Archive for the ‘Feedback Friday’ Category

Today’s Feedback Friday is going to be short and sweet, my friends; it’s been a crazy week and I still have the 2nd half of chapter 4 to finish, so I haven’t had much time to scour the internet for interesting things to share. I’ll do better next time.

First of all, let me say that I’m crazy appreciative of the comments that have come in since last week’s chapter went up, as well as the verbal feedback I’ve received – thank you for letting me know what you think, and for liking what’s been put up so far!

In the spirit of helping me viewing myself as a for-real writer, and not just a “writer”, my very cool husband decided to surprise me and design business cards with the serial information on them; they arrived the other day and they’re so awesome!

I’m considering ignoring Facebook’s rules for cover photos and using this for my page, I love it that much. Plus it’s kind of sad how empty and unfinished that page looks right now; it needs SOMETHING. If you have a better idea, I’d love to hear it! I really suck at choosing pictures. Which is why on Twitter I’m an egg. Eggs are ancient fertility symbols, so that’s kind of sexy? We’ll go with that.

In writing news, it looks like there’s an interesting Independent Author Symposium happening in Rhode Island in November, with lectures on e-book formatting, promotion and royalties (for those who can worry about that kind of thing, ie: NOT ME). The price is kind of steep, I think, but one of the hosts is a best-selling author so, maybe worth the cost. Some day I’ll have the free time to attend this kind of stuff, although by then we might be publishing books on, like, space rocks or something.

Speaking of space and zombies (which we WERE), I read about this cool program that The National Academy of Science has developed, STEM Behind Hollywood, which is designed to get kids interested in math and science by using topics like zombies, superheroes and forensics as gateways to learning. Forbes had an article about this the other day; basically, they use things like the way zombies shuffle to figure out which part of the brain would be damaged, and from there learn what a healthy brain looks like. They can also use math to track things like infection rates through equations. I don’t know, I think it’s a pretty brilliant way to get younger kids interested in these areas, by appealing to them through pop culture – kind of like the class with the same goal for older students, or when the CDC used a zombie apocalypse to teach people about disaster preparedness.

Last but not least, CHECK OUT THIS SHIRT.

I saw this while out shopping the other night and absolutely had to have it. It’s awesome, right? I got mine at Walmart, but they’re available at ZombieMart. Also, ZombieMart?! I will be scoping that place out thoroughly this weekend; I’ll report back next week.


This week’s recommendation is Hugh Howey’s Half Way Home. You might be familiar with Howey through reading his Silo series; I’ve read the first part of that, and really liked it, but Half Way Home was my first introduction to his writing so I have a soft spot for it. It’s about a group of people who are sent to a distant planet as embryos to colonize; they’re supposed to remain in stasis until they reach age 30, at which point they’ll awake with all the information they’ll need to succeed as a society, but an accident destroys most of them and awakes the rest at 15, long before they’re ready to be out. It’s a really good book, with both physical dangers and psychological issues to explore, and the main character, Porter, drew me right in. It was slow in places, and I wasn’t thrilled with the ending, but overall it was a good read.

Well…that actually wasn’t that short, was it? So I lied. Hopefully you’ll forgive me and come back on Sunday for Chapter 4. See you then!

Time for another Feedback Friday! Still not a whole lot to work with – seriously, I see you reading, tell me something! – so I’m going to use space this week to ramble a little bit. You brought this on yourself.

First of all, can I just talk for a second about the 50 Shades movie casting? I promised myself I wasn’t going to think about this, since I have no intention of seeing the movie (reading the books was quite enough), but I can’t get away from the comments and vitriol and OHMYGODANGST that are all over the net – STILL – and listen people. You are ruining Charlie Hunnam for me. I think he’s a talented guy, I enjoy watching him bring Jax Teller to life on Sons, and he’s attractive. (I’m being careful; my husband reads this. Dude is nice to look at, is all I’m saying.) Christian Grey? Neither talented nor attractive. Honestly, I’ve always pictured him as a Patrick Bateman-esque dead-eyed psycho. Like so:

Credit: Tumblr

That guy looks like he’d beat the shit out of you with his belt and call it sex, doesn’t he? But this guy?


Would that guy spank you? Fuck yes he would. Oh…I mean, sure, I can see that. But is he a creepy millionaire who gets off on mentally and physically abusing his Mommy girlfriend? No, I don’t think so. I’m not feeling it.

I was going to say that I don’t even know why I care about this, but I do: Charlie Hunnam’s face is now going to be what my mind conjures up when it thinks about these books and this piece of shit “hero” character. Which means his face is now going to be associated with hate in my head. I don’t want to hate Charlie. I love Charlie.


