Thursday, March 29, 2012

Garden Report

The warm weather has everything popping out ahead of it's time.

The apple tree is in full bloom.
The apricot is forming fruit. (It already has it's first coating of Surround, an organic pest deterrant)
The blueberries are flowering.
The strawberries are starting to form fruit.

And the asparagus is coming up. It always looks a little prehistoric (and a bit phallic) to me.
I love this time of year. Everything is pretty and tidy. The vegetables are all small and fit in their rows. None of the weeds have invaded yet. None of the plants have overgrown their allotted space. By August it will all be a jungle. But right now I can believe that this year's plan will work out just fine.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Interview by Kris Wampler

Please check out this interview (of me!) on Kris Wampler's Blog. He is the author of Love Train. This is my first interview.

A lotta firsts happenin'.

There has been another sale! I have now sold 2 books. Woo hoo. Burning up the charts. Still no reviews posted. Must be patient...must be patient...think long term...ugh.

Monday, March 26, 2012

What I learned from the promotion

White Lies went free on Kindle from March 23 - 24.

I had 492 downloads.

Whoo hoo! My story is now in the hands of almost 500 strangers (and a couple relatives, I think). And the book's page has the infamous also-boughts and also-looked-ats.

Of those 492 downloads 38 were in the UK and 2 were in Germany. I hadn't given any thought to the non-US market. Very cool.

Now I know this is small beans compared to some of the bragging in various forums and blogs. I've seen people crowing over thousands of downloads. Amazing. But considering the absolute minimum amount of advertising I've done, I'm pretty impressed.

I suppose the real test is whether the people that download the free stories ever get around to reading them. And hopefully reviewing them. I'm not sure how long it will take before the first review comes in. Can't wait.

As of today, there has been 1 sale. I don't know if it was influenced by the promo or not. We'll just have to see how the week plays out.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lovely rain

It's a gray, wet day. A stay inside and curl up with a good book day.

That means no guilt over the amount of yard work that hasn't gotten done.

It also means more time to deal with writing. (Although I did treat myself to an extra half hour of leisure reading.) Sometimes I put off work, promising myself I'll deal with it on a rainy day. But now that I have one, I don't want to dig through my to-do list.

I finally got the urge to tackle the WIP again. I got a brainstorm about outlining and it fired me up. Hopefully, when I get it on paper, it will continue to inspire. At this point I am still trying to untangle several story lines that belong in separate books of their own. Surprisingly, the hacking and hewing is enjoyable. It's more like transplanting some errant seedlings into their own beds. But that leaves some rather unsightly holes that need careful repair.

White Lies is free today and tomorrow. I've had over a hundred downloads in the US and 16 download in the UK! Wow. I'm international!

White Lies free for Kindle

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Dark Mirror by Juliet Marillier

This story didn't sing for me the way her other books have. I can't put my finger on what put me off. The main character is a young boy, but I don't think that's it.

Maybe it had too many themes. It could be a coming of age for Bridei and Tuala. It is also historical (pre-historical?) fiction based on the Picts in Scotland. It is also the student and prodigy sort of thing with the boy learning Druidic magic. And there's a smattering of fairy folk in the Midsummer's Night Dream sense of them watching and manipulating humans. The political maneuvering and grooming of Bridei as the future king give it an Arthurian flavor. And then there is a bit of a longing, pining love story, too.

There's a lot in there. I think it might be a bit too heavy on the history and locale for the fantasy topic to fly.

I have to admit to scanning some chapters because I just didn't care about those characters.

It is the first book in a series and I am ambivalent as to whether I will go on to book 2.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Forget-me-nots

The forget-me-nots are blooming. I love this old fashioned flower. It is covered with brilliant blue flowers from spring to early summer. As it is a shade plant, it can brighten up a lot of dark corners. However, it does spread like wildfire. I've had to weed out quite a lot of seedlings from the path, adjacent beds, even cracks between the pavers. But they are so cheerful, they're easy to forgive.

