy.
And that leaves its own kinds of scars. Which I will discuss later, as I ponder more.
In the meantime, I wanted to discuss something else. Specifically, what repercussions marriage equality may have on genre fiction.
I wonder this because yesterday at Women and Words, we posted a blog by New York Times bestselling romance author Melissa Foster, who just released a new book in her Harborside Nights series that features a lesbian main character and this character’s love for another woman.
Foster predominantly writes heterosexual romance, and this is her first F/F. As she notes in the blog she did at WaW, she got a little bit of blowback from her writer colleagues.
I decided — after some comments (some cranky; others not so much) I got regarding my decision to reboot my first mystery, Land of Entrapment — that it might be a good idea to explain what a new edition is and why some authors decide to do it.
There are many reasons authors come to these decisions. We don’t wake up one day and decide, “Oh! I’m going to re-do one of my earlier works and re-issue it! Won’t that be fun?” Because not. It’s not fun. I mean, some of it is. But for the most part, it’s stressful and time-consuming and the longer the book stays off the market, the less opportunity there is for readers to read it. And authors never make this decision to piss people off. Trust me on this.
So let’s chat about some of the reasons authors decide to create a new edition of an earlier work.
So a couple of folks expressed interest in how to write an effective opener for a novel.
To which I say, “good luck.”
And then I supply links LIKE THIS, which have the alleged “100 best first lines from novels”, posted by the American Book Review site. I must say, Iain M. Banks’ line from The Crow Road is a grabber: “It was the day my grandmother exploded.”
Hit that link at Amazon and you’ll be able to read the first few pages to determine what that’s about.
At any rate, what makes a great opening line? Well, I’d say that’s a topic up for debate, depending on a reader’s taste. But overall, let’s try to dissect what makes a great first line in terms of writing craft. Here are five things to think about.
Hi, peeps! Well, I’m currently working my way through a major case of writing burnout.
Obviously, that hasn’t extended to my blog. Let us all rejoice for small miracles.
Burnout, friends, is sadly normal in our fast-paced high-stress lives. What exactly is it? Think of the flame on a match. It burns bright and sizzly and all happy and then it slowly diminishes until it’s no more. Matches are designed to do that. People, not so much.
Burnout means you run out of gas. You become physically and emotionally tired after doing a difficult job for a long time and it affects your job performance. It can be debilitating because it can lead to some depression, though depression can also help cause burnout, so if you’re prone to depression anyway (like I am), you need to pay attention to yourself so you can do some self-care things. with me, burnout is linked to depression and they feed each other, so I have to figure out whether my issue is true burnout or whether I’m burning out because of the depression. If it’s true burnout, then depression could follow, even if depression isn’t something you have to deal with on a daily basis.
Well, kids, it’s that time of year again. When we start thinking about getting our taxes together for THE MAN. Or WOMAN. Whichever IRS agent has a look at your stuff.
I know. Wow, what an exciting topic. Unfortunately, it’s a reality and it’s one that self-employed folks (and most writers are indeed self-employed) have to deal with all the time. And by now, you’ve probably noticed all the tax commercials showing up on your networks. You know the ones. TurboTax and H&R Block are already at it, as those icky reminders to get your tax on. Or off, which is what deductions are all about.
For those of you living overseas in countries whose governments take care of all of this for you (and they just send you a statement saying how much you paid in taxes), I can only dream of such ease. Here in the States, every citizen is required to put together his or her own tax/income portfolio between January 1 and April 15 of each year. That means you report your income and all kinds of other things to the federal government as well as to the state’s government where you live. Some states do not have what’s called a “state income tax” while others do.
Included in this process are things we here in the States “write off” each year. That is, expenses we incurred with regard to specific situations that relate to businesses or other things (like tax deductible donations, e.g.). In my case, I have to keep track of all my expenses as a writer, since that’s a “self-employed” position and my income is what I earn in royalties. So I keep files of receipts and royalty statements. Lots of receipts, since anything I buy and use in the furtherance/maintenance/development of my work as a writer is something I report to the IRS.
And yes, royalties are taxable. So if you write, you need to keep track of those. If you’re working with a traditional house, those houses will send you a form with your total earnings for the year so you can report that. If you’re self-published, you need to make sure you keep track of your earnings because that’s reportable and taxable.
Some of the things I report as deductions are:
writing conferences (registration, travel to and from, hotels, meals if applicable)
promotional materials/advertising for my books and blogs
internet (because without that, I definitely would not be able to work as a writer in today’s world)
mobile phone, which I use quite a bit for business
office space (you may be able to deduct your home office)
shipping costs for books and promotional materials
writing association fees
computer equipment (last year I deducted my new printer)
editing, typesetting, and covers for my books
expenses I incur as an editor (yes, money I make from that is also taxable), like my subscription to Chicago Manual of Style
So I keep track of all of this during the year. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass. But if you keep things organized during the year, it’s not that big a deal to get it all put together to send off to either the IRS (with the proper forms) or your accountant. I have one of those, so I put my stuff together for the accountant which for me is a lot less stressful than having to do my taxes myself. Yes, it costs. But it’s worth it for my peace of mind.
So readers, in case you wondered, everything a writer makes in terms of sales is taxable, which means the government can take a chunk of it. So no, writing does not give anybody “free money.” It’s income. And therefore taxable. For writers who are just starting out, keep this in mind and start getting organized with regard to your expenses and earnings. Regardless of whether you’re publishing through a traditional house or doing it indie (or both), your royalties are taxable, depending on how much you make from them.
To help you get a handle on what you can deduct as a writer, try these links: