Dec 3, 2014

IWSG: Hiding in my closet.

This post is part of  the Insecure Writer's Support Group


Monday, someone told me I need to do more marketing. It was all I could do to not laugh. Tell me something I don’t know.

Some days, I feel like I’m writing in a closet. I can hear others milling about on the other side of the door and when I have a book done, I slide it under that door and start on the next. And it feels like I have no way to control it after it’s gone. If someone picks it up that’s great…. I don’t really know how I’d make them pick it up.

I have decent sales and I have a lovely little following, but I have no idea to expand on that. So until I do figure that out, I’ll be sitting here in my closet, writing my books and reading through thoughts and ideas on the interwebs.

Nov 3, 2014

October's Wrap-up

A month of merriment, candy, and costumed children. And now it's over and we all turn our thoughts to the count down to Turkey - or we start tapping out words because it's NaNoWriMo!

Anyway, let's talk about last month....

Words Written: 34,647

31,717 of those were new words, the other 2,930 were in revision additions. And most of the words went into one or another of the upcoming Flynn books.

Drafts Finished: 0


Books Revised: 2

Going through the second to last changes on one book and the second on another.

Print Books Acquired: 8

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson - 
I grabbed this at a steal and after Jason Hough's recommendation, I couldn't pass it up. I've read the first two pages and it looks like it will be intense and interesting. Excited to get a chance to sit down with it.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon -
I will not lie: I bought this because of the tv series. I haven't watched the series, so I guess, I bought it because of the gif/picture sets on pinterest and tumblr. And I love the idea that Gabaldon was inspired to write it after watching Doctor Who!

Seven Letters from Paris by Samantha Verant - 
I've talked to Samantha here and there on the internet for the past several years and was so excited when she sold her memoirs. I am really excited to read the in-detail version of a story I know vaguely from past conversations.

Chorus by Emma Trevayne - 
After giving away my ARC of this a little while ago, I kept looking at Coda on the shelf and thinking about it's missing sister. And this month, I finally got around to snagging a copy so that I can read it again whenever I fancy.

Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson -
I don't generally love the hardbacks that Costco's publishing house puts out, but this one is kind of pretty and it was a classic I didn't yet own, so I grabbed it.

Extra Ordinary Comics Vol 1-3 by Li Chen - 
DH and I supported the latest kickstarted and this was one of our pledge rewards. And I'm so happy we did it. The books are gorgeous!

Books Read: 12

Shadow and Bone by Liegh Bardugo (Blog Review)
This Duchess of Mine by Eloisa James (GR Review)
Dane by Liliana Hart (GR Review)
The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (Review on Thursday)
How to Catch a Wild Viscount by Tessa Dare (GR Review)
Infinityglass by Myra McEntire (Review on Tuesday)
Extraordinary Comics Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3 by Li Chen (GR Reviews Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3)
We Can Remember it for you Wholesale by Phillip K. Dick (Blog Review)
Arizona Rangers by M. David DeSoucy (GR Review)
Hot Pursuit by Lynn Raye Harris (GR Review)

Oct 2, 2014

So Long, September

Words Written: 44,091

I managed to hit my month goal, which was nice after several months of low word count. It’s amazing how much things like formatting and marketing can get in your way… and oh yeah, that little thing called life.  I do have to be careful though… when I get too engrossed in meeting counts when I’m uber busy, I can and have found that I’ll forget to eat. Bad writer.
Drafts Finished: 1

I powered through a rewrite of what is probably the fifth draft of a short story that will go up in January. I’m so much happier with it this go around, and it’s finally at the word count it needs to be at.

Books Revised: 2

The first revision was my first (or maybe second?) pass of the next Flynn Novella, the second was the input notes from beta #1. In all, I added a scant 2,845 to the two books and sent them off to their next reader. It’s like manuscript hot-potato over here.

Print Books Accuired: 6

Ready Player One – Earnest Cline
This went on my list after I interviewed Jason M. Hough and he chose it as the book he’d like to wipe from his memory so that he could read it again. It was on my radar before that, but any book that gets a recc from that question goes to the top of the buy pile.

World War Z –  Max Brooks
One of my closest friends has been extolling this book for years and I’ve always believed her… I’ve just never taken the time to pick it up. Now I have.

