Monday, July 22, 2013

we drink and we fight and we love just because we are numb

+ What's on: We Are Young, by 3OH!3

Sorry I've been slow to respond lately; things have taken a turn for the worse at work and it's starting to bleed into everything else. They fired three people last week, two so far this week (it's only Monday), and will probably let go of another 5-10 by the end of the month. It's an ugly combination of apathetic agents & an uncooperative client -- our client won't get us a bigger call floor, so any time a training class rolls through we free up cubicles by firing the last-ranked agents. Mgmt is also threatening to take away our breaks, which I didn't realize was legal in NC. I tell you, right-to-work states are an eye-opener for a San Francisco-transplant. It might just drive me back to drinking.

But yeah, things are getting pretty tense and everyone's looking for a way out. Haven't been able to get much writing done. I sit at the keyboard and press keys but all I write is run run run. I've been brainstorming, though, working out scenes in my head over and over ad nauseam. In the good ol' days I'd write a small m/m scene to make myself feel better. Good ol' days was before these boys' attitudes and trust issues made this the slowest relationship I'll probably ever write. (For the record, I'm sorry it's taking so long.) Now I can't even write a scene for fun without wondering how they realistically let each other in.

Anyway, enough of this. 31st I'll be off all day, so I'll tackle the Kindle store & figure out a timetable for the side stories. One or two "stories" are actually pretty short, so I might even be able to post one of 'em next week.

Anyone else wants to commiserate about work (school?) feel free to vent in the comments section. ♥


raiya4 said...

Sorry work is sucking :/

raiya4 said...

Hope it get's better though!!~

Evalangui said...

I'm sorry about your job, the market right now it's just awful. I actually have an interview for September that made me think of you because it's to go to Japan to teach English. Are you still considering that? Apparently there's posts (I don't really want to go to, I'm on my fifth country and fucking tired of moving). I'm unclear about which exactly is the company name, seems to be related to the California Language Institute somehow, but I have the guy's email if you wanna give it a shot?

I don't have a job right now (except for some tutoring, which I love and pays awesome, but it's a couple hours a week only). Last one I was offered was the insanest thing ever. I proceed to elaborate:
After an interview, during which I was asked whether I wouldn't leave them in the lurch once I had the job about three times, I mostly gave up on it ever coming to anything.
But they called! Could I come that very afternoon. I show up, they hand me a letter dated three days earlier and I'm asked if I can come to a bonding retreat (this is a language academy, idek) that very Friday (it's Tuesday afternoon). The conditions are stated in the letter but being told to go read in a corner and come back with an answer is not conductive to paying close attention.

Friday I show up early, the academy director & husband are late, delaying departure. Once the van starts moving I notice some of the guys are acting awfully childish so I ask a girl how old they are. She says fifteen, i assume she's joking.
Turns out two of the kids are fourteen, in fact, most of the other employees are underage and some have not even graduated secondary school but they are hired as classroom assistants in this place. Then it turns out the first two weeks are 25 hours training weeks (in which you work normally, but you are 'observed') during which you don't get paid at all, not even transportation costs. Then it turns out that even though I specifically told them I've a MA in English and NO interest in teaching or getting anywhere near Maths, everybody has to be an 'all-rounder' and do everything. I get to sit through a two hour Maths class (mostly totally lost, as I haven't done Maths in 10 years)and then I'm given a pile of homework 10cm high to keep practicing at home (more unpaid hours), which, wait for this, I'm expected to turn in on Monday, so after I get home after a 3day weekend away I have to sit down and do homework till is time to start the trainership on Monday afternoon. Forgetting the uniform was penalized by getting money deducted from your salary and money was deducted each month to put into a communal pot for group outings, which were implied to be compulsory since not being a 'team player' was a reason for getting fired.

Despite the importance of team-playing, during this bonding weekend the director and her husband did the following things:
1) sit in the corner of the room with really loud music playing (I'm visibly wincing, nobody gives a fuck) and not talk to anybody. Some of the time she's marking assigments, but in any case, not bonding.
2) eat every meal in a separate table from their staff
3) barely talk to anybody
4) leave their more experienced staff to do all the training and managing

I called Monday and told them I'm not interested. But it really irks me because I desperately need a job and asking someone to work unpaid for two weeks is NOT normal, not unless you're hiring a teen or someone with zero experience and even then you'd cover travel expenses.

lime-yay said...

