Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What It's All About

Why do I write?

The odds are weighted heavily against me making a fortune at this. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of writers would make more on a minimum wage job than the money they make off of their stories. I know these odds, and yet here I sit hammering away on the keyboard. So why do it?


Because there is always that chance. Because there is that desire to put the best stuff I can out there and do the best I can with it. Because I like the fact that what I do puts me in the company of the likes of Ray Bradbury, Fritz Leiber, Edger Allen Poe, and Ernest Hemingway, even if I never see their kind of success. Because when somebody asks what I am, I can say I'm a writer. Because I used to enjoy telling stories, and now have found a better way to get them out there. Because I can actually hold up a book in my hand and say, "I wrote that."

And because I want to get read.

Even if I don't sell a lot of books and stories, I can watch every sale appear on my tracker at Amazon and know that somebody out there is reading one of my books or stories. It's an amazing feeling that I don't know how to describe. But every little bump in the numbers means I'm being read again, and that's what it's really all about. Getting read. Bringing something into this world that somebody else can hold and find value in. It's like making a tiny piece of this world mine, because I made it...and it will always be there for somebody to pick up and read.

That's what it's all about.

PS: Dear Harper Collins. If you DO suddenly decide to send supermodels waving fistfuls of cash to my front door, nothing in the above post should be construed as meaning that I would send them away. Just sayin...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Writer's Night Out

So Cherri Galbiati and I had another writer's night out. I know you guys out there must think that's all us writer's do...sit around at Denny's and talk about writing. But we do actually write and stuff. Really! She also showed me a copy of a short story she'll be putting up on Amazon.com soon. It's a charming little Christmas tale, but I shall not say anything more than that as that's not my place.

Anyways, we discussed the changing field of writing, the emerging indie market, and the different routes that writers have to choose from nowadays. It's a pretty strange field at the moment, and I don't think anybody really knows how all this is going to turn out. There are New York writers who desperately want their backlist of novels back so they can publish them independently, and there are indie writers who hope to catch the eye of a New York publisher. The grass seems to be greener all over the place, depending on who's doing the looking.

I've pretty much settled for a hybrid role at the moment. I publish with small presses and also releasing indie works. It allows for a lot of flexibility, and also lets me see the market from different sides. I can't really predict which way things are going to go (well, I could...and sure as shootin be dooming the course I predicted to utter oblivion), but I'm noticing some of the things I discussed in an earlier blog post starting to happen.

Cover artists are starting to advertise and cater to indie authors...offering good quality and low cost artwork using image editing software. I bet you will see more and more people offering editing services over time too. What's going to be interesting to see is if the market for these services end up being dominated by individuals offering their services on author forums, or if some larger service vendors form. I can see reasons for both.

Anyways, I intend to polish A Memory of Me and get a few proofs out to proofreaders, then I hope to upload it to Amazon.com at the end of the week. That will be my last novelette of the summer, and it will be time to attempt novel writing again. I'll break out my novel, and even take another look at what I've got with Argiope as well, then try to get to writing.

Onwards and Upwards...and lets get through this Monday together!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Yeah, That Went Well :P

So the Cowboys got massacred...23-7

In my previous post I wondered what food would be good for watching the football game. After watching the Cowboys humiliate themselves, I've come to realize I need food specifically designed for throwing at the television set. Something not harmful to the screen itself, but will supply me with some measure of comfort when I hurl it at the offending player or referee that has drawn my righteous ire.

 Twinkies, perhaps?

Anyways, my parents visited today and my father cut down all the limbs that hung out over the street from my badly ungroomed trees. It's a big improvement, but now reveals more of the house and yard so I will probably need to trim some bushes and such...just so the neighbors will feel like I tried,

On another front, progress with "A Memory of Me" moves forward. I'm debating trying to round up a few new proofreaders for this one, since I need people who can look at it with fresh eyes and not in contrast to what it was before. I'll give it some thought. I also need to check and see if my normal circle of proofreaders has anybody who didn't read "The Tragedy, Man." It's doubtful since back then I tended to run around waving my new manuscripts in the face of anybody unfortunate enough not to see me coming

We'll see. I'll get it proofread, one way or another.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Ideas

So, I was talking to people on the kindle boards, other authors mostly, and discussing ways to get people to know about our books. A couple of them piped up and said they had had good luck with getting reviews on book blogs. Whoah! Blogs that review books! What a concept! So I broke out my handy dandy Google machine and went in search. And they're real!

So now what?

So now I girded my loins, put on my best e-sundaysuit, and sent a few polite query letters. Believe me, it wasn't easy. The idea of sending my novel to be reviewed is scary as hell. What if they hate it? What if they give it half a star, six thumbs down, and declare it the best over the counter sleeping aid since Nyquil? And of course those reviews will stand for the rest of eternity, or the death of the internet...whichever comes first. This is scary stuff for a writer, folks.

