Monday, March 31, 2014

03/31/2014 Magnificent Monday!

So far I want to question my title for my Monday posts. It's Monday, is it really Magnificent? I'm super tired. That's normal though when I work on Saturday and have one day off on the weekend though. I'm still tempted to change it to <Date> and then Monday, yup, it's the first day of the work week! At least I have a smattering of days off in April...

Speaking of April, there is going to be so much going on this month it's going to be crazy awesome! I am super excited! 'Rending the Seal' will be released, and while I wish I could give you a date, I know there will be a big sale for it during the craft fair, but hopefully it'll be out a little bit before then to drum up some publicity. There is a craft fair, at which I plan on dragging my printer/scanner with me so people can easily get prints made for them there, and also all that anniversary stuff.

I get to start work on my printed copy of 'Through the Broken Mirror' today and I could not be more excited. I know I should take a break, but I really want to dive in while I'm still motivated. I have my pink pen all ready to mark the crap out of it. I know I need to make time to get 'Feathers of the Dead' into my computer, but I figure once I get through that part of editing I'll do that. I don't want to risk losing track of my copy. My cat likes to cause me to accidentally hide things from myself.

Also found out that in July, Rifftrax Live is going to be riffing 'Sharknado' I'm fairly certain that means part of my life has been completed. Not to mention that I looked at my scheduled and found out that since I work that Saturday, I'll have the Thursday of the movie off, I am calling it all a form of some comedic destiny. That is going to be a ridiculously fun night. I can't wait!

I need to apologize for my lack of really anything consistent lately on Fridays. I don't know what happened to change my schedule so much after I was sick, but it is really hard to find anything. I do think part of it is that I prefer to get free titles for the reviews, and there has been, at least it seems like to me, a distinct lack of any that pull me in. I also try to get ones that I can read through before putting up and some of the free titles I'm finding are ridiculously long (like 100,000's of words long) and while I am a fast reader, I am not that fast. I am trying to be better, but I feel really bad, like I'm breaking a promise or a commitment to my readership when I'm not able to deliver. I'm sure there is the option to find something earlier in the week and save it for later, but unfortunately with the way my schedule works I don't really have that kind of time. My after-work time is designated primarily for letting my brain not feel like it's focused on anything, and with how frequent my migraines are there is a fairly good chance that by the time I can't home reading isn't a physical option anyway. I will try to do better, and I am really sorry.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. Once I have everything ready for 'Rending the Seal' I will do a big release date announcement. Currently the images for the cover art are with my cover-art-artist-designer-lady-whom-I-pay-with-food (did you think I made that stuff up?) and we are just trying to figure out the final touches before everything is put together. April is going to be awesome! Have a great start to your week!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

03/26/3014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I am hoping today will be better than yesterday. So far so good in that my ability to see isn't hampered by terrible sharp awful head-stabbing migraine pains. I took far more than the recommended dose of Excedrine yesterday and that pretty much didn't work. That was fun. It was interesting to learn that the exhaustion caused from the migraine beats out the two and a half cups of coffee worth of caffeine though, so I was able to sleep. I'm expecting another one to hit today, I'm just hoping it's not nearly as bad.

I've started gathering up images for 'Rending the Seal's cover. Or what will hopefully one day be the cover. I am not a cover-artist. I don't have the program that lets me be a cover artist nor a computer to run it on (I live on a laptop and I don't like running Adobe programs on it out of fear it will catch on fire and melt) so as you all may know I am forced to pay people in food to make them for me once I get the images together. Since we are getting close to that time I wanted to take a quick look at that today.

I keep mentioning that despite that whole 'you can't judge a book but its cover' additive you've heard since you were like two years old, that doesn't mean your cover isn't important. In fact I think that when you're working with ebooks it's even more important. Look at it like this, let's say you're in...I'll say Barnes and Noble because I can't think of anywhere else, and you find a book with an interesting title. The cover looks...a bit oh the weird side, so you turn the book over, read the synopsis, and decide to still give it a shot because it still sounds interesting. That's where the not judging stuff comes in.

