Archive for the ‘Mercury Retrograde’ category

Interview on Pros and Cons

August 22, 2013

This week, I spent some time talking with Jonah Knight and Mikey Mason about small-press publishing, Mercury Retrograde Press, and my decision to shut it down. You can listen to the conversation on the Pros and Cons Podcast. Mikey and Jonah are always great fun to talk with, and as interviewers they do a terrific job of getting right to the heart of any matter.

If you’ve been wondering about the nuts and bolts of running a small press or even just what the hell I’ve been thinking for the past few years, you may find the conversation worth listening to. And if you’re at all interested in convention culture, you should be following them anyway. Did I mention they’re up for a Parsec Award?

Listen here.

Jesus follows…

April 2, 2009
jesus follows

Jesus is following Mercury Retrograde Press on Twitter. Why aren't you?

The Top Ten Misconceptions About Anointed

February 22, 2009

One of the things I enjoy most about Anointed: The Passion of Timmy Christ, CEO, which we launched last night at Wordsmiths, is hearing all the crazy misconceived ideas people have about the book. As one small part of all the silliness that went on there, I presented our Top Ten Misconceptions About Anointed list, which I thought I’d share with you here. (Mostly because I don’t have a recording of the AWESOME debate event, “I’m Right. You’re Stupid.” presented by Russ Marshalek, publicist extraordinaire, and Joe Davich, Assistant Director for the Georgia Center for the Book (Hey, Joe, you’ve got to look at a blog now!!)–and moderated by the Impartial and Supremely Talented Zach Steele.)

1. Anointed has not been banned in Boston—but we’re working on it.
2. Zach did not pay me to publish it.
3. In fact, as you may have read in Baby Got Books, he thinks I’m going to pay *him*.
4. The character of Kelly is not based on Zach’s wife. To my knowledge Alice has never had roundtable discussions with the voices in her head. Her voices are much more interesting than Kelly’s anyway.
5. Zach is not an atheist. He just thinks God is funnier than Morgan Freeman.
6. Jesus did not pose for the cover art, but we do have a release to use his likeness.
7. Zach was not stoned when he wrote Billy Christ, but Billy has refused to comment on his state of mind during those scenes.
8. Reading this book will not send you straight to hell, but it may make you think.
9. My husband did not try to have me committed when I picked up this book–but he did take over Mercury Retrograde’s finances.
10. We have not been sued by any church organizations, but we did receive a letter of support from the Church of Scientology.

Feelin’ the Love

February 20, 2009

This week the lit blog Baby Got Books is, as BGB host Tim Frederick puts it, “throwing objectivity to the wind and having a love fest” in honor of Zachary Steele‘s Anointed, which we’re launching this weekend at Wordsmiths in Decatur. He graciously invited me to write today’s post, so I wrote a little love letter to small press publishing.

Scroll right down after you finish reading my post for Russ Marshalek‘s hilarious interview with Zach, which is the post following mine. Tim says it best: those two should have their own reality show.

The funniest thing I’ve read all day

February 19, 2009

Russ Marshalek interviews Zachary Steele about Anointed on Baby Got Books.

There is no point in my trying to describe. Go read.

This might be a manifesto

October 1, 2008

Yeah, I might have to nail this one to the cathedral door when it’s done.

Today is the official release date of Shorn by Larissa N. Niec: the first book published by my brainchild, Mercury Retrograde Press. I’m immeasurably proud of the work we’ve done on this one–and it *has* been a “we”, because in addition to the writer, any book must also have an editor, a proofreader, a typesetter/book designer, a cover designer, one or more artists, and people whose task it is to get the word out so people can fall in love with the creation and make its story part of their personal myth set. Shorn has had–still has–a whole team behind it. Because we’re a new press, and we can’t afford to hire full-time employees yet, I’ve done the majority of the work on this project, and for the most part I find the work fulfilling; but in the race to do this book justice, I have mostly set aside my own writing life. This is a thing I’ve viewed as a temporary necessity; in my mind, once we crossed the finish line on Shorn, things would calm down and I could get back to the study with a clear conscience.

I now understand that was unrealistic. There is still work to be done for Shorn, and the work will continue for a couple months yet: getting the word out, setting up relationships with new sales channels (a task for which I’m hugely grateful, btw), propagating the ebook versions and beginning to figure out the logistics of audio book production. Meanwhile Anointed, the next book on Mercury Retrograde’s menu, is already waiting for me to start doing my share of what it needs; by the time that’s done, I’ll be behind on the next one. (And, oh, you’re going to LOVE the next one, but there are still nagging legal entanglements that must be resolved, so for now I must leave you to fantasize. Two words to start with: Urban Fantasy.)

The bottom line: I am never going to be *caught up* on Mercury Retrograde business, at least not until Mercury Retrograde can afford staff. That’s normal for a start-up business, and I’ve done the whole start-up thing before, so while I’m not uncomfortable with the headlong dash and all the other stuff that goes along with it, now that we’re in a Mercury Retrograde period, my muse is crying for time in the study…and suddenly I remember that I founded Mercury Retrograde because the house I wanted to publish my own fiction didn’t exist yet. It exists now, and I love it; but if I publish six, nine, or twelve books per year that win the hearts of critics and fans alike, earn out and go on to make money for their authors, and yet I am not writing fiction, I will not have done what I set out to do.

