Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 17

Well, here we are again.  I can tell you one thing - I got up way too freakin' early today and it's making me loopy, so be warned.  ;o)

Okay, let me just start out by saying that I still can't get past the news story I just read about the college kid who was found dead in his dorm room.  His room was filled with helium but the article said - twice - that his death isn't suspicious.  I'm suspicious.  Unless he was blowing up balloons and the tank leaked, how the hell did the helium get into his dorm room??  I could see it if he was found dead in the science building.  Hubs says I am suspicious of this because I am a writer.

Speaking of Hubs, he's about 30 pages from being finished reading Accidental Death for the first time.  He has been amused, surprised, and enthralled. (I say enthralled because he's inhaling this and he completely ignored the Log Cabin Living marathon I was watching last night.  He loves log cabins and he didn't even look up when I said something about how beautiful this one was.  I'm taking that as a win.)

Yes, I know.  I don't usually have Hubs read until AFTER the final edits, but I needed him to vet some things and I didn't want to have all the edits done only to find I messed something up royally.  Good news - he hasn't found anything wrong with what I wrote.

So, Accidental Death is out with the editor.  And I've contacted a cover artist for Djinnocide (Wish in One Hand).  AND I'm reading through Bloodflow for content and clarity.  Busy busy. But it's all good.

In non-writerly news, I took the garden shears and the limb saw out yesterday and whacked holy-hell out of the vines that are prevalent around here.  You see, we were looking into the back of the property and noticed that the two oaks off the sunporch were looking peaked, and the three trees just off the yard are lagging behind in the leaf-generation stage.  I assume the culprits were the damn vines.  So I killed them.  As I headed out the door, I was amusing myself by chanting "Some must die so that others may live."  The back yard is now covered with dead vines and the stuff still up in the trees is all wilty, so life is good.  I know killing the Virginia Creeper last year seemed to help the small oak off the driveway.  And killing the Virginia Creeper in the side yard the year before has done wonders for the black walnut trees there.  I also got rid of some grape vines and some thorny viney crap I haven't identified yet.  The latter whipped around and got me in the back of the leg.  One scratch.  Die!

I also planted two mint plants.  I shall name them Thing One and Thing Two. 
Today I plan to weed the iris bed. 

What happened in your world last week?  What on tap for this week?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

This n That Thursday

Yesterday, Hubs guilted me into taking a walk.  I didn't want to go because the air is full of pollen and just walking around the yard sends my sinuses into Defcon 3.  After several minutes of playful back and forth, the guilting went something like this:

Him: "After I die early, they're going to say 'she should've walked with him.'"
Me: :laughing and getting up to get ready: "After I die from an acute sinus infection, they're going to say he shouldn't have guilted her into walking with him."

If was just supposed to be a short walk, but it was really gorgeous so we kept walking.  By the time we turned back toward home we were about a mile and a half out.  I still felt pretty good and the pollen wasn't bothering me much.  (I took a go-pack of tissues with me.)  By the time we got about halfway back - at the top of a small rise - I was done in and we still had the BIG HILL to walk.  I made it. Then a neighbor on her way home from work stopped to chat, so that was nice break.  She offered me a ride the rest of the way, but since I could see the house at that point, I declined.

Speaking of neighbors stopping to chat on the roadway, I stopped to talk to her the other day when I was driving and she was walking.  After a little bit, she tells me she's been meaning to ask if she can buy more of my books.  I was thinking of the box of Dying Embers I have until I realized she meant other books.  I had to tell her that was my only one, but that the next book would be out next month.  She can't wait. 

Speaking of books, yesterday I was researching for a cover artist who can create a custom cover for Djinnocide/Wish in One Hand.  I went to Deviant Art and stalked their forums, looking for artists who specifically do book covers in the urban fantasy/fantasy/paranormal genres.  There was some okay stuff there, but then I stumbled across one thread where a guy had posted about looking for an artist for his self-published book - and a couple people jumped him from behind.  They blasted him for a couple typos then took turns taking potshots at him for not trying the traditional publishing route. It appeared they were trying to make this poor dude look stupid when he seemed perfactly rational to me.  Really pissed me off.  And I would've said something but I am not inclined to sign up for Deviant Art, and I sure as hell do not want to join their forum board - not after that.  Sheesh.  Who would've thunk you'd find that loathesome behavior on a place for ART. 

Speaking of art, I sent a letter to a cover artist I found on Google.  His work is beautiful, original, digital art (or if you've got the money, he does on art paper or canvas, too).  And he fits in my budget.  The question is whether the subject matter I have in mind for the cover is something he's interested in doing.  (He does a lot of mythical and historical stuff, but not much modern, and I want the cover to blend modern day Jo with historical Omar from the scene where she 'rescues' him.)  Like I said, I sent the letter.  We'll see what his response is.

