Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween and an Awesome Cover Reveal

I'm breaking the silence on my blog over the past many many months to bring you an amazing cover from an even more amazing friend, author, and all around good person. Here is the cover for 10 Tales of Steampunk Silliness and Spookery by Emily White.

In the cozy seaside village of Steamville, New Hampshire, an unfaithful zombie, out of control werebots, succubi in corsets, and more wreak havoc in this short story collection.

Look for it on December 22, 2012 with all major online retailers ($.99 for ebook/$2.99 for print)

Seriously, go check Emily and her stuff out. She is supportive, kind, and friendly to everyone she interacts with. I met her through blogging and I am glad to count her as one of my writerly friends. It helps that this collection looks to be hilarious.

Visit the Goodreads Page for the collection.
Find her on Facebook.
Visit her Blog.

Well worth getting to know her and her writing better. Now go, go my pretties!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

FREE Ebooks for You and You!

My books are, once again, free in their wonderful digital format on amazon. Please feel free to go pick one or two up, share them, gift them, borrow them, or ignore them. All good with me.

The Crystal Bridge

Zombies at the Door

My Author Page

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Trick to Quitting Soda

I've gone two months now without drinking soda. I've lost about 16 pounds and I feel great, but the journey has not been without difficulty. I love Dr. Pepper, LOVE it! I also like the occasional Coke or ginger ale. Before I quit, I was drinking at least a gallon of soda a day. I drink mainly water now, with some milk and a glass of healthy green juice now and again. I used to think water tasted disgusting. I'm learning to enjoy it.

I still crave soda though, especially when I go out to eat, drive up to a gas station, see someone else drink one, or walk the aisles of a grocery most of the time.

The trick to resist these cravings is to focus on the times soda has let you down. Here are my soda let-downs:

Withdrawals. I don't get headaches when I quit. I feel like tiny metallic insects are eating every bit of calcium in my body.

Heart Palpitations. For a while, every time I tried to lie down to sleep, my heart would go crazy.

I didn't like it. I'm glad this occurrence is super rare lately.

Fattness. About a year ago, I gained enough weight and could no longer put on my wedding ring.

Nastiness. This is the best way to alleviate my cravings. All I have to do is think back to this incident and my desire to drink one goes away.

A couple years ago I used to stop by a fast food place nearly every morning to buy a sandwich and a soda. I know, horrible for me. No wonder I had heart palpitations and high cholesterol.

One day I sipped my soda and thought it tasted a tab bit funny. I just thought their syrup mixture must have been off. I sipped it again and noticed that the ice against the lid looked weird too. I pulled off the top and the ice did look funny, all clumped together in one big ball.

I reached in to grab a piece, but the whole thing came out, dripping soda and chunks of ice. I stared at the mess in my hands as realization dawned on me and I fought an urge to puke.

I had a large crumpled plastic bag in my hand. Who knows how it got in there or what it had in it before it made its way into the ice. Needless to say, I dumped the whole thing. Now, all I have to do is think about that bag and imagine the places it might have been or contents it might have had to make saying no to soda easier.

Find your ways to resist and quit today.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Free Books are the Best

My novel, The Crystal Bridge, is free today and tomorrow on kindle. That's February 15th and 16th.

Go get it and tell your friends. Short and sweet. That is all today.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Avoid Writer's Block

What is writer's block? Traditionally it's seen as when a writer is unable to produce new work. They stare at a blank screen and nothing happens. It's like a brick wall in the way of one's ability to write.

I don't get writer's block, not in this sense. I'm not bragging. I have plenty of other imperfections in my writing, but I understand what writer's block really is and I avoid it. If only I could do the same with typos, awkward similes, and using the word "little" ironically way too much. I'll learn to avoid those someday.

Here are the reasons I see writers get themselves blocked up and unable to write.

Lack of Passion. Sometimes a writer will start a project that just doesn't appeal to them. This makes it easy to lose focus and your desire to continue with it.

Something is Wrong. If your subconscious knows that something you wrote or are about to write doesn't work, it will shut you down. This can be any number of things. You wrote about a character doing something outside his or her abilities or personality. You may have decided to change a plot line and it destroyed previous lines altogether. You may have written a scene that has no place in the finished book. You are planning to write a scene that doesn't play well with the ones around it. There are so many things to get wrong.

No Idea What Comes Next. Yeah, we've all started something that seemed wondrous and exciting and then our imagination runs out and we feel stuck, unsure what to do next.

Distractions. Facebook, internet, google+, twitter, and all those other things can be great tools. They also can get in the way. Then there's friends, family, jobs, screaming children, dogs, cats, that dripping noise that is driving you crazy, dishes, laundry, food, and so much more to distract you from writing.

Now, here's how I deal with them.

Write What You Love! If something isn't really clicking with you deep down, if you don't care about it, what do you think your readers will do? That's right, they'll feel the lack of passion and lack of soul and set it down unhappy and unsatisfied. Make sure you love your project and you won't find yourself losing a desire to finish it.

