Friday, July 13, 2018

Allergies and Author Events

Where have I been?

Writing, editing, rewriting, more editing and pondering plot fixes. I was being so productive I forgot to come up for air and post here. That's sort of a good thing,  I guess?

Then I was busy getting ready for the Muskegon edition of my Michigan Authors at the Lakeshore event in the Lakeshore Art Festival. That took up all of last weekend. That was a great time. The weather was awesome. There were crowds of people and lots of crafts, art, and books to see.

Now I'm gearing up for the Holland edition, which will be held at the Park Theatre, right across from Art in the Park, on August 4. This one is even bigger than the Muskegon event, as far as authors to organize. There will be 34 of us, a theatre full of books. It should be a lot of fun...once I get past all the organizing.

Right after that, on August 11, I'll be at the Manistee Book Expo, held in the Ramsdell Theatre.

In the midst of organizing and writing, allergy season hit hard. The weather has been hot and dry, creating all kinds of dust and whatever else sets off the explosions in my head. Between blowing my nose, sleeping the yuck away, and the way groovy spacy feeling of allergy pills, my productivity is down to a dismal percentage.

So that's the state of things at the moment. I'm still alive, floating along (sometimes, it actually feels like floating), and attempting to get things done.

I hope summer is treating you well. Relax, be happy, and enjoy a good book.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG: June and more free books

I've been busy editing and, for the past couple days worth of free time, catching up on the latest season of Supernatural. It was fortunate that I happened to check my email at lunch yesterday, after realizing I'd been ignoring it all week in favor of said previous activities, and realized the first Wednesday of the month was only a day away. I live in a time vacuum, I swear.

With the weather being nice (finally), I've been busy outside working in my gardens. For the past two weeks, I've been putting the finishing touches on the rock terraces (meaning I moved a LOT of rocks and plants and spread several yards of mulch) on half of my hillside flower garden. This past weekend I expanded my vegetable garden by 16 x 10 feet, built two new raised garden beds, filled them with soil and plants, and remulched the whole area. Who needs to go to the gym?

If you're looking for something to read, take a gander at selection in either of these two giveaways.
Fantasy, or Sci-fi and Fantasy short fiction

My Ask Me Anything wrapped up after a lot of questions. If there's anything you've wanted to know about me or my writing, it's probably answered there.

And now onto IWSG...

If you're not familiar with the Insecure Writers Support Group, check it out here.

This month's question is:
What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Titles are by far more difficult to come up with. Character names usually come to me as I'm writing or I key mash until a string of letters looks interesting and tweak it from there to get the sound and feel of what I'm looking for to fit the story. Yes, that means my naming process is pretty methodical and well thought out. Ha! Because I'm not a planner for the most part, the vast majority of my characters are named before I get to know them and before I have an inkling what their true part in the story will be. It's like meeting a person, all you have to go on is a name and then you get to know them. Knowing this, the fact that names play an important role to the characters in both Sahmara and A Broken Race is a bit ironic.  

Titles, well, they don't usually hit me until the first round of edits when I get a full feel for what the story is really about. Its a theme I didn't originally set out to cover, a feeling, a character moment, a phrase, something that triggers an ah ha moment and poof, there's my title. The poof, makes it sound like an easy process, but its more often a long and painful slog wherein I gnash my teeth over the fact that the book may never have a title beyond Book 2 or Fantasy Story.

Which one is more difficult for you?

Monday, May 14, 2018

So many free books

Do you like free books? Well you're in luck! Check out these links for some great free fantasy and scif-fi reads. You can also find my book, Destiny Pills and Space Wizards there.

This promotion runs May 14-20 and includes both BookFunnel and Instafreebie books.

Need more books? Here are 24 more to choose from. This promotion runs until May 25.

Still need mooooore? Here are 119 Sci-fi, Fantasy and Horror titles to choose from. This promotion runs from May 15 to May 31st.

