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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Redshirts

A few years ago I wrote this silly little story about Redshirts in my novels. It amused me to no end. However when I subbed it I got told by several magazines that since the story was geared towards Authors, not regular readers that readers wouldn’t get it. I was invited to resubmit more work but at the time I didn’t have any. So the little story hung around on my harddrive, I would open it periodically, reading and chortling but at a loss of what to do.


It is now available on Smashwords, XinXii and pending at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Cole’s goal in life is to survive. As a Redshirt in a novel, that is a very difficult thing indeed. Even eating breakfast can become a life and death situation. Redshirts is a piece of Flash Fiction, about 1000 words, or about 3 or 4 pages printed out.

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Listy thing

I had this really long post written out on the publishing industry. I decided to trash it. Mainly because i am not qualified. Instead I will bore you mightily with a list of tomorrow’s (later today actually) list of things to do.

Because you know the life of a writer is oh so glamorous…

Writing Stuff:

~ Look over Edits for Redshirts, fix the issues, Format it and get it ready to upload
~ Go over the Redshirts cover (Must locate a bloodsplatter tutorial)
~ Write at least 1k on E2
~ Print out Magic Maker and see if it is salvageable.
~ Go over the next Chapter in Strunk and White.*
~ Figure out the twitter feed thingy for this site. I know there is a way to stream it…

RL stuff

~ Calls to make
~ Schoolwork to prepare (I homeschool, did I mention that?)
~ Laundry.
~ Dishes.
~ Mommy stuff. (I have the world’s coolest kids.)

good night, I might not get back to the website for a few days…. I think.

*I may never be a grammar expert, however one of the biggest complaints I hear about self pubbed work is the high level of grammar issues. So damn it I am going to get a handle on this grammar stuff. If I am going to be self pubbed I am going to make damn sure that what I put out there is the best quality I can make it.

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Technical crap

I am trying to add a blogroll -.-

I am learning that I seem to be technically disadvantaged. So please bear with me while I try to figure out these widget things.

I will get your link up….. it might just take me a while…

In the meantime…. have a snip (a very very ROUGH snip) from my current project Elemental Storm. Enjoy.

~*~

Outside there was again the sound of something or somethings flying overhead. Aitelle heard a series of deep guttural sounds.

“What is….” Rale began. Aitelle shushed him, listening carefully.

She felt like she was hearing a conversation on the other side of a long hallway. Words, she sensed there were words, but their meaning was lost on her. She crept to the window as lightning lit the grassy slope behind the house. Three shapes, wings half furled, heads low, dominated the field. Each was larger than the house they were in. Two of the beasts crouched, in the flickering lightning launched into the sky. The third settled back on its hind legs and in the lightning Aitelle lost sight of it. She slowly sank back realizing with a start that Rale had come up beside her.

“Wow.” Rale whispered.

“That one…. was…..” Aitelle looked at him. “Huge!”

“Northern dragons. Did you understand what they were saying?”

Aitelle frowned. “Almost. It was like hearing a conversation through closed doors.”

“Hope they don’t decide to eat us.” he muttered.

~*~

Slated for release sometime early next year, it depends.

now back to figure out this widget thing…

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Well that was interesting

Due to…. personal developments and a long talk with the hubs, I decided to go ahead and launch. Story 1 is just a short, The Shiny, and is over at Smashwords, soon Amazon and B&N also.

The idea was Shiny and New and ready to be written. Unfortunately, The Writer had other ideas…

It is a humorous story, and I need to say this again, it is a SHORT.

Now to go update other things and let this grand adventure lift off!

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The Great Price Debate

I am slowly learning how to use twitter hashtags. One I was following this afternoon and participating in was #writechat. There was a discussion about .99 ebooks. This is something that I feel strongly about. Mainly because I have heard and read what people think of that price tag. “Crap.” “Undervaluing their work.” “Probably a pile of shit.”

I tend to both agree and disagree.

Let me explain, first go read Dean Wesley Smith’s article The New World of Publishing: E-Book Pricing.

Got it? ok Onward and upward!

When you spend your precious time working on a book, writing it, editing it, covers and so on, that is time you could be spending writing more works. If you have a book that is 50k and up, selling it for .99 as a permanent price feels as though you are not giving yourself enough credit. You are undervaluing your time and effort. Period.

I find this issue with graphic artists too. Holy hell my mother is an awesome artist and for the longest time she would undervalue her art. It would drive me crazy as she would set unbelievable low prices on things she SLAVED over for days and weeks even! It took a teacher at her college to sit her down and explained her time was worth far more than what she was charging people.

Now there are TONS of theories out there, tons of opinions for that matter. Having a sales plan “For now ______ story is priced at .99 on such and such a date that price is going to bump up to ________ get it while it’s cheap” might not be such a bad idea. Others price the first book in a series at .99 to “hook” the reader on their stories then when the reader goes to get book 2 it is full-priced. I can see the logic behind those two plans and I am sure there are others which make as much sense.

But when it boils down to it isn’t your work worth more? Isn’t your time worth more?

