Thursday, December 29, 2016

50 Reviews!

Lethal Seasons now has 50 reviews!

As the numbers started climbing, somehow 50 became an important milestone in my head. I check the number of reviews on my books from time to time and it always amazes me to see more rolling in.

The first milestone is 10. That is the number required by some of the better promotion sites. Passing that was a great relief. Passing twenty-five was astonishing. Now I'm up to 50 and wow!

A huge thank you to everyone who left a review. Whether it was just a couple words or a couple paragraphs. It all counts toward helping me reach more readers.

THANK YOU!

And a reminder that Lethal Seasons (and 9 other novels) is available in the boxed set Apocalyptic Fears III for only 99cents. That's a lot of reading for less than a buck!

Happy New Year to you all. 
Wishing you a peaceful, healthy and prosperous 
year ahead.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A New Series

I have finally settled on a name for the new series - The Lands of Haroon, and the book - High Barrens.

This book will take place in the country of High Barrens, which as the name implies is a harsh environment. The main character is a woman named Flint who grew up in a town call Far Enough. (Yes, there is a story behind that name.)

I lived in the high desert for awhile. While it is a beautiful place, it was just too harsh for me.  I have tried to put both the beauty and the danger of that land into the book.

And then there's magic, sort of...

Is it magic when the people who wield it think it is the touch of a god? If so, then yes, there is magic. And struggle and family politics and a journey across difficult terrain.

I needed to write this book. Not sure why, but I couldn't get on with anything else while this was knocking at the back of my brain. I have a lot of stories to tell in this world. They won't always be about Flint. There are other characters, who you'll meet in passing in this book, that need their own books.

Now I can get back to the next book with Trash and Hunter. I was trying to work on it when Flint shoved her way to the front and everything else dried up. Part of me was worried about that story the whole time I was working on High Barrens. It felt like I had skidded to a stop in the flow of events. However, once Flint was out of my system, I was able to pick up the threads and take off again.

So High Barrens is with my first reader, and I'm working on the rough draft of Fluke (working title). The release schedule is February and April, respectively. And if I'm going to stick to that schedule, I'd better get back to writing.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Facebook Clarification

I have 2 facebook pages. One is an author page under M. Alice Sabo/Alice Sabo Books, the other is my personal page under Alice Sabo.

I wasn't completely social media literate when I started things up. So I apologize for any confusion. The Facebook link on this blog will take you to my Author Page.

My personal page is where I keep track of my relatives. It is private. If you send me a friend request for that page, I won't approve it. I appreciate my fans, but that isn't the right place to interact with me.

And it probably wouldn't be of much interest to you seeing my cousins and siblings, nieces and nephews and various extended family members at parties and events.

A new website is in the works, designed by the wonderful Alex Storer. I hope to unveil it early next year. There will be more information about the books and what is in the works. I'll clean up this blog and make it just a blog again.

So my apologies if you have tried to friend me on my personal page. I wish there was a way to add a note when you refuse a friend request, because I want people to know that I have a reason and don't mean to be rude.

Thank you to anyone who has tried to contact me. I'm flattered. I love hearing from people who have read my books. Feel free to contact me through the blog for now.

And now it's back to writing!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Gleanings in Print

It's taken me awhile, but I finally finished proofing the print book for Gleanings. It will be on sale at Amazon soon.

I have to admit that once I'm done with the writing part, it's hard for me to keep going back to it. Eventually, I will look into an audiobook for this series, but that is a whole lot of work. Right now I am in the full-out writing mode and I want to take advantage of it.

Even though I have been writing every day, I think I may have been a little over-ambitious with my publication schedule. It made sense when I laid it out a few months ago. When I saw the note on this week's goals I was a little surprised. It might happen. I will proceed as if I expect it to happen, and maybe it will.

Planning 3 books for next year is a big step up for me. If I didn't have the first one half-written, I don't think it could happen. Setting big goals is a good incentive. The calendar for 2017 is all filled out. I hope I can keep up with it.

And with that in mind, I'm off to write.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ten Years

Last month I celebrated being in the same place for 10 years.

Have I mentioned nomadic ancestors?

I moved out of my parents' house when I was eighteen to go to college. Since then I have bounced around the country, from one coast to the other. No one place really suited me until now. Some days I have John Denver crooning in my ear about "...Coming home to a place he'd never been before..." I finally understand that sentiment.

For a very long time, my limit at an address was about 3 years, often, a lot less. This little house is the most comfortable home I've had since my childhood. But it doesn't have anything to do with the house itself.

Asheville is a versatile, tolerant, funky place that serves all my various wants. I don't think I have managed to achieve that in my previous wanderings. When I started saving to buy a house, I had a plan of finding an anchor - a place I could store all my stuff while I traveled. It didn't occur to me to find a place where I was comfortable living.

I used to joke that I got all the gypsy genes from my Hungarian ancestors. I didn't know then about the nomadic nature of the original tribes, or how the Celts came through there on their way to Britain. So I might have a double dose of wanderer.

The years have flowed by with pleasant milestones. But the lack of trauma has made them less striking. So it always surprises me when I look at a calendar and realize another year is done.

Here's to another decade or two in my comfortable home.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

It's time to look back on the year and make plans for the next.

It's been a good year for me.

I am so excited that the books are selling. Reviews are piling up and I am delighted to say most are very good. I've even gotten emails from people who wanted to tell me personally that they loved my books. Wow. That's a doozy.

