Monday, July 30, 2012

Writing Update

Two days till the beginning of the August session of CampNaNoWriMo  (it's NaNoWriMo for summer vacation time, relaxed).

I am definitely going to be writing Neferseshotep.  The adventures of agents of dormant/dead/non-mainstream gods being drawn down to earth (our earth) and getting involved with saving the world from aliens.  I don't have the aliens fleshed out yet, but I need to make them disgustingly bad.    

Neferseshotep is a priest of Anubis and his access to earth with be through the Tomb of Perneb at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.  There will be other individuals that escort him from the astral plane, like a Valkyrie, a Maori or two, a Celt, and a newbie Reaper originally from New Jersey.

In November for NaNoWriMo, I'll be writing a sequel to The End of the World Sucks.  I have to do some more thinking about the plot.  As I've said before, this originally had no element of romance, so now that it does have some creepy, stalkerish, can't trust that vampire guy thing going on ... maybe I should do some more work with Vanna Ames soon.

Review: Flesh Eaters

Flesh Eaters
Flesh Eaters by Joe McKinney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just when I was thinking I was in a rut and getting snobbish over things I read, I picked up Flesh Eaters by Joe McKinney. I’ve enjoyed Joe’s earlier books, and this one does not disappoint. 5 stars.

This is a story about tragedy and how people respond. It did fall short on having a populace of Houston act individually. It begins to explore the theme of individuality as people do whatever they like, despite the effect on the overall community, but too many faceless thousands were meekly going with the flow. Since the scope was on a few main characters, random people freaking out (besides zombies) and horning in on the action would have diluted the story. It’s also due to who the main characters are that the reader knows there are thousands of survivors gathering and queuing up for rescue/evacuation.

The book follows some full-fledged characters that Joe describes well. I may not have liked them, but I had a sense of who they are.

Joe does write zombies graphically, but every page doesn't have zombies. Joe's zombies are actually live people that are infected with a new infectious disease that turns them dumb, cannibal, and immune to feeling injury.

View all my reviews

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fantastic idea, and the use of old photographs adds to the overall package.

I'm sorry to say the story and characters did not particularly grab me. Perhaps I wasn't in the mood to read this story because I was expecting more creep-out factor, more gore and such. That's my fault because I knew this was in the Young Adult section, and it is a fine work for younger readers.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't TROLL me, bro

