The Smoldering Crater Set Before You

Oh what a rough week or two.

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A very old WIP I did in Bryce and Poser.  Not a selfie, but it’s how I feel right now.

Special torture followed up by a work week from hell… (84 hours in 7 days) has left me a mess.  No writing done in that time, but a lot of anxiety over book sales and everything I should not be concerned with.  But… it has been illuminating to struggle through this.  I’ve learned how easily a single sale pops up your ranking, if only for a day or even a few hours, not to mention how important listing your book in the right list will help in exposure.

It is also surprising to see how Amazon ads work.  Not what I thought, and certainly not as effective as I thought, but then again, that could be also because of my pricing.  $3.99 seems to be daunting for many people, so I have an idea and if you are out there listening, I’d sure like to hear opinions. 🙂

I’m thinking of splitting the book up into 3 volumes.  Price the first one as free and the second two at $0.99.  It will not have the same cover, just something simple, tasteful and elegant using the seal.  Nor will it have the map.  Those are the benefits of buying the whole book in one piece, but perfect for those not sure if they want to invest in the first book of the series.  Opinions now accepted. 😉

I’m also a little concerned with who to use as my POD supplier for my hardcover and paperback.  I’m not thrilled with Createspace (because your royalties for their Expanded Distribution are beyond laughable.), nor Ingram Spark (For reasons not worth going into).  Direct2Digital looks the best, but they can’t sell on Amazon, so that’s a big concern but it could sell on Kobo and Smashwords among others.  So… it’ll still be on Barnes & Noble too.  Sigh.  Plus the cost is looking as high as $15.00 for trade paperbacks!  Yipes!  (Most not for me)

Anyway, that’s why the silence for a long period.  I could not get around so many things.

BTW Reviewers!  I haven’t seen too many around save for a few of y’all who have been fantastic!  They really do matter a lot for sales and rankings and promotions, so if you haven’t done one yet on Amazon, Smashwords or Kobo, (or Goodreads if you use it)  please do!  😀    BTW, if anyone has had any problems purchasing on Amazon, let me know!  Please!  One person tipped me off that Kindle’s and the iPad ap may not be accepting purchases for my book.  That’s just dirty pool if it’s happening to others.  Otherwise you can still get it from the other two main vendors.

Okay, now… the plan as it sits right now.  Stop focusing so hard on book 1.  Work a new cover image, and see about splitting the book into 3 parts for sale, cheap.  And of course, I will be ecstatic if I can get 10 chapters done by this time next week, 5 by Monday.  So that’s the hope and the goal.  I am going to be pushing hard to finish book 2’s first draft by Easter again.  So that’s the big goal.

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Rough Grace

My own personal comments are below. Great retelling of a great memory, Mr. Teemley.

Mitch Teemley

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It was 30 years ago today, on the Friday before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was crawling with pre-holiday misery. Planes were late and tempers were flaring. The holidays might be impending, but the holiday spirit was nowhere to be seen. And then the announcement came: Our flight to Denver had been cancelled. No reason was offered. Which meant the airline was responsible; if the airport or weather were to blame, it would be the first thing they’d say.

Cranky passengers were greeted by an even crankier Steward. Allen (my partner in the comedy act Mitch & Allen) and I knew that FAA regulations required them to put us on a competitor’s flight if they didn’t have one of their own leaving within four hours. We also knew they would not offer this unless it was demanded.

The only person who…

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The First Five Days

Five days in, and binge writing is still the order of the day.

I discovered quickly I cannot dictate.  My mind just refuses… REBELS even… at speaking out in prose.  I need my fingers.  But I have decided to use Google Docs for a little, to see how well this will work.  And I’ve downloaded Scrivener to transfer my work to… ultimately.

So here’s how it sits:

2.4 chapters

5437 words

…and rising.  I’m not done for the day till I get closer to my goal of 10k.

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What I am finding odd is that since this is an adaptation, I’m going back pretty regularly to the source material to go over it as I write.  This is slowing me down a lot more than expected, but it’s nice to see it flow none the less.

X-Post Fact Toast #5

For those who have finished reading my Second edit… the third edit, having it read out loud, even through a cruddy “Text to Speech” program  has been quite revealing.  The “Ear Clunk” is rapidly vanishing, and the story has gotten so much smoother.  I did 7 chapters tonight, meaning only 9 more to go before Friday, and barring some major disaster, I will be able to make my Beta Reader deadline without much issue.

