Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Back to Writing

With Sahmara released out into the world, I've been busy prepping for November and NaNoWriMo. That means brushing up on my annual Municipal Liaison list of things to do. This being my eighth year as an ML I rather have a system down so preparing everything for my region isn't near as stressful as it used to be.

Setting up the big events, getting the regional forum seeded with posts, starting to fill the calendar with scheduled events, it's all happening. I've got sixty goody bags ready to go, activities planned for the Kick off Party and our big mid-month write-in. Auction items are set aside and prizes are bagged and awaiting the fun to begin.

Now I have time to do some prep work on the novel I hope to finish this November. For the third year, though not consecutively, I will be working on Interface, a YA science fiction novel. Interface began as a short story in 2010 when I did 50K worth of short stories, which was an interesting exercise that resulted in a couple stories I was able to polish and publish and several others that haven't been touched in six years. Last year, I hauled Interface out and got it rolling as a novel. I dove into NaNo intending to finish it. Aaaaand then the niggling idea to write the third book of the Narvan hit me hard and I ended up writing that from beginning to end instead. So this year, darn it. I'm finishing Interface. Three NaNo years. It's time. So that means I'm reformatting my scattered efforts to a unified and non-distracting layout, taking notes and jotting down ideas for the path to resolution. With just over a month to go, I better quit with the distractions (like writing blog posts) and get on with the planning.

Friday, September 9, 2016

New Release: Sahmara

I'm happy to announce that Sahmara is live and ready for your reading enjoyment. This fantasy novel is available in both ebook and print and is currently free through Kindle Unlimited.

Back in 2006, I heard about this thing called NaNoWriMo and thought I'd give it a try. I'd just wrapped up my first full draft of Trust and wanted to see if I could really write a novel in a month rather than far too many years than I care to admit. As it turns out, I could! But it was short and unfinished and really rough.

Sahmara sat on my hard drive for many years before I got the itch to work on it again. Why? Other projects and life. Those things happen. But it's the getting back to and finishing of that matters.

This novel features my first foray into writing fantasy after much focus on soft science fiction as well as a bisexual main character. I like to try new things. In writing - just to be clear. In life I like to try new beers, that's my version of wild and crazy, otherwise I'm happy in my writing chair.

After ten long years of waiting patiently, I present you with: Sahmara.


Many prosperous decades of peace have made the people of Revochek apathetic toward their gods. Without fervent worship, the twin gods Mother and Hasi have grown weak. Unable to protect their worldly territory their cruel uncle, Ephius, and his devoted followers run rampant. Towns are plundered and the stench of death taints the air. Those that weren't killed or hiding are slaves. Without warriors to channel their powers, the Mother and Hasi are defenseless. If all of Revochek falls, the balance of the gods will be broken, paving the way for Ephius to plunge the entire world into war.

 Deep in the enemy country of Atheria, one young woman escapes her captors only to find herself alone, unarmed, and starving. Torn from her life of privilege and the arms of her ma’hasi lover, Sahmara is unfit for life on the run, and running is the only thing she knows to do in order to get home. The well-being of her family is unknown, and if Zane hadn’t been killed, he is a slave. No one is coming to save her.

Desperate, Sahmara prays for help. She does not expect her prayer to be answered by an ancient woman with a thirst for blood or that her single desperate plea might be the one that rescues them all.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sahmara and September ISWG


I'm happy to say that August was a productive month. After ten years, I can finally say that Sahmara, my first fantasy novel, is done. I will be publishing the ebook soon and print copies shortly after to take to upcoming author events I'm attending.

Many prosperous decades of peace have made the people of Revochek apathetic toward their gods. Without fervent worship, the twin gods Mother and Hasi have grown weak. Unable to protect their worldly territory their cruel uncle, Ephius, and his devoted followers run rampant. Towns are plundered and the stench of death taints the air. Those that weren't killed or hiding are slaves. Without warriors to channel their powers, the Mother and Hasi are defenseless. If all of Revochek falls, the balance of the gods will be broken, paving the way for Ephius to plunge the entire world into war.

 Deep in the enemy country of Atheria, one young woman escapes her captors only to find herself alone, unarmed, and starving. Torn from her life of privilege and the arms of her ma’hasi lover, Sahmara is unfit for life on the run, and running is the only thing she knows to do in order to get home. The well-being of her family is unknown, and if Zane hadn’t been killed, he is a slave. No one is coming to save her.


Desperate, Sahmara prays for help. She does not expect her prayer to be answered by an ancient woman with a thirst for blood or that her single desperate plea might be the one that rescues them all.

More about Sahmara soon, but for now, its time for the monthly Insecure Writer's Group post.

This month's question: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

I find it's easiest to write first thing in the morning before my mind is overwhelmed with the tasks I have to accomplish. I'm not ready to talk to real people, and it's a calm way to ease into my day while doing something productive.

This is also the time of day I do things I don't like to do when I'm fully awake, like clean toilets and shower drains. I can open up a document and not be bothered by sentences or entire paragraphs that might be as bad as that rotting hair glob slimy with weeks of conditioner and body wash. I can edit through my wordy glob of suck or I can simply overlook it and plow onward depending on where I am in the process. Mornings are a time for getting things done without dwelling on them.

