Monday, June 27, 2022

Not Giving Up... But Conceding

A couple of weeks ago, I made a decision.  With the economy the way it is, and every dollar stretched to its limits but still barely stretching far enough to meet needs, I applied for a job.  Gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do, right?

What does this mean for my goal of writing and publishing?  What does this mean for you as the reader?  It means I will have to find time after work and on the weekends to still get stories written and out there into the world.  

I'm not quitting.  I refuse to either give up or give in.  I'm merely conceding that writing is not bringing in enough money to keep this ship afloat.  Frankly, it never has, but the amounts I made helped.  In a better economy, the help I got from book sales was enough.  It just isn't anymore.  

This has been coming for a while.  Well, pretty much since 2020, but I was mulish.  

I got lucky.  A job opened up that is about a five minute drive from here.  I applied on the 10th, interviewed on the 17th, and started on the 22nd.  I'll get my first paycheck in July and the weight of cashflow will lift from my weary shoulders.  

And I'm glad to do it.  I've only worked three days, but I already love my job.  It's good to get out there and be productive.  

They've had a devil of a time finding employees who 1) want to work and 2) are stable, drug-free, drama-free, non-criminal, and sane.  That's me in a nutshell.  Tada.  I'm set to work 40 hours a week.  I'd work 50 if they let me.  I've never been afraid of work.  Depression makes me lazy sometimes and I tend to lack gumption at home, but in a work environment, I'm the little engine that could.  

Maybe if I could've put that engine to work with the writing, I would've done better.  But that's neither here nor there.  I busted my ass that first year of publishing and got crickets.  I know writers who bust their asses day in and day out, and still aren't making enough to get by.  So, kicking myself about my writing isn't going to help.  

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is I'm still here.  I'm still writing.  As I get things done, I'll get things published.  It'll just be a slow road.  To those readers who were hoping for new books soon, I apologize.  I just hope that by the time I get books done, there will still be people interested in them.  If not, I'll still be a writer.  And also an office assistant.  

How has this economy effected you?  

Friday, June 10, 2022

Making an Effort

In an attempt to do something, I'm making an effort to market again.  Not sure whether anyone knows this, but DYING EMBERS is only 99c and is now available from a variety of retailers.  

Anyway, here's the marketing copy I posted a short while ago*...

It's been ages since I did any marketing, so here goes...

When a string of deaths is linked together by a killer’s fiery signature, Agent Jace Douglas must face her fears and track down a murderer before another man is burned alive.

DYING EMBERS is available now from a variety of retailers for only 99c. Pick up your copy today!

With, ya know, this pretty pretty cover...

Anyway, I figured it was about time I got off my buns and tried to sell some books. I'll market some more later this morning. You know, after I get some sleep and have a cup of coffee... or five. ;o)

*No, this post wasn't scheduled. I was up at midnight. And since I was up, I figured I might as well do some marketing before my inner Piglet took over again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Writerly Stuff

I think I was supposed to do a post about titles this morning, but I forgot and that one should probably be written ahead of time instead of on the fly.  Right now is definitely 'on the fly'.  LOL

Amazon, in its infinite wisdom, has changed the KDP page for checking out book sales - the Dashboard.  (And even the tiny picture next to my bookmark for them is different, making it so I have to go looking for it instead of going right to it.)  Turds.  I guess, for a limited time, you can still see the data the old way, but I'm not inclined.  If you're landing there for the first time, you might see that some of the metrics have a picture of a lock on them.  Click the lock, fix your preferences, and all will be well.  (It doesn't tell you to do that.  I found out by accident.)

I probably don't need to say this, but I detest change for the sake of change.  We'll see if the Dashboard is actually better or just different.  I'm holding off on my opinion there.

I guess now I could use a sale to show me exactly how it would work in the new Dashboard. :shrug:  If wishes were fishes, we'd all eat like kings.

I don't need to tell you that sales have sucked this year.  Well, ever since I went wide, I guess.  Of course, there's been very little marketing on my part, so that might be a huge factor.  The will to market is a dry, dry well.  As is the budget for marketing.  With no budget, all things markety have to be done by me, and with a dry gumption well... Umm, yah.

