Saturday, August 31, 2013

Don't Wait

I awoke Friday morning to a message from someone whose name was only vaguely familiar. Laying in bed, scrolling through Facebook on my cell phone, I opened the message. It was a quick note from a woman who was good friends with a woman who I have been close to for over a decade. I read it, and reeled with shock. My friend, a woman who had been with me through the best and worst of times, is gone. Taken from this life because of a driver who didn't stop at a stop sign on a country road.

"Accidents happen," many say. It's true, but it isn't right. We never know when our time is going to be up. Today might be your last day, or mine. There's no way of predicting what will happen tomorrow... this evening... fifteen minutes from now.

There are many tragedies stemming from this simple accident. First, a mother with fierce love of her two teenage children was stolen from them. A woman who was a pillar of support for so many has fallen from their list of who to call when they need a kind word. A caretaker that so many children rely on to be there to wipe their tears when they fall on the playground will no longer be there to offer a helping hand.

This woman; this kindhearted, funny, creative, genuine, selfless woman, wrote many stories in the dead of night when insomnia struck. We spoke of it often, and shared this habit of staying up until all hours reading and writing because sleep wouldn't come. I know that somewhere among her belongings are an untold number of stories that have never been read by outside eyes. She had dreamed of publishing one day, and now she is gone - unable to see the fruits of her labor bound and shelved in the library she loved.

The thing I will miss most about my friend is her words. They were all that I had of her. I pray that if there is something that you have created, that you will be brave enough to share it with the world. Let your voice be heard before the silence overtakes you. Don't wait for "someday", because someday may never come.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Whole Ball Of Wax

Typically, I do a lot of writing in the dead of night. Whereas many people lose their nights of insomnia to hours of Solitaire or Farmville (if that's still a thing?), I spend my non-sleepy time putting words to pages. Typically I can write a chapter or two until I'm so tired that my eyes feel like they are going to fall out of my head, and then I can go back to enjoy a sound and restful sleep in the short time I have until the alarm clock goes off.

It isn't a great system - after all I am losing a lot of sleep these days. But, it is what works for me. It seems to be what works for lots of other writers, too. I have been surprised at how often I read about how an established writer got their start and the article will say, "She woke up two hours before she needed to, so she could get her 1,200 words in for the day."

It begs the question, do creative types need less sleep than your average Joe? I'm beginning to wonder if the delirium of exhaustion isn't something we have found to help us channel our creative minds. Perhaps it's beneficial to us to have a lucid dream we can write down on paper, rather than enjoy the deep rest of slumber like everyone else.

... at least that's what I'm going to tell myself in the morning when I am hovering over my caffeine infused Chai Latte.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Proofing.

The first printed copy of A Giraffe in the Room has arrived in my office. The giant "Proof" stamp is wonderful to see, and I am looking forward to picking through the pages to make sure that the novelette is ready to be released commercially.

Every time writing takes a step forward - whether it is the completion of a piece, reading through editing mark ups for the first time, or getting a print proof in the mail, it is a wonderful feeling. I hope that everyone who finds their passion gets the chance to feel the pride of taking a step forward. 

I will say that at under 50 pages, I think A Giraffe in the Room looks a little bit like a pamphlet that someone would hand you through the open crack of your screen door as they try to tell you about the Good News. Other than the brevity of the thing (it is a novelette, after all), I'm very pleased with the little bit of it that I've had a chance to look over. I hope to comb over it this week, and estimate that copies will be printed and ready for purchase in Mid-September.

In other news... the sequel to Age/Sex/Location: Love Is Just A Click Away is in the works. I'm deep into writing the second chapter and am anxious to see where the characters will lead.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stop Reading Best Sellers

There are a LOT of fantastic books out there. Wonderful plots with rich characters who interact in ways that we'd never dream of ourselves. Fantastic authors with storytelling abilities that make us all wish we could write a book of our own.

... and most of them have never seen the bright light emanating from a five star review.

My taste in books has taken quite the turn since I started trying to get people to read my own work. You never know how hard it is to pull a reader away from the "Best Seller" aisle until you've got a stack of books collecting dust on the shelf. Not to say that those best sellers haven't earned their place for one reason or another (and of course I don't complain when something I've written hits a 'best of' chart), but they aren't the only books out there worth reading.

When I talk to readers about where they find their books, it's very common to hear that they make a beeline to the recommendations that they've gotten through big media. Picking a book because you liked the movie rendition is pretty common, for example.

Personally, I don't get out to see movies much any more and I haven't had a cable or magazine subscription in a couple of years. But I still don't have a shortage of things to read. Here's a short list of some of the places that I have found some of my new favorite books.


  • Facebook - I subscribe to a couple of different groups where books by new authors are the main topic of discussion. Aspiring Authors and Book Reviews by Lynn are two of the many pages I follow that always have great suggestions.
  • Other Bloggers - I love bloggers that are also authors. Graeme Brown's New Voices: Emerging Author Reviews and Interviews is a great resource for learning about writing, and checking out new novels.
  • The Kindle Store - Just search for "Free" in the kindle store. There are all kinds of interesting things that will pop up, many of them are promotional free copies of new titles by unknown authors.
The next time you're looking for something to read, make sure to at least glance at some of those books by authors you've never heard of. You might stumble onto something amazing - and if you take the time to give a review, I know you'll make the author's day.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Proof Is In The Mail

My novelette, A Giraffe in the Room, has been doing... Okay over on Amazon. Well enough at least that I have been considering putting the short work in print. Yesterday I got a copy of the print proof in the mail from CreateSpace.com. I've decided I'm going to further test this whole self-publishing arena.

It is surprising how easy working with the CreateSpace platform has been. With the power of Amazon's distribution network, it will be interesting to see how far this little novelette will be able to go once it's in print. The process of doing KindleDirect and CreateSpace has been so simple that depending on how the sales compare by year end to my contract-published novel, I may consider using this avenue for some future projects.

If you've ever wondered about self publishing, check Kindle Direct Publishing and Create Space out. The hardest part about setting it up is trying to value your work and setting a sale price (here's a hint: your work is probably worth more than you think).

If it looks a little flat, that's because it is. This novelette is approximately 45 pages, give or take.
An easy read with some pulls to your heartstrings.