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Showing posts from 2011

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Writing from the Dark Side

Heh! I started out calling this blog post "Blogging from the Darkside" and then went to "Writing from the Darkside" and then went on to finally arrive at "Pubbing from the Darkside".  This little tidbit of information should be able to give you a little hint over what has been happening at the Oliver Homestead since I last posted.

Big News! I am part of a great collaboration with a collection of Writers who decided that if a romance book should be done, it should be done by us! Hence, the beginning of what is now know as Welcome to Serenity Harbor, Maine.

This is huge! This is ginormous! All of the books are set around the fictional coastal Maine town of Serenity Harbor. We didn't limit genre, only that their characters fall in love in Maine.

For me, this was a return to something that I love... well, yes... it was a return to writing. I've blogged a little bit about some of my struggles with illness that left with being unable to write for a whi…

Goals for the New Year Past and Present!

It's that time of year again. Time when I start thinking about my goals for the coming year. I don't make resolutions, but I did vow long ago that I would treat my writing professionally and as such, I make business/writing goals. Since I'm working on the new ones I thought I would repost my goals for last year and see what you all think... this is from December 31, 2011.     I've never been a resolution person, but I do get a little giddy when Christmas is finally over and I have some time to settle down and start working on my goals for the new year. Resolutions have never symbolized a real commitment. They have always felt more like making a wish on a star, but goals? Now, goals are something that I can do. I worked within the corporate structure through most of the late 80's and early 90's and I became quite at ease with the idea of setting goals (and what a paradigm shift is.... but we won't talk about that ). Over the years, I've written posts …

Amazon ebook Experiment: Full Disclosure

Okay, so THREE TRUTHS has been out for awhile. It's original publishing home had it under a much longer title with a not-so-nice cover that included a three color goat cat and computer generated building that did not belong in Salem. After I got the rights back I decided that since I love this story so much I would put it up on Amazon myself. self ebook pubbing was just starting and I thought... what the heck. I formatted according to the instructions, slapped a cover on it that was compiled using a picture I had taken, uploaded the whole thing and then... I waited. Nothing. One or two sales here and there. Certainly, not the same kind of results that would get me into the same category as but I had hope. Well, hope didn't get me far, and the worst part was that I didn't have a clue what to do about it. I could see others doing well, some even fantastically well. But what about me? Not so much.

It took a dinner date with som…

Coming Soon! Innocent Darkness from Suzanne Lazear

Steampunk at it's best... Suzanne Lazear has a new Steampunk YA coming in August from Flux! It can't be ordered yet, but it's high on my wishlist. If you like dark fairytales with a twist then you can stand in line with me to get your copy of Innocent Darkness, Book 1 in the Aether Chronicles! (Cause I won't be sharing my copy...)

Wish. Love. Desire. Live.

Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish.

Check out Suzanne's site for the latest info on the upcoming release!

The Day That Changed Everything: 09/11

I can't tell you exactly how many times I've been asked, "Where were you when you heard the news?" The answer is that I was in a parking lot of the local WalMart, having just escorted a tearful, tantrum-filled child to the car to cool down. I was in tears. I was frustrated. I was exhausted from working nights so that I could be home for kids and existing on 4-5 hours of sleep a night. And then I turned on the radio. I remember very clearly that I was turning out of the end of the parking lot and listening to the news people as they described the first plane hitting the trade center. I drove home slowly, listening to the news and my heart breaking. By the time I arrived home and rushed in to turn on the TV the second plane was hitting. In that moment I knew that things would never be the same again. I spent the day alternating between watching the minute-by-minute coverage and wanting to run to my daughter's school and pick her up, to make sure she was safe, that …

Your Three Words

Good Morning America did a cross-country call for people to share their own three words that give the message they want to share with the world. As a writer, I can tell you that just three words is a huge challenge that sometimes can't be contained a 300 page novel. Still, the idea of connecting with just three words was intriguing. But in my challenge to come up with the perfect three words I realized that at different times in my life those three words were very different.

When I was child when my cares were nothing more than how many days until summer was over or what my next big adventure would be... my words would have been something along the lines of... Life is Good.

During those horrible preteen years when I felt so impossibly invisible, my words would have been... Please See Me.