Now I might find myself thinking differently when Launch day comes around, I personally like the pricing plan DWS has listed.

So, my minions readers what do YOU think? Razzle and dazzle me!

why is it I never notice typos until AFTER I post?

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The future is bright, where are my shades?

The squirrel* thing has been biting me pretty badly. I look over my work and my list of projects to someday play with and I get excited. I can release ________ story as a series of novellas or I can do something with ________ story now, or …. or…..or…..

I’ve been fighting the urge to jump before my Launch date, working on the covers. I have some more things to do, betas to hear back from.

And write…

Oh yeah that’s what started it all to begin with. DWS also has a post about this scatterbrained planning that hits writers ready to embark on a new venture over here in which he discusses priorities.

I was considering listing off some of my projects I have planned to release between Sept 1st and Jan 2012, I have been playing with making covers and skimming over other works to get ready to send to my dear grammar nazi friends, I have two grammar books I am planning on going through to get a firmer grasp of those damn commas that breed every time I turn off my computer (I mean really, they are as prolific as my plotbunnies!) I have been skimming over tax laws and making sure my stuff that is already ready to go is properly formatted getting all this stuff done… But I haven’t written a new word in almost a week. Well, outside these blogs and the twitters and honestly re-writing E1’s chapter 7 doesn’t really count does it?

I think my biggest fear is loosing touch with the creative part of me, loosing touch with the new stories, the new ideas, the new words that are tapping the inside of my skull saying “Is it our turn yet?”.

It is a must to slate time to actually write NEW words on NEW projects (or projects who have been set aside for years). That is why I am doing this, that is why I am going to put my stuff out there. I am a writer, I must write. So with this bright new future stretching out before me, I will grab my shades, my notebook and pen (I don’t care for pencils) and write. Not sure what yet.

Look towards the future, my friends, not with fear of what might go wrong but with wonder and excitement of what can go right! Grab hold of your dreams with both hands and don’t let anyone take them away.

Have a great weekend people, those of you who are in the heatwave areas of the USA please stay hydrated and cool.

*Read Kris Rusch’s post on Popcorn Kittens if you haven’t already to understand the SQUIRREL! reference.

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Linkage

I have started reading several blogs around the web that are geared towards helping authors make informed decisions about their careers. I have found these blogs to be informative, eye opening and giving me a better understanding as to what is going on in the confusing world of publishing today. I thought I would link to them and give my opinion on them.

first of all over at Paranormal Ladies she just posted a interview (scroll to the bottom) with the Passive Guy from The Passive Voice blog which he discusses his reasons for starting the blog and his upcoming book. I highly recommend giving it a read then cruise through his blog.

In fact Paranormal Indies list of Blogs of interest lists off blogs that I read, which I find very enlightening.

Kevin O. McLaughlin, who recently got booted from AW for pointing out facts about self publishing (and he wasn’t the only one) has a blog up today about what you need to sell your book. Yes, Mr. McLaughlin, I am taking careful notes. 😀

Michael Kingswood is one I have just started following as I was retracing the Sarah Hoyt/TKA train wreak of last week (more on that later). From what I’ve seen so far his blog is interesting and this quote:

a lot of writers seem to have a pathological aversion to common sense, critical thinking, and basic business.

Had me in absolute giggle fits. I think because I’ve seen this myself among authors both experienced and inexperianced. It was sobering however to know that i am not the only one who has noticed this.

Behler Blog has a good post on the consequences of Agents stepping into the publishing arena over here.

Recently several agencies have, in recent months, taken a step to enter the publishing arena the one that caught my attention was the kerfluffle with The Knight Agency. If you didn’t hear about it (tho I think everyone has by now) Sarah Hoyt blogged about her decision to go indi and to drop her agent. In the post she highly praises TKA who has represented her for several years, and explains that she didn’t feel comfortable with the e-publishing step being taken by TKA. Their response was less than stellar which she shares with her response here which she STILL highly praises the very people who tried to bully her (threatened legal action) to retract her statements. She is a better woman than I, let-me-tell-you. I don’t know that were I in her place I would be so nice.

But that leads me to the question; why is such a reputable agency, one that was on the top of MY list of agencies to query, jumping to do something that seems to be a conflict of interests? If they are acting as a publisher then who will they query when finding their clients a publisher will they query themselves? It feels shady and I know for a fact that I am not the only person thinking that. Which is sad, everything I have heard about them outside of this has been stellar.

Now real life is starting to pick up here so I have to go before my kids destroy my house :P.

4 weeks to go…

I do wonder if I should list off my projects and projected launch dates… hmmmm

Take care all


Edited to include Nephele’s input on The Knight Agency side of things;

The link is here and I’ll quote what I consider the key comment here:

Our program includes our taking on the prep work that an author would do to self-publish on their own: finding cover art, converting the format, securing the copyright for their work, obtaining ISBNs, etc. We are not actually publishing anything, but working with the various self-publishing programs at major e-retailers, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble, etc. We are not taking a publisher’s commission or cut, but just our standard agency rate of 15%.

