Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Step one is done

Over the last couple days, I put a novelette up on both the Nook and the Kindle site for $1. This was an attempt to see if I could get the formatting right for epub stuff and actually get it up on the sites without totally messing things up. I wanted to know before I went on with other, longer material.

Nook version:  and Kindle version:

No Beast so Fierce is the story of two shapeshifters in the far future as they battle a group of dangerous vampires. The story was originally published by Darwin's Evolutions.

The majority of material I have scheduled for the Nook and Kindle are previously published books, though I do intend to try a few new pieces as well. This is an attempt to pick up just a little bit more income to help in my private life as well as with Forward Motion and Vision. I might as well do this and have fun and still be writing new material. It's an experiment, and I have a couple other people watching on who are close to dropping into the ACOA game as well.

ACOA = A Conspiracy of Authors

This is an invitation only publisher, with an editor on staff and a block of ISBNs. There will be print and ebook versions of the work once things get ironed out -- and yes, I am doing the majority of the work to help get things moving. I'm also volunteering a lot of my work for the experiment before anyone else joins in. I can afford to play around with some of my books. I have books to spare, and even if I started publishing one a month it would be over five years before I would have to worry about running out -- and that's providing I never wrote another novel again. I do not plan to put out a book a month, by the way. I'm just saying I have enough books (and never mind the shorter work), that I can do this without fear of ruining any chance to submit to other publishers and agents.

A book a month. Zette's Book of the Month Club. Why does this make we want to laugh hysterically?

This is where being prolific actually starts to pay off in more than entertaining myself with tales. It is not, of course, quite where I saw myself going a decade ago -- but a decade ago, the market started to change so much that I started finding it harder to locate things I wanted to read. That meant, of course, that what I wrote wasn't really in line with what was being published. And now, over the last couple years, the changes in the publishing world have been so drastic that yeah -- I'm ready to try something new.

Very early on, I submitted to ebook publishers and ezines -- long before Kindles and such. I loved it. I still make sales on a number of those original novels, almost a decade later. I've never been afraid of trying something new in the writing world and this entire ACOA project is going to be my experiment for the year. It's something I probably should have considered before now, but I've just been so busy with Vision and Forward Motion that I let just about everything on my writing front go except for the writing itself.

Ah yes, writing. I am working on outlines for next year and finishing up my last little bit of work for this year. I am also working on Vision, which should be going to a Joomla! set up this year, if I get it all worked out. That will make back issues far easier to deal with once I get them all in hand. That's going to be a project from hell -- ten years of articles to copy over and tag. But I'll get there eventually!

My tea machine is beeping at me to let me know I have another wonderful pot of tea done. And it occurred to me that it was, in part, the triniTEA that pushed me into this little change in plans in my writing life. I bought the tea maker and felt guilty about it. (It has, actually, cut so far down on my Diet Pepsi consumption that it's good for both money and health reasons -- but that's something else.) Then, as I started getting used to it (addicted, probably), I realized that I want to be able to buy myself little things again and not have to worry. Not a lot of things, not big things -- but things now and then and not have to remind myself that I need to pay for websites, Vision articles, food, cat food, etc. None of these is all that expensive. I don't need a lot of money.

But I have something like 80 novels completed in at least the first draft. Why should they just be sitting there? There are people who like my writing. I hear from them now and then -- but since I don't put a lot out, I lose track of them and they forget about me.

Time to put stuff out and get back to work on marketing -- but do it professionally, so to speak. Nothing will go out that hasn't gone through at least one editor other than me. This doesn't mean perfection, of course, but I won't expect readers to have to report easily corrected mistakes at every turn. Problems with formatting -- yeah, I'll want to hear about those because the whole epub thing is new to me.

This also means, of course, that it's time to start submitting to other places again, too. Forward Motion and Vision will do fine without me hovering over them every moment, and if I do actually make a little extra money, then it will help even more.

But even more than the money, the idea that I might go out and find readers again pleases me. I've missed that these last few years while I fretted over home, work and FM/Vision. I have not fretted over writing. I refused to let that whole attitude slip into that part of my life.

Which means, of course, that I wrote over a million words again this year. Just so you know.

That includes seven novels.

Maybe that Zette Novel of the Month Club isn't so bad an idea after all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Into the Great Unknown

That's how I'm starting to view 2011. I have things I'm doing that are entirely different from my usual track. I'm excited about it in many ways, but in others -- well, it's not the path I was on, and the footing looks a bit treacherous out there.

But it is a path that is increasingly popular among previously published authors. I've been picking up wonderful books by favorite authors lately in self-published ebook editions. And, as I've pointed out a few times before this, I am not connecting with the current science fiction and fantasy book market. I'm not even sure I could if I wanted to because the material that is popular right now is just not what interests me. There's nothing wrong with that -- we aren't all required to like the same things.