Anyway, enough with my whining.  I'm making progress on Shroudlands 2.  Not great leaps and bounds, but progress.  I'm almost at 18K words now.  My brain threw a curve at me last night that I wasn't expecting, so we'll see how that plays out.  Or whether I need to trash that plot path and initiate a do-over.

How are things in your world?

Monday, May 16, 2022

Going With the Flow

 As I said yesterday, "Right now, I have to go where the inspiration takes me.  And right now, the inspiration is following reader input."  

I'm not sure why this is so, but it's reality.  Last month, a reader was commenting on one of my book posts, wishing for another SCIU book, so I worked on that.  Last week, a reader sent me an email about Song of Storm and Shroud, told me I'd done a good job writing it, and said he couldn't wait for the sequel.  And like that, my gears shifted.

Actually, that's not entirely fair.  I was getting to a point in SCIU4 where I wasn't feeling it.  I was pushing out the words instead of them pulling me.  Last week's reader was a nudge I needed to make the words pull me again.  Unfortunately for the SCIU book, they're pulling me toward a different story.  

I'm not usually that flighty.  I start writing a book and I work on it until its either finished or I'm stumped on how to proceed.  Since I'm not finished with SCIU4 and definitely not stumped, I'm guessing I'm just not feeling it right now and the reader input gave me the excuse I needed to move onto something else.  

Having said that, I am rolling along right now with Shroudlands2.  I have stuff happening.  I have a good idea where I'm going next.  I know what the main thrust of the story is going to be.  It feels right.  Right now, at least.

I can't guarantee this'll keep going on like it's been going.  I'm trying not to question it too much.  I'm just going with the flow.  If the flow dries up, I'll switch back and see if I can make that work.  The point is, I guess, I'm writing again.  And I've always said we have to write however we can to get the words out.  What works for us one day may not work the next, so we have to go with the flow.  Probably not the answer readers are looking for, but it is what it is.  I'm going with the flow.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Is It Lame?

Welcome to Wednesday, where today's topic is:  Is it lame?  Who the hell cares?  Or how to write a dirty first draft and get the damn book done.

Probably the biggest roadblock to getting words out for me is worrying whether the words I'm typing are lame... stupid... WRONG...  Well, ya know what?  Who the hell cares?  It's a first draft, for pitysakes.  The words don't have to be awesome.  Hell, they don't even have to be good.  They just have to be words.  Sure, they have to make some kind of sense, but the point here is...


Except a blank page.  If there are no words to fix, then... well, duh... you can't fix them.  The point of every first draft is to get the damn thing written.  

Did you just write a sentence that would make even the kindest reader want to throw the book at the wall?  No problem.  No reader is going to see it yet.  

Do your characters sound wooden?  Easy peasy.  Fix it later.  

Did you use... :gasp: the wrong word?  Have typos?  Misspell something?  Forget a comma?  Use too many commas?  All of that can be fixed with your handy dandy EDIT ROUNDS.  

No matter what you've written that you think sucks, it can be fixed.  The only thing that can't be fixed is...  Well, actually there is a fix for a blank page.  It's... wait for it...


Set your big ass, your narrow ass, your flat ass, or your bubble butt down.  Hell, I didn't used to have a butt at all, and I could've slapped that down, too.  Now put your fingers on the keys (or your lips to the microphone, for those using a speech to text program) and write the damn story.  

So what if it's lame?  So what if you don't think anyone will ever like it?  So what if you don't like it right now?  It's your story.  Write it.  Then fix it so you do love it.  (Psst... there's not much you can do to insure anyone else likes it, but they sure as hell won't like it if you don't write it.  Eh?)

And yes, when I wrote this last night, I was thinking that what I am writing is LAME.  Ultra-lame.  Lamey McLamerson from Lameville, Lame-abama.  So what?  My ass was in the chair and I got to work writing.  It'll get unlame later.  And I'll come back to fix this lame part when I finish.  

Now, get out there and slap down some new words!  Go, go, go, go!

