Monday, January 25, 2016

Jesse, The Music Box Girl, and More

Thanks to everyone who made Jesse James Dawson’s birthday so awesome!  It’s nice to have days like that where I remember that there are people who love him as much as I do.  Make sure to go out and leave a review on Amazon and/or B&N when you’re done reading!  If you didn’t like it, feel free to say so! Every review matters.

Once you reach the end of the book, I’m sure you’ll notice that I’ve included the first chapter of something else, called The Music Box Girl.  This will be the next project I’m self-publishing, and I hope to have it out sometime in April.  It’s already written, and fairly polished, but I’m wanting to take my time with the print copy design on this one.  Trying to get fancy!


I promised other good news, and while the above is all good news, that wasn’t what I was referring to.

Some of you may have noticed that Peacemaker has disappeared from all sales channels.  (It’s okay, I’ll wait here while you go verify, but I promise, it’s gone)  This is actually a very good thing!  Intermix, the original publisher, has reverted the rights to Peacemaker to me, and I am now free to re-release it, and in a PRINT version this time!

Not sure my timing on this one, since I want to get MBG settled first, but before summer, Peacemaker will be available again in a shiny new edition, and in print for the very first time!  I’ll keep you posted on dates.  And yes, this will most likely lead into me finally writing the sequels to Peacemaker in the near future.

I feel like this year is going to be a great year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Nuts and Bolts

First things first, thanks to everyone who purchased Second Olympus during my birthday sale!  I hope everyone loves it (or at least doesn't want to throw tomatoes at me). Once again, I beg,implore,grovel at your feet to PLEASE post reviews to places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  The number of reviews a book has (doesn't matter if they're good, bad, or indifferent) dictates which books get picked up by the system for things like "If you liked this book, you might also like THIS one!" which can bring me to new readers.  The general rumor is that 50-ish reviews is the golden spot for being included in the system algorithms, and you'll note that not a single one of my books has that many reviews on Amazon.  Love an author?  Leave a review.

Secondly, A Line in the Sand, better known as JJD5, is now available for preorder!  Ebook only, of course, because preordering the print copy isn't something that's available at this time.  The release date is currently January 23rd (bonus points if anyone can guess why), so I'll try to have the print copy released prior to that, so that we can all hopefully be reading on the release date.


Now, you might be saying "But why is there no cover art?  We want a cover!"  Well, yes, so do I.  Very very much, in fact.  But, things have to go in a certain order when designing a cover, so I'll gladly bore you with excessive details.

Pick up the book nearest to you.  Look at the spine.  Most likely, the cover of the book has a front piece, a back piece, and a spine piece.  Well, the front and back covers will always be the dimensions you designate.  For example, my self-pubbed JJD covers will be 5x8.  The spine dimensions, however, are determined by how thick the book is.  More pages = thicker book = wider spine.  Everything has to fit just so to line up with the edges of the book.  So, you can't begin designing a print book cover without knowing how many pages your book has, first.

Look!  Visual aids!

So where does that leave me?  Well, last night I finished making editing notes on JJD5. Some were handwritten new paragraphs, others were things like "Awkward sentence", or "re-order" or "WTF?".  My next step is to start typing all those changes into the actual Word doc that is my manuscript.   Once that's done, I can copy/paste the document into a template that will become my print book file.  I have to decide all about the front-of-the-book material, and if I want to include pages at the back from any of my other books, that sort of thing.  Only when that is ALL done, and I can get a final page count, do I then request my cover from my cover artist.

I'm hoping to have the edits all done by the 16th at the VERY latest.  That was the deadline I gave myself, and getting it done sooner would make me do a happy dance.  I'll probably spend a couple of days (or three, or four) getting the print copy formatted and prepped, and then I'll email about the cover.  I'm pushing the time limit to get everything set for a January 23rd release date (all final files have to be uploaded by January 13th at the very latest), but I'm way behind where I wanted to be originally anyway, and I hate to drag it out any longer.

In the meantime, while we wait, I give you my Christmas Groot.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Birthday to ME!

So, in honor of my birthday at the end of the month, I've decided that I'm going to make the ebook of Second Olympus just $0.99 for the entire month!

If you haven't tried this one yet, now is the time!

You can find Second Olympus at your favorite retailer!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ode to Sarah

 I was seven years old (almost 8!) when The Terminator came out in 1984.  I don’t remember a lot of the marketing around it, but I have a vague recollection that I thought it was some kind of horror flick, which put it solidly on the “mom won’t let me see it” list.  And given that it was rated R, at seven, she was probably right.

However, I was about fourteen when T2 came out.  Now, kids talk, so I had a general idea what the original movie was about.  I could even quote a few of the lines that had made it into pop culture.  So I was all gung-ho about T2.  I think, by this point, my mother had given up on trying to protect my impressionable young mind.

I can’t remember if I saw T2 in the theater, or waited until it came out on VHS. (yeah, that dates me a bit)  I do remember being wowed by the special effects, and that my father loved them too.  Even now, when I watch it again (it’s one of my comfort movies), I always have to think that my dad loved it.

