Wednesday, September 4, 2019

IWSG: September and Fun Times With Authors

This summer was (Is it was already? Where did summer go?) full of various events where I joined other authors to meet readers and sign books. My fall and winter schedule look much the same, so if we haven't connected yet and you're around Michigan, there's still plenty of opportunity.

In between all this being out of my writing cave and talking to real live people, I've been happy sitting in the dark in my comfy chair at all hours (because sleep and I aren't on good terms), wrapping up edits on Chain Of Grey: Book Two of The Narvan. My plan is to have it in your hands before Christmas, but that depends on the publisher's plan, which as you may understand, is out of my hands.

Before we get to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question, how about some pics of where I've been recently?
It was the afternoon of day three of the Newaygo Logging Festival and the crowd was beginning to thin.
When Authors are left to amuse themselves... 

Bitsy joined me on day two of the Logging Festival. All the attention wore her out.
She claimed my lap as her bed and my hand as her pillow. 

I shared a tent with author Ingar Rudholm for the weekend.
The local police force unwisely made us junior officers on day one.
Apparently, this did not mean we could arrest people for grammar infractions. Oops.

For two weekends, I shared a tent with author Lon Hieftje.
For once (or twice?), the weather was beautiful.

Fourth of July weekend is annually spent with a wonderful bunch of authors in Muskegon
at the Lakeshore Art Festival. We have two giant tents full of twenty-some authors of many genres.
It was super hot this year, but we stayed hydrated and met lots of new readers. 

If you're ever up in Traverse City, stop by Bookbrokers in the Grand Traverse Mall for a good selection
of books by Michigan Authors. The staff there is awesome too, by the way.

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: If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

I'm sure some of you have wonderful faraway places you'd rather be. Inspiring places, full of interesting people and beautiful scenery. Me? My one place is right where I'm sitting at this moment. In the chair that knows just how to ease my back, with the stool that keeps my legs and feet at a comfortable height. In a room filled with things that inspire me. Where electricity and wifi aren't an issue and food and drink are only a flight of stairs away. This is a place where I can go any time of the day or night and not be in anyone's way. Where weather is never an issue and the temperature is always the same.

I'm good right here, thanks, but you go on and write wherever works best for you and your story. I'll be sitting here, talking to people that only exist in my head and on my pages, probably in the dark, with my fuzzy blanket on my lap and likely in my robe. Because this is my favorite place to be.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

IWSG: August

To put it mildly, it's been a busy year. Not only is my event schedule full for this year and starting to populate into next year, but work has been crazy and apparently gardening has become a full-contact sport for me. 

So far this summer I've managed to pull muscles in my chest (though that may have been partially work-related), sprain my foot and just today I broke a blood vessel in my finger and now it's all swollen and purple. But, on the bright side, my garden is looking more fabulous by the day. The days that I'm able to work on it at least. I'm not even doing anything super strenuous or out of the ordinary. In fact, I'm probably doing less heavy lifting than I have in the past couple of years. Perhaps my body is just fed up with all I've been putting it through and is demanding some downtime. 

Since I have been trying to be good to myself and honor that downtime thing, I did buy a new barstool height chair for author events. I much prefer to be at eye level when talking to people so I usually end up standing most of the time. Now I feel more comfortable sitting, at least more than I have been. 

Have I been writing lately? I've been trying. Summer is my time for being outdoors in the garden, so progress is slow, but I'm currently doing another revision pass on Not Another Bard's Tale. My idea percolater has finally come up for a fix in the dragging middle section. Time to combine two characters and speed things along!  

And now onward to this months' Insecure Writer's Support Group question:
If you're not familiar with 
Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

I had been submitting a couple short stories this year and in the process of jugging those submissions, didn't glance at the responding emails beyond confirming that they were rejections. I always assume they are rejections. That way, I'm not crushed when yet another one comes in, and pleasantly surprised when it is an acceptance. However, in my "yep, it's another rejection", skim of a submission email from a pro market I knew was a long shot, I totally missed the P.S. far down the email until, weeks later, I was copying a section of that submission email to send to the next market. As it turns out, there was a note from the editor who had some very nice things to say about the piece. I tossed that story back into the fray. Does this have a happy ending? Not yet. But it only takes one yes.

As to story endings, I rarely see those coming, so nearly always, yes, those surprise me. I like writing that way. If I'm excited about figuring out the ending, hopefully, the reader will be too.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Heat and Rain and Tips for Outdoor Author Events

The theme of my summer so far: Heat and Rain...with a healthy scoop of high winds and a side of hail. One thing I can say for sure, outdoor events are a gamble. Not only with the weather, but with your stuff.

