Ghost Writers

I think I need to get back to writing, I’ve blogged more this past week than in a while. It’s usually a sign that I need to be working on a book.

IN any case, what I want to talk about is ghostwriting.

So, if you go to Upwork, you can see all sorts of advertisements for ghostwriting. I’ve even made a small amount of money, once or twice, ghostwriting short pieces.

Screenshot 2017-09-27 14.26.47

I stopped because it felt so unethical.

I mean, people who are buying words/books… if it’s for a big name… they’re buying THAT PERSON’S words and stories. They want that author’s voice! Or at least I do.

I’m a mimic, I can mimic most writer’s voices in any genre I write in pretty closely, especially if I’ve read them before.

And I’m an editor, author and autistic.

I CAN BLOODY TELL WHEN IT’S A GHOSTWRITER!!

Please, for the love of the very little money I have to spend on books, don’t do this to me.

I get it, maybe most people aren’t going to be able to tell the difference, but *I* can and I’m not the only one by far.

The big5 pubbed book I preordered because it’s one of my favorite authors hit my kindle yesterday and I was excited to read it. I love this character and I love the world the author has created.

I do not love this book, and I have not yet found a book by this author I hated, nor even disliked.

I love this authors work (or whichever ghostwriter she’s had working for her for a while now). I love the worlds, characters, and stories.

I do NOT love what this new ghostwriter is doing with them.

There is something missing from this authors words that I’ve never seen in the name before.

I’m not a big name in publishing, I’m an outsider, probably always will be, so I don’t actually know how often a big name author hires a ghost writer.

Often enough I’d think. In the past year, two big names that I usually read have felt extremely off when I was reading the books.

I may keep a running list of things I’ve never seen this particular author do in her work, just to keep it straight in my head and to use as supporting examples for this post.

Things I’ve NEVER seen this author do in any of her 30 some books I’ve read that I’ve seen MORE THAN ONCE in this one.

Racial slurs

Description of her black character as ‘sun-bronzed’

Geek slurs

Extreme heavy handedness on reconciliation of ‘happy families’ (one of the reasons I’ve loved this author is that she DOESN’T do that.)

She’s also a WoC so I’ve trusted her to get the descriptions of her mixed race characters done in a sensitive way. This book? It’s so white I can’t even.

Graphic words (I don’t mind graphic words, but this author doesn’t have a history of using them).

… and there is just something missing from this book that the previous ones had.

It’s very unhappy making.

I suppose I could be wrong, that it could just be the author trying something new, but I sincerely doubt it.

So much so that I’m not buying the next book.

And I loved this author.

Look, I get it. We writers/authors are in a dog-eat-dog world, but this particular ghost writer just lost my custom for this author.

It’s close, but it’s nowhere near close enough.

As far as those of us who do the ghostwriting? I get that too, we’re most of us hand to mouth, but no.

Just say no. Please.

New Book Review: ASSASSIN’S FATE by Robin Hobb

Dark Adult Fantasy

Assassin's Fate.jpg

BLURB

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The stunning conclusion to Robin Hobb’s Fitz and the Fool trilogy, which began with Fool’s Assassin and Fool’s Quest

“Every new Robin Hobb novel is a cause for celebration. Along with millions of her other fans, I delight in every visit to the Six Duchies, the Rain Wilds, and the Out Islands, and can’t wait to see where she’ll take me next.”—George R. R. Martin 

More than twenty years ago, the first epic fantasy novel featuring FitzChivalry Farseer and his mysterious, often maddening friend the Fool struck like a bolt of brilliant lightning. Now New York Times bestselling author Robin Hobb brings to a momentous close the third trilogy featuring these beloved characters in a novel of unsurpassed artistry that is sure to endure as one of the great masterworks of the genre.

Fitz’s young daughter, Bee, has been kidnapped by the Servants, a secret society whose members not only dream of possible futures but use their prophecies to add to their wealth and influence. Bee plays a crucial part in these dreams—but just what part remains uncertain.

