Monday, February 28, 2011

A Bad Run Gone Positive (This is a Long One, I Hope You Like Reading)

A few weeks ago I got stuck in the driveway because of the snow. Last Friday, I got stuck in the street - again, snow. (Last Wednesday, going 10 miles an hour, I slid at a 65 degree angle off the road, downhill, and got three nice gentlemen to push my car back up onto the street.)

Last night, my fiance bribed me with Taco Bell (who can resist?!?) We had to switch our cars in the driveway because he was leaving first this morning. I tossed my keys in the cup holder of his car. (Can you see where this is going?) We took the dog. When we got home, I had the dog, and the food.

This morning, he drove away with my keys. Sigh.

He's the assistant manager. His lunch doesn't come until 3... about the time I'd get off work, anyway. When I called work, asking if I got keys if I should come in, they said no. Sigh again.

My work is going to think I fell off the planet, soon. However, my creditors will keep searching for me :P

I moped for a minute, then lifted my head high - I'm going to make the most of my unplanned free day! My goal is to finish 3k words on "Cheater's Pass". Writing it, I've already formulated a few ideas for later episodes. I'm really excited about the project, in general!

I'll share my idea with the lot of you, since you're here :)

I want to write each episode in 3 weeks (if a team of writers can write a half-hour show every week, I think I can manage 20k words in 3!). That's about 2 weeks per manuscript (@1,500k words/day) with a week for editing/revisions/cover finalization. I want to release each new episode a month apart. That gives me about an extra week between episodes to:

A: rest
B: work on a different project
C: start the next episode to get ahead/form a buffer

I have a lot of confidence in my ability, and I know with 100% certainty - I work better on a schedule. If I say, write 1.5k words/day, finish by this date, publish on this date, ect... then I feel I can really buckle down, focus my ability and build up a backlist. Backlists seem to be a big part of "making it" in self-publishing... which of course makes sense! (You have to have product, for product to be bought.) Plus, I'm a firm believer in the more you write, the better you get! Story-crafting is a skill that gets better with constant use.

I know there will be nay-sayers (You can't produce something of quality in 3 weeks!) But I will disagree with them. Yes, some authors take 6 months to write a chapter. I do not. I can write a chapter and heavily edit it 3 times in 4 days. But, as I write, I edit. I read the previous chapter, edit, write the next chapter. The next day, I read what came before, edit, write the next and so forth. I'm a rolling editor. Plus, I take what my beta readers say into consideration as I move forward. By the time I finish the story, only the last part needs severe editing - the rest has been looked over by at least 4 pairs of eyes (my own, at least 10 times). Also, when I write, I don't generally "go with it"... the ideas usually ferment in my brain and when I sit down with it, I know where it's going. I learned a long time ago that "letting characters write the story for me..." was a bad idea. My stories took weird turns, and I felt I couldn't get them back on track. It's better if I follow the pattern in my head, then flesh it out after.

And if I may make a nod at people who have already made some success - I think many people would be surprised how quickly some stories were written. I believe I read on Hocking's blog that she wrote Hollowland in about a week... and that's considerably longer than what I'm writing. I don't know her editing schedule, but I believe if you have the story, it's there, and you'll write it. I don't find writing a struggle, I find it a release. I don't get writer's block because there's always SOMETHING in there to write about! (I may get something I call writer's pause, on occasion, as I sift about for that perfect phrase.)

I'm trying to turn around my situation, one chapter at a time ;) So, let's take this unplanned free day and turn it a better life down the road!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Bit on "Cheater's Pass"

My current WIP goal is series of YA episodic adventure novellas. 20k words for $.99 a pop. I've mentioned before that I have something inside that feels I'm devaluing my work if I price too low - my 60k novel, Shackled has settled into the $2.99 price. I intend to leave it there for some time.

So, it makes sense that 1/3 of the words means 1/3 of the price, right? Maybe it's just coincidence :)

Anyway, (almost) none of you know anything about the (Icarus Helix) series. Given the warning that this is a novella (20k for .99!) and that each one is meant to stand alone, I'd like you to tell me your thoughts on the product description I whipped up for it today. I'm almost halfway done drafting it, and I want it to really be ready for release. Depending on edits and cover, I'm aiming for either March 10th or the 17th for release. (Only 99 cents! Ahem.) Remember, this is Young Adult!

Without further rambling ado, here is the PD for "Cheater's Pass":

How far would you go for money? For Marcus Tiller, gambling debt was an overwhelming shadow on his life. As a neonatal attendant at St. Mercy Four Cities Hospital in need of cash, he became CGT-Inc's ideal pawn. The contract: secretly inject newborns with an experimental compound - for $1,000 a head. But, three years after he began, he disappeared.

