Don't Be Afraid of Failure

YorkWriters: Only the Brave

Read the above post, and read Dean Wesley Smith's post on the same subject. Whether you're gung-ho into the indie thing or are submitting to smaller or online presses, these two fantastic posts tell you that it's okay to fail.

Especially read the part in the York Writers blog which talks about George Clooney and his fear of failure. Yeah, George Clooney fears failure. But he hasn't given up. As the post points out, Mr. Clooney was in a Batman movie that tanked at the box office (I'd forgotten about that). Here he is, though, years later, nominated for all sorts of awards for two movies he did this year.

I know, I know, he's a celebrity and all that. He has a lot of movies and a TV series behind him. He has name recognition. But he could have allowed his career to go into the toilet, he could have allowed that stinker of a movie to get to him.

That he didn't let that happen sends a clear message to all of us, aspiring or not: Recognize your fear, and take steps to conquer it. Easier said than done, but it can be done.

Just recognizing your fear of something is the first step in getting over it.

My fears? As I said in the comments on Dean Wesley Smith's site, I'm afraid my story won't be perfect, so I rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite. I also overthink things, imaging people reading certain scenes and not understanding them; coming up with different angles that readers might come up with to rip apart those scenes is just too much for my mind, which is already reeling from personal things going on in my life.

This happened to me in the 3rd novella. I was concerned about a couple of scenes near the end. I thought the ending was just right. But there were some continuation problems - which I fixed. Then I got into editing mode, and that's where I got into trouble: Tweaking and retweaking. After the editing was done, I stopped with the tweaking, because I realized what I was doing.

I didn't want the story to be rewritten where my voice wasn't coming through anymore. And I was in danger of doing that.

So I did the Table of Contents hyperlinks, did one last spellcheck, and got it uploaded.

I don't think I've completely gotten over the endless rewrites, and I know I haven't gotten over the overthinking part, either. But I feel a sense of accomplishment because I recognized what was happening and took action.

I think that's the key. If you let it get away from you - like I've done in the past - the story will be so bent out of shape, it won't look anything like you've envisioned; I have an historical fantasy like that which I've managed to resurrect, and will be working on that, off and on, during 2012. (It's a novel, and it's going to take some time to get the historical facts straight.) But I so love the idea and the characters that I felt I HAD to resurrect it. Only time will tell if it's been worth it.

Goals for 2012:

1. Finish and upload 10-12 short stories and novelettes in the super-secret category (i.e., not fantasy) under a pen name.
2. Work on historical fantasy/alternate history series set in NYC in the 1930s. Tentatively titled "Werewolves on Broadway."
3. Finish and upload historical fantasy set World War II California. Titled "Personal Demons."
4. Further sketch out ideas for a fantasy/SF series set on an asteroid. This is just in the beginning stages (percolating in my mind).

So, what fears about your writing do you have? Are you afraid of success? Do you endlessly rewrite like I do? Or is there some other fear that affects your writing?


Demon Daughter Now Available!

I've uploaded the 3rd (and last) in the series today, and it's available on Smashwords:


ETA: And it's available on Amazon now too:

Here's the blurb (which sucks, but the great thing is, I can change it if I want):

Trust and fear and demons don’t mix.

Tessa Palmisano loves her husband, Bert Gaston, a djinn. But she can’t trust him with her secret: He might not be the father of her baby, and the baby might be more than he or she appears to be.

Tessa confronts Jane, her landlady’s daughter, in Hades, Jane’s home turf, as Tessa guessed years ago Jane was a real demon. Tessa only has to massage the information out of Jane and offer it telepathically to a magical Elder (her landlady). Yeah, right. But Tessa is determined to end this here, to destroy this demonic daughter, and get the hell out of Hell.

Hope everyone had a nice Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and whatever else is celebrated at this time of year. :-)

Have a happy and SAFE New Year!


Demon Daughter - The Last in My Fantasy Novella Series

So the editing is almost done; I'll be doing most of that today.

Already have the cover in place (see below), and I'll be uploading no later than Saturday morning. Yes, that's Christmas Eve, and my family has traditionally held the Christmas get together on that day; it goes back to the late 50s and early 60s, when my mother and aunts started having babies: How were they supposed to go see people on the other side of the family.

That's why we have it on Christmas Eve.

However, we won't be leaving until noon or so, which will give me plenty of time the day before and the day of, if need be. I'm shooting for no later than Friday night, because I know it takes Amazon 24 hours to do their thing.

And now to the blurb, which may or may not get changed (what I like about self pubbing - if something isn't working, I can change it):

Trust and fear and demons don’t mix well—just ask Tessa Palmisano. She loves her husband, Bert Gaston, a djinn, with all her heart. But she can’t yet trust him with her secret: That Bert might not be the father of her baby, and that the baby might be more than he or she appears to be...

Her landlady’s daughter, Jane, has been a bug in Tessa’s ass ever since Tessa has lived in the apartment house. She’s convinced that Jane is a real demon. With Bert and his brother acting as back up, Tessa confronts Jane in Hades, her home turf. All she has to do is massage the information out of Jane and mentally send it back to the landlady (a magical Elder). Yeah, right. But Tessa is determined to end this here, to destroy this demonic daughter, and get the hell out of Hell.

Even as I was getting ready to put that up, I tweaked it some more. I also have other versions, including a really short one (for Smashwords, where they don't give you a hell of a lot of room to work with).
I'll tell you, though, this was a tough one to get through, even though I had a general idea of the beginning and ending; the middle is what got me :-). But I let it rip, and came up with some things that helped clear up something that was bugging me about the storyline.
It's also been tough because I've had some personal things to get through, that are resolved - for the moment. I'll see how that shakes out in the not-too-distant future.
So Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice and merry/happy whatever else is out there! Have fun and be safe these last two weeks of 2011!

Stuff You Can Get For Free - For $12?!


I read Dean Wesley Smith's blog on a regular basis (you should too; it's full of lots of good stuff :-)), and he alerted his readers to the above blog post by Robin Hobb (she of the Farseer series and other books).

Apparently, Hephaestus Books is repackaging wiki articles (public domain) on Robin's and other writers' books - but they aren't the books themselves. The title, though, makes it sound as if the buyer is getting the books.

At only 42 pages, buyers, um, are not. Again, these are articles about Robin's (and others') books.

Can you imagine paying $12 for 42 pages of articles? Maybe a buck or two, at the most. Sheesh, most indie novels are in the $4.99-$6.99 range.

And all these folks offer are a bunch of articles for an exhorbitant price.

Nice. Not.


Sorry I Haven't Been Posting Much...

I wish it was because I'd taken a month-long vacation or something fun like that, but it's nothing like that.

I'm not going to go into details, so I'll just say I'm having personal problems with a loved one - it gets harder and harder to deal with. It's tough for me to talk about on a public forum like this, but I'm trying to do something about it even though the person doesn't want any help, and I'm doing it the only way I can: Through nutrition from an excellent nutritional guidebook.

I'm also doing the nutritional thing for myself, because of all the damned stress I'm under, not only personally, but also at work. They keep dumping stuff in my lap, and I'm somehow managing to keep up, but I'm not sure if I can do it long term (of course, if they decided to make me an employee, I could probably see myself through on the work, but I've given up on getting a perm job where I am right now).

Well, enough of the doom and gloom.

I figured I'd start reading a couple of books at once. One is The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson, and to show you how long I've had it, I picked it up at the now-defunct Borders store not far from where I live. (Yeah. And in hardback, too, lol!) I'm about halfway through, and I'm finding it really, really good, altho sometimes I wonder why he's throwing in different characters. Since it's supposed to be a 10-book series (yow!), there must be some reasoning behind it.

I hope. But I'll finish it, because I find the world fascinating.