On another front, I also got a brilliant idea while watching my kids buses smash through the low limbs that hang over the street from my front yard. I thought, "Hey, I bet I ought to cut those limbs!" So my father shall be arriving Saturday morning with his trusty limbsaw, and the buses will not need to hire a native guide with a machete to get down my street in the near future. That's two ideas on one day. Pretty good for me :)

On another front, work proceeds on "A Memory of Me." It will be ready for proofreading soon. The only problem was that it started out as a story called "The Tragedy, Man," that many of my proofreaders have already seen. It has an inserted scene, and a diffferent ending now, but will the fact that they have seen it before throw them off? I don't know. I'll have to ask them.

On yet another front, both of the kids have gotten through their first week of school and neither of their teachers have sent me emails threatening revenge. I guess they're being pretty good so far. Sheridan is actually happy and excited about his new school, and Rowan has matter of factly returned to her routines as if there never was a summer.

Last, but not least, the Dallas Cowboys play Houston tonight. There will be major awesomness at my house as I try to figure out the perfect food combination for watching it on my TV. Maybe something grilled :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Waking Up on Friday

It's another glorious Friday morning, the last day of the week. I'm sure lots of happy, shiny people across this great state are heading to work with brilliant smiles plastered across their faces. I know I would be if I had to actually get up and go to a job. Friday's are just wonderful like that.

Today, I'll start working on A Memory of Me. Now that I have the cover finished, I need to give it another good editing. I'm still not entirely happy with the climactic scene, and I think it could be done a little bigger and a little more scarily. So I guess I'm not going to be editing so much, as reading with an eye towards revision. Anyways, it needs to be done so I can get this story published in a week or two and turn my thoughts back to Khrem.

And that's just it. I have been thinking about the world of Khrem again. After I'm done with my current story, I'm going to have to pick that novel up and read it through. Yeah, I know I wrote it in the first place...but I still need to make sure my memories of it are sharp and accurate as I start plotting the sequel. And it will help me crawl back into the FEEL of that novel, so that the next one has the same ambiance and flavor. I have several ideas for the  novel...more than I can actually put in the novel itself, so one or two might actually work for the Tales of Nur series. That would be a bonus.

Ah well, here is a shout out to all you smiling people sitting down at your desks this glorious Friday, already dreaming of the weekend. It's only a few short hours away! Enjoy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Another Good Morning

 I got the kids off on their respective buses today

There are a lot of nearby neighborhood kids who are all pretty much the same age and they are congregating with their parents every morning here on the corner to meet the buses. Sheridan is delighted, because he gets to run and play with other kids before the bus arrives. I took Rowan over as well, but she didn't feel sociable and wanted to be held instead. She is used to being picked up by her bus in our driveway, and isn't always enthusiastic about change. The neighbors offerred to watch Sheridan while I waited in the driveway with Rowan if that would ease things. We shall see.

Finished a final candidate for the second Shades story yesterday (as posted earlier) Unleass I just have some stroke of genius out of the blue, that's the cover I'll go with for "A Memory of Me."

On another note, Pill Hill Press has agreed to drop the price of The Ways of Khrem to $3.99 on the Kindle! That is fantastic, and I'm really hoping this works out well for everybody. I have some promotions planned over the fall and winter, and the new price will help.

Ah well, I've got things to do and people to see.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fixed and Final Version

Tada! Now to work on the story itself.

Meanwhile, On To The Next Project...

Busy, busy, busy!

 I'm already working up cover candidates for the next and last project of mine for the summer. This is the leading contender for the story, "A Memory of Me." The story itself still needs some polish, so this will probably remain the leader until I get that done and can fully focus on cover art. I'm hoping to have this done by the end of the first week of September. Then I can set aside things like cover art work and promoting for a while, and just focus on writing.

Wednesday is Starbucks day this week. Rowans last day of morning therapy at Learning Lane is this morning, so I will be spending the morning at the nearby Starbucks...working diligently, of course. The extra caffiene helps my productivity, and I do love those Cafe Mocha's. Afterwards I will drop her off at school, which will give me two hours of peace at home.

So far, the kids seem to be enjoying school. I'm pleasantly surprised and hoping this continues. Neither of the teachers have called me, demanding reparations or anything like that yet, so I'm letting myself slide into a mood of cautious optimism here. The only bad part is that all the kids and parents nearby gather in front of my house to board the bus in the morning. My yard, of course, is a travesty of neglect and poor maintenance. This shall have to be rectified since I have to actually meet and talk to different parents every morning.

Sigh. Work, work, work!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Passage of the Coral Horn

The second of my Tales of Nur series...The Passage of the Coral Horn...is now available for the Kindle, or free downloadable kindle reader for PC. It is 10,000 words long and costs .99 cents.

