Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Updates and Advertising Stuff

Okay, so I got the edits for Wish Hits the Fan yesterday afternoon - well ahead of the expected date of 9/4, so yay.  (I was thinking 3 weeks, she was thinking 2 weeks, so it went quicker than I thought.)  This, of course, means I have to figure out if I'm going to 1) work exclusively on that, or 2) work on that and Early Grave at the same time. 

I hadn't decided by last night, so I took the night off.  (Which is fine.  I have until next Tuesday to clean up WHTF, format it and get it loaded for pre-order.  Easy-peasy.)

Today, I'm still not sure what I'll do.  All I know right now is that I have to get some advertising in place for the series in the general timeframe of my release on 9/15.  I've got the first book set up as Free from 9/14-9/18, and the next two as 99c from 9/14-9/21.  This morning I sent an ad request* to Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Bargains for all three of those.  (They're running a special right now, 2 days for $3.)

I've also made a spreadsheet of all the advertising venues I'm aware of and their costs, so I can figure out where to best spend my money.  Go for the high dollar ads and hope they accept my submission?  Stick with the lower cost ones that are more likely to accept my books?  Try both and hope I don't over extend myself?  Did I leave all this to too late again?  Gah.

This might be why I get burned out...  Hmmm...

Anyway, I'll get 'er done.  Wish Hits the Fan will be live on September 15th, and the other books will be on sale then, too.  WHTF will be $2.99, so you could conceivably get the whole series for under $5.  (free+.99+.99+2.99 = 4.97...Yep. It's early yet and the coffee hasn't kicked in.)

So, spread the word.  Buy the books.  Leave reviews.  I'll be eternally grateful.  I'll even send out some swag if you let me know you've been talking up my books...

Oh, crap.  I have to make bookmarks and postcards... 

:runs screaming into the dawn:

* Do not do work before the coffee has kicked in.  I sent the wrong dates on the request for Wish in One Hand.  But the gal there is nice, so she should be okay when I tell her I fucked up.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Stop Thinking

Writing getting you down?  Stressed to the point of screaming?  Have more on your plate than you feel you could ever deal with?

Stop thinking.

Now, if you know anything about me, you should be aware that I'm the last person to advocate not thinking.  I'm all for using your gray matter all the time. 

Except in this one instance. 

There's a hamster wheel in my head and that hamster is running all the time.  All.the.time.  I get tired just thinking about all the thinking.  The only time my hamster gets a break is when I'm out fishing.

Years ago, I had another author say something to the effect of 'you must get so much time to think about your writing while you're fishing.'  Nope.  I put a worm on the hook and cast out.  From then on, there's no thinking about writing.  I can think about writing on the drive there and on the drive home, but I can't think about it while I'm fishing.

It's not even intentional.  I just don't do it.  I've even tried to think about writing while I'm fishing.  I think about writing for maybe a minute or two and then it drifts away and I'm back to watching that bobber. 

Of course, I'm never not thinking.  While I'm out fishing, though, it's all subconscious.  There's no active thinking going on.  Sometimes when I'm out there, I'll get an epiphany... afterwards.  In the car.  After I've gotten home and cleaned up.  Not while I'm there.

Now, I realize not everyone can, or even wants to, fish.  But clear your mind of everything.  Shake the Etch-a-Sketch.  Wipe the slate.  Empty the boxes that are stacking up. 

Find your quiet, happy place.  Hell, if you have a body of water anywhere near you, go to it and sit.  Watch the water, listen to the birds, etc.  If you don't, go to a park.  No park?  Sit in your yard and wipe everything out. 

Take an hour or two, if you can.  Ten minutes if you're pressed for time.  It helps me.  It might help you.  It's worth a shot, right?  What've you got to lose?  An hour sitting at your computer staring at blank space? 

Give it a whirl.

What do you do to wipe your slate?  If you haven't wiped it lately, what are you going to try next time?

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Lameness is Upon Us

I only just got back to writing on Early Grave, and the lameness is upon me.  It happens from time to time when I'm in the middle of a first draft.  I reach a point where it feels like everything I write is LAME. 

This could, of course, be partly why I stopped writing on Early Grave when I did.  The lameness was creeping in upon me. 

The good news?  I had an epiphany as I was falling asleep night before last.  Which I promptly forgot until yesterday afternoon.  I then remembered that I had had an epiphany and tried to remember what it was.  And I did!  So I sat here to write it down - in case I should forget it again, because I do that.  While I was writing it down, another epiphany hit me.  Two!  Yay!  One for now and one for a little ways down the road.

So, yeah, the lameness.  I think it hits all writers at some point or another.  Accept that you are writing lame words.  Give yourself permission to suck.  Don't let it get you down.  Keep forging ahead.  But, whatever you do, DO NOT stop writing. 

Everything lame can be fixed in edits.  It's all good, baby.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Decisions, Decisions... Decided

Good morning. I hope you're all going to have lovely days today.  (Yeah, it's eclipse day.  Try not to burn your eyes out, okay?)

But enough of all that.  I'm going to talk about decisions. 

Wish Hits the Fan is with my editor right now.  It's not due back until the 4th (which is Labor Day, sure, but my editor is in Canada, so she doesn't care and I'm a writer, so I'll still be working).  Which gave me 3 weeks to work on something else.  Decisions, decisions...

My choices were 1) begin editing Sleeping Ugly, 2) finish writing Early Grave, 3) work on the Arthurian thing, 3) go way back to the beginning and continue my forge through Fear Itself to make it something someone might actually want to read someday, 4) something else entirely.

I took the first week off.  Mainly because I was a little burned out.  Partly because none of my potential projects were calling me.  I'd spend uncounted hours thinking about the projects available to me.  I'd use untold brain space pondering them. 

Yesterday afternoon, with no particular impetus, I sat down here and started working.  The winner was... Early Grave.  And man, those first 35K words I wrote on it already are a hot mess.  I deleted some stuff, moved some stuff, and got about 500 new words out.  I think I'm back on track.  Oh, it's still a hot mess, but it's a hot mess I can work with. 

As a writer, this book makes me nervous.  Every time I think about publishing it, I get a little anxious because the main character isn't what you might expect from me.  Then I tell myself 'screw it' and keep going.  Ned's awesome.  The writing is solid - even if it is rife with typos and junk right now.  As I was scanning through the paragraphs, deciding what to keep and what to snip, I kept finding myself reading the book instead of doing my job, so I know it's a good book.

Not sure when I'll have this finished and when it'll be scheduled for publication.  It will be as long as I don't chicken out.  When?  Sometime later this year or early next, maybe.

So, now that's been decided, I have work to do.  And only two weeks to do it in.  (Less if JC gets the final edits done for WHTF ahead of time.)  Good thing I fell and torqued my ankle, so I have no distractions from sitting here and writing, eh?

I hope you like my decision.  Early Grave will be the third book in the SCIU series.  Serial killer targeting old people and not for the reasons you might suspect.  This ain't no 'angel of death' scenario.  Bwa ha ha.

For those of you more interested in my supernatural bent, Sleeping Ugly will be published, too.  It just needs more time to percolate.  And Wish Hits the Fan will be out September 15th, good lord willin' and the creek don't rise.

Any questions?

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?