My writing routine is pretty solid now. It's habit. I sit down at a certain time and work on the next story. I don't always hit my goal, but sometimes that's okay. If I spend an hour or two working out a map or a family tree or figuring out the aspects of a god, that's working, too.

Ideas seem to come easier. That's not always true, but for the most part, the stories are flowing.

Having a little more income has made things less stressful. I will be able to pay off the expenses sooner. Running up my credit card to produce and promote a book worries me. Now that the books are bringing in some income, I'm less in debt which makes me less stressed.

I've already made plans for next year. I'm planning to write 3 books.

I'm starting a new series. It's another world that I invented a long time ago. I had started a couple of stories in that world but never could get to the end of them. The problem is that I have at least 3 characters that are unrelated but each of them should be the main character. Now, with a little more understanding of storytelling, I can look back and see how each of them deserve their own book. The first one should be coming out early next year.

Book 2 for Transmutation will be coming out in spring 2017. I'm shooting for April, but I won't put a firm date on it until I get the first draft done. I've finished the outline and I'm working on filling that out.

Book 4 for A Changed World is slated for October. I won't put a firm date on that one either. I'm jotting down ideas and I'm close to an outline.

There will be some changes on the marketing side. I hope to get a real website up sometime in the spring. With the increase in income, I can plan ads and promotions at the better sites. And since I can now buy some services instead of taking the time to learn something new, I hope to streamline the process of producing a book.

I am extremely thankful for everything and everyone that brought me to this place. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

99 Cent Sale

Lethal Seasons and Facade - ebooks are on sale for 99 cents through November 23rd. Grab a copy of the first book in the series at a discount now.

Check out the Matchbook Promotion that David Neth is doing. Buy the paperback for a gift and keep the ebook for yourself.

I am still being torn between 3 different stories right now. I think I may need to just work on all 3 at the same time. Usually, I can concentrate on just one, tucking away notes on other stories that occur to me along the way. This time all 3 of them are demanding to be front and center and I have to say it's very distracting.

Since working on 3 will affect my daily word count, I'm not sure how this is going to affect my release dates. I will keep things up to date on my sidebar here.

And keep writing as fast as I can.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Change of Plans

Unfortunately, Atomacon has been canceled. The hotel was damaged by Hurricane Matthew. I was looking forward to my first time on the other side of a con, but alas, it is not to be. But since I already had plans to be in Charleston with friends, I will be visiting that lovely city anyway.

In conjunction with the convention, I had planned to put book 1 of both of my science fiction series on sale. So between 11/16 and 11/23 the ebooks for Lethal Seasons and Facade will be on sale at Amazon for 99 cents.

If you are looking for more post-apocalyptic reads check out the anthology series Apocalyptic Fears. Series #3 has Lethal Seasons, among 9 other stories for only 99 cents.

And if you like your stories a little shorter, check out Apocalyptic Fears #6. This collection includes a short story I wrote that takes place in Zero Year of my A Changed World series.

The holiday season is approaching. Consider Matchbook for some of your gifts and treat yourself at the same time. Amazon's Matchbook gives you a free ebook of any paperback you buy that is enrolled in the program. You can give the paperback and keep the ebook for yourself!

Lots of chances to grab some good reads!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

It Worked! Now What?

The third in a series magic must have worked for me because...the books are selling!

(Happy Dance!)

I feel like there's a party going on in the other room, but I'm not sure if I'm invited. Although I am super excited about the number of people reading the books. I'm not sure what I should be doing. Except maybe just writing.

On one hand, I am glad to put all my attention on writing. But on the other, I have a sinking feeling there is some special task that is now required that I don't know about. It's making me antsy. I keep checking the reports and checking the various forums I follow to see if there is a clue. When I should be focusing on the next book.

I am easily distracted. I find myself paging, paging, paging through Facebook looking for...haven't the foggiest. At my core, I am a planner. Give me some graph paper and a calendar and I'm a happy camper. But I don't know the next steps.

So I am just going to keep my head down and write.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

I Voted!

I don't like to put political comment in my blog, but this election is a doozy.

Please vote!

Regardless of who you are voting for, I think it is essential that everyone go out and vote.

I voted early here in NC.

Fingers crossed for my choices!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What's Coming Up...

First of all, let me remind you that Gleanings is discounted to 99cents through October 25th. So grab your copy now!

I am going back to my Space Opera series to work on book 2, the sequel to Facade. I am shooting for a spring release on that. I've stolen big chunks of text from a previous incarnation that all need serious editing, so that might shorten the writing time. Or not. Depends on how much rewriting is needed.

As a complete departure, I am also working on some high fantasy. This is another story that's been kicking around the back of my brain forever. In fact, I think it's several stories. It might turn out to be a book for each character all in a shared world. But it's so old that I need to get to know the characters all over again.

I'm also playing around in a map-making site for the fantasy. It's a blast. I have been a cartophile my entire life. Being able to make one is frosting on the cake. For the moment, I am just using it for my own reference. When you invent a world, you have to know when everything is!

And I am also thinking about book 4 of A Changed World. Even while I'm working on other stories, thoughts creep in about Wisp and Tilly, Angus and Martin... I write them down and keep them in a folder until I'm ready to jump into that world again.

Now it's time to get back to writing!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Gleanings on Preorder!

Gleanings, book 3 of A Changed World is now available for preorder at 99cents.

