Thursday, May 25, 2017

Slow Going

I've been planning a big family reunion for over a year now. It finally happened last weekend. And relatives came in early to check out the lovely town I live in. So I had company for five days straight with a big party in the middle.

It was fabulous. I caught up with a lot of cousins and met new ones. Everyone had a great time. We all came together for a happy occasion and this started a tradition that I hope will continue. The next one, in 2019, is penciled in now.

However, the day after the last guest left I was a zombie. It took me two days to catch up on my sleep. Apparently, I spent a lot of time standing because my feet and legs felt like I'd run a marathon. And I pulled a muscle in my back trying to wrestle the compost pile into a more seemly shape. (Like anyone would notice?)

Needless to say, I didn't do much writing. But all the stress is gone now, so I plan to write harder. My deadlines are shot, but they are just there for me to aim for. It's more important to fix the book than to meet some arbitrary due date.

When I opened up the WIP yesterday it felt really good to get back into my routine. I feel like I've had a vacation. My mind is clear and my energy is good. Now I need to get back at it.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Back in the Groove

I found the missing subplot in my WIP. Now I just have to layer it into what I've already written. And that means a lot of cutting scenes and rearranging them. Which gets confusing when you know the whole story because you can accidentally refer to stuff that won't happen for another chapter or two because it used to happen earlier.

As I'm fixing/rewriting scenes I see the stuff that really didn't fit. Putting this subplot back in makes everything work so much better. I had tossed in a mini-plot that sort of made sense, because I knew it needed something, but it never really meshed. It implied a larger theme that I had taken out because that didn't work either. So dragging in a piece of it just made a bigger mess.

It's going a bit slower than I had hoped. Although I know what needs to happen, I have to figure out how to introduce it into the world in a logical manner. In the great doorstop it was a major info-dump that ran a whole chapter. Yikes. Now I not only want to avoid that kind of delivery of information, I also want to delay the full disclosure and extend the mystery. So in addition to the action, I need to weave the information in slowly.

And that means writing, which I need to go do now.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A New Look

I've cleaned up the blog a little because I will soon have the new website up and running.

I am still having a little technical kerfuffle with the website. It's done. It looks great - Thanks, Alex! BUT somehow I just haven't clicked the right boxes or pushed the right buttons because it isn't working. Soon...maybe.

That means the blog has reverted to its blogger address. So reset those bookmarks. Alicesabo.com will now go to the website (whenever the dang thing sorts itself out).

I've spent hours playing with Wizards - the setup kind, not the magical fun kind. There's a whole jargon that goes with this stuff that I have to keep looking up, and even when I find the definition, I'm not sure if it applies to me. Especially when the instructions are written for someone who probably knows what they're doing. And I most assuredly don't! Sigh.

I can't say it's been a learning curve because I haven't mastered anything.

I really do feel like a dinosaur today.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Back to the Drawing Board!

I got Transmutation #2 back from First Reader with a big fat note - this doesn't sound like you.

Curious. I was struggling a little with this one. Every day when I sat down to write, I was forcing myself to concentrate on the book. But when I started A Changed World #4, I was having a great time. That should have told me something.

The Transmutation series is based on a very old story with a million characters and dozens of side plots that ramble off in every direction. While trying to slim it down, I'd taken the heart out of it. While I was writing, I started having serious doubts that First Reader confirmed. It's kinda boring.

So I did some thinking about who and what and why. This book was a little too rambling and repetitive because I felt like I needed more time to spread out events and didn't have a subplot in place to make that work.

There's a lot from the original doorstop that just doesn't work anymore and needs to be ditched. But certain plot points are critical to get the story to the important events. I couldn't figure out what to toss and what to keep.

After a lot of juggling I discovered the missing piece, I hope. When I sat down to do the rewrite, I was having a lot more fun. That's got to be a good thing! So I think I'm only behind by a week or so.

Now, back to that rewrite!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Changed World Series - Book #4

While book 2 of the Transmutation (Space Opera) series is with my first reader, I've started outlining the next book in A Changed World Series (Post Apocalyptic).

I like all of my characters, but I have to say that it was fun to visit with Wisp and Nick and Angus and Tillie. I haven't seen them in awhile and they have been very busy. This is a world that I've grown very comfortable with.

Book 4 will be a continuation of life at High Meadow, but a few months after the end of Gleanings. I've got some loose plot ideas that I need to sort out. And I've got a bunch of new people who need to be integrated into the storyline. Plus there are some loose threads from the previous books that I need to coordinate.

I'm shooting for a release in the fall, barring any complications.

I've been trying to stay on top of my allergies so that my writing isn't impacted. Since I learned that "powering thru" only gives me a lot of stuff to rewrite, I've avoided writing on days I have brain fog.