Second of all, Harlequin is getting ready to launch So You Think You Can Write, an online writing conference and contest. Day One starts this Monday, 9/16, and the week is devoted to writing exercises, podcasts, tips and advice from Harlequin editors and lots of other cool stuff. If you write romance and have a complete manuscript, check out the contest guidelines, as they’re looking to award a book contract to the winner. In checking around, it appears they offered contracts last year to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, as well as to a few other entrants who didn’t place but still had great work. I’m pretty bummed that I can’t participate in the contest part, but unfortunately there’s no way I can finish my manuscript-in-progress in time for the deadline. Maybe next year!

Finally, are we freaking ready for The Walking Dead? I AM. AMC released an extended trailer for Season 4, and I don’t even know how to get through another month. So excited! And not just for Daryl Dixon.


This week I was going to recommend Kate Hilton’s Hole in the Middle, which I read a few months ago and loved; when I went searching for a link, though, I saw that it was no longer available for purchase. I was horrified briefly, as Hilton published the book herself through Amazon’s self-publishing platform and I thought she yanked it for sad writerly reasons. However, it turns out there are much better reasons: apparently Hilton got a contract through HarperCollins, and they’re slated to release the book in December. Good for her! That right there is the dream, and I’m thrilled on her behalf; the book really was fantastic. So keep an eye out for that in a few months.

Since I’d prefer to give you a rec you can read right now, as opposed to one you have to wait for, I’m going to go with Wicked Cravings. Now, listen: it’s a paranormal romance. About shapeshifters. Yes. I know. I was skeptical going in, given I’d never read one before, but they’re hugely popular and it pays to know what’s going on in this industry. That said, I actually liked it. I think it’s fairly obvious what the deal is: they’re people, but also wolves, and they have sex. As people, for what that’s worth. It’s pretty hot, if I’m being completely honest. Wicked Cravings is the second book in a series; I didn’t read the first one, but I had no trouble keeping up with what was going on, since each book focuses on a different pair and background information from the previous book stays, well, in the background. It’s not high literature, and there were some points I didn’t like (the main female character is quite crass, in an immature way, and there are so many different kinds of shapeshifters that my eyes started to roll just a little bit), but for a fluffy weekend read? Worth the few bucks.

Happy reading, and see you Sunday!

We’re kicking Feedback Friday off with a bang this week, because I have blog news: Love in the ZA got its very first write-up! Author Thea Landen was kind enough to tell readers of her blog about what’s going on over here, and had some nice things to say as well. (Oh okay fine – we’re friends. It still counts. She’s a published author. With real, honest-to-god books. I’M COUNTING IT.) If you want to make her day the way she made mine, go check out her site, or better yet, have a look at some of her work. I just read her book Disintegration, and I’ll be honest: I didn’t expect it to ring my bells, since I’m super-picky about sci-fi fantasy, but I loved it. I was kinda pissed when it was over; I wanted more of Cal and Ro and even that bastard Zedek. I reached out to Thea to harass ask about a sequel, and while there isn’t one (YET) she does have a set of prequels available through Smashwords; if you read the book and like it, check those out too. I know they’re on my weekend reading list.

On an entirely different note, have you heard about this UC-Irvine course, “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons From AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’”, through I stumbled on it the other day and promptly signed up (it’s free!); if it’s not obvious, I have a thing for zombie-related entertainment, and I couldn’t resist the course description. Anyone in the world can enroll, it’s not US-specific, so if you’re like me go check that out! I’m pretty excited about it, both because I need info on population modeling and the spread of contagion and because I’m a little bit sick in the head. Don’t judge.


Last week I rec’ed a romance novel, so this week I’m going to go with something in the sci-fi genre: Scott Sigler’s Infected. In the book, an unknown illness is causing people to freak out and wreak havoc on themselves and everyone around them, and then disintegrate into nastiness when they’re finally taken down. There are a couple main characters but for me the main draw was Perry, a badass who spends most of the book fighting the infection that’s taking over his body. The writing is pretty graphic, and the whole thing has a Tommy Knockers vibe to it, but I liked it. (If you don’t know what “Tommy Knockers vibe” means, you should be ashamed of yourself. I’m just saying. Go do penance at the altar of King and get back to me.)

That’s it for me this week! Don’t forget, Chapter Two goes up on Sunday; I’ll see you then.

Feedback Friday!

Posted: August 30, 2013 in Feedback Friday
Tags: ,

Welcome to Feedback Friday! I know, there isn’t much to offer feedback on yet – but there will be! Chapter One goes up in 2 days, at which point I’m looking forward to hearing what you think. For now, though, I’m going to talk a little bit about what a serial is, how it works, why I’m publishing online for free, and a few other things. I’ll also offer a book recommendation at the end, because god I love those; if the rest of this bores you, feel free to scroll down and find that.

So. You may already know what a serial is, but for those who don’t, I’ll briefly explain: a serial is a work, usually novel-length but not always, that’s offered in weekly installments. They used to be pretty popular in magazines and newspapers, and now that blogs are everywhere it’s easier to put one out there; there’s an entire website, TuesdaySerial, dedicated to finding and sharing the latest serials that are available.