Now with an ebook things get a little more difficult. Typically people on the internet are doing at least two things at the same time, sometimes more, and this is in addition to shopping. The other thing to keep in mind that unlike shopping in the 'real world' in order to look at the synopsis of the book, generally a link that will bring them to another page must be clicked. These are all downsides in the world of the internet. If your title and your cover aren't interesting enough they will overlook your book without a second thought. They aren't judging it, they just haven't found the thing they think is super awesome about it.

I'm not saying the cover has to be able to punch them in the face to get their attention (that technology doesn't exist yet) but it does have to be eye-catching enough to do almost the same thing. Use light to your advantage, help it draw the eye up to the title, and also make sure that it has something to do with the story/title because if your story is about ships in space going on this epic journey and you have a dinosaur bone on the cover, and there aren't any dinosaurs or references to them in the story, it's going to be weird and feel like a let-down.

Covers need to be planned just as must as any other part of your story. Even if you don't make them yourself, have an idea of what you want going into it before just throwing stuff at whoever is going to make it. There are several royalty-free image sites that have collections of stock images that can be used that are cheap too. If you're writing a series, try to also keep font consistent between the works so that the readers can easily tell there is a connection (other than the author name) it just makes things look nice. It all can be done, it's just the last little bit of work you need to do before uploading everything to the world.

Thanks for stopping by. I'm hoping Friday will be nice enough to me to have a decent posting. I hope everyone's week is going well and that the rest is fun and happy too. For now I will leave you to it, have a great rest of the week!

Monday, March 24, 2014

03/24/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope the weekend was nice to you. Mine was far too short and it is much too early, but other than that I am surviving. I have my copy of 'Frozen' and 'How to Fight the Presidents' so at least those things make everything right in the world. I didn't get to watch the movie nearly as many times as I had wanted, but I'll have Thursday off to make up for it.

This week also continues, and hopefully concludes, the editing of 'Rending the Seal'. It's been a long and seemingly forever taking road, but I will be super happy once its done. Once I can finally say there's nothing more to be done with it, I can start gathering up stuff for the cover-art. I have a vague idea of what I want to be on it, at least in the foreground, I just need to figure out the background, because I am at a loss there. I know it'll be super cool and awesome in the end, I just need to get it to the 'putting the pieces together' stage of that puzzle.

During one of the break moments I had, as I mentioned before I started putting 'Feathers of the Dead' into a Word document. I didn't  get far, but man that felt good. I am really looking forward to getting more work done on that story, and also being able to work on 'War of the Pantheons' much, much later. I had started putting that one in a notebook, and have like...maybe a chapter or two in it, but in the end I think a majority will just be typed directly into the document. It'll be nice.

I have 'Through the Broken Mirror' printed and ready to begin it's second stage of editing too. That'll start once everything is done with 'Rending the Seal' I think. I really don't want the gap between those two books to be as large as the ones with 'The Light Rises' so I am working as hard as I can to prevent that. While that does mean that my life is nothing but an endless sea of editing, I think it will be worth it.

In other news, I am still working on getting ready for the craft fair. It will be April 24th and I'm hoping, really hard to have everything ready for that day. If I magically discover that my scanner does actually make pretty awesome copies (which I think it might) I'll be bringing that with me this time around. I think that will help sales because people won't need to order prints, I can just hand most of them right to them. There will still be some that are too big for it, but still, that's like 90% that I can use, including the cards.

All in all things are going smoothly. That is nice considering that other things are still a bit crazy. Trying to keep focused it kind of hard, but I'm managing (stupid head) somehow. For now though, I will be off. I will be back on Wednesday. If there is a topic you'd like for me to address, please let me know and I'd be happy to look into it. Thanks for stopping by, see you all again soon!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

03/19/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope this week is treating you well. If you live in the Western Washington area, please keep your chin up, I know yesterday morning was really scary and really shocking, but we're all good people (how we all came together for the Super Bowl proved that) and that means we can get through this too. My thoughts go out to the friends and families of the crash victims and the survivor who is recovering still. Right now, let's talk about fun (well I think they're fun) things!