After my last outburst or blog post, you’d think I’d back my shit down, but I’m still finding a lot of dubious advice regarding self-publishing being touted with CAPS and insults.
It seems that if someone allows their work to be edited, formatted, proofread then it is no longer their story, and they never had faith in themselves as authors.  GIVE UP NOW!  You can’t compete with the accomplished authors (like the authoritative poster) who knows what they’re doing, and you noobs will save yourself a lot of money and heartache.
What do I know?   Any response to that hooey, and I’m rec’g  different versions of ‘@SHARON I’M CAPPLOKKING MY REPLY SO YOU READ MY RIGHTEOUS RAGE OVER YOUR TERRIBLE ADVICE – YOU CAN’T SWIM WITH SHARKS’ Oh, are those ‘pro tips’?  Given that they’re someone I should pay attention to, I wonder what genre they write in.  Ah, it appears they are using a pseudonym somewhere, or they are principled individuals boycotting Amazon.   I better not cross these guys, or I’m doomed.   Oh wait, that’s really DOOMED, eh?  Hey, my caps lock key works. Should I use it more to sound like I’m an authoritative person accomplished at writing, rather than a noob?  I really thought people trolled on political sites, fan fiction and gaming boards – not LinkedIn, ‘the world’s largest professional network’. 
Although I have been told parasites in cat pooh make me bat shit crazy, I keep my game face on while I’m posting on LinkedIn.  My author blog – well, I have to show some of my personality.  I am not writing IT or PM manuals; I write fiction.  Maybe somewhat strange fiction, but the parasites help me think (or so they tell me).
What I really know - Anyone can self-publish.  Write, upload, choose some options, and ‘Bam!’, you’re an author.  Congratulations? 
Am I trying to be facetious to keep everyone from becoming rich and famous as authors?  Writing is not a get rich quick scheme.  Many authors keep their day jobs, and possibly their second jobs.  I have.  That’s why I can’t afford to go putting a CAP in someone’s ass all over LinkedIn.
Someone referred to an article that claimed the average author makes only $500 per year.  I think that’s possible, based on the amount of new authors, the number of authors that are not paid handsomely by traditional publishers, and the authors that may not be trying to sell something that readers would buy.
I offered advice geared towards the self-published author – both new and even those that may have titles out but wonder what’s wrong after months of bad sales and reviews.  I think it costs a candle nothing to light another candle, and I don’t drop a bunch of low star reviews on Amazon when I see poor ‘Look Inside’ reveals.
Plot aside, what does that book look like?  Is it formatted for easy reading – check out Joel Friedlander’s blog -  Study it.   Learn.  If I was to post hints here, they’d come right from Joel’s blog.  A self-published book should not be uglier than a traditionally published book.  You don’t want the reader to click on ‘look inside’ and cringe – that’s if they got past your cover and decided to click. 
So formatting is somewhere that I think authors can spend a little more time, and by that I mean hardly any time at all to do it right.  I don’t know why justifying text is self-pub kryptonite, but it seemingly is true.  Pick up a regular, traditionally published book – look inside it. Is your printed book going to look something like that?  What’s different?  Fix that.
I used CreateSpace and was happy with the result of uploading using their Word template and their cover maker using images licensed from Shutterstock.  Like anything else, there are people out there who make a living formatting text and making cover art.  Sometimes you can find help on Fiverr – results vary widely on Fiverr, but it’s only $5 a gig.  
Next – Plot [].  Is there one?  Is it suitable for what you wish to communicate?  Can the reader understand it?  This is a problem of mine.  I write long sentences, don’t always put in the little words, and I know exactly what I mean no matter how circular the route to get to the point – why don’t you?  You won’t know that answer unless someone else reads it and says something.  That’s part of what an editor does.  There’s different ways to get your work read and commented upon – critique groups, exchanging with another author (you read theirs), or a family member that reads voraciously and can be conned into reading your crap.  With all those, the benefit is it may be *free*, but the caveat is that the input is only as good as the person reading it.
I like critique groups because I can also learn from what’s being said about others’ work.  The drawback is that one bad apple can mess things up, and leave me feeling it’s a waste of time.  Since I do like getting things accomplished in my ‘free time’, I have little tolerance for divas throwing other people’s stories onto the table and declaring it’s no good because there is a semi-colon.  Nothing about content, because the semicolon is that offensive to them.  If only I brought my laptop – I'd so CAP her so hard, she'd think I'd become a professional writer/editor/social commentator/trollwad.
There are also free-lance editors.  I would advise someone to either get recommendations from an author who you admire or writes something similar, or ask the editor if it’s possible to get a multi-page or one chapter sample edit.  It is your money – so you want to get your money’s worth, and probably not waste time because an editor won’t have that manuscript back to you tomorrow. 
