Monday, August 29, 2016

Resurrection

When I first started communicating with other writers, I came across something I had never considered - books you write but shove under your bed never to see the light of day again.  (There's a name for it, but I can't remember what it is right now.  Trunk book?  Closet book?  :shrug:) 

Oh, I assumed there would be books I would never finish.  (And there are. A bunch of them.)  But I never dreamed there would be any book I wrote all the way to THE END that I would just give up on.  Practice book?  P'shaw. 

If I loved it enough to write it all the way to THE END, I must've thought at some point that it was worth finishing.  And if it's worth finishing, it's worth publishing.  At least that's my thought. 

Right now, I'm kind of between books.  I can't muster the excitement to finish Early Grave yet.  Or go back to Natural Causes.  When I lie in bed at night thinking about my books, the old ones still bubble to the surface.  "When will it be my turn?" they ask. 

And while I always wanted to see these books being read by someone other than my family members, crit partners, etc., I still had the old idea that one should always put one's first books under the bed creeping around my head.  It's taboo to resurrect them.  It's just not done.  It'll kill your career.  :yawn: 

With self-publishing, I can put any of my books out there.  The market will buy them or they won't.  If only ten people read them... Hell, if one person reads them and enjoys them, I will have served my purpose.  "So," I asks myself, "what the hell am I holding back for?"

To that end, I went back to my first book.  I love this book.  Everyone who's read it loved it.  It was the book that got me my most important contact* - both business and personal - and that relationship has been going strong for 12+ years. Why not go back through it, edit it so it matches my current level of writerly knowledge, and see what the market thinks of it?

Yes, I am resurrecting Fear Itself.  I hope to have it publishable by the end of the year.  It might fail miserably in the free market, but that's a chance I'm willing to take. 

Right now, it's a behemoth at 137K words.  (I thought it topped out at 147K, but I can't find that draft, so I'm working with the one I have.  Hopefully, this draft isn't one of the ones I butchered for agent submission after someone told me the book was 'too long'.)  I expect the word count to go down a little because I now know what words to cut to make it tighter.  We'll see.

I wasn't going to tell anyone about this.  I didn't want to run the risk of someone telling me I was crazy or trying to turn me away from this.  But I think I'm probably strong enough now to withstand the naysayers.  Hell, I probably am crazy.  I might turn away from this on my own.  Who knows?  I at least want to try.  In between working on Up Wish Creek to get it ready for launch next month and working on new words so I have other things to publish next year. 

Do you have an unfinished project you've tucked away?  What's holding you back?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

You Heard it Here First

Fertile Ground will be free this weekend.  Why?  :shrug:  I felt like throwing it out there.  Now, if people want something to read over Labor Day weekend here in the states, they can dive into Teri's story.  Not sure if it's worldwide.  Possibly.  Check your local Amazon listings. 

I'll probably do some announcing of this over the weekend, but you heard it here first.  Tada!

Also, if you missed it, Wish in One Hand AND In Deep Wish are only 99 cents now through the launch of Up Wish Creek - so through the end of September most likely.  At which point, they'll go back to their $2.99 price.  If you haven't read them yet, now's your chance.

I'm playing with the idea of launching Up Wish Creek at 99 cents and seeing how that works out.

I'm also playing with the idea of creating a box set for the Once Upon a Djinn books.  But not any time soon.  Your best bet for low-low pricing is to get the books now.

I do have plans for other genie books, but right now, they're on the back burner.  I really need to see people reading the other ones before I spend time and money to create more in that series. 

Before I forget, Up Wish Creek is due to be out on or before September 14th - good lord willin' and the creek don't rise.  (Which means barring any unforeseen difficulties - in case you don't speak down-home. LOL)  So, there won't be a huge time gap if you buy the other two books now.

Also, if you have read any of my books, I would seriously appreciate it if you posted a review.  Just a couple lines about what you enjoyed about it.  It doesn't have to be anything fancy.  If you've already posted a review, you totally rock.  But you probably already knew that.  :hugs:

Thanks for stopping by here.  Thanks for following my blogs.  Thanks for reading my books.  You're awesome. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Right Way to Write

It's time again* for me to give you the secret I've been holding onto all these years. 

Ready for it?

Are you sure?

I don't want to just give it to you if you aren't absolutely, positively ready for this.

Because it could change your life forever.

Seriously.

Okay, so you're ready for it.

Sure?

Fine.

Here it is...

The right way to write is

.

.

.


WHATEVER WAY WORKS FOR YOU.

Yeah, you can throw shit at me now, if it makes you feel better, but I'm serious.  There is no 'right way to write' that works for everyone.

Some people start out with pen and paper.  Some people start out with an outline.  Some people plot the whole way through.  Some people sit down at a keyboard and type until something coherent comes out.  Some of the last people have an idea of what they're writing, some of them are totally flying by the seat of their pants.  (Hence the name 'pantser'.)  Which one of those ways is right?  All of them - for the writer using each of them.  There is no wrong way to write either.