At my daughter graduated last June I reflected on my own graduation. I remember so clearly the expectations and the impossible see-saw between knowing that things would never be the same and all…

Something to Hang Your Hat On... Part 2

Yesterday, I talked about a lot of things, but mostly I talked about incorporating sense of community and familiarity in your writing in order to draw the reader closer. Today, I'm thinking along the lines of emotions, experiences and revelations. What has this got to do with it? Lots. Emotions draw the reader into caring for the characters, gives them a tie to this on-paper-person that you've done your best to turn flesh-and-blood. So many times, I get caught up in the getting the movements and plot points onto the page, but really this only ever results in a flat story. It needs emotional ties in order to make the readers care what happens. These emotions, experiences and revelations (or epiphany, another good word) are the things in our life that affect us the most. They change the direction of our lives, whether we want them to or not. They are the roadblocks that force us to make a decision, good or bad, easy or hard, right or wrong.
Most would say... "but emotion i…

Something to Hang Your Hat On...

I looked for the origination of the phrase, but instead I found the wonderful definition that it means to have faith in something. As simple as the phrase is, it says so much about grounding yourself and your writing. It gives the readers something to have faith, to believe in, to know in their hearts as a truth. Sometimes that realization and grounding comes through the characters actions and growth, some of it is as integral as the setting and the words on the page. This is part of that hard-to-define voice that writers struggle so much to achieve.

I was watching Anthony Bourdain's show on the city of New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. I was there, along with quite a few romance writers, not long before Katrina. I was also one of the millions who watched in horror as the city was swept aside in a tide of choas and the elements of nature. I've often said that New Orleans was a city that made me feel at home. It has a slow, seductive enchantment that draws you in the min…

Hot and Heavy for another BIAW

I don't know where the time went, but it's once again time for BIAW (or Book in a Week) Challenge. I'm not sure why I thought that doing this 2 weeks before my daughter leaves for college was a good idea. But I knew that if I could persevere and get at least a few pages down I'd be all the better for it.

For those of you that aren't familiar with it you can read my last post. (Since I evidently haven't posted since last month. Shame on me.) But to put it in a nutshell... every month at they host a writing challenge. For a nominal, one-time fee you sign up and post a challenge goal for the amount of pages you expect to accomplish from Monday through Sunday. Then, everyday you check in and post your totals for the day. It's all about accountability and competitiveness, even if it's only competitive with yourself. There is also the sense of support in that you see others taking on the challenge and struggling to meet your goals.…

My Adventure: Week-in-a-Book

It was born completely out of my frustration at lack of writing. I'd love to say that I've been doing a ton of it, but frankly, that'd be lying. I did know going into this year it would be tough for me to get any writing done, but I truly thought I'd accomplish more than I have. And then, I happened across Book-in-a-Week.

The idea is simple. Sign up at least a week in advance (pay a small, one time fee of $3 via paypal) and give an estimated guess as to how many pages you can write from Monday to Sunday. It can be as little as 10 pages and as many as you think you're capable of writing. I lowballed my guess by saying 10 pages, but I really had wonderful intentions of blowing that guess out of the water.

On Monday, you start off with a bang and write to your hearts content. It's best to do a little pre-work, figure out where you want to go and then jump in with both feet. By Tuesday morning you need to post to BIAW's forum with your total for Monday... the…

Multiculturalism for Steampunk: FF: Be Not Afraid of Color!

I've forwarded this along for viewing... If for no other reason then to view the wonderful works of art. But don't miss the wonderful talk about the use and SCIENCE behind the use of color in clothing. I learned a lot and it's a beautiful way to start of a Monday morning. Enjoy.

Multiculturalism for Steampunk: FF: Be Not Afraid of Color!: "Turkish caftan 19th century (Alain Turong) I know I'm due for a recipe or tutorial post, but I was feeling particularly clever tonight (..."

Writing Gothic Romance: 70's Romance to Current Trend

The first romances I was allowed to buy were a series of Gothic romances by Katherine Kimbrough. Their covers all featured the heroine staring up at a castle with one light lit and all with suitably suspenseful. Ironically, they were all centered around the forbidden romance, but they were not shelved with romance in my hometown store. This didn't make any sense to me, but it eased my mother's mind since she really didn't want her 12-year-old reading romance. They certainly read like romance and contained all the trademarks of the romances that the late 70's (maybe minus the sex). Romances authors like Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney were doing so well with their ominous tales of plucky, virginal heroines who found themselves stranded on the moor in front of a castle. And, somehow, the plucky heroine always persevered to overcome her fears and face not only the ghostly figure that followed her, but gain the love of the stoic master of the house who was so haunted …

In honor of the past.