So writing stuff! Ok we're done! Haha, no that would be the weakest post ever, and I've done some weak posts. I pulled out my notebook for 'Feathers of the Dead' yesterday because I know I need to start moving that to a digital format and it was strange, even though it is technically already written, it felt nice to do something that felt like writing again. I feel like I've been editing for an eternity (and will keep doing so for another one) so just doing something different is nice. It was just strange how it felt though so I thought we'd look at that today.

Writing should be fun, and don't let anyone tell you something different. If you look at it as tiring, or work, or some level of difficult to the point of exhaustion you are going to burn yourself out. Editing is where a lot of the leg work comes in, but even still there should be some level of excitement that comes with it because you are getting close to the completion stage. Also there are some people who get this ridiculous thrill from editing...I don't understand how their brains work and I don't think I ever will. Going back to actually writing something though was like lifting a weight that felt like had been there for months and even if I only typed out about a page and a half, it was great. It should feel like that about 80% of the time for anyone. I say 80% because let's face it, sometimes you just have a crappy day and I don't want to seem unrealistic.

Granted there are people for whom writing is their full-time job. I am first of all, wicked jealous they have an income that can support that because what I make from my books super isn't enough to do that. Second, if you're able to do that and not get burned out, I say go for it. Personally I'm someone who needs their hobbies and crafts and fun things that I do on the side to stay that way. I go to writing when my work has me to the point of wanting to kill something so I can relax. If that was my job I wouldn't know where to go when I needed to relax because what would normally be my outlet WOULD be my job. That could just be me though and I am not exactly the shining example of normal.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that if you're writing a book or whatever type of writing you do, if should be enjoyable. It should make you happy and should help you relax on some level when you're doing it. If it makes you more stressed out while you're trying to work, then there is a problem. It's not about thinking what other people will potentially think of your story, because frankly who cares what they think. You're writing your story for you and the feeling of satisfaction that comes for finishing it, not what theoretical commentators are going to say. Do what makes you happy, and hopefully writing will do that.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. Hopefully things will do well and I will also be back on Friday. For now I hope the rest of the week treats you well. If you have any questions or comments or anything feel free to leave them. Have a great day!

Monday, March 17, 2014

03/17/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! Happy St. Patrick's Day as well! This has always been one of my favorite holidays ever since I was a kid. I guess coming from an Irish home that would happen. It was always a super fun day, even if I couldn't drink and my mom and I would get a card from my grandmother on my dad's side (not to him though) wishing us Happy St. Patrick's day because we are her Irish girls. My father has Irish on his side too, but even my grandmother says it wasn't enough for her standards. Good times.

Phase One of editing for 'Through the Broken Mirror' is completed and my plan had been to get it printed on Sunday, but I forgot and there was an impromptu family lunch that happened instead. Now I will be forced to wait until at least Saturday to get it printed out because Staples has the world's most inconvenient hours. It's stupid, I mean sure their hours are those of normal businesses and I understand that the hours I work are not those of the average worker, but in general stores are open until 9, not 7. Maybe I'll see if they can upload and deliver it...

I do like making progress, especially when things are going a bit crazy. I won't go into detail, partially because there are a lot that I still don't have. However one of them is that I believe I am developing a tolerance to my migraine medication, which is about as much fun as you'd expect. I am still pushing through though...somehow.

In better news, I like cats? I think I am ready to start looking at them again for adoption. Thoth needs a friend and while I miss Alik with all my heart and soul, it doesn't fill me with sadness all over to look at cats and think about having them anymore. I don't know how long it'll be before that happens, but I think that process will begin soon-ish.

For now I hope you all enjoy this super fun day but still make sure to be safe about it. St. Patrick's Day is also known for its ridiculousness all over. Be safe and I hope you are all having fun on whatever projects you're working on. Feel free to post about them there, I'd love to hear about them! Have a great start to your week!

