moving

Just to let you know, I now have a new site with my own domain name. You can find it here:

eleanorkos.com

Thanks!

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October 2015

reading

All the Way by Tsukizubon Saruko
illustrated by by Sakana Sara

Since Halloween is coming up, I thought I’d share with you the scariest fucking piece of fiction I’ve ever experienced. It’s free, you can read it online, and it’s f/f. It contains references to suicide, so avoid if that’s an issue for you, but that is not a complete set of warnings.

The fact is, I don’t remember it well enough to warn for it. I read it once when it was posted in 2008, and I didn’t sleep for three nights because I couldn’t stop thinking about the tall men coming out of my walls. I am never reading it again. Ever. Everyone I’ve recommended it to feels the same way.

If you enjoy being terrified, this is the story for you. If not, run fast in the opposite direction. Happy Halloween! ❤


links of the month

  • Weird lights in the sky 30 minutes before the 2008 earthquake in China (this is the email of stuff from 2008 I guess? Welcome to the past, spoiler: Obama wins)
  • William Carlos Williams writes home to his mom from college and is an adorable nerd
  • Subterranean Rome (I don’t know how to describe this, but it’s amazing, just trust me okay, at least go look at the pictures)

2015-10-15 09.13.16

heloise

Posing dramatically on…some kind of bone. It’s not a hippo bone. As previously discussed, she is not a hippo serial killer, that was just poor phrasing on my part, honest.

THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WRITING, BUT GUYS, THERE ARE BUGS IN MY PHONE

A few months ago, I started noticing itty bitty bugs on my phone. Like, gnat-sized. Not beetley or particularly gross. Just tiny bugs, maybe twice or three times in a month, always the same kind.

And then it was maybe twice a week. And then it was every day. Always on my phone, never anywhere else. Conclusion: there are bugs living in my phone or in my phone case. My phone case  is (was) fabric, so maybe they are eating it? Like tiny moths eating my phone’s tiny wool suit? (I’ve just looked it up, and the company doesn’t say if it’s wool; it’s described as a “Luxurious Fabric Exterior”, okay.)

So first I tried sealing the case in a plastic bag in the freezer to kill the little fuckers, which I think probably would’ve worked, but then I’m going around with bug corpses in my phone and I could not stop thinking about that. Option two was to just get a  new phone case, which I did, because I have an old phone and the cases are pretty cheap for it.

And then the thing to do is junk the old one, right? Not like…crack it open over the sink and see if a torrent of tiny bugs come out and eat my cranky neighbor across the hall or, alternately, recognize me as royalty like the bees in Jupiter Ascending?

Let’s pretend I threw it out like a sensible person because otherwise I’ll have to admit that I wore rubber gloves and held it over the sink at arm’s length as I slowly peeled back the fabric and in the end one sad little bug crawled out and skittered away down the drain. I was both disappointed and relieved.

I got another fabric case. If this happens again, I will let the bugs build up to critical mass before I crack it open. In conclusion, my phone is now cosplaying Hannibal.

plaid fabric phone case

hannibal lecter in a plaid suit

self publishing

I’ve had a few questions recently about how to start self publishing, so I thought I’d make a page for it. The following is an email I sent someone a little while ago, and I’ve added a few links after it that I’ve found since. I’ll keep updating this with things I find useful. I hope it helps.


WHERE I PUBLISH

Amazon is the big dog, obviously, though Apple is starting to catch up a bit. I publish at Amazon with their self publishing portal, Kindle Direct Publishing. (That will put it in all the various Amazon stores all over the world, but if you make an author page through Amazon’s Author Central, you will have to add pictures and your bio, etc., to each country’s Amazon store individually.)

To publish everywhere else, I use Draft2Digital – they take a cut, but they distribute it for you to basically everywhere and it’s worth it not to do it yourself. Also note that if you want to write under a pen name on the Apple store, going through D2D or Smashwords or another distributor is the only way to do it. If you go direct, they will use your real name. I use D2D because they let you pick the sellers you want to send your books to; with Smashwords, it’s all or nothing.

HOW TO MAKE EBOOKS

I use Guido Henkel’s ebook formatting guide. He also has a book called The Zen of Ebook Formatting, which I’ve bought but not yet read. I’ll try to remember to report back here when I’m done.

The guide is designed for people with no knowledge of HTML and CSS, but it will still probably come off as a bit intimidating if you have no familiarity with them. I do it that way because I like the control and I like knowing exactly what’s going into my ebook. Even if you don’t go this way, I’d suggest you read it so that you have some idea of the issues involved.