In other news, White Lies will be FREE to download for Kindle on March 23 and 24th. White Lies for Free


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Garden Updates

 The weather has been unbelievably mild. I sowed my peas early and they are popping out of the ground now.


 The Bleeding Heart is barely above ground and is already bursting with flowers.


And when I took a peek in the strawberry bed - they're starting to flower also!



The weather makes me feel like I'm running behind, but it's barely mid-March! Right? So, I shouldn't be feeling that I've been shirking the yard. For Pete's sake the trees haven't even leafed out.

Whew!

Now back out to play in the dirt.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stone Spring by Stephen Baxter

This was marked as Science Fiction in my library. I don't know what I would call it. The story revolves around a village and spans generations. Since it happens in prehistoric times, I suppose it could be fantasy. Although, the traditional hallmarks of fantasy - magic, good vs evil, non-humans - are not there.

If you want to know about the life of hunter-gatherers, this is the book for you. The setting, traditions and rituals of their lives is richly laid out. The characters are bit thinner. There were a few things that felt anachronistic to me. But having no knowledge of the time period, I could be completely wrong.

It was an interesting journey.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

I've commented before on books that were "Not my cup of tea," THIS IS. I really enjoyed the story, the characters, the setting, just everything. The prose is so smooth you don't see the words and fall into the story. Wonderful! Now I will start at the beginning and read all of her works.

I can't put my finger on the elements that suck me in so readily. Maybe the realistic characters, or maybe the harsh setting resonates with me somehow.

The writing is clean and tight. After reading a handful of clunky, awkward self-pubs this book was a dive into cool water.I blasted through it without a backward look. No jockeying back and forth over a sentence to figure out who was speaking or thinking or such. No peculiar word choices or poor punctuation. Ahhh. Just a lovely story written well. Yummy.

Monday, March 5, 2012

More thoughts on gatekeepers

I stumbled through a couple more free books on my Kindle. Wow. I get it now. I understand what the gatekeepers were/are doing. They were filtering and polishing to create the story with the broadest appeal. Because the broadest appeal will result in the greatest sales. And all those odd little stories with a limited audience are out there now.

So if you want a Steampunk Zombie Reluctant Messiah Romance, it's out there.

This makes me wonder what will happen to genres. I think they will shatter into a million subcategories and overlap and merge and re-shatter until anything goes. Or maybe we're already there.

Another thing that the gatekeepers (and I mean agents, editors and publishing houses) were doing was to give us the expectation of smooth prose. These books by new authors (and I include myself in there!) are often written with more passion than polish. Word choice and word usage, repeated phrases and awkward phrasing make the reading experience a bit choppy. I keep finding things that I would highlight in my critique group to be rewritten.

Sometimes I can't get past the words to get into the story. At that point I give up. And I wonder if the author would want the feedback from me.

When I was dabbling in script writing, I was on a peer review site. After reviewing a bunch of them, I realized there are certain kinds that I just don't get. I'd read through a script and be left baffled. But there are books and movies that don't appeal, and that's fine. Like my Uncle John used to say - that's what makes horse racing. So I stopped reviewing anything that didn't make sense to me. I didn't think it was fair.

I wonder how this will all shake out audience-wise. Now that we have a gazillion new authors in every shade of every genre there is, do we all get an audience of 16.32 people?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Updates

First off - Catburglar is now free on Smashwords.Click to go to the page

I'm hoping that will attract a little attention. It hasn't done anything since a couple friends bought it right after it came out. Sigh. This marketing thing is a whole new world for me.

White Lies hasn't sold a copy yet. I know, it's only the first week - not even. It'll be a week on Saturday. But I want to see results! Yes, yes, I must think long term. It'll always be out there, earning money for me. Yeah, but that delayed gratification stuff is just sooo hard. Big sigh.

A couple of people in my critique group have encouraged me to try other markets before I self-pub the short that was recently rejected. I'm going to try the rounds with this one again. It's a little quirky, so I need to find just the right fit.

I just finished reading a book that I really enjoyed, and I'm in the middle of another one that I am just loving. Reviews to come.