And they also state it is for clients only, fyi.

and here is Lucienne Diver’s input on the program.

Why take the trouble? Because the only way to make an informed opinion is by looking at all sides.
That said, I think what bothers more than what still doesn’t feel like a good move by the agency, is their over reaction to Ms. Hoyt’s original post. Their inability to gracefully and gently say good luck, so long. I feel, they overstepped their position and by doing so embarrassed themselves.

But who the hell am I? Some no name, some **gasp** self pubber?

I am a person who once wanted to have The Knight Agency represent me. And when you have hopes like that, at least I put people up on a mini pedestal. Finding out they are, in reality, just human is kind of disappointing.

Anyways, those are my thoughts, hopefully clarified.

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Passing on a link

Over at Arizela’s blog she has an interesting post about gender inequality and the effects it has on men.

As a mother of 6 boys I find this very interesting and eye opening. At the end of her post she poses these questions:

What social or cultural issues do you tackle in your fiction? In what ways do you strive to portray true in characterization?

Honestly I don’t think about it much before hand. I strive to have as much balance as I can. My characters are individual (I would like to think) and each have their own struggles, but I don’t feel as if I ‘tackle’ any issues, just try to tell a story.

Anyways, I think it is a good post, go show her some love.

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Socializing

Due to the negativity and what feels to me to be attacks on self-pubbers over at AW I decided to check out the kindle boards. It is a dangerous thing, I have discovered, to open up the Kindle boards in the Writer’s Cafe. Why is it dangerous? Because there are lots of interesting information about numbers and sales, lots of conversation about different aspects of writing.

So far I haven’t seen much negativity, no slamming numbers, pointing out issues or errors, no goading others like I saw at the other place.

It is heartwarming to see. These people seem really nice.

Not to mention there are some really kick arse covers in there. OMG I want to ask them what programs they used and whatnot but I find myself a touch shy. -.-


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Sunday Thoughts

There is a stigma to Self-Publishing that is very strong and very real. Even though I have decided to go this route for most of my work, I find myself struggling at times with the idea of validation. If you publish through the big/small publishing companies you have that stamp of approval from a “pro”. If you self-publish there isn’t that stamp of approval.

I’ve read on many boards, many places from people who simply avoid the self published books.

Why is there this stigma? Because there is a lot of crap out there. As stated over here

It’s like being allowed to make my own clothing line out of burlap and pubic hair and being allowed to hang it on the racks at J.C. Penney.

**snerks at visual imagery**

But seriously, think about it. Then go and cruise through some of what is out there. I have gotten the occasional self-pubbed bit o shit and deleted it from my nook midway through it because it is so awful. The biggest reasons have been tense issues, head hopping, grammar*, poor dialog structure, the list goes on.

I do find myself a touch nervous about this issue. How much harder it is for readers to find and trust my work. I have several grammar nazi friends and am considering looking into hiring a professional editor because I want to make sure my writing is quality.

Negativity in any DIY endeavor is bound to happen. There will be those people who simply will not go outside of convention to find a good read. Luckily though, I can’t help but think there are those who are willing to.

As my grandmother says, you can’t win them all. I’m not going to insult their intelligence, just ask they keep an open mind.

Here is another article by Catherine Howard over here which I found interesting (and quotes the same passage I quoted earlier).

The world of publishing is a very complex one, one I won’t pretend to understand fully. Negativity surrounds it, on all sides. I think that if we can keep our heads up and stay positive while the larger Publishing Companies figure out how they are going to adjust to the changing climate things will be much better in the long run.

Today I work on covers.
Just felt the need to share that. 😛

Take care all.

*I don’t consider myself a grammar nazi but if I notice bad grammar you know it HAS to be bad.


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Am I good enough?

I have heard this a lot. How do I know my writing is good enough? We have discussed it in chat, had conversations about it in IM conferences and I have seen several good posts about it on the web.

How do you know your writing is good enough to self pub? Is a question I got hit with the other day. To be honest I scrambled for an answer. Was I being ego-centric by saying ‘I just know it is? Or should I be humble and wait for it to make a round through the betas and then on to editors? I don’t remember what I said in reply to be honest but this morning I ran across an article by Dean Wesley Smith over here in which he rants a bit. Go read it, it is interesting. This is what stood out to me (the emphasis is mine):

Writers, grow a backbone and start trusting the readers. If your book doesn’t sell given enough time (meaning a year) maybe, just maybe, there is something wrong with your cover, your blurb, or the opening of your novel. But for heaven’s sake, TRUST THE READERS.

Trust the readers.

I have stories that people have enjoyed. They aren’t masterpieces of literature bound to change with world with their wit or wisdom! They’re just simple little stories, tales that I enjoyed reading, that others have enjoyed reading.

And I have to say that that is one of my greatest joys, knowing that something I wrote was enjoyed by other people.

So how do I know my writing is good enough? I think I will trust my readers, trust the people who are looking for a read that will take them, for however long, out of this world.

I am good enough.


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