Sunday, January 27, 2013

Congrats to Renee for Cover Artist of the Year

I broke a hundred ratings on Goodreads this week! More reviews to come from the 9 books I gave away this month.

I'm rolling on the latest story "Clean and Floss" and having a lot of fun. I'm debating changing the name to Mr. Clean and Dr. Floss, but I have to look into trademark issues. This is going to be my shortest novel so far, an estimated 70 words. I'm at 47K words and have two majors events left in the story. Then I'll go back for the rewrite and add a lot more color/detail. I might need to expand some of the research parts.

I'm picking themes for the cover art now. I'll be working with my award winning artist in two weeks. Renee got the Preditors and Editors 2012 best artist of the year award. (round of applause) She really deserves it.

After that, I'll be planning to give away some ARCs of "Redemption of Mata Hari." None of my KDP giveaways worked--Christmas was dead. I accidentally used one of my last days on MLK day. Virtually no one downloaded this book the first month.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vulture Luck

It started with Christmas break. I'd reached the end of chapter 9 in my new story when I had to take some time off to wrap presents and play with the kids. It threw my writing schedule into a tailspin.

On 1/22-23, I'm going to use my last two days on the Mata Hari e-book in an attempt to jump start sales. The Christmas giveaway hit my all time low of 125 books in 3 days. My dad call these periods "vulture luck" where you can't kill anything and nothing will die for you. Before Christmas, I was invited to an author event at the library and ordered $100 in paperbacks to sell there. The local paper never printed the ad, and I only sold one book. The others, I'm giving away on Goodreads this month in exchange for reviews.

Then I got the flu for a week and couldn't think let alone write. When I could rub two braincells together, I decided that chapters 8 and 9 needed something more. So I researched zombies and Mormon missions. That didn't help. Relatives visited. Then I got sick for another week--different flu. As I drift off to sleep, I still hear the same Christmas carol over and over. By now, I'm convinced the story is crap. Sigh. I show it to a friend and he tells me its good except by 9 we should be at the next bit of action because the plot is dragging. I trimmed and rewrote. It still sucks.

I like when I read stuff from ten years ago and say to myself. "This is good. You were in the zone."
This week, I kept writing and it's bone dry. I say things like, "you could at least add some description so I can see well enough to be bored." For the first time is ages, I'm not feeling it. Do you remember that commercial with the talking stain? No one can hear what the job candidate is saying because the stain is talking so loud? Mine has been muttering "crap" for days.

Taking my friends' and wife's advice, I persevered. Yesterday, I got one good replacement line.

"His face was precious, showing the same horror that one of the girls in my second-grade class had when I told her glitter glue was made from My Little Pony carcasses"
Today, at last, chapter 10 is good and chapter 11 caps off the whole subsection of the book 21K words. I'm writing it in three distinct sections. Section two is a ghost story in England and I'm adapting it from an existing short story (9K words). This means I'm almost back on schedule for the cover in mid-Feb for a March release.

All it takes is one good chapter and things start to flow again. Just keep writing.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

First Giveaway Successful

As of last night, 668 people signed up to get the three copies of the "Jezebel's Ladder" paperback. Whoo hoo! These have been signed, lovingly wrapped, and sent off to their new homes. I felt so bad at the disproportionate number that I picked a handful more reviewers who signed up and offered a free ebook. Seven jumped on that, but about two said "paperbacks only." After 18 months on Goodreads, I'm at 99 ratings and 66 reviews. (4.26 average) I should break the hundred ratings barrier any day now! I believe at 500, authors qualify for discussion groups or something. My goal is to get 100 ratings a year, roughly one per title per month.

Once I have the cover updated for Mata Hari (mid Feb), I can have an ARC giveaway for it, too. I'm sure once more people read the Foundation for the Lost series, it will swell in popularity like my other series did. My standalone books, Scarab and Contagion, have been removed from Kindle Select and will be posted to Smashwords as soon as exclusivity expires.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I Write Like

My friend Katy had an interesting link on her web page today. You submit a sample of your writing and the program analyzes it and tells you who you write like.
Although I'm far from convinced of the scientific virtue, it is a fun exercise. Warning: you have to upload a significant amount of text, a few chapters. I would recommend a second chapter because the first may be skewed. For example, my first Sci Fi novel (Scarab) started like Gertrude Stein but leveled out to Cory Doctorow. He's a Canadian Sci-Fi writer I've never heard of before, but I'll have to check out "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom."
The popular Jezebel Sci-Fi series also rang up Cory Doctorow -- seems to be my Sci-Fi voice. Hmm.
My modern fantasy series (Foundation for the Lost, Mata Hari) and the spin-off horror novel in progress all came out William Gibson. I'll take that.

My dark Greek Epic from a decade ago (Contagion) was Mario Puzo. Funny, but I can see Greek gods and generals as gangsters.
Most interesting was that the Epic Fantasy series that I started 16 years ago (Doors to Eternity, Dreams of the Fallen, and Empress of Dreams) was all over the charts: Dan Brown, Jonathan Swift, and Anne Rice. I swear, this series was like a random name generator with Arthur C. Clarke and James F. Cooper popping up at points. The first two volumes were part of the same book I split in half; however, each sample being 450 pages and years apart, I could understand the shift. I took old work and edited it into shape, but it lacks coherent voice.

I guess what the analyzer means is that in the last couple decades of practice I've gradually developed two distinct voices, one for science fiction and another for modern fantasy.