Sunday, March 30, 2014

Quick Check-in

Forgot all about my weekly post until a minute ago! I've been working on the writing, and it's been good, except for yesterday when my computer stopped being able to find my website, and I posted blindly in the hopes of jarring something loose. That is all fixed now.

Dragon Prey is getting some TLC. I have to thank the betas a lot for their input. It has been very helpful. I took a day off from the library to work on my writing, but I had a dentist appointment on one of my writing days, so I didn't get as much extra time as I'd hoped, plus the dentist says I have two cavities. Gotta go back. I'm gonna keep working on the writing, but there never seems to be enough time! Welp, I gotta go to bed, like an hour ago. Bye!

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Test to see why my blog has disappeared. (It seems it only have disappeared for me.)

I currently cannot view my blog. Hopefully, the problem will resolve soon. I cannot reply to comments, though I receive email alerts to them. I know others can see this website, so something is broken beyond my control.

ETA: Luckily, my father knows a thing or three about computers and was able to walk me through the process of editing my hosts file so that I could tell my computer who is, and now, I can see my blog once again. Gotta tell you, getting a server not found message when visiting your own site is very off-putting.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Virginia Festival of the Book

This weekend was full of book goodness with the Virginia Festival of the Book. I live in the area and go to something every year. Most of the events are free to attend. I went to three panels. The first was a Science Fiction & Fantasy panel with R.S. Belcher (Six-Gun Tarot), D. B. Jackson, aka David Coe (Thieves' Quarry), Leona Wisoker (Fires of the Desert), and Colleen Doran (The Vampire Diaries). They talked about a lot about the publishing, but also offered some nice world building advice, like people are people no matter where or what time you're in. Everyone has the same basic complaints, concerns, and desires. It's sounds like common sense, but sometimes we writers can get so lost in how different and new our story settings are that we lose perspective and flounder with how people would act. Well, people are going to act like people. Simple as that.

The next day I went to the next two panels which were part of a mini-festival, LoveFest. The first one was a publishing focused topic: Publishing Alchemy: How Romance Authors Quickly Master New Publishing Trends. The panel had Tina Glasneck (Thou Shall Not), Jane Friedman, Alma Katsu (The Descent), Paige Wheeler , Laura Kaye (Hard As You Can), Madeline Iva (Dark Desires). This was a very interesting panel because Alma Katsu is a communications specialist and Jane Friedman produces a magazine devoted to this (Scratch). The talk about co-ops and how they can work, and why romance authors may have taken to the new publishing trends more quickly than other genres--The reason being, romance is the primary money maker in books now. Romance authors and publishers can take more risks because the market is so strong that it's easier to get in front of eye balls. A lot of digital first imprints started up and authors who were published by them had to adapt to being purely digital. If only have an ebook, how do you promote it? Book signings and talks aren't an option, so they went to social media and learned the best ways to reach their readers. Also, the romance community is very giving and friendly with each other because they don't have to scrabble for the money that other areas of fiction may have to because the romance share of the pie is so immense that they can be generous. (I don't think I'm explaining this well. They said it much better, but I didn't transcribe exactly what they wrote.)

The final panel was Romance: Too Young to Fight it: Why we love Y.A. Paranormal Romance with Jennifer Armentrout (White Hot Kiss), Alethea Kontis (Hero, Enchanted), Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil; Sweet Peril), and Jodi Meadows (Incarnate). This was just a fun, high-energy panel. All of the ladies were playful and excited to talk about their books and discuss issues in YA. I really appreciated their comments on sex in YA, how sex has long been allowed in YA if the girl gets pregnant, an STD, raped, or spirals into a depressive state. I'd not noticed this but once they said it yes, this does happen and is just another form of slut shaming.

So overall, a really great time. I met a group of romance authors who've already invited me to come have coffee with them, which is really generous of them. It sounds like all of these ladies are trade published, so allowing little old unvetted, self-pubbed me in the group is really kind. I know I'll learn a lot from them. I can't wait until next year's festival!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Big Cuts

So far I've cut 8,000 words from Dragon Prey. When I do something like that, it leaves a jagged hole in the story. I have to stitch the ends of what's left together, and rewrite a bit to erase any possible scar, but often times, a lot of stuff leading up to and after that cut may refer to text that is now gone and these references could be anywhere in the story. I have comb through the text to make small incisions to fix these things. I really wish I could write a story from beginning to end and just be done with it. If I could just do that and and then only have to worry about grammar and punctuation, writing would be so much easier.

I don't want to gripe every week in this post. I'm actually sort of pleased to cut those 8,000 words from the story. It dealt with a sequence of events that never seemed to add much. (And when I say I've cut words, I mean I've cut and pasted them to another document. I have a Word file titled Dragon Prey Fragments so I can refer to those cut bits and possibly pull out a favored line or something in the future.) I was excited to have written a 90,000 word story. It was set to be the longest thing I've ever written, but now it may be closer to 80,000. But if the story is tighter and more powerful, that's better.

Well, I'm gonna keep polishing and smoothing out Dragon Prey. I'm very sorry it is so incredibly delayed. I hope once it's published you think it was worth the wait.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Editing is Hell

The image that keeps occurring to me, as I work on Dragon Prey, is of Hawkeye Pierce in the surgical tent on MASH with blood up his arms and smeared across the front of his scrubs with his hands buried in the abdomen of a wounded soldier. I'm not sure if the patient is going to make it.

Yes, it's a bit melodramatic, but that's the way it goes. I'm getting all turned around in the story and questioning everything. I'm tying myself in knots, but I think I'll be okay as long as I keep what I'm considering the spine of the story intact. I'm questioning the value of certain characters and entire scenes, but that's the window dressing.

I remind myself of that cruel writer's adage "Murder your darlings." (And I just went down a little Google rabbit hole while searching that quote. Slate has an interesting article.) So, while I'm not contemplating anything suicidal like Naomi's death or Tavik's, I'm contemplating hard choices and wondering if I can do it.

Cheery stuff, right? Sorry, I don't want to be a downer. I hope to have some happier progress to report next week.