Release date is October 19.

On October 25 it will go up to full price so grab it now! Click here to buy one.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Map Reveal and Free Books!

Here it is...


The cool map that I promised you. 

For people who haven't read all of the books, there might be a little more information than you need. But here are the main locations and train lines. I think this will help people visualize things.

Lethal Seasons will be free starting tomorrow, 10/14,  through 10/18. So if you haven't started the series yet, get the first one for free.

Gleanings will be released on Wednesday, 10/19 at a special price of 99cents. Grab it fast because that price only lasts til 10/25!




Thursday, October 6, 2016

Sometimes You Need to...

...put your feet up.

Ah the kitty's life, where decisions come down to where to sleep--on the comfy chair or the comfy bed or the comfy couch...

Meanwhile, in the human world...

I've been working on a couple of stories at once this month. Sometimes that happens when I finish a big project. My creativity goes in six different directions. Gleanings is in the middle of line editing, so I'm right on schedule for the October 19 release. Outlining the next book in the Transmutation series went faster than I expected. So I switched gears into a little fantasy story that I've been trying to write for years.

I've dabbled in this world a lot and racked up a bunch of half-finished/half-started stories. I plan to add it to my yearly round-robin of series once I get the other two a bit more established. I started writing this for myself when it was just something fun to fill my time. (Mostly the years I didn't own a TV and pre-internet.) The writing is badly done, but I created an intricate world while I was messing around. That provides me with excellent groundwork to get started.

Sometimes it's really hard to rewrite a story because you are so entrenched in the previous mindset. For Transmutation, I changed the main characters names. That was all I needed to re-envision them, and the story took off from there. The names weren't as crucial in the other work. I wasn't as tied to them. But I needed a jolt to change things up. So I made the main character a woman. In my mind, it had always been a man. And that was what the story needed.

I've started with a prequel novella that may or may not see the light of day. Partly this sets up the character and how she got to where the real story needs to start. And partly it gets me back into this world so I can remember the people and places and magic system and gods and...whew. I really meant it when I said intricate.

Just a reminder that Facade is still 99cents thru Saturday. Grab a copy here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Thursday, September 29, 2016

October is a Busy Month

I feel like I am finally getting a handle on this marketing thing. And I think October is going to tell me whether or not I've got it right. I've planned a lot of promotion. Fingers crossed that it all works out.

October 3 - cover reveal for Gleanings. You will get to see the fabulous cover that Alex created at SFFWorld and then here on the blog.

October 2 - 8 Facade ebook will be discounted to 99cents.

A map reveal for A Changed World is still in the works.

October 14 - 18 Lethal Seasons will be free in the run up to Gleanings ebook release.

October 19 Gleanings, A Changed World #3 ebook release date.

October 19 - 25 Gleanings ebook available at a discounted price of 99cents.

The paperback for Gleanings will be out late in the month.

Whew.

And now I need to get back to outlining book 2 for the Transmutation series and a flash that I promised to a Christmas anthology.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Lot Going On!

I am not quite in panic mode because of all the great stuff going on right now, but it's close!

Alex Storer is working on a cover for Gleanings. I've seen the drafts and it is amazing! I can't wait to do the reveal for it. I'm working on setting up the reveal with SFFWorld. More exciting news. I don't have a date yet. But as soon as they get back to me I will post it here.

James at Curious Cartography is working on a map. It's just in the preliminary stages, but I am super excited about that, too. I have wanted a good map for this world since the first book. And I have had plenty of requests for one. Really looking forward to seeing how this turns out.

Lethal Seasons will be included in the Apocalyptic Fears III boxed set, slated to be out October 1. David Van Dyke/Reaper Press has been very easy to work with. This is a new adventure for me. Fingers crossed that it brings in new readers.

In addition to the usual box set of novels, David is putting together an anthology of short stories for Apocalyptic Fears 6. It's in the works now. I submitted a short story that hints at the beginning of the disaster that turned into A Changed World.

I hadn't looked at that story in a long time. When I wrote it, I was very proud of it and shopped it around. It racked up one rejection after another. I couldn't understand their comments and just took it to mean that it wasn't right for those editors. Looking at it, with a few novels under my belt, I saw lots of problems. Most of which stemmed from not getting all the information out of my head and onto the paper. It only took a few tweaks to make it a much better story...I hope.

In October I will be dropping the price on Facade and doing a limited run of free for Lethal Seasons. Sign up to my newsletter and I'll let you know when it happens.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lots of News

First off - I have set a release date for Gleanings: October 19.

Alex is now working on the cover and James is working on the map. Very exciting! I can't wait to see what these two talented guys come up with.

In the lead up to Gleanings release, the Lethal Season ebook will be free from October 14 - 18. Tell all your friends to grab their free copy.

In other news, Lethal Seasons has been select for an ebook boxed set promotion. I'm very excited about this. It will bring my book to the attention of a lot of new readers. I'll share more information on this as soon as I get it.

Facade will also get a promotion in October. It will drop to $0.99 for the week of October 2 - 8.

There's a lot coming up. Sign up for my newsletter if you want to hear about new books, free books and discounts.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Changed World Update

Good news - I just got Gleanings back from the 2nd round beta reader. She gave me some great feedback.

Bad news - it's going to need more rewriting.

Not sure what's up with this one, I'm just having a hard time with it. But I think I can see where the fixes need to go.

