Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My latest book-signing debacle

I had been sick since Wednesday, but by Saturday morning I felt well enough to drive an hour and spend an hour with two other sci-fi/fantasy authors. We were due at Mostly Books at 2:00 and although we didn't know each other I looked forward to meeting them.

I was optimistic this day since I'd just discovered Ho-oponopono, an ancient 'prayer' that had been touted as bringing miracles. I had been chanting since the day before and was sure it was the reason my cold seemed to be on its way out. When the air conditioner on my car stopped working on the way to the bookstore I thought nothing of it, merely a slight blip in my otherwise up-beat mood. I chanted all the way down in the car and when  I reached the bookstore went in to find out where to set up. When I went back out to retrieve my books I glanced at the signage. The three of us were listed at the bottom of the board in tiny nearly illegible scribbles. No problem, I thought, the owners will tout us highly as local authors when the hordes arrive.

Instead of being scattered around the store as I'd imagined, we were to be in the back room, a windowless place made out of cinderblock that held AA meetings and meet-up groups. I was the first one there, settling into the spot with my name between the names of my soon to be arriving companions. We were in a row at three skinny tables and chairs had been set up in front of us as though we were to give a lecture. This worried me for a bit since I hadn't prepared anything. After I artfully arranged my books I realized that the energy in the room was very bad. Of course I had no sage and even if I had and had lit it, I was sure I'd be arrested for smoking dope. I settled instead on saying OM over and over and then chanting the Ho-oponopono mantra.

Once my companions arrived we engaged in lively banter waiting for the hordes to descend on us. We seemed to get along well as the minutes ticked by. Finally, twenty minutes before the hour was up, two men arrived and looked us over without saying a word. The author on my right sold one of them a book while we watched. It didn't surprise me much considering that my books mostly appeal to women, or men in touch with their feminine side, although I did try to sell them on 'Just Another Desert Sunset'. (Carlos Castenadaesque). I told myself I was not upset by this, was not upset to have driven all this way and not even have anyone come back to take a look.

But on the way home when my cold re-appeared with a vengeance I gave into my bad mood. I doubt I will do this again, mostly because the owners don't give a rip. If they had had a big sign with LOCAL AUTHOR SIGNING TODAY! it might have gone differently. I have no idea whether they even bothered to point people in our direction. The expressions on the men's faces indicated that they were surprised to find us.

As far as Ho-oponopono, I'm not giving up on it. If you haven't read Zero Limits, give it a try. Dr. Hew Len is quite amazing as are the concepts laid out in the book.



Sunday, April 19, 2015

multi-tasking be damned!

Don't look like that--I didn't say I wouldn't change my mind! After getting advice from a fellow author I am concentrating on the story with the most pages written. It happens to be a sort of sequel to the Gypsy Trilogy. The main characters are Fehin (amazing 16-year-old son of Gertrude) and Airy-(daughter of Harold and Maeve from Wolfmoon Trilogy who is also 16.) I can't seem to let my characters drift off into nothingness!

This story takes place in our world but a few years in the future. The problems that exist today are amplified in 2021. My characters are linked by a shared destiny and have been tasked with building a bridge, but for what purpose or how, is still to be determined. I'm 190 pages in and nothing has been decided. I can't puzzle through it myself and am waiting to let them do the honors. If they can't come up with a solution I'm stuck with a cover I've already paid for and a title...get on it, you guys!

I find my mind drifting toward the other  three projects I have in the wings (yes, it was 2 but now there are 3), wanting to work on them because of the dilemma, but I think the advice was good--get this one done and then move on. If only I could.

On to other news that concerns marketing. I went to a book signing at Bookmans yesterday that was mainly a bust. Only one person, other than the other authors signing with me, bought one of my books. And my square refused to work! The bookstore didn't have a sign out and the set-up of tables shaped in a U was not great. I hate that configuration because once you're in there you can't get out! It's hard for claustrophobic or shy folks who would love take a look but don't want to get stuck or roped in. I said as much in my e-mail to the organizer. I suggested placing us near our genre within the store where people searching could come upon us, but maybe she's worried that this would take away from their sales. I suggested paying a small commission if this was the case.

I have another one of these events next weekend at Mostly Books, a local independent bookstore. There will be three of us, (all fantasy/sci-fi authors) and from what I know of the store layout I doubt we will be sitting together. I haven't had good luck selling there in the past but there's always a first time! (Forever the optimist)

And speaking of selling, when I was buying bird seed at our local Wild Birds Unlimited I sold a copy of Just Another Desert sunset to the owner! He had helped me carry the bags to the car and when I opened the back he saw my books and asked about them. I told him I was the author. He only had thirteen dollars in his pocket, which he handed over. Made my day!!! Good reason to have books with you at all times.

Keep on reading and I love any or all comments!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Multi-tasking?

Now I've got  three writing projects going at the same time...is this wise? I have no idea! Today I worked on all three which was quite weird, to tell you the truth. I suppose my only real worry is overlap--that the character in one will suddenly imprint on the character in another. (what if they're interchangeable?)But they are very different stories. One is the sequel to 'Just another Desert Sunset' called 'Desert Sunrise'. (shapeshifting coyotes) The second is a sequel to the Gypsy series, called 'Bridge of Mist and Fog',  and the protagonists are both seventeen years old. The third is what is known as a 'Cozy'-- a genre I knew nothing about until a day ago and one I'm enjoying! Fun to write and no pressure since they are usually very short books. The working title is 'Murder in Plain Sight', but it may change. Protagonist runs a Crystal and Herb shop...but I'm digressing...

I move from one to the other like someone bottling different wines--Sip a bit of this, sip a bit of that. This one needs more aging, that one may be ready. And the third? Well, it needs work. But what kind of work? I drink a little and slosh it around in my mouth. Not quite right. Now I have to decide what the 'not right' is. Do I need to blend it with something? Not with one of the others! NO!