Now, 14 years later, the effects of the compound are starting to show. 17-year old Ian Reynolds, an aspiring varsity football player, suddenly finds he can control things with the power of his thoughts. Footballs miraculously end up in his hands, girls' skirts catch sudden drafts and life is good. But the power comes with a price, both physical and mental. When a stranger suddenly comes into his life, leaving cryptic notes and the big rivalry with the Waredo Firehawks looming, will Ian decide his power is best left... undiscovered?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Some Updates

I've posted about my next WIP. Details are on my release blog.

I think it's interesting how many people must come by and not say hello. In December, I had 10 total page views. In January, 365. So far this month? 593. That number staggers my brain (in a good way.)

I wrote "Shackled" because I wanted to write an Adult Book. Not so much themes like sex, or violence, but a book with intellectual wording that I felt good about. I wrote "Shackled". I gave it my stamp of approval, and sent it out on fledgling wings into the wide, cruel world.

So, I did that. That's one thing off my bucket list. Whee!

Now that I've done the writing that was necessary for my happiness as a writer, I can move on. I'm trying my hand at YA. I sort of think I was meant to write YA. (But as I said, I wanted to write an Adult Book first.) The themes and wording feel very natural to me. Also, I devoured books faster when I was younger (easier reads, yeah?). I have a lot of YA reading under my belt, and I think I have a really interesting concept with the Icarus Helix series I'm starting. I will probably post the intro when I get closer to release.

Jeroen ten Berge is going to be my cover artist for the series, also. He's really a delight to work with. He's easy to talk with and I think he really delivers a quality product. He's also open to how I feel about the series, and what I'd like to see on the cover. Good guy to work with! I recommend him.

Please keep an eye on my writing widget to the left. You can watch my progress, as I plow forward into the horomonic (yes I made that word up, suck it spellchecker) lands of the YA...

Unintentionally STUCK!

We got a lot of snow last night.

A LOT of snow. More than I expected... More than my car can handle.

I successfully backed out of my driveway this morning. That's -all- the success I had. I'm supposed to be at work. Earning money. To pay my bills.

I can't get down my street.

I called my work. "I'm stuck... In the street." I told my manager. "Huh." she said. I guess she'd already called another driver, just in case. Smart on her!

This is the worst winter I ever remember having. Between the mountains of snow and the ice storms that coat everything in slippery danger, then snow and more ice... and more ice... and more ice... and SNOW...

In honor of this winter, I've prepared a short letter.

Dear World,

Please stop global warming. Seriously, you're killing me here. (Seriously, if I can't get to work, I don't eat.)


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Moving Forward...

My head has been an absolute whirlwind the past few days!

I think I've finally settled down into a long-term mindset. I know everyone says, "This isn't a sprint - it's a marathon!" but the fact is, my bills don't feel the same way. For them, this race was over yesterday (plus interest!)

I'm engaged and one of the stipulations for accepting the engagement was that it had to be at least 2 years long, because I wanted to pay off my debts before tying the knot (Or: I want to start the marriage with a clean slate.)

I'm 26. I want kids someday. I don't want to be 50 and changing MY kid's diapers (grandkids, maybe okay). I don't really want to wait 2 years, I love my fiance and he's nothing but good for me.

For now, I'm just going to "Keep on keepin' on". After my initial crazy settled down, I can think about the whole publishing thing more rationally, and how I need to move onto Phase 2 (It looks a lot like Phase 1)

Phase 2: WRITE MORE!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Creep Creep Creep

I have steadily watched my Amazon rank creeping along until it is now over 118,000. This makes me a little sad, as I sit in my computer chair and say, "Go on, little book! You can do it, make me proud!"

On Smashwords, I had over 50 views of my product page, but 1 purchase and about 8 sample downloads. I am starting to wonder if my $3.99 price point is pushing away potential readers, newbie author, yadda yadda yadda (anyone on the indie circuit has heard it a million times).

Amazon doesn't provide any data on downloaded samples, so I don't really know how much traffic is being driven there - same with B&N.

So I'll put it out there, to my faithful readers - should I take a hit? Try the $2.99 point, or even the dreaded $.99?

I sent out a bunch of e-mails today for potential reviews/blog tour/guest post chicanery.

If it were anyone else, I would probably do the logical thing and say, "Take the hit!" But please, I need a good smack in the face on this one - what do you guys think?

P.S.: So much for keeping cool about the whole thing :P

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sally Forth (This is a No-Tarrying Zone)

My 9-day vacation was well spent, I think, in that I released "Shackled" on all three platforms as I wished. I have even sold 2 copies :) I know at least 1 is to my friend Lauren, she was excited to read something by me... no clue who the second one was! But, it got me a rank on Amazon, which I now understand...



That being said, "Shackled" is complete and it's time to move forward. I have more in mind for that world, but as I've read the story about 5 times in the past week, I need to step back from it for awhile and let the toons ferment about their business. I know where it's going, but I want to rest that part.

As you may notice by my widgets to the right, I have 3 projects I am considering next. (Stupid ideas, never seem to stop coming... not that I'd want them to. I love you, ideas! You're not stupid! Please don't abandon meeeee!)