More good news - Curious Cartography will be doing a map of the world. I am really excited to see what he does with it. I'll post pictures as soon as I've got them.

As usual, I will have a cover by Alex Storer. We have just started talking about it. I'll be doing a reveal as soon as it's done.

That's it for today. I need to go spend time on writing!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

First Appearance!

Drumroll please!

I am attending my first convention as an author!

I will be a panelist for Atomacon. November 18-20th at the Airport Hotel (used to be a Radisson) in North Charleston, SC.

They haven't finalized the schedule yet, so I'm not sure what panels I'll be on. They had some great ones to pick from. I will post it here as soon as I know.

I'm still working on getting my books at a dealer. This time around, I will be using their bookseller. I'm not set up to sell. I don't have a smartphone and I don't have a tablet, so selling by credit card wouldn't be easy. This will make my first time a little less stressful. I am sure I will learn at lot. And it's more about meeting people than selling books.

I haven't been to a convention since Dragoncon gave me overload a couple years ago. The crowds overwhelmed me. And it made me sad that I had to miss some great panels because I needed to sit in a line to see a different great panel. Everything was mobbed, at all times. Being a small person (5' tall) crowds get scary. I get shoved around easily and then I get a sort of crowd-rage and need to get out of it or I'll flip out.

So I am starting small. I like small conventions. They are more relaxed. This is also the first time I have been to Atomacon. I'm looking forward to checking them out. The organizer I've been communicating with couldn't have been nicer. That seems like a good omen.

So if you are in that neck of the woods, I'll see you in Charleston in November!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Facade Free 8/18 - 8/22


The Facade ebook is free at Amazon starting today! Grab a copy now because this is a limited time offer. This is only good through 8/22.

It is always available to read for free through Kindle Unlimited.

I'd appreciate an honest review after you've read it.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Rain, Rain, Blighty Tomatoes and Shaggy Lawns

It feels like it has been raining every day since I got back from my trip. And looking at the garden I think it may have started right after I left.

The ground is saturated. A neighbor's tree came down in a stiff wind. The garden flooded for the first time in years. The river is high and we keep getting flash flood warnings.

The veggies aren't happy. The cucumbers gave up the fight against gray mold and look nasty. I sprayed the tomatoes for blight before I left and as soon as I got home, but it keeps raining. In fact, it rained the afternoon after I sprayed.

The lawn keeps getting longer. On the few days that I have managed to score a dry period and taken my walk, I can see that my neighbors are having the same problem. Every time I plan to mow, it rains. They say you shouldn't cut the grass when it's wet, but I really don't have a choice.

On the plus side, I haven't had to water anything. And the green beans are pretty happy with the heat and wet. My basil is mostly happy. The lemon basil got squashed by a massive sunflower that pitched over in a storm. One of the other basils has an odd discoloration to the leaves. I need to research that before I make pesto.

The winter squash in one bed was totally devastated by squash beetles. But the patty pan squash that I had put in the red mustard bed is going great guns. A volunteer winter squash that came up in the middle of some volunteer catnip is also doing well. And the edamame is out of control.

Two of my tomato plants are still fighting. My Purple Cherokee is on its last legs. A shame because those tomatoes were yummy. At least I got to taste them.

Regardless of my plans, Mother Nature does what she will.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Brief Respite


Next week I will be off on a 2 week vacation. I'm headed back to Europe. While I'm gone, I won't be blogging.

I plan to play the tourist to the hilt. I will be relaxing with friends and floating down the Danube river. Once we get to Hungary, I will be doing some family tree work in addition to relaxing and soaking in the biggest hot lake in Europe.

This vacation was built into my timeline, so there won't be any delays in the publication of my next book.

Happy summer to you all!


Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Busy Life of Housecats

The day often starts with a nap in the sunroom.

A little music later on.

Supervising the work (and of course any lunch that might involve fish)

Maybe a little filing.


A workout on the trampoline.

Followed by a rest.

Some time for the neighborhood watch.

Before it's time for another nap

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Updates

A Changed World 

Book 3 - the first draft is done and off to the first reader. I am still thinking about the title.

I already know that there needs to be some changes. Apparently if you write a story when you have allergy brain fog it tends to be plodding and dull. I was worried about that but pushed through because the first draft will get changed around anyway.

So I need more conflict and tension, all things I just can't bare to think about when I'm not feeling well. Funny how that works.

Transmutation

Book 2 is being outlined. Since I already wrote a major portion of this series - albeit badly - it's a little easier to get going. I know the through line and what needs to be accomplished in this book. But I have a feeling it's going to be a lot longer than the first one. We'll see.

The characters and setting are a bit different from the first incarnation. I need to take that into consideration while I'm sketching out the broad strokes for this one.

Working and working and working

I've managed to keep to my usual schedule of writing every weekday. I think, with practice, I've gotten a little faster. And I think my prose is a little cleaner. That's all a good thing.

I hope to keep the distractions to a minimum and keep up the word count!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

First Draft Done!

The first draft of book 3 of A Changed World has just gone off to my first reader. Yay!

I am still on schedule for a fall release.

I have a working title of Speculations, but now that the draft is complete, that isn't working for me. I'll be toying with different titles while it is being read.

While it is off with the reader, it's time for me to start working on book 2 for the Transmutation series.

A writer's work is never done!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Garden Victories

I have a steep incline in my backyard. I think I mowed it once before I decided it needed to be all flowers.

