I’ve been waiting to post something until I had something nice to say. It’s been a whirlwind summer and I’m still recovering. Lots of new things, lots of old things, and lots of tiring things.
I’ll start simple.
I like leather.
I like wine.
I ordered new business cards! Woo!
Now, why is it only Tuesday?
I miss my woodchippers. I truly do.
I’ve been writing my fingers off in recent months but it doesn’t feel like it because it hasn’t been anything ‘fun’. Agent queries, product specifications, legal transactions… yes, I’ve been trapped in the world of technical writing and it just makes me yearn for the greener page all the more.
Some frivolity of tossing ne’er do well bodies in the ‘chipper could do me some good. Not to mention the question of what’s in the ‘meat’ that has everyone going crazy for it? The muse is demanding 80 degree days and fish bowl size tropical drinks heavy on the pineapple and rum. I would love to indulge her, but the Great Lakes region is not so forgiving.
In the mean time, the morning commute behind the local woodchipper service serves as a good reminder of what’s waiting for me on the other side.
Maybe soon I’ll be sharing exciting agent news! At least for now I know I’m official as the rejections come piling in. Until then… we wait.
The submission deadline is almost up for those of us throwing our hat in to the ring for ABNA 2014. I’ve been curiously watching to see if the submissions would fill up early, but much like last year, it appears they’re not going to… or at least it will come down so close to the wire, we won’t know if they truly hit 10k or not.
I have lots of questions about the process of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards… but there’s no true way to really quantify things. How many submissions do they really get? What’s the initial break down in categories? From what I’ve found there’s no true way to know, short of taking a survey of people willing to post in the forums. I think knowing the raw numbers alone would be helpful in figuring out market segments, and where to focus effort as you craft future work.
This is probably why they don’t tell us.
But maybe it’s better that way. A little vague competition keeps everyone wondering and makes it harder to work the system. For now, tonight marks the beginning of the real wait. I’m more patient than last year because I have a better idea of how things go, but I’m still insanely curious to see how far my submission goes this year.
Once again, I submitted Houses of the Broken. Last year HoTB made it to the Quarter Finals, but no further. In truth, I was pretty pleased for it being my first attempt. With nearly the same material as I submitted last year, I am more curious about seeing if I get the same results, than I am hedging my bets on my chance at winning.
Will I get kicked out at the Pitch stage? Maybe never make it past the second cut? I have little illusion that I’ll go ‘all the way’ but… you never know. Good readers having bad days can send your submission into the circular file. And bad readers… well… we all seem to get at least one.
Last year the one that made me chuckle the most was the review complaining about my use of ‘language.’ Serial killers? No problem. Child abuse? Whatever. F-word? Oh my stars, you vile little girl…
We all have our triggers, I suppose.
So now… well, soon… we wait. In the mean time I need to try and keep busy with other things, because I officially have no control over my fate until the dust settles.
Patience is not my virtue.
January is sliding quickly by and I’m getting back into the habit of being a working girl. It seems that a little bit of structure suits me. Or at least that the more structure I have, the more I want to break out of the box when I have a chance. It’s a passive-aggressive work habit at best but it seems to work for me. Deadlines help.
Speaking of deadlines… In an arbitrary discussion with myself it was decided that the summer solstice might be a good time to try to get my next work in progress out in print. It seems so far away but with the pile of editing I have to do, I know it will be here before I know it. And that’s not even taking time to format and tinker and perfect the look and feel of the product.
After the winter hibernation – which still calls to me in its fluffy, wooly tones – getting the brain back in the game is taking a little more effort than I’d like. But like any great training program, I need to up the reps and stick to a schedule. Don’t touch my chocolate though, I do have my limits…
The problem with having more ideas than energy is finding which one to focus the finite amount you have on. As much as I’d like to multitask when it comes to writing, keeping a linear process seems like it’s working out best for me – especially in the editing phase. I pause long enough to scratch down ideas for future projects, but diverting any real attention often just pulls the train right off of the tracks.