Friday, March 14, 2014

03/14/2014 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I do not have a lot of time for a big review/post thing, but I didn't want to leave you all empty-handed again. I feel really bad that's been happening so often.
Please go check out 'Fionn: the Stalking Silence' by Brian O'Sullivan. It's his interpretation of a piece of Irish folklore/historical document and I think you would all find it rather interesting. It's about a woman working to overcome her fears to fight and project her unborn child. I wish I had time to go into more detail, but sadly the clock is against me.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you get a chance to check out the author's story and I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

03/12/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I'm glad you were able to stop by today and I hope the week has started off by being nice to you. I have started it by desperately just wanting to sleep all day, which still sounds incredibly tempting, but all this 'responsibility' and 'work' stuff that I apparently have to do is getting in my way. Stupid March and it not having any real holidays.

So I've been sucked into this game where you create plagues to destroy the world. It's fascinatingly addictive and surprisingly difficult. However one of the things that always catches me is that in the beginning you can name your disease, and of course I pick something absolutely ridiculous (I destroyed the world last night with Pegasus Eggs, it was awesome), but that got me thinking about other things, which is why naming stuff will be today's topic!

I've mentioned before how a name can make or break something whether it be a world feeling or just the emotion of the immediate scene. If you're writing a touching romantic moment it would be really awkward to have someone's name be Corkstab McHithbottom, and not just because that's weird to type in general. It would completely cause your brain to become derailed in the middle of reading. Sure it would make sense if you were putting that in some action sequence (I'm picturing a pirate ship or an old-timey train for some reason...) but in a romantic 'The Notebook'-esque standing-in-the-rain moment, that would just be weird.

Names are everything, but sometimes just figuring them out is the hardest thing to do. Especially for your main character because their name is going to be the one that follows you the most, and if you end up hating it halfway through the story it is going to be absolutely terrible. It needs to be a name that fits their personality, makes sense with how they look, and matches the other characteristics that you have in mind for them. Now sure, can you give them the name Angela Lightheart and have your story be about how she discovers she's actually the daughter of a nephalim, if you wanted to be that person who does such a thing. I'm not saying that a play on words isn't fun sometimes (I STILL love Remus Lupin FOREVER, I felt so STUPID for those 5 minutes) but sometimes...I don't know, once in a while I get a kick out of them (see previous statement) other times when I feel like I'm being beaten over the head with a complete lack of anything I get annoyed. Maybe if it's the main character is when it drives me crazy the most? I don't know, Professor Lupin is the best!

Something else to keep in mind, and this is something that (for some reason) dawned on me suddenly while working on 'Through the Broken Mirror' is that while people's names may not always be exactly attributed to what their job is, like Billy Evilguy, but maybe their parents had hoped they would have normal lives and wouldn't grow up to want to rot the world's food supply. I named one of the antagonists Gus, and at first that was a placeholder because at the time I literally couldn't think of a single thing better. Then I got to thinking 'You know...his mom probably didn't know he'd do all this stuff. She probably thought about how perfect her baby boy was and how he was going to grow up to do all sort of perfect things, and his name is actually Augustus, and that is a strong, awesome and kickass name for a leader!' It wasn't like she knew he would run a carnival as a ringmaster and do other plot-spoilery stuff. So the name ended up staying, since it make him seem more like a normal person who was thrown into a much bigger situation (and the Augustus stuff I literally just discovered, please don't make fun of me) and I thought it was neat.

Remember to make sure that your names are things that aren't going to make you want to punch someone every time you type it. I think I already said something to that extent, but I do mean it. Sometimes if a name is just too long or just to out of place it makes putting in scenes with that characters into a chore. That isn't what you want to have happen. Honestly I assume the reason JK Rowling gave Voldemort his name is because she got sick and tired of putting in 'He Who Cannot Be Named' anytime he was mentioned. That would drive me crazy and I would end up deciding 'screw it, dude gets a real name or I give up on everything'. I'm sure that's not what actually happened, but you get my point about the getting sick of typing in something part.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. With all hope I will be back on Friday. Hopefully there won't be something else that prevents me. I also hope the rest of the week is super nice to all of you so have a great time!

Monday, March 10, 2014

03/10/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I apologize for Friday, though if you saw my post on twitter I'm sure you understand what happened. Every year at least one or three buildings have a problem with ants and we apparently got to see the earliest sign of it. There was a lot of swearing from me and a demand to find the Ant-Murder-Spray (as I call it) and so far they haven't come back. I like to tell myself it's because they can smell the massacre that happened, but it may also be the rosemary and the peppermint. I really hate ants.