Update: After I wrote this and scheduled it, I laid down more words and ended up with a total of 1561 mostly unlame words.  See? You've gotta push past the lame to get to the good.

Monday, May 2, 2022

New Month, New Attitude

 It's my favorite month of the year and therefore, I am using this month to get reinvigorated and set my feet back on the path.  Onward!  

One can only wallow for so long, after all.  

To that end, I sat down yesterday with my trusty notebook and had a meeting with myself.  It went sort of like this:

'Where do we go from here?'

Then I listed all the things I could be / should be writing.  Pros, cons, etc.  The key to deciding what to move forward with turned out to be 'which one can I write the fastest that'll be the most likely to net me sales?'  Looking at it all that way, the answer was SCIU #4.  Tentatively... JUSTICE SERVED.  :shrug:  It's a working title.

Last night, I sent Hubs off to bed and then opened the file to start writing.  Unfortunately, I've been away from it long enough that I couldn't just pick up the thread.  That meant that I needed to go back and read everything I've already written.  And I fell down a bit of a rabbit hole renaming the main character.  (I really need to start searching the name before I fall in love with, ya know?  Who woulda guessed the name I had was also the name of an 'international escort'?  ROFL)  Anyway, she's got a new name that doesn't seem to also be the name of anyone famous or infamous.  And I'm ready for tonight when I will sit down and write the next scene.  (Barring acts of nature and power outages.)

The plan is to have this first drafted by the end of the month, so I guess this is a NoWriMo situation.  MaNoWriMo?  I kinda like it.  It has 'mano' in it, which is like Spanish for hand, as in mano a mano or hand to hand combat.  Heh.  Just me fighting with myself, doncha know.

Another thing I'm doing this month is ditching all negativity in its many forms.  Easier said than done, but I'm working on it.  

And now, I'd better get this posted because we've got a whopper storm coming in and losing power and.or internet here is always a possibility.

Anyone want to do a WriMo with me?  Jump on in, the water's fine.  ;o)  

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

SONG is Now in Paperback

I received the paperback proof yesterday.  It's very pretty and everything looks good, so I approved it for sale.  Yay.

Here's the social media release verbiage I just posted:

SONG OF STORM AND SHROUD is now available in paperback (as well as being an ebook from many fine retailers - see comments for the universal link). Sorry it's not easier on the wallet, but it's 422 pages. I made it as inexpensive as I could while still leaving a little scratch for me.

Of course, you don't have to go to comments here to get the universal link.  Click there.  And it's also available by clicking the image in the sidebar.  

It's pretty much everywhere Draft2Digital can make it be.  Except for Hoopla.  Nothing of mine has posted to Hoopla yet.  Derp.  

A quick note... I removed all the chapter-beginning wyverns.  I had a nightmare about being sued over use of a clipart image, so after I woke up, I did a bunch of research and since I was no longer 100% certain it was kosher to use those - even if I did change the original image - I ditched them when I woke up.  There are only four copies of it in its original format, and I own two of those (ebook and paperback proof).  It's all good.  I left the arrows.  They're mine.  

For the record, I get my cover images from Morguefile, and their terms state that as long as you change the image in some way and don't try to sell it as is, it's kosher.  I don't think anyone can say the images I've incorporated into my covers can ever even be recognized as the original photos.  Although, I think it would be kind of neat for the dude who owns that lizard to see his pet as a dragon on the cover of SSS.  I got the wings off a pic of a flying fox.  Cut, paste, delete on a microscopic scale, change the aspect, recolor, paste some more, add a bit of artsy so it doesn't look like a Franken-photo... tada, dragon!  Took me FOREVER, but I did it.

Anyway, the paperback is black text on cream paper and the cover has a nice matte finish.  The font size is 11pt, so it's easier on the eyes.  It's $17.99, but like I said, it's a big book, so it's about as cheap as I can make it and still make money.  Wish it could be different, but that's the way of the world right now. 

I'd really appreciate it if you could pick up a copy (print or ebook) and leave a review wherever you buy books.  Thanks.