In the hopper now is the cannibal love story that refuses to follow any outline I put in front of it. If it, and I, survive through editing, it might just see an attempt at a screenplay as well. Because… why not? I’m not sure if I can make it in time for HorrorFest this year, but it is a far flung goal I’d like to attempt. If not, being able to have a second book at my table would be an awesome enough accomplishment.
I’m sure life doesn’t have any designs on innovative new ways to thwart me while I’m busy making plans…
Things I need to do… staring at the screen blankly doesn’t accomplish much, nor does it give me much of a story to tell. But there are things, retail things, that I must pay attention to. It’s my duty as a newly published author to shill my work when the opportunity arises. So here we are, Black Friday.
For your purchasing pleasure, there are a number of options for picking up Houses of the Broken. I hear it’s a great stalker… I mean… stocking stuffer…
Print is available at barnesandnoble.com and I hear there’s a pretty good coupon code floating out there, so give a google!
CreateSpace is a personal favorite.
And, if you’ve already read it, and can’t wait to tell others about my twisted mind, check out GoodReads!
So there we are, one click for all of your needs! Stay out of the snow and curl up with a chill thrill.
I missed touching on this while I was out of town, but please take a moment to enjoy this review of Houses of the Broken!
Presently I have two very big influences in my life. One is trying to get my writing persona established and off of the ground, the other is a massive restore-o-vation of the very old farmhouse I live in. Neither are for the faint of heart. It takes a special kind of crazy to face insurmountable odds and go “Eh… what’s the worst that can happen?”
Life evolves. There’s no two ways around it. Things that were important one day, may not be so important the next. Likewise, something you never thought to be a consideration maybe become the burning desire that spurs you to action. Between renovation and writing I have found a few simple truths.
1. Each one is a lot of work.
2. If I don’t do it, no one will.
3. The heat is in the tools.
#3, obviously being the entire point of this exercise, is the important factor here. Maybe you’re wondering what exactly it could mean, in either context. The answer is fairly simple: Activity keeps you sharp (and warm).
When you’re ripping apart a 160 year old house in the dead of winter, you start to appreciate the concept of movement. To stand still is to be cold. There is no progress. There is no warmth. There is an overwhelming urge just to give up. Too hard. Too cold. Too dark. Your mind becomes your own worst enemy. Before long you have yourself talked into a nice coffee shop and a cup of coco. But the cave remains, haunting your moments of relaxation and warmth. Only when hammer hits wall do you meet true feelings of satisfaction.
That work in progress is the same way. Be it marketing or manuscripts, sitting and staring blankly at things on results in cold frustration. I like to mull things over, but if it goes too long ambition starts to flag. Ideas fall by the wayside. And it’s just plain easier not to. To write is to work. The catch to being a writer is: you have to write. Even the best imagination imagination in the world can’t call themselves a writer if they don’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard.)
It’s hard, but the best thing to do is keep hammering away. Even when you’re tired. Even when you’re bored. Even when you think you don’t have time to spare. (And yes, I am trying to convince myself of this as well!)
It’s the only way to knock those walls down and build something great.
Finally some solid links for the upcoming events! I’ve been busy making connections, and Fall 2013 is starting to get booked.
September 14, 2013 from 1pm – 3pm I will be having a book signing at the Erie Book Store. The event listing can be found on Facebook.
October 18 – 20, 2013 at the Warner Theater in Erie, PA I also having a booth at the Eerie Horror Film Fest. Come keep this ghoul company during 3 days and 3 nights of reckless horror abandon. In addition to books, there will be some teasers for my upcoming works and the opportunity to see some of the work of Shane Montross, first hand!
I’m not good at tooting my own horn. Sitting quietly and observing is much more my style. It’s what allows me to take in the world around me and paint it on to the page. But with self-publishing, the responsibility of self-promotion falls squarely on my shoulders.
Posting on websites is a fairly passive, low risk venue to get your name out there. Every day I find a new venue I should be using. A little time, and I can happily work through the websites.
But now I’m looking at a book signing. There is a book store here that loves to promote local authors. Once I get a schedule figured out, it will be full steam ahead. I’m going to have to smile, talk to strangers, probably prepare an elevator speech just to be on the safe side, and gather my promo materials. It’s both exciting and nerve wracking, especially for someone like me who likes to be over-prepared.