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
I’ve been tiptoeing around this book for the longest time… but I found it for next to nothing, so I decided to give it a try. We’ll see if it lives up to expectations.

Doll Bones – Holly Black
This book.
I considered leaving it at that, but let’s just say, I’ve been looking forward to this book for too long to have waited to buy it for as long as I have.

Untold – Sarah Rees Brennan
You’ll see the first book in this series on the next list. I reviewed it last week and the book was wonderful enough I bought the sequel even though I know I won’t be able to buy the third for a year (a hard back copy would mess up the continuity of the series on my shelves)

The Iron Trial – Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
I would have bought this book anyway, but this article made me more eager to pick it up. So when I chanced upon it this weekend for a decent price, I grabbed it and added it to the pile.

Books Read: 5

Storm Front – Jim Butcher
Timepiece – Myra McEntire (Review here)
Unspoken – Sara Rees Brennan (Review here)
The Rifters – M. Pax
At Empire’s Edge – William C. Dietz (Review here)

Other Things of Note:

I’ve been fighting with the print cover of TRTH. The color was coming out all wrong which was really depressing. I get yet another version tomorrow (or maybe today if the transfer from UPS to USPS doesn’t get messed up again) So hopefully I’ll have that available SOON!

October has some pretty lofty goals! I hope I can get them all done.

Oct 1, 2014

IWSG: Advice on Writing, Publishing, and Marketing

This post is part of  the Insecure Writer's Support Group

Writing - Make it a Habit and Keep Yourself Accountable
Twitter and cat videos can be fun, but they don’t get any words on a page. Setting daily goals, making writing a habit and keeping yourself accountable are all keys to getting where you want to be. The goals don’t have to be huge, your habit doesn’t have to consume your whole life.

Start small if you need to. Get up a half hour early in the morning and tap out 500 words in one go, or snatch them whenever you can. Get in the habit and write down your accomplishments.
Tangible evidence will always help spur you on to your next day’s goal. Keep these notes in a spreadsheet or in a journal. Make lists or write out what you wrote and how those scenes made you feel.

Publishing - Always Do Your Research
Publishing a book is a job. You want to do it right – the first time. Whether you’re taking the traditional route through an agent, or wading into the murky water of self-publishing, you need to do your research.

With the traditional route you need to make sure you’re looking at (and potentially signing with) the right agent. This applies to two things. 1) making sure you’re subbing to reputable agents who will steer you in the right direction, and 2) finding the right agent for you and your book. Not all agents are created equal. Sometimes an agent is amazing… but not the right one for you.

When you’re diving into self-publishing, you have to do more work. Now you have to research platforms and cover artists and editors and formatting – or you have to research how to do all of that on your own which is even more of a daunting task. You have to research target audiences and release strategies.
Take the time and get it right.

I suppose you could write the book, slap on a cover and throw it to the proverbial wolves. But lighting strikes aren’t something you want to count on.
Marketing – If You Don’t, Who Will?
This is perhaps the most daunting of all the aspects of being an author. Getting the word out there. If you’re like me, you love writing and telling your stories… but the idea of being in the spotlight has you searching frantically for the nearest shadow.

Unfortunately it has to be done. You have to step out into the light and tell people what you’ve done. If you don’t, who will? No one is going to be your advocate (unless you pay them or they’re your mom) and no one is going to know your stories as well as you do. You have to do the leg work.

Sep 3, 2014

IWSG: Incomplete

This post is part of  the Insecure Writer's Support Group

I’ve been told I’m a completionist. Sometimes it’s said as a complement… sometimes as a criticism. I’m not certain which side of that coin I agree with, but I do think one or the other is right.

When it comes to my books, I think that particular part of my personality is a hindrance. I like things being wrapped up with a nice shiny bow… I like getting all the things done! But when you finish a novel… when it’s published and it’s out there on shelves (physical or digital) it’s never really over. I can’t change them, but by putting it out in the world I’ve given it a new sort of life, one that isn’t entirely dependent on me anymore. I don’t control who reads it, who likes it or hates it. I don’t control who they tell or how or why. Which is fine. Right? I’m still trying to convince the control freak that lives in my brain to stop poking the tender spots left after I throw a book out into the world and pretend that I actually feel like it’s finished.