I also picked up a $79 Kindle. (Shameless plug.) And have been putting stuff I got off Amazon and Smashwords onto it. And there, I'm reading Kristine Rusch's first in her Retrieval Artist series. I've been wanting to read more SF (this one is combined with a mystery), and this is a great story, talking about aliens, people living on the Moon (one of the domes they live in is named the Armstrong Dome - get it? Neil Armstrong...yeah, yeah, I thought you would), children taken from their parents by aliens who take loved ones because of the family's past transgressions...it's all so cool and interesting. What hooked me was the opening, which actually had me shedding a tear.

And since The Disappeared is only $4.99 as an ebook, it's a bargain. I have to watch my money a lot right now, but I can see buying more in the series at some point; it's that good.


Book Country - The Newest Way to Screw Writers

I didn't believe it at first when I saw this over on Konrath's blog.

Penguin U.S. has set up something called Book Country. One side of it, the critique side, doesn't bother me. If that's your thing, go for it.

But what Konrath and other writers object to is this announcement to self publish and format your ebook for a fee.

Outrageous Fees

This part of Book Country's "self publishing" site states that "Let us do the work for you! When you choose the Professional option, Book Country formatters will transform your raw manuscript file (.doc, .docx, .rtf, or .txt files accepted) into polished print and ePub files. Choose from six different elegant interior styles designed specifically for genre fiction." Sounds great, right? You don't have to do a damn thing except provide the document, and they'll format it for you.

For $549.

Wait, what?!!!!

There are plenty of formatters out there (just go to Smashwords, and you can request a list of them, if memory serves; or try Kindleboards, if you can't/don't want to do it on your own) who charge WAY LESS than what these bozos (no offense to Bozo the Clown) are charging.

Let's see...is there another option? Why, yes, the lovely folks at Book Country have come up with something that is so ridiculous that it's almost laughable (almost): a user-formatted option.

Think I'm kidding?

I wish I was kidding.

To wit (and I use the word "wit" very loosely here): "Are you more the hands-on type? Your Publishing Kit includes a special Book Country interior template designed to work for both print and eBook, instructions for preparing your manuscript and front matter for production, a checklist to keep you on track, cover design tips and recommendations, and ideas for marketing your book after it has been published."

Why would I want to pay a whopping $299 for this? Formatting isn't as hard as some people think, and if you don't put in any weird formatting marks, you should be fine. There are plenty of low-cost classes/courses on cover design using whatever publishing program you're familiar with, and as for marketing ideas - come on, even Penguin and the other so-called Big Six don't always have a clue as to what works and what doesn't.

So, what am I getting out of this that I can't do by uploading on my own?

As for their (introductory price) US$99 ebook-only package is crap; again, I can do this all on my own, with a minimal amount of money. (And what's going to be the price after the introductory US$99 goes away? $139? $159?)

If You Just Can't or Won't Format and Upload on Your Own

Very simple. You go through the special section at Kindleboards and ask questions (how much, how long will it take, etc.) of those people who do the formatting. Or go onto Konrath's blog and use someone there. A lot of those who format will also upload, but, trust me, it's really not that hard to figure out. There are steps to take, sure, and you have to have your blurb(s) ready, but the upload for Amazon will take 24 hours; the one for Smashwords is usually anywhere from about fifteen minutes to a couple of hours (that's because Smashwords has to take your story and make it into different formats, like ePUB). With Smashwords it also depends on how big your book is; short stories almost fly through.

But They're Not Done Yet

You'd think that would be enough for Book Country to extract from writers' wallets. And you would be wrong.

If you've been uploading stuff for a while, you know that when you price a book at $2.99 and above you get 70% in royalties from Amazon. A nice, decent split.

But not so with Book Country. Penguin keeps 30% of your royalties. So you keep paying them, and keep paying them. It doesn't look like they do any editing or proofreading, they give you tips on designing covers (big whoop), and they charge you upfront.

And keep charging you. For. Every. Book. You. Sell.

From Book Country's site: For a $2.99 eBook sale of a Book Country title on Amazon, Amazon takes $0.90 and then the author is entitled to $1.47.

Excuse me? The author is "entitled" to $1.47 because Book Country did what? You've already paid them for formatting, if you've with the $599 "deal." Why are they getting a further cut?

I, for one, am tired of being treated like a peon. I get enough of that at my temp job, and it's great to actually have one part of my life under my control, where I'm treated with some respect.

I have one thing to say about this entire thing:


You have been warned.


Lousy Weather

The weather has really been crappy this year - tons of rain, Hurricane Irene - and it's cost people psychologically and monetarily.

Put me in the money category.

We're having a rare October snow (a heavyweight one), and the branches have been coming down. Now, that's bad enough. But when one especially thick branch came down on our fence and destroyed a section of the fence.

Oy vey. You can see the mess in the pictures below. What might have cost of hundreds of dollars will probably now cost us about a thousand bucks. Of course, we have that much just lying about. (Sarcasm, naturally.) There's no way I'm going to ask my mother, because she's given us so much over the years. I'd ask my sister-in-law (my hubby's sister), but we'd be beholden to her forever, that's if she deigned to give us anything.

Yeah, she's watching her pennies despite her husband making well over $100K a year. Yeah, right.

Anyhoo, I do have two permanent job prospects, and I'm crossing my fingers that one of them pans out, especially as I have to explain away a firing from a few years ago. (I'll be honest about it; I just have to say it right and say it as if I mean what I'm saying.)

A permanent job would blunt the dough we'll have to cough up for this. ::sigh::


Do You Really What to Diss People?

Especially people who have a ton of knowledge on any particular subject?

This post on Kris Rusch's site really resonated with me today, because I'm going through something similar, except it's in the corporate office realm:

The Business Rusch: R*E*S*P*E*C*T

Which is why I can't really get into any long-winded post. All I'll say is that I feel like I've been sucker punched; I've been working very, very hard in this temp job, at a rate that's well below what I'm used to. (And I know: I was expecting to make anywhere near what I was making, but it's nice to bitch and moan about it occasionally. ;-))

Thus Kris' post. Read it, and see if you don't go WHAT?! about what some people had the temerity to tell her, someone who's won awards, someone who's run a publishing company, someone who was an editor at a fantasy mag, someone who's written fantasy, science fiction (SF), and romance novels. And those novels have sold quite a bit.

She knows her stuff. Duh.

Yet one guy tried to tell her how the publishing biz works, and the other said she didn't know how to write in whatever genre he was talking about.

Double duh. I finished reading one of her SF shorts (forget which one it is at the moment), and I just recently purchased the first in her Retrieval Artist series. The Retrieval Artist one I bought for two reasons: because the opening brought a tear to my eye and because the premise sounded really interesting.

Here's the Retrieval Artist one, if you're so inclined.

The moral of the story: Don't diss those who have a boatload of knowledge in whatever arena; that's called respect.


A Fascinating Read

I know I've been sort of absent of late, and it's due more to my busy/hectic/hellish schedule at my day job. This also happens to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the foundation I work for has DVDs and other things that domestic violence agencies are clamoring for.

It all gets dumped on me.

Now, I think what they're doing is a good thing; but I've had to recreate a spreadsheet and color code it in order to get all this stuff out the door on time.

But I digress.

This post on Kristine Rusch's site is just a wonderful post that you MUST read. She makes comparisons among baseball, politics, and publishing that I'd never thought about. She also talks about how the G.I. Bill led to an explosion of readers after World War II. For those who don't know, after the guys came home from World War II, the U.S. government offered to pay their college tuitions through this bill.

Cool deal, hmm?

It all made sense to me, and that's speaking as a baby boomer.

Go and read it. Then re-read it.

And see if you agree that it's a fascinating read.


Why Agents as Publishers is Just Plain Wrong

Trident Media group has decided to become a publisher of its clients' ebooks. (You can read about it here and elsewhere.)

As DWS has made clear, this is a conflict of interest. Period. I can understand authors who have been trad pubbed for a long while being afraid or hesitant to upload their own stuff; they might be Luddites for all I know. (Hmm...Luddite...a gold star word, heh. :-))

But as many self pubbers (myself included) have shown, formatting and uploading ebooks really isn't that hard. Pay attention to the Smashwords formatting guide, and uploading shouldn't be all that stressful. (Although it still makes me shake my head when I see so many people on Kindleboards pulling out their hair with all of their uploading problems; boggles my mind.)