Yesterday morning we had bucks in the yard.  Two.  One appeared to be a yearling and the other maybe 2-3 years old.  Their little starter antlers were so cute.  Unfortunately, it was just starting to get light out so the pics I took will probably end up too blurry to see.  I really need to learn how to work the shutter speed thing on my camera, but who's got time for that. 

I would really like to buy Hubs this piece of property that's for sale near here.  Meadows, trees, ponds, and riverfront.  Plus it would be the start of my quest for neighborhood domination.  (I don't thirst for world domination.)  All I need is for 110,000 people to buy a book.  That's not asking too much, is it?  ;o)

Got any this n that in your lives you want to talk about?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 16

Hi all.  I know I've been absent since last week's Sunday Update.  Chalk it up to being derailed by my Tuesday/Wednesday internet outage and my need to get Accidental Death back to my editor.  (It's still not there, but it will be soon.)

I hope to have everything back on track this week.  I will send this book off to the editor today for her final round and that should decrease the insanity level in my skull - at least for a little while.  I'm still hoping to have a firm release date to announce when I sent out my maiden newsletter around May 1st.  (May Day!  May Day!) 

Have you signed up yet?  Well, get over to B.E.'s Writerly Space and do that, will ya?

My last day of price reduction on Dying Embers is today.  If you want a dollar off the ebook copy, you better head over there.  The sale ends when Amazon accepts my changes to the price - which I will make tonight before I shut down.

Okay, now I really have to get back to work.  These last 79 pages aren't going to edit themselves - damn them.

How are things in your little piece of the Universe today?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 15

(As Silver pointed out, it is NOT in fact Sunday.  Sorry about that, guys.  Enjoy all of your weekend from here on out!)

Spring is in the air here in SW MO.  Yay!  I love Spring.  It's my favorite season.  The birds are singing their little brains out.  The squirrels are chasing each other all over the place.  The first batch of baby squirrels have been kicked out on their own, in fact.  And the flowers are blooming everywhere.  My yard is filled with wild violets, and tiny white flowers, and tiny blue flowers.  You drive anywhere around here and the woods are shot with pink as the redbuds burst into bloom.  And the hummingbirds are back! :happy sigh:

Of course, all this Spring is making it hard to concentrate on work.  Still, I managed to put my head down and get some beaucoup editing down this week.  Accidental Death is really shaping up.  I don't have a firm launch date yet - still editing which means I still don't have the paper cover done because she can't do it without a page count which I can't have until I'm done editing.  Those kinds of things.  I'm still shooting for some time next month.  And I will have a firm date to go in the newsletter.  Haven't signed up for the newsletter yet?  Go to my other blog and click the tab for Newsletter Sign Up Form.  It'll take you right to it.  Easy peasy.

In case you hadn't heard elsewhere, Baen sent me the most lovely rejection letter for Djinnocide which means that book is now unencumbered and will be taking its place in the publication schedule here.

Trying to generate some sales, I dropped the price of Dying Embers to $2.99 for a limited time.  And nothing has happened so far.  If nothing continues to happen, I'll put the price back to $3.99 and let it ride until Accidental Death launches.  I'll make a price determination then.

I joined an Indie Authors Support Group over at Goodreads.  I'm still new, and therefore fringe, but it seems like a good group of people who are supportive without being catty.  Yay.

I spent some time watching the kerfluffle that is the Hugo Awards.  It's really getting rancid over there - with venom and viciousness and libel and lies.  But like a rubbernecker on the freeway, I couldn't seem to pull my eyes away.  Still, I decided yesterday that I have better things to do than watch the car wreck.  Have to keep my eyes on my own road and hope none of that crap slops over into my lane.  And that's all I have to say about that.

Yesterday, Hubs and I took the first walk around the loop since Winter ended.  It was gorgeous.  But man, am I ever out of shape.  Bleh.  I need to start making that a daily venture.

How are things in your world?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Weird Kid

Something my friend Silver posted this morning, combined with a realization just now, made me think.  I was the weird kid when I was young, and I'm probably still the weird kid.

I'm the youngest of five with over five years separating me from my next oldest sibling and eleven years separating me from the oldest.  I'm sure they played with me.  I know they babysat me and let me tag along and stuff, but for the most part, I lived inside my head.  Plus, we lived out in the country.  There were a few other kids around, but meh.  My best friend was the dog. 

So, I made up stories.  I lived grand adventures on our little acre-plus.  Fighting monsters and being the hero of my own plays and singing songs at the top of my lungs (which I'm sure the neighbors loved).  I had thrilling adventures in my bedroom, too.  I remember turning my headboard into a horse and riding the countryside.  (Yeah, not kind on the frame - stripped all the screws, and totally ruined the structure, but I rode that horse on many magical adventures.) The little 7x9' of space expanded to hold entire kingdoms.  And it shrunk to the size of me and my books.

Because I did spend so much time up in my head, I didn't understand other kids and they sure as hell didn't understand me. I got picked on a lot - some of which I noticed and some of which went right over my head. 