Getting my end of the project ready is difficult, though. Not that I don't have things ready -- but that I don't have time to keep moving forward and I am running out of time if I want anything up and going on January 1, 2011 -- or at any time in January, for that matter. I need to get to work on a schedule. I've been working on a plan, but not really timing things out. I need to get the work linked to a timeframe now and make myself move on it.

Good idea.

So I am sitting here with a cut of Wild Strawberry tea from Adagio (heavenly!), giving Zaphod a bit of the Cheddar Cheese and Broccoli soup (also heavenly on a grey, dreary day -- and Zaphod agrees), and piling up notes and work lists and ideas for what I really need to do.

Running out of time, Zette. Get moving.

Or not. The tea is very nice. We're supposed to have snow tomorrow. Maybe that will get me moving on stuff and just get a few more things done. Maybe I need a couple days of just messing around with stuff.

I know it's going to get down to the last of the year and I'll still be looking around wondering why I haven't gotten things done! I think this year just wore me out for some reason. Maybe a little rest won't hurt. (As long as I don't look at the list of things I need to get done.)

I don't have much to worry about for writing over the next couple weeks. I don't have much to finish up this year. I am putting together an outline of something to start on January 1, if I can just get it to fall together right. So far -- a lot of bits and pieces, but not a huge big 'this is it' moment for me. Very odd, so that's going far too slowly -- I need to focus on it better. I also have Vision to get done, of course. And the DAZ newsletter, which I am a bit behind on today. Oops. Need to get to work on that one!

I also need a plan my writing for next year. I know part it will revolve around more Devlin books -- those have been great fun. I need to outline the next three, at least.

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Tea Heaven

I am now, officially, in tea heaven.

I did something I probably shouldn't have done, not given the rounds of financial problems and such -- but sometimes a person needs something to cheer up. I bought myself a lovely tea maker. An expensive one, in fact:

I got the 'Flavor' sampler plus two other samplers and some packets of tea -- in all, sixteen new teas to try out. While I waited for the tea maker to warm up, I opened a few and had a wonderful time taking in all the scents.

By the time the tea maker was ready to go, I had a plan.

I decided that I would make a tea database in Access. So far, I have these things to enter:
Company (Adagio, Tevana, etc.)
Name of tea
Type (Black, Green, Oolong, White, Herbal)
Degree of flavor (Strong, subtle, weak)
Settings used on machine.

I am having my first cup of tea made with the triniTea. I am already quite happy. I chose A County Christmas:

This is a special blend made by one of the customers (a nice feature, I think!) made from Christmas, Apple and Cranberry (three other Adagio teas). I brewed it for 3 minutes on setting II on the TiriniTEA and it came out perfectly. It has a lovely, subtle scent and an excellent taste that blends the fruits and spices quite nicely. The taste of spices remains after a few sips with a very pleasant aftertaste. The only problem I had with this tea was that it made me want to go start baking things!

I always need my tea sweet, and because I'm having blood sugar problems, I've turned to Splenda. This has worked nicely. Unlike other sweetners, it doesn't have a bitter aftertaste (at least for me) and one little packet make the tea quite nice.

So the first pot of tea is a success. I hope for many more!
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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The end of the 2010 NaNo Year

I did well this year, despite a lot of hell, including the death of my poor Willow kitty. And of course, the first of the major holidays came and went with me alone for the fourth year. So yes, of course I threw myself fully and completely into NaNo. It was fun, it was exciting -- and it took every single free moment I had. What more could I ask for?

I wrote three novels and one shorter, related piece that will be attached to one of the books in the series. The books are all in the Devlin Team Series -- Welcome to Forest, Farewell to Summer and Plague. The short piece recounts how Devlin became an IWCS agent and was just something that came out of nowhere and I knew I had to write. That one turned out to be considerable fun.

My end count for NaNo was 250,204 words

And to paraphrase Edgar Allen Poe:

THANK Heaven! the crisis—
The danger is past,
And the fever called 'NaNo'
Is conquer'd at last

I did not do a lot of posting during NaNo this year. The reason was that every time I started to, it seemed like something else was going wrong in Real Life and I just didn't want to talk about it. So I would go back and write some more on the novels instead -- and now I have three lovely new novels for the Devlin series.

Now it's back to all those things I dropped on November 1 -- Joomla! Being at the top of the list. I need to figure out more about it. I was doing well, but the month of intense writing has pretty much cleared everything else out of my thoughts. Time to get stuff lined up and going again!

This is a good month for me to do it. I want to be prepared for 2011. I have a novel idea for next year and I'm getting it worked out this month. And other things. And more things.

Just so long as I can keep busy and not really think much about the holidays, I'll be fine.
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