Aug Sales – Small beginning

August Stats

 

4 stories up at Smashwords, Kindle, B&N and Xin Xii

Smashwords

The Shiny – 2
Redshirts – 1
The Magic Maker – 1
Playing For The Dead   –  0

Smashwords Total – 4

Kindle

The Shiny – 1
Redshirts – 0
The Magic Maker – 1
Playing For The Dead   –  1

Kindle Total – 3

 

Barnes and Noble

The Shiny – 0
Redshirts – 0
The Magic Maker – 0
Playing For The Dead   –  0

B&N Total – 0

 

Xin Xii

The Shiny – 0
Redshirts – 0
The Magic Maker – 0
Playing For The Dead   –  0

Xin Xii Total – 0

 

Grand Total – 7 sales

 

What does this mean?

**shrugs** I dunno, just thought some of you might find it useful. I am writing, editing, revising, and being a full time mom. I started mid Aug of a very difficult Aug, right in the middle of the summer slump.

7 sales, you say, how underwhelming.

I guess it depends on what your expectations are. I didn’t expect any sales in aug at all. These are short stories. My bigger projects are getting a fine tooth comb treatment and are not ready for the public yet.

My smaller projects are in the process of being written and we are looking at a possible major move here soon. It might even be Jan before I have more to put up for sale due to these issues.

Bottom line, I need to get more stuff up and write more. I am happy with things as they stand. Have I made sales this month…. I don’t think so but I could be wrong.

 

Another post being thought about.

Take care all.

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CoB – An Epic Fantasy

The bottom line, hard truth to writing is that there is no one way to write. Let me repeat that; there is no one way to write. I know quite a few writers, both published traditionally and self pubbed and everything in between and not a single one does things exactly the same as any other. There are similarities, those who pre-plan, those who pantz it, and those folks who hover in between that like myself.

There are various methods involving pre-planning, worldbuilding, ways of organizing and scene order and every one of them is right. The only method that is wrong is the one that says it is the ONLY way to write.

A couple of days ago I had a twitter conversation with a writer I highly respect, Jill Myles whose livejournal I have followed for years, and we were discussing the issue of women in high fantasy always seeming to get handed a bow as if they couldn’t handle any other kind of weapon. Which led to the fact that many high fantasy books simply don’t feature females. There’s a token woman with a bow (or staff) but not the lead.

Somehow I found myself challenging myself to take a year and write a high Epic Fantasy about a group of women. One of which, I assured her, would be wielding an axe. To which she replied “Do it.”

(Thanks Jill.)

But that got my head going, and I could ‘see’ a woman carefully wiping down the blade part of a double headed axe. In this still frame in my head I can see three of her companions and a possible love interest in the background and behind it all a crown made up of bones with the center piece being a skull missing its lower jaw.

There are things I know about this story that have started to fall into place. I know who the villain is, I know who the love interest is, I know that things are going to get very very bad for the fmc. I know that there is going to be double crossing, and I know that when it all boils down they are going to have a bittersweet end.

I haven’t decided if there will be a redshirt among the companions. I know that there is not going to be a huge chance for an HEA (I really don’t see how it would be possible considering the situation). I sat down and drew a map using Holly Lisle’s methods. I wrote up a bit of a scene which might be a prologue later on (I need to finish the last half of that scene, I don’t like how I ended it) and I outlined 5 scenes.

No more than 5 for now because I just don’t see where it will go immediately after the 5th scene. When I hit that 5th scene I will probably have more unfolding in my head and will have to sit down and scribble out the next few scenes.

I’ve gotten a general idea about the three main religions of their world. And I am still trying to decide if there are going to be any non-human creatures (think Elf, dwarf, goblins & so on) right now I don’t see them being a necessity for the world but that may change as I write.

All because I challenged myself to write an Epic fantasy featuring a woman with an axe.

The pieces were there, floating around in my head, it just took one little trigger to bring it together.

That is how I work. There are those out there that would have to figure out the history of all nations involved, figure out the distance of the world from the sun and its moon/moons, figure out exactly how many ticks are in a tock and what ethnic groups populate the little islands on the other side of the world that never make it onscreen…

Then there are those who would simply start writing whatever scenes come to mind to organize it all later. (Yes wen, I am looking at you!)

And a thousand different variations to those.

In the end, if you have a book that does what you intend it to do (Chicks with axes FTW!) does it really matter HOW you got there? The point is you got there.

I leave you all with a link to a great post at The Writing Bomb, about what it takes to make a real writer over here.

Have a great week folks. 🙂

 

P.S. ohohoh I almost forgot there is a tumblr over here that features Women Fighters in Reasonable armor. Awesome site with great pictures.

