Saturday, March 31, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Russians Are Coming!

There's going to be people that think this is a political post. Kind of like the Russian 'bots that have weird fixation on my post from SIX FUCKING YEARS AGO title The Times They Are A'Changing.

Go read it. Seriously. I'll wait.

Someone did a shitty job of programming the 'bots. Or the guy(s) who programmed the 'bots have an obsession with Bob Dylan song titles.

Under normal circumstances, I'd laugh.

But they're fucking up my stats when I'm trying to make some decisions concerning my online business presence.

At least the Koreans try to flood my comments with questionable links.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Joiining or Not Joining

There's a ton of various writers organizations in existence, but most seemed to be geared toward either beginners or big sellers. I'm in the weird position of being somewhere in the middle.

Then there's finding a group that is geared toward the same business interests as mine. But what exactly is my business interest?

Fiction or non-fiction? I've done both.

Trad or indie? I've done both.

Novels or short stories? I've done both.

But most organizations define their interests rather narrowly.

Romance Writers of America is only for people who write romance. Recently, they've dropped the hammer on people who aren't pursuing romance writing as a profession. I can honestly say I've pursued the genre professional, but I left in 2012 over the crap they were giving both erotic romance authors as well as indies. I've heard they've backed off on both stances, but I have to make nearly ten times as much as an indie than as a trad author to qualify as a professional. Needless to say, I lean toward screaming, "UTTER BULLSHIT!"

[NOTE: I will say if you're a beginning writer, as in you haven't sold or published a damn thing yet, RWA membership is great for their craft classes.]

The Authors Guild only focuses on writers in trad publishing. No, thank you. I like doing my own thing too much. Not to mention, a good chunk of the membership wants to return the publishing industry back to the 19th century. You know, when publishing was a gentleman's game. *eyeroll*

One of my original goals was to qualify for membership to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. As the name states, you have to be writing science fiction and/or fantasy. I qualified for membership a couple of years ago, but they have similar rules as RWA, which still pisses me off. Add in the political drama within the organization over the last few years, and I'm perfectly happy sitting in my apartment all by myself.

Novelists, Inc., terms for membership eligibility are a little fairer toward indies than either RWA or SFWA. Several people have suggested I join, but...okay, I have a hang-up. For a professional writers organization, they have an ungodly number of typos on their website.

There's several formal groups and organizations now that are geared toward indies, but I have yet to find one that doesn't have the same elitism or political problems. Maybe it's a human problem. Or as several people have told me, I expect too much.

But in all the cases, the annual dues are roughly in the $100 range. There's so much I can do with $100. That's the e-book and print book covers for a new novel. That's formatting for a few short stories or nearly a full-sized novel. That's shipping ten proof copies of trade paperbacks.

And that's part of running a business--figuring out what's the best use of resources. And right now, joining a club for the sake of joining a club is not the best use of my time or money.

As always, your mileage may vary.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Rushing Toward the Holidays

Ostera has officially passed, and we're rushing toward Easter/Passover. Genius Kid has Spring Break, and we have a buttload of plans.

The print proof of Sacrificed is on its way. Hero De Facto is almost done, and I was hoping to finish it this weekend.

Instead, I woke up to Darling Husband worshipping the porcelain god and running a fever Sunday morning. Of course, he'd made an appointment with our realtor to look at another house.

So I went by my lonesome. It was a mirror of the house we'd made an offer on at the beginning of the year, but it was medium-sized version of the house plan with really dark walls. I can handle one charcoal accent wall, but the sitting room was light gray. The living room was a medium gray with a charcoal stripe. And one of the bedrooms was such a dark teal that it felt like a tomb.

GK and I are crossing our fingers we won't pick up DH's germs before we leave for Nashville on Wednesday.

To top off everything, the new people downstairs are smokers. Actually, I think it's just the wife. It doesn't start until he leaves for work and stops when he gets home from work. Or one of them is smoking really late at night. So my eyes are watering, my sinuses are stuffy, and if we want a house, I can't waste the money on another air purifier that breaks down two months after we buy it.

And if DH still isn't feeling good, we won't risk going to see Pacific Rim: Uprising.

I'm so ready for a break.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018

Why I've Been Quiet

The goal for 2018 is to release eight books in eight months. So far, I've been two for two.

