#GuestPost: Writing & The Internet By Elizabeth Corrigan
Please Note: The reviews will be posted later on today.
In the acknowledgements of both my books, I have taken special care to thank the internet for all the help it has provided for me in my writing endeavors. I say it on a regular basis—I have no idea how people wrote books before the internet came along. Oracle of Philadelphia is a relatively simple story but it has scenes in all kinds of historical periods, from Mesopotamia to Regency England to ancient Egypt. Raising Chaos has fewer historical scenes, but I still needed to know more than I ever wanted to about Neolithic Pakistan. When my editor came back to me with the inevitable demands for more details about these historical periods, I was grateful to have Google at my fingertips. I realized that before the dawn of the internet, novelists must have gone to the library to do all their research. I thought back to my schooldays exploits, where we would occasionally have to make a big trip into Scranton to actually get a useful book, and I thanked Al Gore or whoever really invented the internet.
Like so many things, though, the internet is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I have tons of information at my fingertips, but on the other hand, my fingers are typing out the URLs to lots of distracting sites. Any given evening, I should be writing, but first I need to check my author stats on Amazon. And Goodreads. And Blogger. Oh, and I need to keep Facebook and G-mail up, in case any of my friends has an emergency. Or a good lolcat. Or a need for me to reduce their boredom. It’s totally reasonable for me to play a round of Bejeweled before I get started. Or to reward myself after every hundred words I write. Or every fifty. And by the time I’ve done that, someone might have rated my book on Goodreads, so I had better check again. The sheer volume of time I spend on the internet doing absolutely nothing boggles my mind. The only reason I’m getting this blog post done at all is that I’m taking a break from the drama of Facebook. Well, that and my dedication and perseverance.
I have met authors from all over the country via the internet, and this helps create a great network. I now have skilled beta readers to comment on my books, and I get to read their first-class stuff before it hits the shelves. We also can draw on each other’s strengths and weaknesses in the author network. Some of them may have better blogger connections to share, but I have the patience to weed through all 10,000 of Amazon’s top reviewers looking for bloggers who might review our books. I have a group of authors I share the costs of going to conventions with, which provides unique exposure for our speculative fiction books to our target audience, and I never would have met them if not for the internet.
The down side of an author network is that I now have a ton of fellow writers to compare myself to. And they always seem to write faster, sell more, network better, and get more accolades. I’m like, “Gah! Writing is so hard and tedious and time-consuming for me! Why is it so effortless for them?” But of course, this is the bias of what we share on-line. I’ve often heard it said that everyone is trying to appear to his or her best advantage over the internet, but I think collective belief of what constitutes an appropriate Facebook post also plays a part. I mean, do you get more annoyed at your friend who posts the occasional brag or the one who spends all his or her time complaining? Because I think writing is lots of hard work and complaining interspersed with the occasional brag.
The internet has also revolutionized the publishing industry. Downloadable e-books satisfy my need for instant gratification far better than driving to every bookstore within a 20 mile radius to see if they have the latest Meg Cabot book. Anyone can publish a book on Amazon these days. Authors have swaths of social media platforms they can use to promote books. But I think some of these things are their own down sides (except instant download. That is just amazing.) If anyone can publish a book, that includes people who haven’t used a comma since they graduated high school. And the dawn of social media has made it positively necessary for authors to dedicate time to growing their on-line network, whether or not they have the skills or desires to do so.
Overall, do I think the internet is a source of greater good or ill for authors? The internet is not going anywhere, so it seems almost pointless to ask. Fortunately, I think I have to vote in favor. If only because I’m about to start doing research for Earthbound Angels book 3, and my sister’s books about the Crusades will only help so much.
Bedlam – Monday, 12 a.m. GMT
I bopped my head in time with Billy Idol dancing with himself as the song pealed from the juke box. I’d picked the track in hopes that Khet would take the hint and dance with me, but it didn’t work. Before the song was half over, I got tired of waiting and bopped over to the counter, where she was poring over a triplicate form.
“Khet, put the money stuff away and come dance! You’ll still have trillions of dollars even after you subtract whatever you lost on this money pit this week.”