 

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Character ramble

Many of my stories have appeared in my head by way of a character, waltzing onscreen and taking command of a scene. Those characters are ones I feel strongest about. Those are the ones I can cry with as I put them through hell. Then there are the other characters, the ones that I know I need someone here. There is little connect with them, as cool as they might be.

Elemental Storm , also known as E2, is one such story. I love the idea of the romance in it. The characters who have been through these issues that they have, to overcome. But in writing I find myself struggling to connect with the characters.

I have handed what I have to an insightful friend who is willing to read over and give me her input and see if we can’t figure out what about the story has me disconnected.

So as I sit, anxiously waiting her input, I find myself returning to another favorite story, a character who has haunted me for almost ten years now. I find myself longing to return to his story.

Characters are the story, characters are the ones whom we accompany on their journeys. I want to do it right, I want their emotions to be captured in words so the reader can feel what they feel. I think one of my biggest worries, outside the issue of grammar, is doing my characters and their stories  justice.

I may push back my release date for Elemental Truth and Elemental Storm to ensure that when they do come out, they are as good as I can get them.

There was something else I was going to say, but I totally lost track of what it was, my kids are watching Backyardagains and I am finding it very distracting.There is another post I am debating putting together, but I am debating even writing it.

Anyways, have a good weekend folks. 😀

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Tuesday? Really?

Whoa, where did the weekend go? I swear I missed a day.. or three…

Am doing some website maintenance and trying to get myself in gear. Some days I wake raring to go, some days, like today, I am dragging. So I whip out the list of things to do

Website:
Make sure links are working and up to date.

Writing wise:
1k on E2 at minimum
Edit the vampire thing

RL:
Solidify kids schoolwork for next year. Our school starts after labor day.
Dining room table needs to get cleared up

and I have a TBR pile that is staring and whining at me.
Ok time to get moving.

Take care.

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But how…?

“How are readers going to find your work among the millions of crappy stories out there?” Is a question I’ve received repeatedly since I announced a couple weeks ago that I was going to jump on the indi bandwagon and self publish my work.

To be perfectly honest it isn’t a concern I actually have. Let me explain why;

For years and years people have been able to find the types of stories they like among thousands, indeed millions of books at bookstores. How?

Well by critical thinking, that thing that people forget that other people actually do. When someone is looking for a new read, or even an old read, they look in that catagory. Say someone, like me, is looking online for a new read. They read Fantasy, they like romance, so they type in the search engine those two terms. And a selection of those types of books comes up.

Guess what? The reader found books to skim through, they read over the blurbs, they look at the covers and the things that catch their interest they buy.

And they didn’t need anyone to hold their hand and say “Ok dear, there’s the books you’ll like, right over there…”

They used their brains. Because, despite how it sometimes feels, everyone really does have one. And everyone is capable of searching to find what they are interested in without being told by anybody what is good and what is crap.

Though don’t get me wrong, having a friend say “Read this by ________, it is a great book!” holds greater weight than what anyone else could tell them.

But seriously, writers need to give their potential readers more credit. Is there a lot out there? There always has been. And as always, some of it is crap and some of it is gold, and to further complicate matters one man’s crap is another man’s gold. People have always been able to really find the things they are looking for, one way or another.

Kristine Rusch’s post Odds, Ends, and More Slush Pile Truths discusses this very thing, among many other things, I highly recommend you read it and think about it.

And give your potential reader some more credit. They’re big kids, they can find your work. If you have it up for sale that is, if it is sitting on your computer’s harddrive no one will be given the opportunity to love or hate it, because no one but you can see it.

So if you are hoping to bag an agent, catch an editor’s attention or self publish it yourself, don’t allow the fear of “crap books out there” or “internet noise” or “tight competition” to sway you from trying to accomplish your goals. As DWS has said “Dare to be bad.” Give a story the chance to sink or swim you might be surprised by what does and doesn’t.

And those are my thoughts. What are yours?

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Bookcountry and other thoughts.

I have had an account over at Bookcountry.com which is a place for writers to go, a writer community if you will. I had one of my stories up over there for peer review, and I got some awesome feedback!

However with the limits on my time I decided to withdraw that particular story from sight (I didn’t delete it cause the comments and reviews were just wonderful and those folks were so kind in giving me feedback I felt it would be rude to just delete it all) and I am debating closing the account.

Bookcountry seems to be a good concept, and I have heard some very great things about it. I just don’t have the time to spare.