First I put in hundreds of tulips that disappeared over the winter due to well-fed voles.

Then I haphazardly bought a few perennials whenever they caught my eye and planted them willy-nilly.

Then we had 3 years of drought. I felt guilty enough watering the vegetable garden, the flowers didn't get any.

Then we had the summer of rain. It felt like it rained every day and all my plants were wilted piles of moldy bits.

The next time I looked, the hill was a disaster of vine-tangled briars taller than me. Ugh. It was overwhelming. So I ignored it for another year...

Finally I got up the energy, courage and initiative to finally tackle it all. I ripped out the briars, weeds and small trees, weed-whacked down to dirt and mulch the heck out of it. While I was working on that - a couple feet at a time - I started digging up volunteers and starting seeds. By the time the bed was ready, I had a good collection of plants to put in.

And this summer, I get to enjoy the blooms!


Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Smell of Hot Grass

On my morning walk, I was hit with the smell of hot grass. Since I am just coming out of allergy season, smelling anything is a delight. But this scent brought a strong memory with it. It wasn't fresh-cut grass, or a lawn after rain. It was specifically a summer smell of sun-heated grass.

I had a flashback of lying on the lawn at the house where I grew up, staring at the sky through the big leaves of a horse chestnut tree. It's a wonderful feeling of freedom and safety. A hot afternoon in summer with no responsibilities or deadlines. Before puberty, before I stopped running through the yard pretending that I was a horse or exploring the darkest jungle of my neighbor's hedges.

It's just a snapshot of an instant in time. I couldn't tell you what came before or after that moment. But the smell of sun-heated grass sent me back to that lovely memory.

Smells can be a very strong trigger for memories. Sometimes the trigger is just for a feeling, not even an image. Or sometimes a person. Certain aftershaves will always remind me of specific men. The smell of french fries and ketchup can send me back to the boardwalk on a New Jersey beach.

A reader once told me that she was surprised by the many smells in my book. She didn't think she'd read another book that mentioned them. I guess I am a scent-oriented person. Maybe that's why I have allergies because my sense of smell is very acute.

And now I'm off to make sure that my current work-in-progress has enough smells.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Just Keep Writing

There's so much advice out there about a writer's platform and social media connections that you could drown in it.

None of it worked for me.

I do believe that you should have some sort of social media footprint. People need to be able to find you on the web. If you enjoy connecting to people that way, have at it! It may build you a good fan base, but don't bank on it.

Some people say to put your head down and write. That social media doesn't result in direct sales. Only a pile of books under your name will give you credibility.

I believe in that one more than others. At least I think it's a method that I can work with. But I have to add - advertise wisely. And there are as many thoughts on that as there are successful authors.

I've been going through forums and articles reading advice from all quarters. It seems like many of the successful authors are writing their pants off! They have put out 10 - 20 books and are making thousands of dollars per month. Whew.

They also spend thousands on advertising. Some monthly, some quarterly, but all of them put a lot of money into advertising to maintain a constant flow of sales.

All of them said that releasing a new book gave them a good bump in sales for the month.

I planned to write two books this year. In comparison, I look like a slow poke. Some of those successful authors put out a book every 1 - 5 months. Wow. I suppose as a full-time writer you could rack up sufficient word count to do that. As a part-time writer, I will try to push towards three books a year. Just writing those words made me anxious. Maybe I'd better make that a goal for 2017.

And now, back to writing...


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Space Fantasy

What is Space Fantasy? 
I think it is Fantasy that requires space travel and aliens.

Why isn't it just plain Fantasy?
Because...um...space ships?

Why isn't that Science Fiction?
Because the science part isn't very important?

I have asked a lot of people about how to classify Facade. The immediate reaction to aliens and space travel is that it should fall under Science Fiction. But the story is mostly about a lost culture. On the other hand, to say it was Fantasy without a magic system or a quest or even any wizards seems wrong.

It is more of blend of both, perhaps. I asked Alex to give me a Fantasy image and Scifi type for the cover to infer a combination of genres.

Space Fantasy just feels right. It happens on multiple planets and there might be a kind of magic in the psychic skills of some characters.

It isn't a new on Amazon. When I searched for books with "Space Fantasy" as a keyword, over 35,000 books popped up. But it isn't a proper category.

Facade will be 1/2 price until Sunday May 15. Starting Monday it will go up to $2.99. Grab one while they're cheap!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Garden Report

It's planting time.

I've gotten lazy. I don't start all my own plants anymore. Mostly because I have the local Herb Festival where I can buy healthy, organic seedlings of heirloom varieties. And a couple of local growers have stands at the market where I can pick up anything I need.

I started early with packed 6-packs of freckled lettuce and a spicy mix. I carefully separated them out and had enough plants to fill a bed. The lettuces are just forming heads now. We will have lovely salads for awhile. I had planned to follow them with stir-fry greens, but the garden had other plans. Apparently the Acorn squash that failed last year must have managed to produce viable seed, because I have an awful lot of volunteer squash coming up in that bed.

It will be a gamble as to what kind of squash forms because they tend to cross-pollinate. I'll keep my fingers crossed for something edible.

I've got all raised beds this year. It was surprisingly easy to get them ready. I don't know what makes the difference between raised beds and a plain old garden bed. Maybe because they seem like separate items and I can weed one in a few minutes and it's all done.