And if you've stocked up on books and want to have fun with some questions about writing, critiquing, gardening, chickens or hair color, I'll be over at Ask Me Anything from May 16-23 with answers. They may not be the right answers, but they're mine.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

IWSG: May and too many other things

So it would seem that yesterday was Wednesday. When did that pop up? I mean who puts a Wednesday right after Tuesday? And who put Wednesday so close to the beginning of the month?

Yes, I missed the
post day. One of these months I'll have some time to breathe and will have my crap together. This is not that month.

I've been busy preparing for Penguicon, both mentally and packing-wise. The prospect of full weekend of intense peopling is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. In part of that preparation, I opened my newly ordered copies of A Broken Race to a page with a typo. OMG, you've got to be freaking kidding me. And the super annoying thing is that it's a formatting typo. I use a laptop to do all things book, and occasionally the cursor isn't where I think it is so whatever key I hit applies somewhere else. In this case it was the backspace. Then come to find out, as took a deep breath and fixed that book file, a similar thing had happened right on the first page of Destiny Pills. So damn annoying. I love my laptop, but we're so not speaking right now.

On the heels of the random return and deleted character annoyance, I then see that the oh so helpful Createspace gods have added random blank pages and in one case, totally screwed up the entire page layout so now my margins are all wrong. And no, that didn't show up on the online proof. And of course I needed books in a hurry for this event and didn't have time to do a print proof and then order because my lovely daughter took so darn long (procrastinating teenagers, ugh) to do her drawings. So I apologize up front to anyone who purchases the slightly wonky versions this weekend.

I'm still trying to catch up on Blogging A to Z posts from all of you who visited throughout April. Too. Much. Going. On. Which brings me to this month's question:

Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

Spring inspires me to get outside and clean up my flower beds, to build new raised garden boxes, to plant my garden, and to clean out my chicken coop. All of those things mean less time for writing. I'm so torn right now because spring is a super short season here, and made even shorter this year by almost a month thanks to a winter that wouldn't freaking quit, but I'm in the middle of edits on Trust. I want to be sitting here in my comfy chair sifting through editorial comments and making changes so that book can get into readers hands, but I also want to be outside doing all the things that need doing before it suddenly is 80 and my allergies make it hard to do outside things, because like, breathing is important or something. At this point, I'm slowly working on both things and shaking my fist and pretty much everything. Spring, you are a pretty, but stressful season.

Monday, April 30, 2018

A to Z - All Things Writing: Z The Satisfying Ending

Welcome to the Blogging A to Z Challenge, where, this month, I'll be focusing on all things writing. This may be a random jumping around of topics within my theme, but hopefully something somewhere will be useful to someone. (V is for vague - see that last sentence.) Check out all the participants here . Now, lets get on with today's letter.

Z is for The Satisfying Ending

I'm sure I've harped on endings before, maybe even last year, but it bears repeating. Stories, all stories, should have a satisfying end. But it's got a sequel. It's part of a series. I don't care. End it. If a book doesn't end in a manner that leaves me a least mostly fulfilled, I'm not ever going to pick up book two.

It's fine to leave some subplots a bit open ended. A happily ever after for now, is perfectly acceptable. We don't need everything tied up in a neat little bow. But we do need closure. The main plot of that particular book should be resolved. The mystery needs to be solved. An aspect of the big bad must be defeated. The couple should get together. You get the idea.

Books that just end like the writer dropped dead at the end of whatever sentence stands at the end of the novel end up denting my wall and go in the donation pile. Books should not end with ( be continued).

Short stories might end with a surprise, a twist. They don't often have a shiny wrapped up bow on top ending. A short story is a much smaller investment of a reader's time so more of an ah-ha moment is sometimes all it takes to be satisfying. A novel, however, needs more closure. We're invested in characters, in the plots, we want to see things through. So make sure your books end. Your readers will thank you.

Thank you for joining me on this year's A to Z adventure. I hope you found a few useful posts this month. Good luck with your writing endeavors throughout the year and I hope you'll stop back to see where I am in mine. 

Would you like a free e-book? This April, I'm giving away free copies of my new anthology, Destiny Pills & Space Wizards. Claim your copy here: Enter code atozpromo
Prefer paperback? The print book goes live on April 20. Reviews are always appreciated.