The Lady and I just had an odd conversation. She's my go-to (right after Mignon Fogarty aka Grammar Girl) when wondering about some of the more esoteric rules of grammar and punctuation. I caught her earlier as she stepped out of the shower, reading her a sentence from the newest book and asking her how one of the words should be punctuated. In the intervening forty minutes, I've thrown another dozen or so questions towards her.

It's funny. I'm not exactly a 14-year-old kid taking an English writing class for the first time. But yet, here I am, unsure at times how to punctuate or capitalize a word in my own writing.

I'll offer an example. Galatzi Trade is written in the same universe as Tresjolie. There is a loose political organization linking most of the populated planets, referred simply as "the empire".

Should I write it as:

  • the empire
  • the Empire
  • The Empire
The Lady didn't have a question about it at all. It should be the last. But of course, the first time this came up, it was at the start of a sentence, so The was already capitalized, and thus wasn't part of the discussion. Later, I ran into it at the end of the sentence. I had written it first with a capital -- the Empire -- but realized that might be wrong. So there was a second conversation. Then, to top it off, I found a place where someone who wasn't from a planet member of The Empire used the phrase, "your empire". And so we had a third conversation.

There was another conversation over the last word in this sentence:

Chaladine said, "They may take anyone who calls father Vendart."

Vendart is his title -- translate it as chieftain. I asked her, capitalized or not? Single quotes? Italics? Her answer was as I wrote it above.

I've been around the writing block more than once, both in my fiction writing and for the day job. In my fiction writing, discounting typing errors not discovered in the editing and beta-reading process, grammatical oddities are nearly always intentional as a result of my conversational writing style when writing fiction. I know the rules, but I do not always choose to follow them.

But clearly, I don't always know all the rules.

Would anyone have found it difficult to understand if I wrote the empire instead of The Empire? No. But there's a right way to do it. Knowing what is the right way isn't always obvious.

Status Update: Galatzi Trade

NaNoWriMo status update.

My latest novel, now tentatively called Galatzi Trade, has a completed first draft. I just wrote the final word.

103,000 words.

It's a science fiction novel set in the same universe as Tresjolie, but on an entirely different planet called Talmon. There are a number of similarities with some of my other novels, including Tresjolie, but it is a dramatically different story at the same time.

I am personally very pleased with it. There is conflict. There are mistakes made. There is love. There is loss. And because this is a Robin Roseau novel, there are a few knots tied.

I'll let you wonder if any of them are figurative knots tied.

It is much more light-hearted than some of my recent work, and as I sometimes do, I've made myself a little ill from lack of sleep. This will be the first time this week I'm going to bed before 2 AM. (It's only midnight, and I'm heading to bed after this post.)

I don't have a publishing date yet. The writing is rough, so it needs editing. It will be out by the end of the year, probably the first half of December.


I am sorry - I didn't make further progress on my non-fiction book about novel writing. Perhaps by next year.

I am hard at work on my own NaNoWriMo novel. As of this moment, I am at 66 thousand words, so assuming I reach a conclusion to the novel, I have satisfied the 50 thousand word NaNoWriMo goal. But of course, my goals are higher, and so we shall see what happens.

I don't have a publishing time frame yet, or even a title better than the rather poor working title I've given it. It is another science fiction novel, like Tresjolie, and shares some similarities to that story besides.

I am enjoying writing it a great deal, so when it is done, I hope you will enjoy reading it.

Halloween Costumes

I just did a Google search for "classy halloween costumes", hoping for an idea for someone who would never stoop to dressing in a tacky fashion. Google proudly offered this image.

I'm not sure Google knows what "classy" means.

Working on a Fox Story

Michaela is back in New Orleans, this time on much better terms. I am doing some online research, making myself sick to my stomach.

I was never much of a historian. I did well in school, but that was a long, long time ago. I remember reading about Sherman's march through the south. And I knew about the burning of Atlanta, although I suspect I know more about it from Gone with the Wind than history class. But as I am not much of a historian, I presumed that what Sherman did through Georgia and the Carolinas was how the entire south was treated.

New Orleans was captured early in the war, and it had its own difficulties, but being burned wasn't amongst them. Other than some information about General Butler, I haven't found a lot to use. Other than, "New Orleans didn't burn", and thus many of the original plantations would have remained physically intact.