You can even do your own covers if you have a graphics background or have a minimal amount of money. That's what I originally did, and what I still intend to do with any short stories I put up.

Can't do the covers or are afraid to do it? No problem. There are plenty of artists out there willing to do very nice covers for a decent amount of money, and they'll even let you pay in increments. (Imagine that! All you have to do is ask, like I did. :-))

Won't do the formatting and upload thing? There are companies offering flat fee services out there where formatting is one of a few different things they do; you choose and pay once. And again, ASK if you can pay in increments (the installment plan), because a lot of these start ups will try to accommodate you.

No commissions forever and ever. Pay one price, and you're done. You're happy, the company you engaged is happy.

Agents as publishers? First of all, how many agents are tech savvy? What about blurbs, etc? Agents are going to need to go to similar people/organizations for editing, tech stuff, writing blurbs - all the same things that self pubbers are ALREADY doing.

And, the pissy part of this is that the agents are going to get their 15% cut - and more, I have no doubt. After they've nickeled and dimed their clients up the wazoo, how much of the royalties will be left for the author, the creator of the content, hmm? A ton less than if those authors did it themselves. Even if those authors contracted for different services, they wouldn't have to worry about giving away a percentage of their earnings to agent for the life of an ebook. (Ebooks are forever, right?)

I know, I know - I've kind of gone on a long time about this. But when I see a couple of people talking about this sort of thing as being not so bad, I can't help but be angry about it.

Why should authors give up so much of their royalties after they've put in all that work? It makes no sense to me. At all.

Agents have to survive, so I understand they want to try something, anything to stay relevent.

Except they're doing it on the backs of hard-working writers, a lot of whom won't know about BOHICA. After all, it's something they've had to do in order to survive this far in their writing careers.




Life Intrudes; Cover for 2nd Book

The past couple of weeks have been nothing short of exhausting. Besides having to deal with some personal crap (which I won't go into) and the explosion of work at my temp job, I've been going nuts.

The personal side has quieted down, and I expect the office side to quiet down soon.

The Second in the Series

Obviously, I missed the production date for Night Terrors (in case you  hadn't noticed ;-)) because of - all of the above. I'm trying to wrap up the last few edits now, and should have the book uploaded by the end of this week (which is still September on my calendar).

However...I haven't touched the description/blurb/whatever as yet, and will be taking a stab at it over the next day. Will it be any good? Probably not, but I'll give it my best.

Funny how the title came about. I was driving home from work when the announcer of whatever radio station I was listening to happened to talk about his (very) young son having...wait for it...night terrors. Poor little thing! (Except the night terrors in the story are anything but little...)

I'll leave you with this cover by the talented and lovely Harris Channing:


New Cover is Finalized!

The new cover for Changing Faces has been finalized:


The lovely Harris Channing provided the cover, after I gave her some ideas.

Did I say I love this cover? :-) I love all the covers Ms. Channing provided, and heartily recommend her. Her rates are reasonable, and she's currently looking for clients; of course, that's always subject to change. (She already has a few covers up; check them out.)


Where Were You 10 Years Ago Today?

I suppose most bloggers are going to reflect today, 9/11, 10 years later.

The First Plane

I was home on 9/11/2001, recuperating from surgery. I was scheduled to see the doctor the next day, for the okay to go back to work. After being on short-term disability for a few weeks, I was antsy to get back to the office.

I was flipping through the TV channels until I happened upon a news broadcast - showing the first tower already on fire. It was freaky and unusual enough for me to call my husband and tell him about it. He was away from his desk; he called me a few minutes later.

The Second Plane

I had nothing else to do, so I kept flipping around, but kept coming back to the local news channels. I don't know which one I was watching, but as the smoke grew bigger around the first tower, I couldn't change the channel.

And then it happened.

The second plane came in from the right side of the screen. I freaked. "What? No, no, can't you see the building?" Those were my first thoughts, not knowing what really was going on...

It wasn't until I spoke to my husband just after the second plane hit, that I realized - and not until after my husband actually said, "We're under attack" - he was right.

Life would never be the same.

The Third Plane

The third plane originally took off from Newark, New Jersey, it flew over where my husband was then at work...and all those aboard perished, deciding to take down the evil turds who wanted to visit more death and destruction in Washington, DC. The plane went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in a field.

Brave, brave souls.

The New Normal

My brain just refused to accept the fact that terrorists would attack the U.S.; how could that happen?

But it did. And we no longer feel safe. Up until that point, I was under the delusion that the U.S. was secure, that we were immune to this sort of hatred, this sort of violence.

My feeling of security - and that of many others - was shattered that day.


Ebook Covers

I'm certainly not going to pretend I'm a graphic artist; I don't even play one on TV. :-) But I was having a hell of a time coming up with an idea for the 3rd book of the series, and one day, out of sheer boredom (or maybe it was curiosity), I decided to check out some of the cover designers who were having sales on ready-made covers.

I looked through a couple of them, and then one really struck me as, well, just right for the 3rd book, Demon Daughter.

Then I decided, hey, why not? I'll ask the cover person if she can do the other two covers in the series; I'll still do the covers on any short stories or short story collections, because I can't see spending the dough on stuff that's that short.

I figured with my luck, she wouldn't be available at all or until sometime next year.


She's just starting up doing the ebook cover thing, and we agreed to a price. (Nice rates, BTW. Very doable, even for an impoverished person like me, lol. :-)) Made it into an installment plan, so I wouldn't have to pay it all upfront.

I want to get the okay about naming her in a post (because I think she does very good work and deserves to have more people ask for her services), but for the time being, let me show you the new prototype cover for the first in the series, Changing Faces:

As I said, this is just a prototype, although it's mostly done. I've just asked her to consider other fonts and make one small change to the graphic.

I love it! The little image you see in the eyeball is a hand holding a dagger (which she cropped out from something I bought the license for); she added a drop of blood to the dagger, which I thought was a nice touch.

I hoping to get this uploaded by the middle to the end of this month, and, hopefully, get the 2nd book's cover uploaded (once I FINALLY get done with the editing on that one; I've fallen behind. ::sigh::).

Did I say I loved this cover? Yeah.



Hurricane Irene has gone through.

Hubby, Sammy the Alaskan Malamute, and I are still here.

The damage - if you want to call it that - is a flooded basement and a few small branches down in the backyard. Sam has been out a few times already, as the rain has stopped. The wind is still a tad gusty, and we have a big silver maple out back, so I want to keep Sam in for the most part.

My mother lives well east of here and was without power this morning. We were fortunate, in that we never lost electricity.

While there was still some rain coming down, hubby and I went to the local river and took a pic of it. Talk about churning! Yeow!


It's LIVE!

To further thank those who follow this blog, I'm offering Ten Cent Wings for free for a couple of days.

Go to my book on Smashwords, and then enter this coupon code: FJ68V and the price of the book will be free.

Did I mention this will be free to those people who follow my blog?

And that it expires August 27?

You get two short stories: Ten Cent Wings and Vengeful Faerie.

Thank you all for following me. I really, really appreciate it.

Watch out for the hurricane, those of you on the U.S. East Coast! Stay safe!


THANK YOU!! (And a little something else...)

I know I haven't been posting much, but there's a reason for it...which you'll see soon enough.

But first I wanted to say a great big THANK YOU for the congrats on my first sale (whoever bought the book, I thank you, too! :-)). It's actually more of a relief to get that out of the way than anything else - and as I think I've said somewhere, I'm not the type to endlessly look at my sales reports (and I didn't have much time earlier this week).

So thanks to Angie, Kay, and Deb, and Lindsey...and for those who are too shy to post. ;-)

The second thing I wanted to do - and this is one of the reasons why I haven't been posting much lately - is to let you see the simple cover I came up with for my short story two-fer:

The short blurb might change (emphasis on might), but other than that, I'm pretty happy with it. I searched a long time for the right image, and finally found the one in the cover above. It's public domain, but there's a name attached to it, and I'll definitely include the name of the person who took the picture of it.