Most places will also let you upload a Word doc and convert it to ebook format for you. If you do this, I would check the ebook they produce VERY CAREFULLY, especially for things like backwards smart quotes and weird line breaks and accent marks.

Scrivener will also make ebooks for you, and a lot of people go that way, though there are some issues you should be aware of. I write in Scrivener, but I don’t use its ebook compile feature because frankly I found it super complicated. I seem to be the only one having a problem with it though.

Whatever method you use, check it to make sure it looks right, and not just on your computer.

You also need a cover, obviously. You can make it yourself if you’ve got the skills. If you want to pay someone (and if you have the money, you probably should), there’s 99Designs and Covertopia which I have not used, but have heard good things about.

Once you have the ebook and cover, the actual uploading is quite simple – you just fill out a form and hit submit, basically, and then they ask for you how you want to be paid and all that.


RESOURCES

PODCASTS
  • ​The Self Publishing Podcast is a good source of info. If, like me, you tend to want to listen to ALL of a podcast, don’t take the advice they give in the early episodes. They’re worth listening to for the evolution of their business strategy, but they say themselves that they would give vastly different advice now. They’ve recently (as of August 2015) archived their older episodes and I think are planning to launch a new site for the revamped podcast. I’ll put that link here when they get it up.
  • The Author Strong Podcast is pretty good also, both for craft and publishing, but particularly for goal setting. ETA: And this 3 part series on Amazon keywords.
  • Writing Excuses is the best podcast I’ve found for craft, and they’re doing season 10 as a sort of masterclass on how to write a book from beginning to end.
BOOKS
OTHER
  • A Business Plan for Self-published Authors [part 1 | part 2 | part 3]
  •  Mailchimp lets you set up a mailing list for free. Put a sign up link at the back of your book, and people will be able to get notified when you have a new one out.

september 2015 – singing in the wilderness

writing

Hey y’all, the third book is out! Description and links to various and sundry bookstores are below.

I also wrote a short story set after the end of the third book called From Dregs to Wine, which you can get by signing up for my newsletter, but I strongly recommend reading Singing in the Wilderness before you read that one or you will be spoiled and probably also quite confused.

road leading into the dark

SINGING IN THE WILDERNESS: WINE & SONG BOOK 3

BUYING OPTIONS:  [AMAZON | KOBO | B&N | APPLE]

David’s taste for  rough sex has landed him in trouble before, but never like this. Until recently, capital-R Relationships were things that happened to other people, and he liked it that way. Now he’s living with his new boyfriend–or at least he was, until Jazz left to tour with his band. Suddenly, David’s finding it hard to sleep alone and wondering what he’ll do if Jazz doesn’t come back.

Added to that is his slow fall into real submission for the first time in his life. Jazz is more willing to push him over the phone but, despite David’s promises, they still haven’t had that little chat about limits and safewords. Jazz is afraid of going too far, and David’s afraid he won’t go far enough.


reading

Melusine by Sarah Monette
Mélusine, a city of secrets and lies, pleasure and pain, magic and corruption. It is here that wizard Felix Harrowgate and cat-burglar Mildmay the Fox will find their destinies intertwined in a world of sensuality and savagery.

This appears, bafflingly, to be out of print?? I feel like I must be missing something because I can’t imagine that. I actually went looking for it in the first place to see if there was an ebook, and there isn’t. You can probably get it used cheaper on Alibris than Amazon, but either way, it will be worth your time, trust me.


links of the month


heloise in september

IMG_1655
Here are Heloise and Pavlov examining my August book list. I am also on Goodreads if you want this list in a more legible form without Pavlov’s butt blocking your view.


review copies

If you want a review copy of any of my books (i.e. I send it to you for free in exchange for an honest review on Amazon or wherever you usually review books), you can contact me here. Thanks!

august 2015

writing

I’ve now officially spent longer editing the third Wine & Song book than I did writing it, but it’s coming along. If it was one of you who left the sole, lovely review on Songs You Know by Heart, BLESS YOU. They make a ton of difference, especially on Amazon.

In other news, I have a story coming out in an anthology from Less Than Three Press. The theme of the anthology is May-December relationships, and it’s out on Oct. 7, but available for pre-order now. More info below…

silver and gold cover art. two rings with silver and gold trees growing through them.