But this week, the paperback proof for A Modicum of Truth arrived, my formatter sent me the PDF for Sacrificed, and I'm trying to finish the first draft of Hero De Facto. It's culminated in a very busy work week.

To top off my busy schedule, Genius Kid officially started Spring Break after his Physics class this afternoon. He and I are road-tripping to his godmother's place next week.

It'll be an interesting excursion simply because we're at that weird state between a parent and child where things aren't always sunshine and roses. In other words, he hates me, and I want to kill him. If we can survive this trip, maybe there's hope for us switching to an adult-adult relationship.

In the meantime, having another driver means I can spend some of my trip working on first two books of the 888-555-HERO without Darling Husband asking what's for dinner...

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Too Much Success and Not Enough Time

A Modicum of Truth, the second novel in the Justice series, was released on February 12th. That's only 37 days ago. It was over 100,000 words, not including the glossary and the sample chapter from the third book.

A Matter of Death (Justice #3) will be most likely be another 100,000 words.

And I've already started getting e-mails asking when it'll be out.

Now, I could get pissy and growl, "I'm not your bitch," a la Neil Gaiman's blog post back in 2009, when a reader tried to get Neil to gang up on fellow author George R.R. Martin over the incomplete Songs of Ice and Fire series. Which was first published in 1996 and is still not done.

But that's not going to make my situation any better.

Because there are those readers who've been patiently waiting for the end of the Bloodlines series to come out since Blood Magick was published in April of 2011. Or the readers who are wondering what the hell happened to the 888-555-HERO series that was announced in January of 2015.

Then there's simply life.

I'm a middle-aged woman with a disease that is slowly, but surely, killing me. A fact I was forced to acknowledge recently. It's a disease that's been eating away at me for nineteen years already. Quite frankly, if I take care of myself, I may be able to eke out another thirty to forty years.

Maybe.

If I'm lucky.

I'm not whining. It's simply a factor of my existence. And I have to keep my stress level under control because that only aggravates my condition.

I have to balance everything--home demands, family demands, work demands along with a little downtime so my brain doesn't explode.

It means a steady pace of 1-2K words a day, which is pretty frickin' slow compared to some writers, but it's manageable with my endurance and pain level. It means taking the time to eat right instead of munching on cheese and crackers at my desk and not paying attention to the quantity. It means making a point of walking every day. It means taking a little time every day to read or watch TV or talk with a friend.

I know readers want me to be the hare, pumping out books as fast as I can, but I'm not. I am the tortoise, and I have that finish line in sight.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Monday Movie Mania - A Wrinkle in Time

I loved A Wrinkle in Time as a child. And I really wanted to love the new movie version of it, too.

This is the second film adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's novel. The first was also by Disney back in 2003. It was...bad. So very, very bad. It took a very simple, straight forward children's story and stretched it to unpalatable lengths.

This one wasn't quite as bad, but...


* * *


SPOILERS


* * *


PROS
1) Ava DuVernay stuck to the essential story.

2) The visuals are gorgeous.




CONS
1) DuVernay and writers Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell tried too hard to "update" the story. Meg's feelings of not fitting in are true of every middle school kid since before this book was written. They didn't need to add conflict between Meg and the popular girls at the school.

2) The pacing of the first half-hour of the film seriously dragged. Yes, Meg is the main protagonist, but get on with the story instead of spending so much time saying how middle school sucks.

3) Why make baby brother Charles Wallace be adopted? Normal humans can't have genius kids? In the books, Charles Wallace was the only one that seemed to naturally come from the Doctors Wallace.

4) Why take out the middle twin brothers Sandy and Dennys? They were the catalyst for what Meg perceived as "normal".

5) Taking out Aunt Beast was a mistake. It was through her caring of Meg after Dr. Murray's jump to get her and Calvin away from the bad guys that Meg finds the strength to go back and rescue Charles Wallace.

6) Speaking of which, Meg's anger at her father over leaving Charles Wallace behind didn't seem genuine.

7) Transforming Mrs. Whatsit (the lovely Reese Witherspoon) into a giant green flying flatworm was one of the biggest mistakes. What were they thinking?