Hopefully, I won't need too much rewriting when I hear back from my first reader on Transmutation #2. The quicker I can wrap that one up, the faster I get to work on A Changed World #4.

So--on to marketing.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Space Opera and Mystery for 99c

I've got a couple books on discount.

Space Opera - The first book in the Transmutation series, Facade, is on sale at 99c. Book 2 will be coming out in a month or so. I'm just wrapping it up for my 1st reader. It is only available on Amazon so you can get it thru Kindle Unlimited also. Grab it here

Mystery - The first book in the Asher Blaine Mysteries, White Lies, is also on sale at 99c. It is available all over. Here are some of the major retailers:

Amazon      Barnes and Noble     Kobo     Apple

These books are sorely lacking in reviews. I would love it if anyone would add their honest review on the site where they bought it.

And now I need to get back to tossing words into the computer.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Genealogical Rabbit Hole

It happened again. I meant to just look into one thing and suddenly I've lost the whole day.

Sometimes while tracking down stories of my ancestors I get so involved in chasing one more clue that I totally lose track of time.

A nibble on land records in the 1800s and a nibble in the newspapers and I'm gone for hours hunting down someone that might not even be related to me. And two days later I know their complete life story and it has no relation to my family at all.

I have a genealogical "brick wall". That's an ancestor I can't get past. I know the county in Ireland where he was born and a marriage record, so I should be happy with that, but I'm always trying to give it a nudge. He came over during the Potato Famine years and a lot of those records were lost.

It's frustrating because there is so much information available. And I am willing to page through old documents online, but they often don't have the dates I need.

Which leaves me behind on everything this week because I went a little overboard on the research.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Winter Arrived

After a crazy warm winter, we had a dose of the arctic. Ouch.

Fruit trees have flowered a month early. Last night it went down to 16 degrees. Needless to say, we aren't getting any apricots this year. Luckily my cherry and apple trees hadn't flowered yet.

But that's just my little patch. I'm not a fruit farmer. Some of them have lost their entire crop for this year.

We get to go to the grocery store and pick out fruit that comes in from all over the world. I don't think it sinks in until you see the reports on the news about how devastating this can be. The county south of me is mostly apple orchards. The year we had the Easter freeze they lost them all. It was considered a natural disaster and they were able to apply for aid.

It's hard to understand in a time when food is readily available for most of us, how fragile farming is. Fruit trees won't rebloom. A crop wiped out by flood or tornado can't always be resown. We have become spoiled with ease of access. If one farm or orchard fails, we can get produce from another. Maybe.

By Sunday we will be back to short-sleeve weather. But the damage has already been done.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Little Stressed Out

There's a lot going on right now and it has me feeling more than a little stressed.

The renovations on the house are coming along nicely but... I work at home. Power tools in the background are hard to block out. I'm used to being on my own with the three cats. Having a man or two banging around the house is a distraction. I'm torn between trying to ignore them and feeling guilty for not making them lunch. (My family feeds all guests.)

As a result, I'm not getting as much work done as I would like. I had planned to have the current WIP to my first reader by now. Not going to happen. That changes the schedules for everything else I've planned this year. Bummer.

The crazy spring weather has made things worse.

First, my allergies went on overload. I'm still tinkering with combinations of medication to get things under control. Brain fog, sinus headaches, eyes so itchy I've scratched them raw, congestion like concrete. So I have a swollen raccoon face and can't breathe. Ugh.

Second, warm weather means yard work. I've been working in the yard pretty regularly ripping out the honeysuckle and briars that are strangling everything else. And I only got a small patch of poison ivy on one arm so far... But I keep thinking that I am behind schedule because of May weather in February. I was all ready to start putting seed in when I remembered what month it was. Sheesh.

So today is catch up day. I need to review the marketing and redo my writing deadlines and, oh yeah, WRITE!


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kitties!

I haven't got much to say, so I thought I'd turn the blog over to the girls.

Mallory has been working out on my trampoline.

Rascal has been helping me with some paperwork.

And Bertie has been keeping an eye on the plants in the sunroom.

As you can see - all very busy.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Busy Month

February is a busy month. Lots of promotions going on.

Starting this weekend! Here's a great place to grab a bunch of great books:


If you're looking for some space opera with aliens and a lost civilization, hop over to  Patty's website to get Facade for 99c.

If you haven't yet started my post-apocalyptic series - A Changed World - you're in luck. Lethal Seasons, book 1 will be free on Amazon from 2/15 - 2/19. (Regular price until 2/14 and after 2/19) Book 4 is coming out this fall.

And if you're looking for a good mystery, White Lies is still 99c through the end of the month.

Whew.

