A World Away – Chapter 5 on Wattpad

I see I’ve missed mentioning when I’ve posted the last few chapters of this story. It’s up to Chapter 5 now on Wattpad, if you want to get caught up. This is a romance, if you’re not familiar with it. Also, it is a work-in-progress, so the final product may be slightly different from what I’m posting now. Eventually it’ll be available as an e-book, but probably not in paper. Thanks so much to everyone who’s been reading along, I really appreciate it!

Side Projects

Some stories take longer to gel in my head than others. The cast and crew of Revenants Abroad was nearly effortless. Andrej in particular, who was of course the genesis of the story, appeared in my head fully-formed, ready for action. Anne-Marie took longer for me to get to know. Neko … what can I say. He’s the bad boy with a heart of gold. Another one who showed up ready for battle.

I’ve been toying with a contemporary romance, which I started for a certain reason that I don’t actually remember. It was to have been a satire of bubble-headed, self-absorbed popular girls, but I don’t recall what particularly pissed me off at the time I got the idea for it, so I’ve lost that momentum. Then today I found a use for someone from my past. Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for the last few years may remember a person at my previous job whom I referred to as The Princess. I think I’m about to exact my revenge on her. She’s just the foil I need in this new story.

Anyway, you know what they say:

Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel.

 

Backing Away

How’s everyone doing? Boy, it’s been a tough week, hasn’t it? It’s been, at the very least, anxiety-inducing. So, in order to try to preserve what’s left of my sanity, I am beginning a new relationship with social media. I’ve been fairly active on Twitter since I joined in 2010, which has been both good and bad. On one hand, I have met some really really fantastic people, but on the other hand I’ve also seen some truly ugly stuff go down.

Lately it’s become a constant toxic stream. This is not a put-down to anyone, it’s just that it’s a constant barrage of (mostly) righteous rage, and very little else. I’ve also been dismayed  and disappointed by some I thought were a little more enlightened than they now appear.  It’s funny, the sort of back-handed tactics they employ to try to tell you what you should be tweeting, what they find acceptable. Well, you never really know people on Twitter, do you? I’ll tweet what I like, when I like. If someone doesn’t like it, they are free to unfollow me. I didn’t get on social media to argue. And as far as I can tell, arguing with people online never changed anyone’s mind.

But, that aside, Twitter has been consuming far too much of my time anyway. I’m always griping about trying to find time to write, so removing that time-suck seems the logical thing to do. Years ago I resisted joining, even though I had writer friends encouraging me to check it out. I finally caved back in 2010. So seven years later it’s sucking up my life as I feared it would. My fault, of course, for letting it. I don’t intend to vanish entirely from Twitter, but I am going on a Twitter-diet, and will be more strictly regulating my time there. I considered automating my Twitter feed, but I really hate when people do that. It’s more likely I’ll have a couple bursts of activity during the day, then shut it down again.

Additionally, I’ve been busily unsubscribing from a host of email newsletters that I signed up for in the dim past and never seem to actually read. I spend more time deleting them than reading them. I cleared out probably 1000 old emails  (I know, I know…) this morning, and it’s just a colossal waste of time. New rule: read it or delete it immediately.

I only recently joined Instagram, too, and though I really enjoy it, it too is a time-suck. All this social media may be fun, but it’s not writing. As with most of these things, you follow some people to be polite, then find you never interact with them, or even read their posts. It’s just silly.  If we’re not really interested in what someone is saying, why the pretense?  So, I unfollowed a bunch there. I expect to spend far less time on Instagram as well.

Indie authors like me are encouraged to have accounts everywhere, but it’s absurd. I have accounts on Ello, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Wattpad as well that I’ve all but forgotten about. There’s no way to keep up with it all. Even this poor blog is terribly neglected. If anything, I may try to get back to blogging on a more regular basis, but the rest will likely be very much more on the back burner.

Social media is not all bad, but it’s largely unproductive. I’ll be around, but not as much as I have been. At least, that’s the plan. Let’s see how long I can stick to it.

Indie Author News – Multnomah Co. Library Wants to Read Your Book

I was tipped off to The Library Writers Project just this morning. The Multnomah Co. Library is looking for books by local authors:

From October 11 to December 15, 2016, the library will accept submissions from local authors who would like to see their books added to the library’s e-book collection.

The book needs to be available on Smashwords.