I just got air conditioning in my research lab! Which is exciting because I'd rather not pass out from the heat into a pool of dangerous chemicals.

Anyway, in honor of 2 weeks in the wild, I looked up some stats for The Raven King on Smashwords:

Top 100 Best Seller (All Works)-- right now The Raven King is sitting at 90 or so, and with 22441 books total, that puts you in the top 0.5%

#1 Best Seller $0.99 or less -- this is AMAZING. Translates to a being in the top 0.02% for this category; it's hard to do so well when the book is priced so cheap. That's what makes The Raven King so impressive.

Top 100 Best Seller (Fiction)-- sitting at 56 right now... so close to top 50!

Top 5 Best Seller (Young Adult or Teen)

#1 Best Seller (GLBT Young Adult or Teen)

#1 Best Seller (Sports)

I hope these stats get better with time! I'm really impressed and I think Amazon will do a lot for exposure, too. I could use more people to fangirl with, so I am really excited. And I bet if you price The King's Men higher when it's ready for publishing, you'll do even better in terms of being a Best Seller. Like I said, it's AMAZING that The Raven King is clocking in as a Best Seller despite being only $0.99. That speaks volumes for the quality of work!!

Shiyo said...

Hey Nora,

I'm a newbie who just read your two books, and I wanted to say that this series is what I've been looking for for a long, long time in fiction in general, not just the dubious if thrilling frontier that is m/m. Count me in as a HUGE fan - I'm a pretty varied reader and I have rarely seen this level of dialogue, character-driven suspense, and story-unfolding in much more expensive mainstream novels.

As a very much amateur writer I'm speaking outta line here, but my gut instinct is that too many published writers today fall into two camps: either they're overworked hit-seekers with Hollywood 12-beat cheatsheets taped on their brains, or talented people who are so afraid of being judged instantly as untalented that they fixate on the Writing and not enough on the most fundamental things that make up a novel - the characters and the story. What I admire about your writing is that despite a pretty complex backstory and plot and an entirely new sport to worldbuild with, everything comes back - comes down - comes out of the characters. The world is born from the characters, and the characters from the world. The plot serves the characters, and not the characters the plot. The suspense flowers dark from human seeds, and not from a convoluted plot with fake-outs and gunfights and Shyamalandingdongs at the end.

And the EMOTION - oh, man, the emotion. For me it doesn't cross into melodrama or emo because it's about real people you end up 'getting' (admission: I didn't take to Andrew at first, in fact I pretty much hated him but now he's just, I HURT for him) rather than collection bags of random quirky traits and an Issue, and it's not the sort of longform intellectual masturbation that passes for "challenging" and "complex" rather than sterile these days. Yeah the subjects - mafias, drugs, child abuse and rape - oughta be pretty sensationalist tropes, but because I sense there is SO MUCH background and history here, because there is so much naturalistic, living detail - Neil’s paranoid tagging method, the cracker transactions, the meaning of Neil’s new racket, explored in such detail and then taken up for Andrew without a thought - I find these broken people real and honest and human and keep rooting for them to find a way.

Anyways, I was wondering if you’d considered Kindle, since I think your prices should be higher and there seems to be a wider audience there. I know you looked for a publisher for a long time, but I was wondering if you’d considered the more indie names; maybe you could ask Captive Prince's S.U. Pacat which publisher she just signed with? Since there are definitely some similarities despite different settings (original m/m, character-focused, suspense, dark tones including rape, the slow burn and the UST (OH GOD THE UST), etc). But obviously I'm just happy to get the next book in any way I can, including copious begging and cheering.

part two below (sorry, I've broken the word count!)...

Shiyo said...

On the personal front, I'm about your age, an Asian American, and a Japanophile too, but probably not as much as you are with Japan since I never even tried to pick up the language when I could barely form intelligible sentences in my mother tongue. I was obsessed with manga when I was younger and started a mangaka circle in college, but we never got anywhere thanks to the sort of respectable RL commitments that people expect us to do (and well, hey - they got job offers, and I ...I got no excuses). I have an especial soft spot for sports manga like ES21 and underdog/loser themes btw, so you can imagine how delighted I was to see a SPORTS original slashfic! With social issues too!

