The Fear of Long Books

This is something I’ve noticed lately in my time spent in various author places online. There is an almost pathological fear of long books.

I see post after post from people worrying about their word count, that their book is “too long.” I see post after post of people saying “Keep your book short because all long books are unedited pieces of crap and you don’t want to bore your reader!” (Paraphrased.) Many of these posts I see are referring to books in my genre — SFF.

The word counts I’m seeing this about? 150K. 130K. 100K.

*looks at 250K first novel that was extensively edited and also pretty well-received*

It’s really weird to claim that all long books are “unedited”. It’s like there’s this assumption that you can’t POSSIBLY need that many words to tell a story; that if it’s that long, it means you couldn’t cut what was unnecessary.

Sure, there ARE longer works that haven’t been cut down as much as they should have (though to be honest, this usually happens a bit into a trad-pubbed series, when no one dares tell a popular author “No” anymore — see: George Lucas & the prequels). I’m not saying that it never happens; I just think it’s weird to assume it’s ALL that ever happens.

Continue reading The Fear of Long Books

Book Launch for Stranger Skies this Saturday in Powell River

StrangerSkiesebookcoverPress

Stranger Skies

Queer Pagan Fiction with a YA Bent

“The scent of death and fear hit her then — she’d found her first Minae wolf….”

A goddess’ fall from grace leaves her on an alien world, bereft of her followers, trapped in a mortal body. Should she strive to regain her godhood or accept her mortality and find love?

Silva, Queen of Wolves, Lady of the True Woods, seeks her only friend Etan, who, along with other deities of the Council of Divinity, has gone missing for reasons unknown. Her search traps her on a world where the wolves have lost faith in her; she becomes a mortal woman whose remaining powers could brand her as a witch.

Through the chaos of war and the turmoil in her own heart, Silva can’t escape a persistent feeling: her fall was not an accident.

~~

Just a brief heads up before I go collapse into a codeine-induced coma:

I am having a book launch for my latest novel, Stranger Skies, this Saturday the 22nd at 4 p.m. It will be held at the café “A Step Above” on the second floor of Quality Foods on Joyce Avenue.

From the event page:

It’s finally happening! Stranger Skies is having a book launch this Saturday in Powell River!

Stranger Skies
First Novel in The Borderlands Saga

“Any reader who loves wolves, woods and wonderful characters will devour Stranger Skies.”
— K. Wolff, La Chiripa

Have your copy of the first volume in this magnificent new science-fiction/fantasy saga signed by Katje van Loon, author of Bellica.

Located at the cafe above Quality Foods in Powell River — “A Step Above”. Go to the end of the cash registers, past the frozen foods section, and take the elevator or stairs up!

Hosted by The Pearl Review, Powell River’s book-lover’s collective.

Cover art by Autumn Skye ART.

You can RSVP at the Facebook event page here.

(Let me know if it doesn’t work; FB continues to mystify me. The event is set to public but who knows.)

If you’re in Powell River this weekend I hope to see you at the launch!

If you don’t live in Powell River, I will be having other book launches for Stranger Skies in the coming months both on Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland. It’s an informal book tour — informal, because we’re not planning the entire thing out beforehand and are just doing it as and when and where we can.

However, there will be more notice than a few days’ worth for other towns. We meant to get the word out earlier for this one, but moving + travel + surgery + recovery has kind of eaten our lives.

Speaking of recovery…I’m going to go do more of that, in bed, for several hours. Sleepy time! Codeine is kickin’ in with a vengeance.

Hope to see you on Saturday!

-Katje

Reading more women authors

This is not actually something I need help with, in the most general of terms. I tend to read women authors by default, and often have to work to seek out male authors.

I consider myself lucky — in this one, small way, my brain has escaped patriarchal programming.

Well, perhaps. I think I still read a disproportionate amount of cisgender, white, able-bodied, women authors, and I often only read the speculative fiction/SFF genres. My defaulting to women authors still does not yield much diversity in what I read.