Like all stories in the Tales of Nur series, it will feature places or creatures from the same world as The Ways of Khrem. In this story, a young crewman name Ros embarks on his first voyage aboard the light freighter, "Coral Horn." He is already tense, as they are being shadowed by the ruthless Tagarr, only to discover there are worse terrors out on the Cambriatic Sea.

This is the third of four projects I was working on this summer. Only one more, the second in the "Shades" series, and then I can turn my attention back to novel writing.

And Then There Were None...

Yesterday, I had the experience of having both my children off to school for the day.

I think I handled it with grace and aplomb...and went back to bed. It was glorious! Six hours of child free solitude. They could sell this stuff by the gallon! I barely knew what to do with myself...when I was conscious, that is.

Anyways, I had harbored fears over how my seven year old was going to deal with public school, after having spent first grade in a small classroom with only two other kids his age. and a lot less restrictive environment. It turns out he came home bubbling with excitement, full of tales of lunchrooms, playgrounds, and bus rides. Needless to say, that was a huge weight off my shoulders. Of course, we'll see what happens after the honeymoon period is over...but for now at least I can feel a little better about the whole thing.

Rowan's teacher wrote that she simply went right back to her old routine as if she had never left. That's another worry alleviated, as I had worried about how much she would backslide over the summer. Of course, with her going to all that therapy, it wasn't like she had been totally ignored in that department. But it's still good to know she is doing well at school too. She said "bye bye bus" yesterday when she got home, totally unprompted. That's very verbal for her.

Anyways, I also have a new story up on Amazon.com but I'll make another post about that later.


Monday, August 23, 2010

And So It Begins...

At six thirty, Karla and I will get up and start getting the kids ready for their first day of school. Naturally, being the worst parents on the planet, we just discovered that Sheridan didn't have any clean clothes and so we're now running him a midnight load of laundry. This would be sort of funny if we weren't running around town earlier tonight trying to find him all the school supplies on his list. This is the poor boys first day of public school, and he has enough worries without parents goofing things up for him and making things worse.

I hope his teacher is real understanding...and I mean REAL understanding...because between putting up with Sheridan and his airheaded parents, she is going to earn a halo before the school year is over. At least Rowan has the same teacher again as last year, and she already knows what she is in for. Miss Toni should get an honorary sainthood just for putting up with us last year, and here she is doing it again.

Hopefully we will get our act together fast.

On another note, I hit the publish button on my third independent novelette today. The Passage of the Coral Horn will soon be up at Amazon.com as the second story in the Tales of Nur series. I really worked hard to see to it that it lives up to the quality of the first one...The Barrow Wolf. It has a bit bleaker ending, but I'm crossing my fingers (actually the CMT won't let me do that anymore, so I'm doing it mentally) and hoping for the best.

That will leave me with just one of my summer novelettes left to publish. It's called A Memory of Me, and it still needs polishing, editing, and some cover work done. But all that's for another day.

For now, I wish the kids a great first day of school.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rowan's Birthday

Rowan celebrated her fifth birthday yesterday.

She's growing up, just like her brother. She has come a long way, and she still has a long way to go, but there is a growing sense of hope around the little girl. Autism is a strange condition, that varies from child to child. Considering what a lot of parents are up against out there, I know we got lucky.

She has trouble processing language, but she's bright and she's not averse to interacting with people. That's a good thing, and bodes well for her ability to learn and develop. She has been coming on lately, her therapists are optimistic, and I'm hoping for big things from her this year. We just need to redouble our efforts and help her get the most out of herself.

I think watching her blow out her own candle on the cake today, and seeing her play with her brother later, was just what I needed...especially after the gloom of yesterday. Now I'm looking forward to the coming year as an opportunity again--things to be gained,explored, experienced, and shared,  as opposed to things lost.

It's going to be a good year. I intend on seeing to it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Moving On

Yesterday was a big day for Sheridan.

First of all, we went to meet his second grade teacher at his new school. She was a very nice lady, and I hope we still like each other by the end of the year. Sheridan was all eyes, and talking a mile a minute. She got a bit of a sample of him in action, and I duly warned her of what she faced. Oh well, at least she noticed he's good natured and actually wants to please.

He was also excited to see he would be in the same class with the little neighbor boy who lives next door...who promptly warned him that the girl he'll be sitting next to is real mean, and now he's worried about that. Sigh.

But the hard part came later.

I picked him up from his current school for the last time. He had been going to this little school since one week after he was potty trained. And as he was emptying his little locker into a bag, it finally hit him. He looked around, then looked up at me...and I could see he was starting to cry.

"Dad? Will I never come back here? Ever?"

This was his first experience with "moving on." He wanted to walk around, looking at the little classroom he had known...at the walls, and shelves, and things that had been his world away from home for the greater part of his life. It was all going to be gone. This was the end.

I had told him for the past three months that he would be going to a new school at the end of the summer, but to a seven year old that is a tomorrow that is safely far away in the future. Only now it had arrived and it hurt watching him wrestle with saying goodbye to what he knew and where he felt safe. He was crying hard by the time we got out to the car.