I had 4 editors and 5 beta readers for "Shackled". I have 2 editors and 3 beta readers for my next project, whatever it may be. One of those editors may not be able to keep up - through no fault of his own, but due to my own pacing.

You see, two of those projects are me considering a foray into the land of episodic writing. I would aim to write 20k novellas (less than a month of writing, for me) so they would bang out rather quickly.

In a (rather forward-thinking, if I do say so) move by myself, I'm writing the intro to the beginning of all three, asking the opinions of my beta readers. I've already gotten opinions from various people on the "pitch" but I want an opinion on the "voice" for the stories.

The thing is, I need 2 (possibly 3) more editors and at least 1 more beta reader. (You can be both editor and beta reader - but yo' skillz bettah be AMAZING at grammar/punctuation!) I catch about 85% of my errors. But that 15% could drown me in mediocrity and plot holes, so I need good eyes.

I write fiction, exclusively. I like twists in my stories and everything to tie up neatly. I write fast and can send out as much as 3,000 words to be edited, per day. (Though usually I send around 1k, and sometimes bundle a few k together after a period of silence, and I don't usually send out large chunks more than 3 days in a row). You'll read the whole story at least twice. The first time is the rough draft, the second time is edits, and possibly a third time after that. Two of the projects, if chosen, will be episodic so I'd need a long-term person to stick through the whole thing.

Last thing: The episodic are aimed at YA, the novel at A.

Any takers? :)

First Review

Over on my Literary Ravager site, I reviewed Kathleen Kent's, The Heretic's Daughter, for anyone interested in seeing my review :)

"Shackled" is Released! (Completely and For Really Realz)

If you're interested in buying it, please check out my Release Blog!

Thanks everyone! Will have the widgets up soon, I imagine :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Interminable WAIT

I'm not a gloriously patient person. I mean, I like to get where I'm going, get stuff I needed done, see results, ect.

I just put up "Shackled" on Amazon, PubIt and Smashwords. I don't know, I feel at little strange. I'm excited to be finished but... nothing is happening at the moment. I have to wait for their processing (granted - FAR better than waiting 2+ years for traditional publishing). 24-72 hours, plus I'm over 200 in the Smashwords queue. Just twiddling my thumbs now.

My brain is mush from marathon editing. Maybe I'll be more excited after sleep. Won't sleep for a bit though, there is still so much nerve power flashing around in my body.

I FINISHED MY FIRST NOVEL! HOLY (*@%#)@*($U#)@*(&$#)@*(#$U*@)(!!!!

When it's up for really reals, I'll post it on my Release Page and ask all of you to give me a shout out. I'm cool like that ;)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Compulsive Drag

Anyone who reads this knows by now - my book is due for release this week. In fact, I took a 9-day unpaid vacation to make it happen.

I just finished editing Chapter 30. Here's my lame but sincere statement: Editing takes a long time. I really thought I'd buzz through and be done, but attempting to put forth the best product I can - it takes time. I may have to bump back my release to FRIDAY :( Lost a lot of time today (don't regret it!) on Valentine's shenanigans. It's the way of things. I do feel like maybe I have a fear of releasing it, which is part of the reason I'm so far behind (hence today's title: Compulsive Drag!)

On a more personal note: Valentine's Day!

I'm impressed with my partner as we both bought each other very thoughtful gifts. We also went out for dinner and a movie (No Strings Attached, chick flick wheeee!) The movie was alright. My biggest complaint is that they have a lot of completely unnecessary rude (mostly sexual) statements. I felt it detracted from the story, some of the dialogue was just rough and jarring. At the very beginning of the movie, a young Adam is crying and as the last line in the scene says something obscene to the young Emma that felt out of place. I know it turns out to be the connection with the next scene but... maybe I'm getting old :P

The weather was also cooperative enough today that I took Ajax for a walk. I'd love to take him on daily walks if the snow would stop piling up to my bum in the STREET (Okay, maybe closer to ankle, but that's far less dramatic). We don't even have sidewalks around here, nor do the plows grace us with their presence (which is ridiculous, really, seeing as how we are IN the city on the property line between two cities, yay suburban sprawl!).

My stitches itched like crazy today and I'm just trying to keep my fingernails outta there. They come out on the 16th, so at least there's that :)

My cat is about 14~15 years old. Sadly, I think he's on his way out. I'm just trying to keep an eye on him and keep him comfortable. I've had him since I was a freshman in high school, so we go way back!

I've been pulling out some of my old music and loading it up while I write, to keep the constantly mobile part of my brain active while I write. If you like many of the following bands, we may be able to take a road trip together!:

American Head Charge
Jack's Mannequin
Snow Patrol
Panic! at the Disco
Il Nino
Lollipop Lust Kill
Sum 41

Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fun Statistics (For Funsies!)

I'm doing my rewrites, whee! I finished through Chapter 20. My goal is to finish 8 today, and I've done 4 so far. No work tomorrow, logically I could do 4 more before bed ;)

I began to wonder, what percentage of things am I really changing? Here's a short list of statistics for you (based on the first 20 chapters)!

