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25th-Jun-2011 11:14 pm - Moving Blogs, Finally!...
Kasey Mackenzie Author Pic
So it's something I've been considering for a couple of years and finally got up the time and energy to do:  I will no longer be updating this livejournal and only using this account for what I absolutely have to.  You can find my new blog at http://kaseymack.wordpress.com where I PROMISE to actually get back in the habit of regular blogging.  Something I haven't felt like doing since LJ first started getting less and less enjoyable for me.  Hope to see some of my LJ friends over there!
14th-Jun-2011 02:40 pm - Black-Hearted Betrayal Progress...
green-eyed envy kasey mackenzie
Just because it helps motivate me, posting my current progress on Shades of Fury, Book 3, Black-Hearted Betrayal:

5800 / 85000
(6.82%)

Now, I  must meet my sister so our kids can play at the park!

Will try and post more later.  =)  I miss regular blogging.
green-eyed envy kasey mackenzie
[Blog Post Inspired by This Little Trainwreck.  Go, read, try and take your eyes off it…]

So, you’ve finally succeeded; made your lifelong dream of getting published a reality, whether via one of the traditional “Big Six” publishers, a reputable small press, an e-pub, or even by self-publishing.  Your book is available for sale, and people are buying.  They’re reading.  They’re reviewing.  Everything’s all sunshine and roses because of course they’ll all recognize your literary genius and praise your book to the four corners of the world.  They’ll all love it.  Right?  Right???

Oh, grasshopper, if only that were true.  If only everyone would love your book and sing its praises high and low.  But in publishing, as in every other arena of life, opinions are like…well, you know.  Everyone has one, and no two people share the exact same reaction to anything.  Which, when you really sit and ponder, is actually a good thing.  The fact that different people react to different books in widely-varying manners means we get greater variety in our reading pleasures.  Otherwise only one type of book—the one that “everyone” loves—would ever be published.  Reality tells us that’s far from the truth.  One person’s urban fantasy trash is another person’s urban fantasy treasure.  (Thank all the gods and goddesses, as my main character would say, since urban fantasy is our first love these days and what puts the butter on our bread.)  Where one person sees sheer genius in the latest work of literary fiction, another sees a meandering story that, for them, never quite takes off.

And that’s the key phrase there:  for them.

As a published author, it is imperative to learn how to react to negative book reviews.  Some authors learn that they’ll never respond well; in fact, they become paralyzed by the perceived negativity and find they can’t work on other books because all they can focus on is the sense that they suck and nobody will ever read anything I write and ohgodohgodthey’llallseeI’mafraud!  Feeling like that is actually fairly routine, and only natural for something you’ve invested so much time, energy, and love into.  But just like not everyone is going to love your hypothetical biological children, not everyone is going to love your hypothetical literary children.  This lack of love doesn’t always have anything to do with objective worth or talent, either.  Most of the time it’s just plain subjective.  I love urban fantasy, science fiction romance, epic fantasy, historical romance, and romantic suspense (just to name a few).  Other people hate fantasy, science fiction, and romance of any and all stripes.  Who’s right and who’s wrong?  All of us.  None of us.  Taste is utterly subjective.  And that is okay.

It is okay for one person to love your book, and another person to hate it.  It’s absolutely okay for both types of reader to share their opinions, whether in person with friends or online with strangers.  Even if they do it on the Amazon listing for your book and now, oh noez, everyone’s going to SEE IT!  Guess what:  you signed up for that when you signed on your publisher’s dotted line (or uploaded your file to Kindle/Nook/whatever e-platform you used).  You published your book; you offered it up for public consumption.  Consume it they now will; react to it they now will; you have absolutely no control over any of that.  But you can and should control how you react.

