Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Not Feeling The Love

It's been a rough start to the year. We had to stay goodbye to our 16.5 year old terrier a couple weeks ago due to health reasons. This was in the wake of the unexpected death of our 11 year old terrier in November. I also lost two of my fluffy chicken friends to a nasty illness in January. Crossing my fingers that the rest of the flock is ok. So far, everyone looks good.

Say hello to my new shadow, 9 year old Skittles. He's currently curled up in my blanket next to me on the chair. He prefers to be attached if I'm stationary anywhere. Good thing he's small because my chair isn't that big.

After three weeks of distribution snags, Frayed is finally available at all your favorite online retailers. It's been a journey, guys, I won't lie. The writing, the finishing, and then the distribution hiccups that were out of my control. But here we finally are. Whew! Signed copies are available from the tab at the top or you can find  me at the Mid-Michigan Women's Expo in Lansing (Feb 9-11).

God doesn’t make mistakes. That choice to give man free will, though, that has caused nothing but problems. Problems that need fixing.

When an angel shows up to hand Samuel Mason a task he never asked for, his first reaction is to refuse. Killing the little boy next door is unthinkable. But there’s a contract with Sam’s name already on it and the angel won’t take no for an answer.

Fulfilling his task will ruin Sam’s life, his family, and devastate the boy’s mother. How long can a good kid hold out before he becomes the very thing society expects him to be?

Davis, Jean

January was a month for getting behind the scenes things gone. I updated awards, back cover blurbs, and 'also by' pages on all of my books, printed new booth banners, updated my book racks, and made new bookmarks and new business cards. All of these things had to be done because... I have several new books since they were last done. #writerproblems 

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

Which brings us to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group portion of the post. This month's question is: What turns you off when visiting a writer's website or blog?

My number one turn off is: I can't find what I'm there for. 

Have clear tabs for things. Make it easy for your visitors to find what they want. Links to your books, about you, photos, your signing schedule, blurbs, your contact information and your blog or posts. Or any combination thereof. Put all of that in an easy to find spot at the top of the page. Please. Do not make me jump through hoops, because I don't do much jumping anymore. I'm busy. If you make it hard, I will just go away.

Monday, January 1, 2024

It's 2024!

As we slip into shiny new year, it's time to look forward to new things. Usually I have a one word resolution but I've yet to come up with one so I'm forgoing that this time around. As always, I'm hoping for a more relaxed year, but that never seems to actually happen. Doesn't hurt to hope though.

How did I do with my 2023 goals?

• Release Everyone Dies: A Collection of Dark Tales DONE!

• Finally finish Frayed, because OMG this has been a tough one to get from brain to page. DONE!

• Illustrate Kay-Kay: The Littlest Chicken (new) DONE!

• Write/finish one of the following projects: Godmother (new), I9 (new), or Interface (2016 WIP). 

    I did start I9 so I'm calling that somewhat done.

• Release one of those five projects. I released Everyone Dies and Kay-Kay so DONE!

• Don't keel over. I'm still kicking. DONE!

New books I hope you'll see in 2024:

Frayed - out with ARC readers

One Shot At The Sphinx - in the last round of edits

Laya's Vacation - waiting for illustrations

Projects I hope to get to or wrap up in 2024:

Godmother - currently just notes

i9 - first draft in progress

Interface - first draft in progress

Other goals for 2024:

As always, I'm hoping to read more. I have so many books on my TBR stacks and on my kindle. 

I'd like to get out in my flower garden more. We'll see if my body cooperates.

Maybe work a little less. Yes, I'm laughing at that one while looking at my 2024 events over there on the right, but we're back to that hope thing. 

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
Let's get to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question: Do you follow back readers on Bookbub or only other authors. 

Well, I don't use Bookbub, so we're going to answer with platforms I do use: Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads. I mostly follow back other authors, but if I've met a reader in person at an event, there's a fairly high chance that I'll follow them back too. I tend to only follow people I actually know rather than amassing numbers. That's probably not the most marketing beneficial way to go about it, but that's how I roll. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

It's hard to believe we're back to December already. Maybe if I wasn't always on the go, time wouldn't fly by? Nah, it probably still would. 

November always flies by. Between Grand Rapids Comic Con and NaNoWriMo, its a flurry of people and words. 

Grand Rapids Comic Con went well. It was fun as always and Kay-Kay got to come to her first con. Petting a chicken sure made a lot of people happy. Lots of books found new homes and I had a great time chatting with the other guest authors each day. 