So I am taking a page from Lilit Marcus’ book, here in 2014, and actively seeking out more women authors — but more specifically, queer and trans* women (including genderqueer folk who are socially classed as women/assumed to be women), women of colour, indigenous women, mixed race women, and women with disabilities. Also, I’m going to attempt to branch away from SFF and read other genres.

I won’t be reading women exclusively — as I said, I already default to reading women authors, so I actually have to actively seek out male authors most of the time. However, if I read a book by a man, I will then read 2 by women.

And I’m not sure how many books I’ll get read. I don’t do much reading these days; I think university killed my joy in it. But I will try; I will work very hard to read several books this year, and to seek out different types of books by more queer, trans*, indigenous, mixed race, WOC, and disabled [women] authors.

Are you participating in #readwomen2014?

(Worth noting: the hashtag was created by Joanna Walsh, and most of the credit for the idea is given to her — but Lilit Marcus deserves credit for the idea, and I’m giving her her due.)

And if you have any recommendations for books by queer, trans*, indigenous, mixed race, disabled, and/or women of colour authors that are not SFF, please let me know in the comments!

 

Writer Wednesday: Answers needed for a poll!

Bellica is coming out soon, and I need some answers.

I’m planning on keeping it up on the site for free and selling eBook and paperback copies alongside it. I’m a bit iffy on this plan, however, because I do need to pay rent and it would be nice if my writing career could support me. I want people to read my works more than I want money, yes, but I also want food. It’s delicious. And filling.

So I need to know from you, the readers, if this is feasible.

[polldaddy poll=4622124]

Additional comments? Post them below.

Writer Wednesday: Your Help Needed for the Cover of my Novel, Bellica

Hello, faithful readers!

I am in need of some assistance. My book, Bellica, is currently going through some edits and rewrites and I should have it all done by the end of September. At which point I will need an actual cover for the thing.

I have a concept, and can borrow a camera — all I need is a model and costume and props. Great if the model just happens to have these things lying around, but if not arrangements can be made.

The specs:

  • Ideal model would be lithe and well-muscled — the character you’re portraying is Bellica Yarrow, and she’s in the military. I’d model, myself, but I’m fucking fat. And that’s ok, but it’s not Yarrow.
  • Yarrow has long, curly red hair — we can find a wig if necessary.
  • Costume is leather breeches, cotton shirt, leather-mail tunic. Prop is sword. Doesn’t have to be real, just has to look real.
  • Your face will not be shown on the cover. I hate it when character’s faces are on the cover.
  • Shoot will take place in Nanaimo, Vancouver, or some area relatively close by to those places. I can travel, but would like to keep it close to home. Shoot will be in mid-September, ideally.
  • You will be compensated for the shoot. Not much, so this is ideal for models looking to build their portfolio, or a student looking for a small bit of extra income.

Interested? Know someone who might be? Please let me know by email: katjevanloon [at] gmail [dot] com, by my contact page, or via my Facebook.

30 in 30: Day 03 (in which I review PORN — I mean, part of the Kushiel series)

The best book you’ve read in the last 12 months

This one is harder to answer because I’ve read fewer books in the past year than I usually have. (Yes, you read that right.) Most of the books I’ve read have been non-fiction, which usually means that I haven’t actually finished them yet. And I have trouble picking a non-fiction book as the “best” that I’ve read, because that’s not how I measure their worth — I measure their worth in how USEFUL they are to me (also what KIND of useful — Silver RavenWolf’s books are good as doorstops or toilet paper, so are a lesser kind of useful than ones I’d actually get good knowledge out of…also SRW’s books could probably be classified as fiction, so I guess it’s sort of a moot point).

So. I haven’t read that many fiction books in the past year. That I can remember. I actually don’t really remember much from week to week.

Which means I’m choosing a book I just finished, because it’s fresh in my mind and it’s by one of my favorite authors. Kushiel’s Justice, by Jacqueline Carey.

Continue reading 30 in 30: Day 03 (in which I review PORN — I mean, part of the Kushiel series)