Monday, November 29, 2021

What NOT to Do

Last night, I sat down to watch the remake of the original movie for the series The Waltons.  I do love me some Waltons, doncha know.  I've seen every episode of the series multiple times.  And with the way entertainment is these days, I wasn't so sure I wanted to watch this remake.  But there was nothing else on, so I waded in.

It was bad.  So bad.  I mean, we watched it all (Hubs joined me about halfway through), but it was not good.  The acting was bad.  Most of the time, it was like they were reading the lines instead of acting the characters.  But this blog isn't about acting.  It's about writing.

And the writing was bad.  The dialogue was bad.  Good god, people.  Did you even think about how people talk to one another?  Especially how people talked to each other in 1933?  Some of the slang for today would not have been slang then.  I wish I could remember some of the instances, but I don't.  Trust me, they were there.  Glaring.  Spotlight right to the eyes.  

And it wasn't like writing the script would've been hard.  The movie followed the original plot for the most part.  They could've used the original script for petesakes.  Geez.

And whoever researched the historical period should be slapped.  1933... Virginia.  A black police officer?  Come on.  Really? And considering, it was post-Depression, so why the hell was everyone dressed so nicely?  Oh, sure, they put Mary Ellen in overalls, but they were nice overalls, like they'd been bought recently for her instead of the hand-me-down ones she would've been wearing.  And all the other children were so nicely dressed they looked like they were sporting their go-to-church clothes instead of the cheap, raggedy play clothes the children of a poor mountain family would've been wearing.  Everything should've looked well-worn, like they'd been passing the clothes down for years and making everything else by hand.  Hell, even when the dad was laying in bed in his long-johns, the damn things looked like he bought them online last week.

Did they even bother to watch the original movie???  They could've made it all so much better if they had simply followed the formula that worked so well it spawned a hit TV series that lasted for NINE YEARS.  (Okay, so maybe they should've stopped after Richard Thomas left, but that's just my opinion.)

Anyway, if you're writing a period piece or anything else, pay attention to how people talk to each other.  Pay attention to the period you're writing.  Otherwise, you'll leave your readers like that movie left this viewer... irritated and wanting to write a scathing one-star review.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Making 'The Decision'

To write or not to write, that is The Decision.  Whether it is nobler to suffer the vagaries of banging away at the keys or to make it, and all the stuff that comes with it, stop

This morning a writer friend of mine made the announcement that she's taking a hiatus from writing.  It's totally understandable, but it gives me a sad.  

I'm sad because it means more of her books won't be dropping onto my Kindle any time soon.  But I'm also sad because I know how hard it was for her to make this decision.  Lord knows, I feel like I'm never too far from facing the decision myself.

And I don't even have the health problems she's faced over the past few years.  Sure, it's harder physically to sit here and write for long stretches.  The wrists, doncha know.  And the hips.  And the eyes aren't what they used to be.  I'm getting older and the body has been through some trials in the past 51 years.  

For me, it's mainly the heart that keeps me wondering whether I should just chuck it all and take up throwing tires at the warehouse down the highway.  Not heart as in the thumping, pumping muscle.  That sucker is fine. No. HEART as in the will, the gumption, the driving force.  As in, some days I just don't have the heart.

Of course, it's also the other part of the brain that thinks all of these words suck.  Yeah, I know you don't think they suck.  You can't convince that pissy part of my brain it's wrong.  I've tried.  It's a futile battle.

Right now, I know of two other friends who stopped writing altogether.  (You know who you are.)  I had another acquaintance who stopped writing her own books and went ghost writer, so I'll never again know what books she's written.  Who knows how many others simply disappeared from the blog roll and the shelves?

Many of us make the decision during the whole 'finding an agent' phase.  It's hard to keep going when all you're doing is reading rejection letters.  Man, don't I know it.  If you make it through that intact, then you've got the 'sales suck' phase.  Also known as the 'why the hell am I doing this' phase.