But then I was writing this:

This was a working plantation prior to the War of Northern Aggression. Unlike Atlanta and other major cities across the south, New Orleans was not burned by Sherman and his marauding hordes.

This is spoken by one of Clarissa's thralls while describing a plantation the fox is about to visit. I wanted to know if the way I wrote this is consistent with a southern outlook, and so I did a search, and then another, and another.

I'm not a southerner, and I don't have one handy to ask about this, but let's just say, from what I've been reading, if that's what a southerner would say, then it's a mild reaction to events.

And there are even apologists who try to contest this view. It wasn't Sherman, it was his men. Sorry, I don't buy it.

If you're from south of the Mason-Dixon line, especially if you're from in or around New Orleans, drop me a note. I'd love to do some fact-checking. Well, attitude-checking.

Wolf Women

As promised for November, I just hit Publish on Wolf Women. It should be available at Amazon later today (Sunday).

In this book, the third in the Zoe series, Zoe finds joy in her new relationship with Portia, expands her position in the pack, and explores the concept of motherhood.

Autumn Sunrise

I'm working on a short story that hit me instead of sleep this morning.

Recently Published

I've been busy... Note that both Seer: Thrall and Wolf Women are on track for publishing in the next three weeks as well.

Fox Opponent

Since joining the Madison wolves, Michaela continually finds herself facing off against the established partnerships that have long existed within the pack. Sometimes this conflict acts as a source of stress.

In Fox Opponent, we discover that the little fox is, well, clever as a fox.

This is a short story of 6,500 words. It is a segment from Fox Found, not yet published, and is told from Elisabeth's point of view. This is a complete story but will appear in the full novel once published.

This is a chance to see the fox and her antics through Elisabeth's eyes.

Fox Rematch

Michaela and Lara have been married for a year when Elisabeth and Angel approach Michaela with a werewolf tradition: ransom night rematch.

Michaela accepts.

This is a short novella of 20,000 words. It is set to begin immediately (seconds) after the events from the final chapter of Fox Mate and, as such, is actually after the events in Fox Afield but prior to Fox Revenge. The story represents Michaela's ransom rematch and, as such, contains some unpleasant experiences. If you didn't care for the ransom night in Fox Mate, you won't enjoy this short. This story contains some important tidbits, but it is okay to skip reading it.

Book Returns

Over on the Virtual Living Room, there is a discussion regarding returning eBooks. My position is somewhat different from that of the other people posting, so I thought I'd share my comments here.

Do I think it's right if someone buys my book, reads it, and returns it afterwards? No, not really. But I don't lose sleep over it. It's not a whole lot different from someone picking up a book at Barnes and Noble then heading over to the in-store Starbucks for a few hours to read it right in the store. I've never done that, but given there are always people in there reading something, I presume it happens on a daily basis.

I also think a certain percentage of people buy the book knowing they can return it if they don't like it. When you pick up a book at Barnes and Noble, you can page through it and see what you think. You get a feel for how long it is and what the style of writing is. You can readily read a few pages. People don't have quite the same habit with ebooks -- they don't download the free samples. They hit Buy and then read a bit.

So I just don't get worked up over it.

Now, the ones I really dislike are the ones who download my books then make them available for torrent uploads. Those people are real assholes -- and they're violating my copyrights besides. So are the people who download from torrent.

But I console myself knowing that the people who download them this way wouldn't go buy them anyway.

I think there are a certain number of people who buy books, copy the .mobi file, then return it while keeping the .mobi. I suspect these people are proud they are getting away with something. They are enjoying my hundreds of hours of work without compensating me for it. Luckily, they aren't very numerous. My return rate is somewhere around 3% or so.

It's just not significant.

Fox Rematch

Okay, so... When I wrote Fox Mate, I also wrote the rematch, but I didn't include it in the novel. It's about 20,000 words, making it a short novella. I haven't published it yet for one simple reason:

It includes a plot element that I don't necessarily want to retain in the Fox universe. It's not a BIG deal, but unfortunately it was important to the novella. I've sat on this for over a year wondering what I was going to do about it. I kept thinking I would rewrite that portion of the story, but I haven't come up with any clever ideas.

I think I should publish it the way it is (after final editing) with a caveat about the plot element not surviving into future books.