It isn't live as yet; I still have to work through the formatting for the Kindle and Smashwords.

This time around, I really kept to my adage to simplify, simplify, simplify. I took out the background on the original pic, found a background texture - which turned out to be some cracks in red cement or something (all this using the excellent How to Cheat in Photoshop Elements 7), and managed the above.

I also may have another announcement somewhat soon concerning my novellas, I'll save that for another post.

Short blurb for Ten Cent Wings: You'll be sorry when you ask for help from this angel.
About 3,000 words.

Short blurb for Vengeful Faerie: Some faeries are born bad. Some just end up that way.
About 3,700 words.

I'll do longer blurbs, yadda, yadda, yadda, in the next day or two. I want to get this uploaded in case that damn hurricane decides to hit. (After the aftershocks I felt here at work just yesterday, there just has to be another unusual event this week, right?) If I manage to get all that done by Saturday the latest, I'll probably put it on sale for three days.

And it'll be a blog exclusive, for all my min--er, I mean followers...friends? Yeah, friends. :-)

I'll do a separate post to let you all know.

And again, THANKS for all of your support. May you all prosper for a long, long time!


First Copy Sold!

I'm not the type to continually check how much I've sold. Pessimist? When it comes to this self publishing stuff?

Damn right.

I hadn't checked my Smashwords dashboard in quite a while, but I was reading through this post on J. A. Marlowe's blog (the first of two excellent posts on the subject of Smashwords) when I figured, why not?

Hadn't checked it since the middle of last month.

And, lo and behold...I sold 1 copy!!!!!!!!!

After the depressing news here at work, this was a welcome ray of sunshine.

Not that I'm ready to quit my day job, lol, but it's just nice to see something positive.

Back to work...

Color Me Frustrated

Please pardon my rant, but I really need to get this off my chest.

I was sort of depressed yesterday, especially as I thought I heard something.

That something came true today.

You see, I've been working steadily in corporate jobs for 30 years. I have a shitload of experience with all sorts of things (from an administrative assistant perspective).

And what do I mostly do during the day?

I'm the shipping department for this place. Shipping stuff out by overnight mail.

Sure, I do a few other things, when people decide they feel sorry for me and throw a few bones my way. But I tend to finish these jobs quickly...which leads me back to being the shipping department.

Don't get me wrong; I'm glad I has a job, even though it's a temp one.

So what brought this on?

I found out for sure today that the woman who sits in the cube next to me (a very nice woman, BTW) will become an employee on Monday.

What makes this even more frustrating is that she's accessing the same sort of information from the same secure website that I've been doing for several months before she came. Why didn't they offer the position to me, when I was already familiar with that particular system? I could have done it in addition to what I'm doing now.

The "other" stuff I'm doing isn't hard at all; I can finish these damned summaries in about 20 minutes. But obviously none of the higher ups ever thought of giving me a chance at it.

No. Stick the old idiot with shipping duties, that's all she's good for.

What a waste.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled life.


Great Blog Post - 10 Reasons a Manuscript Doesn't Sell

MuseInks: Animal Tendencies: 10 Reasons a Manuscript Doesn't Sell

Quite an amusing blog post by Ami Hendrickson.

Ms. Hendrickson had a great idea to illustrate certain problems writers have with illustrations...of animals. :-) It works. No, really, it works.

And I love purple! (As a color, not as a writing device.)


Sample Sunday - Most of Chapter 1 From Changing Faces

Changing Faces is a novella/short fantasy novel (about 72 pages), available for US$2.99.