Okay, scratch that last bit.  There might in fact be a wrong way to write.  If you have no concept of how your language works and the basics of its grammar, you're probably not writing 'wrong' per se, but you'll hate yourself during editing.  Or whoever you pay to edit for you will probably create a voodoo doll in your likeness so they can stick pins in it whenever you totally slaughter the language.  (I sometimes suspect my editor has such a likeness of me and that's where my aches come from.  LOL)

What I really suggest for anyone who may be looking for the answer to "What's the right way to write?"  Find a way and try it.  If you think it sucks, or the work you produce sucks, try another way.  Keep trying them until you find one that doesn't suck for you.  And if, sometime down the road, that one starts to suck (as they sometimes do), switch to another method.  Whatever gets the words onto the page and keeps those pages piling up until you reach those magical two words: THE END.

The only one piece of advice any burgeoning writer needs is this: "Sit your ass down and write."  However you get those words on paper, get them on paper.  Everything else is moot until you have words.  Everything. Else.

Oh, and "Give yourself permission to suck", so your internal editor doesn't kill your little book zygotes before they get a chance to hatch.

That's all.  Any questions?

 * I've said this before, but it bears repeating every couple years as new writers come around looking for this advice. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Release Update

Last night I turned in the edits for Up Wish Creek.  14 days after I got the edit notes from my editor.  I'm pretty floored.  I have never turned around editing that fast.  Not the first round of editor edits anyway.  The last round goes quicker, naturally.  It's all commas and typos and 'hey, did you mean to put that there?'

I already knew I could write 50K words in a month - thanks to NaNoWriMo - but I wasn't sure I could do this.  I had hopes.  I had foolish dreams that I could turn it around in a week.  (Ummm, yah.  That was kinda crazypants.)  But I did it.  I edited 212 pages in 2 weeks.

What this means for you?  Well, she'll have the final round back to me on the 30th*.  If I bust ass like I did these past two weeks, I should be able to have this book in your hands before the 14th of September.  So only like a week later than my plan of having this out by Labor Day.  I won't put it up for pre-order this time.  It'll just be live when it goes live.  It's quicker that way.  Trust me.

Basically, what I'm saying is....  ONE MONTH! 

And I think you'll really like this one.  I know I really like it.  Jo's at it again... and well... things happen...

Ack, I need to write the marketing copy for this.  I'm so totally hosed on that.  Massive muse failure.  She's sleeping it off somewhere, I'm sure. 

Anyway, I'll have it ready in plenty of time.  Meanwhile, here's the pretty cover again**.




*Huge thanks to Janet at Pink Pencil Editing for giving me a quicker turnaround time than usual.  This is part of the reason why I call her AWE (Awesome Wonderful Editor). 

** Huge thanks also to Jessica Allain at Enchanted Whispers Art.  She rocked the hell out of my covers.  Way better experience than with the dude who did the initial cover for Wish in One Hand

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Snippets Change Sometimes

Last Friday, I posted a snippet of Up Wish Creek's first chapter over at Killer Chicks.  Last night, I revised that bit.

Here's what you saw last Friday:

It had been about a month since the shitstorm blew through and I turned a portion of North Florida into glass.  And there I was sitting in my library, trying to interrogate a book.  My ex-lover, who betrayed me, was nowhere to be found.  Not that I’d had time to look.  Which was probably for the best because I was so ready to kick his olive-brown ass. The last time I saw my dog he’d been transformed back into a gorgeous genie, and he was panting after the only surviving twin goddess of a long-extinct Nubian tribe.  My conniving former best friend was still a bitch—literally—and sleeping curled up on the rug in front of the fireplace.  But the more things change… Well, let’s just say things were working the way they’d always worked.  Life as a genie is long, but hey, unless you really work at it, it’s not boring.

Sometimes I wish I put forth the effort.

“Did the book tell you anything yet?” The only constant in my life, the right-proper Basil Hadresham shouted from another room.  He was my business partner, decades-long friend, and genie extraordinaire.  And he’d spent the past thirty some odd years keeping my life on an even keel.  Even if he did have a bad habit of bellowing through my home like a kid who’s too lazy to grab a snack from the kitchen.

“I heard you,” I shouted back because I was too lazy.  “And the answer is no. Did you get anything out of that damn dog yet?”

Basil entered my library with the dog in question trailing behind him.  “The bitch is being bloody difficult.”

She will tell you nothing, appeared across the blank page of the book in front of me.  Just as you will learn nothing from me.