Silver and Gold

From one-night stands to on-and-off love stories that span decades, the roads of love are diverse and have no map. One of the hardest relationships to navigate may be those with an age difference. Society isn’t always sure what to make of May-December pairings, and the odds seem stacked against them. But the wisdom of age and the optimism of youth is a combination not to be underestimated…

In One Last Leap (Helena Maeve), Phillip carries the old wounds of his partner’s death, and he’s not sure how to deal with an attraction to the much-younger Ivan. In Coffee Boy (Austin Chant), new grad Kieran interns at a senatorial campaign, and has to deal with being an out trans gay man in the workplace, his overbearing supervisor Seth, and his growing, begrudging affection for Seth—not to mention Seth’s crush on their straight boss.

After his brother’s death, Navy SEAL Zev comes home to take care of his estate in After the Dust (Eleanor Kos), and finds ex-prostitute Julian on his brother’s doorstep. A Corgi Named Kilowatt (C.C. Bridges) turns the teacher-student dynamic on its head when young TA Evan clashes with Marc, a dog groomer back at school at forty.

Maddie flirts with the older and mysterious Claudia at a movie, but doesn’t expect to see her again—especially not at a cake-tasting session for her best friend’s wedding. The Memory of You (Erica Barnes) explores not only the promise of chance encounters, but the reality of them. Runner (Sam Schooler) brings us Eden, who answers an ad for a caregiver but somehow ends up married and trapped in an isolated, dilapidated cabin with his snarly new husband, Mick.

(Edited by Amanda Jean.)


reading

The Captive Prince: Book 3 by C.S. Pacat

recced the first book in the series a couple months ago and at that point I had nearly despaired of ever getting the next one because it has been ACTUAL YEARS, but book 3 is finally up for pre-order! I obviously haven’t read it yet, but I have faith that it will be as good as the first two.


links of the month


heloise in july

a small blue ceramic hippo sitting in a teacup

Here is Heloise bathing in a teacup while she considers the books I’ve read this month. Not listed, because I haven’t finished it, is East of Eden by John Steinbeck, which is … way more exciting than I expected it to be? So far one of the brothers tried to kill the other at the age of 15 and Cathy murdered her parents and burned down their house (spoilers, I guess …). I may do a blog post on why it reminds me of The Walking Dead.


FICTION | JOIN MY LIST | REVIEWS ALWAYS HELP ❤

how to edit a novel

The subject line is a phrase I googled in desperation after I wrote my first one and realized my usual technique of “read it a lot and poke at the sentences with a sharp stick” doesn’t work as well when you have 90,000 words to go through and have to think about things like Theme and Structure and Plot with a capital P. And also you’re on chapter 9 and you’ve forgotten what happened in chapter 2.

Someone asked me about editing recently, so here’s my basic plan.

1. steal underpants

2. ?????

Wait, wrong plan.

highlighted printed out editing notes

Blurred out editing notes, since I assume you don’t want to know the entire plot of Singing in the Wilderness before you read it.


1. read through briefly and make a list of all the scenes, broken down by chapter so I know what happens when

2. note as I go through what I think of as open doors – things that raise questions or create expectations in the reader’s mind. These need to either be followed up on later or cut.

3. note also anything obvious that needs to be fixed (timeline contradictions, bad transitions) or that needs to be fact checked (can you actually cook liver like that???).

4. look at the open doors. Go through and either remove them or make them go somewhere, tie them into the plot if they’re not already.

5. look at the scene list and the overall plot structure. Decide if that works, if there’s sufficient tension and if it’s in the right places, if the climax is climaxy enough and so on.

6. make a to do list with all the things so far that I know need to be changed, starting with very large changes and going down to smaller ones.

7. fix those things!

8. once the major changes are done, I read it over and fix awkward sentences and poor word choice and dialogue like I mentioned above…probably like three times? Until it reads smoothly and nothing makes me cringe.

9. send it off to be betaed and fix everything they tell me to fix

10. go over it again at least once more, probably twice, because there is always something else – more adverbs to remove, sentences that can be shortened, words that aren’t quite right. And for the stuff I’m selling where I can’t afford typos but also can’t afford a proofreader, I have my computer read it out loud to me to catch stuff I won’t catch when I’m just reading it.

Most of the above is basically what Rachel Aaron recommends in her book 2K to 10K, and I wish I had read the book before painfully working it out on my own – it’s only 99 cents and the section on editing alone is more than worth it. (She also recommends making a timeline, which I should definitely start doing but haven’t yet.)

Anyone who got to the end of this is probably either editing something or avoid editing something and in need of a cup of tea, so here is Heloise to make you some. With death spoon.

 small blue hippo with tea being scoop in a spoon shaped like a skull