Mornings are not my slice of pizza and are to be avoided whenever necessary. When I have a job assignment or something else that makes it worthy to kick off the blanket, I'm used to falling out of bed, washing up, and doing the make up and clothing routines. And usually I do it standing, at my own speed.
Not today.
Jane Ipcress, the landlady's demon daughter, had a hold on my ankle. Demons are real, occasionally stealing into our world, and I had no doubt Jane was from some distant bowels in Hell. I lay sprawled on the floor of my apartment, reaching over my head to hold onto something, anything anchored to the floor. "What the hell?" I said.
Jane's beady blue eyes were bright, which contrasted nicely with her red face and burnt-orange hair. "Shut up, Tessa," she said. "You know why." As if that explained everything. "The rent ring a bell?"
I blinked a few times, trying to get the blue-gray veil of sleep out of my face, my eyes. Recognition or a reasonable facsimile reared its head. March thirty-first. Damn. "I told you. I haven't been able to find anything."
With a toss of her head, the strands of Jane's orange hair revealed her scowling face. She tightened her grip on my ankle, even as I grabbed one metal leg of my cot. The wheels of all four legs were locked, but that didn't keep the bed from straining toward Jane. "Plenty of jobs out there." She leaned forward, her grip loosening enough to allow some circulation in my calf. "Just find one."
I heaved away from Jane, my ankle coming free. I scrambled to my feet in record time. "Like it's that easy? Let me ask you something." I glared at her, knowing what answer was coming, but I asked anyway. "Why do you hate me?"
"I don't hate you," she said, panting, struggling to stand.
Yeah, sure. I'd heard that one a lot. A phrase heaved at me ever since I found out I was an aura cleanser.
"I just hate that you're stringing Mom along." She crossed her considerable arms in front of her equally ample chest. "Pay up for back rent, and I'm outta here."
I answered in my best "Joisey" accent. "So all I gotta do is pay youse, and youse gone?"
Scowling, she gave a quick nod.
I settled myself on the cot, which squeaked at the sudden weight. "Seriously," I said, offering my palm to her, "it's not that easy. I had a long-term temp position, but I, um--"
"Pissed off people?" She said it with such certainty. Of course, she was right.
Because of my magical ability, I could sense people's feelings. Not strictly an empath, as my teacher explained. But the cleansing of dark, or bad, auras went hand-in-hand with people's emotions. My eyes sought the floor instead of Jane's ugly puss. "Yeah."
"Thought so." She came and sat next to me, the cot groaning. "If it were up to me, I'd have thrown you out after the first missed month." She stood again. "But the state doesn't allow that. It's only after three--or is it four?--months that we can evict you."
"But, but--"
"Mom knows I'm doing this, and she's fine with it."
"But, but--"
"I thought I'd, ah, move the process along by getting you out of bed, by getting you out the door before she's up."
"But, but--" I held up my hand, wanting to contribute something more intellectual. "I know you're lying." Although to see an aura I needed to go into a trance, I drew on my emotional sensing to stop her in her tracks.
Jane's face resumed its normal pasty look, but the red seeped back in. "This is why you have no friends, this is why you can't hold on to a job, you damned freak!" She turned, stalked to my apartment door, and slammed it behind her.
The hostility was a typical reaction here in Zauber, New Jersey, a small town by New Jersey standards. I hadn't made many friends here. Just three, to be exact, and two of those people were gone, one permanently.
I sat there, staring at the door. Jane was a rotund, lying sack of shit, but she was right. This was my life ever since I'd learned of my ability. Literally bumping into Maureen, my teacher (which seemed like a coincidence), she let me know I wasn't going crazy. She let me know I was the youngest aura cleanser she'd ever met. And she let me know she could teach me how to use my ability to see auras to help people, while she could teach me to keep my sensing in check.
She was only half right.
I put my head in my hands. I thought Maureen could teach me to be normal. The stereotype of the nice home with a white picket fence surrounding it. I equated that with normality, as corny and stupid as that sounds. All I wanted was to be normal, and that hadn't been my life since forever.
Ruminating like this wasn't getting me any closer to finding a job, so I took the three steps to my laptop, which sat on the chrome stand that also held my cell, a small printer, and a faux leather laptop case. I plopped into the secondhand chrome chair and turned on the computer, tapping my foot as it went through its slow opening routine.
Do I love chrome? If I could make everything but food and domesticated animals into chrome, I'd be in bliss.
The laptop connected to the nearest unsecured Wi-Fi hub, and I dove in, typing the url for my wonderful site, Palmisano's Paranormal Investigations. Lame. The colors were lame, the words on it were lame--therefore, I am lame trying to market myself online. I didn't want to do it, but my landlady, Mrs. Ipcress, mother of that demon, insisted I do something, especially since she was going to be paying.
Her insistence won out, even though my creation looked like crap.
A scritch came at the door, Mrs. Ipcress' telltale knock. Maybe she'd been a gerbil in a former life. I chuckled at my comedic genius before I got up and opened the door. "Yeah?" I yawned, despite being fully awake from the floor dragging at heaven-knows-what-hour of the morning.
Mrs. Ipcress stood in her green-and-red-flowered shift, her bright-orange hair adrift as if a hurricane ravaged it. She smelled of cigarettes and rancid rainwater and sweet perfume, an olfactory overload that always made me gag.
"Tessa Palmisano," she said, and I knew I was in for something long winded; she never said my full name unless she had a lot to say. Oy vey.
"Can you make this fast, Mrs. Ipcress?" I jabbed a thumb behind me, hoping it was pointing at the laptop. "I need to think up some promo stuff, since I can't find a regular job." Or keep one. I groaned.
"Oh, Tessa." Mrs. Ipcress shimmied past me, the shift hanging like a limp rag on her needle thin body. "I'm not going to take that long."
She looked as if she'd thrown up everything she'd ever eaten and fed it to Jane. I cringed. My best friend Allison was as big as Jane but she had style. Weird, Goth style, but she looked like a dark, bohemian piece of art. As opposed to me; I blended into walls very nicely.
What Allison ever saw in me, I haven't a clue.
I came back to Mrs. Ipcress a moment later. She stood before me, thankfully a few inches off. "I've been talking to Lorraine, and we decided it was best to contact you."
"This early?" The light outside suggested somewhere between seven and ten in the morning. "What have you two been talking about?" Mrs. Ipcress gossiped with Lorraine Davenport daily for hours on end. How they managed to find enough things to talk about was a mystery for the ages.
"The nice young man in the house on the corner? The one who's renting an apartment on the first floor?"
What was this, ten thousand questions? She'd already pushed her way into my apartment, not that I minded all that much; that was how she found out about my ability, and she hadn't thrown me out. Yet. "Guy in the corner house, uh huh." I shivered, wrapping my arms around me. The winter from hell was supposed to be over; that's what the groundhog had said back in February.
"Yes, he's so nice." Mrs. Ipcress eased herself into the rocking chair, setting it in motion. "He was in one of the Gulf Wars, or was it Afghanistan? Heavens, I can't remember which, that's what happens when you get old, my dear."
I rolled my eyes, teeth chattering, and made my way to the rocking chair, which stood to the left of the bed. I groped for the thin robe draped over the back, Mrs. Ipcress obliging me by leaning forward. After I shrugged into it, I sat again, motioning for her to get on with it.
"Well, he's noticed a lot of men entering but never coming out."
I shrugged. "He's gay. So?"
"No, no, you don't understand," Mrs. Ipcress said. "You're not even awake yet, dear. How about I make you some tea?" She pushed to her feet.
I winced as I caught another sickening whiff. I held up a hand, waving off my landlady, cursing my bad luck when the old woman didn't go back to the rocking chair. I breathed through my mouth for a minute before speaking again. "I heard what you said. A guy notices men going into the house, but not leaving. So someone's having a sleepover. Big whoop. Did that when I was a little girl." An image of my smiling mother popped into my mind. I gasped, a tear slipping down my face. Not because my mother was dead, although she might as well be.
In this image, she still had her mind.
"Are you all right, dear?" Mrs. Ipcress asked, standing to my right.
I couldn't speak right away, as my throat was as parched as a desert. Tears dribbled from my eyes, as wave upon wave of those strange odors wafted up my nose. Was it the stench that had me in that state or the memory of my mother? I wasn't sure. Maybe it was both.
"Are you sure you don't want some tea? Won't take more than a couple of minutes."
Like any slob, I used the sleeve of my robe to wipe my face. "No, thanks, Mrs. Ipcress." I smiled. "Just remembering Mom."
"Oh yes, your poor mother." She put an arm around my shoulders. "The poor dear. Does she recognize your father yet?"
"No, she doesn't." I'd gotten to know Mrs. Ipcress pretty well in two years' time, and what she hadn't asked was more pointed. Why hadn't I gone to see my mother? It wasn't worth anyone's prodding to go see Mom, because she'd stare at me with unseeing eyes. Stuck in a nursing home at fifty-four with early onset Alzheimer's, I dreaded those visits. Just talking about it increased my heartbeat and made me squirm. Discussing current events and people with Mom produced nothing but stares and unnerving silence.
My wonderful teacher was dead. My mother might as well be that too. I sighed, tears pricking at the corners of my eyes.
"My dear?"
I stirred and sucked it up, deciding the best thing was to steer the conversation away from Mom. "What were we talking about?"
Mrs. Ipcress patted my shoulder, withdrawing her arm.
"About those men entering and not coming out," I said, "you ever think maybe they left at night, when the Nice Young Man was asleep?"
"Huh? Oh, he thought of that."
I raised an eyebrow.
"He has cameras set up outside his apartment, those itty-bitty ones? Security cameras, I guess. He said there's only two ways to exit, through the front door and through the side door. The ones he's seen have come through the front door, naturally."
"Naturally." The case sounded as dull as my love life. "No back door?"
"No. The only other door is the side one, on River Road."
I yawned again, turning to my computer, holding my breath every thirty seconds or so. I tried to picture the apartment house she meant, but although there were only five apartment houses in town, I still wasn't sure.
"The one right down Bristol," she said. She mercifully glided to the window seat, which fronted three windows. The seat was nothing more than a dull chunk of wood, but it was great for storing electronics and other crap. Not a bad deal for an apartment the size of a paperback book.
Mrs. Ipcress faced me, leaning forward, pointing to her left. "You know, Tessa. It's the one that backs up to that bright pink one." She shuddered. "Who paints a house that color?"
I nodded, ignoring Mrs. Ipcress' last remark. "That's right. There's a breezeway between that house and the pink one on Bristol." I felt a grin spread across my face. I couldn't help it. The pink house was something only a little girl with a fantastic imagination would love. "The house on the corner, that originally was a hotel." Why would I blurt that out? Because I have diarrhea of the mouth; it's one of my better traits. "Why come to me?"
"Bertrand Gaston--he's the soldier--says he gets strange vibes from the landlord and from the house. Yes, that's how he put it."
"Strange vibes." I shrugged. "It doesn't necessarily mean anything."
"I know that." Mrs. Ipcress wrung her hands, then bit her top lip. "It was the way he said it. He said the vibes came at him like waves, like waves down the Shore. You've been to the Jersey--"
"Of course." A veritable rite of passage in New Jersey. Duh. Zauber stood close to the Pennsylvania border; people in town had more in common with the Keystone State than the Garden State. "Waves? How did it make him feel?"
"He didn't go into details." She stood and came to me, staking a claim to one of the few empty spots in the apartment. "Couldn't you just take the case?"
"What case? This is a case? Why did you tell him it was a case? Did he tell you he wanted this looked into?" Whoa. I really needed to chill.
Mrs. Ipcress's cheeks flushed. "Not in so many words. But you do this stuff--" She flailed her arms. "And he needs your help. And he's single."
I blew out my cheeks, then sputtered. Since I'd moved in, Mrs. Ipcress and the other biddies in town pushed me into dates. Or at least tried to. What was wrong with a woman being single? Besides, I hadn't hit thirty yet. Plenty of time to find someone.
Not according to them, though.
I collected myself before I said anything further, my voice sounding firm to my ears. "If I do this, if I go and talk to this Mr. Gaston--"
"Whatever. What do I get out of it?" I suppose it sounds tacky to expect payment from a veteran, a veteran I sensed didn't have a lot of dough handy. But since I didn't have a lot of dough handy, I wanted to hear what Mrs. Ipcress came up with. Or what Jane and she came up with last night, after they serenaded me with crashes, booms, and shrill voices.
"I've come up with a compromise, something that even my yammering daughter can't disagree with."
I doubted that.
"Two weeks."
I raised an eyebrow, tilted my head.
"Two weeks for you to solve this, or you're out on your keister. I wanted to give you another month, but Jane wouldn't hear of it."
You think?
"She'll give you some bullshit story about her decision being final, but I was the one who put up most of the money for this place." She held up a hand before I could ask another question. "If you solve it to my and Jane's satisfaction--"
I snorted. Zero chance of that happening with Jane.
"--your past due rent disappears." It looked as if Mrs. Ipcress was about to say something else, but she clamped her mouth shut.
Maybe she was waiting for me to do cartwheels, maybe she was waiting for a question. Instead, I stuck out my right hand, which she grabbed with both of hers, both cold to the touch; shivers went up and down my spine. "I accept," was all I said as I pumped her skinny little hand. I broke it off when she winced.


