What is a meditation retreat like anyway?

 A friend asked me about the meditation retreat I just atteneed and I thought
that was probably a good topic for a blog. I’d been trying to learn to meditate since I was 15 (and
failing!). In 2004 I attended the first Meditating with the Body program with
Reggie Ray and actually started to learn to meditate in a way that works for
me. It’s different for everyone, but for me having a 6-month program with a
meditation instructor to ask questions and weekly assignments, plus a focus on
the body (including physically how to sit), really worked.

But enough backstory, what actually happens at a meditation
retreat? Well, we sit. And then we walk, really slowly, and then we sit again.
Sometimes we lie down.

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Witches, Werewolves and Starship Captains: Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy

On Friday, March 8 for International Women’s Day, Catherine Lundoff and I hosted a radio program on KFAI. You can hear it here.

Since we ran through a whole lot of names and titles during the show, we thought we’d list them on our blogs for anyone who wanted to follow up on our recommendations (or add some of your own in the comments). You can see Catherine’s picks over on her blog.

These are roughly in order that we mention them, though not exactly.

Rachel Pollack – Unquenchable Fire, Temporary Agency, Godmother Night, and more

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MarsCon 2013

I’m on four panels for MarsCon March 1-3. If you’re planning on attending, I’m looking forward to seeing you there. Below are the panels I’m on and you can see the full program here.

Gender
Limitations in SF/F

Re(a)d
Mars/Taylor (2nd Floor) — Friday 06:00 pm

Discuss how
strong female characters are frequently portrayed as abandoning most, if not
all, things feminine. Also, male characters who take on what are considered
traditionally female roles are being portrayed as emasculated. Can a powerful
female character be warm and nurturing and can a house husband be more than a
punch line?
With: W. Scott Patterson, mod.; Rachel Gold, Lyda Kimberly Long-Ewing, Lyda
Morehouse, Kathryn SullivanREAD MORE

My Next Big Thing

If you’ve been following the “Next Big Thing” blog hop going
around author websites, you may have seen my post on the Being Emily site announcing
that the sequel is in progress. There’s more exciting news. I recently signed
the contract for another book to come out next year – a romantic paranormal
novel.

The details about the book are below but I also want to add
that this book and any others in its series will be out under my pen name
“Rachel Calish.” As you can see, I’m not using the pen name to cover my
identity, rather it’s to distinguish the two kinds of books that I write. Young
adult is a very different genre than romantic paranormal, so I wanted to let
readers decide for themselves if they want to read in both genres rather than
assuming that someone who loved Being Emily will automatically want to read my
paranormal novels.

What is
the working title of your next book?

The Demon
Abraxas

What genre
does your book fall under?

Romantic paranormal/urban
fantasy

What is
the synopsis or blurb of your book?

Having escaped the poverty and violence of her childhood, Ana thought
she didn’t have room for any more inner demons until she met one who knew more
about being human than she did.

Ana Koury knows there’s more
to life and she’s determined to find it when a chance meeting with the icy and
brilliant Sabel sends her running into danger. Seized by a group of men
determined to summon a powerful demon, Ana can only escape by allowing the
demon Abraxas to inhabit her body.  She chooses to work with him to go
after the men who thought they could use her.

Sabel Young is an
accomplished professor and the student of a powerful group of witches who
demand her complete submission in order to teach her how to control the magic
coursing through her body. They have assigned her to watch Ana, but without
emotional involvement. That seems like easy work until she meets Ana face to
face and is stunned by her attraction to this woman who is strong enough to
host a demon.

With her world turned upside
down, Ana finds herself drawing closer to Sabel – unaware that her involvement
puts Sabel in danger from every side.

READ MORE

My book is available

My novel became widely available this week! Now I get to put into practice all that book marketing stuff I've been reading the last few years. If you haven't seen it yet, here's the basic info about my novel and where to find it:

Being Emily is first young adult novel to tell the story of transsexual girl from her perspective. It’s a story for anyone who has ever felt that their inside and outside don’t match and no one else will understand. You can read an excerpt on the publisher’s site http://blog.bellabooks.com/2012/06/being-emily-by-rachel-gold-now.html.

And you can buy the book there or on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Being-Emily-Rachel-Gold/dp/1594932832 or on Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/being-emily-rachel-gold/1104889199.