I explained to him gently how things end in life, but that new beginnings happen also. I confess I was hurting inside pretty bad by now too. I guess I wanted him to stay a little boy forever, and this was a harsh reminder to me also that that wouldn't happen. As I said...things end. He's starting to grow up.

I did manage to get a smile out of him before sending him to bed this evening. I told him I was very proud of him for making it all the way to the second grade, and how big he was now. That seemed to help.

I just wish there words to express how much I love him.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Writers Night Out

I got the kids and wife fed and put to bed, then went out to Denny's with Cherri Galbiati for our weekly writer's night out.  Since I already had dinner, I settled for stuffing myself full of sugar in the forms of soft drinks and hot fudge sundaes. A guy has to have a little dessert now and then.

Anyways, we discussed the writing industry and the new ebook market for writers. The things a writer needs to succeed in this brave new world, and the likely demise of large bookstores in that same market. With New York cutting authors and titles, and more ebooks being sold, it's going to be harder and harder to justify those cavernous retail spaces full of dead trees. It's a business model that doesn't have a whole lot of future.

Anyways, I think it behooves me to develop the skills to be ready to operate in whichever market prevails. I started developing those skills with my first self published title, The Barrow Wolf. It went a little rocky, but I ironed the rough spots out. My second title, Death and White Satin went much better. My upcoming title, The Passage of the Coral Horn (that should be the final name for the story) will be my third venture into self publishing. Hopefully it will be my smoothest operation yet. Then with any luck, my last title that I've been developing this summer for self publishing, A Memory of Me, will go off without a hitch. Preparing these four novelettes were my boot camp to being an indie author, if that is the course I choose.

And the future is bright...for those who have skills, have options.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yes, I'm Still Waffling

Maybe I've got commitment issues...but I'm still looking at other options.

The Turn of the Coral Horn.
The Arc of the Coral Horn
The Tack of the Coral Horn
The Crossing of the Coral Horn (hmmm....)


Update: The Passage of the Coral Horn? Hmmmm...I think that might be the one I've been looking for. It also has a nice double entendre that actually fits the story.

Thursday Stuff

Well, it's been pretty much decided that The Plight of the Coral Horn will remain The Plight of the Coral Horn. Unless I have some kind of brilliant stroke of last minute inspiration, I will go to press with that title. I'm only one polish away from reaching that point, although I may hold off publishing till next week. It's only been six days since my last story hit the kindle, and I don't want to do this too fast.

I'm also back in the marketing end of things. I just bought an ad that will appear in email of kindle owners, hopefully sometime this fall. We'll see how that goes. I'm also going to prep an old story of mine, Storm Chase, and submit it to an online horror magazine. It doesn't pay anything, but I'm looking for the exposure, and the chance to direct people to either my blog or my bibliography page on Amazon.com.

It's all very mercantile and capitalistic.

On another front, there's only two days of summer left. Tomorrow is meet the teacher day at Rowan's school. She will have the same teacher as last year so there aren't going to be any surprises on that front. Miss Toni is well aware of what to expect from Little Miss Rowan, and hopefully will have her back on the straight and narrow in little time.

Then on Friday we meet Sheridan's teacher. I wonder if we ought to just start apologizing right from the get go. Cover our bases, so to speak. I can tell Sheridan is beginning to get a little tense about starting this new school, but I'm trying to keep him calm as possible about it. He's never been in a class bigger than three or four kids, and now he's jumping into public school. I know he'll adapt, but I feel sorry for the little guy. I know he'll be scared.

Oh well, lets hope for the best.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Title Anxiety

It started out as "The Fate of the Coral Horn."

Then I decided that was just a tad too trite so I borrowed from a title of a shelved project and called it "The Flight of the Coral Horn." That didn't really fit the story, and my mother is a fan of the shelved project and was worried if I borrowed from that title I would never write it. So then it became "The Plight of the Coral Horn," which is more accurate but somehow still seems to lack something. The story itself is now been through it's first polish, and is only another polish away from being publish worthy.

Yep, this officially sucks. Being a writer can be a real headache sometimes. I've had plots and stories that have refused to cooperate before, and I don't even want to go into the nightmare of writing blurbs for my stories, but this is the first time I have ever struggled so much with a title before.

But it's important.

That title is the first thing a reader sees, along with that cover. It is a one word, or one short sentence, synopsis of your story....where you have to pack as much drama as you can into a few short words that capture the essence of the story. It matters, and it's important to get it right. It's just that I've never had much trouble with them before. Heck, I often know the title of the story before I write it.

But here I sit at Starbucks, straining my poor gray cells to provide an acceptable title that doesn't sound trite, lame, or pulled out of my butt.

Sigh. It's a rotten job, but somebody's got to do it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday Doldrums

I was feeling under the weather last night, so I took some Nyquil and went to bed early.