You don’t have to live in Multnomah County to submit your book, but you do need to have a MCL card.

Live outside Multnomah County?

You can get a free library card if you are a resident of:

  • Clackamas County, Oregon – except for Johnson City
  • Hood River County, Oregon
  • Washington County, Oregon
  • Clark County, Washington
  • Klickitat County, Washington
  • Skamania County, Washington
  • Yale Precinct, Cowlitz County, Washington
  • Cities of Ariel, Cougar or Woodland, Cowlitz County, Washington

Also, October 8, 2016 is Indie Author Day.  You can check that to see if your local library is participating.

I Do It My Way

writer at deskI try to write the best books I possibly can, and with my limited free time to devote to writing, it should be no surprise that it takes me a while to finish even a first draft. Once that’s done, the revisions and rewrites begin before I allow beta readers to see it. This flies in the face of some of the advice to indie authors these days that you should be putting out several books a year. It simply can’t be done, or at least not done well. I take writing very seriously, and rather than toss out a sloppily written novel I try to put out the best product I can. Why should I expect anyone to pay money and spend time on anything less? I do aspire to be a better writer and I’m always looking to improve.

As a writer I love to discuss the craft of writing with other writers. To that end, I participated (briefly) in an online writer’s chat on Twitter the other day. It turned out to be more of a coffee klatsch than writing talk. Questions were things like “What’s the best review you’ve ever received?” Being at work while the chat was going I was only able to participate in the first question which was “Where are you in your writing process?” Most of the rest of the participants (not all) mentioned several projects that are in various stages of writing or revision. I answered that I’m working on the sequel to my first novel. I do have other stories started, but I’m focusing most of my time on the sequel. The moderator (who has apparently heard me discussing this before) said, “Still? How long have you been working on that?” I replied that if I didn’t have a day-job, it might go faster. The mod does not have a day-job. Yes, it’s taking me a while, and I’m sorry for that to those of you who are waiting for the sequel but I have to keep the day-job as I have bills to pay and I’m not a kept woman. Add in everything that needs to be done around the house on weekends and it leaves very little time to write.

That question rankled. It’s no wonder the market is flooded with poorly written books and indies have such a terrible reputation. People are cranking out multiple books a year, but how much time and attention are they giving to any of them? Could my own book have been better? Of course, and I wish I had the money to hire a professional editor to go over it. I may yet release a revised version, now that I’ve discovered ProWritingAid. I’m dying to run the whole book through it and make it better. I can already see things I’d like to change and tighten after using that program for just a couple weeks. I expect Revenants Within to be a much stronger book.

Before self-publishing became an option, it was the norm for a writer to take six months to write a book. Now, if you don’t publish six books a year, you’re pretty much told you’re slacking. I will never be able to write at that pace. If you can, godspeed. But don’t denigrate others who don’t.

And if you’re a slow writer like me, you’re not doing it wrong. You’re doing it at your own pace, which is exactly how you should.

Revenants Abroad – Chapter 24

Chapter 24 is up now on Wattpad! This may be the longest yet, at 12 Wattpad-pages. If you’re snowed in this weekend, or it’s just too cold to be outside, it might be a good time to catch up on your reading. Four more chapters to go, then I’ll give it about a week and pull the story from Wattpad to get the book up on Amazon. It is still available as an ebook from Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo.

Here’s our lonely mountain (sans dragon) at sunset, an eagle perched in the next-door neighbor’s tree, last night’s moon, and a spider web in the power lines under the streetlight.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

Revenants Abroad–Chapter 21

In which our hero takes matters into his own hands… Neko and Anne-Marie are off to Greece, leaving Andrej and a couple of hired thugs free to do what needs to be done.

Chapter 21 can be read free on Wattpad (and yanno, chapters 1-20 as well…)

So here’s a thing. I’ve been contacted twice by people on Wattpad looking to swap ‘votes for votes.’ Maybe this is how some of them reach the rankings they get, by ‘buying’ or swapping votes. My sense of fair play was offended. I won’t do it. I’ve heard of this being done on other sites, a “you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours” set up. The corollary I fear is that if I don’t, will these people feel snubbed and try to keep people away from my story(ies)? I don’t know. I’m still learning my way around Wattpad and discovering the “clubs” (discussion boards). It seems there’s still a great deal I don’t know about the site. I’ve been disappointed not to even receive any comments on the book, although people have contacted me outside that venue to talk to me about it.

