Wednesday, January 8, 2020

January IWSG and 2020 Goals

This year launched with a stressful and exhausting beginning. I haven't had a quiet day since Dec 28. It's been one long exhausting day and overtime after another. Great for paying bills, as far as the overtime goes, but with everything else on top, it's been a lot to deal with. The other stuff is mostly health issues for other family/extended family members but it's beginning to take a toll on me too. Thankfully, I don't have anything author-related planned until early February. I hope to be more awake and alert by then.

My annual one word resolution is READ. I've been so focused on writing/editing for the past couple years that I haven't had much time for kicking back with a book.  I hope to do better with that this year. To get me in the right mind-set, I'm looking into a book club at a nearby indie bookstore. Beyond that, my TBR stacks are spawning baby stacks. It's out of control...but I keep coming home with more books. So yes, I need to tame those a bit.

2020 Goals:
1. Due to the publisher of The Narvan closing down at the end of last year, first on my list is republishing Trust myself.
2. Chain of Grey: The Narvan - Book Two, is proofed and awaiting formatting and then is next up for publication.
3. Publish a second short story collection. The stories are all written, but await a final edit and then the whole proof/format/publish routine.
4. Publish Spindelkin - a MG fantasy/fairytale. This was my NaNo 2019 project. It needs an ending, but is generally outlined and then onward to editing/beta reads and the rest.

I'll be doing slightly less events this year so I (in theory) have time to accomplish these goals. I'll be updating the list over there ---> as events are added throughout the year.

If you'd like updates on when any of those projects are published, please sign up for my newsletter. Also over there ---->

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

And now, its time for the first Insecure Writer's Support Group post of 2020. This month's question is: 
What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?

This is a popular question. Which, thankfully means it's an easy one to answer. My third grade teacher launched me into writing with a Scholastic writing competition. I wrote a horrible little story about a dog who got lost, complete with pictures, and won for our grade. That meant I had to go to the local college to an award ceremony, which was utterly terrifying for an extremely shy kid. A year later, my fourth grade history teacher and I clicked and I started slipping her short stories (which were also awful, btw), and she would covertly slide them back to me the next day with encouraging notes on them.

So for all you teachers out there, doing your little one on one things with what little time and energy you have in light of everything else, it's greatly appreciated, even it's not apparent at the time.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

December IWSG and Post NaNo Wrap up

Another month has sped by with a flurry of activity.  

I was busy writing away on my new project for November's annual effort during National Novel Writing Month. In my many travels at book selling events there's been a need for more kids books in the sci-fi fantasy genre. Something around upper middle grade, but not quite young adult. So many kids pick up my books but sadly, its the ones not appropriate for their age. While A Broken Race and Destiny Pills & Space Wizards does fit for teens, I have nothing to offer in that 8-12 year old range. So, this November, I set out to fill that gap in my book offerings. Thus, Spindelkin was born, a fantasy story about an 11 year old girl and her journey to find out who she truly is this fairytale world.

In my usual rebel NaNo form, I also had a second project going, working on whichever story fit my brain on a given day. The second project? A companion book within The Narvan universe. So, sort of  Book 5, but in actuallity, Book 1.5, as it takes place in the gap between Trust (book 1) and Chain Of Grey (book 2) that gives some of the other characters time to have the spotlight for once.  Confused yet? Sorry. It's a book that I'm working on. We'll leave it at that. 


Several people have asked when Chain Of Grey is coming out. My hope was Fall 2019. However, the publisher had delays and now has announced they are closing shop as of the end of the year. Which means, my best answer for you is Spring 2020 when I release it myself. 

Also in the works is a new short story collection (currently in need of a witty name), featuring several longer science fiction stories along with a few shorter ones. From my recollection of said stories (one of which was also on a couple year hold for an anthology through said publisher) I believe this collection will also be YA friendly. 

