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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Calling All Poets - Sage Books Poetry Open-Mic

Last Wednesday, I went to the first ever open mic poetry night Sage Books in Frenchtown St. Charles. It was lovely. I did not know how much I missed poetry until I was surrounded by people who took such joy in sharing it.

When I was teaching, I could share my literary passions with my students. But life got busy after I changed jobs and I lost the connection, the time to live an examined life. Major bummer. But good news, poetry fans! You can get in touch with your inner poet at the next open mic at Sage Books on Wednesday, November 16th at 8 p.m.

Come and read, or just enjoy the poetry love in the air - the first and third Wednesday of every month. Hope to see you there....

P.S. - Originally I had posted it as 7 p.m., but it looks like they moved it to 8 p.m. Just FYI.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cool Video Courtesy of Catherine, Caffeinated

O.k. Kenon,

This is for you because at the moment, I don't have two brain cells to rub together to create something original. But the person who made this video sure does. 

I found this over at Catherine, Caffeinated. She is a successful self-published author from Ireland who blogs her wisdom for the rest of us. I loved her book on working in the fantasy land that is Disney world, Mousetrapped. I recommend anyone who thinks of self-publishing check out her blog.


It makes me want to be an exchange student again.....

Monday, June 27, 2011

Writing Weekend: Final Results

Total Weekend Wordcount: 6511 words

Not as much as I would like, but more than I had when I started. But that's about 1/10 of a book if you're shooting for 60,000 words.  Not bad when you think of it that way. I set high goals so even if I fell short, I'd still have a pretty decent word count.

Onward and upward...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Writing Weekend Update: Saturday

Revised Word goal: 5000
Current Word Count: 2,318
I find my writing day has had more ups and downs than the sand dunes on Bay Watch. It goes something like this:
  • Wake up
  • Realize I feel like I'm coming down with something but ignore it - no excuses
  • Feed the cats
  • Eat something
  • Avoid looking at my laptop several times
  • Turn on some classical music
  • Read a book to get inspired
  • Avoid looking at my laptop again
  • Accidentally look at my laptop and force myself to go over and get started
  • Struggle to write a few words
  • Consider putting the deathstar in the story somewhere
  • Avoid writers' block by surfing the internet
  • Realize I've already read everything at the usual websites I visit during last night's attempt to avoid writing
  • Struggle not to turn on the television for a quick "break"
  • Write a few words
  • Play fetch with the cat
  • Switch projects out of desperation
  • Write a few words and get on a roll
  • Stop to do a word count of my prodigious production and realize I've only written 500 words instead of 5,000
  • Despair that anyone will ever want to read anything I have written because it's boring and puerile
  • Admire a passage I wrote yesterday when I was still a writer, and the virus I'm getting had not destroyed the writing center of my brain
  • Cut my word goal for the day in half
  • Watch the cats sleep while they lay as close as they can get to me on the couch
  • Imagine a day when this might be my day job, and I get to watch them sleep as I write
  • Smile
  • Frown
  • Resent their peaceful napping as I despair that I will ever finish a project
  • Blog about my writing day
  • Look at the long evening ahead and resolve to do better
  • Procrastinate by adding bullets to this list
You can see how little actual writing has taken place. I did better last night than I have all day to day. Part of it is I'm still too controlling. I don't want to make a big draft mess I'll have to clean up later, so I have to plan what comes next. This makes writing a lot like constipation. Nothing comes of it.

I've decided it's time to make a mess, or there will be nothing to clean up. I'll let you know how it turns out :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Weekend Writing Marathon: Friday Word Count

Added another 1,258 words to my total for tonight. I was shooting for at least 2,000 total.
Current total: 2,643. Not bad for starting after work.

Tomorrow's goal: 10,000 words.

Weekend Writing Marathon

The kids are gone for the next 5 days. There is no Memorial Day/Mother's day/Father's Day/Arbor Day/Family Birthday that I must attend this weekend. No! You may not come over. My lawn is mowed. My fridge is full. The cats have been fed and restrained with duct tape. Holy schmoley, Batman. I have no excuse not to get my wordy on. God help me.

I have schitzophrenically changed books again, done 1,436 words, and read wondertabulous blogs on self-publishing including this one that referred me to this absolutely scary, funny and incredamazing one who's title I cannot mention (mom, don't click on that one). It has me sinking to the depths of despair, down into the muddy muck of the river bed and digging my little toes in hard in fear that it might be me - jumping the gun. Diving in too soon. Oh wait. I have to actually finish the book first. What am I doing here talking to you people?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Random Crap I Write When I Can't Think of What Comes Next In My Book

The good news is I'm making progress on my shitty first draft (6,524 words) The bad news is my brain often spins around like a hamster on a wheel, falls off the wheel, then staggers off to the left because his hamster sense of balance has been shot to hell.

I got this far in my romance story (my heroine has fallen down the stairs in the hero's family home and has a sprained ankle). Then the hamster wheel came out. I couldn't think of one more word to write. Thus, I produced what is below:

After she got dressed, Ellie wondered out to see if she could get a ride home. Bakery smells led her to the kitchen. Mrs. Giordano exclaimed when she saw her. “Ellie. How are you feeling. Do you need to sit down?” She pulled out a stool and helped Ellie arrange the crutches against the counter.

But no. She could not stay in the kitchen. Ellie was drawn by an irresistible compulsion to quest. She got up and ascended Mt. Doom on her crutches. But she couldn’t not bring herself to cast the graven crutch into the fiery molten lava. Then fairies stole it from her. Then she died. And I am glad. Die, Ellie, die.