My editing quest continues. I am around page 70 (I think? The document had to close due to computer needing to update but that number sounds about right) of 'Through the Broken Mirror's first full read-through and so far that's going well. I still like how that story flows and I haven't run into anything that I find atrocious yet, so that's nice. I don't know if it'll get any longer/shorter in the end, but we'll see. I know there's a bit more detail I want to go into at the very end, but that won't be more than a few words, maybe a paragraph at the most.

With the craft fair coming up toward the end of April it would be great to have 'Rending the Seal' ready for everyone by that time, but I don't know if it's going to be the case or not. I still have a couple beta-readers out and I'll also need to get things together for the cover art, and sadly one of the pieces will need to be done as line-art because high-rez images of what I'm looking for don't actually exist. We'll see though, just because it's not happening this second doesn't mean it's not going to happen at all. The cover-art part is true though, stupid Seal of Solomon.

They've added a couple more distributors recently to the Smashwords list, so go check them out. I don't know a whole lot about them, but if you use their systems or access them to get ebooks to your devices then this is great news for you! There's been a few of them, and I don't know all of their names yet other than Scribd, but check them out and see what's there. I love how Smashwords reaches out to so many other distributors, it really makes it feel like the books are reaching a large potential audience. I don't know how they compare to Amazon, but sadly with Amazon's proprietary agreement in their Terms of Use I don't like feeling restricted like that.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. Daylight savings time hit me like a truck so I am only about 40% awake right now. I'm hoping that gets better as the day progresses, but we'll see. I'll be back on Wednesday though and I'm super looking forward to Tuesday as I get to hang out with our fraud department for a while. I'll see you then though! Have a great start to your week!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

03/05/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back. It's still Read An EBook Week at Smashwords, so be sure to stop on by and check out all the books that are available for the sale. I'm sure you'll be able to find something super awesome that you'll like! To take a look and tell everyone you know about it to help drum up some traffic!

My brain is still on editing, because well..that is who I am now. I wish I had an option to be something else, but sadly I do not. Maybe I will someday! However, I understand that doesn't mean that all of you are like me, and I don't want to punish you for that, it just really doesn't seem fair. So let's say that you want to write something, and you've done shorter things in the past, but now you want to go for the big, epic, ridiculousness that is a story that's over 150 pages. You think you have it all planned out, but then you sit down and you realize that you don't think you're going to be able to do it. Hopefully I can help you there.

I used to do shorter things, and sometimes I still do (when I have the time, remember, editing is who  I am now...) but my series is primarily all stories that are over 150 pages. I don't want to give the advice of just 'put in some filler and be done with it' because filler isn't always good. Think about when you watch your favorite TV series, while it would be great if all of the episodes were 100% good, there are always those few that have nothing to do with the plot that you could really skip because they are just kind of boring. Those are filler. There are some shows that handle filler quite well and end up giving you some kind of important information while still being kind of fun, especially after some kind of emotional upheaval (Supernatural is a good example of this) try to think about those if you think filler is going to be your answer. I don't necessarily think that is going to be the way to go though.

Not to say you won't put any filler in. It's going to be there. Whether it's just a character doing something a normal person would do in order to show that they still have some kind of life they are trying to desperately hold onto, or a new character introduction, or trying to give character growth by showing them something new. It's going to happen. However that doesn't mean that's the only way to get to the page count you're looking at. Maybe put in an internal monologue for the character you're focusing on, or put in a conversation where they talk about their backstory a bit more. In the real world people don't always offer up that information, so having a main character questioned by someone else about it will be a way for the reader to learn about a character without it being thrown at them in the beginning by a large paragraph of exposition. It's not like people just walk around thinking about how their parents live in upstate New York, play golf and travel a lot while they are stuck in Manhattan working a full-time job to pay bills while also going to school. That's not something that's generally on the front of someone's mind all the time.

