Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What do you mean November is over?

Well, that was a fast month!  Yes, I did well -- 215,750 words

Beware the Wrath of Bunny Hopper

Devlin 5: The Aldebaran Stopover

Devlin 6: Legend

Devlin's Report 2: Gemini and Psi

Devlin's Report 3: Caliente

Not bad at all, really.  Intense.  I had two cats ill during the month, which gave me problems for a while there.  However, I did have fun.

And I also crossed the million word mark, too.  Got newsletters done for DAZ and some much needed updates for ACOA.  And now I just need to get caught up on everything else and we'll be fine.

I hope everyone had fun!

Now back to the real world, if I can find it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Psuedo-Holiday Letter: Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour #5

Dear Everyone,

Today I should have been doing a self-interview for the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, but I couldn't quite get my head around the questions -- which is odd for someone who generally interviews authors for Vision.  So I thought I would write a pseudo-holiday letter instead and let you know what's going on in my world.

Personal Life:

Russ is still working in New York and I am in Nebraska.  This is the start of the fifth year and we really hope things will change soon.  He only manages to get home for a few days three or four times a year, and none of us are happy about the situation.  On the other hand, he does have a job, which is why he went to New York.

The three boys -- Wind, Zaphod and Edmond (yes those are the cats) -- are doing well, though Edmond has been suffering from a horrible cold already this year.  I dread to think what it is going to be like when winter actually hits.

I do have a new member of the household, however.  Meet Buffy -- who has lately been answering to 'You, Demon Cat from Hell!'   She is the most active cat I have ever known.  All three of the boys play with her from time to time, but I think we're all hoping she grows out of it soon.  Don't let the picture fool you.  She was just shocked that I would do such a thing to her.  She hasn't sat still since.

In the last four years, I have become a virtual hermit.  I have a very boring life, in most respects. I order almost everything I need on-line and since my job (a weekly newsletter for means more computer work, you can imagine the amount of time I spend in front of the computer, and that's not even counting the most important aspect of my world.

Writing Life

2011 marked a huge change for me as I finally moved into the new world of the Indie Author.  Trust me; this is not a leap to make without a lot of thought and study.  It may seem as though this would be an easy choice, to do away with the publishers and go straight to the reader with your work.  The problem is finding those readers.  Publishers could distribute to the stores (and let us all mourn the loss of Borders) where readers gather in groups.  If nothing else, this is an important aspect of traditional publishing.  Yes, the Internet is also filled with readers, but it is very difficult to draw their attention to your little corner.

However, over the last year or two, readers have begun to seriously seek out new talent.  The Kindle and Nook markets have made this a viable, exciting market.  A number of previously published authors have leapt into the Indie Author field with both reprints and new work.  Some of my personal friends (Holly Lisle, C.J. Cherry, Jane Fancher) were some of the people who finally convinced me to have behind the old world and leap into the new.

I had already been published in ebook format for many years.  Now, though, I have moved away from the small press companies and taken over the entire process myself.  I now own a small co-op publishing entity.  The group of us have banded together simply for marketing purposes.

While you can find my work at the Nook and the Kindle sites, the easiest way to find the majority of them is to go to Smashwords.

There you will find novels, short stories and more.  The prices range from $2.99 down to free.  Most are science fiction and fantasy.  A few of them have been previously published.

What do I hope to achieve in the Indie Publishing World?

I don't expect to be a huge seller.  I write the kinds of adventure stories that are not filled with sex.  My stories are about fighting against the odds and finding adventures, sometimes in odd places.  I have a few truly wonderful fans and I hope to reach more of the same people.  My sales doubled in the last quarter, so I hope that means a continuation of growth.  I would like to make enough to help support Forward Motion and Vision: A Resource for Writers, without having to ask for donations and then build up from there so that I had a solid writing income of my own.

But that's the business side.  What am I writing now?

I just finished the first draft of Beware the Wrath of Bunny Hopper, which is a fun little urban fantasy novel.  I'm now working on Devlin 5: The Aldebaran Stopover, which is part of a science fiction series.  I'm doing these for the 2011 round of NaNoWriMo.  This is my 11th year taking part, and though I had something of a slow start, I have really gotten into it and I'm enjoying the process again.  It probably seems odd for someone who writes as much as I do to take part in an event aimed at helping new writers get moving on their first novels.  I do write far more than the required 50,000 words.  (I am up to 116k at the moment and still a long ways to go.)  Why join in?