Get away from me unexpected threat to my happiness!  That was not a challenge for you to try and meet!

The process has been a surprise as well.  Writing has given me two new expressions:

  1.  “Vonnegut colored crayon”.  Meaning that I often feel like I am writing with a crayon in my mouth.  Some of the text has been bad and have been grateful for the rewrite to fix it.  To my Alpha Readers who have been so supportive… I am so sorry.e19ea468de59620c1ab6da71da2a9dd9
  2. “Nose to Bark.”  I coined this expression when talking to one of my alpha readers and trying to explain I was so close to my creation, it was like having my nose pressed to a tree, so I could not see the forest around me.

On a positive note, I got this back from one of my alpha readers after he completed the 2nd edit alpha read.

Needless to say, this came from someone who’s opinion means a great deal to me, and is not a fantasy fan… ergo, I’m one very happy person.

Furthermore, this also gave me the experience of seeing this book with my nose no longer on the bark, having the computer read it to me to catch the most egregious errors.  What I learned is that the first chapters may not be as good, but the ones done latest are significantly better and smoother running.  Not only that, I did not realize the story could be as engaging and compelling as compared to when I originally wrote this bad boy.  I had to force myself to stop editing because I wanted a fresh mind for the last 9 chapters, which, if fortunate, will be done tomorrow.  If not… Friday.  But it’s getting done!

X-Post Fact Toast #4

Brutal day of editing.  The distractions have been quite large.  On a positive note, I am up to Chapter 15 of 36, so things are going well.  4 long chapters done that were much more difficult than some previous ones.  I find that irritating but whatcha gonna do?  Am I right?

I was hoping to do the beta release Monday as ideal, but it may be a little after that.  Depends on what I can get done as I make one last trip to the cottage today.

Teh flowbers… Ai smellz dem.

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NaNoWriMo2016! Bonus Post!

Bonus Update!

Yep!  I’m jumping on board, and have been torn between one of two concepts so far that I’m playing with doing.

But, despite it being one of the two that I’m going to pursue, here’s my plan.

I am going to adapt a classic movie/play to my fantasy setting, write it out as a novella and look at making it FREE to the public!  As of this publication, I’m probably already doing a breakdown analysis of both to see which works best.  As things progress, you will learn more.

Why free?  Well, because reasons.

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So, that’s part of why the big push to finish my third edit and get this off to the beta readers and start the process for the book cover et all before the end of the month.  Maybe I’ll be lucky and find an editor that can slot me in before January too.  That would be awesome.  Well, we’ll see how that goes… but if all goes according to plan, and so far it has been following pretty true to form, we will have some nice surprises coming.

Keep watching, sign up for updates and more.  Some good changes are a-comin’!

Update after writing this:  I’ve settled on a concept for NaNoWriMo and the “Beta Reader Draft” is just flying along!  Things are changing so fast!

The Next Steps

After the high of completing the second draft and getting some extremely positive feedback from an Alpha Reader, I’m about to embark on the next triad of actions, and I have to say, they scare me more than anything else that I’ve been up to so far.

Okay… well 2 out of the 3.

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First, is prepping to send the book out to beta readers.  I am still looking for a few willing to commit and have fun with the process.  I know I’m making a big deal and possibly getting more input than I might need, but I’m looking for fans of the fantasy genre and if I can find someone in the industry who wants to offer an opinion, I’m really interested in that too.  Forgive me, I don’t know any better.

This means that I am putting together the PDF, after I am done with the 3rd edit where I’m going to sweep through the book using a text to speech program, and another editorial bit of software to catch very difficult/clumsy, icky sections, problematic grammar and all that goop.

Once completed,  and the beta readers are going through it all, I am going to have to start laying out my limited funds for a cover artist.  The importance of having a stellar cover is so hard to understate.  I just look at my own behavior when looking at books.  Crap cover, I keep browsing.  I don’t care how much the reviews say it’s awesome.  Sad but true.  The only time I don’t follow that is when I am more or less researching an author.  Having done graphic design in the past, I have a very good eye for a pro cover, and will have to make sure this hits the quality I want.

Then probably a line editor.  I wish I could get a developmental editor, but that’s too expensive for me and so I’m going to have to just trust my instincts and what my alpha/beta readers feedback provides.  I perhaps waited too long to get one to hit my desired deadline, but that’s okay.  I’ll look into pre-orders to help out with that if I can, once I learn how to set up my merchant pages and everything.  Right now I can’t even handle thinking about that yet because I’m so ignorant of it all and have to learn more fast.