8) IT just took over Charles Wallace instead of seducing him to the dark side. Geez, guys, even George Lucas got that right.


The movie lacked the emotional connection, which is needed for the subsequent punch, of the book. They had a superb cast, but the script just felt dead. I wanted to love this movie. I really did. But it is merely an adequate distraction for very young children.

Overall, I give A Wrinkle in Time 5 stars out of 5 10.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Oscar Nominated Songs

Trust me, you don't need little girls in your house to hear this one over and over again! LOL


Friday, March 16, 2018

Life Tries to Distract You...

Right now, my stress should be limited to planning for Easter and finishing Hero De Facto.

Instead, I have the PDF of the print version of Sacrificed on my laptop, that needs to be reviewed. The print proof of A Modicum of Truth is sitting on my desk, awaiting its own review. Hero De Facto is not finished yet, as I had hoped. For some reason, the Sacrificed e-book is still not showing up on Google Play, though they claim it's live. And that just the business related stuff.

There are the personal things that stress me out like a visit to the dentist this week, any time I release a new book, or planning a trip (Genius Kid and I are heading to his godmother's for part of Spring Break). I can usually manage those with exercise, eating right, and nibbling a bit of chocolate.

It's the bigger things that are throwing me out of whack.

There was a gun threat at our high school, which in turn triggered an anxiety attack in Genius Kid. No matter what DH or I say, poor GK thinks it's a personal failing, even though he's been working hard to stay on track with his meds and counseling. Personally, I want to wring the neck of the little bastard who made the threat. I don't care if it was a prank or not.

In addition to his high school classes, GK has been taking adult welding classes at the local tech school. He's been enjoying those, even if he's totally exhausted by the end of the week. So, to top off my stress this week, the transmission on his car croaked.

Between paying for GK's welding class and the changes to our insurance plan (instead of paying $100 a month for all my maintenance drugs, it's now $800 a month), we don't have the money get the transmission fixed this month. And we'd pay the same for a decent used car as we would to fix the damn transmission.

*sigh*

Tomorrow's St. Patrick's Day, and I really wish I could find the proverbial pot of leprechaun gold.

Maybe if I go whack some balls, I'd feel better...

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sacrificed Is ALIVE!

Sacrificed is officially out today!

Per usual, links will be updated as they go live.



Apple
Barnes & Noble
Google Play
Kobo
Smashwords

Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday Movie Mania - Black Panther

I've been anticipating this movie since Prince T'Challa made his appearance in Captain America: Civil War. And the next person who says this is the first black superhero movie will get slapped. Wesley Snipes showed way back in 1998's Blade that a black/Marvel/superhero (take your pick of labels) movie could make money if it was done right.

And frankly, Black Panther was done so fucking right!

Since we already saw T'Challa's origin story back in Civil War, no screen time was wasted for that bullshit. Co-writer/Director Ryan Coogler and Co-writer Joe Robert Cole jump right into the action, setting Black Panther against his archnemesis Killmonger.


* * *


SPOILERS


* * *

PROS
1) Coogler and Cole integrated the original story with Shakespearean overtones, specifically Hamlet. In this version, T'Challa and N'Jadaka/Killmonger are cousins, so as members of the royal bloodline, they both can consume the heart-shaped herb.

2) Coogler didn't water down the Dora Milaje or turn them into a fucking harem. They were the elite Wakandan special forces they were supposed to be.

3) Have I said how much I love Danai Gurira? She outdoes herself in her performance of General Okoye.

4) The incredible comparisons of revenge/redemption. The fathers of T'Challa, Killmonger, and W'Kabi are murdered, and the plot develops out of how each man deals with their grief and anger.

5) The equally incredible comparisons of loyalty to their kings and to their own beliefs. Nakia, Okoye, and Zuri each face that question during the course of the story, and each are faced with a price for their decisions.

6) Special kudos have to go to Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger. This is the first Marvel antagonist who wasn't a one-dimensional cardboard villain. If you don't have any sympathy for him in the end as he and T'Challa watch the sunset together, you are dead inside.


CONS
1) The only issue is we don't have a release date for Black Panther 2.

