Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Decision to Self-Publish

Most of you have probably seen me throwing up links and talking about my alter-ego.  It's less an alter-ego and more a pseudonym.  Along with my love of all things Urban Fantasy, I have quite the adoration for Regency Romances.  I'll admit it, I'm not much of a historian.  I love them simply for the sap.

For those of you that don't know, I've recently self-published a short novella under the pen-name Diana Connell.  Along with the novella, I have plans for a quartet that I'm going to be spending the next couple years working on.

Does that mean I've stopped writing other things?  Nope!  Not hardly.  This year alone I've written four novels, nearly finished a fifth (stupid Nano-novel, I'm still procrastinating diving in and finishing it) revised two, written a novella, revised the novella, published the novella.  It'll take a little juggling, which I've gotten good at this year, but I should be able to produce two RR novels a year, and still get other things written.  I'm still planning on subbing my young adult to agents.  I'm still going to resume subbing FAERIE BAD LUCK to agents.

I still want to go the "traditional" route to publication.  But, let's face it.  The publishing landscape has drastically changed in the past few years, and if I really want this to be my career, I can't really sit around and wait to be picked up by an agent, then wait some more before a publisher decides I'm worth a shot.  The best way to get my stuff out there, right into the readers hands, is by self-publishing.

Now, I'll admit it, because I'm an honest sort of person, a couple of years ago, I wouldn't have considered self-pubbing.  There was still a big stigma surrounding it, and it was the mark of an amateur, a clueless plebeian of the writing community.  To admit to being self-published was to guarantee you didn't get picked up by an agent.  A lot of that had to do with the quality of tripe that was being self-published, because anyone that produces a book can do it.  That's still true, but the publishing community has come to realize that not all self-pubbed books are crap, and not all self-pubbed authors are clueless.  Actually, there's quite a few of them that are REALLY GOOD.  Like, six figure deal with one of the big six publishers kind of good.

There's actually been several cases where successful self-pubbed authors have gotten their stories picked up by a traditional publisher.

The publishing industry is changing.  The whole damn world is changing.

Am I self-publishing with an eye to make millions quick?  Hell no.

Do I expect to become a best seller and have my romances picked up by one of the big six, or even a smaller traditional publisher?  Nope.

Then why am I self-pubbing?

Why, for you, dear reader.

I have stories to tell, and the big thing about being a writer (at least for me) is sharing those stories.  I was happy for a long time just writing for myself, sharing things with my younger sister, but now I want more.  I want a wider audience.  I want more people to experience the worlds I visit in my head, meet my characters.  Have a laugh, shed a tear, get angry.  Books should make you feel, and I'm not going to inflict emotion on anyone by keeping my books to myself.

Well, maybe money factors into it a little bit.  There's something about earning royalties that makes you feel like a real writer.  An author.  Frankly, I'm happy with the little I've made.  Which, to date, has been about enough to cover the cost of purchasing the stock images I used on the cover.

If you've been dying to read the books I rant and rave and complain about in the archives of this blog, then I'm sorry to disappoint.  You'll have to wait a while.  But please, feel free to go and take a peak at that pen-name of mine (she's on facebook and twitter, too) and maybe take a gander at the sample available for the novella.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blog Fail, Renovations, and NanoWrimo

I completely failed to blog last month.  Mostly because I wasn't writing anything, at all, and it sucked, but also because I couldn't remember the last time I wrote a blog post, and I'm far too lazy to actually go to my blog and check when my last post was written.  Unless I'm procrastinating.  Which I tend to do when I'm writing.  Like I am right now.

Life got a little nuts there for a while.  We've been working on some big house renovations.  My room is now a different color, with a different ceiling fan, hard wood floors instead of carpet, with a new door still on order.  Our kitchen, once cursed with hideous blue industrial carpet, is now a lovely wood laminate, the wall paper gone and the walls painted green.  The shit brown living room carpet, with holes chewed in it by the dogs, and the furrier strips poking through in the heavily trafficked hallway is gone.  Now it's green.  The popcorn ceiling in the hallway is gone.  The wallpaper down.

To be fair, my mom has been the driving force behind the renovations, and the one responsible for doing most of the work.  Except my bedroom.  I did that.  The first time.  She painted it the second time (I hated the first color) because I came down sick and she wanted it done as much as I did.

With all the upset in the house, it kind of affected by ability to sit down and write.  Though that was more because of what I was writing.  Trying to finish the end of The Book That Refused to Die proved to be one of the hardest things I've done.  Because I didn't want to mess it up.  I was petrified by the idea of getting it wrong and having to rewrite the book.  Again.

