Sunday, January 27, 2013

Character Study : Kellen

The Making of a Hero

This is Kellen. Or possibly Kellan. I'm on the fence about the spelling. I picture him as a soldier, but something about that doesn't fit the background I had in mind for him. So, for now, he's a drifter.

In my mind, he's an alpha male, but not necessarily a shifter. At least not a wolf. Maybe a jaguar. Or a lion shifter.

One thing I know for certain, he's the kind of guy who knows what he wants and goes after it - namely  the woman of his dreams.



Top picture taken at a public sandbox. Pictures two and three were taken in the SL Botanical Gardens. The sweater, dog tags, and hair are by Redgrave. The eyes are SL system provided eyes in the color Pacific Blue. The jeans, skin, and shape are sold by magicc321 on the SL Marketplace. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Adventures in Self-Publishing - Pt. 2

When Self-Publishing Goals Change

 

In my last post Adventures in Self-Publishing post, I gave a rundown of my self-publishing history. Most of the stories I've self-published in the past have been offered as free reads. It wasn't until early last year that I offered my first short story collection for sale on Smashwords.

Changing my goal from writing freebies to writing pay-for content made me realize that there is a huge difference in the way those books are created, produced, and marketed. When working on a book with the intention of giving it away, there seems to be much less at stake. I'm not talking about a varying level of effort or quality put into a project. Both require a lot of hard work. But somehow freebie books seem more easily "released into the wild". You upload it, dust off your hands, and you're finished. You're aware the people will either like it or dislike it, but there is really nothing more to be done with it.

A freebie project is kind of like putting your high school age son out the door in the morning - hey, kid, get out there. You're dressed, don't be late. But when you start working with manuscripts you intend to sell, it's like trying to get your kindergartner ready to catch the bus for the first time. Aside from mild panic gnawing away in your chest, there is the sense that you're forgetting something - not signing a form right, forgetting your kid's lunch or snack money, and worrying that your child hasn't memorized their bus numbers or how to get to their classroom. There's more of a worry your for-purchase book is going to get lost out there, and that someone is going to be mean to "your baby".

Even when you take every possible step to give readers the best product possible, the reality is you're likely to come up against some form of criticism of your work. That's a given. You can't please everyone. However, you don't want to make it easy for someone to dislike your work, your product, or give you a bad review. In trying to figure out how to best present my self-published fiction, I realized something very early on.

There is a lot of conflicting information out there. 


The first thing I realized about releasing a pay-for ebook is that there is a lot (seriously, a ton) of conflicting information out there about what sells and what doesn't. And it's very easy to get swept up in that storm. What readers like, and what they don't. I'm not even talking about the genre or the content. I'm talking about the font face, the type of cover artwork and the colors used, whether to have a male or female model on your cover. I came across a "discussion" once in a forum that dragged on for pages and pages about whether your author name should go at the top or bottom of the cover - also, whether it should appear above or below the title.

This kind of information seems important at first glance, but after a while, you realize in looking at the forest, you miss seeing the trees. Some of this stuff may seem serious, even threatening to your effort to put your best foot forward. Honestly, I had to stop researching, step back and take a breath. At the end of the day, when I looked at it from a practical standpoint, I know I've personally never decided against purchasing a book because the author's name appeared above the book title. But then, that's just me.

What did set me on edge was worrying about the price point for my self-published collection. There has been a lot of online discussion about this sort of thing in recent months. I had planned to set the starting price of my collection at .99 cents, but then I read several articles debating whether or not the .99 cent price point helps or harms your sales.

Do a google search and you'll find blog posts and articles that argue the quality of .99 cents ebooks. There are many people who claim the market for cheaply priced e-books is glutted, and that you can't stand out that way. The last thing you want is to pour time, money, love, and hope into your ebook only to have it vanish on the shelf with thousands of other books available for .99 cents. On the flip side of the coin, there are just as many authors who swear by the .99 cent price point. It gets even more confusing for someone like me, just dipping their toes into the pay-for market, because both sides have legitimate evidence to back up their claims.

This made me very nervous unnecessarily. Early on, I had this great fear that when I released my erotica collection I'd inadvertently overprice my book, and no one would want to buy it. At the same time, I didn't want to relegate my book to the ignored sales bin of cheaply priced ebooks, either.

I went back and forth about the price several times before I released my book for $1.25 on Smashwords. At a mere .26 cents over the .99 cent price point, I've been told by a couple of people that my price is too high.  But is it really?

