Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 34

Not a whole lot going on in my world this past week, but I'll see what I can come up with.

I finished the edit round of Bloodflow and then went back to read for content and clarity.  This, of course, turned into another editing round.  I'm at 30% with today and tomorrow left before the end of August.  I might miss my self-appointed deadline of 9/1 by a day or two, depending on how freaknasty the other 70% looks.

A wrinkle in the editing process: Yesterday, my sinuses were acting up so it felt like a large, angry person was pushing on the right side of my face, trying to collapse my eye.  Kind of crapped out reading and thus, editing.  I took an Aleve and by nighttime I was better, which is how I got to 30%.

The other day, I went shopping.  As I drove out, I noticed someone had hit a gray squirrel just downhill from our house, and figured I'd move it when I got home.  When I drove home, however, the vultures had found the squirrel and were having brunch - thereby rendering a perfectly whole squirrel into a large mess.  Three vultures on one squirrel seems a bit much.  The passing of my vehicle made said vultures fly into a tree in my yard.  Pretty cool having them sitting there.  A while later, Hubs looks out the front window to find another vulture stopping by the water pan for a drink.  (I know it was a different vultures because the first three were obviously black vultures and this was a turkey vulture.)  It must've missed the buffet.  Anyway, I got pics:
Damn ugly birds, but they do a necessary job, so they can stop by for a drink anytime.

Speaking of critters being welcome, or not, we have squirrels.  Tons of squirrels.  Mostly gray, but some fox.  I don't mind them for the most part.  As long as they stay out of the house.  And I'd like them a ton better if they weren't eating all the birdseed.  I have tried everything to keep them off the crook that holds the feeder, but they're wily buggers.  (Okay, I haven't tried hot pepper powder or flakes - that just seems mean.)  My latest invention is a baffle made of a plastic gallon jug, held onto the pole by a wad of duct tape and a mylar cat toy.  They're still getting on the feeder, but it's making it more difficult for them and it's also amusing the hell out of Hubs and I. For the first time in months, we had food in the feeder for longer than a day, so even if it isn't a total win, I'm counting it as a one.

The first two weeks' worth of sales for Wish in One Hand have been disappointing thus far.  But it's early yet.  Once I get some more reviews, I'll run a sale and an ad.  The two reviews I do have - one at Amazon and one at Amazon UK with both of those also at Goodreads - are amazing.  Thanks!  Again, I'll talk more about sales and junk tomorrow at Outside the Box.

What's the update in your world?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

This n That Thursday

We got notification of what KU would pay per page on the 15th and I saw something this morning about the Big 5 now looking at getting into KU.  Nothing about anyone printing a retraction of their gloom and doom, 'Amazon is evil' statements from earlier this summer.  Hmph.  Does anyone ever admit to being wrong anymore?

The internet is a wonderful place.  Still, before things like FB and Twitter, I wouldn't have had even an nth of a chance to know the political and life philosophies of those around me.  (Cuz, ya know, the whole 'things you don't talk about in polite society' was adhered to more back then.)  Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

I'm supposed to have an ad up at a place called Goodkindles sometime today.  I'll let ya know how that pans out.

I went for a walk the other morning.  The river is receding, leaving the people on waterfront properties with extremely dead backyards.  Grass does not do well underwater.  And the smoke I keep smelling in the air is apparently from the people down there burning all the detritus that washed up.  Here's how it looks down there now:
Here's how it looked last month:

Watched a really neat episode of Nova last night about Siberian Tigers.  Cool stuff.  If you happen to see it on again, watch it.  The shots of those big beautiful cats are amazing.

What's the this n that skinny in your world?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Book Awards: A Flashing Beacon of What NOT to Read

Back when I first began trying to get published, I never thought about winning an award.  Years before, I learned that most books that had 'award winner' on them weren't books I enjoyed anyway.  (Unless they'd won the award decades before, when the award still meant something good.)

I think it started with the Newberry Award.  I mean, I knew if the book had 'Newberry Award Winner' on it, the likelihood was that I wouldn't like it.  And not because it's an award for kids' fiction. (I read MG, YA, NA, Adult.  I don't care, as long as the story is good.) The philosophies put forth in those books was at best 'meh' and at worst made my skin crawl.  And you know, it really didn't wreck my world to avoid them.  Of course, I didn't think about what would happen when my daughter got old enough to be introduced to those books.