Maybe someday I’ll get over that. Until then, I’ll be over here in a corner fretting about things that don’t feel complete.

Sep 1, 2014

August in a Nutshell

Words Written: 28,464

With the exception of the final week, you can see my writing was quite… nonexistent. I’d like to blame that on the fact my nose was stuck in revision pages… but I don’t have a lot to show for that either.

Books Revised: 1
I was hoping to get 4 books revised, but three of them turned out to be such messes, I’m still slogging through them.

Print Books Acquired: 6
Images of America: Arizona Rangers by M. David DeSoucy
Timepiece by Myra McEntire
Infinityglass by Myra McEntire
Unspoken by Sara Rees Brennan
Sword of the Bright Lady (ARC) by M. C. Planck
The Betrayal of Flynn Monroe (by moi)

Books Read: 3

Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan
Sword of the Bright Lady by M. C. Planck
White Lady by Jessica Bell

Aug 6, 2014

IWSG: Starting Over

This post is part of  the Insecure Writer's Support Group

Writing is a series of starting over.

There’s only one real “Start” that gets out of the way when you start your first novel. From then on out, everything is beginning again. You finish a draft, you start over by rewriting or editing. You move on to your next project and you start the entire process over again.

That is what gets at my insecurities.

Most of the time starting over makes me forget. I’ve got a blank page and an outline… and no idea how I managed to get a decent word count into a first draft the last time around. I restart a book after letting a draft sit and I stare at the words wondering how I ever thought they were the right ones to put on the page.

I start over every day. I clear out my word-count goal spreadsheet and I start the meter running again. And I don’t always make it.

But maybe that’s the best thing about starting over… I get to try again tomorrow.

Aug 1, 2014

July is (Finally) Over

July is over and gone…. how did that happen?

I’ll admit, the summer months get me quite frazzled. I blame the excessive heat and the dust storms. (but that’s probably not the real reason)


August is here and now and I’ve every plan of getting back on track and keeping up with this. You are more than welcome to start a betting pool if you think I won’t be able to hack it. Maybe I wont.

So let’s get down to business July’s overview!

Books published: 1 (Though I did get another paperback edition up and running as well!)

Windthrow came out at the beginning of the month and let’s face it, that’s all I really got done over here on the blog this month – talking about that.

First Drafts finished: 1.5

Book 3 of the Flynn series is done and in edits so it is on-track for my planned pub date! and I’ve accomplished my goal of 50% on book 3.5 (a novella that takes place at the same time as book 3).

Total words written: 32,918

Not my best count, but thankfully not my worst count. Let’s blame this on the heat, shall we? I like that you blame it on the heat, I’ll sit over here and be annoyed with myself.

Print Books bought: 6

Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger - Technically this is for Earl though I might read it again and try to change my opinion of it.
Player of Games (Culture Book 2) Iain M. Banks
Mater (Culture Book 8) Iain M. Banks - I don't have 3-7 yet, but matter was on sale so I snatched it up.
Full Blooded (Jessica McClain 1) Amanda Carlson - I'm trying to remember who recc'ed this and can't, but it was super cheap, so I figured I'd give it a go.
Shadow and Bone (Grisha 1) Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm (Grisha 2) Leigh Bardugo - I've been dying to read this series... but I'll be waiting to start until I have book 3 as well.
Books read: 10

I won’t lie… that number surprised me at first, then I realized a lot of the books on my GoodReads list are novellas. So, not so surprising after all.

The Earl in my Bed
All’s Fair in Love & Seduction
The Curious Case of the werewolf that wasn’t, the mummy that was, and the cat in the jar
How to Lose a Bride in One Night
Dark Space
City of Fallen Angels
The Suffragette Scandal
Screwing up Mongolia

I will talk at you again next week!

Jun 16, 2014

Giveaway & Author Interview with Jason M. Hough (US only)

Today’s post is a little different. It’s a hybrid interview of sorts.

Jason Hough was in Phoenix for ComiCon last week, and I had the opportunity to sit down with him after his Friday signing for a chat. We spent about an hour talking about books and the convention while I tried my hardest not to be distracted by the constant parade of costumed con-goers that streamed past on the street outside.