Coogler gave this tightly plotted story some unexpected, and much welcome, depth. Overall, I give Black Panther 10 stars out of 10.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Guide for the Indie Writer Using WORD

Jaye W. Manus of QA Productions has been a goddess-send as a formatter while I've re-issued older books, launched new ones, and finally gotten around to putting all books in print.

Right now, I'm try to pull together all the disparate pieces of Hero De Facto to form a cohesive story. The majority of it was written on three different machines in two different operating systems. While Microsoft's WORD was used on all the documents, the result is a hodgepodge of crap that will never be readable on any device.

This is where Jaye's book WORD for the Wise comes in. Her tips for setting up styles alone are worth the price. And I'll have a WORD file that all the devices will love.

WORD for the Wise is also available through the Kindle Unlimited borrowing program. However, if you're a writer who can't give up Microsoft and with an eye towards indie publishing, I strongly recommend buying a copy for yourself!


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Marathon Goes On...

I'm in Month Two of my eight book releases in eight months marathon.

The e-book of A Modicum of Truth is out. I'm in the process of reviewing the e-book version of Sacrificed. Last night, I uploaded the files for the paperback copy of A Modicum of Truth. I just need to review the proof copy when it arrives. And I'm trying to finish the first draft of Hero De Facto.

On that last one, I had to search for the original outline and comparing it to what chapters have been completed. I experimented a little on this one. When I got stuck in the middle, I started writing backwards.

Not literally. I wrote the last chapter, which is something I've done before so I know where the hell I need to go in the story. But then, I wrote the next-to-last chapter. Then the second to last chapter. Yadda, yadda, yadda, lobster bisque.

The plan is to release Sacrificed on March 14 and Hero De Facto on April 13. I'm hoping the stars stay aligned and the health remains good this year. And I hope I give my readers a whole lot of fun along the way.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Remember Me

I'm rooting for this tune as Best Song in the 90th Academy Awards!


Friday, March 2, 2018

The Next Big Thing?

The publishing world is a crazy place. We're always chasing after the latest and greatest trend. And by "we", I mean indies are just as guilty as trad pubs. By chasing trends and tropes and the latest fashionable thing, we're not truly creating something new.

In fact, my friend Jo asked me a (primarily rhetorical) question yesterday, "What was the last BIG book that wasn't a sequel or part of a series?"

The Girl on the Train, but even then, I had to look up when it was published. 2015.

Yep, the last big new thing in books was in 2015. Even then, The Girl on the Train didn't start the domestic thriller trend. That honor(?) goes to Gillian Flynn's Gone, Girl (2012).

So now, everyone's jumping into the domestic thriller with unreliable narrator subgenre, even though that ship has sailed. It's no different than the people still pumping out adult coloring books (that's SO 2016) or urban fantasy which has been run into the freaking ground since Buffy the Vampire Slayer went off the air.

So if we're not retreading the tires in the search for the almighty dollar (light-hearted witch stories a la Charmed, anyone?), what the hell are we doing, fellow writers?

Do we continue to chase our past success? (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child from 2016)

Do we chase the latest new trend? (The market saturation of BDSM after E.L. James's Fifty Shades of Gray went into orbit pretty much ruined the income for folks already there when all the newbs jumped in the pool. With some really bad stories and bad writing, by the way.)

Or do you try to find a quiet niche and carve your own path?

Being yourself is hard, whether it's in real life or as an author. But I'm watching too many people who find some initial success in one subgenre flit from genre to genre, chasing the short-term dollar. They won't take time to build their brand or build the trust of their readers. They write maybe one or two books in a promised series, then give up when they don't become instant millionaires.

In the meantime, the readers are losing faith in us. We promise them entertainment. A refuge from a tough world with characters they fall in love with, then we stab our readers in the back by not finishing the story. We don't give the readers any resolution. They get enough of that shit in real life. So why read us if our books, or lack thereof, are as disappointing as whatever hardship they may be going through right now?

Ironically, I got my first WTF! e-mail from a reader this morning over the ending of A Modicum of Truth, which yes, ends on a cliffhanger. But I also made a promise when I added the first chapter of A Matter of Death to the end. A promise the story WILL be finished. Maybe not right this second, but it will be finished.

And the good guys will win.

Because we all need the good guys to win once in a while even if it's only between the covers of a book.