I didn’t mean to insult the diner. Well, I kind of did. The diner was a money pit, but still, I loved it. My attachment had no rational explanation. I mean, what I generously referred to as a restaurant was a lackluster eatery in a crappy part of a city—Philadelphia—that might once have been a pearl of American society, but now was more a flawed cubic zirconium of people obsessed with sports teams that had seen better days. Yellow foam stuck out from between the cracks in the teal vinyl benches, looking like some kind of bulbous mold, and the silver tables always had some kind of film on them. The air smelled of slightly rancid grease and too-strong
coffee that had been sitting in the pot since Khet brewed it yesterday morning. And as for the food… Well, Khet had a habit of hiring cooks who’d never even seen a griddle before they started employment.
But the thing was, the diner was Khet’s. She had never owned anything like it, not in the three thousand years I’d known her, until a few decades ago. And if it belonged to her, it belonged to me too, because she had figured out a long time ago that life was easier if she let me do what I wanted. So this was more than a diner of hers and mine. It was our home.
I expected her to give me one of her usual responses about how she was “being the responsible one” and paying the bills so the gas didn’t get shut off, but she remained silent.
“Khet?” I waved my hand in front of her face. “Are you listening to me?”
Her brown eyes met mine, and I wondered if she could read anything in their demon-black depths. Not that she had to. She was the all-powerful Oracle who could read my mind. And also the inspiration for the Biblical myth of Cain, though in a bizarre way that led to her accidentally destroying a town rather than murdering a brother.
“I’m sorry, Bedlam,” she said. “Did you say something?”
I swiped the piece of paper out from under her pen and beheld what appeared to be a shopping list written in cuneiform. “What in Mephistopheles’s tomb is this?”
She tilted her head to the side. “Mephistopheles has a tomb?”
I waved my hand. “Tombs, archives, sepulchers. Same difference.”
“I don’t think—”
“Not the point.” I sat down on the stool facing her. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong.” She smiled as she spoke. Someone who didn’t know her that well might have bought it, but not me.
“Wait, so something’s wrong, and you won’t tell me what?”
That could be one of two things.
No, one of one thing. I’m the one that never wants to talk about a certain brown-haired angel.
I had this epic love tragedy going with Keziel, the angel of balance. To make a long story not quite as long, Kezi created the world with some help from me and Jophiel, the angel of service, and when we were done, she granted us each any boon within her power. Since I had fallen in love with her, the only thing I wanted was to stay with her forever, but Jophiel beat me to the punch. He made her promise to marry him and serve with him forever. And since angels can’t fall out of love, I was doomed to be unhappy without her forever. And she still owes me that boon.
But Kezi hadn’t been around. I could tell. I could always tell. Which meant Khet’s problem had to concern the angel of joy, Gabriel.
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When good fails, chaos rises to the challenge.
The daily life of a chaos demon is delightfully sinful—overindulging in Sri Lankan delicacies, trespassing on private beaches in Hawaii, and getting soused at the best angel bar on the planet. But when Bedlam learns that the archdemon Azrael has escaped from the Abyss in order to wreak vengeance against the person who sent her there—Bedlam’s best friend, Khet—he can’t sit idly by.
Only one relic possesses the power to kill Khet, who suffers immortality at Lucifer’s request: the mythical Spear of Destiny, which pierced Christ’s side at His crucifixion. Neither angel nor demon has seen the Spear in two thousand years, but Azrael claims to know its location. Bedlam has no choice but to interpret woefully outdated clues and race her to its ancient resting place.
His quest is made nearly impossible by the interference of a persnickety archivist, Keziel—his angelic ex—and a dedicated cult intent on keeping the Spear out of the wrong hands. But to Bedlam, “wrong” is just an arbitrary word, and there’s no way he’s letting Khet die without a fight.
About The Author:
Elizabeth Corrigan has degrees in English and psychology and has spent several years working as a data analyst in various branches of the healthcare industry. When she’s not hard at work on her next novel, Elizabeth enjoys singing, reading teen vampire novels, and making Sims of her characters.
She drinks more Diet Coke than is probably optimal for the human body and is pathologically afraid of bees. She lives in Maryland with two cats and a purple Smart Car.
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