Wednesday, August 16, 2017

It's Almost Here!

Another month and Wish Hits the Fan will be available for everyone to read.  :muppetflail:

Until then, all I can give you is the cover...

And the blurb...

You’d think being a genie would be easy-peasy.  But when you’re Jo Mayweather, ain’t nothing so simple.  Sure, she defeated the Efreet at the big warehouse blowup, but those bastards left a surprise for her amongst the cages.  Now she’s got to figure out why the hell the Efreet would be messing with creating a deadly species, who they’re afraid of, and why the gods themselves are running.  With the deities on a break, it’s up to Jo to gather the genies and save the world.  But who’s going to save her? 

And a snippet from the beginning...

What in the name of Uncle Hank is it now?
I gazed around the dilapidated warehouse as if seeing it for the first time.  Cages hung from chains all around the open expanse.  They had been filled with genies for the most part.  Others held vampires and lycanthropes and members of a myriad of species across the supernatural realm.  Almost all of them were empty now, their prisoners set free by myself and my merry band of djinn allies.  The final few left occupied housed Efreet—sort of the anti-us, if you will—awaiting whatever punishment they deserved for being the heinous bastards they were. 
“Come on, Jo.”
Jo.  That was me.  Josephine Eugenia Mayweather to be more precise.  I guess I was kind of shell-shocked, waiting for the fact I was needed elsewhere to sink in.  Not much more than an hour had passed since my friends had kicked Efreet ass in this shitty New York City warehouse. And while they were at it, I got to battle my own father in a melodramatic kind of freakish family reunion.  My compatriots had won.  I’d won. 
It was over.
Over?  I’d have to allow myself a good chuckle later.  It wouldn’t be over until I was taking the big dirt nap.  And being a djinn meant few things were able to put me six feet under.

As you see, it picks up where Up Wish Creek left off.  Of course, if you haven't read Up Wish Creek, maybe you don't see.  But you can rectify that in plenty of time before September 15th, so have at it. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Crutch Words... The Invasion

Hi All.  I know I've talked about crutch words before.  Well, here we go again.  With data.

This is the list of crutch words I've compiled for my own work.  The numbers are how many I had when I started weeding / how many I had left.  I skipped the * ones (unless JC says something on the next pass about them - like they're really irritating).

that 572/162
like 314/110
said 283/132
think 132/44
thought 156/48
though 39*
knew 92/38
know 233/82
wonder 31*
still 110/29
took 32/12
now 48*
realize 29/11
which 103/47
tilted head 15/6
shook head 50/25
by the time 5/4
shrug 15/10
felt 44/18
look 139/29

These are the ones I have to do today so I can get this out to JC:
really 88
seem 42
just 75
even 138

I compiled this from words my editor has pointed out over the course of several books and ones I've noticed on my own. She points them out or I notice them, they go on the list.

It's taken working over the course of 4 days to weed these out of a 63K manuscript.  Of course, by weeding, I mean deleting, rewording, replacing, etc..  And I didn't eradicate the entirety of any word because that would just be weird.

As always, I hope I've made this better.  JC will let me know if I screwed anything up on her next pass.  :fingers crossed:

As a reader, what words really stand out and irritate you after you've seen them over and over?

Last bit, I might be sending out ARCs of this to select people.  If you're interested, let me know in the comments. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Stylistic Choices

If you've read my books, you might notice a few things I do that aren't exactly kosher grammatically.  These are, for the most part, stylistic choices I've made.

I don't capitalize the word god unless it's in dialogue and the person saying the word means the Christian GOD.  Likewise, I don't capitalize the word titan - even though it seems other people do.  If the gods don't get to be proper nouns, neither do the titans. 

I capitalize Efreet.  That was a choice I made a couple years ago.  Not exactly sure what I was thinking at the time, but it was there in Wish in One Hand and so it has to be like that for the rest of the books to maintain continuity.

I don't capitalize djinn or genies or brethren.  Much the same way we don't capitalize man, human, or people.  But I do capitalize it when I refer to them as the Many.  It's more how some of the genies think of their race than anything.  Which is probably why I capitalize Efreet.