What is your book worth to you?

 

I didn't decide on the $1.25 price point lightly. And I'm not saying every ebook I self-publish will be priced at $1.25. But concerning that specific short erotica collection, that price point seemed to fit.

I spent several weeks investigating how to appropriately price my ebook. In the end, I had to ask myself: what is my book worth to me?  More than one dollar? Less than that? What is my time and effort worth - to me?

I found those questions easier to answer than just asking what my book is worth in terms of value. After all, there is a lot of work that goes into writing, revising, editing, and proofing even one short story. The collection I was about to released contains five short stories.

After a little more research, I discovered that on Smashwords I'm able to discount my book for a limited time by using coupon codes. I like the idea that I can set my ebook at one price then create a sale/coupon code to test the book at another price. By doing this, I can see what resonates more with readers, and in the end, I decided on the starting price of $1.25 - which seemed fair. It breaks down to .25 cents per short story in the collection, and throughout the year, I can create sales events where I discount my collection to .99 cents for a limited time.

After uploading your book - what's next?

 

There are dozens of blogs about marketing your ebook to optimize sales. I'm not going to delve too deeply into that with this post. A well-tended wheel will turn, although there are no guarantees how fast or efficiently. It's almost impossible to anticipate what your sales will be, and how much time and money you put into marketing does not guarantee a book's success.

If you don't have a home on the internet already, I recommend building an online presence where readers can reach you. It doesn't matter whether it's a blog or a website. People simply need to be able to find your complete list of available books and links where they can buy them.

Marketing is definitely important, I don't want to short change anyone by saying it isn't. However, I've been told time and again not to devote a wealth of your time on marketing - or more specifically, don't spend all your writing time on promoting. If your book is uploaded and selling, it's time to get to work writing your next book.

Keep Writing

 

A few years ago, I read an article about an erotica writer who made six figures every year self-publishing her books. What did she credit to her success? It wasn't marketing. She said she didn't do very much marketing other than blogging about her books. However, she had (still has, to my knowledge) an extensive book list on Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I'm talking about hundreds of books.

Since I don't have a direct quote or a link to that article anymore, this is a my paraphrased version of what the author said. The more books you have available for purchase, the more books you have the potential to sell.

I'm not saying authors should churn out hundreds of books. There's certainly no way I could do that, much less do that and still have a home life. But the idea behind the author's position is a good one. If someone likes a book they read, they will likely buy another book by that author. As both a reader and a writer, I have found this to be mostly true. It's how I shop for books, and I know it's how many of my friends shop also. I have three "auto-buy" authors on my reading list. The minute I see their books hit the shelves, I buy the books because I'm pretty sure I'll like them.

My point is this: don't stop writing in order to market/promo/spam everyone over one published project. Keep writing. Focus on building your next book.

This is where I currently find myself stationed in my self-publishing journey. My #1 goal right now is increasing my catalogue of available books.

That's all for now. If you're interested in hearing more about my personal take on self-publishing, look for Adventures in Self-Publishing - Pt. 3 next week when I cover topics such as building a writing plan, choosing your target market, and resources to help get you started self-publishing.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My So-Much-To-Do List

Found an old "travel photo" I took of Innsmouth in SecondLife a year or so ago.
Click to enlarge

I have a laundry list of things to do today. First things first, I plan to wrap up a freelance project and send the pages back. I don't like to keep anyone waiting. I also have a few business-y emails to send, and I need to finish up a blog post I've been working on since yesterday. Oh, and sometime tomorrow, I have to go outside and reattach the dryer vent JakeDog detatched and discarded in the back yard. Sigh. The big galoot strikes again.

Anyway, I have to get as much done as possible today (it's about 3:30 a.m. Thursday morning) because hubby's birthday is this weekend. We're planning to have a gathering over at mom and dad's that day. We're going to grill burgers and have cake and ice cream - that sort of thing - and I don't want to be distracted by other stuff. If I have something half finished, I'll obsess over it when I should be having a good time. 

With that in mind, Friday I'll probably be baking, and I need to pick up a card for Hubby. We've already agreed on an Amazon gift card for his birthday, since there's a specific Steampunk book he wants to order. That really saves me over shopping for a gift. He's the guy who has everything. It's really hard to shop for him. In all honesty, I never would've guessed he wanted a book. His interests are geared more toward gaming rather than reading. 