Maybe it’s because I’m an intolerant crazy cat lady that I get so picky, and don’t just want the cheapest editor around to add strikethroughs everywhere.  I also do not want to receive back something that makes me work to find the edits.  If I send a MS Word document (or Open Office), I want changes tracked and comments added to the document.  Do not send me back a corrected pdf and expect that I will accept all changes.  Chances are I’ll accept many of the changes, but I want the option to reject some.  In the end, it’s my name on this so if I want to ignore perfectly good advice, that’s my problem.
Editors may also suggest plot changes.  Some can be pretty big.  For The End of the World Sucks, I rec’d two big ones, besides the cries of sacrilege because I was breaking genre commandments (vampire and zombies are never together, and all zombie books must start at the outbreak).  The first was to add romance - I mocked it for a couple days, but then my teen said she expected some romance too since there was a vampire in the novel.  So I changed ages, added about 10,000 words, and now have to outline a sequel (possibly for 2012 NaNoWriMo).  I think the second one is on par with ‘add romance’, but just didn’t fit with my concept for this plot.  Change the main character, kill someone dear to him/her, have him/her train all through the novel, then at the end the main character saves everyone by killing the zombies in a winner takes all grand battle.  To me, that reads like the plot of any ‘killed my teacher’ vengeance, kung fu film with a lot more enemies at the end.
After editing, possibly rewriting, the manuscript is almost ready to go.  What about proofreading?  Someone needs to go through the reworked document looking for the little errors, and scrawling something like ‘so many commas’ on the page for you, besides showing you which ones need to be removed or added.  It’s checking spelling, grammar and language usage.  A couple will not bother most readers, but if it’s riddled with errors, that’s too distracting, and if someone ends up feeling they wasted money buying your book, it’s likely they’ll leave a bad review.  Bad Reviews are bad. 
Consider proofreading. It’s not as easy to find a proofreader as an editor because it’s hard work, but they’re out there. Though you can give them some direction – one rewrote some dialogue for me.  I don’t talk that properly so I did not accept those changes.
If your grammar, spelling and all is good, you might be able to work out an exchange with someone to keep your costs low.  Don’t try to inflict really bad prose on someone, unless they’re equally in need of help (though how can you help each other?).
In a way this comes back to self-published versus traditionally published.  If an author wants no part of design, format, editing and proofreading, a traditional publisher handles all that.  Win-win. 
If an author wants no part of it and self-publishes, it’s not likely to sell well. Not impossible, but it’s almost as if the author is sabotaging themselves by not putting their best effort into it.
The self-published author also has to consider cost.  Remember that figure from the beginning that authors average $500 per year?  It could be the figure is misleading, and if you spend $2,000 on a full-package deal (cover, edit, proofread, format and upload), you sell $2,500 of books, netting $500.  To me, that sounds risky.  I could just as easily lose $500 or more, rather than make $500.
What I’m seeing among the obviously self-published authors is a category that weakens the whole label of self- published and equates it with trash.  Kindle is allowing novella publishing – I have no problem with that concept, there’s some great shorter fiction.  So I’ll see a lot of 89 page, 99 cent offerings while I’m mucking around on Amazon.  Everything’s fine until I click on ‘Look Inside’.  Being a shorter work, there’s less pages available for sampling, but even in that short taste of the book, I have enough to form a bad opinion, if the 2-star review average didn’t give me a clue.
A couple clicks in Word before uploading would have made it better formatted, also those red, squiggly lines mean something – look those words up, don’t just upload it willy-nilly because your fans need your latest book tonight.
If that fails, here are the community guidelines from   Authors share fan fiction freely, since they cannot try to sell another’s ideas, characters …   So should free fan fiction have a higher standard than self-published fiction? 
Here is a list of conducts that should always be observed:
  1. Spell check all story and poetry. There is no excuse for not performing this duty. If you do not have a word processor that has the spell checking feature, use a search engine such as to find one.
  2. Proofread all entries for grammar and other aspects of writing before submission. 'Hot off the press' content is often riddled with errors. No one is perfect but it is the duty of the writer to perform to the best of his/her ability.
  3. Respect the reviewers. Not all reviews will strictly praise the work. If someone rightfully criticizes a portion of the writing, take it as a compliment that the reviewer has opted to spend his/her valuable time to help improve your writing.
  4. Everyone here is an aspiring writer. Respect your fellow members and lend a helping a hand when they need it. Like many things, the path to becoming a better writer is often a two way street.
5.    Use proper textual formatting. For example: using only capital letters in the story title, summary, or content is not only incorrect but also a disregard for the language itself.

