Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

P.S.: Here's your treat: I'm sending Cynful to Samhain by the end of the day!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Name Chosen and an Angel Takes Flight

The poll has closed, and the majority has spoken: Cynful will remain the title of Book 2 of the Halle Shifters. Two hundred and twenty-five of you voted. A hundred and forty-five of you loved the original title. I've gotten feedback from two of my beta readers, and so far the criticisms have been minor. (Dusty cackled during his first read through, which is always a good sign.)

No matter what, Cynful will be out to my editor on October 31.

I was going through what books to work on next with Dusty, when he mentioned something to me about the Nephilim series I've been talking about since, oh, 2009. I have this whole nine-book, full-length series about these descendants of angels and fallen angels. Two factions with mystical powers battle it out, one believing that they are the protectors of humanity, the other that they should be its rulers. The first to receive his HEA I named Seth, and his lady is named Abby. I've got it completely outlined. In fact, I started it quite some time ago (around, say, 2009), but I wasn't happy with the direction it was taking and set it aside. Dusty asked, "Are you ever going to finish it?"

Yes. Yes, I am.

He TOTALLY wants me to write him. Like, now.

So I started re-writes on what I'd already done to Angel In My Arms, and so far I'm happy with the new direction it's taken. Robin of The Gray Court is stomping his foot at being put on the back burner, but I've promised him that his book will be the longest Gray Court book so far, so he's calming down a bit. I'm not putting a word meter up yet for Angel, though, because it would be confusing as hell right now. I'm adding, I'm subtracting, I'm decimating and rebuilding, and the word count is fluttering  like a circle skirt over a subway grate.

Kind of looks like angel wings, doesn't it?

Once that skirt settles down (or I step off the subway grate, whichever comes first), I'll start the traditional word count meter. Until then, patience, and know that I'm writing!

EDIT: I did put the word meter up after all. It occurred to me that I like to know where I stand even when doing re-writes, so get ready for the roller coaster.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

After You Type The End...

... what comes next? A friend of my Aunt Jeanne (who rocks, btw) wrote to me today and asked for me to give her some pointers on publishing. She's working on her first novel and is loving the writing, but is unsure about what comes next. I thought it would make an interesting blog post, so here goes:

  1. Make sure at least two other people read over your novel, people whose opinions you respect. Listen to them, but if what they suggest goes against your instincts, feel free to discard any or all of their advice. It's your novel, no one can write it for you. But if all of them say the same thing, I'd pay attention!
  2. If for some reason, the first novel isn't working for you, don't be afraid to scrap it a different one. Believe me, it's scary to say that it isn't working, but better to set it aside than to try and force something that doesn't feel right. 
  3. However, if you find yourself doing this with every book you start, then you need to decide where you're going wrong. My suggestion: read! I was trying to write traditional, Harelquin-esque romances and it didn't work for me. Then I read a Mary-Janice Davidson novel and something clicked for me. I started writing like I wanted to, and I haven't looked back since.
  4. Never start querying publishers/agents until after the novel is finished. This can be a red flag to them that you aren't serious. Wait until it's completed before sending it out. (You'll see this on a lot of agent's advice sites, so I'd pay attention to it.)
  5. Once your novel is completed and you feel it's been polished within an inch of it's papery life, DON'T sit on it! Get it out there. Have a plan. Do you want to go the traditional publishing route, i.e., get an agent, go to the Big Six publishers, and cross your fingers? Do you want to go electronic publishing, with some of the smaller presses like Carina or Samhain, and cross your fingers? Or somewhere in between, like with Harlequin, who will accept unagented submissions but IS a big print publisher (and has imprints that will only accept agented submissions)? Once you know where you'd like to head, you'll feel a lot more comfortable about the journey. You'll have a direction, a goal, and that's a good thing.
  6. Once you've decided, read the guidelines of the agent/publisher. If they say they don't accept romance, don't send it to them. If they say they do, check their "heat levels". I write on the mild side of erotic, so I can't send it to a strictly "sweet" publisher or agent. Also check and see if what you've written fits in with any of their imprints and, if so, who you'd send your query to. (The query step will be taken care of by your agent if one agrees to work with you.)
  7. Do your homework. Don't be afraid to write to authors who write for that agent/publisher to ask their opinion. Not all will answer, but enough will to give you an idea if the fit will be right for you.
  8. When writing the query letter, mention you've completed the novel and are working on a second. This lets the agent/publisher know you're serious about your writing.
  9. Don't think your job is finished after you type the end. It's just beginning. This is your business as well as your passion, and you have to treat it as such. There's website design, blogging, social media (if it scares you, I'd suggest Facebook to start rather than Twitter), advertising and promotions, editing, monthly newsletters... LOTS of work goes into being a published author. I spend half my day writing, and the other half working on all that other stuff. How much time you put into it will be up to you, but at a minimum you'll need a website if you're accepted for publication. The readers need to know where to find you. 
  10. You have to make sure your website is easily navigated. There's nothing worse than a reader who has to ask, "Where's the books?" when you're an author. Check other author websites to see how they're doing it, and with what. Several use Wordpress; others use programs like Yahoo!SiteBuilder. Still others will pay someone to create and maintain the website. It's all up to you and what you can afford.