Flash back to the summer of 2003.  My daughter was enrolled in the summer school program at the private school system where I worked.  It was a good program and she was around bright children all day.  (Or so I thought, but we won't go into all that.)  One weekend, I'm in the living room, sitting on the couch reading, when I hear the most heartbreaking, parental-soul-wrenching wailing coming from the Kid's room.  I jump up and run in there because I figure she's injured herself horribly.  Nope.  She was reading the required book for summer school.  A Newberry Award winner.  I promptly read it myself and was horrified at the ending.  I cried buckets, too, but more because my darling 9-yr old daughter with her positive sense of life had been subjected to this piece of shit where the basic message seemed to be 'don't want more than you have or want anything for yourself because someone will die'.  Needless to say, I got to work that Monday, marched the book into my boss' office and explained to him why this particular book wasn't in keeping with the school's stated philosophy.  He read it and pulled it off the 'mandatory reading' list - effective immediately.

And before any of you cry 'censorship', please note the book wasn't banned - it was just no longer mandatory reading.  Choose it or don't.   I guarantee my daughter would've put the damn book down long before she got to the tragic part if she hadn't HAD TO read it for school. 

I haven't read an award winning book that didn't suck since the '80s - when SF awards still meant good reading and they were the last to hold that distinction. (I used to inhale those old anthologies of award winning SF.)  Newberry, Pulitzer, National Book Award, Hugo... all had become crap with a message to shove down your throat.  Yay, just what I want from my leisure time.  And let's face it, 90% of reading is leisure time. (Mine anyway - your mileage may vary.)  If I want to learn something, I do research.  If I want a message, I'll get one through the news or on the net whether I want one or not.  (Heh, like I ever want a message.)  I'm 45 years old and my philosophy is set.  No amount of 'award-winning' fiction is going to change it.  When I pick up fiction, I want to be entertained.  If I take something positive away from the entertainment, cool.  If I take something negative away, I'm generally pissed off.  :cough:PayItForward:cough:

So, this past weekend the Hugo awards were held. I bought two books last night from among the authors who 'lost'.  I would've bought more, but, you know, fundage.

Anyway, I expected the results from those awards. They underscored my belief that award-winning books are best avoided.  I'll stick to sales ranks and following my gut when I shell out my stingy book budget.  And maybe I'll add in 'books that lost' because those were probably better than what won to begin with.

No, I never considered whether my fiction would win any awards, so I never aspired to any of them.  And considering what those awards have come to mean, I really don't want one.  I want to entertain my readers.  If they come away with a better view of the world or a better understanding of it, awesome.  It's not my goal, but it would be cool.  Maybe in the future, should book awards come to mean what they were meant to - good fiction - I would reconsider, but right now?  Nope.  For me, awards have become a flashing beacon of what NOT to read.  And I certainly don't want any of my books on a list like that.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 33

Ah, there are the week numbers again.  Last week was the 33rd week of 2015.  I know because I looked it up.  =op

Anyway, 33rd week. 3rd book released.  Wish in One Hand is now available for purchase for Kindle and in print.  I'll do some kind of numbers post over at Outside the Box tomorrow.  If I remember.

It's Sunday morning.  It's pouring rain with bangers and boomers.  I didn't sleep well.  All of that boils down to a less than chipper me this morning.  My woo won't hoo.

Now that the temperatures have been cooler, Hubs and I have been taking walks in the evening.  I'm sure he has to feel like he's on some kind of nature walk every time because I point out everything.  The other day I saw a tiny, furry caterpillar that looked like shimmering molten metal as it undulated over the concrete.  Last night, I saw a tiny, furry caterpillar with black tufts along its side and a russet stripe down the middle.  Neither of them were more than a half inch long.  I notice shit like that.    I also saw a beetle that was hinged between the thorax and the abdomen such that it looked like one of those crazy buses with the accordion middle for easier turning.

I also saw a bobcat on her way out on her dusk hunting trip.  First bobcat we've seen in almost two years.  Cool.

Speaking of noticing things, I found two flaws in the second chapter of WIOH.  Those are fixed in the e-version now.  Missed an 'a' and referred to Omar's sanctuary as a box when it's actually a lamp.  (It originally was a hollow bead on an old necklace, so I'm not sure how 'box' ever came into play.) That's one of the great things about self-publishing. Find a flaw, fix it.  No muss, no fuss.  Cuz let's face it.  In a 100K word novel, you can't catch everything. Not on the tenth pass.  Not on the hundredth.  :shrug:

For some reason, the new growth on my forsythia keeps dying.  Have to look into that.