Literary Lawyers - For Those Wanting to Go the Trad/Commerical Publishing Route

Laura Resnick has been writing for quite some time, and drops in on Dean Wesley Smith's site from time to time.

Instead of going the agent route, Dean has suggested hooking up with an IP attorney, one who specializes in publishing contracts. (Especially since most agents don't have a law degree, yet IMHO they're acting as de facto contract lawyers). Considering the state of flux the publishing world is currently in, you need as many people on your side as possible, without having to give up that 15% of what your books earn as your agent's take.

But where to find vetted literary attorneys? I'm sure there are plenty on both coasts (New York and Los Angeles), duh, but which ones are worth using?

Enter Ms. Resnick.

If you want to deal with traditional/commercial publishers, she has compiled this small list of lawyers for whom she can vouch.

Thanks, Laura!


Free Tools to Work With

Just thought I'd do a really quick post, so I can get back to my temp job and do some editing on my 2nd novella/short novel (I do have to take breaks from the temp job. :-))

I don't know where I found the link for this, but this post gives indies/self pubbers 26 free tools to work with...or not work with, as you see fit.

I decided to give the 1st Chapter thing a try. Will it bring me some readers? Who the hell knows? But it's free, and the site is supposed to get a lot of hits, so we'll see. (Hey, that rhymed! A gold star for me! :-))

Now, back to summarizing and editing and slinging tchachkis together for an event later in the week...


My Production Schedule

Wow, that sounds so weird - a production schedule. But since writing is a business - and I'm now a sole proprietor, lol - I already have ideas to finish out this novella/short novel series (99% sure it will be a trilogy, but who knows?).

Night Terrors

The 2nd in the series, Night Terrors, will be out in September. I'm shooting for beginning to middle of that month, God willing and the creek don't rise ;-). (Or "crick" as the people out where I live like to pronounce it.) I originally wanted to get the first one out on my birthday (June 21), then my mother's birthday (June 24), but neither of those happened. I was spending too much time on the cover, and as much as I love doing that stuff, I couldn't commit to putting it online. My original idea, I realized, was waaaay too complicated. It took me until the beginning of July to simplify that idea.

Lesson learned. And although it's not the greatest cover going, I'm happy with it. The whole self pub/indie thing is great because I can change the cover at any time (just like I can bring out a 2nd edition of a story), and it'll be live within a day or two.

Demon's Mother

The tentative title for the 3rd in the series, Demon's Mother, was originally called Demon Daughter; right now it's up in the air. The reason for the change was due to a plot change that came out of Me Olde Braine, probably hiding behind some stringy cobwebs. Or something. ;-)

Anyway, I have it scheduled for end of November/early December. I'll admit that I only have the sketchiest of sketches on this one, but I should have it worked out better once Night Terrors is up.

And I also have 10 Cent Wings, the short story, which I still want to shop around to magazines. It was rejected the other day, with a "Just wasn't for us" email, and that's okay. In the past, I would have been depressed to keep sending it around, but I don't have to be that way anymore, because I can always put it online. I'll probably pair it with another short, in the same universe...as I already have an idea for a story that will go well with the first. It's in the germination stage, though, so we'll see what we shall see.

Beautiful day here in the northeastern U.S. - go out and enjoy it!

And keep writing, no matter what! :-)


Authors Commenting on Reviews on Their Own Books

Lindsay Buroker has a post on her blog about this very thing.

As I don't have any reviews as yet (oy!), I can only say what I think I would do, knowing how emotional I can get at times.

I wouldn't comment on a review at all. Let me hedge a little: I might comment on the very first review I receive if it's positive. Otherwise, I'm not going to bother, and I'll just forge ahead with my writing no matter what.

Does everyone remember that poor soul who decided to have a popular review blog (set up by a reader who is strictly a reader) review her book...and then exploded at the way the review turned out? I read the post and all the comments, and to tell you the truth, the reviewer was exceptionally gentle in his review. I then read a sample of the book...my.  The poor dear. I think that with a little more writing knowledge under her belt, she'd be a good writer.

But I digress. This is what I'm afraid I might do; having a bad day due to something or other, and I take it out on the reviewer. And then I'd get depressed about my writing, and I'd have to go thru all that angsty crap again. (You know: "Am I any good?" "My writing sucks." "I'm never going to write again.")

So...what would you do? Is this something you'd do, or is it something you've done? What did you say?

Like Lindsay, I'm curious as to what others would do/are doing.


Because Writing and Reading Genre is Bad For You

If you haven't read it as yet, Eric Felton wrote a really silly article in The Wall Street Journal:


If you haven't read it as yet, go ahead, I can wait. ;-)  ::taps toes::

Okay, the wait is over.

I don't know about you, but this pissed me off. Whether you like literary/genre/whatever, why is there this snobbery from those who enjoy literary novels? Do they get their jollies that way? Does it make them feel better, more superior (my guess is: all of the above).

People are going to like what they like, depending on how they were brought up and a slew of other things. You like literary novels. So? I like fantasy. So? He likes gay erotica. So? Who cares?


Do readers really need to go to the Big 6 (or whatever they are now) for their jaundiced selections as to what is printable? I mean, they buy what they like and know will (probably) sell. That's why so much urban fantasy, IMHO, looks so similar. Similar book covers, similiar stories. I know, I know; it's part of that particular subgenre. But do all of the covers have to show a dark-haired chick in tight leather? (Not that there's anything wrong with that. ;-)) It would be nice for something in that subgenre to be a little different - how about a blonde-haired chick in jeans or something, lol?


And do writers really need the gatekeepers to tell them what to write? There are small niches out there that I'm sure haven't even been touched by self pubbers. NY would tell you that it's not worth their money for them to cater to such small niches; fair enough. They'd probably lose a bundle. So what's wrong with self pubbers exploiting such a niche? Why be so condescending?

I think it's fantastic that self pubbers are writing in such niches - and finding readers.

Hey, Eric, dude: How about writing that elf detective novel? Sounds like a self pub winner to me - despite what you might think.

Lighten up, and have a Weyerbacher Quad on me! :-) (Google it, and you'll see what a potent brew it really is!)


Short Story

During lunch yesterday, I sat down and banged out a short story.

I've gotten some ideas from song titles and certain lines within songs; go get the lyrics to Eleanor Rigby (do I have to tell you it's a Beatles song? :-)), and look for something about a face...and that's where I got the idea for the first in the Haven New Jersey series.

For a little over a week, I kept thinking of Jonatha Brooke's 10 Cent Wings. It's a lovely little song that hubby put up on one of his You Tube channels around that time. So I was humming it, thinking I might be able to make it into a short story of some sort.

Of course there had to be a fantasy element, which was easy for me to decide: An angel. But where would I set it, who would the story revolve around?

A boxer.

Stay with me...

I saw a boxing film earlier this year, one that I originally read about as a teenager in the RKO movie book. (I spent hours and hours devouring this and other movie studio books; still do, on occasion), and this was one of many, many movies I wanted to see.

