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Radcon Day 2

Today is Sunday, day three, and I’m just getting up to prepare for my day. I thought I’d share yesterday with you before going forward.

Yesterday I had three panels, but the first one wasn’t until after 1pm, so we went to the dealers hall, wandered around the stalls, bought some new artwork, and a couple books, and toured the art show.

My first panel was self publishing 101. It went well. I got to share some of my experiences with self publishing and my progress from old covers to new covers. What goes into making a great book. Etc.

Then I had a panic attack. First one all weekend with all the stress, and new people around, so I’m rather happy with myself. The rest of the day my nerves were a bit raw so I had to limit my time in the halls, but otherwise I was good.

Gregg and I went to lunch and sat down away from people, and is able to go on with the rest of my day after that bit of down time.

Then I had two panels back to back. Creativity gadgets where we talked about idea/name/etc generators, battery packs, accessibility tech, folding micro keyboards, and other things. There was also a woman in the audience who asked about writing when her hands are starting to have problems. My suggestion, keep moving, and changing what you do and how you do it. Get an ergonomic mouse and keyboard, and whenever something starts to hurt try a different method. Use swype on a tablet, or hand writing, or dictation. Anything to lower stress. Sit stand desks, going for walks, stretching… All good. Keep moving though.

Then we had “making your own way” which had a cryptic discription about choosing a different than normal path in life. I wasn’t sure it was a good fit for me, but once we got talking I realized just how much I loved the panel. It wasn’t about writing, or jobs, it was about life and choosing new paths instead of what you’re “supposed to be”. I have lots of practice with that.

The conversation seemed to boil down to “be honest with yourself, and those around you, about what fulfills you.”

After that I set up my table to sell some books…. And I sold some! Weird. I’m finally figuring out how to discribe the books in one line sentences so I don’t take forever to tell someone what they are about. “This series is witches, mermaids and curses. This one is the Greek goddess of fate reborn into modern times. And this one is scifi and fantasy short stories.” Then if they have any more questions I can answer them.

Forgotten Ones, my urban fantasy about Greek goddesses in modern times, sold the best. I really need to write more of them.

After that we got some food. Then we tried going to ignition, a fire dance show, but it was really cold and windy, and we didn’t have proper jackets. Also I was exhausted and everything hurt. So we went to sleep instead.

I know, we are such Fuddy duddys. No room parties for us.

Today is the final day, then we drive over the pass and back home. Can’t wait to see what today has in store… Maybe after a nap.

Also Gregg took pictures so they are on his phone. I’ll post pics tomorrow. All I have is this blurry one of the dancers in the dark with their lighted skirts.

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Posted by on February 18, 2018 in On Writing

 

Radcon Day 1

We left the house at 7am this morning. This from a girl that doesn’t usually wake up till 11am because I work nights, but we needed to get over the pass and into Pasco before my first panel today.

The pass we usually take was closed due to snow so we had to take the longer route. It was also snowing but not as bad as the main route. It will also be better when we drive home because it’s closer to Pasco so it will still be light when we get there. We usually end up driving over the pass in the middle of the night, and that isn’t fun when it’s snowing and you can’t see any lines on the windy roads.

We made great time and got to Pasco just after 2pm. My first panel was at 3:15 on (re)tired genres. It was a good discussion with several other authors. We mostly talked about revitalizeing “tired” genres and making something new from them. The second panel was right afterward concerning how big a fish you need to be. Another good panel with a couple of good authors. Neither panel had very many people in the audience, but it was day one and the majority of the participants get here on Saturday so it wasn’t that surprising.

Still, it was awesome to get to be on the panel this time instead of listening from the audience. And I love that my badge says pro.

After my two panels we had dinner, than headed back to the room where I finished Ghostly Intentions”. That means a new edit when I get home, then I can publish this thing and get back to work on the next Half Blood Sorceress novel! Yes!

Also, Prophecy by Barlight is free this weekend. And if you’re in Pasco I’ll be selling some paperback books and giving away pins.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2018 in On Writing

 

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5min- Failure

How do you judge failure?

I’ve tried so many things in my life. I went to college, but I have no degree. I started painting pictures that are half finished. I have book upon book that is only a fragment of a finished novel or short story.

But is it failure?

Sometimes I feel like I’ve failed, and Gregg has to give me a pep talk and remind me of how far I’ve come, and how much I have accomplished.

You see, there was a time when I did give up. I stopped writing, stopped painting, stopped doing almost anything creative because just existing took so much effort that I couldn’t do much of anything else. That’s the lie of depression. That’s the trap of living in an abusive relationship. You feel so worthless, and useless, that just getting out of bed and putting on clothes is difficult.