Speaking of books and all that, I'm currently reading The Cabin in the Woods by Tim Lebbon. Yes, it's the official movie novelization. I admit I have an addiction to reading novelizations of movies. Novelizations and books that are later turned into movies. I like being able to read how an author describes people or a scene, and then being able to see the visual representation. I don't know why, but it has always fascinated me. 

The first novelization I ever read was Alien, by Alan Dean Foster. It was my dad's book, and I was drawn in by the scary looking green egg on the cover. At the time, I had not seen the movie. (The one made in 1979.) The book got tossed onto a stack of novels mom hauled outside for a garage sale. Book rescuer that I am, I sneaked back to my room with Alien, and with Stephen King's Night Shift. I was eight or nine at the time. Good memories. :o)

Anyway, it's about time for lights out. I have to get up in a few hours to dress Mini for school and put him on the school bus. Then I shall drink copious amounts of tea and work on wrapping up that hard-headed fairy story for the collection that is taking.forever.to.finish. It's just one of those things, I guess. 

Happy Thursday, everyone. I hope everything goes well for you. I'm going to do my best to be productive - and yes, I've got my fingers crossed about that. If I can take care of everything I need to do during the daylight hours, I'll be free to listen to my favorite radio show tonight. A small thing, I know, but every little incentive counts. ;o)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Character Study: Mia

A Heroine in the Making 

This is Mia, my current heroine in progress. I'm building her for a romance novella that's still in the brainstorming phase. 

This is exactly how I picture her. Ginger hair and intelligent eyes with a hint of vulnerability. I forgot to grab a screen capture of her in glasses, but she does wear them. 

I picture her as a counselor of some kind. It's possible she works with children. {Maybe she's the protagonist in a secret baby romance?} She hasn't revealed all her secrets to me yet. I'm still playing around with her backstory.

Want to check out another romance heroine I've created? 

Click here to meet Shelby Whitman, the heroine from my latest Werekind werewolf story - Chasing Moonlight.





All pictures were taken at Bookstacks in Awen. The avatar's hair is by Wasabi Pills. Photographed using Firestorm viewer.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Adventures in Self-Publishing - Pt.1

Should I Self-Publish?

Consider this a very informal chat about my foray into self-publishing. I'm not an expert, and I don't play one on television. However, over the past few months I've been asked a ton of questions about what it's like to self-publish my own work. For what it's worth, I'm very willing to share the details of my journey, which has been cobbled together through trial and error.

One of the most striking questions I receive on a regular basis is whether I think the person asking the question should dip their toes into the self-publishing waters.

Of course, I can't answer that question for them. Do I think self-publishing is worth it? Sure. But it all depends on what you hope to get out of it. What is your self-publishing goal? That is a very important question to ask yourself if you haven't already. After all, how are you going to hit your target if you haven't figured out what you're aiming for?

If you were already self-published, what would you hope to see as a return for your efforts?  There is no wrong answer. I highly encourage you to write down your highest goal - or goals. Save them. There are many reasons people may delve into self publishing. Some may simply be interested in seeing their story in print. Others may want full creative control over a specific project. Maybe you just want to publish Aunt Gertrude's memoir so members of the family can have a copy in print or e-book format.

People's publishing goals are as varied as snowflakes, so please keep in mind that what I say here is not the be-all-end all of anything. I don't have all the answers. And I definitely can't tell you the "right way" to self-publish, as if such a thing actually exists. However, I can tell you about my experiences with self-publishing, so for starters, that's what I'll do.

My Self-Publishing Journey

Before I start making any kind of recommendations for books or websites, let me tell you a little bit about my self-publishing background. I feel it's only fair to put this out there for disclosure reasons. I was already e-published through a few digital first companies when I decided to self-publish a short story, and it has never been my intention to give up e-publishing/traditional publishing completely. My goal (there's that word again) at the time I first self-published wasn't to get rich, or even to make money from the work. I wanted to publish a free story to generate interest in my existing books. However, I had limited tools and a very limited budget.

My writer friends and I were strapped for cash, so we swapped stories, revised, and proofread each other's work for free. A lady in our group created our book covers, then a friend uploaded that first freebie short story, Under a Midnight Moon, to a paranormal book blog / website that we shared with another author.

Did the ebooks come out perfect? Well, no. But we did the best we could with what we had available to us, and at the time Under A Midnight Moon (the first edition) was released, it was considered a good quality product for a self-published ebook.