The good side of that is that I woke up early, after a good nights sleep. That's a good thing since I need to take Rowan into therapy tomorrow morning, and she is going to be going back to school again next week anyways. I might as well start getting used to getting up earlier.

On the other hand, I feel kind of "flat." I'm not sure how to describe it other than that. It shouldn't get in the way of anything I have planned today, but I know I won't be doing a lot of running around. I'll just focus on writing, keeping the four year old from burning down the house, and maybe (MAYBE) hanging up some laundry. We'll see.

Joe Konrath once said that the four things you need for a successful book are....a good book, a good cover, a good description...and something else that I forget. (Good job, Nate) Anyways, I worry about my descriptions, or blurbs. I can't help but think they come off as a bit lame. I put a lot of effort into my writing and my covers, but I have a feeling I may not be doing myself any favors in the blurbs I'm putting up on the product descriptions.

I'll have to look into that.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to the Schedule

This is the project I will be focusing on for the next week or two. My goal is to have The Plight of the Coral Horn ready to upload by Friday, Aug 21st. I could probably have it out before then, but I don't want to publish it too close to my last release. I might even hold it for a little while.longer. I still have edits and comments from several proofreaders that I will need to incorporate, and a few revisions and edits of my own. The story has shaped up well though, and I foresee no major changes in it.

I'm also pleased with the new title and cover.

In other news, this is the last week of summer. One more week and the kids will be returning to school. This will mean five glorious mornings a week, that I will have to myself. And Monday and Fridays will be all mine till three o'clock! I'm definitely foreseeing an increase in my production. Who knows, I might even get a little housework done...although I'm not sure if Karla could take the shock. I better take it easy at first.

At least we managed to fix Karla's computer today. The kids and I thank my brother Randy for those repairs, as now we don't have to compete for our own machines. Unfortunately for the kids, Karla is bigger than them and they got a lesson in pecking orders and hierarchies this week...when Mommy's computer is busted, all the other computers can become Mommy's computer without warning. Especially if you wander away from it.
Anyways, I have my project for this week. Time to get to producing!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mini Sunday Update

I'm going to be gone today. We're taking a the main computer up to my brother to get it's motherboard replaced.

On another note, I wrote the raw first draft to the prologue to "The Lords of Khrem." It ain't much, but it shows I'm starting to drift into that mindset.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fun Places To Go With Google Maps

View Larger Map

Today I felt like taking a stroll down the main street of the ruins of Pompeii. And quess what...


Needless to say, as a usually homebound writer, this is an invaluable tool. Just one of the cool new things brought to us by the wonders of the 21st century.


So it's the day after getting Death and White Satin published, and things are pretty copacetic. It's a nice feeling getting that story out the door, and having the formatting and all turn out so well. This one isn't going to require the constant repairs to get it up to snuff like The Barrow Wolf did. So I'm in a pretty good mood at the moment.

I celebrated by going to see Scott Pilgrim vs The World. It's a good movie, but it will sort of make an old fogie feel like an old fogie. The world has changed and the movies geared at this current generation of teens and twenties ain't like the ones of the eighties. But it was fun, and I recommend it...unless you're an old fogie. And this time I managed to go to the movies without losing either my wallet OR my keys. Pretty good for me.

Now I think I'll spend the weekend reading other writers work. It will be a nice change for me, because I actually don't read that often. I used to read voraciously, but that was a long time ago. I just have to try and get out of editing mode, and just read the story for itself. We'll have to see if I can actually do that. Then next week I start editing the next Tales of Nur story. I've tentatively changed the title to The Test of the Coral Horn...but now that I'm actually reading it on the screen in front of me, it looks like the stupidest title yet. I'll have to work on that. I've got a week or two.

Oh well, that's it for now.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Annnnddd....It's HERE!

Shades: Death and White Satin is now available for download on the kindle, or the free kindle reader for the PC. This grim little tale marks my second venture into indie publishing, where I was responsible for every step of the process...from writing the story and creating the cover, to formatting it for the kindle. It has been a very educational experience, and I think I'm really getting the hang of this.

Writers Night Out

Cherri Galbiati and I had our weekly writers night out at Denny's last  night. We discussed all the ramifications of all the recent developments in the field of writing, and are now both immensely wiser on the subject than when we started...or at least a lot fuller of caffiene than when we started. Notes were compared and future plans discussed, along with speculating on the whole point of writing.

What is the whole point of writing?

I know that initially I had plans for one of the big publishing houses to send supermodels to my front door in order to carry me off on a litter made of cash. I realized pretty quick that wasn't going to happen, so why do I still do it? It took some thinking, but I think I've come to the conclusion that the real reason is "legacy."