I’m nearing the end of it on Wattpad. There are 7 chapters to go and then I’ll give it a week or so and pull it so I can upload it to CreateSpace and make paper copies available. Amazon’s terms do not allow the book to be available for free elsewhere, or they’ll make it free, too. I’m not sure if I’ll keep it on Smashwords or move it to the Kindle platform and other resellers directly (Barnes and Noble, and Kobo, most notably). I’ll have to see what’s involved.

So anyhoo, here are a few shots from this morning’s commute. Lovely to have a break in the rain. Happy Wednesday!

 

kolk pond Tonquin Road 1-19-15Mt Hood sunrise -1-21-15Pink sky and freezing fog 1-21-15RR Pond 2 sunrise 1-21-15

Revenants Abroad–Chapter 19

Chapter 19 posted on Wattpad this morning! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read about my little group of vampires and humans. It’s still kind of surreal to me that it’s out there and anybody AT ALL is reading it. Lots of questions about the sequel, which is in the works, but it’s way too early even for me to know what’s going to happen! It’s interesting to see which characters become favorites, though.

And a couple pics. I was surprised to see Venus and Mercury in the sky last evening on my way home. I stopped on the road to get pics, just wish I’d had my tripod (or better, telescope) with me. Timestamp is 5:55PM EST, looking south. I rather like this pic:

Venus and Mercury 1-13-15

And this morning:

Fiery pond 1-14-15

 

Lonely Mountain 1-14-15

 

Happy Hump Day!

Revenants Abroad – Chapter 17

Chapter 17 went live this morning. This chapter finds Neko and Anne-Marie off together, without Andrej, leading to some unwelcome surprises for Anne-Marie. I kind of felt bad for doing this to her… naaaahh, not really Winking smile

Saw a pretty sunset on the way home last night for just a couple minutes before being swallowed up in the fog again:

Sunset 1-6-15

And pretty moon this morning, which of course I had to try to get pictures of, despite already being late out the door to leave for work:

Morning moon 1-7-15

Tried to get a shot that included Jupiter, which was up, but it didn’t turn out very well. If you look closely in the upper left of center you can sort of see Jupiter through the branches:

Moon and venus 1-7-15 am

Wish I could have stayed home with my telescope. Jupiter is rising about mid-evening now and is visible all night. Observing pointers on Universe Today.

E-Book Formats

So, it’s come to my attention that possibly a lot of people don’t know which format they need for their e-reader. Kindle folks probably just know Amazon is the place to get books to feed their reader, similarly Nook people go to Barnes and Noble, and Kobo users can go straight to Kobo.com.

I had a couple of folks who are readers of Revenants Abroad on Wattpad ask where to get the book. One person had a Nook, but didn’t know which format she’d need if she got it from Smashwords. So herewith, a small primer for anyone who may be unsure what format their device uses. You should not have to download any extra programs if you have a dedicated e-reader. If you’re using an Android device you may if there’s not one already installed. I don’t have an Android device so I don’t know if they come with them or not.

Kindle uses the proprietary MOBI format, meaning the Kindle is the ONLY device that uses MOBI. (*note: Revenants Abroad is not available directly from Amazon at this time. If you need the MOBI version, it is available at Smashwords.)

Nook uses the more common EPUB format

Kobo uses EPUB. EPUB can also be read via Google Play on an Android device.

ALDIKO (another Android e-reader software program) can read EPUB and PDF, as well as Adobe Ebook DRM technology.

Any computer should be able to read PDF, the reader has always been free.

Smashwords has all their offerings available in all these formats, as well as:

.txt (plain text), which can be read in any word processing program, including Notepad, Wordpad, Word, etc.

.rtf (Rich Text Format), which is a Microsoft proprietary software, so will open in Word, Notepad, Wordpad, and possibly other programs.

.lrf for older Sony e-readers

.pdb for older Palm devices, just in case you still have one of those kicking around.

Just thought I’d put that out there in case anyone isn’t sure what their device uses. If you have any questions let me know and I’ll do my best to answer. And don’t feel bad: it wasn’t that long ago I was completely clueless about all this as well.

By the way, if you’re on Goodreads, please connect with me there. I’ve signed up for their annual reading challenge, and I’m going to try to read at least 30 books this year. I don’t know how I’m going to fit them in, but I need to do a lot more reading than I did last year.