I am so sick of rewriting Jacky's story.  I sincerely hope this is my last time doing that.

Now, though, I'm happily Nanoing away.  I'm writing the second book in my YA trilogy, so that I didn't actually lie in my query letter that says book two is in progress.  It's now in progress.  Ha.  See.  Not a liar.  No ma'am.  I even told the truth when I said I had book three plotted.

Sorta.  For the most part.

All right.  At least I know how the book ends.  That's got to count for something.

I'd like to get this book finished this month.  NanoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month, for those that don't know) is a great push.  And a really nice way to meet other writers and chat about craft.  Which doesn't happen much during the rest of the year, for whatever reason.

There.  I've blogged.  It's time to get back to the novel writing.  I can still get some more words written tonight.  Or I could call it done and what TV shows via Netflix and knit.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

To Each His Own

One of the things a writer needs to learn is that every book, every project, is going to have different needs.  It’s not going to come out the same way, or in the same time frame, or with the same struggles or ease.  Books, rather like people, are all unique, and all require slightly different handling to get them to be the best they possibly can be.

I’m battling against that knowledge with my current project (The Book That Refused to Die) and have been trying to explain that to the creator of a comic I’ve been scripting.  I don’t think he gets it.

Why?  Because I told him I don’t typically work with outlines, and he took that to mean I cannot work from outlines.  Not what I said, dude, but no matter how many times I say “I can outline.”  “Let me outline.”  “No, that’d take for fucking ever and cut too much into my noveling, LET ME DO THE GODDAMNED OUTLINE!” he just doesn’t seem to hear me.

But enough of that.  We’ll get it worked out.  Probably after I write the damn outline and then stuff it down his throat.

Anyway!  Back to the The Book That Refused to Die.

Normally I’m a very linear, sit down, chew it out, stuff it in a draw type of writer.  Oh sure, sometimes I’ll have to do some plot sketching with index cards, or do a web to keep track of all the various evil villains plotting in the background, but usually once I start a novel, I don’t write anything else (except comic pages and blog posts, obviously) until it’s finished.

Not so with The Book That Refused to Die.  

I don’t know if it’s the plot, the mystery elements, the focus on amateur sleuthing as opposed to other sources of conflict and drama, but I’ve had to sit back and let this draft more often, and for longer stretches of time, than any other book I’ve written to day.  And to be perfectly honest, it’s starting to drive me batty.  The best solution, so far, has been to step back and *gasp!* write on something else for a while.  

Yes, that bugs the snot out of me, because I hate leaving things unfinished, and often times if I stop working on one thing to start working on The Book That Refused to Die again, it’ll stay unfinished and I really don’t want to take more time away from my novel than I absolutely have to.  But, that seems to be what this book needs for it to come together.  

Annoying.  Frustrating.  Depressing.  The whole damn process has had me wondering, more than once, if I’m writer enough to finish it and do it justice.  

The plus side of all this is working on something else keeps me from feeling like a total failure.  Which I’m not.  I’m a decent writer, damnit, and even if it takes me another four months, I will get this book drafted, and it will be GOOD.  Maybe not great, but I’d be happy settling for better than a steaming pile of shit.  

So it’s coming.  Slowly.  With breaks of working on other things while it dives behind the curtains and gets its clothes on straight again before the next round of book vs. writer wrestling.  This book needs that.  I’m willing to give it to it, and trust that I’m doing it right.

Not that there’s such a thing as a right or wrong way to right a book.  You just write the thing however it demands to be written.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Early Birthday Plans

What's this?  Two posts in one month?  Weird.  I must be on something.

I am.  Sort of.

I'm flying high on excitement, baby!

Disclaimer: If you're not interested in video games, stop reading now.  There is nothing writing related contained in this post. 

If you flip back through some of my older posts, you'll see me mention World of Warcraft.  For the few that might not know, WoW is an MMO ( Massive Multi-player Online game,) set in a fantasy world where you, the player, can big from two factions, a plethora of races and classes, and then set about monster killing, questing, gathering, creating, and interacting with other players.  It is pretty damn addictive.

Well, WoW is coming out with its fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria.  THIS is why I'm ridiculously excited. Pretty, pretty Mists of Pandaria.

And why yes, I am dork enough that I'm going to be buying the deluxe digital edition as a birthday present for myself.  I mean, a flying Mouse*?  Really?  And a puppy?  How could I possibly resist?

But that's only part of it.

I have two computers.  All right, three techinically, but one is a PC, which I don't like, it doesn't have a wifi card, and has no speakers.  It's currently in the bedroom hooked up to the TV, but there's not a whole lot I can do on it.  Though it's great for playing majong when I'm having issues getting to sleep, so at least it's good for something.