Years from now, these stories I write will still be out there on the internet, or sitting in bookshelves in some peoples homes. Even after I'm gone, my voice and ideas will be there for other people to read and make of it what they will. My kids, and grandkids, and descendents beyond that can all point to those books and say "I'm related to him." I can be a part of their lives long after I'm gone.

It's like I've built my own form of pyramid for the ages...which when you think about it is a pretty cool idea. If I get rich I don't want a tombstone. I want a pyramid...with LED lights one the sides that can flash messages and pictures. Not a big one, mind you. Maybe fifteen or twenty feet tall. That's all. Nothing ostentious. But that's another idea for another blog post.  I'll work on that one.

For now, it's off to bed so I can get up and get the boy registered for school tomorrow. That way he won't spend all autumn at home with me, wondering why homeschooling seems to consist of fetching drinks from the fridge and doing Dad's housework.

Ah well, good night.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


In the next day or two I hope to upload the first story of the Shades series, Death and White Satin. The final cover is finished and ready to go, and I've started the process of converting the story to html and looking over it. I've just got to decide whether I want to upload it on a Friday or Monday.

The house is currently clean, which is really nice. Karla was home today, and the lady who cleans our house showed up as well. I had my usual, and quite natural, response to all that housework going on by falling asleep on the day bed. It's a guy thing. We can't help it.

Anyways, now it's late and I'm wide awake. So I'm going over options and getting my latest story ready for the kindle. With a little luck, I'll have five titles under my name on the kindle store by mid September. Then it's time to write the next novel.

BTW...The Barrow Wolf  and Death and White Satin are both novelettes. That's a story that weighs in between 7,500 words and 17,500 words. That seems to be the range I write comfortably in as my next two stories also fall between 6,500 and 8,000 words. It was always an effort for me to keep them shorter than that, but that's what many anthologies wanted. So I usually set five thousand words as my target. I will still do so from time to time, because I think that's good practice to stay in.

Meanwhile, my cat is crying around the house. Caraboo (the aforementioned cat) has been very insecure since being left at the vets over the course of our vacation. She spends the entire night in bed with me, and gets to yelling if she discovers herself alone in a room. I guess she'll settle down soon. She sure has been affectionate though. It's kind of nice.

UPDATE: The publish button has been pressed. Hopefully Death and White Satin will be available sometime Friday or Saturday. I'll be sure to announce it once it goes live and I make sure it looks right.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Whoah! It's Wednesday Again!

Yeah, like it's been Wednesday for two days in a row!

I think it's time I come back from my vacation and join the rest of the world. Being gone seriously messed up my internal calender. But my computer assures me it's really Wednesday today, so I'll take it's word for it.

Anyways, today I will be taking Rowan to her morning therapy (like I do every Wednesday...duh!) and wait for her at the nearby Starbucks that has internet access. I will probably (hopefully) use the time to continue editing my next story, Death and White Satin, that I intend to publish in a week or so. I've already gone through it, weeding out tons of "was's," "thats," and "hads." It's shaping up well though, and I've actually made a few sentences better. It might very well be the scariest story I've written.

Anyways, then I've got to look into a couple of other things. EPIC is holding it's annual eBooks award, and I need to get The Ways of Khrem entered into that...if I can figure out how. And the deadline is the fifteenth, which doesn't leave a whole lot of Wednesdays to get it done. (yeah, I've pretty much run that joke into the ground.)

I've also got to finish getting the kids registered for school. If I don't the poor little buggers won't get educated. Even worse, they'll be home with me all day. Augh!

Oh well, that's it for now. Have a nice Wednesday! (again)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wednesday Follies

Wow, that was some article yesterday. I'm going to sprain brain cells if I keep attempting things like that. I better take it easy on the few I have left.

Anyways, today I have to register the seven year old. I know that sounds kind of odd, but that's what they expect you to do with kids nowadays. I gotta go to the local school and assure them that he is pathenogenic free, seven years old, and comes from a house with a local electric bill. You would think for all that they would give me tags for him or something.

Now the fun part of all this is that I'm going to be attempting to register him while toting along his autistic, four year old sister. Of course, he is not going to be there and will miss all this fun...which is probably just as well since I'm sure whatever contributions he would have to the situation would most likely result in me pulling out all my hair anyways. My follicles will be emperiled enough as it is.

After that, I've pretty much got the day off (Thank God, I'll need it.) and I guess I will try and figure out which writing project to tackle next. I suppose it's time to get back to work on the first "Shades" story, Death and White Satin, so that I can publish it in two weeks. I did a little reworking on it's cover last night.

Oh well...busy, busy, busy!

(note to self) When self publishing, editing is more important than ever. I can't keep republishing the same story every time I stumble across an error.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Whither Publishers?

A couple of interesting developments in the field of writing lately.

1. Amazon.com recently announced that the majority of their business in books is now in ebooks. More people are now reading their books on their kindles and computers than ordering their physical counterparts.
2. Dorchester Publishing, a mass market romance publisher, has just announced they will be dropping the traditional print publishing model in favor of ebooks and print on demand.