The first edition ebook was made available in both .pdf and .lit formats. I knew very little about file formats then. so a friend compiled the .lit file for me. This was before e-readers were in high demand. Personally, I knew of only one person with an e-reader, and they had a Sony Pocket. Needless to say, I had no way to test what an ebook would look like when viewed across multiple devices. At this point in the game, I was still reading all my ebooks in .pdf format on my desktop computer.

That first version of Under A Midnight Moon appeared on the original MMC website (hosted through Bravenet) around Halloween of 2007, and it racked up tens of thousands of downloads over a very short period of time. Keep in mind this was still during the relatively early days of the boutique digital publishing boom. The overall response from readers was mostly positive, so I decided to write another freebie read and test the waters again. I published Heart Spell around Valentine's Day in 2008. To date, that is my most popular self-published title.

That same year (2008), I took all my short stories off the Bravenet website and moved them to a newer, improved website for the Midnight Moon Cafe (MMC, for short, a popular paranormal book blog at the time). It wasn't a decision we made lightly. Moving our content wiped out all our previous download counts. Major ouch. But it needed to be done. To this day, I consider that move to be the "second generation" or "second print run" of those free reads, since the MMC-2 was the second home for them on the internet.

About six months after arranging my free reads on the MMC-2 website, I discovered Smashwords. Initially, I was hesitant to move my books again. Around December of 2008, I finally gave in. 

The first short story I put on Smashwords was HeartSpell. I consider Smashwords to be the third generation, or third print run, of my earliest free reads. My books have been there ever since, and from time to time I consider reworking them because they still get hits, and I don't feel like those earliest freebies represent my current level of writing.

While Smashwords isn't the most beautiful website, in my opinion, I like the functionality and convenience of the platform and the interface. I also like that there doesn't seem to be a risky returns policy/returns abuse problem some authors complain about these days with Amazon. (More on that in a later post.)

Smashwords is my favorite place for self-publishing. To date, I've published five ebooks there. Most of the ebooks are freebies. The one self-published ebook I have available for purchase is a collection of five short stories (released in May of 2012).

Altogether, my self-published titles have generated over 44,000 downloads through Smashwords, and most of that comes from my free reads. I am certainly no high-sales Wonderkin. HeartSpell accounts for roughly half my overall downloads. Hardly earth-shattering figures, but when you look at the flip side of the coin, the numbers aren't exactly terrible either. Especially when you consider that Smashwords is the third home for my earlier free books, and my starting goal was simply to get my freebies into the hands of readers to promote my other books.

In that context, I feel like I've accomplished what I set out to do.

Now that I've given a bit of background about my foray into self-publishing, back to the question at hand. Should you self-publish?  Again, I can't answer that for you. However, I can suggest that you look at your goals. Take the time to ask yourself a few questions before diving in. What's the dream?  What is your end goal? How much time and money are you willing to spend on your self-publishing project?

Write down your answers, and be honest with yourself. Whether your goal is big or small, create a target you can hit. By creating a target, you're basically giving yourself a picture of success to focus on. It's a good thing to do, and I highly recommend it.


♥♥♥


In future posts, I'll be sharing my favorite books, links, and tips for anyone interested in total DIY (do-it-yourself) self-publishing. I'll also be sharing resources/links/etc for the folks who may wish to hire other people to help them build their book. Other topics I'm going to try to cover...self editing vs. hiring an editor, manuscript formatting woes, stock art and cover design, and whatever else I can think to toss in there. If you have any questions, leave a comment.

That's all for now. I'll try to have Adventures in Self-Publishing Pt. 2 on my blog before the weekend. Next up, I'll be talking about making adjustments When Self-Publishing Goals Change. 


♥♥♥ 
For more information about me, my publishing history, and all that jazz, feel free to visit my website at www.corazane.com

Friday, January 18, 2013

Winning the Creative Battle


We're nineteen days into January, and I've finally hitting my stride. I've also come to my senses - and I mean that in a writerly way.

I've been creatively battling a short story since last year. I know that sounds ridiculous. It's short story, after all, not a full blown novel. It should be easy, right?

The story itself is going to be part of a collection, and while I truly love some aspects of the story (namely two characters), I've edited the entire tale three or four times and it's just not what I invisioned. In fact, I hate the way it has turned out. That's why I keep going through it, picking and tweaking. I keep trying to turn it into something I'll love, and it's just not happening.