“And here I was thinking you’d want to brag a little,” I said back to what was, in reality, a former genie who’d chosen to become an Efreet.  Since genies can’t apply the death penalty the way Efreet can, Amun got sentenced to spending a good long while as a smart-mouth, uptight, pain in my ass book.  I’d taken a bit of shit for going off-script and making him reading material instead of the family pet, but, hey, he deserved it. 

Here's what it looks like now:
 

About a month had passed since the shitstorm blew through and I turned part of North Florida into glass.  My ex-lover, who betrayed me, couldn’t be found anywhere.  Not that I’d bothered to look.  Probably the best thing for both of us, because I would kick his olive-brown ass, if I ever caught up to him. The last time I saw my dog he’d been transformed back into a gorgeous genie, and he was panting after the only surviving twin goddess of a long-extinct Nubian tribe.  My conniving, former best friend was still a bitch—literally—and spending her nights curled up on the rug in front of my fireplace.  And there I was sitting in my library, trying to interrogate a book. 
The more things change… Well, let’s just say things were working the way they’d always worked.  Which was to say, dysfunctional.  With extra funk.  Life as a genie is long, but hey, unless you really work at it, it’s not boring.
Sometimes I wish I put forth the effort.
The only stable constant in my life, the right-proper Basil Hadresham shouted from another room.  “Did the book tell you anything yet?” My business partner, decades-long friend, and genie extraordinaire had spent the past thirty some odd years keeping my life on an even keel.  Even if he did have a bad habit of bellowing through my home like a kid who’s too lazy to grab a snack from the kitchen.
“I heard you,” I shouted back because I was too lazy.  “And the answer is no.”
Basil entered my library with a scrawny, beige pooch trailing behind him.  He looked like a forty-something British barrister, all tweed-covered and balding with a paunch that would make any Cornish wife proud.  In reality, he looked like a young and sexy Michael York, heavy on the Cockney and light on the stodgy. But we all wear the costumes we must to hide who we really are.
Hell, I made myself look about twenty years older than I really was.  And I would age a little every day until I faked my own death and started over with a brand new face.
“Did you get anything out of that damn dog yet?” I asked.
Basil laced his fingers over his ample belly. “The bitch is being bloody difficult.”
She will tell you nothing, appeared across the blank page of the book in front of me.  As you will learn nothing from me.
“And here I was thinking you’d want to brag a little,” I replied to what was, in reality, a former genie who’d chosen to become an Efreet.  Since genies can’t apply the death penalty the way Efreet can, Amun got sentenced to spending a good long while as a smart-mouth, uptight, pain-in-my-ass book.  I’d taken quite a bit of guff for going off-script and transforming him into reading material instead of the family pet, but, hey, he got what he deserved.   


And that's what writers do.  You know, when they aren't writing new words.  I spent 3 hours last night doing stuff like that to the first 30 pages.  Today, I will try to get the rest of the pages done.  As long as my eyes and my will to live hold out.  LOL

That will probably be as close to out the door as you can get.  Unless my editor looks at that and tells me something's wrong somewhere.  Fingers crossed. 

Now, back into the editing cave. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

What Has Me So Scattered?

This (not the cover... the manuscript):

There's Jo, holding Amun - the book who used to be an Efreet.  With wishy sparkles. In an industrial setting.  (All the elements of the cover will make sense when you read the book next month sometime.)

In case you missed the theme, here are the other two books in the series:

I know I usually save the cover reveal for my newsletter first, and usually I reveal the cover closer to actual publication, but I couldn't stand waiting anymore.  So there it is. 

Special thanks to Jessica Allain for doing my awesome covers for this series. 

I hope you like the covers.  I hope you'll read the books.  (Linky-loos over there in the sidebar.)  Now, back to whipping Up Wish Creek into shape so I have something other than a hot mess to offer you.  ;o)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What Editing Looks Like For Me

Yep, nothing's changed.  I still hate editing.  Here's how an editing session looks for me:

Open the manuscript file. 
Open the editor's manuscript file.
Go to the Bookmark where I left off on each.
Locate the first pink marks.  (My editor marks directly in the manuscript in pink font.  Which is good because I loathe 'track changes'.)
Stare at suggestions.
Make changes.
Scroll to next pink locale.
Stare at suggestions.
Rail.
Bookmark spot and find something else to do for a few minutes - check email, FB, Twitter, etc., have a smoke, use the bathroom...
Make changes.
Find next locale.
Stare at suggestions.
Rail.
Call editor nasty names.
Bookmark spot.
Get up and do housework, read, walk, eat, watch TV...
Eventually come back and sit down.
Sigh heavily.
Mark changes.
Lather, rinse, repeat throughout the day.
Save file throughout the session.
About dinnertime (or bedtime as the case may be) upload file to gmail for backup.
Write new words.  (Unless I left the editing until late, then no new words for that day.)

I did 27 pages on Monday.  I did another 35 pages last night.  It's not the most efficient way to work, but it works for me.