Intro paragraph for chapter completely rewritten: (9/20) 45%

First or second (or both) paragraph for chapter completely rewritten: (13/20) 65%

Last paragraph of chapter completely rewritten: (4/20) 20%

Number of pages NOT containing at least one rewritten paragraph: (14/69) 20.3%

From this I can confirm some nuances of my writing style
- I start chapters with an idea, but don't pay so much attention to HOW I start it, just so I can get writing.
- I generally (more than 50%) go back and edit the intro to flow more smoothly.
- I know where I am going - so I need little edits at the end of chapters.
- I am critical on my writing and am willing to scratch and start over (at least small pieces).

Other fun facts (as I learned from the internet):
- Human thighbones are stronger than concrete!
- Ketchup was sold in the 1930s as medicine.
- Most lipstick contains fish scales! (Really, internet?!?)
- A toothpick is the object most often choked on by Americans.
- 20 million kids are eaten by bats EVERY SECOND! (This last one is a potentially offensive web comic. You have been warned!)

Vindication for Vacation!

"Shackled" is written in the past - and by past, I don't mean past tense, I mean 14-17 hundreds (year) past. As a writer, I have to be conscious of the fact that my character, born in 1474 (or whenever) isn't going to say, "I need a Kleenex." or "I wish I had that on tape." or even, "Google it." Those things just don't fit in with the timeline of the story. Putting in an out-of-century expletive or expression makes the fantasy world you're building really crumble away.

Every last one of my beta readers has griped about when my characters say something like, "You must needs have it done!" or "He must needs listen to that advice." They tell me, "Say he must do it, or he needs listen!" Or even, "If you take the s off needs it might be okay, but I still think it's wrong..."

I have read many classical works in my time. I'm not saying my friends and beta readers (and fiance) are less well-read or up-in-the-know, but I can't explain to them that "must needs" is a correct phrase. I've been tearing my hair out trying to decide - do I change it and lose atmosphere, or keep it because I know it's correct? (even though everyone griped about it!!) Even my grammar Nazi got on my case about it. Head... plus... desk...

The whoop I let out yesterday shook the walls of my house. I was reading "The Scarlet Letter", a particular favorite of mine, when I came upon this passage:

Then touching the shoulder of a townsman who stood near to him, he addressed him in a formal and courteous manner:
"I pray you, good Sir," said he, "who is this woman?--and wherefore is she here set up to public shame?"
"You must needs be a stranger in this region, friend," answered the townsman, looking curiously at the questioner and his savage companion, "else you would surely have heard of Mistress Hester Prynne and her evil doing. (/end)

Let me gloat a little bit. Oh yeah, do the cabbage patch, swing that booty, uh, uh, uh, alright, oh yeah! (This sort of celebration doesn't transfer to text well.)

So, I am satisfied and IT WILL STAY (even though I am 95% sure some reviewer will complain about it.) But in the end, it's my story, my voice, and CORRECT!!!

I've finished 18/48 rewrites so far. If I did 8 a day starting today, I'd be done for release Wednesday. It's a tall order and I'm not going to push for time and lose quality. It's funny how doing 8 sounded so easy in my head :P Some of them I can do in about 45 minutes, but the two chapters I've done today took me a combined 3+ hours. They were important chapters written in bare bones and needed to be polished. I want my product to be the best it can be! :D

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fifteen Forty-Eights (15/48)

I'm working on the rewrites of my chapters, getting them really as clean and polished as I can, for release next week.

When I write my first draft, I write The Story. It's sort of like I'm making a person. See, everyone needs bones (we'd look REALLY funny without them), so when I write, I'm making the bones of the story.

The problem with that is - it's the bones of the story. There isn't any meat or muscle, not much there to sink your teeth into. There is some, but it's more a shadow of what's to come. Now, I'm fleshing things out and really putting those lean muscles over the bones. My story is starting to look a little more... human?

This analogy is weird.

So far today, I've rewritten through Chapter 15. I'm behind schedule, but I'm not panicking (yet). The thing is, I was REALLY excited about my rewrites today. Rewrites are potentially not an exciting thing for me. It's basically the time where I say, "Yeah, I kinda screwed up, so let's fix it. SIIIIGH."

Today I felt like the rewrites I did were really powerful, like the story is getting cranked back against some springs and waiting to explode into the face of my readers. (Boom) The scenes that had pizazz have really perked up and I think have impact. I felt exhilarated on the re-read! So, good for me.

On another note, thanks everyone who was worried about my hand. I'm doing fine, everything is healing up very nicely and I'm taking good care of it. Only average light infection, nothing at all to worry about. It's starting to itch, which drives me nuts, but I'm staying away from it. (As much as one CAN stay away from one's own HAND.)

I got the amazingly intelligent (incredibly stupid) idea today that, since I want to exercise and slim down a bit before my wedding (remember the fiance I mention all the time?) I would go for a jog.