Jason, represented by Sara Megibow of the Nelson Agency, is the New York Times Best Selling Author of the Dire Earth Cycle, A Trilogy from Del Ray that was released in July, August, and September of 2013. When I asked him about how he liked the nearly simultaneous release I got a small laugh, and a smile.

His first contract was for three hardbacks spaced approximately eight months apart. Things changed when he finished the second book in the series well ahead of schedule and his editor loved it. In a conference call with Sara and Del Ray, his publisher pushed for the quick fire release. Jason was hesitant at first, but after talking with Sara and seeing how that release schedule had worked for Naomi Novik and Kevin Hearn, he agreed.

He also mentioned that it was a relief, in the end, to have the entire series written and done before the first book came out. It took a lot of the pressure off.

How long did it take to write The Exodus Towers & The Plague Forge? And did they come to the page harder or easier than Darwin?
The Exodus Towers took about six months, and The Plague Forge took eight (with a few months of plotting and planning in between). I wrote both in the time it took to write Darwin, and that increase in productivity can be attributed to the simple fact that I had a contract and a deadline to motivate me.

When I first read the Darwin Elevator, I was fascinated by how much of the story is about the Elevator (I probably should have taken a clue from the title), and I wondered what made him choose to use the space elevator. So I asked.

Jason informed me he’s always been fascinated with space elevators. Since reading The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke, and living in a world where rocketry is the accepted and unquestioned means by which we travel to space, he wanted to explore the elevator as the only means.

We then talked about his small panic attack that Darwin might be too far from the equator for a space elevator to work, he told me the story of his emails to NASA (For the full story on that, check out AmyBethInverness’s Interview). Darwin Australia is a little ways away from the equator, so the elevator would climb at an angle until it reached the equator – well above the atmosphere. And like any good author, he found this out and promptly went back to his book to make sure to change any instance where he might have implied the elevator went straight up.

John Scalzi, Arthur C Clarke, & Kim Stanley Robinson are all authors you’ve mentioned who you admire, who have played with/spurred/focused on the idea of a space elevator. Do you think there was an author in particular who really influenced Darwin’s Elevator when you wrote it?
They all contributed to my mental picture of what such a device would look like, and how it would be used. What I really wanted to do differently was have the elevator be the main set piece that glued the whole story together.  Similar, perhaps, to how Babylon 5 or Deep Space 9 serve as the central setting for those shows. Ultimately I wanted the elevator to inextricably tie a post-apocalyptic society to an idyllic space-based population.  As such most of my real inspiration came from stories in those veins. Things like Stephen King's The Stand and all the great space operas.

A question I love to ask people – mostly because I myself don’t know my own answer – is what one book they would like to erase from their memory so they could read it again for the very first time. Jason answered without hesitation, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

What one book would you love to see adapted into film? (Assuming time-related cuts, studio decisions, etc didn’t change it completely. *cough* We Can Remember It for You Wholesale *cough*)
I've always wanted to see Ray Feist's FAERIE TALE brought to the screen. Also Warren Hammond's KOP series would make a great noir-ish SF film or TV series.

If you’ve ventured to Jason’s FAQ page, you’ll find he has two infrequently asked questions.  And while I find a flaw with the type of tree he would be, Apricot jam being his favorite made me smile (It’s my husband’s favorite too). And so, because it is exactly the sort of person I am, I asked what his favorite thing is to put Apricot Jam on. He took three seconds before answering this one with normal PB&J, and then added that he often makes his boys pancakes and will put the spread on any leftover flapjacks, roll and roll them in to a delicious sort of breakfast flauta. 

But enough about that, it’s making me hungry.

While Jason couldn’t give me any real information about his 2015 release – other than that it is a totally new stand-alone SF – he was able to tell me that we can expect a prequel novella in the Dire Earth Cycle sometime this year.

Okay! On to the Giveaway!

As with everything in the universe (except chaos) there are rules!

To win the entire Dire Earth Cycle (British versions) signed by Jason you only have to do two things

#1 Leave a comment on THIS BLOG POST answering one of the questions I asked Jason: What one book would you erase from your memory so you could read it again for the first time?
#2 Fill out the Rafflecopter
That’s it.

US entrants Only

Extra entries can be gained through tweeting about the giveaway.

Giveaway ends at Midnight Thursday. Winner announced Friday!