As an enticement for some people who may be interested, I desire to set up a free copy for those who volunteer and complete the beta read (questionnaire and all before the deadline).  I’m also toying with doing a paperback, and possibly hardcover release (if I can find a service that does POD hardcovers… I haven’t researched it.)  Beyond that, I’m just formulating things for my marketing and sales plan.  Lots of ideas to come.

So now’s the time to hop on the bandwagon if you like what you see and think you want to be part of the final celebratory dash of this marathon.  Sign up, and be a part of the fun!

Fear of Failure, Fear of Success

Nothing creative to post today.

Although I have a correction to make in my timeline to post coming up.  A small bit of significant history I forgot to include.  Oh well.

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The second draft of my novel, (currently titled Reimarsoga) is now in the can and I’m letting it cool for a few days before I dig back into it.  I need to give my brain a chance to rest and think.  I have sent it out to a couple of alpha readers for feedback and seeing if I missed some major things that must be addressed, and then we move forward for the third and fourth edits… which I hope will be the last of them thanks to each step involving outside input.

What made the second draft so hard was simply how much new content I had to write.  The first draft was great exploration but when I started learning about editing and better storycraft and functional use of the three act structure, I realized I had a beginning hook and great middle build… but no real conclusion.  Part of this might be because I had expected this to be only the first part of a bigger book (which the remainder is now to become an even bigger second novel), the other is just because of bad planning and storytelling on my part.

So I re-plotted and decided to look at all of the “Chekov’s Guns” I’d drawn in the course of it all.  I considered major tropes that fantasy novels loved to have in.  I thought about all the things that I loved in novels and said:

“Self, you need to fix this and write write write.”

“Okay… but only if you hurry this up, rational thought.  I have a deadline to meet.”

“Deadline, Schmedline.  It’ll be done when it’s done and that’ll be when its good.”  Rational Mind snapped

“Isn’t it always good?” Self whined?

“No.  Now shut up, here’s a Vonnagut colored crayon for your mouth.  Get writing!”

And that was the way of it.  I put out over 120 pages of new content, scattered throughout the entire plotline.  There were so many holes!  Not to mention converting the whole book over from first to third person!  Ugh!  You realize how frustrating that can be?  It may be easy to change “I” to “He” and what not, but just that delay in moving forward can be disheartening.

Then came the worst sensations of the edit:  I started to fear its completion!  One half of the brain was freaking out because the book could suck and I’d be just wasting my time.  Many times I spit the crayon out of my mouth or bit it in two, frustrated at my own inability to make myself coherent.  Time and time again, like many a good writer I suspect, I threw out what I thought was good, but in the ended up with a “this fish tastes funny” so I spit it out and tried again.  At times, I was fortunate enough to be blessed with two very precious people to give me feedback just when I needed it most (take another pair of bows Torfinn and Francois… aren’t they lovely folks?) and help me conquer so many questions that finally… FINALLY, the end was in sight last on Wednesday night.

Then fear of success jumped up and kicked me in the ding ding.  What if I did succeed?  Then what?  I started having a bit of a freak out over that.  Now although it seems to be rare for people to have anxiety over succeeding, I get it, and it can be powerful enough to destroy the whole creative process.  Why?  Because you get comfortable with the creative process and do not wish it to end for fear of not knowing what is next.  Or something else more fitting for your own situation.  So I wrestled with it as it stole my creativity and voice.  It did not want me to produce anything of good enough quality that I could complete the work.  It was not writer’s block per sey for I could pump out pablum and be done with it… but my conscience would not allow that.

Thankfully, I was able to have a small spark of inspiration and make a leap forward and those last pages shot out like a lovely last silver salute and chrysanthemum (know your fireworks), and I could relax.  The hardest work so far was done.

And I was surprised at the peace that I had.  Now it was clear how often I was fearing doing this novel right as much as I was fearing doing it wrong.  I am looking forward to the third edit and the beta read and the cover competition, and hiring an editor…

and finally maybe… just maybe…

making my ultimate deadline and book release dates.

So much more to learn and do.

X-post Fact Toast #1

I publish more often short updates to Facebook, so I decided to start sharing the content here from now on.  They won’t occur on any set schedule, but usually happen after I finish writing for the day, making them erratic and very stream of consciousness.