One tent/canopy you should never buy for outdoor events: Anything that looks like this

I've personally seen at least eleven of them go into dumpsters after getting mangled by winds and heavy rain or hail so far this summer. If you're going to buy a tent, invest a little and get a sturdy one. I have one of these. Being that I bought it eighteen years ago and it's still going strong, I can easily say it's well worth the money. . And yes, the sides are wonderfully useful! I've seen some with clear windows in them too, but I don't have that kind. Yet. I may get one as it's nice to be able to see around you when it's raining.

I've done a lot of outdoor events this year and they've all been plagued with weather issues. It's either 90+ degrees or windy and raining. Or thunderstorms. Like last Saturday. Poor Joan and I stuck it out for a few hours, hoping the drizzle would let up, but when the sky got black and the rain went sideways, it was time to make a run for it. Packing up books in the rain is not fun. Thankfully we weren't parked far away. However, taking down the tent itself got us both drenched.

This weekend, both of the events I have scheduled are inside. I'll be at Holton Library in the Muskegon area on Saturday morning for an author meet and greet and in Traverse City at the Festival of Pop Culture on Sunday. I've also added a last minute outdoor Market date tomorrow night (June 23) at Bolt Park in Grand Haven. If you're in the area of any of those, stop by.

Other handy tidbits (most of which I did not personally suffer):

• If you have anything breakable in your tent, pack it away overnight. Storms happen and will break all of your nice things.

• Always be prepared for wind by having rocks to set on paper items or a mug to hold cards or bookmarks.

• Carry a box of large zip lock bags so if it does start raining, your books wont be soaked when they are purchased.

• Keep a piece of plastic or a large trash bag handy to put on the ground under your table. Keep all of your boxes and supplies on it so when it does inevitably start to rain, your stuff doesn't get soaked from the ground up.

• Keep the tent sides in the car, even if the forecast says it won't rain around the time of your event. Okay, this one was me last weekend. The one time I didn't pack them....

• Store your books in something waterproof so when transporting them between the tent and your car in the rain, they don't get ruined.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

IWSG: July and a Busy Summer

I hope your summer is going well. It only just arrived in West Michigan. We've had a long dark winter followed by a cold, dark and very wet spring. To see this mystical orb of warmth is a very welcome thing. I'm not even complaining about the heat or humidity...yet.

The garden has been enjoying all the rain, though all the flowers are about two weeks behind thanks to the lack of sun and cool temps.

This year has been very EVENT-full. (and this concludes my puns for the day). Unfortunately, many of them have been outside and as you've gathered by now, the weather hasn't been very cooperative. This weekend is one of my major events, the Lakeshore Art Festival in Muskegon, MI. We'll have twenty Michigan authors in two giant tents. If you're anywhere near the area, stop by and check out over 350 fine art and craft booths along with artisan food, interactive art, and children's activities. July 5 & 6 from 10-6.

If you're wondering where I'll be the rest of the year, check out the long list of locations over there --->

And now onward to this months' Insecure Writer's Support Group question:
If you're not familiar with 
What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

Focusing on The Narvan, as those characters have been with my the longest, meaning we've rubbed off on one another quite a lot...

Anastassia shares my love of red wine
Vayen vents with F-bombs
Both of them drink (though more heavily than I do these days)
Anastassia tends to take over everything she touches
Vayen is always looking for ways to improve productivity
Vayen hates club music
Fa'yet likes to work alone
All of them prefer to avoid the spotlight
My wardrobe and Anastassia's are both heavy on the grey and black
Like both Anastassia and Vayen, I prefer to be in charge

and the list could go on, but you have other blogs to get to today so we'll end here. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

IWSG: June and Ren Faire Adventures

Another month has flown by. I've been busy out promoting Trust and my other books at various events. The past couple weeks, I've ventured into Ren Faires and it was a blast. And rainy. And muddy. But fun despite all that. Got to love the erratic Spring weather in Michigan.

I also finished sewing my first dragon.  It took a lot of time, but I had no idea how much until I started keeping track with the next two that I'm working on. Once those are done I'll be bringing them to events with me to sell as my first dragon has been quite popular, but as he is my test dragon, there are things I'm doing differently with the next ones. Do you have any name suggestions? I've been taking suggestions, but I haven't picked on yet. Feel free to drop yours in the comments below.

Onward to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question:
If you're not familiar with 
Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

I'm partial to writing Science Fiction, though Fantasy is a very close second. When I first really started reading as a kid, I dove into Mystery, because that's what my Mother read. It didn't take me long to wander into the Science Fiction section, probably because the kids books were all on one wall in our small indie bookstore. Horror followed soon after and then I branched into Fantasy and Paranormal.

With that mash up of inspiration, I like to incorporate aspects of all of those genres into my own writing. It's no surprise that I ended up writing speculative fiction.

Science Fiction has always been my favorite, probably because of the major what if factor and how your imagination has so much freedom to play with the answer to the question. I did read a good deal of hard sci-fi in my late teens and after, but slowly gravitated to the softer side of things and have stayed there.

And on that note, I'd point you toward Trust, my long-time sci-fi favorite project.