I spend a lot of time in that last phase.  'Sales suck' morphs into 'everything I write sucks' which inevitably leads to 'I suck'.  Ever seen an ant lion trap?  The ant lion is a bug that makes a sort of funnel in soft sand or dirt and sits at the bottom of it under the surface.  When a bug wanders into the funnel, it starts to slide downward toward the waiting predator.  If it tries to get out, the ant lion spits more loose dirt at it until it ends up at the bottom and in the crushing mandibles of the ant lion.  The writing life is sort of like that.  For me, anyway.

Honestly, there's no shame in making The Decision.  At least there shouldn't be.  But there is.  Oh, I don't think other people cast shame on these writers.  I think the shame is all internal.  Each person who's made The Decision probably feels like they've given up.  They've let their dreams down.  They've let the pissy part win.  

Some days, it's the only thing that keeps me going.  Fear of the shame.  :shrug:  I won't let this bastard win.  Dammit.  

Most days I try not to think about it.  Soldier on and all that, doncha know.  

If you need to stop, stop.  Take a break.  Take a hiatus.  Regroup and re-evaluate.  Down the road a piece, you might be ready to forge in again.  Or you may find it freeing and never come back to this masochistic way of life.  But you may also rediscover your love of writing and jot little stories for yourself again, like you did when you were younger and full of hope.  No one can know what the future holds.

For me, I'm still at it.  I may take little unannounced hiatuses here and there, but not for too awfully long.  I'm not ready to make The Decision yet.  

Friday, November 5, 2021


As of this morning, all the A Model Curse books are at the bigger outlets available - B&N, Apple, Kobo, etc.  Plus, they're still at Amazon, of course.  And I have universal links for them all.  

Sleeping Ugly:
Ugly and the Beast:
Cinder Ugly:

Draft 2 Digital starts the whole universal link process, but you can add to it to a certain extent, so even though I didn't use D2D to upload to Amazon (because my books are already there), I was able to give Books2Read the links so all potential readers could buy at Amazon, too.  (Ebook and paperback.)  It's a wonderful thing.

Now, when D2D does the universal links, it ends up being some number in the link, but they give you the ability to customize the link, so you'll note that each of the above links shows the title of the book in the link.  Yay.

I think I already told you that Blink of an I is out and wide, but there's the link, just in case you missed it.

The only other book I have at this time that is out of the Kindle Unlimited program is Accidental Death.  I'll take that wide when its sequel, Natural Causes, drops out of KU next month.  

I'll miss the Page Reads, but they've been so piddlin' lately I couldn't do much worse without them.  

So, yeah, if you're looking for something to read and you've been sort of anti-Amazon all along, now is your chance to pick up these fine books at a retailer you prefer.  Unless you want a paperback, then yeah, you'll still have to go through the 'Zon.  


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Embracing the Old Stuff

 Every Wednesday, my most awesome and wonderful friend, Silver, posts a thing called Wednesday Words, wherein she takes a prompt and posts a snippet with that particular word in it.  And asks others to post their own snippet.  Today's word was 'telescope'.  And it made me trot out my first book.  (Because I don't think any other book I've ever written has that word and I can't seem to write to spec.)  You can read my snippet over there.  Warning: It's pretty bad.

And that's what I want to talk about today.  

Early writing can be awful.  Actually Fear Itself can't have been that bad.  It helped Hubs fall in love with me, after all.  But it's not where I am right now.  And looking back at it makes me want to cringe.  

That snippet alone... ugh.  I used 'breathed' as a dialogue tag for pitysakes.  

It's nearly 18 years since I started writing that book, though, and I've grown a lot.  Thank goodness for that.  Eighteen years.  I don't know how many books I've written in those years, but 16 of them are now published.  One would hope after all that, I'd learned some things.  I don't use 'breathed' as a dialogue tag anymore, that's for damn sure.  LOL

I think every writer should go back and read the early stuff they've written, though.  It helps to see where you've been.  And then you can celebrate how far you've come.  

Even better, go back and try to fix your early stuff.  It helps stretch the editing muscles.  I still love that book, flaws and all, and I have tried, from time to time, to fix the writing.  I may do it yet.  I'm stubborn that way.