My mind is swirling with ‘what ifs’ and all of the things I’ve ‘heard’ you should do. I’m sure it will turn out fine, but figuring everything out is half the fun.
Houses of the Broken is starting to hit the expanded distribution network. Now available at Barnes and Noble online!
I spent so much time at Barnes and Noble in my formative literary years, I had every section memorized. It’s where we went to talk, to learn, to browse, to sample all of the exotic music you couldn’t find just anywhere. It was the first bookstore/cafe in our area, and we drank it up. I still wish they made the Italian Cream Sodas I grew to love… every so often I feel nostalgic. This was before Borders, before Starbucks and before books came inside slabs of silicone.
Giddily, we’d walk down the aisles of our favorite sections, looking for new covers we hadn’t seen before, enticing us to touch them, heft them and see how the pages felt flipping through our fingers. At that age it was probably best that I had to be thrifty with my money. I had to choose… carefully… what next adventure I wanted to take home with me. I rarely left empty handed, if I had a choice.
I admit, I still like the feel of a trade paperback. Hardcovers are nice, but just too pristine. The paperback, ideally one that fits in your pocket, is a great companion. It goes everywhere with you, there to quell your boredom or sooth the anxiety while waiting for something unpleasant. The tattered edges growing dark from use and life experience. Favorite pages creased from being read again, and again, and committed to a memory always held close to the heart.
But now we have iPhone and Google for that…
With any luck my newly posted Kindle book will behave. I say luck because it took 2 of us working on multiple attempts to even get close to some consistent formatting. I don’t know where the ‘easy’ button was for this transition, but they sure hid it well.
Only when researching in the depths of the forums did the real truth come out… complications. Formatting issues. Shifting images and line spacing… Even now, while it looked good on the preview, I still can’t be truly… perfectly sure… that it will look right on the various devices and formats…
So I’ll cross my fingers and share the link… the content is there… if only it looked pretty…
See what I did there?
I’ve been sitting on pins and needles since the launch of Houses of the Broken last week. To put it mildly, I’ve learned a lot. It’s been interesting watching how Createspace and Amazon handle the publishing, and sales. And torturous as to how long it takes for sales to report from the various outlets.
Every day I check my ‘sales’ list, and my Amazon ranking. Some days I’m happy, some days I’m said, some days I’m just plain confused. I need to get a better media blitz together, but it’s difficult when no one returns your inquiries… I could argue back from a ‘no,’ flat out ignoring is a lot harder.
In many ways, it’s what I expected: It’s a lot of work. It’s a leap of faith. It’s not great for immediate gratification or questionable self esteem. And Kindle formatting… good grief. Don’t let the ‘it’s easy as pie!’ sales speech from CS or Amazon fool you. If you have a formatted file for a print book… be prepared to completely reformat it. This is still a work in progress and I even have people to help. I’m already wondering if the $69 fee to convert it in CS might have been worth it… but I’m the stubborn sort, and I like to know how things work for myself. So… Kindle version will be out… eventually… Besides, spreading out the action should be good… I think.
For now, I’m keeping an eye on the sales numbers vs. the number of copies that are showing up in people’s hands. If they don’t match, I’m not going to be a happy camper and that will lead to a whole other series of blog posts in the future. But for now… I must wait.
Take a chance on me!
Now available in print, and soon in Kindle format, Houses of the Broken.
Anna Shaw never intended to go home again. On the run from her demons since an early age, she never looked back to her sadistic father and the family she left behind to suffer at his hand. But with age comes the nostalgic longing for the familiar, and after years of distance from her estranged family, the only contact remaining to Anna — her sweet baby sister Lacey– uses their mother’s illness to lure her back into the fold one last time.
What starts as a bittersweet family reunion with her ailing mother and four of the younger siblings Anna so willingly abandoned as a teenager soon becomes a snare of animosity and deceit, proving once and for all that the perverse legacy of their father is more than just skin deep. And when the handsome stranger Anna met on the arduous journey back to her family shows up on Lacey’s doorstep with her vagabond sister, Silver, Anna discovers that her gruesome tendencies are not just hers alone.
