“Alive” (a letter to Neil Gaiman)

Dear Neil,

The odds that you are reading this are slim. Very slim. I probably won’t finish writing it, but if I do, I almost surely won’t be brave enough to send it to you. If I am uncharacteristically brave, what then? I send it, and it never reaches you; it slips between the cracks of your magically real life and goes to Neverwhere — or wherever unread emails go to die.

So why am I writing it at all? I’m writing it for me, because I have to. But please be patient with me. It’s hard to type through the tears.

Gretchen at the 50th

Two days ago, my brave, compassionate, quietly kick-ass sister Gretchen died. One minute she was Alive… and then she was Dead. My beautiful inside-and-out sister was beautiful no longer.

Death is not beautiful.

I think — how can I know? — that she didn’t tell us there was no hope for her surviving the cancer because she didn’t believe in no-hope scenarios. Or maybe she didn’t tell us so she could spare us weeks of pretending we weren’t already writing her eulogy, while she was still sitting there. Maybe she agreed to start the chemo just to gain a few precious weeks to get her affairs in order.

No maybe about it that she didn’t get that chance.

Let me tell you a few things about Gretchen, Neil. She couldn’t stand pity, or being pitiable. (She also couldn’t stand spelling mistakes or grammar gaffes, so if her spirit exists anywhere, in any spacey-wacey way, it’s sitting on my shoulder, clucking its timey-wimey tongue.) Because she couldn’t stand pity, Gretchen kept secrets. Sad, sad secrets. She shared a few with me. I will not be sharing them with you.

But some things she couldn’t keep secret, like the time she leapt out of her car, wielding pepper spray, to confront a man stabbing a pregnant woman on a San Francisco sidewalk.

The man turned to her, dropped the knife… and pulled out a handgun.

“Thank you,” he said to Gretchen, “you saved me.” Then he blew his own brains out, all over her. But mother and child were saved.

Another time, again in her car: A man approached the vehicle stopped ahead of her, shot the driver multiple times and ran off, but not before Gretchen burned his face into her long-term memory. Sadly, the woman at the wheel passed away while Gretchen comforted her, drenched in blood, waiting for help to arrive. But her murderer is in prison now, thanks to Gretchen’s testimony.

Gretchen has been:

  • bitten by a rattlesnake (“It was just a baby,” she said!)
  • hit by cars (twice. No, wait, three times!)
  • “shocked” (toxic shock twice, and then there was that supermarket sample shrimp, eaten just to be polite…)
  • nearly done in by countless other, unbelievable things

In fact, over the years, so many things, circumstances, and people have failed to kill Gretchen that I’d started to think of her as an immortal among us. Like she was secretly Captain Jack Harkness, or the (finally!) female Doctor Who. Like we were just her Companions. She couldn’t really be my sister, this tall, brown-eyed beauty in a family of blue-eyed children, could she? Genetics said she could, since our mom had brown-hazel eyes, but I’ve always had my suspicions that she was not of this world.

Since timing is everything, or everything is time (or time doesn’t exist, at least not right now), the first thing I saw on TV after Gretchen died — when I could bear to turn it on — was my favorite episode of Doctor Who. It was my favorite for all sorts of reasons, long before I knew that you’d written it.

Though I didn’t know it, it was just what I needed to watch in this space and time.

Neil, you are starting to understand why I’m writing this letter to you. In case anyone else ever reads it, though, I should probably elaborate:

Gretchen, large in life — “and getting larger all the time”, as she would so wryly have put it — was like your version of the TARDIS brought to life: beautiful, mathematically inclined, and much, much bigger on the inside.

Thank you, thank you for that, Neil. I will now always think of Gretchen as a sort of immortal TARDIS, moving through time and space, saving people and taking them where they need to go more often than where they want to go. I will always think of the magically real time I spent with her as “the time that we talked”.

How right you were, Neil. “Alive” is the saddest word “…when it ends.”