As to how writing a serial works, there are two ways. One: the author writes the entire work, from start to finish, and then offers it up in pieces, adhering to the serial model. There’s some debate as to whether work made that way should really be called a serial; a lot of people who write serials would prefer to call what I’ve just described a serialized novel instead, to differentiate between the two. I personally think the difference is important to note and remember, because true serials are written on deadline, and they’re hella hard when it comes to workload. Which brings me to Two: the author writes a chapter (or section, or whatever it is they’re putting together for their installments), edits it (hopefully) and publishes it immediately. They could front-load some of the work and have a few chapters in the hole, ready for publication, but odds are that at some point in the process they’re typing furiously at 11:30pm, trying to get that entry finished for the promised publication date.

I’m writing Love in the ZA the second way. I have the first 3 chapters edited and in the hole, and part of chapter 4 roughly written, but the entire work is not complete. I have an outline, where I have written down a vague idea of what’s going to happen, but I have no idea how it ends, or how we get from point E to point O, or any number of things that I would have figured out were I working with a completed manuscript. That, I think, is part of the fun in writing a serial like this: I have no idea what’s going to happen until I sit down and write it, so it’s a surprise for me as much as for you. It’s also, however, what makes this so damn hard: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. I might get to chapter 15 and realize that oh no, I killed off somebody who I actually really needed and replaced them with a useless character I hate. Too bad, so sad. There’s a definite risk of suckage here, is what I’m saying. I certainly hope that doesn’t happen, or that if it does I manage to finesse my way out of any painted corners, but we’ll have to wait and see.

(I should also say, since I just admitted that I have a few chapters finished and won’t be forced into writing on deadline at the outset, that I am sticking to the spirit of the law, if not the letter: I have not and will not go back and edit those completed chapters, using knowledge I’ve gained by writing ahead, to make them better or different. They are what they are, and at this point I’m pretending that they’re no longer available for me to fiddle with.)

Now we get to the question: Why are you giving your work away for free? It’s not like what I’ve written has been pulled out of my ass; you may end up hating it but rest assured, a lot of time and effort went into it (50+ hours as of right now). Why, then, just put it out there and not expect anything in return? Artists hate when other artists do that; they argue that it devalues all of our work. I don’t necessarily disagree with that – I’ve seen what some people are offering to pay for writing jobs these days, and they make it pretty obvious that they don’t think writing is worth much. Don’t send me hate mail; I get it.

There are a couple reasons I’m doing this the way that I am. For one, the market is pretty saturated with zombie-related stuff right now; by the time I come up with a completed manuscript and go to secure an agent or publisher, we’ll be (I suspect) on the ass-end of the fad. Odds aren’t great for the work going anywhere, and while I’m certainly having a ton of fun writing this, I want people to READ it. That is, after all, the point of writing anything. Did you read it? Did you like it? Did you tell somebody else about it? Hooray, you just made my day. Mission Accomplished.

The second reason, and maybe the biggest one for me right now, is that I want this to STAY fun. I’m a full-time student; I have a horde of kids for whom I am the primary caregiver. I enjoy writing, and I want to continue to enjoy it. I want to write a story that I genuinely like spending time on, I want to let it go off in a thousand different directions if that’s what it wants to do, I want to be able to say “Hey, who do you think should die, Character A or Character B” and then DO THAT, just because I put it out there and said I’d listen to the response. You can’t do that when you’re writing a novel the traditional way, or when you’re worried about what an editor will have to say about what you’ve done. I want to play, and I want you to play with me.


The book I’m going to recommend today is one that I originally read online for free, but for a variety of reasons better explained by the author is only available through Amazon right now, for 2.99. (Prime members can borrow for free!) Abigail Barnette’s The Boss is an erotic romance (heavy emphasis on the “erotic” part of that – there’s a lot of sex, and it’s BDSM-themed, so buyer beware); Barnette’s real-life counterpart, Jenny Trout, was inspired to write it after reading – and ripping on – 50 Shades of Grey. (If you’re unfamiliar with Jenny’s 50 Shades recaps, I highly recommend them. She’s hilarious.) I really enjoyed it: the main character is realistic, the sex scenes are well-written (although not quite my cup of tea) and I found the storyline outside the bedroom interesting. There’s a sequel, The Girlfriend, that you might want to check out if you find you like the first one. That one was a little too much for me, sex-wise, but again, the story is good. So give those a whirl.

(Disclaimer: I don’t know the author personally, and have no stake in whether you buy/read her books or not. Any and all book recommendations are going to be mentioned here solely because I enjoyed them. Just sayin’.)

I guess that’s it for Feedback Friday this week. I look forward to hearing from you, either about something I said today or about what you read this Sunday. Or, hell, tell me if you read either of the books I told you about and liked ‘em (or didn’t, that’s cool too). You can comment here; you can e-mail me (; hit me up on my Facebook (Elizabeth Lake) or Twitter (@lizz_lake). Although, please, be patient with me on Twitter; I still haven’t figured that shit out 100%. I’m working on it.

See you Sunday!