Thursday, February 26, 2015

Things That Make Me Happy

Apropos of nothing, here's a list of things that make me happy today...

My new old desk chair creaks and sometimes when I move a certain way, it sounds exactly like a Spring Peeper.

Yesterday, the gal who sells me cigarettes got fan-girl excited when I gave her one of my Dying Embers postcards, and her and the owner congratulated me and figuratively petted me nice for my hard work. 

Kira the cat curling up in the packing papers my print copies came in.

Max sleeping on top of the infrared space heater.  It's so small and he's so big, he only just fits if he tucks his paws and tail in.

How supportive and understanding Hubs has been of my writing for the past eleven years.

The pretty pretty wood siding Hubs uncovers a little more of every day he sands.  

What makes you happy today? 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dis Organization

Moving ever onward, I started back to work the morning of my book launch (Dying Embers launched February 13th - in case you weren't following me then or weren't around my other blogs, FB, Twitter, etc.)  The first order of business was to input the WT edits I'd made notes for back in December.  Now that that's done, though, I'm looking around for something else to do.  Which led me to look through my notebooks in search of another set of edit notes I'm sure I made once I got the notes done for WT.  These were for Bloodflow. 

Now, let me explain something... or rather sum up... I have a bunch of 5-subject college ruled notebooks laying around the house.  Each one has different stuff in it - with no real rhyme or reason to any of it.  Whatever notebook happens to be handy and still has empty pages, I use whenever the mood to write or edit or ponder strikes me. 

Over the weekend, I grabbed the full one looking for those notes and realized I have no clue what's in any of these suckers.  In the interest of figuring things out, I took a pad of sticky notes and used them to denote which pages had which story.  Any pages not pertaining to a specific story, I ripped out (jotting down anything important therein). 

Now I have three notebooks with yellow papers sticking up out of them, all with book titles.  And I still haven't found the edit notes I am... was... sure I made.  I've got one more left, but I'm beginning to doubt whether I made those notes at all or whether I made the notes for another book and only THOUGHT I made notes on Bloodflow. 

I do that sometimes - think about doing something so much that I think I actually did it.

Anyway, I'm not the most organized person in the world, but I'm trying.  Still, I think my style is more Dis then actual Org.  I could really use a secretary - if I could stand the thought of someone else pawing through my stuff on a regular basis. 

On the upside, I found some story ideas I'd forgotten about, a few notes of quirky questions I left myself, and a passel of pages of me yelling at myself.  (I do that.  It's part of the process - especially when I'm stuck.)  The downside is my fat little fingers were itching to play in some of those other ideas when I have work to do.

Additionally, and apropos of something other than the subject of this post, I think I hit on the way to tie Fertile Ground (the next SCIU novel) into Dying Embers better - by making Frank the main male character instead of the dude I already have.  (I thought about changing the heroine, Teri, into Lynn from DE, but I couldn't make it work to suit the story.  Lynn will have to wait.)  It'll take some major rewriting, but I think my readers will enjoy it better if they have a character they already know waiting there for them.

How are you at organization?  Do you leave yourself notes in your own work?    

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 8

This whole past week went by in a smear.  Sitting here this morning, I was all like 'WTF? It's Sunday again?' and sat wondering exactly what I did last week.

Let's see...

I'm almost done with the first round of edits notes for Wrongful Termination.  I made these notes back in December, if I remember correctly - when I was waiting for things to start moving with Dying Embers.  They're pretty detailed and helpful - when I can read my own handwriting - but I learned so much from editing DE that I know I need to go back and start the whole thing over for WT.  I'll finish the last two pages of notes today and maybe give myself a couple days away from WT.  I can always work on inputting the edit notes for Bloodflow.

I read some stuff.  Not a lot of stuff, mind you, but some.  I gave up trying to read The French Connection.  I just wasn't in the place where a true-life police procedural from the '70s was holding my interest.  I switched over to a Mack Bolan action novel.  That was awesome.  Then I read a novella that was really beautifully written, but kind of disappointing in its shortness.  I could've read volumes about that world.  It was like being shown the buffet at Bellagio and then being told you can only take one small plate of awesome, tasty food.