So what if XYZ Reviewer just wasn’t that into you…r book?  He thought enough about the book or premise or your publisher to read the book; cared enough to formulate his thoughts and share them with other readers.  And there’s the big picture you should keep in mind.  He shared those thoughts with other readers.  Some of them may find their reading tastes coincide with that reviewer’s and so they decide to avoid your book.  Whereas others will know that this reviewer’s tastes don’t match up with theirs and so they add your book to their wishlist immediately.  They love your book so much, they share their thoughts with other readers and, before you know it, word spreads like wildfire; both bad and good and in between.  Word of mouth can do for books what all the online promoting you’ve done on your own can’t:  get people reading your book and talking about it and spreading that appreciation onward.  Unless, of course, you become that psychotic person who just can’t take no for an answer.

We’ve seen writers like that from both the traditional publishing world and self-publishing world.  The one who can see absolutely no wrong in his or her golden words and believes everyone else is just out to get ‘em.  They not only respond to the reviews, they tell people in no uncertain terms to “fu#k off” and enumerate the 101 reasons why XYZ Reviewer is wrong/jealous/impotent/justouttoget’em.  And they make themselves look b@tshit insane in the process.  Stop, right now.  Just stop and don’t do this. Ever.  Nothing good ever comes of this.

Read your reviews, if you must.  Rant about XYZ Reviewer to your family and real-life friends.  Vent to trusted online friends in private messages that the world at large can’t see.  And then, in public, either say nothing at all or, if you must, say something along the lines of, “Thank you.  Thank you for caring enough about the written word to read mine, and taking the time to respond.  While I realize I can’t please all readers, I always strive to do the very best job I can and will keep your words in mind.”

Take what works from the reviews and use it to improve.  Or not.  Because, in my opinion, what’s the absolute best thing about opinions being subjective is that, bottom line, nobody else can say what is best for my work but me.  Their reactions and opinions are equally valid—for them—but that doesn’t take away from my own thoughts and writing.  What doesn’t work for them does work for the many other reviewers out there who loved my last book, and, most importantly, works for me.  While he may not be that into my book at all, other readers are.  And really, they’re the ones I’m writing for.

But I will always be grateful for the reviewer who took the time to read and talk about my book, even if he just didn’t “get into it”.  Word of mouth spreads like wildfire; just like how you react to what people are saying does.  And I’d far rather be known as a class act who respects all readers than a trainwreck waiting to happen.
16th-Mar-2011 02:37 pm(no subject)
Red Hot Fury Cover
Cross-posting this to Fangs, Fur, & Fey because I believe it's relevant:

So following are some comments I made in response to some extremely insulting comments a couple of people made on a writing board I frequent regarding "popular" fiction, the readers of popular fiction, and the publishers who (according to them) believe that readers are "dumb" and "dumb down" covers and content for this unintelligent mass of readers (NOTE:  I IN NO WAY share these opinions!)

***

I write fun, sexy, action-packed books. Something I enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing. Why SHOULDN'T they be packaged appropriately? I don't believe that sexuality is wrong, or that portraying sensual characters is wrong. I don't believe that marketing something in a smart, targeted way is wrong. I don't believe that is "dumbing down" to readers. If some more "serious" book with a plain, unremarkable cover is what it takes to be considered "talented" by some people, I will just continue on in my deluded, talentless hack sort of way. That, you know, pays my bills. By writing books I love and am proud of, so that doesn't make it "selling out" or any of those other epithets that people who don't like this type of book like to throw out.

Tired of people who can't just like their own types of books (or anything really) without feeling the need to denigrate others. Bite me, plskthx!

ETA: Re dumbing down things...this isn't something I generally throw in people's faces because it doesn't mean much in the real world really, but I technically have a "genius" IQ and graduated summa com laude with my bachelor degree and maintained a 4.0 during my entire time in grad school obtaining my Master's degree. Yet I LOVE sexy, fun book covers and the stories they contain. Many of my readers are as smart as or smarter than me (whether they went to college or not). So again, bite me!