I don't use the word 'whom'.  A fact which my editor will attest to and one which she ribs me about on occasion.  I don't use it in speech, and my writing style is more conversational then formal, so I don't use it.  And I won't unless a character speaks that way. 

Sometimes, in the djinn books, I slip into present tense.  I do it on purpose.  Jo's telling these stories to you through me, so when she says stuff like "I know better than to keep my eyes open during a teleport" it's because, for her, it still happens.  

Since my style is conversational, you'll find me writing things the way I would say them or the way I would imagine a character would say them.  And if it's dialogue, all bets are off.  People say things in the weirdest ways sometimes.  'I could care less' comes to mind.  Yeah, 'I couldn't care less' is the proper way to say it.  I say it the other way.  In dialogue, I use whichever way the character would say it.

Oh, I also make mistakes.  My editor catches those and I fix them.  Occasionally, I miss one or two.  Otherwise, those things you might think of as mistakes were put there or left there intentionally.  I still want my editor to keep pointing them out, though.  I can't expect her to know a mistake from a not-mistake.  She's not a mind-reader for petesakes.

Anyway, I hopes that helps readers get to know me and my books better.  Style happens and sometimes you just have to roll with it.  ;o)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Reading Articles on How to Sell Books... or Not.

I just saw a link to another one of those articles 'how to make money self-publishing books' or something.  Supposedly it was advice from 3 authors who are supporting their families on their book sales income. 

I didn't click it.

The last time I read one of those articles, the advice was comprised of things I've already done, things I can't afford, and things I already knew about but am not willing to do.

I'm not talking about unethical things.  Just things like writing to spec (where you write what someone else tells you to write), joining organizations, going to conferences, etc.  Luckily, I've never seen one where the people are advocating unethical things.  I'd totally block anyone who linked to that kind of article.

Anyway, I'm sure there are things I could do to sell more books.  I'm on the 'write more books' plan.  I'm also on the plan where I recognize my books are not for everyone.  (Which is rationalizing, I think, but I'm okay with that.) 

Back when I first published Dying Embers, I did a lot more stuff.  I got active on a couple forums.  I paid for more advertising.  I pimped my book to anyone who would listen and they were all excited for me because it was my first book.  Now?

I stopped going to the forums because the more I got to know the people on them, the less I liked being on them.  Too much in-fighting and snottiness.  It got harder and harder to talk to the people I wanted to reach without getting caught up.  Bleh.

I stopped advertising so much because I don't have the money.

And I stopped pimping my book in public because I noticed somewhere around the 3rd book that the people I was chatting the books up with weren't so excited anymore.  "Oh, you published another book?  :yawn:" or "I haven't had time to read the last two books you published." 

I've heard that having books in a series sells more books.  Umm, yeah.  That hasn't worked for me.  We'll see what publishing the final book in the Once Upon a Djinn series does for sales of all of them.  Fingers crossed and all that. 

I heard that having a newsletter helps.  Umm, about that.  I have like 13 subscribers.  I haven't put out a new newsletter since last year, and no one seems to have noticed.  Probably because everything in a newsletter is also on my blogs and my FB page.  I'll put one out next month to announce the publication of Wish Hits the Fan

I've had giveaways because those are supposed to increase sales.  Nope.  They're also supposed to garner reviews, but out of all the books I've given away to strangers, I got one review.  (I'm not counting friends or regular blog visitors who've won my books.  You guys rock.)

It occurs to me this far through writing this post that it may sound like I'm whining.  I'm not.  I'm just explaining things.  Writing them out so I get the big picture and so anyone new to the biz gets the big picture from my perspective.  Your mileage my vary, of course.  Obviously, since other people are selling books. 

I'm also not depressed about it.  It is what it is.  

And yes, I know other people are in a worse boat than I am.  It's all relative.  This is my journey. 

Today, my journey will have to be about editing and writing.  I gave myself a rather tight deadline on turning WHTF around to JC.  And I still need to finish SU.  And right now the weather is gorgeous so I'm fighting the urge to go fishing. 

