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 and taught classes on goal setting, but the idea is really very basic. They must be realistic, but not simple and must be achievable and accountable. As writers, we must treat our writing as our business. The IRS would prefer that we act as a business. So, every year I start with a simple statement of operation, or my overall expectations for the year ahead. I cover three different areas: 1) What my expectation is. 2) How I plan on achieving it. and for the last part I add in something more personal. Here's my Business statement for 2012

In 2012, the expectation is that I will act in a businesslike manner with regards to my writing and consistently produce books that will not only be saleable to large and small publishing markets, but be delightful and intriguing to readers and make them want to read more.

Does this make me worthy of a Fortune 500 Company? No. But it does set the tone for my goals. These are broken down by month, and then within the month I break it down into three areas: Writing, Business and Promotion. There is also prework that needs to be done before the month's work can begin. Confused? Let me give you an example of my goals for January.

I. January - Prework: Print out SD and edit for content changes in prep for BIAW

Writing Goals:

A. Complete 500 words needed to meet goal on SD and edit

B. Query online presses that acquire Novellas.

C. Participate in BIAW

Promotion Goals:

A. Blog once weekly

B. Write 1 article

C. Put out a call for Guest Blogs

Business Goals:

A. National Dues

B. Maine RWA Dues

C. Organize Tax Papers and get info off old drive
I'm the type that is very happy with a list to check off and something tangible to show for my time. Setting these kinds of goals gives me that happy feeling.
February looks like this:
II. February - Prework: Rework list of scenes for OH and list 10 ideas for articles

Writing Goals:

A. Finish Word Count for OH, adding required pages to meet goal.

B. Edit OH

C. Write Query Letter and find 3 outlets for book

Promotion Goals:

A. Blog once a week

B. Write 1 article and find 3 outlets for other articles

C. Put out call for Guest Bloggers

Business Goals:

A. Track Daily Progress and word count

B. Update Tax information

C. Track blog and sales information in database

D. Take 1 online class
You'll see that some of the basic goals repeat, but that's because they are necessary. At the end of the year, when I start planning I usually on plan out for three to four months. This gives me some flexibility to change as I go along. Maybe I finish a goal early and start on the next. This way it can be a fluid process.
So, here are the beginning goals for 2012. Have you made yours yet? And just what is important enough to make it a goal?
Hope this helps. I wish everyone a happy, healthy and blessed New Year! May the muses, the publishers, the reviewers and the readers be kind and appreciative to your work.

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   totaltransparencyselfpublishing.wordpress.com 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 some of my favorite co-authors in Rhode Island for me to tap into the Zen wisdom of selling that is Nina Pierce. By her own admission she is flabbergasted by some of the sales results she's seeing out there, but I've never met anyone who had the kind analytical ability to break down the ebook market and give it a good run for it's money. She's smart. Very smart. And she knows that this is a business, as well as a work of our heart. She gave me tips (still is... such a wonderful friend) and was patient with my questions. So, before I decided to upload Three Truths to Smashwords, Nook and any other venue I can find I decided to analyze my meager efforts.

1. My cover sucks. It's not professional and it wouldn't catch my eye so why would I expect it to catch someone elses. But a good cover costs money that I don't have. I'm still trying to free the Durango from it's non-registered state. So, I'm saving my pennies and asking for money for Christmas to go into the cover fund.

2. I had no reviews on my Amazon page. None. I know it sold at least some covers and I'd been told by friends that they liked the book, but there was nothing there to draw in anyone else. So, I did something I don't usually do. I asked for help. I asked for reviews from those that had read it. At first, I had one review and my rating in the paying ebooks category went to (11/16) 155,254 Amazon ebook Rating (or close to that) and I was elated. It was better than it had been. Still, no sales. So, while I waited for more reviews I went on to my next endeavor.

3. I redid my blog. I made it simple, eyecatching and easy to find links to follow me and buy the book. I took out the flashy background, but made the colors inviting. I looked at how other authors where successfully pulling people into their blogs and I took notes. I also redid my website to match the format of my blog.

But the next day (11/18), I still had only 1 review and my rating went to 255, ... or something such. (I really am going to start writing these numbers down.) Bummed, I found myself checking my blog constantly. And then, I got another review. Another loyal reader took the time to post and that brought me to today.

Today, my Amazon rating is 79,082 and I've sold three books in three days.

Can I pay for my daughter's education? Nope. I can't even buy a Big Mac with that. But it's still progress and progress is good. I'm hoping for more reviews and more sales and an increase in numbers. I'm rewriting Three Truths to submit to the other epub venues and that should be done soon. I'll keep you all posted. As for paying for daughter's education or getting the Durango out of unregistered prison... that may have to wait awhile. But I'm patient and curious and that should be enough to see this experiment through.