My promo postcards came in, but my books - which were on a truck headed this way on Friday - never made it.  To cut UPS some slack, the roads back in here are freak-nasty.  I finally put on my big-girl panties and drove to Walmart yesterday, so I know.  Of course, I have a little front wheel drive trooper of a car and UPS has a big-ass boat of a truck.  I don't blame him.  I just want my freakin' books so I can have a contest and mail these suckers out to people.

I spent some time trying to figure out MailChimp so I can offer all y'all a newsletter to sign up for.  I tried reading the tutorial yesterday, but it was all gobbledy gook in my head, so I gave up - again.  I'll figure it out eventually.  I just need to be in a mental place for learning new stuff.  I so ain't there this weekend.

Also, I took some bird pictures - some of which I posted here and others over on FB.
What can I say - it was a busy birding week at Casa Sanderson. 

Your turn.  How'd things go in your world last week? 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Screwing Around

I'm kinda at loose ends right now.  Clicking over to look at sales data, when there's no sales data to speak of, is driving me bonkers.  As if, checking for new reviews, etc.  Bleh.  I should be writing, or rather editing, but I'm a little under the weather and I don't have the patience. Plus, Max is in the office today and he's more than a little... MAX! Cut that out!... distracting.

Anyway, I was screwing around the other day answering 'questions' at Goodreads, so if any of you want to know any more little tidbits about me, go here:

And if you have any questions you'd like to ask, feel free.  I'll answer them if I can - and if they aren't too personal or anything. 

BTW, Max is at least part Maine Coon.  If you don't have experience with Maine Coons, they like to climb and they're easily bored and they crave attention.  Of course, to them negative attention is the same as positive attention.  Same same. 

Now you can return to the regularly scheduled screwing around of your own.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bird Nerd Post

It's been a while since I posted bird pics.  As you may or may not know, I'm a bird nerd.  Not a bird watcher, per se.  I don't go racing all over the country, adding to my birding list.  I'm content to notice birds wherever I happen to be.  I count the eagles on my way to and from Walmart, for instance.  And I note birds along the roadside.  And I attract birds to my yard so I can snap their pictures and all them to my own 'collection'.  Yes, that's what it is - I collect birds in my head and on my hard drive.  And I need to correctly identify them - because hey, that's what bird nerds do.

Anyway, with the recent winter storm, the birds were really out en masse yesterday.  Here are a few of the better shots I took.
Male Cardinal
Carolina Chickadee
Female Purple Finch

Fox Sparrow
Goldfinch - Winter Plumage
Rusty Blackbird
White-crowned Sparrow (possibly female or juvenile)
Hans and Franz (male wild turkeys)

What about you?  Are you a bird nerd?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 7

Other than the obvious - Dying Embers went live on Friday (both Kindle and Createspace) - it was a pretty scattered week. 

I took Max to the vet.  His gums were a little inflamed so they gave him an antibiotic shot.  Otherwise, he's progressing nicely. 

I got the final PDF for the print cover, uploaded all that, and then ordered a proof copy - expedited so it would arrive on Friday rather than the following Thursday.  When the mail came, I was seriously cheezed off because it wasn't in there.  Umm, yeah, I know... expedited doesn't come USPS.  The UPS guy dropped it on the front porch just as I was laying down for a nap.  After I got up, I scanned through it and everything looked peachy, so I approved the proof for sale.

Meanwhile, I had uploaded everything for the ebook copy and set it to 'preorder' for a Friday launch.  I actually managed to snag 8 sales - which is awesome for me since I've heard tales of a sale-free launch day.

Then launch day came.  And I was a total spazz.  In fact, I got so sick of myself, I picked up and went to the used bookstore in town.  It is a testament to my will power that I have not been there since we moved here, because if I had gone, I would not have had the fundage to self-publish - believe you me.  The place is awesome.  The owner is a book geek and computer nerd like me.  And she plays awesome old songs throughout the store.  Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald.  :happy sigh:  Just what I needed to get out of my own head for a while.  I came home totally refreshed - and that was even with a midday stop at Walmart afterwards.  I swear old bookstores are like a shot of B-12 to me.

