Archive for the ‘One Good series’ Category

One of Us Must Know

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

So… That Next Page work ethic I was trying out, oh, a year ago? It didn’t work for me so well. I mean, it worked. I had four chapters of One Good #3 written before I knew it. But they were crap chapters. Choppy, disjointed, almost to the point of incoherent chapters. I ended up scrapping all four of them. No worries, though. For me, “scrapping” means putting the files into a separate folder, so I can always go back and see if there’s anything I can salvage later. And I think there will be, because writing “wrong” for so long gave me some insights into better directions the story can go, and that’s always a good thing.

But I must admit, not liking anything I wrote was a new and scary experience for me. I realized I was very rusty at my craft, and that I needed to stretch and practice. But I didn’t want to risk screwing up a book, and I didn’t want to derail any of the serials I’ve been working on for so long. Truthfully, for a while there, I was afraid to touch a keyboard at all.

Luckily, I’ve got good friends. Some of whom suggested I write for fun, with no goal in mind. It was good advice. I eased into it. Saw a few images on Tumblr that inspired me to write some flash. Mostly about merfolk which is kinda weird. You can read those extremely short fics here:

Sunrise
Hangover
Sunset

And — AND — I wrote my very first piece of fan poetry. My first piece of fan-anything. It was about “In the Flesh.” You can read it at:

In the Flesh

Please please please watch the show. It is amazing and there’s still no word on a third season. I — personally, selfishly — need a third season, so watch it and tweet/blog/tumbl (tumble? tumblr?) about it with a #SaveInTheFlesh tag and also talk to me about how great it is and your favorite parts and all of it. XD

The next step was writing something long-form. I didn’t really have any ideas, but I did have two characters, and I was curious to see how they would work together. So I gave myself permission to just start writing, with no plot in mind, no end in sight. A new serial, but one without a plan.

I wrote — AND FINISHED — a first chapter, and it was hella fun. My plan was to post it on the Evolution Forum, because that’s where I got my start writing for public consumption and it was great interacting with the readers there. I was seriously looking forward to recapturing that magic.

But, alas, the Fates conspired, and the Ev Forum shut its doors the day I was going to post. Heh.

Side note: Because I got emails suggesting I post to one of the two spinoff forums, I’m going to address that here. It comes down to the terms of service.

• Forum #1:

  • Allows people to post stories that don’t belong to them, and I’m apparently the only one freaked out by that.
  • The moderators are allowed to edit your post as they see fit, which seems…weird. I know I’m a “pro” writer and I should be used to getting my stuff edited, but that’s with my consent and with, uh, reasons.
  • Once you open an account there, you can never ever ever get it closed. I don’t even know why that freaks me out but it does. Maybe it’s the possibility that the site could fall into nefarious hands who do nefarious things with it and, just like that, I’m part of a nefarious organization. I’m paranoid, I know. But it’s part of my job description.

• Forum #2:

  • Not easily accessible by my phone or even my e-reader. I know that’s totally petty, but my computer’s so old that it’s pretty much only capable of wordprocessing at this point, so I use my phone for almost everything internet related. When I first designed my site, I designed it with a variety of screen sizes in mind, so while it’s not optimized for mobile, it’s readable on most phones. I’m currently working on the optimization part, but it’s a delicate balance because I also want people with dial-up to be able to access my site fairly quickly. This is personal for me since I have friends who still have dial-up. Anyway, my point is that if a site is impossible to read/navigate on my phone, I won’t bother.
  • The TOS states that you cannot delete a post once you’ve put it up, which essentially gives them infinite rights to that content. Non exclusive rights, sure, but many places won’t accept a story that’s already available to everyone everywhere. Let alone pay you for it. Advice to any newbie writers out there — don’t do that. Especially for free, even with stories you intend to be free forever. You might want to take it down for completely non-money releated reasons, and unless your wrote a story on commission, you should be able to do it for whatever reason you want. Also, read the Terms of Service and/or contract (even with a commission) with a fine tooth comb before handing over your story. Also, don’t mix metaphors. Also, try not to start three sentences in a row with “also.”

Those are my reasons. To the people who sent me emails regarding this, genuine thanks for trying to help. It’s just that neither of the new sites feel like home to me, you know?

Speaking of home, I didn’t know what to do for a while. I kept scratching away in my notebook. When I had three chapters, I realized I really wanted people to see them, even though I still had no idea where I was going with the story. 🙂 Then I remembered, duh, I’ve got my own site. And a blog that allows comments. If that’s not a recipe for a playground, I don’t know what is.