***

Related to that, here is a poignant, important blog post from someone I am extremely proud to call a friend (even though I don't get to see her NEARLY enough despite our living in the same city), the fabulous Heather Brewer.  Please, read it, take it to heart, believe it!  Be proud of who and what you are.  I sure as hell am.
Kasey Mackenzie Author Pic

Just because I feel like sharing, here's the current opening to the post-apocalyptic/dystopian YA I'm working on at the moment.  I'm thinking of it as A Brother's Price Meets Uglies Meets Hunger Games.  So far, I'm loving the world-building I've done and am excited about this project.

***

My mothers claim there once was a time when the clans dwelled in smoke-choked Cities and paid tribute to the Ageless, much as the sheep still do today.  I try to imagine a world where Kindred children dodged belching cars and toxic air rather than riding free under the open sky; try and fail.  Such a thing seems inconceivable to me.  Like me turning my mothers in to the Marshalls, something I would never do since each and every female of my clan would be put to death.  My mothers, aunts, sisters, and even my daughters.  Especially my daughters.

That has me scowling fiercely, earning a worried look from the gun-toting sister serving as today's escort.  "You hear something, Cain?"  My sisters have learned to trust my enhanced senses.  They've saved us from ambush while on these foraging trips more than once.

I shake my head.  "No, no.  Just thinking."

Abigail relaxes her trigger finger and a mischievous grin spreads across her freckled face.  "You know what Grandmam warned you 'bout that."

Her amusement only grows when I strike a regal pose and do my best Grandmam.  "Think too much, Samuel Cain, and you'll wind up just like your Daddy.  Enslaved to an Ageless witch and stolen from the only ones what love and treasure you."

She turns an unusually solemn expression my way.  "You know what day it is, then."

My steps falter.  "Course I do.  Exactly one month until my 18th birthday."

Her elbow prods my arm gently.  "C'mon now, you know that's not what I meant."

Course I do, despite all their attempts to distract me.  Today marks an anniversary, all right, but not that of my birth.  Today makes it an entire decade since my birth mother escaped her Kindred guards, dragging off my poor father in the process and leaving behind a four-line letter promising retribution unless the clan gave me up to the nearest Marshall.  Something they didn't do, something I would never let them do, and the reason our clan moved even more frequently than the other bands of Kindred spread out across these wide United States.  Well, no longer quite so united as the Ageless witches would have us believe.

Abigail, older than me by 10 whole months, levels her no-nonsense gaze my way, which lets me know she's not going to let this subject drop.  She and I have always been close, as much due to similar personalities as our nearness in age, and really, I owe her honesty.  She's the only one of my womenfolk to look at me and really see me.  Not just the Redeemer cherished for the life-saving traits he can pass on to his children and, by extension, the Kindred as a whole.  Me, Samuel Cain Addison, the little brother who shares all his secets with her and guards her secrets as fiercely as his own.

"You reckon we're safe now?"

"Since she ain't found you in ten years?"  I nod and can't help but hold my breath.  She ponders my words for a moment, wrinkles furrowing her brow as her expression goes all serious.  "Well, I'd like to tell you yeah, course we're safe now.  Any normal person woulda given up on tracking down a Kindred clan what doesn't want to be found.  But..."

My chest starts aching but I keep holding my breath.

"Your mama's no normal person, Cain.  She's Ageless and she's got all the time in the world.  And, since she had your Daddy and her body as proof of your existence, she's got the Marshalls and the Courts on her side.  If she ever does find you..."

I tighten my grip on the leather bag banging against my hip from the force of my steps, increasing the pressure of my fingers until they start to hurt.  Even then, I don't relent.  The physical hurt soothes the emotional pain from mentally filling in the rest of my sister's words.  If she ever does find you, we're all dead, all except you and the boys. Because in today's "United States," boys are too precious a commodity to waste, even those who only have one Ageless parent.