It's called The Set-Up, and it stars Robert Ryan. He really was a boxer in college (Dartmouth, I think), and that comes through in this film. He's a down-and-out, over-the-hill boxer who thinks this bout, this fight, is the one he'll win; what he doesn't know is that his manager has sold him out, thinking that Ryan (playing "Stoker" Thompson) will lose anyway. What I really liked about this movie was its grittiness, in the best noir style.

So, using that as an idea, I set the story in 1950, in a "tank town" (a small town) that was big enough to have its own redlight district and sports district (boxing ring, basically). Then I set to writing and writing and writing.

And finished it. Yes, the angel is involved. For once, there really isn't any humor in it, so that was a departure for me.

The ending? It's not nice, to put it simply. To take on a happy ending would have been a terrible injustice to the story.

I'm actually (seriously) thinking of sending this one to a magazine. I'll let it go for a month or so, see if there's any interest. If there isn't any...meh, I'll just upload to Amazon and Smashwords.

Anyone typing out any shorts right now? Going to send it the magazine route, or is are you going to self pub it?


I always wanted to say that, lol. :-)

My ebook is now live on both Amazon and Smashwords. It was easy to upload to Amazon; since I use Open Office on my laptop, I just saved the document as an HTML doc, and had no problems.

It's so exciting to see something up on Amazon and on Smashwords.

Smashwords Can Be a PITA

If the upload on Amazon was easy beyond belief, Smashwords wasn't quite that way. It wasn't torture (altho being 1,350 in the queue can try your patience, of which I don't have much). Fortunately, I kept it in perspective and didn't pull my hair out. (I still have to upload a pic of moi onto Author Central on Amazon; how would I look bald, I asks ya? ;-))

Everything was going fine on SW, until I checked it the next day, only to find out the document didn't pass EPUB muster. That's the format not only for Nook but a bunch of smart phones/whatever. (I don't have an infinite supply of moolah coming in for a smart phone or tablet - or both.)

Anyway, SW suggested a site to get the poop on what was wrong with the document, and of course it returned a bunch of techno gobbledygook that made no sense. So I did the Nuclear Method, copying everything in the document to Notepad, which stripped out all the formatting. I also took note that SW now doesn't require you to have the cover image in the document, so I took that out. (Like Amazon, they have a separate upload just for the cover.)

This is when I noticed I made a slight boo-boo in the story; nothing major, but it irked me, so I redid the Kindle doc, uploaded the revised doc, and it's (re)publishing today.

I had the stripped doc and the original SW doc both open, so I could redo all the formatting (italicized words, chapter headings, and paragraphs), and tweaked the bio.

I reuploaded the doc yesterday, checked this morning: It worked! But SW is out of free ISBNs, so I won't be able to get into the Premium Catalog until tomorrow (when a new supply is due in).

You'll see that I already have the Kindle title up in the right-hand column; I'll be putting up the SW link sometime later today.

Onward and forward! :-) Good luck to everyone, and may you all sell a ton of your books!


It's Not Alive - Yet

Okay, so I did the Kindle and Smashwords thing today.

Here's the cover:

Once it goes live, I'll put up the all the pertinent stuff, so all you nice people can buy oodles and oodles of copies. :-) (You are, aren't you?)

Just kidding. Sort of. Heh.

As I write this, the Kindle version is in review, while I'm #512 in the Smashwords queue. So much for my idea that people in the U.S. wouldn't be bothering with this during 4th of July weekend.

Oh well.

Waiting and waiting...


Coming Soon!

The writing and editing is all done. And the cover would probably have been done today if I had remembered to bring my laptop with me.

I can be such a doofus, lol.

So it will have to wait until tonight, after dinner, for me to upload my debut, Changing Faces, which will be available on Amazon and Smashwords (which will also take care of EPUB, Sony, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera). There's some last minute formatting to be done, which is actually just setting up for Kindle. I'm hoping everything goes smoothly with the upload (crossing fingers, because you never know how things in the electronic world are going to go).

I'll have an excerpt up a little later today. Just have to figure out what excerpt - and it won't be a long one, I promise. :-)

But I'm jacked to finally be at this point! (Wanted to make sure I used the correct punctuation, because I don't want any Elaine Benes' out there telling me I should've used an exclamation point rather than a period ;-))  BTW, this will be a series of short novels/novellas, about 25,000-30,000 words each, give or take. I could've stretched it out to novel length, but I don't want to add on for the sake of adding on; why give people extra stuff the story doesn't need?

I've also got my FB author page, altho I haven't done anything with it as yet (hmm...maybe that's something I can do next, putting up an excerpt or two, and then the cover).


Some Fun, Some News From the Homefront

First, the Fun

I've been surfing the web in between working on the 2nd book in the series (in between working on the cover of the first book). I Googled a certain phrase and found a couple of fun blogs on crappy SF and fantasy covers.

A couple of the covers weren't that bad.

But most were horrific. One had 5 different fonts on the cover. One had a squid in among a bunch of other crap. (I kid you not.) A few had naked warrior-type (I think) men with strategically placed...stickers, sparkly things, and who-knows-what-else. (I kid you not.) There was even one mostly-naked woman whose groin area was (wait for it)...dark. I mean, darkness as in black-hole-in-space darkness.


Here's the first one: The Joys of Awful Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Covers. Appears to be U.S.-based (but what do I know, lol?) The June 20th entry starts off with a truly bad Ray Bradbury cover. Didn't he deserve something better? (I think so.)

The second one is U.K. based: Good Show Sir - Only the worst Sci-Fi/Fantasy book covers. This one has one book per blog post. Read the comments; they're as hilarious as the deadpan captions under the crappy covers.

You're welcome. :-)

From the Homefront

So, yes, I'm working and working on the cover for Changing Faces, the first in the Haven New Jersey series. They're short novels/novellas, all contemporary fantasy. Plenty of humor; the MC, Tessa, doesn't take herself seriously at all. (First person, BTW.) I'll probably post a couple of excerpts at some point.


Life Imitates Art? (I'd Like to Think So)

Okay, so I've been writing the next in this trilogy of short novels/novellas, showing (hopefully) that the main MC, Tessa, has grown some cujones. She actually gets pissed at the woman who's been helping her out; not the nicest thing to do, but Tessa felt she'd been babied for way too long.

Segue into last night. Hubby and I had an argument, a heated one. (Everything is fine; just one of those things.) He was yelling at me about something, and what I usually do is not say anything and avert my eyes - you know, try to make myself even smaller than I am (and I'm pretty tiny).

However...I had just written the part where Tessa grows a pair, and that scene stuck in my mind. So I yelled back. For more than a minute. Cursing. I hated doing it - I hate arguing about anything - but I felt it was necessary to stand my ground, considering what he said (which I won't go into here).

You know what? Hubby gave me a thumb's up for standing my ground, after all was said and done. No broken dishes or broken windows or anything else. Just an "Okay, I see where you're coming from," kind of a statement.

So maybe what I'm writing isn't literature with a capital "L". Doesn't matter. If someone gets an idea or enjoyment out of reading my stuff, it's all worth it.



Yup, it's me birthday. :-)

Before I get to all the gushy stuff...

LOVE The Beatles.

The music from the video below actually takes me back to when I was a young girl.  I'm a Joisey Girl through and through but I haven't sounded Joisey in quite some time (living in another part of the country for a year does that to you ;-)).

I grew up in northeastern New Jersey, and all my cousins and aunts and uncles pretty much lived in that area.  But what the music below really zeros in on are (of course) summers and pool parties.  My dad's niece and her husband had a nice house with its allotted 1/10 of a square inch backyard (that's a Jersey joke; if you've ever lived here, I think you'll understand).  They had a round, above-ground pool that took up most of that space, with the rest for chairs and a small grilling area.  I had a ton of fun, and I look back on that time very wistfully.  (This is why I rarely stroll down memory lane; the memories are too painful.)