So now you can read the first chapter of “One of Us Must Know,” on my site at http://rowanmcbride.com/stories/serials/, and you can comment by either clicking on the link at the bottom of the chapter, or going to http://rowanmcbride.com/blog/?p=315. If you read it, please comment. I would very much like to know what you think. I’m needy like that. 😉

Oh, if you’re signed up for my newsletter, you got to read this chapter October 1st. From now on, that’ll be one of the perks of the newsletter — members get to read a new chapter on the first of the month, nonmembers still get to read the chapters, but they won’t be posted to the public until the 15th. If you’re interested, sign up for the newsletter at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rowan_mcbride/. It’s free and very low traffic. I think my record number of posts was a whopping five in one month.

I think that’s it. I hereby present you with OoUMK (wow, no matter how many times I see it, that is one unwieldy acroynym), a story with no plot, no planned ending, not even a smidgen of a general direction. Sounds fun, right? WheeeEEEEEEeeee…eee?

Go go. Read. You don’t really have to comment. But I’d honestly love it if you did. XD

4.0

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

I always get a little bummed when one of my stories dips below 4.0 on Goodreads. I think some part of my mind still equates that sort of point system with a grade point average. Through most of junior high and high school I had a 4.0 or higher, mainly because most of those schools weighted the grades based on the administration’s definition of difficulty. So I could conceivably get five points for trigonometry, but only four points for art history which is balls. Let me tell you that being able to recognize artists and styles and time periods by looking at a painting is at *least* as cool as being able to calculate sines and cosines.

But I’ve gone off on a tangent.

The point is that four stars is not perfection. A book’s rating is not a grade point average. I won’t fail to graduate with honors and disappoint my parents if a few most of my stories drop below 4.0.

Last time I checked, only two of my books had a rating of 4 stars or above. And what a weird pair–Paul’s Dream and Want Me. On the spectrum of my writings, those two occupy opposite poles. Paul’s Dream is one of my better written books and leans a little closer to traditional romance, so I get that. Want Me is also one of my better written books but oh my god it’s a dark, twisted, muscle theft story. I figured the theft alone would turn a lot of the readers right the hell off.

The first edition of Want Me was self-published, though, and only available in print. The price point was around sixteen bucks and I think that probably kept new readers from trying it. In other words, if you bought the book you were generally (a) already familiar with my writing or (b) specifically looking for a muscle theft story.

And the reviews for Want Me were freaking great. Almost all of them had some variation of “Oh God this is so creepy WHY AM I STILL READING IT???” which is pretty much one of the most awesome things ever. XD

The second edition of Want Me comes out next week in ebook format. I’m guessing that means its overall rating will plummet to around 2 or 3 stars. But that’s okay. It just means that readers feel strongly about it (in the case of 2 and below) or they think the story is about as good as most of the stories they’ve read (in the case of 3 stars).

Don’t get me wrong. Four and five stars is a rush. But I once got five stars on a book because Ace was strong and sensitive, then one star on that same book because he was weak and unstable. So I try not to take scores too seriously. It’s all relative, and I never took physics in high school. 😉



Note:While preparing this post I had to link to my Goodreads page. Turns out Want Me has already dropped below 4.0. XD


click here to learn more about Want Me
Want Me will be available April 2nd, 2013 from Loose Id.

Straightforwardness

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Main characters in my finished and published stories, ranked in order of straightforwardness, starting with the most straightforward and ending with the least:

Rafe Dirisio — (Lone)
Paul Graham — (Paul’s Dream)
Joe Wilson — (A Picture’s Worth)
Kian Somers — (Paul’s Dream)
Zakai — (Paul’s Dream)
Joel Beckett — (Want Me)
Keith Taylor — (Chasing Winter)
Ace Donovan — (One Good Hand/One Good Year)
Riley Jameson — (One Shot)
Walker Cain — (Want Me)
Nick Carlyle — (One Shot)
Spade Hart — (One Good Hand/One Good Year)
Seth Anderson — (Lone)
Draven Donnor — (Just Perfect)
Mason Ripley — (A Picture’s Worth)
Asher Croft — (Paul’s Dream)
Jesse Winter — (Chasing Winter)
Dorian Burns — (Lone)
Cody West — (Just Perfect)

You might be thinking, “What?! How is Jesse so far down on the list, and how is WALKER square in the middle??” If you are thinking that, what follows is what passes for logic on my end:

First, this list only gauges straightforwardness, and does not take badassitude into account. Though, really, when you think about it, Jesse is plenty badass. Whenever Keith–who is gigantic and endowed with freaky super strength–steps out of line, Jesse never hesitates to knock him right back into it.