In the mean time, I am still working hard on the sequel to Facade. As is the way with these things, the story is not coming out as originally intended, but in a much better way. Some random events have come together in a surprising serendipity of plot lines. I need to follow it down a bit more before I commit to it entirely, but it's looking good.

I'm jotting down notes for the 4th book in A Changed World. Fear not, Angus, Tillie, Wisp and Nick will be back this fall.

And the fantasy book is on back burner while I think about how much more needs to go into it.

So I'd better get back to work!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

White Lies Only 99 Cents

I am experimenting with having my mysteries "wide", that is at various retailers instead of exclusive to Amazon. To launch this, I lowered the price on the White Lies ebook to 99cents. You can now find it online at Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo and others in addition to Amazon.

The market keeps changing and I am doing my best to stay abreast of it. New opportunities for advertising pop up and get overrun in no time. The author blogs and forums that I follow usually tout the latest trend and warn when it is no longer effective. But it all still feels like I'm running uphill in loose sand.

And it all comes down to product, which I am told, I need a lot more of, so I'm off to do writing.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Naomi Novik - My New Favorite Author

I don't remember where I read a review or recommendation of her book Uprooted. But it intrigued me enough to check it out. I liked her writing, enjoyed the book and went looking for more. That's when I discovered her dragon books.

The Temeraire series could probably be summed up as the Napoleonic Wars with dragons. But if I had read that, I wouldn't have tried it. Alternate histories are not something I read very often. The characters are the heart of the series and what has made me love it. There are battles and some interesting history along the way. (Not sure how much is true.)

I've been plowing through the series, book after book, quite gleefully. I discovered the other day that book 9 is the last book. I will be very curious to see how it is all wrapped up. Right now I am in the middle of book 6. I might need to slow down a little, now that I know it has an end.

Some of the books have more battles than others. I have to admit to skimming those parts a bit. Especially if my favorite characters aren't front and center.

The thing that constantly amazes me is the time it takes to travel or get news. A journey from England to Africa is said to take months. Letters can only travel as fast as a ship or a horse (or courier dragon!) can get them there. Moving troops and supplies and ships is an endeavor of weeks or months. Everything happens at a slower pace because it has to and plans must be drawn up a year in advance.

So if you're looking for a great dragon series, look her up.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Rollercoaster Weather

Last weekend we got 5" of snow. Today I was out working in the garden in my shirt sleeves. We went from a couple of nights in the single digits to days so warm the shrubs are budding.

When the temperature plummeted I started to complain, only to remember -- it's January! It's supposed to be cold. We've had such a mild winter that I hadn't even broken out the big coat yet. When I got ready to shovel snow, I had to dig around to find a pair of mittens because I hadn't used any so far this season.

The weather man delights in showing us the diagram of how we have been either colder or warmer than average. Consistently. Which I guess eventually leads to new averages, right?

My forsythia put out a few timid blooms just before the big freeze. As if to ask, "Is it time yet?" I noticed on my walk today that many of the trees have gotten knobby with buds. That's too soon for this area. Well, normally that is.

And our Big Freeze lasted less than a week...

I expect another dose of cold weather that will last a little longer. And I expect it to hit just when everything decides it's okay to bloom.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Reader's Block

Argh! It's happened again, that dastardly reader's block.

I read a lot of books. Ever since I was a child, I've always carried around a book I was working my way through. I would get stacks of books out of the library knowing I would have read them all by the time they were due. My parents always had books, too.

But every now and then I get stuck. I'm just not ready to immerse myself in a new world. I'd rather play endless games of solitaire or surf the net. Maybe it's a lack of focus. Too much caffeine? Sunspots?

It's frustrating because I just got a gift card and I'm eager to load up the Kindle. I've started a new wishlist in Amazon called "Series Next". I've added all the next books in the many, many series I'm reading so I can easily find them. And it's a reminder of what/who all those series and authors are.

So now I can go to my "Series Next" list and decide which characters I want to visit. Fantasy? Science Fiction? Urban Fantasy? Mystery? Whichever I pick, I'll have to remember to add the next book (unless it isn't written yet) so I won't lose track.

I'm sure I've forgotten a couple of series. When I am reading I tend to plow through books pretty quickly. Especially if a series is complete. I should go through my Goodreads lists.

I did read a book last week. Killing Rites - book 3 in the Black Sun Series by M L N Hanover (Daniel Abraham). Normally I wouldn't pick up a book with a sexy female on the cover, but I love all of his other books, so I gave it a try. It's a funky kind of Urban Fantasy that immediately appealed to me. Despite the sexy pose on the cover, there is very little in the way of romance in the story line. Which is the way I prefer it. I'm eager to read book 4.

And maybe I just talked myself out of my block!