Yesterday was the 150th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter, an event that signaled the start of the Civil War. It took 4 years and countless lives by the end and created a new nation that was entrenched in recovering and moving forward from the chaos and turmoil of an event that has never been eclipsed on American soil, thank goodness. Most paranormal investigator have a love and respect for the past that goes hand-in-hand with our respect for the people that lived that past. You cannot go unaffected by the sheer number of casualties or the determination to continue in conflict. May we never forget our past... Lest we are doomed to repeat it.

FACT: in 1862, at the battle of Antietam, the 7th Maine Regiment went into the battle with over 170 men. After an hour there were less than in their ranks.

In a name... Titles

As writers, most of us hate the prospect of putting a title to a book that we have been working on so hard for so long. It's usually a case of very easy or incredibly hard to come up with something that will encapsulate your theme and story, entice the reader to pick up the book and still be small enough to fit on a cover. There have been a lot of trends over the years with titles. Amanda Quick did an entire series with one word titles and Janet Evanovich's number books. They are all effective, and, if done right, can be the turning point between a best seller and a midlist contender.
Already I can hear the collective groan from a hoard of writers who are struggling with titles. The real catch on this is that we spend all that time coming up with a title that will catch an editor or agents eye and then the publisher will most likely change the title when the book goes into production. But that doesn't stop us from struggling with the issue.
One of the most common questions…

Three Truths, Kindles and the eBook Revolution

I admit it. THREE TRUTHS has been up for sale on Amazon's Kindle store for awhile now. But I was slow to movement to put up previously pubbed works in ebook format to give them another opportunity for enticing readers. This book never quite got the attention that I wanted. It's a wonderful Cinderella-esque story that weaves in a tale of rebirth in both the heroine (Katie) and the hero's (Simon) lives. It talks about taking chances, even when they make us uncomfortable and about believing that there is more out there then we can see.

Kind of like the whole ebook revolution.

The term "revolution" as I use it here is probably not appropriate the change in publishing's collective thinking and the steady stream of authors who are now offering, and finding a venue, for those beloved works that are collecting dust on the back shelves of our internal hard drive. There is definitely a feel of ebracing the unknown when we get into epublishing. There is a whole compl…

Tax Time for Writers

There's still time to gather up all those receipts and file your taxes. For writers, this can be an arduous task with vague advice offered on a multitude of sites. But I've found an article on Savy Authors (my new favorite go-to site) that gives some great tips for getting all that stuff in order. Too late for you this year? Well use their advice to set yourself up for success in the coming year. While you're at it, check out (That's with 2 v's)!

Savvy Authors - Tax Tips for Writers

Workshop alert: Night Writers: 8 Week Book & Body Boot Camp Begins!

This bears repeating... and repeating... and repeating..
The workshop is free and the instructor is a certified aerobics instructor and a multi-publishing author. I'm willing to give it a shot. How about all of you?

Night Writers: 8 Week Book & Body Boot Camp Begins!: "Welcome to the 8 Week Book & Body Boot Camp! Join me for an 8 week program (free of charge) HERE at the Night Writers Blog! Starting ..."

Wisdom for today

I found this quote while I was doing research for a book proposal.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed."
~Albert Einstein, 1932

Hope you find the "mysterious" in your day

In Search of... Motivation

To clarify things, I'm not meaning my own "motivation". Instead, I'm holding out for a hero and working on the proper motivation for my current WIP, a gaslight gothic with definite paranormal elements. Think... Three Truths with a definite darker edge and, hopefully, darker motivations.

So, what creates a fantastic deep motivation? All through the holidays I pondered what I was working on, hoping the answers would magically appear. If you came through my grocery line during the holidays and I appeared to be in another universe then I apologize. I probably was... a steampunk/gaslight universe. After all, I want to truly challenge myself with this project and take my writing to places far beyond (or in this case it's below) my usual writing. We went to see Tron last night. Other than the distracting side-effect of having to balance the very ugly 3D glasses atop my own glasses I did find time to analyze the motivations of the characters. There were some very definit…