This is an intellectual marathon.  It's inviting people to use their brains for something creative for a whole 30 days in a row in November.  It, wisely, does not require that you write great fiction, but only that you give yourself a chance to let your imagination play and create what might be a viable first draft of a novel.

For me, it's an excuse to just leap into a story and forget everything else for a while.  For a few days (usually not the entire month!) I can tell myself that writing is the most important thing going on, and everything else can be put aside: work, Forward Motion, Vision, etc.  It's my chance to do what I love most with no demands and no excuses.

For many people, the actual act of writing is the most difficult part.  That's not true with me.  Even editing is not a problem because I love revisiting the story and making it better.  What is the problem on my end?  Finding time to really concentrate on the work for the last steps before publication. Oh and marketing.  Marketing is something I just can't seem to grasp.  So I have bought books to help me out in 2012.  Yay!


I started my Picture a day blog on January 1, 2006 and I have not missed a day since.  The pictures are taken on the day they are posted (though sometimes they may be posted a day late, but dated to the day they were taken).  This has been an interesting experiment!

Finding a picture to take each day isn't difficult when you have cats.  However, I do try to get some other things. Birds at the feeder are always popular and so are the leaves in autumn.  I also have a spot on Flikr for various things:

Digital Art

Almost all of my work in digital art these days is going towards cover art for the books.  That's okay.  I just wish I had time to play with it more and to even learn some of the tricks to making models and textures.  That's something else I want to try my hand at next year.  If I get to half the stuff I want to do, it will still be too busy in 2012! 

And that's it, really.  Not a very exciting life.  Maybe I'll come up with some questions to ask myself later -- but for now, I need to get this posted and get back to writing.

Have fun!

If you want to get to read about nearly twenty other writers and find out what's on their nightstands, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. Be sure to read tomorrow's post by Sharon Kemmerer

Friday, November 11, 2011

Book 1 complete, 74,017 words

Before I write anything else, you should go check this out from Write Now! Coach blogs: 

That's an interesting site, too.  Well worth looking around to see what's going on! 

The post was a good reminder that yes, this is supposed to be fun.  My little mini rants in the last post were just a bit of frustration at seeing the same things every single year.  Notice that I can't even get up enough energy for a few hundreds words about them this time. (grin) 

I completed Beware the Wrath of Bunny Hopper at 74,017 words last night.  After midnight I started the second book, Devlin 5: The Aldebaran Stopover.  I'm coming up on 2k for it.  I suspect it will go to about 60k.  I have another outline in hand for afterwards, though I may just leap in and write something without an outline. 

Or maybe I'll go rebel and finish up the one novel I haven't completed yet this year.  You know what?  It doesn't matter as long as I'm having fun. 

And there is the thing you need to keep in mind, too.  None of us needs more work, do we?  None of us needs more stress.  Don't let NaNo cause you problems.  Enjoy the rush. 

For me, I'm going to be writing as often as I can for the rest of the month.  I will not let much else interfere, except for the stuff I have to get done.  I'm remembering what it is like to write with absolute abandon and enjoy the story just for telling it. 

I'm having a great time.  I hope you are too.

And here is a bit out of Beware the Wrath of Bunny Hopper.  Remember, first draft.  I hope you enjoy it, though:

At the end of the rock-carved hall we reached an open archway to the right and a huge room filled with a lot of people.  I tried to look around, to see if I could find Brad, but they never slowed as they herded me across the room.  Tables set here and there and I could smell food.  I saw faces turn my way.  Talking stopped.  I guess they didn't get many visitors down here in the hobbit hole.

Then, finally, something else occurred to me.  I was the only female in the room.  No others.  I began to think there was more to not telling me about what was going on and I felt a wave or righteous indignation.  It was because I was a girl.  Cooties!  Oh no!