One of these days, I will buy a wifi adapter, tower, lightning rod, thing.  It's just not super high on my priority list at the moment.

So, back to the two computers I actually use.  The desktop is old.  For a computer.  Five years is really old.  But, for all it's ancient decrepitude, it's a really great computer, and let's be honest, I don't have the financial means to replace it.  The poor thing only has 1GB of ram.  That's just pathetic, and I know it.  It knows it too, but by golly, it does its best with what it's got.

Unfortunately what it's got isn't enough to play WoW.

Fortunately I have a laptop that handles the game pretty decently.  Except for Northrend (part of one of the previous expansions) and most a couple bits of the newest areas, including five man (only five mans!  You should see it in a ten man raid.  It's painful) dungeons.  I hear tell that they've upped the graphics quality of Mists again, and while I might be able to play it on the laptop, it would not be fun.

The easy solution?  Upgrade the ram.  On the desktop.  Which has a lovely graphics card.

Now, anyone computer savvy is probably howling about how hard, if not impossible, it is to upgrade a Mac without taking it to the store and paying out the arse to have one an Apple professional do it for you.  It's one of the big reasons gamers prefer PC's, right?  They're easily upgradeable.

Lucky me, I know a Mac guru who can get to the innards of my sleek, lovely machine, and replace the ram for me.

There!  That's the other half of my birthday present to myself.  I'm buying new ram to upgrade my pretty decent even if it is five years-old computer.  And this makes me almost more excited than the upcoming release of Mists of Pandaria.

Not only will I be able to play Mists, but I'll also, finally, be able to play Diablo III.  This makes the nerd-girl in me squeal with delight.

/nerd rant.  Next post will be about writing, or something more to do with writing than my gaming addiction.  I promise.

*If you don't know who Mouse is, high thee to your favorite book seller and start reading Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files.  Best. Book series. EVAR!  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

To Clear Up Some Confusion

This summer has been remarkably productive for me.  I have drafted three books, start to finish, and I'm about half way finished (for the second time) on a fourth.  One of these books I've revised, cleaned up, and have started querying.

I'm sure most people that read this blog (hi readers, both old, new, and those poor souls that have gotten horribly lost on the interwebs!) also follow me on twitter, where I ramble and rant about writing on a near daily basis.  This feed is linked to facebook, so my family and non-twittering friends can see what the Hell I spend all my time doing.

There's been some confusion about the books I've been working on.  Probably because I call them all the same thing in the twitter feed, except for the one I'm currently working on, which has earned the idiom The Book That Refused To Die, Or #TBTRTD.

Instead of writing a deep, meaningful blog post for the month of August, I'm here to clear up the confusion about my massive work in progress list.  In order of appearance and/or completion.

(I really suck at writing pitches of any sort, so bare with me.  These are fast and dirty and not well thought out.  Also, these are all working titles and subject to change at a whim.)

FAERIE BAD LUCK: Nym discovers that her bad luck mark has been framed for breaking a goblin mirror, an attempt to keep him from investigating the deaths of faeries in Mundane, the human world.  With the help of her fluff ball muse and the human knight of the Unseelie court, Nym sets out to find the killers and bring them to justice.

Genre: Adult Urband Fantasy
Status: Finished, and querying

A SEQUEL to FAERIE BAD LUCK.  It was written more for me, getting a feel for how things could pan out, and will never see the light of day again.  If ever FBL sees publication, this will be scrapped and I'll pretend it never existed.  It doesn't even deserve a quick summary, it's that bad.  Hell, it doesn't even deserve a title.

Genre: Adult Urband Fantasy
Status: Finished, but trunked

ELEMENTAL FIRE: A new power has come to the small town of Four Springs Montana, and has been starting fires throughout town.  As a shaman, it's Amy's responsibility to help her mother and aunt safe guard the town, and maintain the balance of nature.  After her friend is killed in a house fire, Amy is determined to find the arsonist and see them come to justice.  

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Status: Drafted, awaiting revisions

LIGHTNING STRIKE: (Also known as #tbtrtd) Jacky witnessed the gruesome murder of her cousin, and doesn't remember any of it.  The police are convinced she's guilty of the crime, and are determined to make her disappear before her memories can resurface.  On the run from the law, and dodging a couple of agents for a shady government agency she'd never heard of, Jacky must find the real killer and clear her name. Before she ends up vanished or dead.