On Wednesday, I finally laid the story out in front of me and took a good long look at it. Technically, it's fine.  It works for a fantasy piece. However, I realized that I'm never going to love this story. Why? Because this is not the story I wanted to tell with these characters. In fact, out of the entire nine thousand word piece, I like two scenes. That's it. And I find that totally unacceptable.

Since then, I've stopped trying to beat this story into submission. There's nothing in there to care about but two core scenes and two interesting people. The rest is filler. It's garbage. The entire thing needs an overhaul, and rather than re-edit a story that isn't working, I marked what I liked on the document then put the entire thing into a scrap/scavenger file on my desktop.

I've started fresh. I'm rebuilding the story in a different way, starting with the characters I actually like. The two core scenes I kept will factor in a little later into the piece, but those are the only pieces I'll be reusing from the old file. I'm trashing the rest. Yes. I'm throwing out all the other pieces. Why would I do that? Because the scenes I don't find interesting have no business existing in my manuscript.

Let me say that again. "I, Cora, solemnly swear I will not put scenes in my manuscript that I don't find personally interesting." 

It sounds like such a simple thing, am I right?

Regarding that short story, I'm back to square one, but I'm confident that I finally have it going in the right direction, which can only mean good things for my sanity. What a way to orient oneself, eh?

Tomorrow I'm off to the bookstore to meet up with another writer. We're probably going to browse, chat, and have tea. Immediately afterward, I'm going to join in on the last half of hubby's steampunk gathering over at Antique Alley. :o)

Next week, I'll be blogging about self-publishing. Recently, several people have asked me about my experiences, so I'll be sharing what I know. Tips, books, links, and any other bits and bobs I can remember to toss in there. I hope you'll drop by to join in the discussion. Until then, I hope you have a happy weekend!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Rainy Writerly Saturday


On Saturday I went to my local RWA chapter meeting in Bossier. MiniBeast and Hubster came along for the ride, but they didn't stay for the meeting. A good thing since the contest committee had a post-meeting gathering to talk about the Suzannah. I had to be there for the contest chat, and more than likely, the guys would've been bored if they'd stuck around. But anyway, all went well, and I'm very glad I made it up there to see everyone.

Lately, I've been reading book after book on characterization, and what was this month's workshop?  Character interviews! Fascinating stuff. Definitely my cuppa tea. I saved the workshop sheets so I can go over them later and possibly apply them to my own characters.

I've had great success working with stubborn characters by asking them questions. Julian from Wicked Obsession was one of those stubborn, "I don't want to talk to you" characters. Bah humbug. I grilled him for a solid week before he finally cracked. It took pages and pages to figure him out, but I didn't give up and finally uncovered the secrets behind that tortured soul.

It also helps me keep everyone I'm writing about organized if I do a questionnaire for them and clip it into a story binder. If you're interested, I have a (free and no-registration required) downloadable character bible worksheet on the "For Writers" page of my website. The worksheet is geared toward paranormal characters - just so you know in advance.

After the Nola meeting, I met Mini and Hubby in the parking lot, and we drove over to Chef Lee's for lunch. We had plans in advance to do this since the restaurant is close to the History Center. I was ready to eat by the time we got there, and I've gotta tell you, I killed the garlic shrimp and bok choy. It was so good. Om nom nom... Then after lunch, we dropped by Books A Million, and I picked up a book called The First 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke. It has a cover tag by Donald Maas saying the book is "Invaluable".

I flipped through The First 50 Pages and it looks pretty good. There's this section about Introducing Your Main Character that I can't wait to dig into. It looks really promising. Before taxes, the book was roughly $17 in store. You an also get it at Barnes & Noble. For a print copy, the price is roughly the same. The Nook edition is approximately $11. I'm sure you can get the book at Amazon as well, probably much cheaper if you get it used. Anyway, if you've already read this book, I'd love to hear what you think.

Moving along... Plied with books and happily digesting our bok choy and MSG, the family and I drove home. It rained on us all the way, and hubby and I kept flipping radio channels looking for music to keep us awake. Speaking of the radio. I'm all about modern music and what have you, but this one song came on and the guy was basically screaming the word hate over and over again. Ye-ah. Find your happy place, dude. I realize I'm getting old, but really... Has music come to this? I looked at hubby then changed the radio station. Life is too short to sit through shitty music.

Anyway, we got to the house around 2, and after I took care of a few things, I gave up trying to hold my eyes open. I crashed across the bed and took a nap. Ah, so many Zzzz's . I felt so much better after I woke up, but I guess it's been a lot going on today - I've been courting an oncoming migraine every since. But that's neither here nor there.