And before you ask, no I didn't do anything to otherwise celebrate launch day.  It's just not me.  I remember celebrating completing my first novel.  After that, not so much in the yahoo-yippee arena.  I'm not much of a celebrator, I guess.  To each his own.

I did get kinda choked up when a blog follower and avid reader gave me a most excellent review.  And I got teary at the outpouring of support from my friends - who reviewed, and tweeted and blogged. and facebooked about my release.  Plus, out of the blue yesterday, I got a notice that someone I'd never heard of tagged me in a tweet.  They were talking about the release of my book!  Could've knocked me over with a stick.  

What happened in your worlds last week?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Too Late Now

Last night as I was laying in bed not sleeping, a thought occurred to me on how to change Dying Embers.  You know, that book I've been talking about because it's releasing like TOMORROW? 

Of course, the thought also occurred to me on how I should've better designed the postcards I ordered yesterday to market Dying Embers.  Yeah, those are a done deal.

And perhaps maybe last year I should've made myself known to the local bookstore owners, so that when I was ready to have a new book coming out I could pop down there and say 'hey guys, my book's finally ready'.

And obviously I should've kept in contact with all those people I've known over the years who would be tickled to find out I'm publishing a novel.

Needless to say, the night before the night before release day is not the time to be thinking of these things.  And needless to say, I didn't get much sleep last night.  The endless gerbil wheel of what-ifs and shouldawouldacouldas. 

The only thing that helped was a simple thought:  It's Too Late Now. 

There are a lot of things I can do moving forward.  First thing is to remind myself that Dying Embers is already the best book it can be.  Sure, I could've done one more pass through reading (and I angsted over that for a good ten minutes at least) but I know I wouldn't have found anything else to polish. 

Yes, I probably could've designed those postcards better, but I only ordered 50, they weren't expensive (like .26 each after shipping and taxes), and they'll suit my immediate purpose - to have something I can mail to friends and acquaintances so they have something they can hold in their hands.  Next time, I'll leave more white space for a more personal message. 

I didn't really have the money to hang out at the local bookstore, and it would've just been weird to wander around their store once a week or whatever, not buying anything so I could make sure they knew my name when the time came.  (Quite honestly, I've stayed away from the bookstore because I've been on a tight book budget, and I know I would've blown quadruple that every freakin' time I stepped through the door.  I know me.)

Yeah, all those people.  My former customers, my ex co-workers, forgotten friends...  They haven't really stumbled over themselves to stay in contact with me either.  They're busy people, I'm a busy person.  We all get that.  I do know that some of my customers still ask about me from time to time, so hopefully when they ask, the answer will be 'she's published a novel'.  As for old friends, I still have a few awesome friends from my time in FL, and we keep in touch via FB, so I'm not totally bereft.

I guess my point is... yeah, I had a point before I started this... is that this is pre-release jitters held up under a magnifying glass for all of you to see.  I assume I'm not the only writer who does this - chime in published friends - and it's natural.  Yeah, I'm going to worry over every word in that book because it's out there in the world and I can't change it now without totally upsetting the apple-cart and spilling Granny Smiths all over the street. 

This is me.  This is the process.  And I'm trying to be as honest as I can about all this without scaring the hell out of potential readers. 

Any questions?

BTW, the postcards are due to arrive 2/25 and I have a shortlist of people who'll be seeing one in the mail shortly thereafter.  If you're interested in receiving a lovely 4x6" postcard, signed by me, let me know.  They're basically the cover of the book on one side with the blurb on half of the other and space for an address on the other half of the other side. 

Ack, now I have to work on my signature - which for checks and things is totally illegible and utilizes my full first name.  Basically something like this: B~~~ S~~d~~~~~.  10 years ago, it was readable.  Honest.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dis n Dat

So I look out the window this morning and see a large shadow hunched over one of the door food pans.  Now, lately the neighbor's cat has taken to coming over and stalking the pans (yesterday she was sleeping in one), but I knew damn well this was bigger than that, and it sure as hell wasn't cat-shaped.  But the light was still low, so it took me a minute to realize it was a raccoon. 