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Status: Drafting

There you have it! A comprehensive list of the books I've spewed out this year.  I have no idea what I'm going to work on after I finish LIGHTNING STRIKE.  Maybe something new.  Maybe I'll see if I can work on revising ELEMENTAL FIRE without wanting to vomit. (I didn't like it. Still don't. It just didn't come out the way I wanted it to.)  I have some ideas waiting in the wings for me to poke at, but nothing that's screaming for attention.  

Mer.  At least I still have half a book to write before I need to worry about What's Next.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Issues of Pacing

Oh, pacing.  That aspect of a novel that makes it speed by or drag like a dog rubbing it's ass on the carpet.

Pacing is an issue for a surprising number of writers.  I think we all struggle with it at some point or another.  There's so much that effects it.  How quickly action scenes play out.  How much information is jammed into a coffee session, how fast or slow the hero and heroine fall in love and get some happy fun-time in.  How much downtime there is between action scenes, how often clues to solve the mystery are doled out.  On and on and on.

Chapter length can effect pacing too.  I've been playing around with chapter length, and am rather intrigued by the results.  Before, my chapters were always right around 2,000 words, a result of my NanoWrimo training of one chapter, 2,000 words a day.  For the current project (loving dubbed The Book that Refused to Die) I've been making a point of making the chapters longer.  There are some that are twice the size of what I normally write.

Here's the interesting thing.  I think adjusting the chapter length has effected how I've paced the story.

There's more character interaction, more moments of domesticity, and little bits of backstory that I don't think I'd have included if I'd been "limited" by 2,000 words a chapter.  Yet there's more action, too.  The chapters aren't stagnant.  There's movement and action and drama and conflict and plot.  Plot!

Now, I was never limited by the 2,000 words.  Never.  Some chapters were shorter, occasionally they were longer.  I just always felt like the shorter chapters moved better, kept the story going at warp speeds.  This is stupid.  I've read plenty of novels where the chapters go for-freaking-ever.  That doesn't mean the book moved slower, that it was less action packed or plot driven, with those little moments of normalcy that gave remarkable insight about the various characters.

It might be an interesting experiment to go back and divide the chapters into 2,000 (or there abouts) clumps, and see how much it changes the pacing.  I won't do it, because I'm a lazy slouch, but I'd be curious about the results.  Would readers notice the difference?  Would it change the pacing for them, or am I rambling and it's all a figment of my imagination?

What do you think?  Does chapter length effect the pacing, or is it all about the content?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tales of a Forgotten Blog

So, erm, it's obviously been a while since I've done this whole blog thing.  Not because I've stopped writing (Ha! no.) but more because I really didn't have anything to say.  And then there was that whole "everyone's sick of reading blogs" and I was tired of writing blogs, and really, what's the point of rambling away to an empty theater?

I know, it's not really empty.  Or at least it wasn't when I went on hiatus, but this is just a tiny little corner of the interwebs, that's really only important to me, and it wasn't so important to keep up and running when I books to write.

And hoo-boy have I been writing.

This year alone, I have finished the rough draft of three--read it again, 3!--different books.  Admittedly one was a sequel that I wrote just for me and ended up not working as well as I thought it would, but still!  I'm also chewing through words on the first draft of what has been lovingly called The Book That Refused to Die.  Those familiar with the blog--or are bored enough to go through the meager content in the archives--will know that I've been working with my character Jacky Kendricks for a Very Long Time.

I queried her book last year, for a bit.  I had a request for a full, which also received a very nice personalized rejection.  I'd planned on querying more, until I started working on the synopsis and made a rather depressing discovery.

The query letter WAS a synopsis.

I tried rewriting the query.  Many, many times.  Failed.

Finally came to the realization that the dratted thing had no plot.  Oh, it had plenty of story, and character, and action, but no plot.


So it got trunked while I focused on NanoWrimo (2011).

Cue the roll around of 2012 and that strange desire to make resolutions.  I didn't want to say anything too specific, because that never ends well for me, but I dubbed this the year I would get shit.

I've succeeded spectacularly.  Three books drafted.  One revised, beta'd, polished, and has been tossed out into the wild with query letter crafted and the synopsis being procrastinated as long as possible.

All that to say that it's the querying that prompted me to revive the blog.

I'm still not sure I have anything new to say, but I do have a nice little list of blog post ideas tucked away.  Somewhere.  I know it was around here somewhere.  I'll dig it up and for the next little while I'm going to aim to post something new at least once a month.

We'll see how long this lasts.  My expectations aren't exactly high.

This post counts for June and July right?  Since it's at the end of one and so close to the beginning of the other.  It doesn't?  Oh.  Well.

Just let me go find that list.