NaNoWriMo resulted in 50,000 new words! Of my projects:
Laya's Vacation is a complete draft
One Shot At The Sphinx (a Narvan Novella) is a complete draft
I9 (a stand-alone scifi novel) is 1/3 finished.
Godmother didn't get started yet

Overall, I'm happy with the month of writing and the drafts are all workable. Hooray!

I'm taking December off, not because I want to but because work is crazy thanks to the holiday shoppers, I have a five day trip to North Carolina for work next week, and three small book events on the weekends until Christmas. Somewhere in there, I need to decorate, wrap presents, bake cookies, and host two Christmas family things. A writing break is in order.

Alrighty, let's get onward to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question: 
Book reviews
If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
 are for the readers. When you leave a book reviews do you review for the Reader or the Author? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author?

The author isn't the book. I'm reading the book. Authors are people and many are like me, we write a lot of different things. We learn, we grow, our writing styles change. You may be reviewing the latest book they've written, but in the world of publishing, things move slow. That book could have been written three years ago and stuck in the publishing machine. 

Review the book. That book. Not everything else they've written that you may or may not have read. 

In a review, I will comment about what I liked or didn't like and why. I don't assume the author will ever read the review. Many don't. I rarely do. If you have something super nice or constructive criticism to offer, contact the author. The review is to help other readers decide if that book is for them.

If I don't pop on here before January, have a happy holiday season! Enjoy your family, your pet(s), or at least curl up somewhere quiet with a good book. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Book Release and NaNoWriMo


It's release day for Tears of the Tyrant

The Narvan continues with book five:

Rumors of Tyrant Ta’set’s killing sprees have spread throughout the known universe. Or are they truths?

Vayen’s hold on his deadly Arpex abilities is slipping. If he loses control, he’ll be executed and his mission of unification and peace will die with him. Desperate to help Vayen maintain his precarious balance, Anastassia is willing to offer him a week with another woman as a diversion from his dark urges. Can she live with her decision if he wants more?

In the public spotlight by association, Daniel unwittingly ignites a political uprising when, in the spirit of love and unity, he adopts the Jalvian practice of taking a second wife. While he works with Neko to guide the debate within the Narvan, he must also work alongside his volatile, tyrannical father as they race the rumors to seek out amiable worlds for their advisory union. Daniel struggles to take on the brunt of his parent’s mission while facing his own darkness.

Spending a guilt-free week with Vayen is a dream come true for Buria. She’s had her eye on him for years. Securing a place within his inner circle could mean a serious job upgrade and notoriety. Managing Vayen’s addictions and temper will require every skill beaten into her as a slave if she is to stand a chance at coming out on top.

Is the Ta’set family, the Narvan, and the newly-formed advisory union prepared for a future where Vayen takes the one life that will send him over the edge?

Would you like to check out the first chapter for free? Download from BookFunnel.

Available in e-book and paperback today!  Amazon / B&N / Kobo

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
We've reached November, which means we're going to talk about National Novel Writing Month. This month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question asks: Have you ever participated? The short answer: Yes.
Want to know all about it? Let's dive in!

For year 18 of my NaNoWriMo adventures, I'll be sinking my writerly teeth into four projects as muses and time allow. I've managed to meet or exceed my goal of 50,000 words in 30 days 15 out of the 17 previous years so I'm feeling pretty good about keeping my words hopping. 

This year I'll be working on:

 A new chicken picture book - Laya's Vacation

A Narvan novella - Anastassia and Chesser's Story (title TBA)

A YA fairytale along the same vein as Spindelkin - Godmother

A sci-fi standalone - I9

We'll see how much of any or all of these I can accomplish. I know I have 3 days that nearly nothing will get done due to Grand Rapids Comic Con. I also have a 3 day work trip to St. Louis to contend with but I'm hoping to be able to write in the car (not while I'm driving, of course) and at night. Fingers cross that there are no other unexpected major interruptions.

My NaNo secrets for success

1. The point is to write 50,000 new words in 30 days. That can be done a lot of different ways. Do what speaks to you. The pure experience would be to work on a totally new novel. You could also veer into the rebel camp and write a collection of short stories, an epic poem, multiple projects, non fiction articles, etc.

2. Don't sleep. Ok, maybe this one is just me. But I don't sleep well in general so I get up several times a night, and during November, that means I might write a couple hundred or thousand words at 2am before heading back to bed and then doing it again at 7am. Maybe grabbing another writing session after work and again just before bed. Write when you can.

3. This is writing month. That means my brain is in writing mode. I typically don't read books or watch Netflix or play on my phone during November. If I'm not working, eating, or sleeping, I'm writing. And when I'm doing those other three things, I'm thinking about what I will be writing the next time I sit down at the laptop.