And I would take the dog with me.

My sweet and loving puppy is about 5 months old. I'm pretty sure this qualifies him to be identified as 100% perpetual motion. In an effort to wear my dog out, I have played fetch with him (long-distance fetch!) for so long he has coughed up mucus (and I thought my arm would fall off). Regardless, he coughed, then brought the slobbery, mucus-y ball directly back to my feet. (I think it's the border collie in him.)

Jogging with Perpetual-Motion-With-Fur is not the most genius idea I have ever had. I went all the way around the block to the left (down the hill), passed my street and went around the block to the right (fairly level), passed my street street again and went around the first block in the opposite direction (UP the hill, dumb-da-dumb-dumb), then down my street and home. He merely trotted along in front of me like, "Hey? Why are you going so Sloooooooooow?!?" I collapsed on the couch, legs frozen through and lungs totally collapsed. (Okay, maybe not totally.) Luckily for me, the dog jumped directly in my lap and gave me concerned puppy eyes. A balm for the soul, that. (Too bad it couldn't do anything for my lungs.) Also, at 40+ lbs, he's not exactly the lightest thing to have in your lap...

I didn't realize how out of shape I was! How embarrassing. My fiance tried to assuage my feelings by assuring me, "It's because of the cold!" Regardless that it is friggin' cold outside (11 degrees Fahrenheit), I still feel like a wuss. I really need to take better care of myself! Now where did I leave that Pepsi cube...

Tomorrow is my last day of work before my nine-day vacation! I am extremely excited about this. As soon as my lungs re-inflate, I'll be sure to let out a cheer!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nine Days on the Horizon

I'm off work tomorrow (whee!) then back on Friday (sigh)... but Saturday starts my self-inflicted vacation! I mean that in that - I will not be paid for my nine days away from work. I don't get vacation days. I deliver pizza, what do you expect! We don't earn vacation days.

Regardless, next week I am releasing "Shackled". I want it to be perfect as it heads out the door (my computer) to its first day in the big, bright world (the InTeRtRoN). If I have to spend every waking moment from Saturday to next, next Sunday editing - so be it.

My goal is to release it around Tuesday or Wednesday, so I have a few days to stalk my Amazon numbers and get a feel for the system. It's one thing to look at another's reports... then to look at your own, very real, numbers. I have this gnawing feeling in my belly that I won't sell one (not a one!) and that I will never receive a ranking, thus spiraling cartoon-like into a vortex of dimension-shifting despair.

Not being a cartoon, I see this as a problem.

However, I think, if nothing else, my good friend Aaron (E-publisher's Manifesto) will buy one, for posterity ;) So, no despair-vortex for me! I will at least be ranked somewhere in the 6 millions.

I was reading, today, about the Amazon ranking system. It's super hush-hush, no one knowing the exact algorithm, but mind(s) have long pondered over it! When I realized (for the first time!) that there were over 6 million titles available, I began to wonder - what makes me think I can get into the top 10,000? 1,000? 100? The best-seller's list?!?

Phew, take a deep breath.

I have to check off the things that all the "experts" (as much as any of us can be, on the situation) are saying to do.

Step 1: Amazing Cover
- I hired a professional, Jeroen ten Berge, who produced a very attractive, eye-catching cover. It seems to be going over very well, and I like what he's done with my name. I think for the non-impulse buyer, the image will stick and my name will linger, perhaps even in long-term memory!

Step 2: Persuasive Product Description
- I thought about a good description and put it out there for others to judge. I've gotten feedback and tweaked it to a state of nigh-deitistic proportion! (Or at least made it semi-intriguing). It tells what the story is about, without giving too much away, but leaves the reader wanting to know why.

Speaking of which:
One man, labeled monster, imprisoned for 200 years.

His brother - the only remaining jailer. Refusing to protect his family's shame any longer, he seeks the balm of a confession from his deathbed.

A foster son, witness to an impossible testimony of deceit, jealousy and murder. He must bear the ill tides of the past to correct the future.

Three men, bound by blood, love and iron.


Step 3: Good Book
- My beta readers had very good things to say. They gave me some good, constructive criticisms and in the process of the rewrites I received comments such as, "The rewrites make it really smooth!" and "The characters are really speaking in their own voices." I also feel more confident in the finishing (not quite finished) product.

Step 4: Marketing
- I am pretty solitary by nature. I think about a lot of things and when I have a thread of something winding through my brain, I don't like to be disturbed until I'm finished. My mom jokingly calls me a touch-me-not, because I'm not big on hugs etc. The e-world, for me, is just another place with a whole bunch of people, most of whom probably have opinions I don't care about. That said - I've met some really decent people whom I am sure enrich my life. I had a team from my alma mater, but they pulled their project at the last second, for reasons I am still unsure about. I've wandered about a little on the blogosphere (another word I hate) and tried to make some connections. I am honestly banking on Steps 1~3 considerably more :P I very seriously considered sending out a billion ARCs, but I really like things to grow organically - even if it means only 1-2 sales a year, to grow from.