In conclusion, Rule #5 says watch those caps lock rants. Fan Fiction is not the pro-tip source, but it does seem more polite, even if there’s tons of troll reviews :^)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Time & Materials for Self-Publishing

Or what I would call a T&M metric.
Actually, this blog post is more personal than that because there’s been questions, and perhaps my answers are falling short.
I’m an idea person.  For years, I would think of alternate versions of stories, shows and whatever, and when I was laid off in 2009, I read fanfiction, then wrote some.  I did not convert any of that into original fiction, but there’s some similar ideas and themes.
Then I heard about NaNoWriMo in 2011.  At the time, I was back to working full-time, and still kept my part-time job from my unemployment phase because my pay was drastically reduced.  However, I was good at spitting out large amounts of words so I was undaunted by the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.
I wrote the first draft for The End of the World Sucks in November 2011.  Some NaNoWriMo participants call it quits on Nov. 30th – mission accomplished or not.  It’s the writing that’s important, not who sees it.
From my fan fiction, I knew that some people liked what I write (though there’s others who set up troll accounts to keep voicing their hate continually – I’m that much of a literary force?).  I could post it for free to the internet, and point people to it.
But there’s also the possibility that it was a publishable idea/story.   To ask for money though, I felt the story needed to be stronger and improved.  It’s a two-way street – I invest time into the writing and making it better, and someone pays for the diversion and hopeful enjoyment of reading it.
So I entered months of critiquing, editing and finally proofreading. Why did it take months?  It wasn’t that the manuscript was that big a pile of crap, but I have limited free time.  Besides working, I also do volunteer work, and at times, my teenager needs me for parental things.  
During this period, I tested the waters regarding traditional publishing.  I understood it would take time, but I was getting the feeling that what I had was not genre-specific enough, but drew enough on the horror elements that it couldn’t be a mainstream novel.
I’m ok with that.  I don’t feel like rewriting the story with a kick-ass, unreal hero(ine) with all sorts of mad survival skillz.  She’s intentionally normal … or somewhat normal. Vanna’s not me, but I have observed some young ladies at my part-time job that could be close (the client’s employees, not my colleagues), and I’ve also watched enough television and news stories to fill in more details.
I also did not want to rewrite the disaster that put her in this situation – Vanna hiding in her house for a month after a zombie outbreak can be dramatic, I suppose, but I was interested in what happened after that.  That’s what the story’s about. Many other tales begin with the outbreak, and then the search for other survivors.  I wanted to investigate what happens once someone survives to that point.
Also, I don’t have enough zombie action.  Since I intentionally have Vanna as the main character, and she’s rather normal, why would she want to head towards zombies?  I’m leery of storylines that have characters continually putting themselves in danger, without good reasons to do that.  I’m even more critical when during their repeated attempts to do stupid things, the skilled characters martyr themselves to save the idiot.  Good going, idiot.  Now who’s going to save you from yourself?
Then the final straw was zombies and vampires don’t mix.  I wouldn’t say they’re mixing in my book, they coexist.  I feel that zombies would present a problem to a vampire if they need living human blood to survive.  What’s a vampire to do?  That leads into a secondary problem that some people don’t like which is other characters having motivation that may not mesh with the main character.  I’m writing crazy ass plot with everyone having an agenda.  Most start with ‘stay alive’, but it diverges after that.  I don’t think that’s such a big deal because even in a simple sounding murder mystery, it’s not as easy as everyone versus the killer.
So, when I decided on self-publishing, I had to learn what was what.  I’m not in this profession, and less than a year ago, I didn’t even know people doing it.
I have to spend time on ‘the author platform’.  That means this blog/web site, Twitter, Facebook, and trying not to spend too much time on GoodReads.   I’m supposed to be talking about what I know and what I’m working on.  Well, I’m not labeling myself as a professional writer, but I don’t mind sharing what I’ve found out.  A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
On top of that, and getting the manuscript text polished, people started talking about costs.  I didn’t spend anything on the author platform, except my time.
I had a coupon for CreateSpace from NaNo – 5 free copies of the novel, but I needed to pay for shipping.  I won a second coupon with the same offer.  Expiration date: June 30th.  Shipping costs $11.90, and I have ten printed copies of my novel.
Before that June 30th deadline though, I had some other expenses like editing and proofreading, and I also wanted to have a certain look to the cover so I licensed some images from Shutterstock.  I also licensed some extras of the same female model to use because one of the writing groups I had joined suggested that I put back story for the novel on my web site.
I also opted to officially copyright.  Work is copyrighted from the moment an author writes it, but the $35 seemed a reasonable price.  It’s certainly less than buying my own ISBNs.
Once I had my cover image, I splurged on Vistaprint and ordered some business cards with my book cover and social media list, and also some postcards.  Vistaprint may be in what’s considered a dying field – business cards and other marketing items – but they’re keeping it alive with their great pricing.  If I break it down, a color postcard cost me six cents.  Between both sides, it lists my book title, July publication, a blurb, and sets the expectation that it's about 'Zombies, a vampire, and human social drama.'