The End

I hope it will be better tomorrow. Otherwise the deathstar comes out.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Romance and Paranormal Book Cover Designer for Ebooks - Hot Damn Designs

So as I obsess over all things related to Kindle self-publishing, I've been looking at romance book cover designers. In my quest, I found Hot Damn Designs.

I am one of those people who admit to judging a book by its cover - meaning I will at least pick it up and read the description if the cover gets my attention. I've seen news stories that say you have less than 10 seconds to attract a buyers attention via book cover, but mainly I am basing it on my own experience shopping for books.

When I go buy a book on Kindle by an indie author, I consider the cover a sign of how much effort the author put into the book. A bad cover might equal badly edited book. Do I have any proof of this? Hell no. But I figure a few other people out there might think the way I do when selecting ebooks. When I finish my romance novel, I think Hot Damn Designs will be the place to go. I want my baby to look cool for the first day of school in the Kindle marketplace.

I am a fan of St. Louis author Angie Fox's Accidental Demon Slayer series - story and cover design. (You can read the first chapter here.) Hot Damn does her book covers and they look spiffy. The designer, Kimberly Killion, is also located near St. Louis which appeals to me since I live in the metro area. Why? Hell if I know. I love that I can talk to people everywhere in the world online, but there is just something about knowing the person you are doing business with is close by - even if you only communicate through email. It makes no sense, but there you have it.

She will also do a website design to match your book/genre, and I think her prices are pretty reasonable. You can read an interview she did with Novelists, Inc here. I don't know her, so I have no vested interest. But I know what I like...

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Cure for Insomnia

I love this. It soothes my soul every time. Sleep well, everyone.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kindle Publishing: Unexpected Pitfalls

I have discovered that it is much more fun to read about authors who are selling lots of books on the Kindle, and imagine that I am them, than it is to write a novel of my own to put onto the Kindle. Don't let this happen to you...

Sigh. I am off to work, finally.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Let the Great Kindle Experiment Begin

Of course, there is a catch to the great Kindle publishing frenzy (as I learned a the MWG conference). If you actually want to have a decent looking, marketable book, you will pay. A couple hundred for a cover design, a couple hundred to have your writing formatted for all the electronic venues, a buck twenty five for an ISBN number - x 2 if you have a print and electronic version.

It makes sense if you want to have a good quality book - it isn't free. Wasn't it pretty to think so. Now reality. So its time to save up and invest in my career. But like most authors, I have the writer's version of ADD. Which project to go with? I have just been to a writing conference, and now I'm looking at the smorgasboard of writing ideas that result from being around other creative people.

Decisions, decisions. I think it may be my zombie book. We'll see tomorrow, though. Night.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Fascinating Discussion of Ebooks vs Paper

Still looking at the ebook publishing concept and saw this thought-provoking discussion between J.A Konrath and Barry Eisler on how paper is on the way out and ebooks have already won the war. I am certainly disposed to drink the kool-aid, so someone please point out the flaws in this argument.

Okay. Truthfully I can see some flaws. Many people put there writing out there before it's fully cooked. I do think quality writing will rise to the top, but as time goes on, there will be more and more to sift through. I'm interested to see where the quality control will come from.

But they actually convinced me that I don't want a monolithic publisher in charge of my writing. It's like giving your kid to a babysitter with a hundred kids to look after and expecting yours to get the treatment he or she deserves. New authors are expected to care for and market their own books. A publisher just gets you bookstore distribution - and business isn't looking so hot for brick and mortar bookstores. And if it doesn't hit quickly, the publisher moves on and you are left crying in your beer. I think I'll go read some blogs against epublishing and see if they bring me back over from the dark side. You never know...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Make a Million Publishing Your Book on Kindle?

So has anyone read Nathan Bransford's blog on the self-published Kindle millionaires? Its awfully tempting to go straight to making books available on Kindle. I am not expecting to be an Amanda Hocking or J.A. Konrath. They are making hundreds of thousands at this, but hey, some extra money would be nice. Or let's face it, any at all.

Hocking had shopped her book to agents unsuccessfully. She just wanted to make some extra cash for a trip she was going on. Now she is making major bucks selling books for .99 cents. The low price point makes sense. I would take a chance on a book that is well reviewed by book bloggers for a mere buck. The soda machine at work costs more... Some books are 2.99, but that still means I can get 2 for the usual price of one. That's hours more of reading enjoyment. A whole series of 6 could be $6 bucks and on my Kindle forever (sniff, or they could have been if my Kindle hadn't been stolen from my house a few weeks ago).

I will certainly be buying more self-pubbed books if I ever save up enough to get another Kindle.

The lower ereader prices (many ereaders have dropped to around $100, and it's just $139 for the new 3G-less Kindle) mean more readers. But more authors will be trying to publish this way, which means your writing will have to shine if want to rise to the top of the .99 cent offerings.

But I am quitting my 2nd job in order to write more, and it has me seriously thinking about publishing on the Kindle. I am finally at a point when I can dedicate myself to my writing.

I don't think everyone will do this. Both Hocking and J.A. Konrath are prolific writers and marketers. Most of us still have the simple butt-in-chair problem that keeps us from getting anywhere. But I have friends who have terrific books ready to go. And with some monetary motivation and that dastardly immediate gratification, I could certainly be seduced...

Many writers have a vision for their book, and it doesn't always survive the traditional publishing submission process. Agents and editors often dictate changes according to a formula, and sometimes they are all too right. But let's face it, they don't always know what will make books sell. As Amanda Hocking points out, none of us really do. But at least with Kindle publishing, that much-loved book gets a chance to breath free air. For better or worse. Hmmmmm. So if sharing your writing is important to you, the money might be nice, but it's secondary to just being heard.

Something to think about.