Step 5: Pricing Below the Impulse Buy
- I am flat out breaking J. A. Konrath's rule, here, and pricing my book at $3.99 to start. If I fall flat on my big beak, then that is a lesson learned, for me. However, I think the ebook world could embrace that price point, provided my product meets a certain standard. A lot of people have screeched at my seemingly deaf ears, but I just don't want to price as low as $2.99. Not yet. It wasn't too long ago that the mass majority of us were clawing for the chance to have our paperbacks in a store for @$10. $4 doesn't seem so bad TO ME! If I have a good, interesting book, I think people will drop $4 for that entertainment. In my area, it costs upwards of $30 for a couple to go to a movie (no snacks included!). That is an entertainment that lasts for about two hours. It depends on how fast you read, but I think my story will take longer than two hours to read... and can be enjoyed over, and over again. I'm going to stick with it, even if only for a little while.

There is a lot that goes into being a successful indie and I can only hope my distaste for pimping myself out all over the world wide web doesn't destroy my chances.

I think, in general, I have a lot going for me and a good attitude. I want to keep writing and trying to improve my craft. I want to be popular, sure, but I think it would mean more to me if I could do it on my terms - not to say I can't change my terms, or stretch to meet some other set of arbitrary terms, but I'd like to try my way first.

If all else fails, I'm sure there will always be pizza that needs delivered. Well, until 2012, anyway.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

One More Go, Three Stitches and a Tetanus Shot!

One more Go:
Here's the cover, and the slightly edited blurb. (For those that can't see it, I had secrets in the same sentence with seek, it was too repetitive sounding, so that is what is edited.)

One man, labeled monster, imprisoned for 200 years.

His brother - the only remaining jailer. Refusing to protect his family's shame any longer, he seeks to serve a confession from his deathbed.

A foster son, witness to an impossible testimony of deceit, jealousy and murder. He must bear the ill tides of the past to correct the future.

Three men, bound by blood, love and iron.


Fans of Anne Rice's "Interview with a Vampire" and Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose" may also enjoy this read.

Three Stitches and a Tetanus Shot:
Last Sunday was Superbowl Sunday (for anyone with their head in the sand) which is Doomsday for anyone who delivers pizza (me). I was opening driver, scheduled from 11am-8pm. As opening driver, it's my job to do morning prep. I cut up (and involuntarily cry over) yellow onions, green peppers and tomatoes. I also prepare sauces, make-line, whatever I have time for ect.

On Sunday, we were expecting to do a ridiculous amount of sales for our tiny store. (We fell $700 short, so it wasn't actually TOO bad). I usually prepare about 10 onions (depending on size) in the mornings, and it will take us all the way through night rush and sometimes even into the next day. On Sunday I prepared 24 and I heard a coworker prepared another 20 or so later. (It was too much, we had so much leftover!)

Our vegetable slicer is not great. We put things through, but, invariably, there are huge chunks that don't meet the standard size. I end up chopping these by hand with our great big butcher knife that gets sharpened every two weeks. (See where this is going, yet?)

I had just chopped a batch of the over-sized chunks and was using the knife to scoop them into the lexan. I do this ALL THE TIME. Practically EVERYDAY. For some totally bizarre and asinine reason, my hand slipped, sending the edge of the blade in a six inch line through the palm of my left hand. I very neatly opened up the skin, much like carving a roast.

Needless to say, I bled.

I would also like to point out - we do NOT have a cutting glove.

Being one who is incredibly safety conscious (I wash our vegetables more than ANYONE else, and always wash and sanitize the cutting board/knife/slicer between products to prevent cross-contamination) I tossed the knife into the sink and leapt away from the cutting board, sheltering my hand from bleeding on everything but itself. I ran up to the front (again, to get away from the food) to wash my hand in the open sink away from the dishes.

Here is where things sort of fell apart.

My coworker in the back almost threw up because he doesn't deal well with blood. My manager skedaddled away, also. I was sort of left hanging. Nothing was really done for me and I ended up calling my fiance to drive me to the hospital because I have a stick-shift and couldn't shift and steer with one hand, while the other one leaked my life all about the place.

I got to the hospital (5 minutes up the road) about 30-45 minutes after I had actually cut myself. I had gotten the bleeding mostly staunched by that point and just sort of helplessly stared at the open chunk of skin on my palm.

Most unexpected comment of the day: "You filleted it (my hand) nicely!" I will never look at fillet mignon the same...

I ended up needing three stitches to keep the skin closed. I also had to get a tetanus shot, you know... just in case. I've nicked myself at least ten times on that knife before, but ah well. I couldn't recall my last tetanus shot (really, who can?) so kerplunk I got one.