As Bee is dragged by her sadistic captors across half the world, Fitz and the Fool, believing her dead, embark on a mission of revenge that will take them to the distant island where the Servants reside—a place the Fool once called home and later called prison. It was a hell the Fool escaped, maimed and blinded, swearing never to return.

For all his injuries, however, the Fool is not as helpless as he seems. He is a dreamer too, able to shape the future. And though Fitz is no longer the peerless assassin of his youth, he remains a man to be reckoned with—deadly with blades and poison, and adept in Farseer magic. And their goal is simple: to make sure not a single Servant survives their scourge.


REVIEW

First, I’ve been reading this series since not long after it first came out. Fantasy has always been my first and most enduring love. You do have to read the series to understand this book.

The blurb calls this a stunning conclusion to the series.

It’s right.

Robin Hobb is one of the very few (Less than five now) established authors I still auto-buy. Price of books and my anemic book buying cash and all. But I always buy the books about Fitz.

I bought this one release week and I’ll be completely honest, I had trouble getting into it. Passive voice. It’s my Achilles heel in reading and it will always throw me out of the story. So when I first picked up this story, hoping to escape, it irritated me enough to put it down when I caught several instances of passive voice in the first few pages.

I’m glad I finally got around to picking it back up again.

Man, when it finally grabbed me by the throat it pinned me down and held me almost unable to breathe for an entire weekend.

By that I mean I got NONE of my chores done, my hubs brought me dinner because I kept forgetting to eat and I forgot to make coffee one day because I was SO ENTHRALLED by the story. COFFEE people, I forgot COFFEE!

Now. I read fast, but this book is almost 900 pages long, I started it late at night on Friday and just finished it. A little before midnight on Sunday.

I didn’t do much of ANYTHING except read all weekend because I had to know what happened to Fitz and Beloved.

Had to.

It’s really good. I cried. A lot. Ugly, messy, cry, and I’m still content with how the story ended. I wish it hadn’t HAD to, because these were the only characters by this author that I connect with, but it’s still a fantastic conclusion. Even though my heart aches.

I’ll miss these characters, miss looking forward to new books with them. Badly. Sadly, Bee doesn’t do it for me as a character.

Somehow, I had also missed that Beloved is gender-fluid throughout the whole series, and though they aren’t named that way, it’s quite clear when I think about it. I suppose I could be coding it, but I really doubt it. Probably one of reasons I’ve loved these books, and reread them so many times for so many years.

I will say: Content Warning on a deliberate mis-gendering by Fitz for Beloved. That stung a bit to read. It worked for the characters, story, and world though, so it’s not a complaint. Just a warning.

SCORES

Readability: 5/5 star-1586412_1920 It’d be around 9 or 10 if I could rate that high on my system. I didn’t quite drop my tablet on my face, but that’s only because I’m trying to discipline myself into actually SLEEPING at night.

Arcs: 5/5 star-1586412_1920As I finished this last installment, I have to wonder if Ms. Hobb had this entire series planned from the get go. The series arcs, relationship arcs, and multiple trilogy arcs are so masterfully done. SO well done. It’s amazing. Truly.

Craft: 4/5: star-1586412_1920 I wish I could give it a full on five-star rating, but I did have trouble getting into it because of the passive voice. I found a couple of sections dragging and would’ve advised the author cut a few scenes to speed pacing. Still loved the book and the sheer scope of this story… it’s freaking phenomenal. Hobb carries well her laurels of being one of the best fantasists in the genre.

 

 

Work/Life balance as a writer/editor/publisher.

I want to say something snarky here, like… I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

But…

I’ll admit. It’s a struggle to find some sort of balance while being an author, an editor AND running a boutique publishing house.

I often feel like I need to work ALL the time.

It doesn’t help that this is my calling. Anyone with a calling will tell you it’s often harder to make yourself STOP working than it is to make yourself start.

I work far more than I should because I enjoy my work.