Oh. My. Goodness. What a November. And also December. I've really enjoyed meeting those of you who are readers as well as reconnecting with author friends when we share a table/booth. If you read a book and are looking for another one or haven't made it out to meet me yet, you can find me at:

The Beechwood Church Craft show in Holland on Dec 7 with author Diane Burton (mystery, science fiction romance and MG Science Fiction

The Holland Civic Center Holiday Craft show in Holland on Dec 14 with author Joan Young (mysteries for adult and MG and nonfiction hiking adventures)

Author Pop Up Night at the Bluestocking Bookshop in Holland on Dec 19 with authors Vera West (sci-fi romance), Diane Burton, and Troy Wymer (sci-fi and sci-fi romance)

Muskegon Barnes and Noble on Dec 21 signing books with multiple authors to suit all your last minute bookish gift giving needs.

Life: We launched a new home-based business last week and got our first customer today. Because we're already running several home-based endeavors so why not?  Income is always good to diversify!

This was also my 10th and final year acting as Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo. My schedule just doesn't allow for as much time to devote to all the planning and events as I used to have. When I stepped into the role of inciting writers to get out of their homes to write together, to meet one another, to hopefully make long-lasting friendships, I had no idea what to expect. As it turns out, my little region flourished. I've watched writer kids grow up through high school, go off to college, and get engaged. Socially awkward and introverted people made connections and have come back year after year. Writers became more confident. Some even began to pursue publishing. It's been a wonderful journey and many friends have been made. Fortunately, I had two talented people pick up my torch this year so the region is in good hands for the future.

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
This month's question is: Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you 
describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

Am I living the dream? Mostly, sorta, yes. So here's what I can tell you if you're not quite there yet. Finish something. Then put that down and finish something else. Keep writing. It's how you discover what you're good at and what you need to work on, and your voice.  

Make writer friends at all stages of your journey, they will help you along the way. 

Realize that finishing a book is just beginning to write the book. 
Revision and editing are what actually makes a book good. 

Understand that getting something published or publishing something yourself doesn't mean you're going to sell thousands of books. You will need to work for it. You will need to talk to people, readers and interviewers. You will need to invest in ads and/or events to get your book in front of people. You need to be active on social media. Selling books is not just about writing books. 

The best part about publishing a book is talking to readers. Yeah, that talking thing again. But having someone come up and tell you they enjoyed what you wrote is a great feeling. So back to that first thing, finish something. :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Grand Rapids Comic Con and a TV interview

November is always a busy month for me. I'm in the midst of my 14th year of participating in National Novel Writing Month. Yes, I am working on two projects, one new, one continuing, so rebelling a bit, but even with taking three days mostly off of writing for the comic con, I'm still on track, if not a smidge ahead.

Last month, I traveled over toward Detroit to do an interview on Indie Reads TV with Pages and Promotions that aired on CMNTV. If you're interested in checking it out - I always find it interesting to see how people talk and act in person compared to what I'd imagined online - its now available on YouTube.

Grand Rapids Comic Con was a lot of fun and a success for meeting readers and selling books. I shared a booth with a few other authors, because while we're all swimming in cash from the huge successes of our writing careers (that's sarcasm, in case that wasn't clear), we like to pool resources.  My booth included Judith Wade, G.S. Scott and Remearis Brown. It was a long three days of peopling, but we all survived. And because I'd built up a good word count buffer, I didn't fall behind on my NaNo endeavor.

Wearing my festive hat. That was all fun and good but I kept reaching up thinking they were my reading glasses,
which I often wear on my head. Surprise, the hat didn't help me see better.

While I do have four, maybe five more events coming up this year, I'm sticking close to home. Why? Well, for those of you not familiar with the fickle Michigan weather, to give you an example: Fall lasted five days. That was early last week. It was nice. So pretty with changing leaves gently falling from the trees. Then Winter arrived with freezing temperatures and snow flurries. Yesterday we got a foot of snow. Schools were closed. Roads didn't get plowed until late afternoon. Everything was a mess. 85% of us didn't get out during those five lovely days to rake the leaves. Most of the leaves were still on the trees! Now, they're in giant clumps on top of the snow and that will make a fine wet mess if we get a melt before we get hit again.

So yes, if you're looking for me, I'll mostly be in Holland with a trip to Kalamazoo and possibly Muskegon.