What's going on in your world?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

This n That Thursday

Yesterday evening as we were headed home from our walk, something jogged across the road about 30 yards in front of us. Since we were walking into the setting sun, it wasn't the easiest thing to see. Coyote?  Nope, ears weren't pointed, nose wasn't pointed. Although, it was about that size. Dog? Nope. Wrong gait. Local cat? Too big.  Plus, it had a short tail.  Yes, it was a bobcat.  Dusk is when they head out from their daytime snoozing spot for the evening's hunting.  We hope it was Mittens.  Or maybe Whiskers. 

I'm re-reading the first in a series I love - StarDoc by S.L. Viehl (you might know her better as PaperbackWriter).  When I went to Goodreads to put it in my 'Currently Reading', I noticed some one and two star reviews.  Maybe it's just me, but it always irks me to see low-star reviews on a book I love.  Were they even reading the same thing I was?  Anyway, this just goes to show that everyone has their own tastes.

I saw an article about a little girl with a robotic hand throwing out the first pitch at an Orioles game.  That little girl kicks ass.

Didn't win the lottery.  I guess I'll just have to keep writing and hoping someone somewhere will buy my books.

Speaking of which, the Mad Genius Club had a really awesome article called "When is an indie author doing well?"  I commented, of course.  Thinking about it now, I'll be satisfied if I can average 2 books a day per title. I was there until Wish came out, but it's early yet.  I'll probably do a sale and some advertising over Labor Day Weekend or something.

What's up with the this n that in your world?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

It's alive. It's Alive. It's ALIVE!

Bwa ha ha. 


In case you hadn't heard, today is release day for Wish in One Hand

So pretty.

And here are all of my books together.  Yay!

I never thought I'd see the day when I'd have one book published, let alone three. 

Thanks to everyone who helped make all of this possible.  :hugs:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Update - T-2

Two days until Wish in One Hand is available for public consumption.  Stop by Outside the Box tomorrow for a look at the road that brought my novel - originally called Djinnocide - to this point.

I am inordinately irritated at the time of writing this by some numbnuts who tweeted something snarky about other suspense writers, as well as by the people who retweeted his oh-so witty comment.  Bah and feh.  I write suspense.  My readers seem to think I'm good at it.  That's all I really need to worry about so, Mr. RapierWit, f-off.

I saw a vireo earlier this week.  (It's a bird.)

Hubs kindly executed Tick-mageddon 3 this past week.  Hopefully, the juice will also kill whatever little bugs have been biting the crap out of me lately.  I swear, I'm going nuts itching.

I saw a coyote this week, too.  He was crossing the highway.  Made it through safe, which is always good.

I ordered and received my proof copy of the paperback for WIOH on Friday.  The cover looks amazing.  I flipped through the inside like I always do - looking for anything squonky.  Something seemed off, so I flipped through until it hit me.  No page numbers.  Well, derp.  So, I fixed the file, converted it to PDF, and uploaded it.  Right after I clicked 'Review my Files', I realized I had forgotten to put a section break at the end of the book so the blank page, the About the Author, and the page with my other books on it didn't also have page numbers.  Too late to take it back.  Yesterday, I got the approval for the wrong file, uploaded the fixed file, and also got approval for that.  The new proof has been ordered and should arrive Wednesday.  If all is well with that, WIOH will be available in for purchase in paperback for them what wants that format.

Related to the above, I opted not to go with extended distribution this time around.  I make pennies through those other channels, I only ever sold one book through one of them anyway, and that one channel has been a little concerning lately.  If you purchased a paperback of mine through any other place but Amazon, please contact me, because I never got paid for it.  (Except for the one person I contacted early on about her purchase of Dying Embers.  I did eventually get paid for that, like 3 months later.)

Now that WIOH is in the system, I took two whole days off writing related stuff (other than marketing).  I read a couple books and started another.  It's nice to read other people's words for a change.  I was supposed to get back to work yesterday, but that didn't happen.  I'll do it today.  I kinda have to get rolling.  My editor is expecting Bloodflow in September.  I have pages of my own edit notes to input and I know some of them are pretty intensive.  Wish me luck.

How are things in your world?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

This n That Thursday

Sorry I missed y'all last week.  Busy busy and all that rot.  (How's that for differing accents in one paragraph? LOL)

Okay, so Wish in One Hand is available for pre-order - which is part of the reason I missed posting this n that last week.  I was hip-deep in edits.  But now I'm not.  I'm free!  I'm free!  Until this weekend, when I will rebegin the process with Bloodflow.

I have two winning lottery tickets from last week sitting on my computer.  A dollar each - which explains why there's no rush to cash them in.  I did venture forth from the cave yesterday, but I forgot the tickets.  :shrug:  Maybe today.