Next weekend, there's a Steampunk gathering at Antique Alley we're attending. Steampunk is hubby's latest interest. I'm also meeting up with another writer at the local BaM. So, my social calendar continues to be full. I'm wondering if hubby and I will have time to get po-boys and Bloody Mary's on the way home since Mini won't be with us. Grandma and Grandpa have put in a request to spoil the boy next weekend, so we'll be taking him over there before we go on our outing. Speaking of the parentals, I'm going to visit them tomorrow and take them a card. It's their anniversary. They've been married a hundred and fifty years. Or somewhere thereabouts. ;o)

Anyway, that's all for now. I'm about to jot down a few words, then call it a night. Whatever you've been up to, I hope your Saturday turned out to be a pleasant one!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A quick reminder that What She Doesn't Know is still on sale through February 2nd at Smashwords. If you input the code PA52B at check out, you can buy the collection for .99 cents.

The collection contains five short erotica stories listed here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/157206

Erotic content, graphic sex, and matadors. For readers 18 and older ONLY.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Cells of Creation :: Habitual Doodling

Yesterday I dropped by Alison Tyler's Trollop blog, and noticed a request for pictures of notes and such for posting over at Scruffy Jottings About Filth.

I've contributed to Scruffy Jottings before. I love the idea behind the blog, and on top of that, I just happened to have a nearly complete notebook on hand with lots of fun doodles and scribbles in it.

A lot of the later pages of my current doodlebook is made up of affirmations for the new year so I decided to share those. As I mentioned above, they're being featured today over at Alison's blog, and over at her note collection blog called Scruffy Jottings About Filth.

Drop by Alison's abode (18+ only, possibly NSFW) and take a peek! The pictures I donated are different from the ones you'll see here on my personal blog. If you're curious, the linkity-link is:
http://alisontyler.blogspot.com/2013/01/cora-zane-synchronicity.html

That said, I am a habitual doodler. (Analyze that turn of phrase why dontcha? Heeheehee!) I fill up notebooks (college ruled, preferred) with inspiring ideas, quotes, thoughts. I write down snippets of dreams, bits of narrative, and dialogue. Stuff I overhear. Anything, really. Then I toss them aside and forget about them for long stretches of time.

It always feels kind of strange to go back and look at the really old notebooks and see what was on my mind at the time, because really, these notebooks really are like little collector containers of random thought.


These are a few snips from a nearly full notebook I've been doodling in since roughly summer of 2012. There are only a few untouched pages left. Soon, I'll need a new notebook so I can start fresh. The snips I posted here and some of my favorites. I hope you like them! :o)




Submission Completed : Cookie Earned

Submission sent.
Now I can have a cookie!
I've been on a very tight deadline over the past week, trying to hammer a short story into shape for submission. I finally let it go late yesterday. I sent it out into the wild, and in the aftermath, I had great intentions to blog, wash dishes, and do fifty other things.

Instead, after I got Mini bathed, teeth brushed, andready for night-night, I tucked him in and lounged on the bed talking to him about school and random stuff. Dude, I totally zonked out. Total snooze fest. I'm not sure who fell asleep first, but I woke myself up snoring around midnight.

Now I'm back in my office shredding used notes and jotting down the ones I want to keep. I'm also holding a semi-stinky KippityCat and thinking about what I'm going to do later today. Well, since it is around 4 a.m. and all. Mostly, I want to have lunch with hubby and go see my parents. And somewhere there and abouts, I also need to pay a few bills.

Dad came over yesterday while hubby was transplanting some crepe myrtle trees from the back yard over to the property line, so I wandered outside to see what was up. He had nothing major to do, was simply out visiting. I asked where mom was. For some reason she stayed home, and I think it's because hubby told her on the phone I've been on a tight deadline and had been sleeping late. Aw. That's true I've been pulling some late nights, but I could always nap later. I wish she had dropped in to visit - I miss my mummy! So, I'm taking the visitation to her house tomorrow. Maybe hubby and I can pick up lunch and go over there. Something like that.

Anyway, I'm taking a day off to think, recharge, hang out with my family folk, and God help me - clean my messy house. The house cleaning results will probably last all of five minutes, but there it is. Has to be done before the socks get up out of the dirty bin by their own starch and take over the world.