I'll keep you all posted.

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 the horrible things going in the world hadn't touched her.

Ten years later my daughter is a whole lot farther away from me then she was that day. She's 9 hours away. When we considered colleges the rule was that she couldn't be further then it took to travel in a day. I needed to know that I could get there if I needed. There was a time when this wouldn't have been a consideration, but in light of such horrific events as 9/11, the Columbine shootings and the shootings at Virginia Tech it has become the norm to be that much more aware of what could happen. We can't live in fear. If we do then they've won. But we can be aware of how precious each day is and how our mentality has to change with the times. My mother worked as a Civilian on a Navy Base. She was aware that there was always the chance that something could happen. Part of my Father's duty in the Coast Guard was to watch for submarines or enemy boats from a cold tower near Lubec. Myself, I was a child who grew up under the shadow of the Cold War and saw the wall come down.

Ten years ago I was just finishing a book. It was a sequel to Obsidian and involved a Terrorist plot. After 9/11 there wasn't a editor or agent who wanted to touch it. The fact that the threat took place on American soil wasn't something that anyone wanted to see or read. I couldn't blame them. Despite the fact that I was passionate for the story I couldn't stomach it myself. The story is still in a drawer.

So many things changed that day. An innocence was lost along with so many, many people. For them, we are more careful, more cautious and we remember. So, like the others I'll ask... Where were you on when you heard the news?

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 allure of moving on to other adventures. My words would have been... Onward and Upward.

And then I met Keith and we decided to get married. In our 21 years together Keith has never held me back, never told me I could do anything and never blinked when I told him I wanted to do something so off the wall as become a writer, travel around the country, or become a ghost hunter. (okay, so he may have blinked at the ghost hunter part, but he didn't say no). Though simplistic, the words will always be... I love you.

When I had my children those three words and my world changed. It was no longer just Keith and I, but something so much bigger. We've had good times, bad times, crazy times and a few sane times. But even with what we have both accomplished in our lives we both agree that the greatest thing we ever did was have our children. For them, my words are... Love is Forever.

When my mother was dying of cancer and was preparing what she wanted done she knew she wanted four words put on her stone. She felt that these four words best described the way she had lived her life and what she wanted to pass on to the rest of us. In this case, 3 words were not enough. They are... Live, Love, Laugh and Learn.

And, when cancer took Keith's dad we went through the incredible loss all over again. I felt worse for Keith because I knew the incredible hole that tears through your heart when you lose a parent. For Arthur those three words are, ironically.... We Miss You. (I say "ironically" because he's been more present in our lives since he passed.)

This brings me to the present. I'm sure that as I go on from here my words will change along with my life. There will be new challenges, new loves, new losses and and new experiences, but for right now, if I can pass along only three words then I offer them up for everyone... Live Every Day.

So, what are your three words?

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 is just emotion." But emotions really demand a reaction.
  • Example: Heroine searches for the mother that gave her up for adoption, only to find that her mother passed away before she could find her. What is her reaction? Panic? Anger? Loss?
If you've given the reader an emotional base for the character then you need to follow suit when it comes to handling difficult, life changing decisions. These are the experiences. How they handle the emotion is a part of the story and gives the character an experience to learn and lead on from.

which leads us to revelations...

Revelations are the lessons learned from the emotions and the experiences. They are the warm and fuzzy, or deep and thoughtful moments that move the inner conflict of the story forward and give some measure of satisfaction to the reader.

Okay, so emotions are the catalyst, experiences are the gauge for the reaction and revelations are the outcome of the experience. It's what happens when you find your way through the maze of emotion.

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 minute you get off the plane. I wasn't there for Mardi Gras. I'm not one for crowds and there are always crowds in New Orleans. But the people made me love the city with their easy kind of grace that seems to meld into their bones and eeked out of a city that's reverance for the past is as honored as their glory in the future. I didn't meet anyone there that made me feel as if I were just visiting. They were welcoming, kind, creative, bold and generous. Someday, I'm going to take my husband there so he can meet the city for himself.

But what has this got to do with hats or writing? So much. As I watched the people presevere and return to take on what was left of their city, fighting to restore the traditions, food and character, I knew that there is comfort in familiarity. By creating community that is recognizable, full-bodied and emotional, you create a community for your characters, a belief system, a tie that keeps them rooted to the story. As writers, it's sometimes our job to take a highly recognizable place and changes it slightly, without doesn't lose the connection with what people believe, or see in their minds, or even can feel with their heart. The community becomes a character, become flesh and blood and history and future. A grounding force. And a community becomes something to hang their hats on.