If I had one of those magical plot breakthrough thoughts before I went to sleep or during the night, I can get that written while the words are fresh. I'd rather be writing than getting ready for work. It's the only time of day that I actually procrastinate by writing.

If the planets are aligned and the juices are flowing, I can usually get a thousand words or so down in the sixty to ninety minutes I have in the morning. On those days, if the ideas are still churning or I have the next scene to ponder, I can sneak back to my document on breaks and get those down in few minutes before getting back to work.

When I'm in major writing mode, I'll also take an hour before bed to crank out a little more, but for the most part, I'm a morning writer. Unless I'm cleaning toilets.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

This is a test of the Emergency Snark Harnessing System

There are days in working e-commerce that sorely test my Emergency Snark Harnessing System. Those days make up about 250 days out of the year.

Please, for the love of all that's holy, people, I know the internet is full of shiny, but read the description before you take the time to hunt down contact information and ask questions. I'd love to say there are no stupid questions, but yes, yes there are. A lot of them. And almost all of them can be answered in the privacy of your own home and head by just reading the description of the item you're looking to purchase.

The fact about these that amazes me most is that people take the time to find the contact button and type a question, but can't take the time to read the few lines of information that are right there below the item photo. See photo, want thing, but all these...words. Bah. I'll just ask.

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Let's say I'm selling a 8" x 12" poster of a pink flower in a white setting that is described as printed on a self-adhesive paper so no frame, putty, or pins are required. It is shown applied on a blue wall in a bedroom.
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Some of my recent favorites from the trying-my-patience file and the responses the ESHS did not allow me to send:

I really like this poster. Is it self adhesive?
Seriously?

Does this poster glow in the dark?
Does it say it does? Is it shown glowing in the dark? Umm no. So why would you think it might?

Is this a poster?
*headdesk*

What size is the bed in this room? I have a queen bed and am wondering how the poster would look in relation to that.
Do you not own a measuring device of any kind? Did you not consider that this would be so much easier to hold up to YOUR wall in the room with YOUR bed?

I have a green wall, do you think the poster will look good on that?
I am not in your house. I do not know what your wall or room looks like, and I'll hazard a guess my design tastes are different than yours. Do YOU think it will look good? I'm going to say yes because I want to pay my bills.

Will this poster work in a kitchen?
No, the adhesive is specially formulated to only adhere to bedroom walls.

How big is the poster?
Come on. You're not even trying. They are the only numbers in the entire three sentence description.

Will this poster dent my wall?
Does paper normally dent your wall? What are your walls made of that this is even a question?

How would I apply this poster to my wall? Does it require adhesive or pins?
Do you require reading glasses?

I have a frame that I picked up at a garage sale. It was gold but I didn't like it, so I painted it black. It turned out really nice. Last weekend I hung it on my living room wall, but it needs something. I think this poster is just the thing I'm looking for. Will it fit in my frame?
While I might enjoy reading about projects regarding refinishing and repurposing, I get my fix on blogs focusing on this stuff in my free time. Also, look around. Am I standing beside you with a tape measure? No. Have you provided measurements of the frame, which would answer your own question? No. Did you read the measurements of the poster that I clearly provided in the description? Again, no.

I would like a quote on a custom poster using the poem I have provided. I don't know how big I want it yet, but how much would it be?
Well, somewhere between $2 and $4,000. Get back to me when you look at your space and get an idea of how big you want it.

I want to order the poster you have listed. Please make it custom for me.
*crickets*  I'm supposed to know what you want customized, how?

I would like to order this poster, but I want it with the pink flower that is shown. How do I order that?
Uhhh, click the buy button? I don't know where you've shopped before, but we typically don't  randomly change the items from what is shown and then ship them out for giggles.

Can I order this poster with a different background instead of the blue one?
That is a wall. On that wall is the poster that is being sold. Think about it for two more seconds and the answer will become clear.

(On a customer note on an already purchased pink flower poster order waiting to be fulfilled): Please make this poster 16 x 24 and of a photo of a golden retriever playing in the grass. Thanks.
Sooo, you purchased an item and paid for it, but it's not at all what you actually want, and I'm supposed to provide art I don't have and double the size for no additional charge. Does this tactic work anywhere else? No? Amazing. It doesn't work here either.

Reading: It's important. Except for that last one. That was just amazingly assumptive and fully deserving of snark.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Gone in a Flash


Time for another ISWG post. I just got back from a lovely massage and am all nice and relaxed...except for the continuous need for a box of Kleenex thanks to allergy season. But, rather than dwell on my dripping nose, how about I grump about my apparent inability to write flash.

For years I have tried to be succinct, to cover a story from beginning to end in under a thousand words, to work in details and make it feel whole. Yet, my most recent attempt has returned to me with several rejections with lovely comments (all comments truly are lovely and very much appreciated even when I might grump about them here) to the tune of: I like the idea/characters/plot, but it feels like it needs more story.

If it needs more story, then its no longer in the flash category then is it?

So either I need to resign myself to the fact that I'm meant to stick with the short story lengths I'm good at, or I need to keep banging my head on the keyboard until I can make this work. Perhaps I should just accept that I don't write stories where no one dies, everyone gets their happily ever after or flash fiction. It's good to know one's limits, right?