It is never going to be a convenient time for me to go back to writing; so long as I am writing, things will move more slowly in the office than they otherwise might. But it occurs to me that, while I refuse to hold other Mercury Retrograde authors to hard deadlines when meeting those deadlines would require them to compromise their art, I’m giving my own work no such respect. That has to stop.

So, while Mercury Retrograde Press authors and fans may wish I could move a little faster in the office, I trust they will understand that I must go back to carving out regular time in the study. No book will go unedited, un-typeset, or unpromoted; it’s just that schedules will be a bit more fluid than they’ve been. In the long run, I suspect, all of Mercury Retrograde’s books will benefit.

In the mean time, I have to go back to the study.

You don’t need celestial charts; you’ve got me

September 25, 2008

It’s uncanny. I have no explanation for it that fits within the paradigm occupied by those who deny the possibility of any sort of validity to astrological theory. All I know is that as soon as Mercury turns retrograde, I am summoned as by some invisible force to the study, where I must work on my own fiction for hours each day.

I’m not telling you I’m an astrological believer. But I think I’d better start putting Mercury’s retrograde periods on my calendar, so I can plan for these slowdowns in the office.

Ah, things are lovely in the study. I am deep in the early-development stages of the final draft of The Shadow of the Sun, the novel I was afraid to bring to press first but secretly wished I could–which, I realized earlier this year, really does need to be the first out the door. I think I’ll be writing the whole thing in first, with only one PoV: because if I allow myself to explore the journeys of other important characters in the way I wish I could, there’s no way I’ll bring this in at a length I can afford to produce. In fact I realized this morning that I’m going to have to be very disciplined about what goes in and what goes back into the hopper for later, even with the single PoV, if I am to keep it to a manageable length.

But that single PoV is my favorite character, bar none, so I don’t mind too too much.

Meanwhile back in the office, I’m waiting for printer’s proofs of the FINAL version of the Shorn trade paperback and (with Wynette’s help, of course) developing the e-book version. Gotta get Shorn off the front burner so I can dig into Anointed: Zach delivered revisions to that beauty a few days ago, and now he, Brett, and I will zip through final reads and final tweaks…and then plunge into pre-production.

During the parts of the day when I can tear myself away from the study, of course. 🙂

Paging Alex…

September 19, 2008

Argh! This morning somebody named Alex called on the Be Mused line and left a voicemail–which the voicemail system, in a fit of insanity, destroyed before I could write down the phone number. To complicate matters, the mysterious Alex called from an unregistered number. I am assured by those in charge of such things that Turing himself could not recover that voicemail, no matter whose fault it is.

This is making me crazy. I will admit that I don’t always return calls as quickly as I’d like–but, dammit, I always do return them. Is Mercury retrograde again?

(I just checked: he’s getting ready. Full metrograde is scheduled for next Wednesday. Just in time for final file uploads for SHORN. Oh, shoot me now.)

Ahem. Alex, if you’re reading this, please call me again. The rest of you: please don’t choose the Destroy Message Immediately option on voicemail, no matter how security-conscious you are. I promise your personal information is safe with me.

Love from Library Journal!

September 16, 2008

Color me thrilled! SHORN is in this month’s print version of Library Journal, and they liked it, they really liked it!

“Niec’s debut novel… creates a fascinating world of rival clans and sacred rituals, tainted by a dark, shameful past and subject to predation from its enemies.”

And the money shot…

This is also a coming-of-age story and belongs in most fantasy collections.

Woohoo! I think I failed to mention earlier that Midwest Book Review liked it too:

” ‘Shorn’ is a unique fantasy, sure to please those on the look out for a new obsession to read.”

Check it out:

Library Journal
Midwest Book Review

Must get back to dancing around the office…

On Writing–Or Not

September 8, 2008

I am not writing right now. I cannot express how much this pains me; the writers among you will understand. It’s not that I’m *blocked* or that I don’t know what to write–it’s that I can’t find the time. I’m in a crunch period that began about two weeks ago and is likely to run two more, and I don’t even have time to make dinner consistently or return phone calls not related to work (and I’m really sorry about that, btw. You know who you are.)

It’s work, of course. The beautiful business of publishing. I am still the person responsible for most everything Mercury Retrograde does, and I don’t want to complain about that: this is my brainchild, and I love the work. Well, except the filing and bookkeeping. In case you haven’t heard, we have a book scheduled for official release on October 1st, and we are busily finalizing final things, scheduling Larissa’s book tour, and doing truckloads of publicity. All very important and enjoyable stuff, and in many cases the first time I’ve done the things in question–which means there have been false starts and mid-course corrections, and just generally that things have taken longer than they will for the next book and the one after that. I understand all this, and it’s not so hard to be philosophical about it, because I love the work.

But just the same there is a certain defrocked wizard on the verge of getting sucked into things it will take him years to fully understand, waiting for me in the study…and I know exactly what the next hundred pages should be. It’s hard to be patient.

Must dig in and make the final push, down here in the office. Soon there will be things to read and see: a book, details of an author tour, a new Mercury Retrograde website, Mercury Retrograde’s close-to-finalized catalog for next year. Right now it’s insanity on the inside and pretty boring from outside. I’ll be back in the study soon.