It's really difficult for me to completely unplug creatively (I start to go stir-crazy), so I imagine I'll read or jot notes - something like that - toward the evening. Actually, though, the note jotting is kind of relaxing work. A mind purge. Brain dumping. Untangling ideas strings. Whatever you want to call it, I definitely have some idea untangling to do.

I'm calling it a night...morning. Something. I've run out of things to say. In the weeks ahead, I'll be putting together some self-pubby type posts once I have a free weekend to work on them. I do have a few books and products and fun things I want to share in future posts, too. A couple of neat-o books I've read, Vampire fun stuff, and such. By the way, the image above. That is a picture of a Hershey's syrup chocolate cookie with white and milk chocolate chunks in it. Whoever developed that recipe deserves much kudos and a raise.Yum-yum!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2013 :: Settling In to Write

Today is the last day of our family holiday. In the morning, Mini will be back to school, and I will be back to my regular writing schedule. Actually, I'm looking forward to trying out a handful of new time management techniques to see if I can boost my writing productivity. One of my goals for 2013 is to write more without sacrificing quality - and without killing myself later with rewrites.

I have a story due at the end of the week, and I'm about 85% finished with it. The opening scene was giving me fits. I had a lot of information to fit in there without it sounding like info dump. Well, after rewriting, arranging, and rearranging, I'm happy with the story starter. And overall, the project turned out much hotter than I thought it would (yay!). I have a few pages left to snip, prune, rearrange and tweak before it's ready to go out the door to my editor, but the story is finally "there". #socksdance

After this project is done, it will be time to wrangle with the stragglers from 2012. Not just writing projects. All the lingering things I need to take care of. I'm making 2013 my year of clearing out. My year of getting shit straight.

Stories, accumulated junk, guilt, emotional baggage, toxic people...it all has to go. And it will go. The purging has already begun.

On the writerly level, it's my year of discernment. I'm going to throw out the projects that I've clung to but know deep down I will never write because I'm just not enthusiastic enough about them. On the other end of the spectrum, I'm going wrestle those nearly complete projects into submission and kick them out the door, one story at a time. Most of them are hanging on by a thread anyway, super close to completion, but I keep getting all nit-picky with them, and so they remain on my harddrive, slowly gathering dust.

It's time to Let go. Move on. Write and release. That is my new mantra for 2013. As I will it, so mote it be.

Late last night, I noticed Chasing Moonlight, my latest Werekind werewolf story, is now available at both Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. If you do happen to drop by the Amazon page for Chasing Moonlight, please give the "Like" box a thumbs up. I would greatly appreciate it!

In other writerly news... For a limited time, you can buy What She Doesn't Know, my erotica collection (for readers 18 and older only!) for .99 cents through Smashwords with the code PA52B . The coupon is good through February 2nd, 2013. Just apply the code above at checkout.

What She Doesn't Know is a collection of 5 erotic short stories. If you like reading contemporary erotica (this is not a romance title), drop by Smashwords to read a sample: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/157206

In the weeks ahead, I'm going to start a more regular blogging schedule. Probably Mondays and Fridays. OR  Modays or Fridays. I'm still trying to decide on once or twice a week. I slacked off blogging at the end of last year because...well, I had a lot of work to do last quarter, and sometimes when I start working on a project the days bleed into nights, and I can be stuck at the computer (and in my own imagination) for hours at a time. It all starts to blend. The routine of it. I never write that into blog posts as it seems far too boring for anyone to ever want to read. While I started this blog mostly as personal catharsis and to hear myself ramble, I do aim to please.

Sooo...if there is anything bookish or writerly you'd like me to blog about - such as self-publishing, the now ongoing hunt to find Harlequin Desire books (my store has once again stopped stocking them!), or my love of collecting How-To books, or my forray into making writerly-ish discussion videos (mostly for myself) - leave a comment. I'll see what I can do. Or, ask a question. I'll be happy to answer. If the answer requires more space than a comment box, I may even do a whole post on the subject. Let's have some friendly book discussion. I'm all ears!

That's all for today. I have go clean the catbox, put the laundry going, and do the dishes. Boo. Hiss. All the neverending stinky work that always, always, always has to be done. Neverending, forever and ever....{fainting couch} Le sigh. It's 2013 for Pete's Sake. Where's my Rosie the robot housekeeper already?

Ah, well. One can always dream, right? ;o)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! 

Wishing you happiness, good health, prosperity, love, and opportunity in 2013.