–Lindy Moone



Filed under Dear Universe, Girls in the Treehouse, Mini Memoire

Interview with Sylva Fae – contributor to charity anthology “You’re Not Alone”

Lindy Moone:

Author Christoph Fischer has been interviewing the authors from the charity anthology I just pre-ordered from Amazon. I can’t reblog them all, but this one… Well, the author and her husband bought a woodland! If you go out in the woods, today…

Originally posted on writerchristophfischer:

11705837_967531943267360_280957472_oToday I’m welcoming Sylva Fae whom I’ve met through our work for “You’re Not Alone”, an anthology in aid of MacMillan Cancer Care. This interview is part of a series of blog posts to introduce my colleagues in this endeavour. The anthology is available for pre-order and will be released on July 11. Twenty-seven writers from around the world, including myself have entered an assortment of short stories for your pleasure, show your support by liking the new page on Facebook and expressing an interest in buying the book.

You’ll find the book on your Amazon for per-order via these links: http://smarturl.it/YoureNotAloneAnthhttp://bookshow.me/B00Y5RCOOE

You’ll find the Facebook page here: 


And here is the fund, in loving memory of Pamela Mary Winton


IMG_20141216_220836Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.

I am a mum of three small girls and loving it. I love being outdoors in the…

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Indies With Undies

DEAR READERS, WRITERS, and people who stumbled upon this blog because of its most popular post ever (“You Can’t Shave a Vagina”):

I am proud to be an Indie Author, and Indie Pride Day is July 1st. What happens on Indie Pride Day? Look, I made a pretty poster to tell you all about it, and there are no vaginas in sight:
Indie Books Be Seen posterA friend asked me today: what is an Indie Author? My definition of an Indie Author is either a self-published author (one who publishes directly, through Amazon and other online outlets), or an author who publishes through a small “independent” publishing house.

Indies are the folks who refuse to submit query after query for months or years to try to get a literary agent. Having an agent is a necessity if you want a book to even be considered by an editor at the big publishing houses.

Here’s a rough timeline of the way publishing used to work for most authors, when it did work, before indie publishing. It still works this way for the vast majority of authors who don’t want to be indies:

  1. Author writes book (3 months to 10 years).
  2. Author queries agents (could take years to get one, or never, no matter how good your book is, since agents only accept books that they like and that they think they can sell to publishers — whose customers are actually bookstores, not readers).
  3. Author gets agent (woo-hoo!) or doesn’t (boo-hoo!)
  4. Lucky Author spends book’s imagined first six month’s royalties on big party! (This is just a guess. It’s what I would do. I would hire a pony and a bouncy castle and Kylie Minogue to sing her old “Lucky” song, but no clowns. Sure, I have issues about never having a real birthday party as a kid. How did you guess?) Unlucky Author repeats steps 1 and 2 until the end of time.
  5. Agent sends out feelers to publishers on Lucky Author’s behalf (could also take years, with no guarantee of success, and involves sending out a few chapters, waiting months, sending out full manuscript, waiting more months…)
  6. Lucky Author gets publishing contract (which probably gives at most 25% of sales price as royalties to Author, and contains clauses that effectively turn Author into an indentured servant of the publisher).* Unlucky Author repeats steps 1-5 until the end of time.
  7. Lucky Author waits another year or more for book to come out, and has virtually NO SAY in what the cover looks like or even what the final title of the book will be.
  8. Publisher doesn’t promote it.
  9. Book dies death of old age and neglect.
  10. Agent, who got 15% of Author’s advance and then nothing, refuses to answer Author’s calls, emails, text messages, and threats written in blood on sidewalk in front of Agent’s house.
  11. Restraining order.
  12. Prison.
  13. What happens in prison stays in prison, until Lucky Author writes memoir and repeats steps 1-12. Unlucky Author dies in prison.

It’s no wonder that hundreds of thousands of authors — fabulous, good, mediocre, bad and horrible horrible horrible authors — have jumped at the chance to publish directly and let customers decide whether or not they like a book. I can’t think of another industry where entrepreneurship is so looked down upon. Say you are a fabulous (or horrible horrible horrible) cook. You are free to open up a restaurant anywhere you want, and your patrons will decide if your food is good.

Many Indies have found that books they cooked up, books that were rejected for years by agents and publishers, are being gobbled up by readers. Some of those books have become bestsellers and are even being made into feature films. Others struggle to get a foothold and to make even a few sales. Sure, Indie publishing is hard and not for the faint of heart and if you want to succeed, having a good book is not enough — you have to pull up your big girl panties and market the sucker. And you have to publish another book. And another. And market those suckers, too.