And here I am, years later, with finished books and a shelf with my name all over it…. And still I feel like a failure. That thing causing my depression may be gone, but the depression isn’t. It’s a life long companion.

What is failure? Failure is giving into that depression and letting it lie to me. But even if I fail for a day there is still tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, to try again. To get it right.

And that’s my five.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2018 in Personal Notes

 

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5Min-

Today was a day of getting closer to things, but never quite grasping them.

You know the days. Days which you work on things. You tidy up, or put a few things away, or write a few words, or get a few errands done. But nothing REALLY gets done, you just get a little bit closer to the end.

For me that meant getting together files for the Illicit Gains Series to be put into paper backs. I have the interior section done, now I just need to get the print covers finished so I can actually publish them. I just didn’t do it because I wanted to get a little writing done.

And I did do some writing. I am 9300 words into Ghostly Intentions, a short story. Well, a novella or novelette when I get done. Either way, it’s almost done. I have three little sections I am trying to complete, and I keep chipping away at it.

And I’m also trying to get my pins done for the convention. Oh, did I mention that? I’ll be giving away buttons when I go to RadCon this weekend 🙂

Alright, time to get to bed. And that’s my 5 minutes.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2018 in On Writing

 

Write the Story You Want to See

The latest controversy in the book world is JK Rowling and the lack of a gay character story line. She said Dumbledore was gay in a tweet, but he is not explicitly shown as gay in the new movie. Of course the new movie isn’t even out yet so we don’t know if it references it at all, or even if it’s relevant to the plot.

Of course people are upset because of representation or personal desires on how the story should go…and I have to say as a writer this worries me just a little.

Right now LGBT books are flying off the shelves pretty fast. If you watch booktube most of them will talk about books that are LGBT quite often, and go into detail about how it effects them emotionally or mentally. And that isn’t a bad thing. I would even say it’s good for those authors to get exposure to the people most likely to read their work. And it’s awesome that people are interested in this subject matter and have so many books to choose from.

The part that bothers me, and has always bothered me, is when rabid fans love a franchise so much that they want to force their ideals on the creator.

This is not an exclusive thing to (or a characteristic of) the LGBT community, or young adult fiction, or books even. This is usually a small, but vocal, subset of a much larger group. For ages we’ve had Disney fans pushing for changes to Disney characters. Or rabid Star Wars fans upset about the new movies. Or the backlash over the Witcher being all white characters.

It’s one thing for people to write an article about how they didn’t like it because x, y and z. It’s one thing to have fans write in or tweet or Facebook that they would love to see x, y and z. But it’s an entirely different story when people start attacking because “this thing I care about isn’t in your story”, or brigading, or stalking the author, or threatening her, or…. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Write your stories.

I started writing because I didn’t see characters like me. Meek young girls coming from an abusive past that made a new life for themselves. Girls who had their voices taken from them and fought like hell to get them back. Women who loved, and hated, and hurt over and over again…. And learned to stand on their own two feet.

I couldn’t find those stories so I started writing them.

And I started looking for them a little harder, in unlikely places. And I found them.

Vote with your dollar. Go buy LGBT stories from authors and find new franchises you like. You don’t have to force someone else to put something in their story that they feel doesn’t fit, or they can’t write, or they aren’t able to do justice, or they just don’t want to do. I don’t write erotica for that reason, and I’d ignore anyone that told me I had to write it, too. It doesn’t fit who I am. I haven’t published an LGBT character yet because I haven’t finished the story. But does that make my other stories less valid?

And if you still can’t find what you’re looking for… Write it. Draw it. Sculpt it. Put music to it. Do the art you want to see in the world, and love the art that is already there. You can love the other art for what it is instead of pushing it to be what you want. Or just walk away. After all, if it didn’t sell she wouldn’t be able to keep writing it.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2018 in On Writing

 

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Create Space vs KDP Print

Yesterday I did something I’ve only dreamed of. I put up a print version of a book, hit publish, and ordered copies to be delivered to my door two days later. Two days from pressing publish to getting a book in my hand. That’s amazing….if it works.

I’ve been using CreateSpace for putting out print books for a while now. I’ve gotten to the point that I can format and compile a print book in a day or two. Once the actual print files (a pdf for the inside, and a wrap around cover for the outside) are created it takes a little tweeking, rearranging, and setting up to get them all compiled into a print file on CreateSpace. If you have a little practice this might take a few hours. For me, getting the cover exactly right was always the hardest part. Stretching it here, adjusting it there, and heaven forbid if I had to add a few pages in after hitting compile.