By the time we got to the end of the room, a tall, older man with a sour face had stood and come toward us.  I could see he was not happy to see me at all.  The others didn't actually salute him, but I could still tell he was the guy in charge.  He had the look of Mr. Patterson, the social sciences teacher, whom everyone agreed had been way too long at the job.  He did not put up with anything but what he said was right.

Yeah, I saw this in this guy's face.  I was about to get detention.

But then I heard people coming towards us and looked to the right and spotted dad and my brothers. 

"Bunny!" Dad said, and sounded both surprised and exasperated.

"So, this is the girl child," the older man said, looking from dad and my brothers to me.  "You thought you had found a way around the oath, did you?  Don't tell her anything, only bring her inside, against my wishes."

"We did no such thing," my father replied, and this time he did sound indignant.

"Do not make matters worse, Andrew Hopper."

"We did not bring her in Silvanus.  You know us better than that."

"I would have thought I did --"

"Hold on there," I said and dared to take a step forward.  "They didn't bring me in!"

Silvanus looked at me, his grey eyes narrowed.  "I did not give you permission to speak."

Oh right.  Well, I was about to go from detention to suspension, if not straight to being expelled.  "If you want to know how I got in, then maybe you ought to listen to me, don't you think?"

"And why should I believe what you say?"

"Oh, careful there, Silvanus.  Remember whose daughter she is," dad said, his voice gone oddly soft.

Silvanus frowned, but I could see he wasn't going to give up his anger.  "Someone brought you in.  There is on other way."

Dad put a hand on my shoulder.  I think he meant to quiet or calm me, but I was not going to let him, Brad or anyone else take the blame for what I had done.  I had never feared the truth.   "I hid in the back of Brad's truck after he took me home.  I sent him to take the trash out."

"Damn. Tricky," Brad said with a sigh.

"I watched him when we got here.  I stood in the same place and when the statue asked, I said I was of the blood.  It let me in."

Silence fell everywhere in the room.  Silvanus blinked.  I could sense the shock that spread everywhere with a little whisper from table to table.  I dared a glance at Brad who gave a little shrug, but I saw the way his hand was near the sword he wore as well.  So did my other brothers and my father.  The sight didn't reassure me.  I feared if things went out of hand, they would draw those weapons to protect me.  I saw a whole new world of folly in what I had done.  I never expected it to be like this.

Silvanus was staring at me when I looked back at him.  "You are lying," he finally said, but I could hear a hint of disbelief in his words. 

"She most certainly is not," dad replied.  His fingers on my shoulder tightened.  "You know the truth when you hear it, Silvanus.  And I have been telling you as much about her."

Silvanus stared at me.  His face did not change and I could tell that no matter what we said to him, his mind was made up.  When he gave a little nod, I knew it wasn't one of approval.

"The girl child must go from here," he said.  My father made an exasperated sigh.  "And she must forget."

He lifted his hand and waved his fingers before my face.  Pretty lights danced around my eyes.  I watched them for a moment, wondering how he did it.  Then I batted them away.  "Don't do that," I said.  It's really very annoying."

His mouth opened.  He said nothing.  No one said anything at all, until finally, my father let out a little laugh.  He startled Silvanus who looked back at him with a shake of his head.

"It won't work, Silvanus.  She is of the blood."

Now, go write and have fun!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

NaNo Day 8: 63,634 (mini rants and progress)

I am taking a quick break from NaNo at the start of week 2 to cover a few things that have come up.  Many of them are the same stuff we hear every year.  So here are three little mini-rants and then a short progress report.

Number 1:

It's no one's business how you spend your free time, in November or any other month.  If you want to write 50,000 words, go for it.  Have fun.  It certainly beats sitting around in bars or watching television just to have something to do.  If you are doing NaNo on work time, then you deserve whatever reprimand you get.  (Oh, and if the boss can't tell if you are 'number-crunching' or writing in November, then I'd say there's a lot more wrong with the business than NaNo. Just sayin' Economist person with the stupid article.)

 If you mess up your school work for NaNo, you're being immature.

Other than that,  this is no one's business but your own.