If anyone reading this is one of those folks who gave me such great feedback on the harp story, thank you so much. I may not have agreed with everything suggested but there was some really good input, and I appreciate the time you took to give me your honest and well thought out reviews and suggestions.

#

I have published a new short story; Playing for the Dead  which was called The Harp at one point…

Available at Amazon (clicking the pic will take you there), Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Xin Xii (which is a European ebook distributor.
A hundred years after a catastrophe changed the order of things, Lizbae is sent to take her turn to play a magic harp to soothe the restless souls of the departed. To protect her village, and stay alive, Lizbae must find the courage to face the night.

This story has a bit of a story itself, it was inspired by a picture I saw which was done by Linda Bergkvist. I noticed there hasn’t been activity on her deviant art page in a while **weeps** but I would love to find out how to purchase the painting she did, which inspired me to write this story in the first place.

Well I have to get back to work.
Take care readers, be good or at the very least; be safe.

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Drive by post

I am still here, writing away. I apologize for being silent. Life gets busy here. 😛

 

Currently working on a cover for another project and waiting for the beta report. 😛

Any particular topic you might want to see me ramble about?

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Thoughts on Urban Fantasy

Had an epiphany last night as I was chatting with a friend. For years, and I have bitched about it on my livejournal, I have had an aversion to Urban Fantasy*. Sadly most of my writer pals write UF, so I have to be careful what I say. It isn’t you, I have tried to explain, it is ME.

Well as we were talking, it occurred to me that my issue with Urban Fantasy is the ability to suspend disbelief. IF it is a post-apocalyptic world I don’t seem to have that problem, but for many stories that are Urban Fantasy I find it difficult to really push my disbelief aside and just enjoy the story.

And stories set on another world with OUR conveniences (telephones, cars, etc.) those really throw me off for some reason. I just keep thinking about the likelihood of a magic driven story set in a city that resembles NYC or LA or something.

Sometimes stories just grab me, the covers, the blurbs, and I itch to read them. like right now I have three stories I am REALLY wanting to read (once I get my quota for the day)….

There are those stories that, no matter how many paragraphs I struggle through, I find it difficult to read and I set it aside. There are writers whose early work might grab me; LKH is one, then fizzle out over the space of a series.

Overall, most UF, or UF styled stories just don’t grab me. It isn’t necessarily because it is bad writing, or bad worldbuilding, it is because my OCD brain is finiky and it has taken me YEARS to figure this out.

What is really annoying, is that I have an UF series idea. I’ve barely written on it barely thought about it in a while, and I know some nitwit out there is going to go “NO! WAIT! You HATE Urban Fantasy and you are writing one? Hypocrit!”

…..

 

pthhhhhhbbbbttttt!

 

because I don’t hate Urban Fantasy, I just have a harder time reading it than reading, say, fantasy or science fiction.

So new writers, old writers and everyone in between, when someone says they don’t like a genre, it isn’t a personal affront to YOUR writing, an insult to YOUR ideas, it could be that, as I have always said, not everyone will love everything you write. Put on your big boy/girl pants and grit your teeth and remember the opinion of ONE person isn’t the opinion of all.

*And I managed to offend friend who, I’m guessing, thought I was dissing her work or knocking her style of writing. **rollseyes**

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Rambling

This is a ramble, putting thoughts down as I think them. Consider yourselves warned.  That said, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my projects and the way I write and how self publishing has affected my overall output.

 

I have always thought I would publish through a big publishing co and have an agent and,…. and …. do whatever it is writers in that position would do. I wanted to see my books (series fantasy) as bestsellers, with kick ass covers and writing conferences and all that. The kick ass covers was really a big deal for me…

Things shifted in the world. Companies that seemed indestructible were suddenly just gone. The books being put out were books that made me sigh with resignation “Oh god MORE urban fantasy? eww.” But for lack of what I really wanted to see (Fantasy Romance anyone?) I went ahead and read those.

I have found some really awesome authors and discovered interesting twists to our own world, but it wasn’t what really got me.

I tried the one fantasy romance series, it looked promising, but we didn’t click, that fantasy romance series and I, and I set it aside dis interested in the characters or the world.

So that is what I wrote. A fantasy romance series that I could have my blood, guts, gore and still have the romance that moves a reader. Only mine didn’t fit the formula, the first story stretched over two books and the further you go the grittier it became. The mc doesn’t actually come face to face with the fmc until the beginning of the second book and, and…. It didn’t fit the formula.

It didn’t fit because I was telling the story the way I wanted to tell it. Now granted this particular story is not anywhere near ready to publish, but with the way things were going in the publishing arena I felt bombarded by the fact that that story, just one example of what I enjoy writing and reading, wouldn’t cut it in today’s market.