Listen to Your Subconscious! If something isn't working, figure out what it is and fix it. I have also found a way to cheat around this type of block. If I come to a scene that just doesn't work and I feel stuck, I skip it. I jump to a scene that is working and write that one. You can always come back to the older scene and mess with it later after inspiration has struck.

Do Your Prewriting! Before I started my first book, I rolled it around in my head for months. I ran conversations and scenes through until I knew what needed to be done. Most of my prewriting is done in bed. I stare at the ceiling, waiting to fall asleep at night, and I think through upcoming scenes. Sometimes something will happen in my brain, puzzle pieces snapping together perfectly, and I have to jump out of bed and write for a couple hours before I lose whatever magic just happened.

Sometimes nothing happens and I fall asleep, but I often wake up hours later with a similar snapping together of ideas and can jump out of bed and go write. I do prewriting in the morning too. I stay in bed for half an hour after I wake up, running my mind through writing drills, preparing for my next scene, or just getting myself psyched to write a conversation that needs to happen.

Prewriting and skipping scenes will also help when you don't know what to write and inspiration fails you. Staring up at the ceiling while imagining your world and characters on that blank canvas will open portals in your mind to cool new places and experiences you thought you could never dream up. Don't let anyone get after you for being lazy, looking dazed, or doing nothing. It is a vital part of writing and loosens up your subconscious. You need your subconscious to fill in those blank pages and missing plot points. You need it active and healthy.

Limit Your Distractions! Lock yourself in a closet with your laptop if you have to. Shut off the router so you can't access the internet. Those social networks can wait a couple hours for you, I promise you won't miss as much as you think. Find the type of music that helps you write. Find the time that you write best. I write best late at night of early in the morning, when my subconscious is most active and wants to be dreaming. Tell your friends and family when your writing time is and that they cannot disturb you for anything short of an apocalyptic emergency. Zombies better be massing in the streets!

Sit Your Butt Down, Put Your Hands on the Keyboard, and Write! I have these moments where the words flow from me like warm honey and crystallize on the screen in perfect patterns that need no revision. I'll reread them months later and tears will form in my eyes as that amazing I'm-a-freaking-writer-feeling fills me once more.

THESE MOMENTS ARE RARE AND FLEETING!! Most of the time, I sit down and write half decent garbage that will need months of revisions, therapy, exercise, cuts, and voice lessons before it will be even half of what I want it to be. That is normal. Don't get in your own way. Don't trash your work or lose hope. Don't go back and try to fix everything. Don't get discouraged and sad. Allow yourself to suck and your writing will prosper and grow. Those golden moments when the writing flows wondrously from your fingertips will come more often, though not as often as you would like.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Tabs are Exciting

Dear Peoples of the Bloggety Blog World,

This is just a quick update to let my followers know that I added a new Works In Progress tab so people can keep up to date with my writing. I'll keep up with the word count there and I'll set release dates as I get closer to finishing them. I'll also use this tab to share excerpts now and again. I have one up now. I hope this is something you're all interested in. If not, feel free to ignore it. Thank you for being awesome readers, followers, and friends.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How to Self Publish Part 2: Revision

Revision is a crucial step in self publishing. Do not assume that your work is perfect. It isn't.

I revised the crap out my novel, but I didn't do as much as I should have.

I recommend AT LEAST EIGHT revision passes, probably more would be better. Each time you will look for errors, typos, and mistakes, cut out things that aren't working, add in better descriptions, remove passive voice and overuse of adverbs, and slash any cliches you find.

You need to revise until you don't want to read another word, until you are sick of your novel, hate it, want it dead. Your eyes will bleed with hours of staring at the computer screen or pages you printed out to mark up.

Are you done at this point? NO!!

Then you need to give it to someone you trust, someone who will be somewhat brutal with you and have them go through it a couple times. This also gives you a break from the manuscript so you can come back to it a few weeks later and go through it several more times.

You will reach a point where you want to take your book out back and set it on fire and then dance on the ashes, screaming at the gray sky in despair and agony. That is when you are close to done.

You should set it aside and wait a few more weeks before doing one final revision to the entire book.

Your next step? Make sure you have a thick skin because people are still going to find typos and mistakes. They will seize these typos like some hard won prize and then shove them in your face.

Why do people do this? I don't know.

Maybe people's expectations are skewed when it comes to books. They expect perfection, demand it, more than it seems any other industry.

I had a podcast review after I had fixed many typos that readers had found and I thought the book was close to perfect. The reviewers talked about how they loved the rich world I'd created, complete with mythology and back histories. They loved that every character felt unique and different as I hopped in and out of a dozen character's heads. They loved the story. Then they had to mention that it had an "unusually high amount of homophone mistakes." They went on to list them, totalling two. TWO!!

My jaw fell open as I listened. Seriously? Two?

All around it was a great review, but I wish they would have emailed me about the two typos they found rather than dump them on the public as some black stain I can never get rid of.

In any other industry with that kind of mistake average, I'd be freaking Employee of the Month!

So, the point of all this ranting is REVISIONS ARE IMPORTANT. Do them, do them until you bleed! You will thank me.
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