That leads to the three-part question that spurred me to write this post – “How do you expect to make money as an author when you are spending so much to self-publish, especially when it takes you more than six months to get a novel to market?  Additionally, how can you consider yourself successful if no one is waiting to buy your book when it first comes out?”
I’m going to answer the second part first, since to me that seems like the no-brainer – I’m not quitting my day job, or even my part-time job because I need that income.  Once I begin making ‘real money’ as an author, I can reconsider that possibility.  I don’t believe six months is an unreasonable period of time to work on editing my first professional novel.  If I had pursued the traditional publishing route further, and was successful, it may be 18 to 24 months before the book was scheduled to be published.  I hope to become quicker as I practice good writing habits.
How do I make money with this?  Well, I have a spreadsheet listing my costs to date because if I have income, I should deduct business expenses.  Since I’m tight-fisted in this endeavor, I spent $141.  Some people may spend more, and there’s less expensive ways to do this.  I am comfortable risking this investment. 
During the first week, I sold a few copies through the kindle format, one through the Nook format.  Some people have said they ordered the paper version of the novel, but Amazon/CreateSpace is not reporting those sales yet.  My best royalty rate is roughly $2 and that’s for the Kindle version.  So if 70 kindle versions are bought, that’s my breakeven point.   I also have extra paper, physical copies in my possession that I could sell for $10 each, if I join a local author talk circuit.
My business plan is to wait for positive reviews and word-of-mouth.  I believe the early orders are from people that know me, but I have no definitive proof except for the person who has the novel on her Nook.  The forward-looking part is if there are no sales through Smashwords, and B&N/Nook is stagnant, I will opt to go exclusively with Amazon for a 90-day period.
And BTW, I think that line of questioning is a deterrent to everyone considering in investing in a better, self-published product that saw them posted @Sharon because I recommended self-published authors invest time and money in editing and proofreading.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Psychological Claptrap, not Science

An interesting article regarding Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) from the Cleveland Clinic -
Since the body (I guess mine is inferred here) does not produce antibodies then it must be a psychological problem?   
I am a migraine sufferer since early childhood.  It was not until my 20s that it was officially diagnosed because it is rare for children to have migraines.  Throughout my life, I’ve also gotten sinus headaches, which were usually triggered by my crying over the pain of a migraine.  For years, I was told I was ‘faking it’ so I could crawl under my bed to be in the dark, or lie face down on the cool tile floor in the bathroom waiting for my headache to reach the point where I could throw up.
Within the field of migraine medicine, it is known that olfactory triggers are possible.  My migraine does not produce antibodies either, but when I was at the doctor’s office for something else, I had a migraine and enough physical symptoms at the time to get the diagnosis I had waited for years to validate I was not ‘faking it’.
Even when I do not have headaches, I have olfactory auras at times.  It’s odd things that I smell when it’s not present - like waves of vinegar scent at my local Petco while I’m sitting at cat adoptions.
I know my migraines can be triggered by chemicals such as benzene, lead, acetone, benzyl whatever, oxybenzone, diethyl phthalate,  acetate, carbon monoxide, paraffin, and probably at least a dozen others – not natural smelly things like skunk odor or scooping the cat pan.  I’m sensitive to the chemicals that cause central nervous system disorders or hormone disruption.
Why are people that notice these in their environment being labeled as having a psychological disorder? 
And if someone really needs a physical symptom, I got petechia (blood vessels bursting leaving pinkish red dots, mostly beneath my eyes and also on the whites of my eyes) when I was pregnant and avoiding all medication.  How do I fake that shit?  Some of those dots are still on my body.
So I think the so-called experts don’t want to admit that there is a growing number of unsafe chemicals in the everyday environment that will effect some people quicker than others – wait, I’m in the canary group? – and will say ‘oh no, who knew?’ when there’s extensive chromosomal and nervous conditions that can be linked back to these same chemicals that are considered unsafe and banned in other countries.
Just remember, there’s still groups out there lobbying that second hand smoke poses no health risk – Heartland Institute, the same non-profit that says climate change is not occurring, hydraulic fracking is perfectly safe, genetically engineered crops are progress, endorses no regulation or inspection by government agencies, privatization of public services, deregulation of health care, free-market environmentalism, supporting ideas that empower people, and financing political campaigns if the results could cause a major setback to their national effort ($612k for pro-Walker in Wisconsin recall).
That last bit should have been left up to the people of Wisconsin.