Everyone is reading super sex charged UF! At least thats what they would have you believe (that or sparkling vampires) by what is being sold.

 

I also discovered that I tend to write short. Novellas, Short stories and (this new term is getting annoying)  novelettes seem to have become my standard. And I write them in serials. So, many of my stories are interconnected.  Magic Maker  is one such story, and there are several stories set in that world. But when I told writer friends about these, I got told there simply ISN’T a market for shorts.

I decided this year to test the waters with self-publishing. I have three shorts up right now. One has already garnered some soda change :D. Those stories hung over my head for several years. And now they are out there, for good or ill, for people to love or hate or feel indifferant about.

They are published.

I feel like that weight, hanging over my head, is lightened. Not gone, I have other projects, but it isn’t as heavy as it was.

I did it!

So I am editing a project. And I struck me, as soon as I am done editing it, beta-ing it I could do one of two things, I could write up a query and start querying agents to represent me or to editors in the hopes someone will have had his or her morning cup of Java before hitting the slush pile and keep writing while it sits in limbo without even a guarantee that it will sell (and I’m not even going to mention the 7…uhmno… 9…. no….11 books that are planned for later….) and waste two years of my life or more waiting to hear from agent after agent/editor after agent/editor that no they cant buy this one because it is not UF and highly sex charged.

Or, I get send it to a freelance editor, get it edited and proofed, make the changes and then put it up for sale.

A matter of a couple of months.

vs

A few years MINIMUM

Which means I control which books I sell.

So if I want to spend the next few years just writing in that world and selling that series…

I can.

I don’t have to worry about being dropped by my publisher if book 2 doesn’t sell well.

Do you know how liberating that is?

I can write what I want and know I can get it to readers who may find it right up their alley. And you know what is REALLY cool? I have found myself writing more. Daily, because I KNOW it isn’t going to just sit on the computer wasting away it will be put up as soon as I am confident it is ready. From short stories to novels.

Will it ever be a bestseller on a grocery store shelf? Who knows. I’m not really worrying about that.

I am not in this for Fame or Fortune.

I want people to enjoy my stories. Is that so bad? I don’t think so.

 

 

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The Magic Maker

New story is up for sale at Smashwords, pending at Kindle, Nook and up at Xin Xii

To save her brother from being sold as a slave, Tia takes a job running messages for a crime lord. Unfortunately, there are strange things afoot in the city of Vin, and she finds herself embroiled in the machinations of a Sorceress. With an entombed voice begging for help, and time running out, Tia must find a way to save her brother and escape the city before it is too late.

This one was fun to write, I really love…. doh can’t say that. 😛

Now to figure out what the next project will be.

My Madonna is slated for submission, but kids are up and I just can’t work on THAT story with toddlers running around.

Elemental Truth, which I am hoping to put up in Nov, still needs editing
Elemental Storm Needs to be finished

I want to write new words though.
I also want to play my PSP….. Harvest Moon is calling me…

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Werewolf Erotica Series; Moonlit Path by Cat Trip

There is a series of erotica stories about werewolves over at Circlet Press. I’ve been reading and loving them! They are free, though I will warn you they are explicit and a bit bloody, after all they are werewolves and these are vicious ones. And sexy. Oh man are they 😀

Every full moon is a new story This month’s installment is Desert Flower

OMG, I love this short. It is dark, bloody, intense and sexy. Mouse and Wolfie are both captives in a twisted medical facility. She on one side of the bars, he on the other. Any more and it would give it away.

Wolf Moon: Scent of Tears

There is one more I cannot locate,

These ARE erotica so be advised that there is explicit adult content.

So go over there, read and comment and BEG for more!! 😀
And yummy 😛

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Music for the soul

I love music, all sorts of music, from ethnic, to Death Metal and everything in between. I try to keep an open mind and listen to everything at least once. I found this this morning in my youtube wanderings as I was looking for something a little different while I edit this novelette? Long short? Whatever, hopefully if I can get the cover right I’ll have it published this weekend, but anywho I am in cello heaven.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7bz1gFc2kg&feature=youtu.be’]

 

So being the Final Fantasy geek that I am, I found this:

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYYAyLaxGck&feature=youtu.be’]

GAH! sooo cool!

One more, I hunted this one down because I love it.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vitjfSAD2mw’]

This song fits several of my stories. **sigh**

Ok back to work, rl needs to be handled too.

Happy friday people!

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Time Management

Any hobby or profession a person chooses is going to eat up a certain amount of time out of one’s day to become really proficient at it. A sculptor, welder, painter, photographer, gardener and so on, is going to spend time on their hobbies. A writer is no different.