With no one left to lead the family, Silver and Anna fiercely struggle for control of a twisted birthright. Anna must face a difficult reality that gives her only one choice to stop the fraternal darkness from spreading, setting off a chain of events that will leave her an unsure fate and no place left to call home.
Houses of the Broken is currently available at the following outlets:
June 24, 2013 | Categories: Blog, Houses of the Broken, News, Works | Tags: amazon, author, book, CreateSpace, NaNoWriMo, novel, photographs, publishing, self publishing, writer, writing | Leave a comment
This is the theme of the week and this potentially wine laced tirade. Nothing has worked right the first time, but perseverance is paying off. I hope.
I bought ISBN numbers. Or at least I thought I did. A few hours later my celebration was cut short by a note from customer service… somehow I had managed to log in to their site during a test phase. So neither my account, nor the numbers I bought were valid.
Try, try again.
ISBN numbers re-claimed, profile re-established, onward to the final phase. Createspace and uploading! *the crowd goes wild* The proof comes up, I start to page through it. The few minor image issue flagged aren’t really important until…
Where did my header go? *crap*
I had wanted blank pages in the front of the template, which CS hadn’t provided. Apparently in my previous attempt to insert them, I manage to scrub out the header information in the entire file. Not good news. Thankfully there was a formatting fairy to the rescue, and I was able to get the doc fixed to re-upload. On to the cover.
Oh, we only take PDF not JPEG. *sigh* Ok… cue email to my friend doing cover art. //facepalm.
It’s taken 2 tries on everything this week, but things seem to be working… now I wait to hear from CS and see if my info and files are all up to snuff.
And now we wait, until the morning…
The coffee is coursing through my veins this morning. I guess that’s what happens when it’s a freshly opened can. I want to do everything and nothing, all at the same time. Or at least, everything I want to be doing is nothing I ‘should’ be doing right now, which happens to me more than I’d like to admit.
But I bit the bullet. Made the leap. Bought some ISBN’s. After all of my fussing and fretting I went with the 10-pack. Now I get to figure out how the whole process works as I finalize my interior file. This is turning into a busy week, iron after iron plunging deep into the fire. Photos to edit, files to upload, design meetings to be had, social media marketing to post…. and then there’s my day job, which try as I might, does not appreciate being ignored for shinier, more exciting (to me) things.
I’ve come to realize in recent years that the Universe loves to subject me to the ‘all or nothing’ approach. If I’m doing one thing, 10 more pop up. If I have nothing to do, I can’t stir anything up to save my live. I guess it averages out but it’s like having your cake and getting the batter jet pumped straight into your bloodstream.
Folgers don’t fail me now…
I’ve been in a bullet biting mood.
I unceremoniously sat down this past week to start formatting Houses of the Broken for CreateSpace. I was in the mood, which is something that has not happened for a very long time. ABNA helped me in a few ways. I made it a few rounds, got some good feedback and most importantly… was faced with a deadline to get my stuff together.
It took an hour. No lie.
Well, for the first blush at least. Before I knew it, I had a nicely formatted novel looking document sitting in front of me in Word format. Immediately I learned a few things….
My manuscript program sucks for grammar and spell checking. So does Google Drive. Word is where it’s at. This was a bit disheartening at the time. I’ve been using Scrivener, which I really like for formatting and ease of story organization but good grief… the amount of errors that flashed up on the screen once I copied it in to Word was just plain disconcerting, given it was something I thought I had made a substantial amount of read-thrus on.
I’m not sure how to rationalize my work flow now. I like the way the manuscript program organizes, but if everything ultimately ends up in Word… why waste time going back and forth? It seems like extra busy work .
Very soon we’ll be wrapping up the graphics portion of the document and then it will be proof time! I can’t wait to get a copy in my hot little hands, though I’m sure the minute I open it up I’ll see 20 more glaring mistakes that mysteriously weren’t there the last 30 times I looked.
But it’s getting close… so close I can almost read it.