Whether it’s the act of writing, the act of reading potential books sent by hopeful authors, or whether it’s deciding how best to market stuff, I love it all. The only thing I don’t love is wrestling with contracts, but I feel like I’ve been given a gift to HAVE this wonderful calling. That of words.

As far as the balance part, that’s where it gets a bit murkier.

I try to stick to eight-hour workdays for the press/editing side of the business. It’s hard, especially when the book I’m reading for that aspect of my life is a good one.

I care, too, about the authors waiting to hear back from me on whether it’s a yes/no on the eternal question of do *I* love their book enough to publish it. I don’t like to make people wait too long. It bothers me. I’m picky, so I often don’t love the books enough. That’s because it’s a freaking nightmare to wrestle with the publishing process, and I only want to do it for books I LOVE.

I tend to read for pleasure only after I’ve written my daily word goal (if I’m drafting, if I’m in the editing phase for my own books after I’ve hit my daily editing goals).

I’m trying to read more for pleasure lately. I miss it terribly, but I find it incredibly hard to do of late because I haven’t quite figured out how to turn the ‘editor’ part of my brain off so that I can just read a story.

I mean, it has to be freaking amazing these days to suck me in and let me just read.

So, in a nutshell, I try to stick to a 9-5 schedule for the press, then switch to my own writing ’til I hit goal, then read for review/pleasure (pretty much only reading review books that ARE a pleasure to read these days, life is far too short to read books I don’t want to or that don’t catch me up).

Is it any wonder I have no idea who movies stars are and what TV shows are current? I live within the pages of books.

I’m happy there.

 

 

 

Reviews

Yeah, yeah, we all know we need to review books.

I mean… we DO know that right?

cat-697113_1920

Backing up, just a bit in case you DON’T know.

Reviews sell books for authors. There is NOTHING you can do more to support an author (other than buying the book in the first place/asking your library to buy the book) that will help them more.

Because people read reviews, they look at the star ratings on Amazon/Goodreads/B&N etc.

star-1586412_1920

They decide whether to buy a book based on what other people have said.

Even as something as simple as I LOVED IT with a 5 star rating can help sell a book to the next person who might enjoy it. It doesn’t need to be a long paragraph on why.

Those help, of course, (if you look at the reviews section of my website, I go to great length to tell my readers why I liked/didn’t like something).

But that very fact of ‘how books get sold’ is why I RELIGIOUSLY review everything I read. Even if it’s something I didn’t like, or wasn’t a ME book.

I still review it.

As far as algorithms go on places like Amazon and Goodreads, reviews count for visibility too. The more reviews an author has on a particular book, the higher their rating on Amazon, meaning it’ll show to more people who might be looking for THAT kind of book. I assume it works the same on non-amazon sites.

But, that’s just background to what I really wanted to say.

background-1995005_1280

I wanted to say thank you.

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has left me a review, anywhere.

I read my reviews, I mean, we as authors are told we shouldn’t, but honestly? I want to know if I’ve fecked up somehow, so reading reviews is the best way to do that.

eye-15699_1920

I… don’t yet have a bad one. For which I feel incredibly fortunate.

I know… the first bad one is gonna sting like blazes.

ouch-147868_1280

BUT… right now, as I’m sitting here proofing my next release, ILAVANI, for July sale, reading reviews, (some which were new to me) from my author central page, and seeing the OVERWHELMING support for my work. The sheer hunger for the kinds of things I write…

Y’all give me faith.

That what I’m doing is really needed. That my voice has worth in a world where I can’t land a publishing contract.

That my words, my work, my writing… is wanted.

That, it’s so important.

My critique partners and betas tell me they love my words. By and large they know me though, lol, my beloved CPs have the unenviable job of thumping me over the head with my own stubbornness…

I’m stubborn. Trust me on that.

Betas have the thankless job of reading something before publication… so, their words are incredibly important and I absolutely could NOT do this without my CPs and Betas.

Hearing from strangers, who have bought my book(s), read it, loved it, and then taken the time to review it for me?