Hope your November is going well, and if you're participating in NaNoWriMo, get off the internet and go write your novel!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

November. Already? Nano and IWSG

OMG, where has this year gone? I blink and another month has passed. As much as I intend to post more often, that just hasn't happened. So to sum up October, since I last posted...

I finally finished rewriting a short sci-fi story (short as in 12K) that I've been dragging my feet through for a couple years. It's been part of my 'getting stuff done before NaNo endeavor'. I'm feeling pretty good about it and after one more read through to finish cleaning it up, I'll send it off to a couple beta readers. If you're interested in joining in the beta reading fun, drop a comment below with your email address.

Beyond that, I got another short story tweaked and sent back into submissions. According to The Submission Grinder, I fell off the submission train in May. Oops.

In the not writing but writing related category, I did a major cleaning of my writing room, clearing away a lot of notes, sewing projects, and putting up my last NaNo poster (my walls are full, not that I'm done doing NaNo). With all those distractions gone, I may be more inclined to be productive with writing.

I had a great time meeting readers at various events during October and my November schedule is even more full. If you're looking for something to read, I'll be at the pile of events listed on the right between now and Christmas.

And onward into November! I'll be doing year 14 of NaNoWriMo. My intention is to try a middle- grade fantasy novel. We'll see how it goes. I have a raft of backup projects if my motivation veers elsewhere. I've managed 50,000 words or more for 12 of those years so we'll see how this one goes.

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
As to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question: What's the strangest thing you've ever Googled when researching a story,
I have to give that some thought.

I guess I've googled so many odd things that no particular one of them stands out to me. Lots of medical stuff, along with how long can a person live in various states of injury or circumstance, science stuff about planets and space travel, goodness, the list goes on. All hail Google.

In the spirit of NaNo upon us, I'm going to switch gears to researching in general. Don't let it bog you down in a first draft. Leave notes in your draft as you go so you can easily find the spots that need your research later. If it's a quick question, do a quick search, but don't let tricky internet suck you down the rabbit hole. Keep writing! Names, places, details, dates, it can all be cleaned up later. The important thing is to get the story down from beginning to end (or in whatever order works for you). Once that major accomplishment is done, then spend the time to research those pesky details and polish up the bits around them.

Good luck to all my fellow NaNo participants. If you're looking for buddies, friend me: Gypsywitch.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

IWSG: October or should I say...Preptober

It's Preptober. At least that's what the NaNoWriMo people are calling it. Sure why not. So what do us pantsers do for NaNo prep? Typically I'd do nothing. Because: Pantser. The past couple years I've tried a variety of loose prep just to...try.

I've made lists of prompts with the intention of writing a host of short stories. So prepared with ideas, but I ended up writing a novel entirely unrelated to any of the prompts.

I've written a very, very quick and dirty one page outline. That novel fell quickly fell apart. Not for fault of the novel or outline, but my thoughts were elsewhere and I ended up writing something entirely different.

One year I wrote a one page synopsis. That actually worked nicely, by the way.

So this year? I had a dream a couple weeks ago, one of those dreams where you go, OMG this would be a great story if I could flesh it out. I've been mulling it over in my 'free' time. Those that know me, know what a joke that is. But yes, I've been mulling. Last night I wrote five plot points on a tiny piece of paper while waiting to do an author interview. I'm calling that my Preptober effort. Will I end up writing this story? No idea. November is a long way off as far as wandering ideas and fickle inspiration go. But I'm going to try.

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
And now on to this month's question: It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading?

I've never heard this before and my general stance is that it's a load of horse hockey. (That may be the allergy meds talking.) Our ideas are influenced by everything around us, not just want we read. The only thing new or original about storytelling is the spin you put on it. There are books on this that outline all the major plots. The thing that makes them interesting is how you put your personal touches on the variables. You, your life experiences and all the media you ingest, are the flavor that colors the words.

Do you need to read? Yes. Though, not necessarily for the ideas. But, reading shows you how to write, how to form story structure, pleasing sentences, interesting characters, robust plots and settings. By reading and finding authors you enjoy, you may end up adopting some of their storytelling style. That's not a bad thing. If they can successfully tell an engaging story and that's your goal, learn from them.