I do enjoy living in a bi-partisan state, where even Chris Christie and Cory Booker can appear in the same YouTube video.  They are both capable of saying more than 'no' and 'never'.  One says it plainly, while the other tweets back 140 characters of poetry.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Review: City of Bones

City of Bones
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started reading this author's work with The Infernal Devices series. From only reading the first book of Mortal Instruments, I have to say I prefer the second series. It may be the author has matured.

Overall, I liked the story. Clary's not my favorite type of heroine, but she doesn't annoy the crap out of me. That's actually meant as praise.

Like Clare's other series, I like the premise of the world and she does a good job of drawing the reader in.
The young members of the Shadowhunters don't catch my interest - perhaps because I've read a bit too much of this type of genre in the past.

View all my reviews

Review: Deadlocked

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I should have been suspicious when it was on the library shelf so soon after release. I had not enjoyed the last couple installments, and I suppose that is how others are feeling.

Deadlocked (#12) book is an improvement over Dead Reckoning (#11).

I'm hoping this series will go out with a bang rather than a whimper.

It seems the purpose of Deadlocked is to set up book 13 - the final chapter. The subplots I have an interest in did not move. I angle towards the vampire action - not the fairies or werewolves.
There is a mystery - Southern Vampire Mysteries - introduced which is solved.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Back to Work (Writing Work)

So back to writing again – what am I doing?
Web page wise, I need to finesse a page for the book that looks like I seriously want to support it in a creative way. In the works, and I want it finished prior to the paperback version going live on Amazon.
For August’s CampNaNoWriMo, I think I’m starting a new novel, Neferseshotep.  It’ll be another world is in trouble scenario, but follow characters that can actually affect the outcome, instead of hiding and worrying about staying alive like Vanna Ames in The End of the World Sucks.
Neferseshotep has been on the Astral Plane for millennium protecting souls from soul eaters as they travel to their final destination.  Back in the day, he was a priest of Anubis.  He still believes he’s working for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead.
His fellow adventurers will be a Valkyrie, a newbie Reaper, and three more humans who have been working on the Astral Plane for their religions protecting the faithful – one Celt and two Maori. 
I have some characters.  I need to work on an outline so I can crank out another zero level draft  in 30 days. (NaNoWriMo is a novel in a month challenge – it’s words in quantity, but not quality.  Write, don’t edit, for the entire month)
For November, I might write a sequel to The End of the World Sucks.  Back when I originally wrote it, there were no romantic goings-on.  When I was working on the edits, it was strongly advised that any novel with a vampire include some romantic elements because readers expect it.  So it’s present in the story now, but I haven’t lived with it long enough to have enough material in mind to outline a sequel.
On top of that, I have a couple other ideas.  One involves historical research, so I’ll probably delay that idea for a while.  The other won’t involve the end of the world in any way, but I’m out to kill fictional people with a devious main character.

Everyday Chemicals

Another serious post because I had a major migraine caused at my second job yesterday by two different substances – I was monitored by a young man wearing cologne, and I was then assigned to work with sealed bottles of lotion and ointments.   I can frequently smell the products inside.
I am sensitive to chemical smells, and it’s not just things that smell bad because there’s many pleasant-smelling substances that bother me.  I’m also not bothered on a physical level by disgusting smells from things like skunks and my pets.
How I wish I could not work a second job that sometimes puts me in the position of choosing whether to tough it out or go home.  Yesterday, I had the aggravation of getting to the work site at 5 am, and if I left, my teen would need to leave with me because I was her ride.  If I had known she hadn’t had her driver’s license to get us home earlier, I might have insisted we leave while I was somewhat functioning.
So what’s my problem?  Besides the migraines, I am frequently in pain from sinus and tension headaches, neck, shoulder and back problems due to being rear-ended by another car while I sat at a red light three times, and I also sometimes score an earache. I can get pretty cranky when someone gets in my vicinity that can cause me pain because they douse themselves with chemicals.
The scented products are the main culprits, and from trying to research what specifically gives me problems, I found that cosmetic companies are not required to list the ingredients on the packaging.  When labs test them, they find hormone inhibiting and carcinogenic substances, perhaps some benzene. Are these harmful to less sensitive people?  Maybe they are, and it appears that it could be long-term health risks.