But it worked. CreateSpace also did something I loved. It let me order a proof for my boyfriend to put on his shelf. And it let me order printed books at cost so that I could give them away, resell them, or take them to signings.

When KDP print came out I decided to try it. The first thing on the front page when starting a print book was “you can not get printed proofs or at cost copies if you continue,” so I stopped and did the book in CreateSpace.

A few weeks ago I tried again because I had gotten an email from KDP saying proof copies and wholesale priced books were now available. I took the opportunity to create my first KDP print book.

The process was simple. All of the information from my KDP kindle edition was already linked to the book so I just had to choose a size, upload the file, and add a cover. The cover creator was the second change. It did not have all of the choices of the original CreateSpace, but it did have a very simple wrap style that allowed me to add an image to the front, and the back, and leave the spine a solid color. I chose to put an image on the front, and leave the spine and back black for this first edition. It will be easy enough to update that later on if I decide to.

KDP print has the same on screen proofing process as CreateSpace. If you know what you’re looking for you probably won’t even need a physical proof to fix things. I found a few errors and was able to fix them and reupload the inside file quickly. I did not have to change the inside drastically to update it, but it was a quick process of uploading the new file and just a minute before I could review it again. Once reviewed you can choose to order a print proof, or publish.

I did both. First, I wanted to experience the print proof process because this was a new thing. I also wanted to see the quality of the proofs. And I love supporting my boyfriend and his weird desire to have a proof of all my books (though it’s kind of cool to see old designs verses new designs of books, and my improvement.) I ordered a proof, then went back in and approved the book for publishing.

This is where the waiting happens. Generally with CreateSpace you push through the book then it tells you that it will be approved within a couple of days. Usually it takes a two to three days for CreateSpace to get back to me. Occasionally it has been 24 hours later. With KDP print it was just a few hours before they approved it. I assume this is because it’s still newer, and not as many people are publishing through there, but it was absolutely amazing to be able to publish a print book and order that same book before I went to bed!

The ordering process for KDP is where the biggest change is. With CreateSpace all you do is place an order, and it puts any orders into a shopping basket right inside CreateSpace. With KDP print orders you are taken back to the Amazon ordering site, and you order books directly from Amazon at the print only fee. You also can’t use your Amazon prime for these orders, which is expected. You’re getting your books at cost, so Amazon would be paying you to get books from them if they didn’t charge you shipping.

I did order a proof for my boyfriends shelf, and I ordered a stack of print copies for the table I will have at RadCon. I’m a bit nervous about ordering so many books sight unseen, but I am pretty confident it will arrive intact.

I’m very curious to see the books in person. I expect it will be the same quality of book since I’m ordering it from the same company, jut a different branch of it. Still, I’m surprised to see just how well I know the specifications of a print book, and what it should look like.

Anyway, this was not a five minute writing session, this was a lot longer than five minutes. If you have any questions please let me know, I am sure I didn’t answer everything here.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2018 in On Writing

 

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5min – Print

Last night I finally started getting my print files together for Dragon’s Flame. I guess looking at the box of books I already had printed, and seeing that this one book is so obviously missing, It finally spurred me to get it done.

Also, I didn’t realize how blue my book covers were. All the books in the box have blue, or bluish black cover art with sparks of color. I need some variety in my life! And Dragon’s Flame is definitely a red cover. It stands out, it asks to be picked up and touched. And I love it!

At this point I’ve just decided to get everything set up for a print book. Might as well, the short stories are still long enough to be decent sized little books, and they are pretty cheep to get printed. Plus they are my favorite things to hand out. An actual book with a professional look to it instead of a pamphlet or business card. It’s $2 each to get them printed (if I do a bunch of them so shipping isn’t so expensive) so I can get a big handful of them and just hand them out at cons, or sit a stack of them in the library, or anywhere else people give away books.

Really, I’ve been wanting to do this for a while…but the truth is I’m taking my writing career a little more serious in general. I asked to be on panels at Radcon, and I’m going to be on 6 of them. I’m also getting a table at Radcon where I can sell some books for the first time ever. I’m also doing more to get m name out there. All the little things others have been doing, and I never really took that seriously because I don’t like marketing. I don’t like putting myself out there, I’d rather just throw my books out into the wild and hope people notice them. It doesn’t work very well, so I’m going to have to grow up a little and take some more responsibility for my work.

And that’s my five.  Also, here’s my itinerary for radcon!

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2018 in On Writing