And so the writing life continues to surprise me. I would love to get one project finished but not sure that is going to happen any time soon. Another new thing is the dyslexia I've recently developed--constantly having to go back and fix the mistakes I've made. I just went back in the previous sentence and corrected three turned around letters! It's frustrating and takes time.

I have two book signings coming up this month, at two different bookstores. Should be interesting since there will be several of us together. I will certainly be reporting back on how it all goes!

What's going on in your writing world?

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Writer's block and how to get out of it

I have adopted a certain method to stave off the doldrums and writer's block that inevitably arrives. And so far it has worked--And I hope I don't jinx it by writing about it! (I'm superstitious that way)

If I get to a place where I'm going back and forth in the narrative changing little details and not liking it for some reason I take a step back, put it away and work on something else. Sometimes just a day of this will put me back on track. Other times the other piece takes off and I continue working there until something calls me back to the first one. Either that or I finish the second one and then go back.

I've learned to recognize these hints when they begin. The first can be the feeling that I'm a terrible writer, (and that can lead to bouts of depression and the thought that I'm not going to write anymore--said in a really voice or even yelled), the second can be questioning the plot line and going over and over other ideas that might be better while becoming more and more confused. The third is simply loss of interest.

What happened to me recently was number one and two. I'm still interested but just can't see my way clearly. The second piece of writing I moved to is also the start of a novel, one that I have plotted out somewhat in my mind. That plotting sent me screaming away several months ago. Well now that I'm working on it again I'm glad of the ideas that I had because the writing is flowing along easily. And I'm interested in what is going to happen next.

When things are going smoothly and the muse is on my side, the narrative appears on the page as though I'm reading a book instead of writing one. This is one clue that I'm on the right track. The other can be forgetting to eat and dialogue between characters running through my mind when I'm walking or washing dishes or in bed.

Having two projects going at the same time may not work for everyone, but it works for me. The second project could be something completely different, like an ongoing blog or a short story or some other type of writing that piques your interest. Anything to take your mind away from rehashing and rehashing.

How do you as a writer deal with the issue of writer's block?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

One Shade of Grey--a feminist diatribe on bondage.

If you loved Fifty Shades of Grey, you will not like what I am about to say. I am a child of the sixties when women were asserting their independence, standing alone. You may be too young to remember Gloria Steinem's famous quote 'A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.' Well, it looks like we've come full circle. And where we've come to is not at all what I expected considering all the work we did to get out from under man's oppressive control.

This is a writing blog so I will begin talking about that aspect of things. Simply put, Fifty Shades of Grey is badly written. And because I am a fantasy writer and have many goddesses wandering through my prose, I find it deeply disturbing to have them evoked in the name of sex. 'My inner goddess wanted him'--oh please, give me a break. Any goddess worth their salt would have kicked the bastard out the minute he became controlling.

Okay, so on to a few other things. Why is it that women want to be controlled by men? Because from the success of this book and now the movie, they do. Have we really come to this point? Or is this some secret desire that has never been gone in the first place? What do women want? I was talking with a friend of mine, a woman older than I am. She said that we have always been dominated. That women across the world live like this and it isn't any different here in our country. How can this be, I ask myself? Is it because of the recent rise of Islam and women wearing the veil? do we all want to wear the veil and be thought of as goddesses who no one can look upon? Does it sound good to you as a woman to hide from the world and only by seen by the one man who takes your maidenhead? And what if he's an ugly old man who treats you like shit?

Good thing Grey was good-looking, don't you think? Yes, I suppose this sort of stuff can be titillating but is that what women want from a relationship? And in a world of books where we have kick-ass heroines beating the shit out of men and going it alone it makes no logical sense. What people do behind closed doors is not anyone's business but the success of this book has made it very clear that this is indeed what women want. And as an author who works hard to write the very best I can and tries to put a message into the world that empowers women, it disturbs me.

Yes, I will admit that I am jealous of the success of this book. But my anger at what readers in this country go for far outweighs that emotion.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

VOTE early and often!!!!

Just kidding about the often part...I was picked as a finalist on Bookbzz for Just Another Desert Sunset but the only way I can win is to have the most votes! I figure I don't have a snowball's chance in hell but thought I would at least make an effort!

So, my friends, if you are so inclined PLEASE go here http://bookbzz.com/prize-writer-fantasy-fiction-vote/ and click on Just Another Desert Sunset! And thank you so much for taking the time!!!

Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

To plan or not to plan--(was this already a blog title?)

I have written about this issue before but every time I do I bring in another element that someone might find of use in their own process. I started two books recently and after fifteen pages I settled on one to work on. It was the easier of the two since most of the characters were already developed in previous books. No, this is not meant to be a sequel. In any case I ended up spending a lot of time planning out what I had in mind and where I wanted the story to go. Guess what happened?

Now, thirty pages in I'm bored. I'm hurrying to get to the part that I haven't planned with hopes that the story will take me on a magical mystical tour and not flatten out into something known. This little experiment has shown me why I cannot plan or plot.

And so I am working on the other story, the one I have no clue about. At the moment my main character is surprising me at every turn.

I know a lot of people plan and outline their novels. I am in awe of them. If I did that I wouldn't write. When I write I feel like I'm reading a book. The story unfolds in front of me in mysterious ways and NEVER goes in the direction I expect. At this point I'm thinking of starting the first book over at a point in the future beyond the planning stage. I can always add backstory if it's necessary. That way I won't know what's going to happen next! Because if I'm bored won't the reader be bored?

I would love to hear how all of you write...and what works and what doesn't. Please leave me a comment if you can--I've had several complaints that it's hard to do this! Not sure why.

Thanks for reading!!!