One thing you should never do is shitcan your old stuff.  You need it.  Even if you never look at it again, it's part of your journey.  It's your history.  It's like an old movie of you learning to walk.  You'd never destroy that because you walk perfectly now, would you?  No, you embrace it.  

Embrace your early writings.  They may suck.  They may make you cringe.  You may never want to ever show any of it to the world, because, frankly, it can be a little embarrassing.  But they're part of who you are now as a writer.  Don't cringe.  Smile.  The same way you'd smile at uncovered art from Kindergarten.  You've grown, sure, but that burgeoning writer is a part of you.  Embrace her.

Monday, November 1, 2021

The D2D Adventure Begins. Again.

 Yesterday began the not-hard but totally tedious and slightly irritating process of listing my books with Draft2Digital.  I started out with what I figured would be easiest - a single title novel rather than a series.  

Most of the process is pretty simple.  But I knew that from the last time I went with D2D.  Unfortunately, they changed something.  Now, they make you pick one of their pre-set formats.  Which is probably awesome for people who haven't already formatted their books and don't have an idea of how to do it.  For me?  Well, let's just say things didn't go exactly as they'd gone before.  

Oh, the manuscript itself seems fine.  It's the front and back matter that gave me a headache today.  Their theme thingies were giving me weird spacing.  Like the pre-formatted list on my Other Books page suddenly had a BIG LETTER at the beginning of the list and was hard left-aligned while the other books were normal and tabbed over.  You know, like you want for the story part.  And I couldn't find a way to force it to recognize those first and last chunks as NOT BOOK.

Although, now that I think about it, maybe a section break would work.  I'll try that with the next book.

Anyway, I went with the simplest theme I could, unchecked some thingies, and ended up with everything looking pretty much like I want it to look.  And since this is Blink of an I, I don't think anyone's really going to get themselves in a tizzy over the slight differences.  :shrug:  I could be wrong.  Time will tell.

Anyway, it's a learning process I'm happy to get through.  It's just tedious.  And if tedious bothered me, I wouldn't have made it this far in the self-publishing thing. 

Since it's a learning process, I made a spreadsheet.  Shocking, I know.  But this way, I'll be able to keep track of where I'm at in the process with the 15 other books, as they drop.  I have a page with all my books and where they're at in the process, then another page with which outlets they'relisted and when go live.  And of course, a page showing what they're listed at and how much I'll make from each.  And what sold where.  And probably a tab each with links to the outlets themselves.  It's all very tabiful.  Do you hate me yet?  You know me and spreadsheets.  (Or if you're new here, you don't, but you'll learn.)

Someone mentioned that I might be able to get Amazon to let my books free sooner than the end of their contracts, but I'm happy to let them ride along and fall out naturally.  It'll give me time to work with the books as they come out without having all 16 dropped on my head at once.  And I can still utilize the free days and countdown deals until that happens.  Can't hurt, eh?

Okay, so Blink is out to a variety of outlets.  Six of them are already showing published.  Two of them are foreign, so unless you read in German (the link's not ready yet) or French, they're not for you.  Two of them are for borrowing from libraries, so I can't post the links because I don't have the apps for that.  But it's also now at B&N and Kobo, which I can actually see.  I'm waiting on Apple, two services I've never heard of, and Hoopla (another library service).  Hoopla is supposed to take a while, so don't jump right over there.

Today, barring acts of payjob and any minor apocalypses, I'll begin work on getting the A Model Curse series loaded and ready for bear.  SU doesn't drop out of Amazon until Wednesday, so I've got some time to work on the formatting for those.  I'd like them to publish together, if at all possible.  Fingers crossed.

And I'll be adding Universal Links to the Pages here once I get those finalized.  You know, because D2D provides universal links and junk.  Here's the one for Blink, btw, All sorts of interesting things D2D didn't have back in 2016.  Weeee.

Unfortunately, dealing with all this now is distracting me from editing.  Derp.  I'll pull me head out soon.  Promise. What I can't promise is when this next book will be ready for people to read.  :shrug:  If I could split myself into three people, that would help.  Busy busy busy.  Which reminds me I need to do something for the payjob before I forget.

On that note, I'll let you go.  Stay tuned.