We haven't seen a raccoon here since last fall.  And this one was HUGE.  Arnahld Schwarzaraccoon.  So Doug and I watched him for a minute until something startled him and he took off running... err, waddling... down the trails I made in the woods.  (Yes, he used them.  He went in at the entry point, turned left toward trail two & three, made the curve down to the right.)  Henceforth he shall be known as BFFR*.

In other news, this afternoon, I'm taking Max to the vet for a follow-up on his tooth extraction.  He's doing pretty good, but I'm afraid he might be getting an infection again, so we're taking a trip.  Better to be a little paranoid and get it nipped in the bud.  I expect the Doc will look him over, give him a shot, and send us on our merry way.  Plus, I'll get a chance to weigh Fatboy and see if he's really gained the weight I think he's gained or if that's just wishful thinking.  (I have been calling Max 'Fatboy' since we found him starving.  It'll be nice when he can finally live up to the moniker.)

Yesterday, I ran a boatload of errands and learned a few important things.  1) I'm sorely out of practice for hours of errands.  2) I really need to eat before I start a boatload of errands.  3) Nutrageous is a poor substitute for Snickers when it comes to perking a hungry B.E. up.  4) Those new protein pack things from Oscar Meyer are a godsend.  This carnivore needs meat.

I now have a post office box so I can sign up with MailChimp to send out newsletters to you lovely people.  MailChimp demands an address - because the spam-police and the FCC or something demands they have addresses for newsletter sender-outers. 

I figured out something.  You see, for years, I've heard people say how much they hate Walmart, and I really didn't see it.  Yesterday, I figured it out.  It's not Walmart they hate - it's the people in Walmart.  My Walmart is a lovely place when there are few people there.  I can find what I want easily, and the employees are pleasant, chatty, friendly people.  But later in the day, it's a freakin' madhouse in there.  Holy crap. 

So, I was at Walmart later than I usually get to the place and it was packed.  (Okay, packed in relation to its relative emptiness at my usual shopping time.)  I navigated through the shoppers to the back because I needed a new thumb drive.  I looked and looked, but I couldn't find them any freakin' where.  Then I located a dude sitting on the floor stocking shelves (wearing the standard Wally-world attire and a nametag**), so I jovially walked up to him and quite cheerfully asked him where they were hiding the thumb drives.  The kid gets up off the floor, nails me with a scathing look, and informs me in a snotty tone that they do not hide things anywhere.  Then he points and tells me where to find them.  I was like 'Dude, THAT was a JOKE.'  I mean, chill the hell out.  (I said the joke thing, not the chill-out thing.)  I still love Walmart, though.  I just know better than to go there after 10am.

What random things are on your mind today?

*BFFR does not stand for Best Friends Forever Really.  Nor does it stand for Big Friendly Fidgety Raccoon.  It means Big Fat Fuckin' Raccoon.  I mean, oh holy shit, he's huge.  Longer than my long cat, wider than my fat cat.  Dog big.  Cornfed American Ozark Raccoon. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 6

Yep, forgot it was Sunday.  Let's just say my mind has been elsewhere lately.  Chiefly, this is the beginning of my first ever week before release day. 

Which means I'm scattered.

Last Sunday, I set up my very own FB author page and to encourage fans, I held a contest for a $25 gift card open to my first 50 likes.  Took about 24 hours.  I'll hold another one for my first 100 fans, so if you're on Facebook, and haven't liked my page yet, go like it.  When I get close to 100 likes, I'll formally announce the other contest.  Which means people who like this blog would get in on the ground floor. 

I also spent the week scouring Dying Embers for mistakes, flaws, continuity errors, and anything else I might've missed along the way.  I finished last night and I can safely say... Well, not that I got them all but that I am done looking.  What ain't fixed ain't gonna be fixed, cuz if I ain't seen it by now, I ain't a-gonna see it.

Also, I made a Goodreads listing for Dying Embers, and applied for membership as a Goodreads Author.  I got approved for that this morning, so that page is set up now, too. 

Ugh.  I'm tired just thinking about it all. 