Before they put the stitches in, they had to give me an anesthetic, basically so I wouldn't feel them piercing my skin six times. I got 6 shots of anesthetic, each of which burned like FIRE. Seriously, it hurt far more than the actual wound did. Unfortunately, the last stitch was out of the range of the anesthetic so I had the pleasure (NOT PLEASURE) of feeling the hook pass through my skin and then the pulling as he tied each knot in the stitch.

Today (Tuesday) is the first day it has been almost pain-free and tolerable. Every little movement doesn't kill anymore, which I consider a significant step up.

I was also semi-jokingly accused of doing it to get out of work and watch the game. For the record, that is an incredibly ridiculous claim as I didn't care about either team playing, I didn't watch the game... and I don't even have cable.

Don't they know I deliver pizza? I can't afford that fancy stuff!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Opinions, Round 2... FIGHT!

I have been puzzling over how to make my "blurb" (Ugh, I HATE that word) better. I've received some information from various sources that it appears a little weak. It's hard to walk away from it when I like it ;) So, here is an updated version, please tell me if you think it's stronger. Please keep in mind, this is a fiction paranormal/horror book.

One man, labeled monster, imprisoned for 200 years.

His brother - the only remaining jailer. Refusing to protect his secret any longer, he seeks to serve a confession from his deathbed.

A foster son, witness to an impossible testimony of deceit, jealousy and murder. He must bear the ill tides of the past, to correct the future.

Three men, bound by blood, love and iron.


Fans of Anne Rice's "Interview With a Vampire" and Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose" may also enjoy this read.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Your Opinion, Please!

Hello again, my dears.

My cover artist, Jeroen ten Berge prepared this concept art for my cover. This is the first image we have considered, and I would like your honest opinions!

As an added bonus, here is the product description I am considering:

One man, labeled monster, secretly imprisoned for 200 years.

His brother, the only remaining jailor, weary of life and dying.

A foster son, witness to an impossible testimony of deceit, jealousy and murder.

Three men.


Fans of Anne Rice's "Interview with a Vampire" and Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose" may also enjoy this read.

There are a few things I like and a few things I am unsure about. Let's pass it around the table, shall we?

Opinions: GO!!!

I took this "Who Do I Write Like" Analysis I saw on Amanda Hocking's blog. Here was my result...

I write like
Leo Tolstoy

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

TOLSTOY?!?! I'm shocked and flattered by this program!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Heartburn... of JOY (Plus: Twelve Worlds)

I am almost entirely unable to sit still today!

Sometime this year (definite date not yet set), I will have some work released in an anthology called "Twelve Worlds". Derek J. Canyon of Dead Dwarves Don't Dance and Dead Dwarves, Dirty Deeds decided to put the idea together. We are looking to donate the proceeds to charity, probably one focused around writing or literacy.

I wrote a piece called Insomnomancer, my word ticker up there says Sleepeater because I changed the name right before editing submissions. I also handed off a copy to my buddy G to the Niz of E-publisher's Manifesto fame.

Our round-robin submissions mean that 3 of the other 12 authors will review our story, edit and provide feedback/suggestions. One of my editors, plus Aaron got back to me today and I think both critiques were very positive! Both enjoyed the story and had a little to say about my adjective use. (What can I say? My world is just more emo than yours, ha-ha... but I'm not dying my hair, growing it over my eyes and walking around depressed so don't ask.)

It is such a thrill to me to have others enjoy my writing. For anyone who has never been locked in a shell of their own making, you don't know what it's like when the sunlight finally comes pouring in. Self-imposed writing abstinence did me NO good and it feels good to be stringing the lines of a story together. It is also very cathartic in that - the ideas won't leave me alone UNTIL I empty them from my head. I have more "room to breathe" as it comes to thinking, when I write! I hope you understand what I mean.

I have that warm fuzzy feeling in my chest and big dorky grin plastered on my face. Hello, Heartburn of Joy! Days like this re-fill my write-o-meter and make me want to push myself even further :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rock Out With $$$ (Can I Get a Self-Pubbed WHOOP WHOOP!!)

I am a math(s) geek and probably always will be. I love numbers and how factual they are. Like any good scientist (yes, I also loves me the science), I pithily say, "The numbers don't lie!" If your math(s) are right, you have your answer!


The fact is that I am in a situation where $600/month (600*12 = $7,200/year) is an adequate income for me. I understand I am lucky in a few regards:

1. I live with my fiance who only requires I pay my own bills and stock the house with food. (No rent.)
2. My car payment is less than $188/month. (Rock on Riley, I love my 2006 Chevy Aveo!)
3. I sent home most of my income while I taught in Japan - thus paying down my bills more than average.
4. I am smart with money (AND MATH(s)!)
5. I have implemented the Snowball Effect as pertains to bills, so I am ahead of the curve.

I am planning on selling my current WIP for $3.99. Let's round my royalties from that to a nice number - $2.50.

At $600 needed a month, in increments of $2.50 payments:
600/2.50 = 240 books a month must be sold
Per year:
7200/2.50 = 2880 books a year.

My goal is to sell 1000 books by December 15th, 2011 (of my current WIP). I expect to have at least 1 other book completed and up for sale before then.