Ebooks are the future...and they are a future where the author has direct access to the market if he is willing to go it alone. And there are lots of authors doing just that. So the question I've heard floated around recently is, "Do publishers have a future? Do they serve any real purpose?"

The simple answer to those questions is...Yes.

As the market changes, those publishers who adapt to the new realities will survive. The larger ones who continue to try and preserve their roles as gatekeepers will be the ones that suffer the most, since the reality is the walls have been knocked down all around the gate they're trying to keep. But I still view them with worry as I can envision them trying through legal or corporate means to put the genie back in the bottle and causing a lot of mischief before they fail. My biggest worry is some kind of business arrangement being made with Amazon.com where they only carry works by publishers on the kindle, in return for bigger profits on the books by publishers that they sell. I know that sounds paranoid, but I can imagine that idea being bounced around at the top offices of Random House or elsewhere. I think such an effort would be doomed to fail, eventually, but it's just evil enough I could envision somebody trying it.

Oh well, outside of paranoid scenarios, I still think publishers have a role in the business. I think it's an emerging threefold role in the coming market, and the publishers who realize that and work with it will be the ones who prosper. Those three roles will be...

1. Replacing their roles as gatekeepers with roles as guaranteers of quality. In the new market where anybody can publish anything, there is going to be a lot of dreck out there. Reputation will start to become a very important thing as readers learn to view each new ebook with suspicion, wondering if it's just another poorly edited and formatted  work thrown out there in hopes of a quick buck. Publishers can use their names as a seal of approval, for works worthy of that.

2 Not all authors are going to be either tech savvy enough, or confident enough, to go the route of self publishing. They will always prefer the security of a publisher between them and the market. I don't foresee there ever being a dearth of writers who just don't want to deal with non writing stuff. Thats a trait shared by a large number of writers. This role is different from publishers who view themselves as gatekeepers...this type of publisher will view themselves as enablers.

3.Even authors who can self publish, could find the services of a publisher useful. First of all, there is the editing. A publisher who offers editing and other services could build a clientele of self published authors. Same with cover work. Not all self published authors can just whip up their own covers. And of course theres that process of getting a copyright and stuff like that. A savvy small publisher could develop good relationships with self published authors while selling them their services. I think relationships will be an important part of the future between writers and publishers.

So the three new roles that the new market will need are quality guaranteer, enabler, and service provider. The publishers who adapt and rise to meet those needs will be okay. Those standing around guarding gates out in a lonely field somewhere will probably not do as well.

Also, there are times when even a competent self publishing author might feel a particular project would be best served being published under a trusted publishers name. I know a lot of self published authors view publishers in an adversarial light, but I think that's short sighted. I believe that small publishers and writers, even self published writers, have a lot to offer each other and having a good relationship with each other would benefit both of them. Even though I'm getting better and more comfortable with self publishing, I can think of several situations where I might still prefer to use a publisher. It's all a matter of having the right fit for the right project.

Sunday Things and Stuff

Woohoo! I got my new cover for The Barrow Wolf up on Amazon.com. It's a big improvement over the old one. Looks much more professional.

I stayed out late at Denny's with Cheri Galbiati, getting caught up after vacation and talking about writing. Lots of theorizing on the future of publishing, ebooks, bookstores, and whatnot. Changes are coming like an avalanche in this business, and I want to be ready to move with those changes. I have some thoughts on that I think I shall devote my next post too.

But for now, I'll settle for simply reporting that we had a great conversation and also managed to be a little productive. We each read what the other is currently working on and gave a little advice. Useful stuff.

On another note, the Dallas Cowboys play tonight...which means that autumn is officially here even though it's early in August. The wonders of NFL football have returned to bring joy and life to my HDTV. Weekends have been a bit of a wasteland without that Sunday game to give it all meaning...but now it will be alright.

Anyways, it's 2:30 AM and I need to get to bed. I just wanted to blog so my mother wouldn't think I was dead in a ditch somewhere. G'nite!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Back To It.

So I'm home.

Almost dead from...err...reinvigorated from my vacation, I wasted little time in getting back to work on writing. I reworked the html on The Barrow Wolf and re-uploaded it and a new cover to Amazon DTP. The results should show up in about 48 hours. I'm learning this stuff slowly.

Of course, these days I learn everything slowly.

If this works right, then I will start to work on the next kindle project...Shades: Death and White Satin. I could have that up in two weeks and move straight on to the next Tales of Nur story, the one about the Coral Horn (I'm still not happy with it's current name). Then I could work on the cover art for the other Shades story and maybe have it out before the end of Sept. Finally I could turn my full attention to the next Ways of Khrem. My goal is to have a semi polished first draft of that by New Years.

That will give me a grand total of one novel and six short stories/novelettes on the year. I've done better, but you never know...I might squeeze out another story or two on the side yet. The main thing is to keep the quality up.

