Thursday, September 7, 2017

Almost There

Book 2 of the Transmutation series is almost done. Finally. It even has a name now - Charade. This was a tough one for a bunch of reasons that have nothing to do with the story. For some reason my system failed. I sputtered and stuttered to a stop and the writing fell flat.

A big thank you to my beta readers for taking me to task on all the problems that needed to be resolved.

Happily, the third rewrite was the charm. I am getting positive feedback from my final reader. Then it goes to line editing. I am setting the release date for October 26.

Now I can set up the cover reveal and some promos for the release date.

And while I am waiting for the final reader to finish Charade, I am writing the beginning chapters to book 4 of A Changed World.

Whew!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

It's All Relative

My sales numbers for yesterday were awful. I thought to myself - this is the worst day ever. But it wasn't. It was just a slow day. I made a couple dollars. Not a lot, but still something. When I started out, there were weeks of no sales. I've gotten spoiled.

I've sold over 1,000 books so far this year. In all of 2016 I sold 1200. That means I will probably sell more this year than last. That's progress.

And I haven't released anything this year. Grrr. I spent way too much time on the first book in a new series that I had to put on the back burner because it had too many problems. Which made me start late on book 2 of Transmutation which had its own issues and is still in rewrite. And that backs up the start of book 4 for A Changed World.

I've done a little marketing, all of which boosted things for a bit. But it all comes down to putting out new work. I have an awful lot in the hopper...they're just not quite ready to be released.

So another short post so I can get back to work.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Bad Guy's Point of View

I started reading book 2 of a new series and gave up after a couple chapters. Book 1 was about the main character. Book 2 was building up the bad guys to set up an inevitable confrontation. I have discovered that most of the time I don't like reading about the bad guys.

A few years back while I was sampling new authors I found a book with a villain so vile that I quit reading immediately. I did not want to spend any time in that twisted person's mind. Nor did I want any description of the bloodbath he'd left behind. (shiver)

Maybe that's what makes first person books so popular - no foray into the mind of the antagonist?

Daniel Abraham's The Dagger and The Coin series has a wonderful antagonist who doesn't mean to be evil, he just makes really bad choices. I find that kind of bad guy fascinating. He's doing all the wrong things for the right reasons.

When an antagonist is over the top, I tend to skim those chapters, eager to get back to my favorite characters. It's a hard balance to create characters that are interesting and antithetical to one another. Too often authors cheat a little with a cardboard, cliche villain. I've been called on it a couple times by my beta readers (Thanks!). When I work a bit harder at figuring out who the bad guy is and what he really wants, it makes for a much better story.

But I don't like writing about them any more than reading about them. I tend to use the reaction of the characters I prefer, rather than the action of the antagonist.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Garden Stress

This may sound silly, but I get stressed when my garden is in stress. If it's too hot or too dry or too cold or needs weeding, I feel like I've let it down. And all of that is happening right now.

The vegetable garden needs weeding. I can't keep up with the string beans, and I am picking every other day. The tomatoes are showing signs of blight. My favorite drying tomato gave up the fight leaving me with only a handful of half-ripe tomatoes.

The perennial beds are sprouting weeds and the old flower stalks need to be cut. I thought I had conquered them this year, but they are starting to careen out of control.

I hired a guy to cut down the briers and pull vines and he failed. He clear cut part of the yard taking out rose bushes, daylilies, sedum, irises, peonies, gladiolas, hosta and whatever else was hiding under the weeds. I wasn't sure whether I was going to cry or look for a weapon.

And it's been really hot. Which means I need to work in the garden first thing in the morning. And to be honest that doesn't always happen. So by the time I've had my coffee and woken up properly, it's too hot to work out there.

If it's hot and we don't get rain then I need to get out there and water everything. That takes a little more time from all the other things I should be doing...like writing. But I can't let the poor little guys suffer. It's not like they can move into the shade if they're too dry. I'm responsible for them.

I won't mention the mosquitoes or the yellow jacket nest I just found...

Luckily it's raining now. That's a perfect excuse for not weeding.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

She Killed My Favorite Character

Dang.

I won't give any spoilers, but a favorite author killed a favorite character and I found it very unsatisfying.

Sometimes characters need to die. I suppose this might be a good place for him to end, but I didn't like it. Part of it is because I didn't want that character to end. I would have been happy to keep reading his adventures until he was old and feeble. But part of it is the way he died. It was ugly and undeserving.

I feel let down by the author. I have been a loyal fan and wanted some sort of reward for that long suffering character. Instead she gave him a nasty death and a long maudlin goodbye. Didn't work for me.

I went back to read some reviews of that book, and to find others who felt the same way. One person made a list of inconsistencies in the story, and after seeing them, I agree. A few lessons to learn here as a writer. As a reader, I am just disappointed and wondering if I want to read whatever comes next.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Emptying My Head

I thought it was all in there.

The problem with beta readers who already know a story is that they can understand inferences that aren't well explained.

Fortunately, not all my beta readers know this story in its various incarnations.

I'm getting feedback that tells me I didn't get everything out of my head and on to the paper. Of course I know why this character did that, but apparently I never shared the reasons behind the action. Which means I need to go back and add some backstory or build up. Dang.

When I go back through the scenes and realize what's been left out, it seems obvious. But until someone tells me what to look for, I don't see it. I know the story and the characters too well.

Thank goodness for my beta readers!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Reading Out of the Comfort Zone

Every now and then I try to pick up new authors / stories / series.

As an author, looking for new readers, I hope this gives me some karma points. But it's also a way to expand my personal horizons.

As an experiment, sometimes it works out and sometimes meh. Since the explosion of Indies on the market, there are a lot more niches out there. Back in the stone age, when books were curated by publishers, the oddball niches were weeded out. Now there are so many I can't keep up.

I recently fell into a pile of magic/science fiction books. Wow. And very cool. I plan to work my way through them as Facade sort of falls into that category. I was trying to figure out some marketing when I discovered them. And as a treat, I get to read  all my competition. Although, not all of them are true comparables.

Having all these niches and sub-sub-categories can get very confusing. I look at the books listed and sometimes they don't fit at all. That could be authors squeezing their book into a more popular category for better discovery. But that's a bad idea, because if I want a magic / science fiction book and they give me space marines, I'm not going to be happy.

So I am still experimenting with the marketing. Still learning new things all the time. And this time, I get to enjoy myself along the way.