Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Welcome Blanket--Finished!

It took me almost two months to finish crocheting this blanket (that time also includes getting all the yarn rolled up-these skeins tangled constantly) but it's finally done. This is for the Welcome Blanket Project for immigrants and refugees. They extended their deadline for turning in blankets to November 4th. Of course, I found that out after I finished (since I was in a hurry to get it done before September 5th). If you know someone who likes to knit or crochet, tell them about this project. As for me, I'm going back to smaller projects like stormtroopers and Jawas.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Revising While Writing

I had an epiphany late last week about my current work in progress. Unfortunately, it means that much of what I've currently written (about 16,000 words) needs to be scrapped. Some people believe you should complete a rough draft before revising it. Personally, I'd rather go back and fix the foundation before soldiering on. IMO, that will make revising this draft easier. I did create a new file to work in so I can go back to the original version if necessary.

In other news, I'm almost done with the welcome blanket I blogged about a few weeks ago. All the crocheting is done; now it's a matter of stitching the squares together. The Welcome Blanket Project needs the blanket by next Tuesday, so I plan to finish it either tonight or tomorrow. I'll take a picture of the finished blanket before I ship it off.

What's your opinion on revising rough drafts? Do you plow straight through, revise along the way, or take a different approach? I don't think the approach matters too much as long as it works for you, but it's interesting to see how other writers handle it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Beginnings, Endings, and Insecurities

For me, self-doubt as a writer is most likely to come at the beginnings and ends of projects. I’m a pantser, so even though I plan a few landmarks or key scenes before I start, laying a path of words between these scenes isn’t always easy. I need to spend most of my writing time figuring out what happens before I can even find the right words to type. The final stage of publishing a book, going through it yet again to find typos and missing punctuation, can be even worse. Rereading my stories makes me question everything about them. Do I really need this description? This sentence, paragraph, or scene? Will anyone want to read this? If they do, will they hate it?

I happen to be experiencing both types of insecurity at the same time. I’m finishing a fantasy series I started twenty years ago. It’s exciting, but I worry if it’s really ready for the world. I’ve also started the first book in an urban fantasy series. Although I did write out a rough outline first, the story is heading off in different directions from what I had envisioned.

I’ve written enough books by now to have faith in my process. The first draft may be a sprawling mess of inconsistencies, but I can revise it into something better. The final-stage doubt, when you’ve read the story so much you’re sick of it, is more insidious. After all, no matter how much you review your story or who you get to critique it, it will never be perfect, and it will never please everyone. When you’re still building an audience, you may have no idea if anyone is interested in your story, and it may feel as though that will never change. How do you cope with that?

My solution is to remind myself I’ve done the best I can on this story with the resources I have and my current craft level. While it may be true that the story can be improved, I’ll learn more as a writer if I work on many different projects than if I keep revising the same story constantly.

The steps in writing and publishing may not change much from story to story, but hopefully my confidence will improve with each project. Even if stretching my writing skills into new genres or types of stories makes me feel insecure, that might not be a bad thing. It’s better to be motivated to keep growing as a writer than to feel you know it all and let your stories suffer.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Summon the Seasons--Cover Reveal and Preorder Links

I haven't prepared the proof copy of Summon the Seasons yet, since I need to reread it to make sure I'm not going to change the page count. However, I do have the eBook cover Maria Zannini designed for me, so I'm going to reveal it to you now:

Kay looks very mysterious, doesn't she? 

Once I'm ready to order the paper proof, I'll show you the full cover. Maria did a great job incorporating story elements into the back cover. In the meantime, I have pre-orders available for the eBook at $2.99 on the following sites:

Barnes and Noble

There's still time to catch up with the series before the final book becomes available. You can find the previous books at your favorite eBook retailers using these universal book links:

Seasons' Beginnings
Young Seasons: A Season Avatars Short Story Collection 
Scattered Seasons
Chaos Season
Fifth Season

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Authors Against Hate

Although authors are commonly warned against discussing politics, as human beings, we have to condemn the alt-right rally and resulting violence and death that happened in Charlottesville last weekend. Therefore, I've decided to donate $25 or my September royalties (whichever is greater) to the Stop Hate Project. It's an organization that helps communities fight hate crimes. I've also started a Facebook group called Authors Against Hate to encourage other writers in all genres and all levels to do something. You can donate royalties or signed books or whatever you feel comfortable with. I just started this group yesterday, so there hasn't been time to plan a group activity yet. If you want to join us, either on or off Facebook, feel free to grab the graphic above to display on social media. We'll see how much interest we generate before going further.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Marketing Mondays

I've decided I need to be a better marketer (among many other things), so I'm setting aside some time each Monday evening to work on it. Part of that will be updating my newsletter subscriber list on Mailchimp. (I use Instafreebie to distribute a free copy of Scattered Seasons to new subscribers, but for some reason Instafreebie doesn't automatically send the e-mail addresses to Mailchimp, even though it's set up to. I'm going to try changing something to see if that helps.) It can also be time for writing blog posts, especially guest ones; planning sales; buying ads; and playing around with Adobe Spark. (This is a free online program that allows you to make images, videos, and other social graphics. I plan to make graphics with lines from my stories and share them.) More ideas will probably come to me with more experience.

Do you do marketing on a regular basis? If so, what do you do? Feel free to share in the comments.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Tentative Release Date for Summon the Seasons

Although I'm writing a new book, I haven't been able to leave the publisher hat hanging. In the last week, I contacted Maria Zannini about cover art for Summon the Seasons (she's already drafted a gorgeous cover), revised the blurb I posted last week, assigned ISBNs to the paper and eBook versions, and added it to Goodreads. For Goodreads, I had to pick a tentative release date. After some thought, I chose October 9th in honor of John Lennon, my "patron muse." I've released two other books (Lyon's Legacy and Seasons' Beginnings) in October, and I thought at first releasing the latest book on one of their anniversaries. October 6th felt a little early, and October 21st is getting close to Halloween. John Lennon's birthday is still a bit early, but I should be able to prepare the paper edition on Createspace and proof it in that that time. Probably the hardest part of this release is deciding what kind of promotion to do, particularly since it's the series finale. A sale on the other books in the series? A blog tour? Giveaway? Facebook party? Or do I just go out to dinner with my family? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and keep coming back for updates.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Happy Birthday, Eugene!

My husband's birthday isn't until tomorrow, and it's hard to celebrate in the middle of the week, especially with our schedules. So I'd like to dedicate this blog post today to him, a hard-working, loving husband and father. Here he is at RenFaire last weekend after his annual fencing match with Alex. Happy Birthday, Eugene, and many more to come!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Pet Peeves

Every month, writers at all stages of their careers discuss an issue that affects them all. To learn more about the Insecure Writer's Support Group, visit them on their website, Facebook group, or Goodreads Book Club. The hosts for this month's discussion are Christine Rains (no website available), Dolarah, Ellen, Yvonne Ventresca,  and LG Keltner.

We've been posed the following question this month: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

Reading: People talking to me when I'm trying to focus, seeing mixed-up homonyms like "phase" and "faze,"  inconsistencies with details, and inaccuracies.

Writing: Being interrupted when I'm writing or trying to write, having Microsoft Word (particularly on my netbook) be unresponsive when I'm trying to type and ending up with gibberish (uninstalling or inactivating programs I didn't want reduced the frequency of this annoyance), and having the cursor bounce around onscreen when I'm trying to write in a moving vehicle.

Editing--Finding mistakes after multiple rounds of editing. Double peeve points for mistakes that end up in the published story.

Feel free to share your own pet peeves in the comments below.

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