Scared yet? Don't be. It's the most satisfying career I've ever had, and I'll give it up when I'm five years dead and buried. Maybe not even then.

P.S.: I'm mailing Cynful to my betas first thing in the morning! WOOT!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Devil is in The Details

It may look as if progress is moving slowly on Cynful this week, but really it isn't. We're in what I call the Meat Grinder stage.

Picture Julian and Cyn going in here and coming out fabulous.

It can look like things are going really slowly, but in reality this is the part where things go quickly. What I'm doing is fixing grammatical errors, finding mistakes in continuity, and adding any scenes that should have been added from the beginning. Since I won't be able to work tomorrow due to family issues, I'll be finishing up this portion on Sunday. Then it's off to the beta readers, who will let me know whether the Meat Grinder worked or not. I'll take a look at the suggestions they send me and make the appropriate changes.

After that is the scary part. Once all of the meat grinding is done, it's time to write the synopsis and a rough blurb and send it to my editor. So far I'm on schedule. It looks like Cynful will be out the door at the end of the month, or at the latest the beginning of November.

At that point, it's just wait and see whether or not my editor wants to pick it up. Cross your fingers!

And your toes!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Contest Winner

The winner of the signed copy of Noble Blood is...

Evelyn Chung!

Congratulations, Evelyn!

P.S.: I'll be starting a contest for a download of Artistic Vision the beginning of November.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

RIP Gremlin Bell

 Gremlin had an enlarged heart, something we found out was a birth defect. He had an undetectable heart murmur that only becomes apparent when the cat has a heart attack, which Gremlin did on Saturday. When he came home from the hospital yesterday the cardiologist told us his prognosis was good, and that he could live at least another two years without problems.

He passed away this morning. I'm going to miss my dapper little man.

Favorite Quotes

"I had the right to remain silent, but I didn't have the ability." Ron White

"So let me get this straight. You want me to kill the little guys, kill the big guys, crowd control those I can't, buff the team, debuff the boss, keep myself alive, AND keep you alive, all while waving a stick and dressed in a towel?" - Anonymous Role Playing Gamer

"I think that statue over there is a statement on modern life. The statement is, "Well, shit." - Varric, Dragon Age II

"Why is it all claws and guns? Can't we piss off a fuzzy planet? Still dangerous, but hey. Bunnies." - Joker, Mass Effect

"Last night, I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and thought to myself, "Where the heck is the ceiling?" - Dilbert

"Aim at the high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you'll hit the bull's-eye of success." - Annie Oakley

"It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly." - Flemeth, aka The Witch of the Wilds, Dragon Age 2

"The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.'” - George Carlin

"I hear there's a wild bridge tournament down the street. And you know Bridge. It's a lot like sex. If you don't have a great partner, you'd better have a good hand." Barry Weiss, Storage Wars

"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." - Marcus Cole, Babylon 5, "A Late Delivery From Avalon"

"I aim to misbehave." - Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Albert Einstein

“If you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.” - Henry Ford