A common complaint I hear is that “I have no time for writing!” and I have to say I call bullshit on that. No! You yell, I have college! A full time job! Kids! I don’t have time to write!

I can think up many examples of people who simply MAKE time to write. And making time to write, while sometimes very challenging, can be done. Here are a few suggestions that I have found useful.

First of all you have to figure out what is taking up your time. Work, school, kids recitals/activities, tv(big time waster here), video games (Another time eater), surfing the internet(here too), other hobbies. Once you figure out what is taking your time up ask yourself how badly do I want to write?

Is it a passing fancy? Is it a drive that if you don’t it will make you go insane? Or somewhere in between?

Then find 15 min in your day, every day, to write.

Just 15 min. Open up your writing program and write. (we will discuss writer’s block another time)
Wait! You flail, arms waving madly, “I don’t see 15 min in which I can write!”

Do you have a lunch break at work? Take your note book and scribble down ideas. Do you have a ten or twenty min gap in between classes? For you kids in High School what about lunch break?

When you get off of work many people (myself included when I worked, am a SAHM/writer these days) like to slump on the couch and watch TV. But if you find yourself flipping channels perhaps your time could be better spent writing.

I know a lady who has a passion for writing, omg this woman astounds me (she’s a dear friend of mine) and she kicks out high word counts. High quality high word counts. She works over 60 hours a week, runs three kids to college/jobs I swear the woman is driving herself into the ground. But her free time, she writes.

Over years of doing this has given her the skill to be able to get a high quantity of words down in a relatively short period of time. She has chosen wisely how she spends her time.

I have 9 kids, my household is sometimes very very busy. I also homeschool which makes it interesting when I am trying to edit and help with algebra at the same time (doesn’t work, I don’t recommend it). I have learned how to be able to grab any spare time I have in between babies, lessons, laundry and dishes. It has not been easy.

It ISN’T easy. You know that things that are worth it never are.

I have encountered new writers who don’t seem to understand that the only way to get better at writing is by…. writing.

You can’t sit on the couch watching tv and eating potato chips and expect to become Mr/Ms Olympia. You can’t not run and expect to run a 3 min mile. You can’t not practice singing/playing a musical instrument and then expect to become a world class musician and/or singer. You cannot not write and expect to get better/publishable.

The only way to improve your writing, to increase your skills at utilizing the written word, is through writing. Trust me thinking about writing and actually doing it are two completely different things. Thinking about it won’t get the idea down, won’t give you the story to re-read and ready for publication (whichever direction you want to publish). You have to do it. And to do it, you sometimes have to make time to do it.

My biggest suggestions when it comes to writing:
Schedule 15 min every day to write SOMETHING.
Reorganize your internet/tv/video gaming time and slip writing in there
Sit down and figure out how important writing is to you.
Carry around a notebook, when you are waiting for the kids to get out of school, write, when you are waiting for the train, bus, plane, your ride; write.
You already carry a paperback or an ereader with you, right? So substitute a notebook and instead of reading in your spare time, or texting about the latest gossip; write.

Get rid of time wasters. Or limit them. Sure I love watching mind numbing tv. But I love writing more.

For me the biggest issue is the internet, I don’t watch tv, and I can’t afford the games I really love playing (Final Fantasy) because I’d have to get new gaming machines.

But I read blogs, I read the news, I read the Livejournal. There is one writer chat I go to. That is a writer chat though and it helps me keep on track (really…it does….I swear :P). I do need to work on limiting my blog reading time but you folks are often very interesting….

The bottom line is that EVERYONE can schedule at least ten to fifteen min a day to write SOMETHING. You just have to arrange your day and figure out when. Carrying around a notebook helps. Hey there’s always bathroom trips….

Happy Writing, keep it up!

P.S. I’m not asking anyone to justify how you use your time, it isn’t my business. Each situation, each person is different. And yes sometimes there just ISN’T the time to write, I understand that and am not trying to be judgmental. Sometimes sleep is the better choice….

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Urban Fantasy Rants

Not mine, I honestly don’t read much UF. I find it far too predictable which has made it boring to me. A friend from livejournal land is doing a series on what she finds lacking with many urban fantasies out there and frankly I agree. Her points are exactly why I don’t read UF.

Fantasy critiques: Lack of good relationships
Urban Fantasy Rant 2:Not even friendship?
Urban Fantasy Rant 3:The Invisible Woman

She’s doing another one tomorrow which I will link to. I highly recommend reading these posts and then read the comments. Lots of food for thought, especially if you are an Urban Fantasy writer.

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