Thursday, March 6, 2014
Don't get me wrong, I love having a new computer. The price tag wasn't too painful, and I got a touchscreen -- very cool.
But I now have a spreadsheet that is a page and a half long of passwords. Sheesh. Why does everything have to have a password?
I am still finding my way around the silly thing. This Windows 8 with it's "charms" is a little odd. I find myself jumping back and forth too much. It seemed a lot easier to have it all on the same toolbar. But maybe it'll get easier.
The strangest thing so far is that I seem to type a lot faster on the new keyboard. So I guess that's a really good thing.
But feeling unsure of what's where and how to get there has left me off kilter. I transferred the files, but there's a problem with my version of Word and not all of the files will open. Very odd. So I spent a day re-saving to other formats, tossing them into Dropbox from the old computer and downloading them to the new one. Even then I had to tell it how to open them.
Everything seems so time consumingly tedious. Ugh. Aren't computers supposed to make our lives easier?
At least this time I got things done before a catastrophe. I am able to work on both computers at the same time, shifting and sorting things out.
Like why did an obsolete pdf program come up as my default printer? Very odd.
It's just a lot of tweaking and searching and poking about. The problem is, I only have a little bit of knowledge which is very dangerous (like the time I deleted a program I needed to open certain files...sigh. Why do they have to give them such weird names?)
On the plus side, I am feeling really good about where the WIP is going. And I have been writing pretty consistently lately. Which makes me feel good and want to write more. It's a good kind of domino effect. I am thinking about publishing around June. But since I haven't finished writing it yet, I feel like I'm counting those proverbial chicks.
And I think it's time to get back to work on the WIP!
Thursday, February 20, 2014
First of all, I just received some coupons from ACX for a free copy of of the Unintended Consequences audiobook.
If you would like a coupon, send me an email.
The sales are slow, but I haven't been doing much in the way of marketing right now.
The WIP has changed slightly. I took down the image from the sidebar because I think I will be using other artwork. And the title I had been using doesn't work anymore with the shift in plot. Bummer. Naming a book is one of the hardest parts. I was wandering through images on Shutterstock the other day and may have found the perfect one. I need to figure out how I will use it before I buy the license. One license has a limit of 230,000 copies. Ha, ha, ha! Wish I had to worry about that!
On the writing side - I think I may have finally broken through the sludge. I wasn't happy with the part of the story I was writing. Then I realized how bare bones the story was. I went back and clarified point of view, added setting, emotion and wow, what a difference. The words are flying again.
I have been reading a lot about branding lately. It makes sense. First rule - make sure your covers indicate your genre. I think mine are fairly obvious. Blood dripping into a puddle probably won't make people think it's a romance or humor. Maybe horror, but the cover blurb would clear that up. White Lies has flames, I might consider tweaking that when I have some time.
For the next book, which will be near-future, post-apocalyptic fantasy, I am thinking of using a pen name. That way all the mysteries will be under one name and other genres get other names. Another way to brand. Although I have heard that the downside to that is that it confuses fans that might read across genres. I have to think about it.
I added some pictures to the Artwork page. All watercolors. Several from when I lived out west. Enjoy!
Friday, February 14, 2014
But I love the way my life works right now. So then I thought, if I put it on a scale of 1 to 10, and 10 is bliss, I might average a 6 on any day of the week. An 8 if it's a breezy summer day and I'm working in the garden. A 9 when I check my sales figures and a few books have sold.
Maybe you have to be down in the 2s and 3s to appreciate the rise to an 8. Maybe I'm just coasting a little too high and I'm already at joyful, so I can't see what greater heights I could reach?
An hour long massage is a 10.
Dinner with friends and family can be a 10.
Laughing so hard I can't catch my breath is always a 10.
Making dinner entirely out of the garden, a blue-sky day so clear it makes your eyes tear, the scent of daffodils in spring, homemade peanut butter ice cream with dark chocolate chips, hearing robins call to one another in the cooling twilight of a summer's day, the smell of autumn leaves, sleeping late on a cold, rainy morning, spiced cider in the winter, jam made from plums off the tree I planted...
Perhaps I take joy for granted.