If I assume 3/4ths of my sales will be from Book 1 (based solely on the fact that it will be sold longer):
.75*2880 = 2,160 books will have to be Book 1.

Hmm, that's still higher my 1,000 goal.

But, if I make my goal to sell 1k of Book 1, and produce 2 books, I can break it down closer to something like this:
Book 1: 1000
Book 2: 700
Book 3: 400
Total: 2100... getting a lot closer to providing for myself!!

This also assumes a continuous $3.99 price point for all three. That may not necessarily be the case, in which, I will have shorter works but probably more of them. So, if I were to say:
Book 1: 1000
Prjct2: 700 (at $2.99 ~ @1.75/book)
Prjct3: 400
Prjct4: 100
Total $: ((1000*2.5)+[(700+400+100)*1.75]=$4,600/year. That's more than halfway to my goal :)

I don't know what I'll write this year, or how fast I'll write. I don't know how good the ideas that come to me will be (but I pledge to discard the lame ones). I think it would be a shame if I couldn't produce one more book this year, awesome if I could produce 2 and amazing if I could do more, and still have the level of quality I expect from myself.

From my random math(s) ramblings, I believe I could be self-sustainable within 2 years.

I would like that very much :)

Robin Sullivan posted this insight over in the comments of Konrath's blog:
1 book - 10 / month
2 books - 50-60 / month
3 books - 200-400 / month
4 books - 1,000 / month
5 books - 10,000 / month

So, according to that, if I have 3 good books out, my theory holds pretty true! Two years ahoy!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I Can Hear the Bandwagon, but I Can't Jump On

The indie community is really a thrilling place right now. It seems like everyday I find a new author out there - a living, breathing, pulsing, thinking organism who is jumping with both feet into indie publishing.

They say they've posted X number of books and are seeing between 1-15 sales a day, just on what they have up for sale. To me, even the idea of selling ONE book a day irrationally excites me. My work for consumption - what a dream!

I consider Aaron over at E-Publisher's Manifesto to be a good friend. I've followed his journey from Ground Zero as his sales have clawed their way up from 1/day to now 14/day! I see his success and cheer him... and also want it for myself.

I've touched a little before on how I gave up writing. I haven't finished that story for the readers yet, but I shall... I shall.

The point I want to make: I don't have a backlist of books to explode the face of the InTaRwEbS with my obvious genius. "Chains of Memory" is the first work I've finished...

In Ten Years.

It will be the only thing I have on Kindle, as I labor through my next piece.

Well, that's not entirely true. Along with Derek J. Canyon and 10 other authors (plus a few in the bonus section), we're putting together an indie anthology of which the proceeds will go to a (as yet unnamed) charity. THE ANTHOLOGY IS CALLED TWELVE WORLDS. (/end shameless plug)

But, we're looking at that around March. CoM will be up in the next ten to seventeen days. Even reading that terrifies me.

I do think finishing CoM has given me some serious momentum though. I jumped into the anthology and wrote my bit. It wasn't terribly long, but the idea burned pretty brightly in my mind. Even though it was only a short story, it was the second!... work I'd finished...

In Ten Years.

I feel like I'm far behind the curve, with only one submission for the indie world. I don't have this huge backlist I can wave around and say, "These are my rejections! These are my almosts! This was not quite traditionally published! Kindle hooooooooooi!" It's just my one novel that I've put a lot into (and about a month later, my one short story that I also put a lot into.)

I kind of wonder where I'll be...

In Ten Years?

Extra Blogging Room

For those that are interested, I started up two new blogs.

The first: is all about my release dates. Please go have a look-see/follow it if you are interested in acquiring my work.

The second: is for my reviews of books. If you're interested in my opinion and want me to review your work, please check it out. I will also review books I read of my own choice, so you can see what caught my eye (and how it turned out!)

End this public service announcement :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


At the very beginning of January, I gave myself an anneurism (figuratively) by sending out a query to a cover artist. I'd heard good things about his work, even though his internet page made me a little gun-shy. (I don't dig white text on a black background.) Seeing as how I'd never finished a story of this caliber, nor put it out for people to love (or hate), this was a huge step for me. I was filled with the most unholy trepidation you can imagine.

So the days ticked by and I sort of heard from him (I had been e-mailing updates to try and stay in the loop) and finally I asked when he would have something for me. He promised me on January 20th he'd "Have something to show you by the end of next week" So I waited... waited... sigh, waited.

Yesterday I sent him an e-mail asking if anything had materialized, or if I needed to find another cover artist. I tried to be as polite as possible. I still have not received an answer.

So, heart heavy and weary, I sent out a second query to a different cover artist, who I was introduced to no later than today.

Within the hour he had e-mailed me a response. He also likes to read the piece, to help him get into the story and make a really great cover.

I am absolutely thrilled.

I am also poor. He offered me a VERY reasonable payment plan.

My hero of the day is Jeroen ten Berge!!