So my posting will be increasing, but expect the beginning and weekend posts as usual.

 

How odd. Today’s word count: 4,444. Yep. Quad four. LOL
Of course I probably broke 5000, but much of that would be due to editing and little extra sentences and editorial cleanup. Boy, I feel like such a hack at times, but the story’s the thing.

But today was hard. I had to do a hard thing because I got wrapped up in a character and bad things needed to happen. So I did them… and that’s a good place to stop for the day.

One final scene and the battle is over. That leaves only three more to go. Conclusion, separation and resolution. Two of the three have been partially written already.

Vacation: Achievement Unlocked

My Minnesota Adventure is now complete. I have to say that it has been both a good time and revealing time to go out and remind myself a place I called home for just about 5 years. I would had a grand time seeing old friends, and going to some of my favorite places that I used to enjoy when I lived there.

Unfortunately I was also reminded all those reasons why I fled living in a big city like that. It wasn’t that I dislike the place, no I cannot tolerate the oppressive atmosphere hopelessness and anger that pervades the areas where I was forced to live. Don’t get me wrong, the Cities are fine if you have money. Then you can live safe and content, generally avoiding most of the areas which would cause worry and fear to be touchstones of your daily life. Unfortunately I had neither money or safety when I lived there. So I was able to see personally and within touching distance how bad life can be for people who have limited means. Plus, I worked in a job that kept me in constant contact with some of the best as well as the worst Elements of Life in the Twin Cities. That unto itself is an education. How I managed to get through this time without being assaulted, robbed, or worse, yes, living there taught me there probably is worse than those two things, is amazing. I know friends thought I was a big chicken, because no one was going to assault someone who looked like me according to them. It didn’t matter. I did not come from this kind of a background. So that meant I was not willing to take the risks or assume that the behavior of the people around me that was, shall we say, less-than-stellar was acceptable or normal me Big City radar. That isn’t to say that I wasn’t able to recognize danger, or realize you always had to be aware of your surroundings, but those activities were exhausting and painful to undertake.

Another pleasing aspect was I got to revisit one of my favorite places to go when I was in the Twin Cities, The Source. It had moved, which was good because it took it to a much more convenient place as far as I was concerned right across from the HarMar Mall. For those who do not know, the HarMar is a dumpy little place with the best Barnes & Noble you could possibly want to find. With a penchant for really good events. Unfortunately the first time we went to that Barnes & Noble for old time sake, it was completely overrun with Harry Potter fans. As I have stated to many people, I will never read, nor watch anything Harry Potter.  They were holding a youth event and within 30 seconds I was over stressed. But that is when we discovered the source was directly across the street.

Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was closed for the evening. So, the following day we went back, not only for my edification, but because my friend’s daughter had just been introduced to Magic: the Gathering. Her friends were nice and gave her a deck and which to learn to play… of all the cards they did not like or had a few extra. No, it’s not often that generosity sometimes leaves you with a bitter spike in the back of your head. These were not good cards nor a good design really.  That is being a bit unfair, for one or two of the cards were good.  But that was all. This left her completely at the whim of her friends to beat up on her when they play the game. I decided to remedy that.

Thankfully, they had a Bargain Bin. $0.20 a card and we took full advantage of it. There were a few tricks that could enhance her deck so i used the. With a few choice cards and a starter box, that all changed. I took the skills that I had earned as an old-school Magic the Gathering player from way back when and it became a frustratingly naughty little deck. I just loaded myself up with squee thinking about how her friends thinking they knew what she had would react once they dealt with a deck that was tuned to play in tournaments  when they themselves we’re not familiar with how to play in a tournament.

I must admit that was probably the highlight of my vacation, of going full-on nerd and making a teenage girl the alpha nerd of her social circle.

Of course that’s not quite true. The highlight was being able to go to my favorite “always gotta go there” restaurant for brunch on Sunday. If you ever get the chance to go to brunch at Jax Cafe in Northeast Minneapolis, do so! It’s expensive, and worth it. None of my friends who came to be there with me I never been there before. So I was given the wonderful response being able to introduce them to a real gem the restaurant scene in Minneapolis.

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All in all, I’m glad I went. The time away from work was refreshing, and it provided me with more experiences to enjoy in my memory.

We shall now engage in our regularly scheduled posting.  See you Friday.