Monday, February 10, 2014
It's taken a bit longer than anticipated, but the audiobook is now complete. I added the link to Audible and it is also available through Amazon. Just click on the tab at the top for Unintended Consequences to get to the links.
I've already had some sales, very exciting!
I've already had some sales, very exciting!
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Some amazing wisteria
A lovely little chateau nearby - La Chatoniere
Such narrow, deep streets! The medieval town of Chinon. From between the buildings you can look up a steep cliff to the fort. I considered this research for writing a fantasy...at some point.
The fortress at the top of the hill at Chinon has beautiful grounds. The bare branches of the tree against the stone was especially striking.
The Latin Quarter in Paris has some peculiar architecture. I wonder what the rooms look like in that little green house? I loved looking at all the buildings.
Limestone steps that are a couple hundred years old. I loved all the textures and colors of the stone.
The formal gardens at Villandry were phenomenal. We walked all over. They have miles of gardens, all different kinds. This one made me think of Alice in Wonderland and chessboards.
It was a fabulous trip but I think it will take me a long time to absorb everything I saw and learned there.
Friday, January 24, 2014
I had a marriage record that gave me a whole scenario. He was 18, she was 17. His job was listed as day laborer, hers as servant. Young kids in love, working hard. What could their dreams have been?
My grandmother's sister had 6 children. Or I should say that I found 6 records of birth with her listed as the mother. Then I found 5 records of death. Only one child survived. One child lasted a day, one lasted 10 months. I found it incredibly sad to post each death. So when I found the only surviving child's marriage record, I was so happy. Not only did he manage to survive to adulthood, he married and would probably start making grandkids.
I found a female relative that married late in life and the age difference was big - 30 years. She was in her forties and he was in his seventies. His occupation was listed as land owner. A step up from all the farmers in my family. She gave him one child. He died ten years after the marriage. Bet that was an interesting decade.
A cousin named Mihaly (Michael) married and had a son named Mihaly. The boy was born a few months after his father died fighting in WWI. The son died in WWII. His death was posted many years after the fact, cause of death roughly translated as "Disappeared in Russia".
The names make me wonder. I would say there must be some superstitions or traditions about using the same names. My relatives only seem to use 3-4 male or female names. The family tree software keeps asking me if I'm loading the same person over again. Each family names the kids after the parents and grandparents. So I end up with a Jozsef son of Jozsef who is also a son of Jozsef and on and on.
The other habit that seemed a bit morbid is reusing names. Very often I will find 2 children with the same name in the same family. That lets me know the first one died. It seems odd to me to name a child the same as a dead sibling. But perhaps it is to honor them. It has me coming up with all sorts of scenarios that need stories of their own. Are they names of saints? Or locals of authority? Considered safe or lucky?
The more I dig, the more questions I have. And the more stories present themselves
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Now let me wade in on Downton. **Spoiler alert**
I love my hour of Downton on Sunday nights. The last episode let me down badly. The show has been about society and family, relationships and conflicts, tragedy and perseverance. The rape doesn't fit. It was so brutal I am still stewing about it 4 days later. And they did it to a sweet character. It broke my connection as a fan. I am disappointed, horrified and wondering if I will continue to watch the show. They didn't just violate the character, they violated my expectations.
I read about twists and reversals and various ways to make a story more interesting. But sometimes I think that it's the writers or the actors that are bored with the action, not the fans. I watch period drama to see people being conniving and manipulative in an elegant manner. If I wanted brutality, I'd stick to crime shows. I think that, in an effort to remain fresh, writers step outside of the original premise. They forget why the fans came to the show in the first place.
Somewhere I read a quote about writing that has stayed with me. The first chapter of a book is a promise to the reader. It tells you what the book is about. I have run across some bad examples of that. If the first chapter is a raging battle against Evil and the rest of the story is a romance, you've broken your promise to the reader. And without a doubt they will no longer trust you as a storyteller.
I've seen a couple of my favorite TV shows suddenly shift darker. I stop watching them. When I tune in for a procedural, that's what I want. When I look for a lighthearted mystery, that's what I want. I don't want the character to go dark and broody and commit crimes that will become unforgivable. I want the promise of the premise to endure.