Second, the ranking is value-neutral. So whatever nefarious schemes a character might have going on (I’m looking at you, Draven), they don’t count for anything in this list.

Last, straightforwardness does not mean trustworthy. So, while Spade is arguably the most trustworthy character on the list, he waits till damned-near the end of the first book to tell Ace what he is, which Ace doesn’t take well. At all.

But anyway.

Jesse is in the bottom three because through most of Chasing Winter what he says and what he’s thinking are totally out of sync. For example:

“You always told me that willpower could accomplish anything.”

If I had known he’d remember every damned thing I said, I would have tried harder to stay away from such trite clichés. “Yes, I did say that.”

Or–

Keith grinned. “I’m making you uncomfortable, aren’t I?” He left the couch and searched out his briefs. “I’ll get out of your hair.”

I grabbed the top of the couch with my right arm and pulled myself up to watch him dress. Now that he wasn’t touching me, I felt…oh, God, I felt more alone than I ever had in my life. “Thank you.”

And he’s like that through most of the book. So now he’s on the bottom of a totally arbitrary, written-by-the-whim-of-the-author list on straightforwardness.

Jesse was fairly easy to place. If you’ve read Just Perfect, then you know why Cody ranks rock-bottom. No brainer. Same with Rafe and Paul. Rafe wears his heart on his sleeve and is always sure everyone around him knows where he stands. Paul’s heart is frozen solid for a while, but even then everything he does has a reason and he has no qualms about explaining those reasons to you.

Walker wasn’t so easy. Sure, he locks Joel to him in a horrifying spiral of magic that pretty much ruins both their lives, but remember–nefariousness has no weight on this list. He’s also a liar by nature, which would naturally rank him lower. But he doesn’t fuck around when it comes to his obsession with Joel. Never deviates. Never lets Joel forget that he’s never going to deviate. So, yeah, horrifying. But hey, straightforward.

You’re probably safer if you just don’t believe in anything Dorian does or says. Ever. I know it sort of worked out in Lone, but dude. Trust me on that one.

Riley was also hard to place. One Shot’s told from Nick’s point of view, and he’s royally freaked out through most of that story, so it’s hard to gauge how much of Riley’s actions are warped by that filter.

Seth was a pain in the ass. He’s got that crazy Ravager-magic-want-it-now-so-will-HAVE-IT-NOW thing going on. And first instinct is to rank him higher because even in human form he’s all “Look at my massive brown puppy eyes don’t you want to pet my hair?” But Seth doesn’t even know himself, so by default that cripples his ability to be straightforward with Rafe.

So that’s my logic, such as it is. I think it’s pretty easy to see why I put the others in their places on the list.

My question: Do you agree with me? Disagree? Where would you rank these guys, and why?


Interesting fact: I was not aware that “straightforwardness” was a legit word until I typed it up for the first time and didn’t get the red spell-fail squigglies. Prior to that I’d assumed I had made it up. “Squigglies,” however, is apparently fake, which feels wrong to me. >.>

Meme’d!

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Elizabeth Brooks tagged me on the Lucky Seven meme!

Rules: Go to page 7 or 77 of your latest work. Read down to the seventh line and then online the next seven lines or sentences. Then head off and tag seven more writers.

So, without further ado, I’m posting seven sentences from my latest publication– “One Good Year.”

I want what you want. I want you to be happy. But most of all I want… Curving my palm behind his nape, I drew him to my body. I lowered my head and buried my face in his hair, inhaling deeply. Even with where he’d been tonight, I could still catch the green-apple scent of his shampoo.  “I love you.”

Now, who to tag? I choose Katrina Strauss, Z.A. Maxfield, Kari Gregg, Eric Arvin, Belinda McBride, Zach Sweets, and Alex Woolfson (because I’m curious to see how he’ll swing this with a comic book).

Help a Fab Editor

Friday, April 27th, 2012

My editor at Loose Id, Raven McKnight, is ill and is currently trying to get her health insurance to do right by her.  She’s a total fighter, but fighting requires being able to sit up and breathe at the same time, and she can’t even get *those* meds.  So Katey Hawthorne got a bunch of us together in order to raise some money that will help her do just that.

How can you help?  Go to http://www.indiegogo.com/for-raven. There’s different ways to donate, and each donation level gives you a chance to win a different prize.  They’re awesome prizes, for a very good cause.

Raven edited “One Good Hand,” “One Good Year,” and “One Shot.”  She’s sharp, savvy, and not afraid to rip a manuscript apart in order to make it better.  She also keeps me from losing my damned mind at the height of edits and in those tense days just after a book release.  She’s a great editor and a credit to writing.

