Happiness is…


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Random Friday


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, writers’ quotes, anything to ponder in a cool place away from the heat… Have a great weekend! 🙂

Listen, here’s what I usually tell authors: you can, with some earnestness and enthusiasm, maybe sell a few books. Maybe you can even sell tens or hundreds of your book. And that’s not nothing. Every sale of your book is a pebble thrown into a pond, and a pebble thrown into a pond creates ripples that may reach the shore. Meaning, even one person who reads and loves your book might share their love of that book with others — and if they love it, they share it, and on and on. A CHAIN OF LOVE. Like an orgy, but slower!

(…)

Obviously, yes, you should talk about your book.

You should share it.

You should be ready to commit to interviews and podcasts and exploring ways to get the word out. And your publisher should be your guide through that. If they’re not, you should be self-publishing because what’s the point?

Beyond that the solution to all of of this is the solution to many a writer’s woes:

Write the next book.

Always, always, always write the next book

Writers write, and you’re a writer.

So go write, writer.

Go write.

Chuck Wendig

 

The idea that you can only get ahead by cheating is especially pernicious because it creates more cheaters. It’s like that old cliché about the underworld where you can only join the inner circle after your first kill. You have skin in the game now, and it’s attached to your own ass.

However, it’s a lie.

While competition is greater now, the tools we have to reach readers have improved immeasurably: Kindle Countdown Deals, reader magnets, BookBub CPM ads, permafree, Facebook Carousel ads, cross-promo, RobinReads, free runs (now gold again in KU btw), Kobo promos, BookFunnel, iBooks First Free in a Series, BookBarbarian, merchandizing opportunities, mailing list automation – this is just a tiny sample of the powerful options we have at our disposal today.

When you put them together, it’s a heady mix. Incredible marketing campaigns that catapult books into the charts, bringing in thousands of dollars a month, or even tens of thousands of dollars a month. And all cleanly.

If all that sounds too hard, you’re just going to have to pull on your big boy pants and get stuck in. No one owes you a chart position, a readership, or a living. You have to build it yourself. Okay, sometimes you do work hard and don’t get the reward you deserve. That sucks, but that’s life. You must persevere.

David Gaughran

No matter if you’re extremely successful as an indie author or just starting out, all of us will need to adapt and change. Maybe Amazon will change KNEP again or another service will rise up while others go extinct (I see your days numbered, Nook). We have virtual reality, augmented reality and who know what other “reality” is coming down the pike. Change will continue to happen and disrupters (like the Amazons of the world) will continue to affect the publishing industry.

The challenge for us as authors is to hold two incongruent ideas in our mind at the same time: We need to be as creative and inspiring as we can with our fiction but also need to understand marketing and its implementation in the real world.
Ron Vitale

So: how often should you publish?

The answer is: as often as you can while maintaining quality and avoiding burnout. This is going to be different for each writer, but if you try to push yourself too hard and put out books before they’re ready, you will lose readers. If you push yourself too hard and get burnt out, you harm yourself. If you don’t publish books and don’t advertise, you will lose your readers, so there is a balance in between publishing frequently and getting smart with advertising. Unless you sell so much that you can employ someone to advertise for you, you will probably have to choose between either of those activities. You can either spend a lot of time writing, and not that much advertising, or you can devote more energy to marketing and less time writing.

Somewhere in that equation, there is a balance that everyone needs to find for themselves.

Patty Jansen

1. Write every single day, with or without inspiration

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”

-Stephen King, On Writing

Writing needs to be your breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between snack. You need to be writing in every spare moment in your life. When you aren’t reading, you need to be writing. Most writers pace the hallways or the four walls of life, waiting for a single moment of inspiration to hit them into their chair behind the computer and create a bestseller. It will not happen. Inspiration will come, but you have to pave the pathway with hundreds and thousands of words to earn that vital inspiration, to make that bestseller. If you do not practice, you do not learn. The more you write, the easier it will become. The more you write, the closer success will be.

Justin Osborn

Writer Wednesday


So, diving into Torik’s story, and it turns out he can’t be really a dragon rider, LOL! Anyhow, the Path of Dreams is taking shape, 11 or 12K in I’m just starting to tell Torik’s journey.