The state of Arkansas has decided now would be a good time to chip seal the highway I take to Walmart.  They just JUST repaved the damn thing last year.  It was smooth and lovely.  Now it's a tragic pain in the ass.  Hubs assures me this is normal.  Re-pave one year, chip seal and asphalt the next year, give it a slurry or something every few years after that.  It helps the road last longer.  Whatevs man.  All I know is my beautiful road that I could go 55 down (Yeah, 55... that's the ticket.) is now a 15 mile stretch of 15 mph gravel road.  They better get it back to smooth again soon.  Dammit.

I saw a baby roadrunner this week.  He was with his mom.  She'd run a little, he'd follow, and when she'd stop, he'd stop next to her and wiggle his wings for her to feed him.  He may have even been beeping, but I was watching from inside the house.

I think I'm forgetting something.  Like I was supposed to send somebody something.  If I was supposed to send you something, let me know.  I'm such a scatterbrain right now.  (Oh, I hear you laughing out there.  Shush.)

What's the this n that skinny where you are?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Editing Tricks for the Lazy Writer

Not sure where the commas are supposed to go in a compound sentence? Shorten it so it's not compound. Mary and any others who didn't look like a train wreck chose to go out dancing.  Mary, and the others who didn't look like a train wreck, chose to go out dancing. OR Mary and the others, who didn't look like a train wreck, chose to go out dancing.  OR They all went dancing. 

Not sure if your editor is correct?  Well, you can go research it on Google, or you can suck it up and change it.  Or you can get pissy and ignore it. Depends on your laziness level or the level to which you have looked at a particular manuscript so long you no longer care.

Eyes going squonky from looking at the same words the same way for the bazillionth time?  Change the font so it looks like new words!

Said something the wrong way your entire life, so even though it's wrong, it looks like it's right?  Find a way to rationalize it so you don't have to change it.  For instance, "I could care less" = I don't actually care, but if you keep talking, I might find a way to care less than nothing. 

Tell everyone who disagrees with you about anything grammatical that it's colloquial or 'your voice', and you should never mess with a writer's voice.

If 'voice' doesn't work, use 'style'.

*Note: The above suggestions are both serious and not.  You decide. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday Update - Week T-9

It's nine days until my projected launch day and once again, not sure I'll have this sucker finished in time for pre-order.  Oh, it'll be launched on time.  It WILL be launched on time.  But Amazon likes a better lead for the pre-order thing.  Although, the last book was only uploaded a few days early, so maybe...

Can ya tell it's 9 days until launch?  I'm a little scatter brained.  And single-minded.  And I need a shower something awful.  Which reminds me of a meme I saw on FB this morning.  "I think I'll take a shower now, said no writer on deadline ever."  I'm sure that's not strictly true, but it works for me this morning.  I will, in fact, take a shower after Hubs gets up. 

I did a little something on FB yesterday.  I sent a post out into the world offering postcards to the first people who emailed me their snail mail addy - complete with assurances I wouldn't use their addy for anything but the postcard.  :crickets:  So, if any of y'all want a postcard, let me know.  I have a ton and they're already stamped.  I don't want to send them higgledy-piggledy to people who don't want them.  The last thing I want is for them to arrive at their destination and have the receiver think 'Oh joy, more junk mail.'

Max the wonder cat has been a roller coaster of distraction lately.  He feels well, then he doesn't. The meds work, then they don't.  He eats like a horse, then I can't bribe him with freshly grilled salmon or turkey lunchmeat (his fav).  He did well yesterday. Keep your fingers crossed today is good, too.  It's exhausting.

I have an ad up at Omnimystery News.  It's a month long ad spot, but I can change it mid-month, if I want.  The first couple weeks ad is this:
And the link goes to my Amazon Author Page.  The next couple weeks will spotlight Wish in One Hand.  (The main dude at OMN says the 'Omni' means all types of mystery/suspense - including paranormal - so we're good.)  It's not flashy, but I think it gets the point across.  I haven't seen a spike in sales, though, so probably not.

It's freakin' hot here.

The bats have taken up daytime residence under my bathroom window.  There's a little groove where the log-siding dips in behind the bottom board of the window casing.  They're all stuffed up in there like brown insulation.  They are, I think, big brown bats.  (Yes, that's actually the technical name for them.)  They look like this:

The light wood is the log-siding and the dark is the window casing.  They seem content up in there, but they'd better find a more suitable hiding place for hibernation.  They'll never survive up in there when it's cold.  I do have a way to get them to leave - a non-harmful way - but I'm not ready to go there yet.  I'm hoping they'll leave on their own.  They have until mid-September to vacate or I'll have to evict them for their own good.