As for me, I’m still shopping for those big girl panties. I truly believe that someday I will be an Indie With Undies.

So for Indie Pride Day, I hope you Indies With Undies out there will do what it says on the poster. And as for you readers: Do you have a favorite Indie-published book? Then please take a pic of yourself holding it up, and post it with pride on social media on July 1st, with the hashtag #IndieBooksBeSeen.

Clothing is NOT optional.

As for the rest of you, I’m pretty sure you’re gone by now or have jumped directly to learning why you can’t shave a vagina. And I hope you’re proud of yourselves.

* In all seriousness, do check out this post on the subject by bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith.


Filed under Blogging under the Influence, Indie Author Appreciation Day

My spin on the future: Kindle dystopian, 99 cents US & UK–

Lindy Moone:

Get it while it’s a bargain! One of my favorite sci-fi novels of recent years!

Originally posted on Carol Ervin's Author Site:

Dell is a girl who grows up on a remote outpost with herders (her guardians) who may or may not be her parents. They seldom speak or tell her anything, because the mandatory drugs that make them immortal and committed to duty also keep them quiet and forgetful. She has always been on her own to learn, and she’s become literate through the outpost’s telecommunications with its farm. But officially, Dell does not exist. She has no number, no portacath for drugs and no communications wristscreen. She is different in another way: she’s young, an aberration in a loveless world where the only creatures that breed are animals and primitive tribes considered outlaws. And now her guardians are being separated, and she must leave her home and find a place to belong. dell-zero-ebook

Dell Zero will be 99 cents today and four more days (Kindle ebook). Grab a copy and let me know what you think about its future world.

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Reasons to Type Faster!

Greetings from The Voice of Doom!
Remember the old story from Isaac Asimov?

I was once being interviewed by Barbara Walters… In between two of the segments she asked me… “But what would you do if the doctor gave you only six months to live?” I said, “Type faster.”

Well, then: You probably know all about these two good reasons to stay indoors and type faster:
Lamprey Lampetra_camtschaticaArctic lampreys falling from the sky, and

Super Volcano gets Supersized.

I mean, people, we already knew that when it blows, civilization as we know it will end. Now they say the new magma chamber they’ve found could fill the Grand Canyon 11 times! So what the world needs now is more Paranormal Romance! Chick Lit! YAAAAAAAAAA !!!!

The Voice of Doom wants more bad news, more reasons to type faster.

Whaddya got?


Filed under Blogging under the Influence, General Mumblings, Why I Write

A wrong cover and a revamp – case study of rebranding an indie novel

Lindy Moone:

Listen to Roz.

Originally posted on Nail Your Novel:

bookshop 12 april 023 smlYou know my bookseller friend Peter Snell, of Barton’s in Leatherhead? (He’s the co-host of our Surrey Hills Radio show So You Want To be A Writer.) Peter is a staunch supporter of indie authors, and he mentioned to me that he’d been talking to an indie writer I know who wanted advice on revamping her novel cover.

Oh you mean Alison Ripley Cubitt, I said. Her science fiction novel?

It’s not science fiction, said Peter. It’s a contemporary eco-thriller.

And therein lay Alison’s biggest problem.

So how did she end up with a cover that sent the wrong message? How was she persuaded to change it – because she’d made that choice for a good reason. And what did she change it to?

I thought this would make a useful case study. Publishers often rebrand covers if they keep a title in print a long time, and…

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Release day: good luck, baby!

Lindy Moone:

Carol’s new book is a real winner. Just out today, and heartily recommended!

Originally posted on Carol Ervin's Author Site:

Ridgetop.banner.425x157Because Ridgetop is my fifth book, I’ve a lot less stage fright with this launch. I already know some people will love it and want more and others won’t like it (and may throw rotten tomatoes.) What matters is that I love creating characters and stories, and it turns out that putting my work on stage like this is not a total waste of time. Ridgetop is now available at Amazon.com as ebook ($2.99) and paperback ($14.99).

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