Like you, I've done some ESL teaching. I have itchy feet - I've worked in India and in China, but the development space, alas, is not the place to go if you have actual biological needs like eating and rooftops and such (the "intern", I have heard, is an unusual variant of the species that does not require such may not even be mammalian). Hilariously, this summer I've just jumped from that to an equally anti-lifeform, pro-starvation, pro-stomach-ulcers field in freelance writing. I finally got a writing-ish job but it's part time, 'bout minimum wage, in NYC, and involves insane amounts of work for unlogged hours so they don't have to pay me benefits, so...meh. Super meh. I can only pray I can get a second job and fast, but in either case I foresee lots of ramen and no more fanfic-writing in my future.

I have no idea what career I should take, though my parents do. I'd love to have the attitude you seem to have on this blog - you are incredibly hard-working and understand the value of money very well, but accept the floating life and its black and silver linings without freaking out too much about it. I know I'm in the same boat as a lot of Millenials, but I can't help but stress about my lack of job security and living wage. Shouldn't I be on the path to a real, grown-up, benefits-including career by now? My dream may be to write a lot, preferably at least partly creative, preferably with some sort of life-sustaining ability attached, and I think you are along the same lines (apologies if I've totally misread), but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't terrified of waking up 10 years down the line to find myself still slugging BigMacs at McDonald's in an increasingly aggressive monotone, if they haven't replaced me with robots by then.

Still, if you'd like to hit me up for anything - moral support, fangirling, beta stuff (I have experience editing, just not super professionally), real talk etc I'm all game! Best of luck, and sorry for the word-vomit here!

lime-yay said...


YOU'RE ON THE TOP 25 BEST SELLERS LIST ON SMASHWORDS!! <3 (For the last 90 days, but still)

I dunno how long, or anything, but that's like uberly exciting, and I think that means you might get put in publisher's weekly? Maybe?

Also you're now the #1 best seller for young adult novels. That makes you #1 in Sports, young adult, young adult (LGBT), and books that are 0.99 or less. #42 for all fiction, and #72 for all works.

I thought it was exciting at least. Can't wait to see it go up on the kindle store!

marynoel said...

raiya4 : Thank you~ In the meantime I think it's best if I keep my eyes open for something else. ;D

Evalangui : Teaching English in Japan is pretty much a permanent backup plan, I think. I want to go back to Japan, I just don't really want to go as a teacher--but I know it's difficult to get in the country as anything else. How can you be sick of moving?! D:

Also -- oh my god. I don't even know how to react to that story. That's completely insane and such a blatant scam. I'm actually a little proud of you for not going postal on them.

marynoel said...

lime-yay : ♥♥♥ Thank you for pulling together those statistics! Definitely brought some much-needed cheer to the week. I can't price King's Men higher, though; if I priced every book higher than the last I'd feel like a scammer. ;D

Er, I didn't know Smashwords & Publisher's Weekly were talking to each other. That comment confused me so much I had to google it and see what you meant. Not sure I'll make it, but that would be kind of exciting. ♥

marynoel said...

Shiyo : Thanks for taking a chance on my books! I'm glad you liked them! It makes me unspeakably happy that Andrew grew on you; I was hoping he'd grow on people as Neil started sorting him out.

I'm actually supposed to be sorting out the Kindle store today. I just didn't want to tackle it until I had at least two more cups of coffee. Amazon prices will be the same as Smashwords, though. The cheaper it is, the better chance I have of finding people that will read it. S.U. Pacat got scooped up by Penguin, which is super exciting. I think I've given up on finding the Foxes another home. I'll try again with the next stories.

I can't imagine working in India or China; for some reason when I thought about doing ESL full time I always figured I'd bounce between Japan and Europe with nothing in between. (Russia sounds amazing but a little bit terrifying. Ha.) I want to say congrats! on securing work in NYC, because NYC sounds like it has potential to be such a fantastic place, but I hope you find something more reliable soon. (I heartily recommend Starbucks if nothing else, because amazing benefits and super flexible schedule. And I'm biased because I worked for Sbux for 4 years.)

I definitely understand what you mean about the job vs career. Trying to settle on something -- without settling for the sake of settling down -- is difficult. What is it your parents think you should do? And what kind of things do you like doing besides writing?