Oh well, back to the grind :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We have returned.

The kids are parked in front of the TV or the kids computer, and Karla has taken the main machine to Best Buy for the Geek Squad to look at. We came home to a clean house, but a computer on the fritz. Oh well, as old as that machine is, replacement parts will be dirt cheap.

It's just good to be home. Surrounded by my comfortable house that fits me like a glove...rather worn glove that needs a new floor and lots of yardwork, but that's okay too. It's just good to be back, and we have the whole weekend to settle back in.

I think I will try and republish the Barrow Wolf tomorrow with it's new author's note and cover. That will give me a refresher on Amazon DTP so I'll be ready to publish the other stories coming soon.

Oh, and the Dallas Cowboys play tomorrow night. The gods of autumn are smiling upon us, for football season has returned! Hooray!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Staying In

We aren't going anywhere this last day of the vacation. I'm just not up to it. So I've settled for bringing Sheridan down to the little lunchroom and gameroom here at the resort, while Karla takes Rowan out to do a little shopping. That way the kiddo's don't feel cheated but I'm not run entirely into the ground.

It's a compromise, but the kiddo's were too sunburned to go back to the water park anyways.

Tonight, Karla will take Sheridan out to play a little miniature golf because he's been asking for that all week. Then we will be leaving for home first thing in the morning.

Ah, home.

It has a certain musical quality, doesn't it. A sweet, welcoming destination that calls me with a melodius voice. I'm ready to crawl into my own bed.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hitting the Wall

My online friend and fellow Charcot Marie Tooth sufferer, Lenka, describes it as "hitting the wall." It's when you have pushed yourself to far, and the meager resources of your body are simply exhausted.

That's pretty much where I am now.

The family vacation continues, but my contributions to it are steadily declining. The past two days we have taken the kids to the water park at Moody Gardens. This lets the three of them (two kids and a wife) frolic in the water while I sit on rock and watch. That's about all I have left in me anyways. Even the stairs to my resort now take a special effort of will when I come back in the evening. We were considering another day at the park, but the kids came home too red this evening. We'll have to figure out something else tomorrow.

Then it will be time to head home.

I hope the weekend is long enough for me to recuperate from this.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hubba Hubba!

Now this handsome fellow is somebody you don't see very often.

This is mainly due to the fact he is always the one operating the camera. Karla just doesn't do electronics, and the kids aren't old enough yet. So pictures like this are the only way there is ever going to be proof that I'm even along for these vacations.

Today we did Moody Gardens. We did the Rainforest Pyramid, the Aquarium Pyramid, the IMAX, the Discovery Pyramid, and the Butterfly Maze. Since we got a two day pass, we'll be back tomorrow to do the Rainforest Pyramid, the Aquarium Pyramid, the IMAX, and the Butterfly Maze. Yeah, we got this stuff down to a science. I can already hear the seven year old complaining, "But we saw this yesterday!" I'll take my time tomorrow and look towards taking photographs that might be useful for photo manipulation and cover uses.

I've done a lot of walking, but so far I'm holding up well.  I've been careful to take breaks and rest as much as possible. I'm sore, but I was expecting to be in a lot worse shape than I am. After tomorrow, we will be spending two days at the water park which will probably be less of a physical drain on me. Since I can't go in the water, and I'll be avoiding the sand, my job is pretty much to find a seat somewhere and watch.

I can do that. But first one more day at the Pyramids!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Family Adventure: Day 2

I slept in on day 2.

Apparently all the heat and walking at Kemah took a lot out of me. That's got me thinking about a future project. I'll mull it over for a few days before posting it, but for now I'll just carry on carrying on.

After a nearly noon shower and a can of caffiene, I went with my family out to the Rainforest Cafe and then the Galveston Strand. Both are a tradition that we do every year. This year we ran into some turbulence, though. Rowan suddenly decided she was scared of the Rainforest Cafe jungle ride. It's never bothered her before, but with autism theres always a new surprise around the corner. Then she turned out to also be scared at the cafe itself when the lights would darken and they would have their tropical rainforest storm. Hmmmn...this could be a problem in the future.

Then we took a walk up and down one of the streets of the Strand. This piece of historic Galveston has shops and eating places in the old downtown. We stopped at a candy store and I loaded up on chocolate...just what my waistband needed. We checked a few other stores out, but it was hot and we were pretty low on energy. So we made an early day of it and came back to the resort.

I made dinner while allowing Karla to take my laptop down to the resort activity center so she could have a little internet time. I know I'm taking an awful chance, and my laptop may come back choking and hacking from virus infestation, but it's a chance I've decided to take. Yes, I'm not only a writer but I'm a wonderful and thoughtful husband too. Go me!

Tomorrow will be Moody Gardens. I don't know if it will be the water park there, or the pyramids. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I'll try and check in tomorrow night.