My spider bite no longer looks disgusting.  Now I just have a rash from the glue on the damn bandaids. Not real BandAid bandaids. Cheap ripoffs.  But brand name adhesive does the same thing to me.  I thought once I was allergic to latex, so I switched to cloth, but no.  It's the adhesive.  Yay.

What's up in your world?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Technology Boat Left Me on Shore

I have no smart phone. Or laptop. Or tablet. I don't have the latest versions of anything. Nothing I own has a touch screen.  I have the basic Kindle, and I'm lucky to have that.  For years, I used the Kindle for PC program. 

I can't check out your app.  I don't text.  I don't tweet from anywhere but my old desktop.  My dumbphone can access the web, but the last time I tried, I had so much trouble trying to 'type' using the number pad, I failed miserably and gave up further efforts.

I still use an answering machine.  And a land line*.

Oh, I'm no Luddite.  I used to be cutting edge.  I was using Windows before they even had programs for the OS.  I was chatting before there was an internet.  I sampled all the new programs and versions of programs before the common guy could buy it.  I was, to use the vernacular of today, da bomb.

Since then, I was dumped out of the technology boat and it moved on without me. 

Sometimes I miss all the shiny, new gizmos.  I'd squeal with glee over the latest sparkly phone... and then stare at the useless brick while I wandered the hillside desperate to find a few bars.  (We have a kid who must visit someone in here during the summer. He never seems to find signal, but he keeps trying.)

If you're on the boat with all the latest technology, wave as you pass by. 

* Seriously, until they make cell signals that don't drop your call mid-conversation, and ones that don't make everything sound like you're talking from inside a hole in the ground or that you're garbled or that you've got the mouthpiece tucked under your chin, I'm keeping my land line.  You can have it when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 31

Hey All.

I didn't win the lottery this week.  Bummer. 

In an effort to get Dying Embers to meet the 'not for sale anywhere else' standard of KDP Select, I discovered a shitload of sites where it's been pirated.  More on that tomorrow at Outside the Box.  Not sure if that means I can't put it back into KDP Select.  We'll see.

I got the edits for Wish in One Hand back on Friday.  I'm excited to have them, but I'm dragging my feet on implementing them.  Which means there'll be a flurry of activity today because I am committed to launching this book on the 18th. Umm, yah, like two weeks from Tuesday.  Lots to be done. 

My newsletter went out on Friday.  So far only one person has requested a PDF copy, so if you wanted one, it's not too late.  Just follow the instructions in the newsletter.  =o)

I finally got a picture of one of our resident roadrunners:

That's him (her?) in the front yard.  Without perspective, you'll have to take my word about how big they are.  A little taller than a standard chicken but not nearly as wide and way faster.  (Which is why it took me two years to get a pic.)

Also, we finally saw a fawn!  Just yesterday morning, we were lamenting to one of our neighbors that we hadn't seen any fawns, and he was saying how he's seen several already this year.  Late yesterday afternoon, I was watching a doe from inside the sun porch when I noticed what appeared to be a tail flicking from behind the cedar.  I changed vantage points and sure enough, FAWN!  Let's just say we were inordinately happy.

And bats!  For some reason, the local bats have been wild about the corner of our house nearest my bathroom, so several mornings now I've stumbled into the bathroom to see bats swooping past my window.  This morning, I could hear them on the log siding.  I can't see a hole where they're getting into the house - which is good.  I can only assume at this point that they are driving swarms of bugs into that corner and having a buffet.

I got the bookmarks and the postcards for Wish in One Hand!  Both weren't supposed to be delivered until this coming week, so I'm totally happy.  Keep an eye on Facebook for ways to get your hands on those suckers.  So pretty.

Today, I have to edit.  I also need to put up a Goodreads listing for Wish in One Hand, get the ball rolling on Createspace, etc.  I'll be busy busy for the next couple weeks, but it'll be worth it to finally get this book into readers' hands. 

Quick note:  I live in a vacation destination, which means it's pretty quiet here from September to May, but between Memorial day and Labor day, the population swells.  (Not huge by any stretch of the imagination, but enough.)  As such, the load increases on our local DSL and slows my internet speed way down.  This means my prime internet usage is first thing in the morning or later in the evening.  If you need anything from me, I will get it done - just not during the mid-day hours.  Sorry if this causes any inconvenience.  Luckily, there aren't too many people in the world who require anything of me.  ;o)

What's going on in your world lately?