4. Have fun with it. Join your local NaNo group. Attend write-ins online or in person for group support and motivation. Find a writing buddy and get competitive. Urge each other on and duel with word counts. Do word wars. You don't have to write alone. Unless you prefer to, then hey, write alone.

5. Get the words on the page and don't be afraid to suck. Rough drafts are not meant to be perfect. That could mean experimenting with a scene or chapter or a bunch of chapters that might not make it into the final novel. Sometimes you need to tinker around to see what POV works best or explore a subplot. Those words all count for NaNo purposes. If you get stuck, skip to the next scene, throw words at the page and see what sticks to get you going again. Get all stream of consciousness if you have to. Just keep moving forward. Or jump around if that's your thing. Keep writing.

My NaNo history

2006 - Sahmara was my first NaNoWriMo novel. It took 10 years between it's word birth and actual publication. Noveling isn't a race. Sometimes books need time to come together.

2007 - A YA Fantasy that has yet to come together though I've toyed around with it a couple of times. I'm not giving up on it yet.

2008 - Not Another Bard's Tale - This was my favorite NaNo book to write as far as it being fun.

2009 - A Broken Race - My first book to be published in 2015

2010 - Destiny Pills & Space Wizards - My first rebel year when I wrote short stories instead of a novel.

2011 - Chain Of Grey - Narvan books are an easy (comparatively)  because those characters just flow onto the page.

2012 - A failed attempt at a Broken Race prequel that ended up providing additional content in the second edition of ABR. While I did make it to 50K, the story didn't work.

2013 - A sci-fi novel that I'd like to revisit at some point to see if I can pull it out of it's tailspin because I really like this one.

2014 - 20K of a sci-fi novel that I don't even remember writing because it was while we were building our house. Someday I'll have to read it and see if it's worth pursuing. 

2015 - Interface, oh you poor YA sci-fi novel. I've said I would finish you so many times. Yet, you're not finished. One of these days, I'll follow through.

2016 - The Last God - After several years of novels not going anywhere, I got back in the groove. Yay.

2017 - Bound In Blue

2018 - Seeker

2019 - Spindelkin

2020 - The Minor Years

2021 - Frayed - While I didn't get to 50k on this project for NaNo because: life, I did recently finish writing it and it will be released in 2024

2022 - Everyone Dies, part of Tears of the Tyrant and Kay-Kay - a very productive year

For those keeping track, that means all my novels but Trust and Dreams of Stars and Lies started as NaNo novels. NaNo isn't for everyone, but it works for me. If you're participating, feel free to shoot me a buddy request on the NaNo site. Hello, I'm Gypsywitch and I'm a nano addict.  

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

October is for Getting Book Stuff Done!

September was a relaxing month as far as previous months go. I found time to sleep, edit, and format Tears of the Tyrant. I finished Frayed. Yes, really. Finally. And also started edits on Frayed. Woohoo!

I did a craft show with an author friend last weekend. It didn't go near as well as it did the year before for us. The organizer is doing too many similar shows at the same venue, which appears to tapping out the buying audience. That one is crossed off my list for next year, but we had a good time and met readers. 

October is for cramming in as much as possible before writing month takes over. I have one event this weekend, a new to me outdoor Halloween show. We'll see how it goes. Crossing my fingers for nice weather. 

What's on the to-do list for October?

• Getting Tears of the Tyrant ready for release on Nov. 1

• Getting as much wrapped up on edits of Frayed as possible

• Finalizing my plan of attack for NaNoWriMo year 17

• Applying for events for 2024 as applications go live

• Seeing if I can sneak in time to work on Interface (YA sci-fi)

• Getting panels written/finalized for Grand Rapids Comic Con

If you're not familiar with 
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participating writers.

This month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question is about generative AI uses in writing. Will it assist or replace writers? 

I'm not a fan of AI for writing or artwork. Is it useful? I'm sure it is. Will I be jumping onboard at this time? No. Paranoid me has seen this movie. I've read variations of this book. I will not be assisting in training our AI overlords. No thank you. #TeamHuman.

Seriously though, yes, it's a tool. I'm sure it has it's uses. At the moment, my muses are chatting it up so I don't feel the need to ask AI for ideas or sketch out scenes or plots. I've got this.

Have I toyed with AI for cover concepts, sure. But in the end, I went an entirely different direction. I've avoided purchasing AI generated art elements for my covers from my stock art source.

Will I change my mind later? Possibly. But today is not that day. Oh, and in case they're watching, all hail our supreme and benevolent overlords.