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 http://book-in-a-week.com/ 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. It's worth it. Some writing chapters offer their own version of this kind of challenge. My own chapter has an ongoing program. But I found that I kind of like the chance to branch out and meet others that are struggling as well.

So, anyone out there up to the challenge? BIAW will be having another one next month and I can guarantee that I'll have just as many roadblocks in the way then. But I do know that I finally found a way to stay challenged when the only competition is myself!

Happy Writing everyone!

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... then Tuesday... then Wednesday... You get the picture. At the end of the week you total up and bask in your glory. Or your failure. Mine was somewhere in between. I started the week off strong, but my some medical issues had me flailing about like a fish out of water (please excuse the horrible, overused metaphor).

And just for accountability, here's my total for the week:
Monday: 4 pages
Tuesday: 3 pages
Wednesday: 4 pages
Thursday: 3 pages
Friday: Nada. Nothing. Zilch
Saturday: 1 page.
Sunday: 1 page
Total: 16 pages.

Nothing spectacular as a whole. If I can hold off the family and lock myself away I can do twice that in one day. I've done it before. But this week I just wanted to get the words on the page. And, overall, I'm happy with my 15 pages. I managed a very rough draft of my steampunk. That's pretty good. The downside, I'm struggling with the second chapter and that sucks. Usually, I don't struggle til the end of the third chapter.

Some points I learned along the way:
  • Give yourself a map: Nothing huge, just an outline of where you are going with each chapter, scene, whatever. There is a suggestion on the BIAW site that you write a sentence for each chapter with a general direction. I would add that you want to put what you hope to accomplish in that chapter (introduce characters, black moments, etc.).
  • Start a folder on your desktop and name a document for each day: Monday writing, Tuesday writing, etc. This will help you keep it separate and to be sure of how much you accomplish each day.
  • If you finish with 4 pages and a few lines on the next page (read: 4.25 pages), then take the four and past the .25 into a new document for the next day. (see above comment). This will give your a jumping off point for the next day.
  • Resist the urge to edit at all cost. This was the hard thing for me. After I finished the first day I wanted to go back and refine and define some of the points I'd made. The hardest point was to put it off until another day. It's about getting as much on the page as possible.
  • And last... don't beat yourself up over not making a goal. It's easy to look at what others have accomplished and belittle your own experiences, but in the end, that's them and you are you. You are accountable to only you. No one else.

So, there's another BIAW in August. Will I be among those participating? Most definitely. Do I think I can do better? Always. But it's the actual act of writing that makes the difference, not trying to hold myself up to unrealistic expectations.

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 by his troubles that he could only find solace in the heroine's arms.
For quite some time the "Gothic" genre languished along with the bell bottoms, Holly Hobbit t-shirts and Bonney Bell lip gloss. "It's dead," everyone said. But with the success of such books as Twilight there is a whole new generation of a readers who are eating up dark, paranormal heroines with a good amount of pluckiness (and sometimes a good amount of denial) who are out there fighting the ghosts, vampires, werewolves, etc. etc. etc. and doing quite well in the market. I had a discussion on a Steampunk loop as to the huge appeal of that genre in the YA section, much more than the concentration in the adult market. I think the same can be said for Gothic.
When I read Twilight I loved the story to a point, but it took me awhile to figure out that what bothered me the most was the "I'll-follow-you-anywhere-despite-anything" attitude. I had very frank discussions about whether my daughter understood that giving up yourself completely for someone else was truly not in the best interest of anyone. But then, I remembered my love of the Kathryn Kimbrough novels. I'd lived through it. Though it probably didn't do much for choice of dating material. Still, it had instilled in me that love of a heroine willing to overcome her own adversity in order to save the world. I'm willing to bet that there are plenty of others with musty, old Gothics crowding the back of reader's shelves. And I willing to work at bringing one of my own to the front.
So, for the sake of argument or interest... here is a list that I borrowed from The Otherworld Diner on 13 Typical Ingredients of a Gothic Romance. Check it out and let me know what you think could or couldn't work in today's market.
1. The story unfolds in an eerie atmosphere, full of peril.