There's also a chance that certain aspects of the world could be explained more or better. Maybe the mechanics about how a specific piece of metaphysics works, or type of scientific equipment handles. I'm not saying you have to go into the ebb and flow of it, but just saying 'they use magic to overcome their obstacles' or 'they science'd that machine into existence' likely isn't enough for the reader. Going into a bit more detail will help set the rules for the world though and help give the reader an idea of what to expect, which is always helpful. Not to mention it also helps you not be a jerk to people who might not necessarily know about all the subtle nuances about mythological or metaphysical research you did in order to create whatever system you made. You may have a target audience, but it's not fair to always assume they know the same things you do.

There's also the chance you'll come up with this super awesome plot twist you hadn't thought of before while working on everything. Some character arc that wouldn't have happened in a shorter story. That's the nice thing about working on a longer project is that it does give you time to delve into more things and characters than a shorter story does. I remember when working on 'Through the Broken Mirror' I was having issues with my ending, because I wanted to have a good ending (if you play video games, let's just say it was heading toward the Bad End at the time) but was having a difficult time figure it out. Then at about 3am one day (the best time to have an epiphany) I realized if I didn't then a character in later books would either need to be changed or completely written out. Well since those stories were mostly written (in notebook form) I said screw that noise and managed to work out a Good ending. I don't think I would have managed to figure that out if I had been working on something shorter because by the time I had gotten to that point (around page 75 or 80-ish) I would have been to the point where I should have been writing my climax and getting ready to finish up. My option then would have been to put everything on hold until I figured it out or go back and delete progress and start over at a specific part. I may have some that disagree with my thinking, but I get really discouraged at the idea of having to delete pages upon pages, and 10's of pages of stuff so I"m glad I didn't have to do that.

My point is that there are options. You can always go the route of putting in more descriptions and exposition. Also dialogue is going to fill your page count up something fierce. Character interactions are some of the most fun to write if done in a way that makes it seem like a natural conversation. I suppose what I'm saying there is please don't it up and make your characters talk like normal people, please. (He really doesn't know how people talk. It's weird and I am afraid and curious about how interactions at his house happen.)

For now, I hope you all have a great and fun rest of your week. I hope to be back on Friday, but we'll see what happens. I had a difficult time finding something to review last week. I hope you all have a great time though no matter what!

Monday, March 3, 2014

03/03/0214 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope you all had a nice weekend. I am hoping that today will be nicer to me at my new desk location than Friday was. I'm going to try a few more things to try and make it better, and while I know there is actually a bit of getting used to it that needs to happen, the massive migraine was not a part I was expecting. Today will also mark the start of me once again trying to cut out some of my soda consumption. I've tried this before, and I was marginally successful, the only reason I stopped was because it got to the point I just had too many things going on and the level of how much I cared was significantly lower. We're going to try again though and work really hard to stick with it.

I've also gotten through beta-reader 1's version of 'Rending the Seal', which wasn't nearly as bad as I had been expecting. While waiting for the other two I have moved onto starting the editing on 'Through the Broken Mirror' which luckily I had done a bit of in the beginning already in my attempt to remember where I was before NaNoWriMo last year. I figure once I get to about the half-way point is where I'll start running into more that I need to seriously work on. I'm sure there are going to be places that need a bit more information and such too. Currently that story is at the 152 pages mark though, so we'll see if it gets longer or shorter.

I'm hoping that March is a month of progress and all good things. It would be really nice to be able to celebrate the craft fair in April as a new release day as well. No idea if that will actually happen, but it would be fun.Currently I'm still working on getting things together for a third portfolio to have with me while I'm there. Right now I have two (one for large pictures, one for small ones) and I'm playing with the idea of having a third for fanart. People tend to like it, so I'm trying to see what I can put together before the 25th.

This week is also Read an EBook Week at Smashwords, and 'The Light Rises' is part of the promotion. Please check it out as well as any of the other books involved. It's a fun week and there are so many good titles and authors involved, I'm sure they'd appreciate you taking a look and picking something up. A lot of people have their books free this week, so get them while you're able to!

Thanks for stopping by today. I'll be back on Wednesday so I hope you have a great and fun start to your week! If you have a topic you'd like to discuss or a question for me, don't hesitate to ask! See you then!