What are you up to today?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Pink Sticky Notes

I have sticky notes all over my desk right now.  Each one has a little piece of plot or something I need to remember to weave into the story on it. 

'When's Josh's funeral? Jeni needs to be there' is one of them.  Another says 'Rose shows up @ Gus' house early the next morning'.

The others have spoilers, or I'd share them, too.

Their pinkness isn't a thing.  Or rather it's an unintentional thing.  Pink just happened to be the color I grabbed when I went into the sticky-note receptacle.  It fits, though.  I think Jeni would appreciate the pink. 

I write the stickies when I get a flash of insight - during the day, when I'm trying to sleep, in the middle of the night... Whenever I think of something I want to do but I'm not in a position to actually do it. 

I usually toss them once I've put the idea into the book.  This last one will probably sit here until the end because it's basically the end of the book, jotted out in tiny writing on a little pink square. The others?  I haven't tossed them yet because I'm lazy.

Maybe it's my subconscious wanting to be surrounded by good ideas and proof I'm working again.  ;o)

Anyway, sometime today I have to decide if I'm going to set Sleeping Ugly aside to focus on the edits for Wish Hits the Fan or whether I'm going to do the edits during the day and write new words at night.  I've done it before, but I'm not as crazy as I used to be.  I'm so close to the end of SU I might just go for it.  Final climax and denouement.  How long those will take?  You got me.  Another 10K maybe?  We'll see. 

This is an ugly little draft right now.  Just thinking about editing it makes me want to hide. 

Anyway, time to take my coffee and my sticky notes and create worlds.  Have an awesome day everyone.

And tell me.... Do you use sticky notes?  I'm so glad Romy invented them. 

Bonus points if you got that last silly bit there. 

And yes, I know some dudes at 3M actually invented them.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Little Update

Not much to talk about today other than to tease you with things I can't share yet.

1)  I got the preview of the cover for Wish Hits the Fan last night.  It's just what I was envisioning.  It's gorgeous.  But I can't share it yet because it isn't complete.  I gave her the go-ahead and she'll finish it and I'll show it to you then.

2)  Sleeping Ugly is moving right along.  I'm up to almost 42K now and moving into the big reveals as far as the mystery aspects of it go.  It's pretty rough and definitely a dirty draft.  If time and finances work out, I hope to have this in your hands by the end of the year.  I also hope to have this first draft finished by the end of the month, but I don't know if that's gonna happen or its just a pipe dream.  This story ended up to be way more involved than I thought it would.  I'll do the best I can do, but I'm getting the edits back for WHTF on the 31st, so that takes precedence. 

Other than that, there's nothing new.  Staying focused on Sleeping Ugly

Any questions?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Monster in My Head

There's a monster that lives in my brain.  At night, after a long but productive day, it comes out and whispers evil things to me.  It tells me that I suck.  It tells me that no one will ever want to read what I've written.  It hints that everything I write has been written before.  That I'm unoriginal.  That I'm a hack.  Sell-out.  Loser.

The monster's been pretty dormant lately, but last night it crawled out and had a party in my skull.  All the vile, nasty, cruel things it could've said, it did.  And it didn't just stick to writing.  It preyed on every aspect of my life where I fear I might not have been good enough. 

In hindsight it was quite interesting from a psychological perspective.  Last night, it was just a pain in the ass. 

I tried denying the things it said.  I tried rational arguments.  I tried shouting all the things I know are true over the top of its lies.  None of that worked.  In the end, I just let it play itself out and it must've eventually run out of things to say because at some point I fell asleep. 

This morning, there are no lasting side effects except I didn't get enough sleep.  Bring on the coffee.

Before the monster woke up, I figured out the next scene in Sleeping Ugly and came in here to write it down.  Looking at the chicken scratch on a sticky-note now, the idea still works, so that's a win.  It's all a win if I don't take anything the monster says to heart. 

The monster is there.  It will always be there.  Over the years, I've learned I can't kill it.  I can only accept that it exists, ignore it, and forge ahead.