That’s yet another level of gratitude.

I have so, so much gratitude for everyone who helps me in this writing journey.

I’m never going to be one of those authors who doesn’t appreciate those who read their words.

‘Cause without you all? I’d be nothing more than a writer telling stories to myself over my keyboard.

Thank you. So very much.

Edited half smile

Multifarious Press

Welp, cat is officially out of the bag on this one. So, some words.

cat-697113_1920.jpg

The idea to found Multifarious Press smacked me like a freight train a little over a year ago. Remember I’ve been writing for a long time, editing for almost as long.

I discovered writer-twitter and the wonderful (and horrible) world it can be roughly two years ago.

Through that medium, I’ve met some amazing authors, many diverse, wonderful voices that have honored me by letting me read their words.

hands-423794_1920.jpg

I’d been chatting with an author who felt their chances for a book they’d written had been lost because the diverse voice was too real.

An autistic voice. Like my own.

Silenced.

My soul cried out at that, because I need more adult autistic voice stories, and this one might never see the light of day.

adult-1868049_1920.jpg

In the two years I’ve been talking with authors on twitter, I’ve also seen so many diverse authors quit.

They stopped trying.

They stopped writing.

I’ve been working behind the scenes with my editors and web developer to get this fledgling press up and running for close to a year. From the seed of an idea to figuring out how we’ll work it all to getting people I trust to do what they’ll say they’ll do… it’s been a journey.

We’re all parents and people with lives and jobs and difficulties so you could say there were a few potholes.

But I am not going anywhere.

I’ll be honest, I’m bloody terrified that people won’t think I can do this, that they’ll think… unkind things about me, when all I want to do is help others like me. Diverse Voices.

One thing I’ve been accused of being a time or million is stubborn. Once I choose a piece of ground to stand for, I’ve been likened to a donkey with its feet planted in cement.

This is my ground.

I may not have a lot of experience with publishing, but by gods, I know how to get stories out there. I know how to edit and make covers and market. I know sales like the back of my hand because that was my career for the longest time.

If the world really wants diversity? (I think it does…) this press has a chance to open those doors to those authors who quit because they feel they’ll never make it in publishing.

I can make a difference.

I will. I will be the change in the world that I want to see.

think-2177839_1920

Go here for the Submissions Guidelines or check out the Multifarious Press website. 

Addendum post: https://kaelanrhywiol.com/2017/04/14/why-xxx-for-multifarious/

The Dark Side

of the force…

What? I couldn’t resist.

Resistance is futile, you know. Okay, fine, enough geek humor.

light-saber-1542459_1280.jpg

At least the dark side has cookies, or so I tell myself.

I work as an editor for a small press, have for a while now, and I honestly felt like my best skills (with romance in general) weren’t utilized. So I asked for more romance subs.

Yay! I get some… Yay! I get to read the submission packages and decide… woah, I get to write the acceptance/rejection letters.

Whups.

screech-706080_1920.png

I didn’t think about that.

And I learned how bloody painful it is to reject a book someone has slaved over. 

I’m human (most days) and negative emotions are remembered more strongly than positive.

I have also enjoyed the experience of the giddy sense of OMG I LOVE THIS SUB I NEED THE REST OF IT RIGHT NOW, as well as that nasty, heart-stabbing pain of rejecting others.

I can say, having received a lot of rejections, that I at least made it a helpful one, listing my whys.

I can also see the reasoning behind why so many agents don’t bother to even use form emails, when inundated with subs, I can see how it would be overwhelming.

It doesn’t change my stance on querying future titles that I write, not sure anything can.

But I understand better now. 

I don’t know that I’ll ever be the type to not send some sort of feedback, I know too well the sense of questioning that comes with each rejection.

The people at THP are all good people, so I imagine we’ll be around for a while. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that I’ll get to the point where I’m inundated with subs and have to create a form email response.

For now though, I don’t have to do that, and I’m grateful for it. As painful as it is to write the rejections, it’s still more painful to receive them.