The cover artist and I are like this close to having a print cover.  And some marketing materials.  Which will be cool.  He did this as a fun thing:
Except I didn't know it was for fun, so I was all like "I see my target reader more as sitting in sweats eating a half-gallon of double fudge brownie ice cream - spoon in one hand, book in the other.  Or with wine."  (At least that's how I like to read a good suspense.  How about you?)

Other than Dying Embers stuff I haven't done much of anything.  Well, Friday I did go thrifting and picked up two awesome chairs:

I edited in the right one yesterday morning while Hubs was sanding.  It was awesome.  The left one is for Pretty Pink Pig - unless Hubs wants to sit there.

Hubs also made some progress on the sanding (which was why I was editing in the office instead of the living room - it's pretty loud). 

What's news in your world?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Neurotic? Who Me?

Just because I'm sitting on a pendulum, swinging between "Oh my god, this is going to be so awesome!" and "Oh holy shit, this is going to suck so bad!" doesn't mean I'm neurotic.

Just because I want to tell the world about my book that's coming out, but I'm afraid no one will want to listen...

Just because I'm afraid to go to the local bookstore for the first time because I think THEY'LL think I'm only visiting there now because I have a book coming out soon...

Just because I wished a forgotten friend a happy birthday on FB after not really saying anything to her for god knows how long...

Just because I sat listening to my husband read Dying Embers (to himself, no less) for the first time, waiting for any slight sound that would tell me whether he still respected me after reading my words...

None of that makes me neurotic. Or maybe it does.

Or maybe it just makes me a writer getting ready to send the first self-published book into the world.

And hey, just because I'm suddenly afraid you're all sick of hearing about my first self-publishing adventures, doesn't make me neurotic.  Much.

Edited to Add:  Oh hey, I keep forgetting.  I have a writer PAGE on Facebook now.  Go like it and the first 50 likers will be entered into a contest for a $25 gift card.   The final cover with the tagline is also up over there with the cover copy!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 5

February 1st... Where the hell did January go??  It's all a blur.

Anyway, last week.  What did I do last week?  No, seriously - like I said, it's all a blur.

Well, since I can't think of what I did at the moment, I'll talk about what Hubs did.  He re-started the sanding project wherein he's removing the orange paint from our beautiful log siding.  He did the front of the house mid-2014.  This past week he started on the south side of the garage. He got one day in - partially - before he got frustrated with the sander disks flying off.  Did a little research and discovered the hook and loop design on the sander pad breaks down over time.  (The tiny hooks break off and don't hold the loops very well.)  So, we ordered new sander pads and had them overnighted.  He was back to work Wednesday morning.

By Friday it looked like this:
(That's him sanding the gray off the work he did early last year - to test out the sander.  Now it's all uniform.)

He took yesterday off to recover and because the weather was predicted to be gross.  Today is actually gross, so he'll take today off, too. 

And while he was doing all of that, he took the time to read my book in hardcopy.  He thoroughly enjoyed it - which is saying something because he reads very little these days.  And he asked when my next book will be ready for him to read.  I admit to shooting him a look which probably said something to the effect of "you have got to be kidding me, right?" because he changed his tactics and said something about he wouldn't be ready to read again for a couple months.  (Give his eyes a break and he's got a lot of work to do, etc.)

For my part, last week was spent scouring Dying Embers for any typos or little niggles that would irritate me as a reader. You'd think with as many times as I and others have looked at this thing, it would be spotless.  Nope. I found three pages worth.  Ugh.  And after I was done, Hubs found one thing even I had missed.  I fixed those last night.  I will read it one more time, and then I'm done.  Any flaws left after that will have to remain in their hidey-holes until some reader finds them.  All apologies to any reader who finds a mistake after this.

As to Hubs' question of when the next book will be ready, I'll tell you what I told him - I still have to decide which book I'm launching next.  It's a toss up between a small-town mystery that's been compared to the old hard-boiled detective books, and a suspense centered around technology and government conspiracy.  I'd really like to send Djinnocide out there, but I haven't heard back from Baen yet, and it would tickle me to have Baen publish that series.

Hey, quick question that might help me decide between the two books - what do you think of a story launched in the spring that's set in the winter?  Do you care about what season a book is set in?  It's not a Christmas story - just winter. 

Now, your turn.  What's doing in your lives lately?