Let’s help her out.

Let’s ready to HOP!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

I keep telling myself that I’ll write better post titles. It doesn’t appear to be working

I’m participating in two blog hops in May, and I’d like you to hop along with me!

Hop Against Homophobia logo

The first is for Hop Against Homophobia, which runs from May 17th to 20th. May 17th marks the International Day Against Homophobia, so a lot of authors are getting together to share their thoughts and experiences. I encourage you to participate, not only to win prizes (I’ll be giving away a hardcopy of Want Me), but to share your stories with us as we share ours with you. You can find more information here.

Scavenger Hunt Logo

On May 25th, Miho Li is hosting a scavenger hunt. Follow the clues to solve the puzzle, and you’ll be entered to win twenty books, including an e-copy of One Good Hand, the first book in the “One Good” series. During the search, authors Katrina Strauss, Z.A. Maxfield, Sloan Parker, and many more will be posting content exclusive to the hunt. I don’t know who I’ll draw yet, but the writer who gets me will post a sneak peek of the first chapter of One Good Verse, the third story in its series. More details can be had on Miho’s site.

It should be good. I hope to see you.

Just Perfect story review

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

The first official review for Just Perfect is in! Serena Yates, of QMO Books, wrote “The characters and their roles are flipped around, turned inside out and any preconception you may have had will go out the window when you read this. … This is definitely a book worth reading for its lack of conventionalism alone.”click the pic to visit the book's Torquere page

Pretty snazzy, yeah? She said a lot of other great things, which you can read at QMOBooks.com.

Reader reviews are also filtering in, but I don’t know what the protocol is on quoting those so I won’t post any here. Last I checked, the ratings on GoodReads have been across the board, resulting in a weird, perfect aggregate rating dead center at 3 stars. I’ve never had that before. Usually, the majority either likes or dislikes my book, so the rating is either over 3 or under it.

Another interesting thing I noticed was that a lot of readers felt Cody was cold and Just Perfect was generally unromantic, while many readers of One Good Year believe the story was too sentimental and overly romantic. So my advice to you is to read both stories simultaneously in order to achieve perfect balance. 😉

That’s it for the Zen of Rowan.

Have a good week!

Easter Chat!

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

I’ll be participating in an M/M chat on Easter weekend, hosted by Literary Nymphs. Some of the other writers attending are Ariel Tachna, Jaime Samms, Andrea Speed, Christiane France, Kathryn Scannell, Berengaria Brown, Sloan Parker, and Jessica Freely.

To play, you have to be a member of the Literary Nymphs Chat loop here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LiteraryNymphsChat/. These chats tend to be mega high traffic, so when you join I highly suggest selecting “web only” as your membership default. I’ve known people to wake up with a thousand emails in their inbox. lol.

The chat goes from April 7th to 8th. I’ll be posting excerpts, chatting people up, and giving away an e-copy of One Good Hand. If you drop by, please give me a wave. It’s my first official chat in two years, and I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Ace of Spades

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Want to learn the card trick Ace does for Spade in One Good Year? You’re in luck! Here is a very polite man with a very polite accent to show you how!

Like it? I also put together a playlist featuring a few flourishes similar to ones in the story. There are 13 vids because the book was released March 13th.

That is, of course, a bald-faced lie. There are 13 vids because I started out with 50, got way overstimulated, and my brain shorted out during the narrowing down process. They’re short, though, and a helluva lot of fun. You can view them here:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5D1FA2FD31FC5260

One Good Year is here!

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Heh. My title rhymes. XD

And my book is out! Book two of the One Good series, One Good Year, is Ace and Spade’s second story, and is available now at http://www.loose-id.com/One-Good-Year.aspx.

click the pic to learn more about One Good Year

Blurb:

Ten months ago, Spade was won in yet another high-stakes poker game. But Ace Donovan was different from his previous masters–kind, generous, possessed of a playfulness that only Spade could see. His new master was also broken, slowly crumbling under the pressures of undeserved guilt and pain. As Senai–a genetically engineered servant–Spade had the ability to sweep the anguish from his soul, to fulfill his every desire, and to set Ace’s spirit free.

He had not known doing these things would grant him the human’s love, or create an answering emotion within him.

There is no greater pleasure than Ace in his arms, and Spade will hold on for as long as he is wanted. Even when the orders given to him hurt, even when they make him lonely, even when it becomes clear that his master no longer needs a servant. He’s Senai. What he has now should be enough. Yet it’s not. He wants more.

One good hand brought them together. Could one good year entwine their souls?


I hope you enjoy my very first sequel!


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