The wistfulness comes from all those tons of cousins I used to see on a fairly regular basis and from all the aunts and uncles who have passed away.  All the cousins have moved out of the area, they have their own families.  (Think of the Jewish Diaspora, where all the Jewish tribes were blown to the winds.)  And as I said, all of my aunts and uncles are gone.  Anyone who wants to be immortal can have it - I can't handle the thought of having to deal with the death of loved ones over and over again for an eternity.

Sorry for the downer; this is supposed to be a happy day (and it is :-)).  After all, I've made it to 49, more or less physically intact, my humor intact, my mental capacities...mostly intact ;-), and with my first book to go live by the end of the month (if all goes to plan).

So, for your viewing and listening pleasure, Theme From a Summer Place...


Google Reader

I have one person (or maybe more; what the heck do I know?) who has been reading posts off of Google Reader, and for some reason, the new posts weren't popping up.

I did some finagling with the feed, including pinging this blog, and I'm hoping this means new posts (like this one!) will finally start to appear on a regular basis on Google Reader.  And don't forget to hit that refresh button over at Google Reader - my posts do pop up that way.

Sorry I haven't posted much, but it's crunch time!

More in a day or two...


Be Careful Out There

If you are contracted with any of the traditional/legacy publishers, make sure you read your contract.  Among Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, and the lawyer dude who is Passive Guy, there are a lot of crappy clauses and what-not that publishers are hoisting onto writers, whether those writers have been in legacy publishing for a while or those writers who are about to sign their first contract.

More info here:


What was it that they used to say on Hill Street Blues?  Oh yeah.

Be careful out there.


Another Idea to Keep Indie Bookstores in Business

I'll be honest in saying that I haven't been to an independent bookstore in ages.  The closest one is about 20 minutes away; not far, but then the car is getting old (just had a crap-load of fixes done to it), and I really don't want to wear it out.  I drive far enough to and from Ye Olde Temp Job as it is.

But that store is in a very nice area, where there's a river and an old mill; very picturesque.  (If I told you the name of the town or of the mill - it's pretty well known - I'd have to kill you. ;-))

So what brought all this up?  This particular post about what one indie bookstore is doing to stay in business.  True, Cambridge, Massachusetts, isn't as small as the little town I live in (less than 1,000 people), but the idea of printing out ebooks is intriguing.  And, yes, they do print ebooks of local authors, which is always cool. :-)  They're using the Xerox Expresso Machine to print them out

It's Been 27 Years...

It's our wedding anniversary!

It was 27 years ago today that we were married.  The day before was rainy, but it cleared up the next day (a Saturday).  Whew.

About a month before that, I found out that the church screwed up; they scheduled another wedding for the same day.  Of course I freaked out!  (Young bride, all that.)  But cooler heads soon prevailed, and people at the church realized the mistake.  What we did turned out to be nice - we had our receiving line outside the church instead of inside.  The other wedding then entered the church, etc., etc.

Pretty flowers all around, a sunny day, and my honey bunny. :-)

BTW, I was only 3-1/2 years old when I got married. ;-)  J/K.  I was all of 21, my hubby, 22.  I was 3 weeks shy of my birthday.  (I'll do the math for you - I'll be 49 on June 21, the first day of Summer.)  Although most people don't think I look that old, lol.

I now return you to your regular (or irregular) life. :-)

Readers Are Morons

Have you seen this post at Rachelle Gardner's blog?  (She's an agent.)

The gist of it, as far as I'm concerned, is that readers are morons.  Why?  Because unless your book is vetted by the big NY publishers, you won't know what to read!  ::gasp!::  You won't know where to find the books you need to read!  ::double gasp!!::


Is this how agents feel about us, the lowly public?  Cast aside the whole writers thing; think like a reader.  Remember that first time you read through a book and understood the story?  Remember when your mother/father/relative encouraged you to read, read, read?

So in Ms. Gardner's insular (ooo, a gold star word!) world, readers are idiots who can't find their way around books without a leash of some sort.  And she thinks that indies/self pubbers aren't going to be serving readers?  In what way?  Self pubbers are eliminating the middlemen (agents) and serving up their stories directly to readers; readers will then decide whether a writer and his/her stories are worth their time, by buying or turning a blind eye to their stuff.

The writers who continually produce crap will fade from the scene.

The NY publishing world will keep recommending "safe" books to their bosses, while self pubbers and the small independents out there will keep putting out "unsafe" books: those that NY deems unworthy of publication.  Self pubbers and the small independents will do something that NY hasn't done in a while.

They'll give the readers what they want.

Power to the people! :-)


Gift Cards as Books

I love getting gifts; I order them for myself all the time. :-)  Anyway, if you're into the indie/self pub thing, and you want to get more people to read your book for relatively cheap, why not try this:


You might have to search around for the right print company (even check printers in your area; you never know), but if you can do some promo for little money, it might be worth it.

To summarize the above article, you can put a PDF copy of your cover (color) and a PDF copy of the back of the book (b&w) on the card, and have your first book for free on Smashwords (use those coupon codes Smashwords provides), leave the redeem period open, and (hopefully) a lot people will start to download that book...and then look for your other books.

Yeah, I LOVE getting gifts.  Sounds like a cool idea. :-)


A Step-by-Step Guide to Formatting Ebooks

Just Write! with Anne Marie Novark Romance Author: How to Format Ebooks

The above is a post is one that will help simplify formatting your ebooks. This is especially true if you're afraid of computers or just aren't convinced you're that good with Word, etc.

Not me.  I am a computer goddess.  (I'm also quite modest. ;-))

Although Guido Henkel has a similar guide for the same thing, it's spread out over several posts; he should probably put up an ebook just on that, because I'd probably buy it just to have it all in one spot.  (Still is worth a look-see, though.)  This is succinct, and it really does step you through what to do.  Just be wary that she uses a Mac, so her menus, etc., will be different.

Ms. Novark says it took her a while the first time through, but it's gotten easier each time she uploads.

So don't be afraid to try and do it yourself.

The End of the World?

The nuts and whackos (no, not me; I know you were thinking that ;-)) have been coming out of the woodwork and cobwebs about the end of the world.

Well, I want to get the jump on them, by one day anyway...

For your viewing and listening pleasure, here is R.E.M.'s It's the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine).

Think of it as the last fun video you watch before oblivion tomorrow. ;-)


Gross is Better Than Net

So what the hell is silly ol' Nancy talking about, hmm?

Well, between this post on Dean Wesley Smith's site, and this post on J. Daniel Sawyer's site, you'll know exactly what I'm getting at.  And it ain't pretty.  (I could segue into some agents setting up as publishers, but I'll digress at this point...)


Promotion and Readers

There was a discussion over on Dean Wesley Smith's site, in this post, in the comments section.

I found a comment there about readership studies and the effect of promotion on reader's buying habits.  Unfortunately, one of the studies was off limits, and although the commenter remembered a more recent study, she linked to this one, from 2009.

Yes, it's RWA (Romance Writers of America), so maybe their buying habits are skewed in some way, but it's interesting reading nonetheless.  There are several nuggets in the study that are something to think about; not on a day-in, day-out basis, but to kind of tuck away in your gray matter.  (Well, I'll be tucking it away in my gray matter anyway. :-))



Slowly I turn, inch by inch...

Oh, sorry, that's an old comedy routine (probably made most famous by The Three Stooges).

Anyway, I finally set up a separate checking account for my own publishing company (lol), March Winds Publishing.  It's with a local bank.  The lady at the bank was very polite and helpful; it's truly free checking.  No minimum that you have to keep in the bank or you get fees - nothing like that.  And I get a debit card with it, too; for me, that's necessary, in that I need to upgrade my laptop very soon.  (I'd like to get it before the Amazon Prime trial runs out.)

Now I've just got to get out of editing the first book, which I'm hoping is the end of this month.  I've already got the idea for the cover, yadda, yadda, yadda.  So many things to think about, but it's fun despite all the headaches. :-)

I'm shooting for my late father's birthday (June 1).  We'll see.