I still don’t know how I could pull it off, though. Possibly putting Childhood (i.e. Silvery Earth Kids prose version) as prequel at the end of the book. Since I’m in no hurry to publish this (or the strip Silvery Earth Kids), I’m just going to take my time with it.

I did publish another Star Minds Lone Wolves Team mission booklet, though. I would like to thank the Australian Kobo user who is buying them all, if only for you I’ll try to publish them on time! 🙂

And even if I stayed at home this weekend, my brain was too mushy to actually do some programming. I didn’t even correct the Rogue manuscript! 😦 But it’s for August, so plenty of time for that. Will work on it this week or the coming weekend.

I started putting the lettering on the Silvery Earth Kids strip, though. I plan on doing a paperback proof at the end of the summer, with Lulu because I don’t want to send it live. It will help catch typos and uncolored parts and other weird mistakes.

Also, a preview of a few strips in B&W is coming soon, but I’m not at liberty to discuss that project yet. It will be available also as e-book, but I’d get the paperback if I were you! 😉 I don’t think print books are going away anyway… especially children’s books, as you can see from the following.

And speaking of an everchanging world and my decision to step back a little, please read this long but worthy post on the sale of Barnes&Noble and what it means for writers. And I know it’s a long post, but try to read the comments too.

I still hope to be able to quit the damn day job soon, set up a micropublisher and sell from my own website. Hopefully by then they’ll have invented something that allows writers and readers to meet without the retail giants. Some app or other tricky tech device.

You youngsters, please invent something for us old geezers! 🙂 Technology is changing so quickly we don’t know what will be available next month or next year. I’ve been reading a report on AI and the future of work, and how technology moves so fast that in 5 years we’ll need to relearn everything.

I miss the world that no longer exists, but I should stop living in the past and try to adjust to the future – it’s already here. Except I’m no longer young and catching up is hard. But slowly and steadily I can adapt to change. I was already thinking of re-educating myself! 😉

I live in an overly complicated country full of burocracy, hence I’m dreaming of moving to a simpler way of life. Like moving to a country with co-housing or that Irish island with high internet speed.

Change is good but scary. And it happens whether we want it or not. So we might as well brace up and ride the storm. We can get through this.  Have a great week! 🙂

Happiness is…


Random Friday


Reading suggestions and my take on this: I read The Paper Menagerie and didn’t particularly liked it when it was nominated for a Hugo. I checked the sample of Crazy Rich Asians, but either I get the paperback or the DVD of the movie, since the Chinese parts as footnotes on Kindle are not really nice. And I know it’s a trilogy, but I read mixed reviews on Goodreads.

Currently reading: The Kiss Quotient, even though it’s a 5.99euro ebook! And ops, just discovered it’s also a trilogy when looking it up on Goodreads. Oh, well. Maybe I should have looked for the box set… (although the Kindle box set for Crazy Rich Asians was crazy expensive…)

I guess I’ll try to catch up on some reading while I’m writing more slowly, LOL! Although none of the above were on my TBR pile, but well… still have a dozen bundles to go through both fiction and non-fiction – hence I’ll let Write Publish Profit 2.0 offer pass, but grab it if you feel like it.

And since I discovered Joe Konrath has resumed blogging, I’ll add this post on your book marketing plan and why it won’t work. I totally agree with him. I’m so bad at marketing precisely because so many things don’t work for me, so I’m not doing them even if everybody is screaming I should do them.

Because I’d rather be writing and it’s all a question of luck anyway. So while I wait for my lucky star, let me go back to Silvery Earth Kids and its sequel. I thought it would be only Torik and Copperscales, but Prince Lambert and Goldenberry seem to want in on the ride too… we shall see! 😀

And if you’re still new to this, here’s a post worth studying.

How To Shorten Your Amazon Links

Have a great weekend! 😉

 

Writer Wednesday


Last week I came to a grinding halt with Legends of the Moren Empire Volume 2. I don’t like it, I don’t think I can fix it, and I don’t want to work on it anymore. So the rest of the week I worked on Silvery Earth Kids – the prose version and a few more strips – reaching 9400words.