Number 2:

Only serious, professional writers should be allowed to attempt a book?  By that notion, no group should be allowed to play football in an empty field unless they intend to be professional football players, right?  No one can paint a picture unless they are sworn to the secret society of artists.  Put that camera down if you aren't a professional!  And never mind that no one is born a professional.

You are never going to see the writing these people do, so how can it possibly affect your life in anyway?  Yeah, some publishers will be hit with submissions, but most of us know better, and we keep spreading the word.  Some of the books might hit epublication long before they should.  Don't go read them.

There.  Easy answer.  You never have to deal with it.

Oh, and 'greater than thou' author?  I hate your website and all the ads and the stupid promo stuff.  What?  Then don't go look at it?  Yeah, that's the point.  If you don't like NaNo, then stay away.  But don't tell others they haven't the right to join in if they want to because they are defiling the art of writing.

Grow up.

Number 3:

This has to do with people doing NaNo.  Let's look at an analogy.

You've entered a marathon with so many other people running, you can't even count them all.  You have no idea where they came from and what kind of preparation they've done, but that doesn't matter.  You are ready.   You get the go ahead and off you go.  You work really hard and you reach the first marker, proud to have made it, knowing you had a hard time getting there.

But you look ahead and there are people way ahead of you on the path.

OMG, that's so horrible and unfair (never mind how hard they worked to get there), that you immediately decide to stop running.

Yeah, I think you see the point.

Stop with the silly 'it's so unfair, they're cheating, it's de-motivating to see people with high word counts' crap.  How do you accomplish anything with an attitude like that?  Come on -- what others are doing has nothing to do with you.  Just because someone is running ten miles instead of five doesn't make your work (or theirs) any less difficult or important.  And a few years from now, you may well find yourself running the harder marathon because you are better trained for it.

Okay, now to my NaNo Stuff:

Despite some problems, I am doing well.  My Edmond kitty was very ill, and that has slowed me up quite a bit.  He's better now, but still not fully recovered.  Today I fell and hurt my hand, which is bruised and sore, my shoulder, my back and my foot.  Yeah, not in a good mood over that one. It is making it hard to work.

But yes, I am way out ahead of most of the runners, and no I don't have to worry about the word count.  I am really enjoying the work of writing Beware the Wrath of Bunny Hopper.  I keep finding her voice in unexpected spots and she's a lot of fun to write.  The story is already over the word count I expected it to end by, and I still have about 15 to 20k to go.  So yeah, doing well there. 

I'm having fun.  I hope the rest of you are as well!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

NaNo Day 1: 12,755

Just a quick post tonight before I crawl off to bed!  I did have a good first day despite several stops and starts.  Not the best first NaNo day I've ever had, but not bad at all.  So here is a bit from Beware the Wrath of Bunny Hopper.  Remember:  First draft.  Lots of mistakes, but still fun!

I rushed forward and in about five steps I had already spotted Brad with his back to a wall and a semi-circle of five people around him.  He had a sword in hand.  I didn't know he had any sword training, but he knew how to use it.  He couldn’t, however, hold off that many and there were others around as well. 

I didn't know what was going on here.  I didn't care.  Even if I could have called the police I still would have rushed in to help him.   

I didn't slow.  I leapt straight into the fray, startling Brad who started to swing and held back, though I had already ducked below the blow.  He made a sound of surprise, but I spun and kicked knocking one aside and then went for a second . . . and by the third my brain was starting to register that these things were not human. 

Beady eyes.  Mandibles.  Thick, dark covering that cracked when I hit it hard enough.  Bit mouth.  No neck.  Multiple legs. 

My brain kept cataloging what I saw while I helped Brad fight them back. 

Insects.  Huge, mutant insects.  It probably should have scared the hell out of me.  It probably would, later. 

Right now, I just kicked harder.  Good thing I'd been so well trained.  While part of my brain was screaming GIANT MUTANT INSECTS! that vicious inner bunny of mine had taken over the rest of it, including control of my body.  He didn't fear insects.  When they kept getting up, he just got annoyed and kicked harder.   

They backed off for a moment and I stepped closer to Brad.  He shook his head with worry, lowering the sword for a moment while he gasped for breath.  I spotted four dead insects here and a few more a ways off.  I thought he must have done very well so far.