Kasey Mackenzie Author Pic
So I am going to make a valiant effort to get back into the regular blogging habit.  Nothing overly intriguing this time, just posting a couple knitting pictures.  Realized that I didn't want my author bio to get out of date already (ha!) and that I had better practice my casting on, knit stitch, and casting off skills before I lost them.  I have my knitting books out and got quite a lot done on a practice swatch of just the knit stitch.  Next up:  Trying to conquer the purl stitch.

Not too bad considering I haven't knitted in MONTHS and MONTHS!  (Sorry for cell phone pic quality.)



The opposite side of the swatch:



Okay, so tomorrow I will try and post an actual writing-related entry!  =)
6th-Jul-2010 03:52 pm - Author Copies in the House!!!
Kasey Mackenzie Author Pic
Lookit what arrived today.  Shiny new author copies of Red Hot Fury:



In  honor of that fact, I'm going to give away three copies to randomly selected commenters to this post.  (And um, I'll choose winners for the Jill Myles books while I'm at it...I = contest fail!)  Please pass the word along--the more commenters, the merrier!  Again, open to readers anywhere and everywhere (that the US postal service will ship to, of course.  Sorry Martians!)  Comment any time between now and midnight, Saturday July 10th (the date of my first official book signing, woo woo) and I will select winners for BOTH contests next week!  =)
16th-Jun-2010 01:50 pm - T-Minus 13 Days and Counting!...
Red Hot Fury Cover
All right, folks, in honor of the fact that my debut urban fantasy, Red Hot Fury, releases from Penguin/Ace Books in less than two (2!) weeks, I am finally dusting off two fabulous books written by my very awesome writing buddy, Jill Myles, and giving these away in a celebratory contest.  I have two copies each of the first two books in Jill's Succubus Diaries series, Gentlemen Prefer Succubi and Succubi Like It Hot.  Jill and I have been online friends for years, once both of us finally got serious about writing for publication, and we've been alternatively cheering each other on and whining on each other's shoulders ever since.  While Jill's paranormals are more on the comedic side whereas mine are darker, I absolutely love her writing and want to share the love!

This contest is open to paranormal and urban fantasy lovers (or those open to learning to love the genre) everywhere (yes, everywhere!) and two winners shall be randomly selected from commenters to this post.  I will ship each winner a copy of both books at my cost along with some book pimpage for Red Hot Fury (hey, that's a small price to pay for free books!).  The rules are simple:  Just comment to this blog post telling me what paranormal or urban fantasy books you're most looking forward to this summer, and why.  (And while I'd love you to PICK ME, PICK ME! doing so won't increase your odds of winning.  ;) )

I'll get us started.  I think the UF/paranormal I'm most looking forward to this summer is Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Goes to War, although I am admittedly a book or two behind on this series right now.  Okay, I can say that about a lot of my favorite series--but at least I have the excuse of being preoccupied with my own debut to contend with.  Right?  Right??  Ahem, while I am drooling over many UFs and paranormals right now, Kitty is hands down one of my favorite UF heroines and I just love reading about her navigating through the perils of her mundane and not-so-mundane lives.

So, what about you?

ETA:  Feel free to list more than one!  =)

Oh, guess a deadline would be helpful!  I will accept all comments as entries until midnight Central Time (US) on Saturday, June 19th.
Red Hot Fury Cover
I'm so thrilled with the great reviews Red Hot Fury has been getting.  First a starred review in Publishers Weekly.  (Eeeeek!)  And now a 4.5 star Top Pick review from Romantic Times!  And look!  I have proof:









I am so totally thrilled (and grateful) for this opportunity and holding my breath for release date next month!  =)  Trying to plan a book launch party sometime in July and will share details when I get them.
Red Hot Fury Cover
Princess Nikita--a German shepherd/Mastiff mix--is under the mistaken impression she is a lapdog.  Case in point:



You act like it HURTS when I lay on your legs, Mom.  Like you can even feel them within 30 seconds!



Why are you being lazy and working on the couch today anyway?  You know that's an invitation for me to LAY ON YOU!!!
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