My compost is coming along nicely. I was able to add some to all the beds. Last year was the first time I had great carrots. I think it was because of all the compost I added to that bed. My regular soil is a heavy clay and not good for any root vegetables. Fingers crossed, I'm hoping for another good crop of carrots.

Spring was a roller coaster of cold rain and hot dry days. I did a lot of watering. And after I put all my tender vegetables in the garden we had a night down to 44 degrees. I know the basil won't be happy about that. It'll be back up in the 80's this weekend.

Now I'm off to pick my first ripe strawberries!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Facade Now Available!

Only on Kindle. Discounted through April 30th for $1.49. On May 1st, the price will go up to $2.99.

Grab yours now!

Amazon


Thursday, April 21, 2016

What's the Opposite of Grimdark?



I recently discovered a thread on the Kboards asking for recommendations of NobleBright, books that were basically the opposite of Grimdark.

Wonderful!

I am not a fan of Grimdark. It's too dark for me. That's just my personal taste in reading. It's obviously very popular with other folks because it's everywhere.  I thought I was bucking the trends by writing my lighter, happy-ending, good guys win stories. Turns out, there's a lot of us!

At some point, I will make a list of all the authors and recommendations on that thread so I can add their books to my To Be Read list. I wasn't surprised to find a few authors that I have already discovered chiming in. But it reminded me that I've forgotten about a couple of series that I'd like to get back to.

Lovely! More books that appeal to me.

In other news...
Today I was interviewed by a friend for her blog. She will be putting it up on Tuesday. I'll post a link to that because she asked me a lot of questions about A Changed World books.

Still waiting to hear from Kindle Scout.

The interview reminded me of some back story that I had intended to put in the new book and promptly forgot. So I need to go back and figure out where it might fit. Luckily I'm only about 1/3 of the way into the first draft.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Last Days on Kindle Scout and Other Things

Facade is in its last days on Kindle Scout. The campaign ends on April 17th.

In comparison to what others have achieved with their marketing, I haven't done very well. So if they are going to judge me on that ability I will get a very low score. I have all my eggs in the story basket. I am hoping that writing a good story will win their approval. Since no one knows exactly what they are basing selections on, I might still have a chance of being chosen for publication.

If you haven't voted for Facade yet, please hop over to Kindle Scout and take a look. I would appreciate a nomination!

On the bright side, I think that being in Scout has boosted visibility of my books. Lethal Seasons and Scattered Seeds have continued to sell a book or two every other day. More eyes on my books is always a good thing.

In other news...

I am 18,000 words into the rough draft of Speculations, book 3 of A Changed World. Life is getting more complicated for the folks at High Meadow. I had to spend some time on research yesterday. Thank goodness the internet makes it easy to find odd facts like the harvest dates for spring wheat. I am also glad that I kept such good notes on the previous 2 books. It would be very time consuming to have to scan through the books to find out that Harlan's horse, Jelly, was a Paint.

Allergies gave me brain-fog for about a week and I got very little writing done last month. Whatever makes me all sneezy and itchy must have stopped blooming because I am in better shape now. The story is at a flow-point and I have been able to hit my goal word count all week. If I can keep this up, I may have the book ready a little earlier than planned.

Spring has me out in the garden most days. The weather has been a roller coaster of too hot and too cold. I am working on building up my garden stamina. Over the course of the winter I lose my weeding and digging muscles from too much time sitting at the computer. A couple of days of very sore muscles are in my future.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Another Rung on the Ladder

When I first started writing, I was on a lot of forums for newbies. I read tons of blogs on writing and publishing. I signed up for newsletters and joined peer review sites. They were all immensely helpful.

Then I learned some things and moved up a rung on the ladder. Some of those places weren't as helpful as before. I needed to find new places to give me tips and tricks and tell me what I didn't know yet.

It's a cycle of learning and growing. I've inched up one more wrung and the air is getting a little thin. I don't need pats on the back as much as a clear view. I've gone from ardent scribbler to business woman and my needs for input have changed once again. Now I'm searching for the blogs and forums that will teach me new things at this level. They're out there, I just need to spend some time to research the right ones for me.

And about the books...

Facade is in its final days over at Kindle Scout. Please visit the site and vote for my book!

Speculations - I'm still working on the first draft.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I've Got Fans!

Well, to be honest, you could probably fit all my fans into a good-sized elevator. But I've got some!

After I published Lethal Seasons, I fretted about getting reviews. I did a giveaway that didn't do much. I tried a service that ended up refunding me because no one asked for my book. I was feeling worried despite the handful of good reviews that had shown up.

Reviews are supposed to be part of the big marketing basket for books. Not having very many can be a red flag to readers cruising for a new book. My few reviews were 4 and 5 star, which can also be a red flag. People might think they are all from friends and family. (And I have to admit that I reconnected with a distant cousin when she read my book and realized it was me.)

Somehow I reached the tipping point with the last free promotion. My book became visible. People read it and the reviews started coming in. Woo hoo!

Since then I have gotten a few really lovely emails from readers who loved my book. What can I say about that, other than WOW. It's nice that people like the book, but it really means something when I hear from people who love that world and its characters. It reminds me why I wanted to write in the first place - to share stories with people.

So here's a big THANK YOU to all my fans.

Please remember to vote for Facade! You can go here.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Shameless Self Promotion



Vote for me!

Facade is in Kindle Scout. It needs a boost. Please hop over there are give it a look. If you like it, please nominate it.

In return, you get FREE BOOKS.