I also remember wanting to BE Sarah Connor.  Like I had wanted nothing before in my life.  She was strong.  She was decisive.  She was fiercely protective of her child.  She wasn’t scared of anything. There was no softness to her, no apologies, no hesitations.  She got the job DONE.

I wanted to be that, so very badly.  To have that much knowledge of the world, to be prepared for any situation that might come up.  To just not be scared.  I taught myself archery, herbal lore, field medicine.  Never could handle the noises guns make, so I skipped that part, but at one time I was wicked with a throwing knife and a hatchet.  I was ready for it, if the time ever came.  I didn’t know what IT was, but dammit, I was ready.

Later, as I grew up, I came to understand more of the subtleties of the character.  I mean really, no way around it, she was batshit crazy.  Sure, her delusions weren’t actually delusions, they were true, but that foreknowledge had taken a toll on her mind.  She struggled with day to day life, trying to connect the reality she lived in with the one that everyone else saw.

More than anything, I took away that she wasn’t perfect.  She made mistakes.  I found some comfort in the fact that she probably wasn’t going to win Mother of the Year, but she could probably come in a close runner-up.  She loved her son with everything she had, and she tried desperately to prepare him for the worst possible scenarios.  It was the only thing she (or anyone) could do.

I have tried to do the same with my own daughter.  No, not training her to lead the rebellion after a robot apocalypse (though, I bet she could).  Just to be prepared for whatever the world might throw at her.  I try to challenge her mind, asking her to think over questions and situations she may never actually have to confront.  I try to challenge her body, making sure she is strong and healthy and capable of taking care of herself.  I’m not training her to be a prophesied world leader, but her generation will someday have to run this world, and at least one of them should have a vague idea about what they’re doing.

I’m not sure if I ever became Sarah Connor.  Probably not.  I did let go of some of my more militant habits (if I try to throw a knife at you now, I'm more likely to injure myself than you).  Put on a few pounds more than she would probably have approved of.  But I like to think that she’d have agreed with how I’ve raised my child.  I guess only time will tell if I’ve done her justice.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Five Years In

On July 6, 2010, A Devil in the Details released.  Over the past few weeks, I've been contemplating what it means to be five years into my publishing adventure.

Of course, to say that I'm five years in is probably inaccurate.  Prior to the actual release of Devil, there was the whole getting the sale, and before that, there was getting the agent, and before that, there was the writing... And it seems like I've been writing SOMEthing forever. 

So where am I now?  I'm on my second agent, I have six books published (four traditional, two self).  I've written quite a few other books in the spaces in between.  Jotted down ideas for a LOT more than that.  I'm obviously not rich and drinking mai tais on a beach somewhere. (does anyone know what a mai tai actually is? I've never had one)  I've changed Real Jobs once, in the interim. My kiddo went from seven years old, to twelve. (a teenager soon, wtf?  Who allowed that?)  I went from seeing my ten-year anniversary with hubby, to my fifteen.

Not sure I'm where I wanted to be (see aforementioned beach and mai tais), but I also think that my wishes and expectations were based on a misconception of what this whole "being an author" thing is really like.  The journey I've been on so far is actually fairly typical, from what I've been given to understand in the time since.  Very, very few of us get the Big Sale and go on to Fame and Fortune and Movie Deals. I have to remind myself of that on the days when I've slipped down the hill into "why bother land".

In all honesty, I can't complain about where I am. My stories are in the hands of so many people that I don't even know.  People are living in my worlds, even if just for a little bit, and that's really all I could ever ask for.  I think about this a lot, especially as Jesse's story is slowly reaching its end.   Even though I know how the story ends (and a little bit about what happens after the big finale), I'll miss running around in Jesse's world.  I wonder if other people will do the same.  I wonder if they'll be willing to follow me into new worlds.  I have plans for the Arcane West world.  Caleb and Ernst are waiting patiently for me to get back to them.  I have plans for new worlds, amazing worlds.  I want to visit space, I want to adventure in dustbowl era Kansas.  I might revisit Elysia, sometime in the future, to check on Geoff and Lia. 

I'm looking forward to writing another post like this in another five years.  They say (y'know, "they") that the ten-year mark is when an author really starts to have a career.  Not sure I believe it, but the only way to find out is to keep moving forward.

So I guess maybe what happened in the last five years is not so important as what might be coming in the next five.  Stick around, you'll probably be as surprised as I will.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I Survived 1st Grade!

Today, I had the great honor of going to talk to a class of first graders at Scott Elementary School.  This was my very first school visit as an author! I was a little uncertain at first what I was going to say to young kids who aren't really the target audience for my books, but they came up with some really great questions about the writing process, and at the end, we all wrote a short story together as a class!

First pic is me talking to the little ones.  They had questions planned out ahead of time, but once we got started, the little hands shot up and there was no plan after that.  It was great.

Before I left, we all took a group picture, and there was a small riot over who got to stand actually touching me.
Then, we had to do the obligatory silly face picture:

Also, once they figured out that I knew the Baymax fist bump noise, I was infinitely cooler.  Many thanks to Miss Boyle who invited me to come and spend time with her students!  I had a blast!