2. The setting is forbidding or haunted. Typical sites: A manor in the moors, an isolated ruin or a haunted castle.
3. Often, the writer’s voice is melancholy and in a minor key.
4. The writer and you as a reader expect bad things to happen to the heroine.
5. The story is shrouded in mystery, a past secret that the readers and the heroine must figure out.
6. The heroine enters the story as a victim, someone in the wrong place at the wrong time.
7. Even though the heroine is a victim, she has the potential to unearth the past secrets.
8. The heroine is resourceful and -- even if she doubts it -- she possesses an inner strength equal to the threatening situation she’s thrown into.
9. The hero, usually the master of the menacing dwelling, appears to be sinister, at least at the story’s start.
10. The hero almost always knows about the unfortunate past.
11. As the heroine uncovers the mystery, she enters into a relationship with the hero.
12. If there are two love interests in the story, one will turn out to be the villain.
13. Often the heroine is a virgin. Usually the main characters are so busy solving the mystery and surviving they have little time for intimacy.

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 that I get with OBSIDIAN is... what is obsidian? Well, if you've read the book then you know that there is a reference to the black volcanic stone in the book, but it also became a metaphor for how deep and dark our pasts can be and how it colors our life as we continue on to adulthood. OBSIDIAN was the name that I picked for just that reason. I never dreamed that Five Star would actually want to keep it. But it worked on so many levels for the book.
THREE TRUTHS was published originally as THE THREE TRUTHS OF KATIE TALMADGE. I think that I was reading a lot of regency historicals at the time and thought that I could get away with that long a title. But I truly thought that the title would be changed by someone with much better skills at marketing the book. The publisher kept the title and I was left with a book with an incredibly long name. So much for the good will of the Title Gods. I did, however, get the chance to make this better when the book went to Kindle as an ebook. THREE TRUTHS is a much smarter and much easier to handle title and I consider it the grown up version for such a great book.
But what got me started on this topic was the title of a book being pitched to readers in Borders recent email. THE SCENT OF RAIN AND LIGHTNING. I have no idea how the book reads. It's on my to be read list, but the title completely enticed me. I loved the descriptive word play and all it invoked. Not to overlook the great cover art to go with it.
Then there are the THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO... (insert the latest title here). I was surprised to find that there were other books being pubbed out there with similar titles that were not written by Stieg Larsson. Is this an obvious attempt to trade on the popularity of a bestseller? Or merely another example of titles changing to suit the readers demand. Much the same that the popularity of genres changes to suit the demand. 

So, just what is it about titles that you like or dislike? Is it a combination of the titles and artwork? And could just hearing a title entice you enough to buy the book? Let me know..

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 complete learning curve for both writers and readers to conquer when it comes to changing the way that they think about feeding their need for a good story. I've been in publishing long enough to know that this "revolution" has been a long time coming. Could we ignore it? I seriously doubt it. You'd have to be living in a cave to be able to ignore the fact that more and more readers are making the transition daily to the ebook format, Kindle or otherwise. Even I have tried to read on my iTouch, but frankly, I wouldn't suggest it to anyone in need of glasses. The print requires a larger format to read. My friends fall into two groups, those that have made the transiton to ebook reader and those that still prefer the feel of paper beneath their fingertips.

Obviously, it's here to stay. Even a giant like Harlequin has embraced the ebook transition and offer their categories in the format. That's good news for all those writers whose books had a short shelf life in the printed form. And for authors, this means that there is a chance for an almost instantaneous satisfaction for those who read your books and want to read the rest of what you have written. Instant gratification, devoted readership... and hopefully new life and increased sales for writers. The ebook revolution is here to stay.

Just a reminder, if you want to read about romance and magic with heart you can download THREE TRUTHS at Amazon's Kindle Store for only $1.99. I call that a good deal.

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 www.savvyauthors.com (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 definite motivations represented amidst all the flash and pomp. NOTE: Just a few Tron observations. Not intended as spoilers.

Jeff Bridges' struggle to do what his heart wants and what is for the best of all, his struggle to "remove himself from the battle" make him a much stronger character. Cloe's struggles to fight the good fight and stay true to the teachings of her mentor. I like that she was so strong, but they could have developed her more. And Sam, I loved his growth. He was a very strong Disney-esque hero, but still strong enough for those beyond the Disney average age limit.

I find that I am continually drawn to the idea of fighting for something bigger than ourselves. Perhaps it's the champion within me, but I want there to be that reason to risk it all and push onward to the life or death point. I want to believe that the same drive is within all... but, call me cynical... I work retail. I've not seen a lot of that championing the greater good. Maybe that's why heroes stand out so strongly in modern day realm. We are all looking for someone willing to break out of the norm, challenge the expected and fight for something bigger than ourselves.

I think I just may have found the motivation for my hero.

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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" ...