What is Kindle Scout?

  • New unpublished books. 
  • Find books you like and nominate them. 
  • If Kindle Scout decides to publish it, you get a free advance copy.
Thanks!





Thursday, March 17, 2016

Accepted!

Thanks to Alex Storer for the picture!
Facade was accepted into Kindle Scout!

Starting on 3/18/16 you can go here to see a sample of the story. It's a hefty sample - the first 4 chapters. If you like it, please nominate it.

And while you're there, take a look at some of the other books. Each reader gets 3 nominations per month. Any book you nominate, if Kindle Scout chooses to publishes it, means a free copy for you.

Now it's time to get back to Speculations!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Experimenting with Kindle Scout

Facade will be submitted to Kindle Scout very soon. I am done with edits and slogging thru the formatting now. I thought I should talk a little about what Kindle Scout is.

Essentially Kindle Scout is a site where readers can find brand new ready-to-be-published books. Everything on the site is polished and ready to go. Each book is posted for 30 days. Readers find books that interest them and can access a sample. If you like the sample, you can then nominate the book.

After 30 days, Kindle Scout makes a decision on whether to publish that book or not.

If a book you nominated gets accepted for publication, you get a free copy.

If a book you nominated does not get accepted, you get an email from Kindle Scout letting you know when the author publishes the book.

Once I submit the book, I will be asking people to go over and take a look at it. Nominations help push books into the Hot and Trending category which gives you a little more exposure.

The site requires membership, which is free. If you want to head over to look for good books now, go here: Kindle Scout

Enjoy!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Facade Cover Reveal


Another fabulous job by Alex Storer! Here is the cover for my new book, a space fantasy. I posted a great little video on Facebook.

Sign up for my newsletter to hear about when this book will be available.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Facade and Speculations

Facade is off to the proof reader. Yay! Because I had such clean and helpful feedback from my beta readers, I had easy rewrites each time around. Therefore I am almost a month ahead of my schedule.

As soon as Alex finishes the cover for Facade, I will reveal it here.

When the cover is done and the final corrections from the proof reader are done, I will submit the book to Kindle Scout. Once it's up there, people can take a look at it and put it up for nomination. I'll be asking for people to check it out, so keep an eye on my blog.

I finally came up with a name! Speculations is the title for the 3rd book in A Changed World series. It is still on track for a fall 2016 publication.

I've had a couple of questions from people lately about how many books there will be in A Changed World series. I don't have a cut off planned at this point. I had a plan to wind up the brothers' plot line in a first trilogy, with other arcs coming in to start off another set of books. However, because of some new elements that arose in Scattered Seeds, I think it might take me 4 books to finish that particular plot line.

Right now, my plan is to put out at least 1 book in each series every year. If I can write faster, maybe more. That said, it's time to get back to work!


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Changing Tastes

Recently I was on a forum where people were talking about a young adult book. One person responded that he didn't read YA anymore because he was an adult now. I was ready to fire back an answer about how ridiculous that was, when I remember how much my tastes have changed over the years.

Once upon a time I bought an interesting book in a used book store. I went to the library for the sequel and discovered, to my horror, it was in the young adult section. I was embarrassed to be looking at those books and skulked away without checking one out.

Looking back, I can't imagine giving up on an interesting series because of the designated audience. I didn't have any trouble going into the children's section to get the Harry Potter books. But maybe it has to do with distance. In my 20's and 30's I didn't want to be seen reading books for teenagers. Now I don't care. I read whatever catches my fancy.

Back in my college and post-college days I read "serious" fiction, Camus, Kafka, and adored Ibsen's plays. I liked things that were dark and angsty. That doesn't appeal to me right now.

People change as they grow and so does their taste in entertainment. What I loved a decade ago doesn't always appeal to me now. But it may in another couple of years. Who knows? And genres change and grow sub-genres.

I say I like Urban Fantsy, but that's because I love Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden. That genre seems to have a lot of interpretations, some that don't appeal to me at all. On the other hand, I've said I lost my taste for Epic Fantasy, but I love Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive series and Brent Weeks' Lightbringer series and those are definitely epic.

Tastes change and maybe come back around again. I just know I like a well-told story regardless of who the intended audience is.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Brainstorming Keywords for Facade


Keywords are supposed to help readers find my books. In that, they are an extremely important part of the publishing prep. I need to get them right.

Aside from the blurb, this might be the hardest part of getting the book ready. Once it's written, there are a number of steps before it can be released to the public. Several of them have nothing to do with crafting the story. Those are very hard for me.

I started with the larger themes:

  • Aliens in hiding, but they are hiding in plain sight. So not an invasion or first contact or exploration. That might be a little confusing.
  • They are hiding from a civilization that enslaves them.
  • They also have psi-skills like telepathy 
  • And are healers extraordinaire
On the other side I have:
  • Undercover intelligence agents that are great buddies
  • Multiple alien species coexisting
  • Interstellar travel
  • Long established galactic governance
  • A simmering subplot of economic instability
And then there's:
  • A character who uncovers her own hidden identity
  • An unfolding of the devolved culture of the enslaved people
  • Innate skills that look like magic
Somehow I have to distill this all down into a handful of keywords and blurbs of varying size. Some as small as 50 words! I have to take a step back and try to see the largest arcs of the book, dropping out all the subplots. Sometimes that makes it sound cliched. Another thing I need to avoid.