Over the years, the weird kid got tamed.  I learned to integrate into the mainstream for the most part.  Still, I never quite got to the point where I didn't still feel like the weird kid.

Flash forward to now.  I'm a grown woman.  I have social skills and everything.  But I'm still the weird kid who hesitates to jump into social situations, to put myself out there.  And since Hubs retired, I've reverted to living mostly in my head and entertaining myself.  So, when the opportunity presents itself to be more active with other people, I shy away.  Some small part of me remembers when I would put myself out there and get laughed at, or those strange looks, or the social shunning for some small gaff. 

Unfortunately, I'm also a self-published author with marketing responsibilities.  And the weird kid in me is all like AARRGGHH!


On the upside, I've found other weird kids out there who get me.  Like I said in Silver's comments - Weird kids rock. 

What about you?  Were you the weird kid?  Did you ever get over it or are you still the weird kid?  Or are you the stealth weird kid - weird inside but no one can tell?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Colloquialisms, Odd Words, and Made Up Phrases.

I've lived a lot of places in this big-ass country called the United States, and I've picked up a lot of stuff from here and there along the way.  The question is, how much of what I've picked up and use in my writing is actually sympathetic to a majority of the readers.  (As in 'yeah, I totally get that' versus 'that threw me right out of the story'.)

For instance, a beta reader for me wondered what BFE meant.  She'd never heard it.  And I had always assumed everyone knew what it meant.  Derp.  (I'm currently running a short survey on FB - so far, the majority know what it stands for, but a couple don't.)

Or my use of all y'all in my blog posts.  I mean, I'm pretty sure most of you know it's the southern way of saying 'all of you'.  (And no, I'm not southern - I just lived there long enough to have that become part of my vernacular.)  Then again, readers abroad might find that confusing.

Add in that I'm a bit of a chameleon in that I pick up colorful words and phrases from whatever I've come in contact with - movies, TV, culture, books, etc. - and my writing voice might end up as a glop of stuff a broad spectrum of people might not entirely understand.

Oh god, and there are the words I make up.  I try not to use those in my writing, but you never know when one might slip past.  Unless it's sunuvabitch, which I totally think should be one word and is now part of my electronic dictionary so I stop getting the red-squiggly line of death.

It's a confusing thing.  Or a cornfuggled thing.  Or a confuzzled thing.  Or whatever.

How do you feel about running across a word you aren't familiar with in your reading material?  Do you head for the dictionary?  If it's not there, do you head for the internet?  Or do you just get frustrated and throw the book against the wall?


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 14

First off, Happy Easter to those that celebrate.  Happy Solstice or Spring Celebration to them. Happy Sunday to everyone else.  Or Hoppy Bunny Day. 

Me, I'm making a ham today.  Mashed potatoes.  Corn.  Rolls.  I forgot dessert.  I know, I know... but let's be real.  The holiday snuck up on me and we're lucky the ham will have pineapple and brown sugar because I totally didn't pick those up until yesterday.

I spent the majority of last week dragging butt.  I haven't been writing.  I've only just kinda poked around at the edits.  I looked into some advertising.  Obsessing over sales... yeah, that I can do.  :eyeroll:

I planted some more stuff.  No pics.  We did have one humdinger of a storm, which left my cedar garden in disarray, so I put that right again.  Ferdinand the Forsythia is fine, though.  Yay.

As you can probably tell, I'm not all hurrah about anything as of 7:45 on Saturday night.  Not sure exactly what the culprit is this time around.  I know I feel like I need to write something new.  But I need to get these edits done.  And can't forget about the marketing.  And if I want the publication schedule to work out the way I have planned, writing something new should probably wait. 

Yes, I would like some cheese with that whine, thank you very much.

Years ago, I belonged to a writers' forum.  Actually, I was quite active.  Busy little beaver me was posting and commenting and generally being both helpful and witty, until one day I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of cliques and an undercurrent of nastiness and a whole middle-school vibe, so I walked away.  Since I jumped into self-publishing, I've been ghosting around another forum - to learn about the biz, see what issues other people might be having in case I ever need to know how to fix it, generally trying to be helpful where I can.  And as I watched, I could see the cliques and the undercurrents and the middle-school thing cropping up there as well.  And it's got me kinda heartsick.  Well, on the bright side, it reminded me how awesome my blogging friends are here and on Facebook.  We might not be a large crowd, but we're loyal and friendly and conduct ourselves with a modicum of maturity.  Thanks for that, guys.

Lastly, today's the last day to get an entry into a contest to win a paperback of Dying Embers.  Just head on over to B.E.'s Writerly Space, and sign up for my newsletter using the newsletter sign up form tab.  Oh, and don't forget to answer their email where you have to click a link saying that 'yes, I did sign up to receive newsletters'.  I still see you as signing up, by Mailigen won't let me actually send you a newsletter without that little clicky thing because they don't want me to spam anyone.  (And I don't want to either.) 

What's up in your world?