Sunday, April 21, 2019

Book Signing Road Trip

Now it would be super cool to have a publisher foot a hotel room for an author going to do a book signing, but yeah, that's not the level of publishing I'm at. And really, hotels cost money, money that comes off of my bottom line. Have I mentioned how Dutch I am? I am. Very.

That means when I set up a book selling even or signing I'm all about the one day road trip. I pack my own food. I gas up the car, and I set the alarm for the wee hours. Yesterday, I set out at 6am for Traverse City. It an almost three hour drive, but it was a nice morning. The roads were fairly empty, and once I was on the highway, cruise control took on the pedal action. Often for these types of trips, I share a table with another author to help split expenses and to keep each other company. And I did this time too, but he had to drive separately because his later plans varied from mine. The radio kept me company. I had plenty of time to listen to some music that I don't normally get a chance to get to in my usual car rides while doing errands.

Our first stop was a craft and vendor show in Williamsburg, just outside Traverse City. We were placed in an odd little cramped pass-through spot between the two larger vendor rooms. One of those rooms had lovely bright lighting. The other was all glass along one side and the sunlight was shining in. Our room, well, it was dimly lit. However, it was the pass through between both rooms and contained the bathroom. And a bar. Too bad the bar wasn't open. It would have made things more interesting.

As you may imagine, our sales were fairly low, in our darkened surroundings as customers squinted their way into the building from the bright sunny morning and from both brightly lit rooms. It turned out to be an okay show, but not one I would drive almost three hours for again. However, I did get to meet some new readers, so that's always fun.

Once that show was over, we packed up, which takes about ten minutes - we're pretty practiced at scattering once events are done - my table buddy headed for home. I drove twenty minutes to the Grand Traverse Mall and set up in Bookbrokers, a lovely indie bookstore with a super friendly staff.

I've sat at a table in a bookstore with my books before, and at a table with my books in a mall before, but this was actually fun. Have I mentioned how great the staff was? They were. They made sure I had a comfortable chair, something to drink, and plenty of conversation between customers.

My favorite part of the day was meeting a young woman and her friend who had 'never met an author before'. Like we're some illusive mystical creature. We had a good laugh and talked a lot about writing processes. She bought a couple books. We took a picture together. Good times. 

When my time there came to an end, I packed up, went out to my car to eat and headed home with the tunes blaring. I got to see the sun rise and the sun set. I sold books. I got to meet readers. It was a good day.

I like how Doc's shirt matches my hair and his hat matches my dress.
If you're ever up in Traverse City (or down, depending on where you are in the world), do stop by Bookbrokers and say hello to Doc, the owner. Ask for a book and he'll find you something even better to read, maybe even something by a Michigan author. They have a whole wall of signed Michigan authored books! And used books. And various items by local craftspeople. Get something to drink from Kramer's Café, slip a few pieces into the community puzzle, and then settle into a comfy chair and read for a bit.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Where do ideas come from

Today I'm visiting Diane Burton's blog to celebrate the release of Trust. Diane is my buddy at many local book events in West Michigan and beyond. She also has a new release this month and will be around soon to share that with you.

One of the questions I often get when talking to readers is: "Where to you get ideas for your books?"

Most of my ideas are just random thoughts that fester or moments of inspiration from the news or something that pops up in any given day. But in the case of Trust, the idea came from a short story I wrote in the early 80's. It was a short six page story about two teenagers in space. This was before the internet. Before home computers. Before I could reliably spell 'remember'. Rember. Though the whole freaking story. OMG, the spelling.

But the idea hung with me for years and I played with it, changing it here and there, sometimes drastically. Eventually I changed the point of view character from Anastassia to Vayen. Let me tell you, from one writer to another, get that figured out before you write the novel because it was a hellish rewrite full of headaches. However, I'm really glad I did it because it solved a lot of the issues I was having and I had a great time getting into Vayen's head.

The story that is published now, in no way resembles that short story or most of the earlier versions for that matter, but it was still the seed that launched the adventure in my mind. And no other novel I've written has given me that much grief or been with me this long.

The moral of the story is: don't throw stuff away and don't give up on an idea. You never know when it that little seed might trigger something else. It might not be the right time for it right now, but at some point, it may unfurl into something bigger that you really enjoy.

Get your copy here:
Amazon  /  Amazon UK   /  Barnes & Noble  /  Kobo  / Direct from the publisher
Add it on Goodreads  

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Release Day for Trust: Book One of the Narvan and IWSG

Oh happiest of days! The much long awaited (for me, anyway) release of Trust is today! The earliest seed of this book came from a short story I wrote in the early eighties. Yes, you read that right. Roughly thirty-six years and countless entirely different versions of the story later, I can finally hold this book in my hands and share it with all of you. 

Trust is a space opera, and the first book of a series. Four books are currently written, the first three are under contract. What am I working on now? Putting the finishing touches on book two: Chains of Grey which is slated to be out before the end of the year.

War has torn Vayen Ta'set's homeworld apart. It took away his parents and then his brother, leaving him alone. He's spent his life training to join the fight, to do his part, to bring peace to Artor. But the war ends before he's able to join in, quietly brought about by a human, Anastassia Kazan. When she offers him a job as her bodyguard, he's sure he's finally found his place.

He's wrong. She's not who he thought she was. The peace she brought to Artor, to his entire star system, comes with a cost. One he's now helping her pay. There are bigger enemies out in the known universe than he ever imagined. Without Kazan, deals and truces will crumble. War is just a death away.

Neck deep in Kazan’s world of bribes, blackmail, and assassins, Vayen must eliminate the threats to his boss and his homeworld without becoming a target himself. It’s hard to make your mark on the universe if you’re dead.

Currently, the print copy is available through the publisher, Caffeinated Press. As is the e-book. Did you know that buying direct through the publisher or the author puts the most pay back in the author's hand? Don't want to pay shipping? I'll be all over Michigan this year with all of my books. Trust is available in all the usual places:

Amazon / and the rest that I'll put here when I have the links from the publisher.

Hey, look! It's the first Wednesday of the month and I'm remembering to post this time. I'll just be over here, patting myself on the head. Carry on.

If you're not familiar with 

This month's questions is: If you could use a wish to help you write just one scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?

I'd use that wish to write a stellar first chapter that was both engaging and at the right darn place to start the story the first time around. If you've never written a story, you have no idea how hard that is and how much time, grief and grey hair that would save.

So where can I sign up for this wish? We won't dwell on how many beginnings Trust has had. I've lost count. At one point the working title of book was The Beginning. Which was horrible, but accurate for as many time as I rewrote the entire thing and started it in all different places until the story finally clicked into place. Wait. Does this mean I used my wish without knowing about it, all those years ago?

Opening chapters are hard. It seems to be a common thing we all complain about it. Finding the right scene, the right level of tension, of world building, the correct character to tell the story at that moment, all of that has to fall into place. I don't usually figure out where that is on the first draft. Or even on the second, on occasion. Sometimes it takes a critique partner to help pin down the right scene or even chapter to become the opening, someone not quite so close to all the precious words.

Which scene or chapter would you use your wish on?