And when I'm done with this, I'll be getting back to Wisp, Nick, Tillie and Angus.



Thursday, February 4, 2016

Free Post Apocalyptic Ebook 2/4-2/8

Lethal Seasons is free on Amazon for a short time only.

February 4 - 8, 2016 get the first book in the series for free. Click on the link below to get yours now!

Amazon

Please share this with friends that love scifi.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Some Thoughts on Colony (TV - USA)

As a storyteller, I tend to analyze my TV shows in terms of how well they entertain me. When a show feels like it isn't working for me, I like to figure out why. So here are some thoughts on the new show Colony on USA.

After 2 episodes, I get the feeling this show is more about human conflict than alien invasion. That right there I find disappointing. The show starts after aliens have attacked and for some odd reason cordoned off Los Angeles. There's a monster of a wall and access is restricted. So far we haven't seen or heard about the rest of the country.

"No one has seen them." We are told early on about the alien invaders. So they are mysterious but powerful aliens. Again, kind of annoying. It raises so many questions that I can't get into the human conflict that seems to be central to the show. I'm always waiting for more information on the aliens. One persons says that they will leave when their needs are fulfilled. Too vague. This is too important to ignore. Breadcrumbs could work, but more information needs to come forward fast.

There's a human occupation of LA. Soldiers are enforcing a curfew, hunting down criminals and basically terrorizing the general population. There's an underground rebellion that is plotting in the shadows. It all feels a little too Nazis and French Resistance to me, a very old trope that always ends bloody.

If the story is to be about the rebellion and the soldiers, then explain the aliens and let them fall into the background. A solid story about what people do to each other in environments like this could be interesting. However, it isn't something that I would like to watch. I want to know about the aliens. Why did they come to Earth? What do they want? Why LA? What other damage has happened? Why are so many humans collaborating if they've never even seen an alien? What's the end game?

Leaving the viewer with questions ensures they tune in for the next episode. On the other hand, leaving the viewer confused and annoyed will ensure than they don't.

I'd love to hear other impressions from you in the comments.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Update on Facade and Next A Changed World Book

It's back from the 2nd reader. Yay! And there were very few tweaks suggested. Yay again.

I am blending in a bit of business that I forgot to add. It's a species that expresses an obsession common in my family - feeding people.

When you visit any of us you get beverages and snacks before dinner and then desserts and then snacks again after that. I had these little guys in all of the previous versions of the story, but somehow they got left out in this one. When my 1st reader asked about them I realized I needed to include them.

They will play a larger role in subsequent books, but I think the reader needs to be introduced to them right away. They are pervasive in this world.

Once that's ironed out it will go off to the 3rd reader. I am right on my estimated timeline for this book and that feel very good.

The next A Changed World book still doesn't have a working title. I am spending some time with a thesaurus sorting through words. I know what I want it to infer, just not sure how to get there.

The rough outline is coming along. I am about 3/4 done with that.  While brainstorming, I came up with a lot more than I want in this book, so I might already have some stuff for the next one.

I learn so much with each book that the process is starting to have a nice rhythm to it.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Languages

As I do my genealogical research I am learning more about language. My father was born in Hungary. Their language is very complicated. I remember reading somewhere that language affects a person's world view. The Magyar language was that of nomads. I discovered when I was there that they had taken some Latin words for certain things like templom for church. It made sense to me that a nomadic people might not have words for things of permanence like buildings.

I was trying to translate some documents when I made another discovery. A lot of Hungarian names mean something. My own last name - szabo - means tailor. Almost all of the names I see in my father's village are either occupations or ethnicity. So there are Millers (Molnar), Carpenters (Acs), Cobblers (Varga), Blacksmiths (Kovacs), Germans (Nemet), Polish (Lengyel), Croatian (Horvat), and Friends (Barat). And of course the usual "son of" - Palfi, Simonfi, etc.

My grandmother's maiden name was Simonyai. I just learned recently that it meant she descended from people who came from Simonya, which is now Partizanske in Slovakia today, but was part of Hungary at one point.

When I wrote the first draft of Facade, (nearly 2 decades ago!) I threw in random names that I made up as I went. That was one of the criticisms I received - the names were too similar. For this rewrite, I took a good look at the names and made certain conventions by planet. If this one has a lot of double vowels, the next one shouldn't, and things of that sort. I already had a certain societal structure to each race so that attaching language restrictions felt right.

Now maybe I need to make some of those names mean something in their own languages. But maybe that's a rabbit hole I really shouldn't go down.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Facade is off to 2nd Reader


Hooray! The rewrite of Facade is off to the 2nd reader.

The other day, as I was off doing something other than writing, it occurred to me that I was working on my 6th book. Sixth! Sheesh. If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be where I am now, I don't think I would have believed you.

I'm very excited about getting this story off the ground. It has surprised me a little in the way it has changed. Back when I was writing it long hand, I didn't have the foundation of 5 other books under my belt. I didn't have all the lessons learned about how to craft a story.

It isn't the same story anymore. I've changed names, dropped plot lines and streamlined some action. Hopefully, that makes it a better story. When I shelved it the first time, I knew I was out of my depth. When I shelved it the second time, I understood that I needed to keep writing until I was ready.

And while it is being read I will get back to work on the outline of the 3rd book for A Changed World. Still no working title, yet. I had a couple of great ideas for it while I was out for a walk last week. Time to get to work on my 7th book.

And it's still a lot of fun!