For an eBook you can use in most eReaders, click here: http://www.bellabooks.com/9781594932830e-prod.html.

The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors

Search engine optimization — SEO — may seem like alchemy to the uninitiated. But there is a science to it. Search engines reward pages with the right combination of ranking factors, or “signals.” SEO is about ensuring your content generates the right type of signals. Our chart below summarizes the major factors to focus on for search engine ranking success. The Search Engine Land Guide To SEO explains factors in more depth, with tips and a tutorial on implementing them. Read on!

via searchengineland.com

This is one of the absolutely most helpful guides I've seen about SEO. Not only does it remind me of what I need to pay attention to, but it's also a handy way to explain to clients the complexity of SEO.

I encourage you to click the title above and visit the Search Engine Land website where you can download your own copy. 

SearchEngineLand-Periodic-Table-of-SEO-large

Happy Thanksgaming!

Thanksgamingwords2From the same family that brought you the hit holiday National Day Off for Jews (celebrated Dec. 25), we present: Thanksgaming! 

Celebrated annually on the same day as Thanksgiving, this holiday gives gamers everywhere a day to give thanks for our tremendous good fortune in the variety of great games available, the easy accessibility of the “flow” state to us, and the way games bring together diverse people over vast distances.

There are two main ways to celebrate this holiday (though of course you’re invited to invent more):

1. Spend the day at home in comfy clothes, eating easy to prepare foods and playing your favorite games. Periodically log in to the social networks of your choice and express heart-felt thanks for these wonderful games and your brilliant achievements in them. Congratulate your friends on their Thanksgaming achievements.

2. Spend the day with family and friends and play games together. Give thanks for the way games bond people, build teamwork, and keep your crazy relatives from fighting (much).

Isn’t it time for a holiday that unites gamers without requiring us to leave the comfort of our homes, dorms or apartments? Join us in celebrating Thanksgaming and consciously increasing the amount of happiness in the world by doing what you love to do and sharing that with others.

  HappyThanksgaming

Survey Shows Publishing Expanded Since 2008 – NYTimes.com

BookStats, a comprehensive survey conducted by two major trade groups that was released early Tuesday, revealed that in 2010 publishers generated net revenue of $27.9 billion, a 5.6 percent increase over 2008. Publishers sold 2.57 billion books in all formats in 2010, a 4.1 percent increase since 2008.

via www.nytimes.com

YA fiction is up 6.6% and adult fiction up 8.8%. I like those numbers! And that's post-Harry Potter.

Speaking of which, seeing The Deathly Hallows parts 1 & 2 recently really demonstrated to me that ways in which novels can go so deeply into characters, moments and story arcs in a way you just can't get in a movie.

Reader Buying Habits

I'm in the process of merging my Novel Marketing Strategies blog into this one now that I've had an epiphany about how to marketing novels. (Yes, soon I'll post a longer article about that epiphany.) Here I'm bringing in some of my favorite reader data from that other blog:

From a 47-page report of stats from Bowker Pubtrack, assembled by Sisters in Crime. (The report focuses on mystery novels, which may be why some of the numberd reasons above are missing for SFF.) 

What influences book sales: Fantasy

  • Part of a series: #1 reason
  • Know/Like this author: #2
  • In-Store Display/On Shelf/Spinning Rack: #3
  • Friend/Relative Recommended: #4
  • Online – Book Review: #5
  • Online – Author’s Website: #6
  • Online – Retailer Recommended: #7
  • Book Club: #8
  • Best Seller List: #12
  • Book Review (Not Online): #25

What influences book sales: Science Fiction

  • Know/Like this author: #1 reason
  • Part of a series: #2
  • In-Store Display/On Shelf/Spinning Rack: #3
  • Book Club: #4
  • Friend/Relative Recommended: #5
  • Online – Author’s Website: #6
  • Online – Book Review: #7
  • Online – Retailer Recommended: #8
  • Best Seller List: #11
  • Book Review (Not Online): #15

In a study by Verso Advertising about book-buying behavior in 2010 (full study online at: www.versoadvertising.com/beasurvey/), the primary factors in a book purchase decision were:

  • Author reputation 52%
  • Personal recommendation 49%
  • Price 45%
  • Book review 37%
  • Cover artwork/blurbs 22%
  • Advertising (including online) 14%