This is the last week I’m giving out wordcount, though. I have reached almost 280K already, and I proved to myself and the world that I can write 500K a year if I put my mind to it, so I’ll keep count for myself from now on. I’m also thinking of scheduling pre-orders for all the Lone Wolves titles, so I can shut down my brain for the summer.

And after the summer, we’ll see. I might try to break into the Italian market, and let the English market be for some time. Or maybe I’ll tend the garden of the English titles (close to 200 anyway), especially after 20BooksEdinburgh. I can’t really think right now, because the heat is really killing me, so I’m in survival mode! 😉

I spent most of the weekend reading and napping, although I did finish coloring the strip and drew a couple more. I’m not done yet and I might use some of the prose version as flashbacks in Torik’s novel, which I’m starting this week. I already wrote a short story about the bully of the strip, and now I want to follow Torik and Copperscales – twelve years after Silvery Earth Kids (which means, basically, that Torik is now an adult, but Copperscales is still a baby Fajrulo!).

I wanted to do another couple of curated anthologies, but I probably won’t have the strength, not even for a third Sci-Fi July bundle. But another anthology (not curated by me) should come out this summer, so you can still fill you summer reading if you feel so inclined! 😀

And it’s Infinite Bard day! Hop off to check the newest story by the awesome Debbie Mumford! Mine will be up in July, so that’s another free read for your summer! 😉 Have a great week!

Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise


And it’s the last guest for now. Another Eclectica Bundle author to close this series up for the summer. Hopefully more guests will show up in September. Meanwhile, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Diana Deverell!

Where do you live and write from?

I live on a hilltop in the Danish village where my husband was born. The window in my writing space overlooks Helnaes Bay and the Jutland peninsula is on the horizon. Because of the perverse nature of my creative process, I don’t stare at that view for inspiration.

The story I want to tell never seems to take place where I actually am. Some scenes in my international thriller, Night on Fire, are set in this village but I lived in Oregon when I wrote them.

Now, I’m in Denmark and the legal thriller I just finished happens in the landlocked cities of Eastern Oregon and Washington. I guess that’s how my imagination entertains itself when I cut it off from other distractions.

Why do you write?

I want to take my readers places and give them experiences they may not have the opportunity to enjoy in real life. And of course, like others who’ve posted here, at some point, I’m always wondering: What if things take a surprising turn? During the Cold War, I worked behind the iron curtain as personnel officer at the US Embassy in Warsaw. My international thrillers draw on that experience, but my burning question was: What if, instead of falling in love with a military attaché working for a NATO ally, I was seduced by a Polish intelligent agent? With that twist, my heroine doesn’t spend her time pushing paper—she’s passionately fighting evil.

My legal thrillers are told primarily from the viewpoint of an appeals lawyer. She has the skills and passion to force a broken justice system to treat her clients fairly. In college and for a few years after, I earned my living as a legal secretary. I’ve worked in law offices in California, Massachusetts, and Maine. I understand the legal process and the lingo and I’ve spent countless hours researching appeals law to get my facts right.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My personal goal with my thrillers is to imagine a fairer and more just world than I face. On the legal thriller side, I have a loved one behind bars. My inmate has another five years to serve on her mandatory sentence of nineteen years and two months. I visit her whenever I am in the US. Fourteen years into this, I have to steel myself to go through the sally port, because I hate being inside that prison—and I’m there for only one hundred and fifty minutes per visit.

In my legal thrillers, I want my reader to feel how decades-long incarceration adversely affects both inmates and correctional officers. The soul-destroying nature is worsened when the primary goal of imprisonment is punishing wrongdoers rather than preparing them to return to society as productive members.

And I also want readers to share my heroine’s personal satisfaction when she brings mercy, compassion, and fairness to her clients.

When did you start writing?

A creative writing class I took in college encouraged me to believe I could learn to write good stories. The second was an awareness that I’d tell better ones if I had a little more life experience. I spent twenty-five years getting that “little more” before I began seriously writing fiction for publication. I was lucky and a New York publisher gave me a two-book contract and released my first novel in 1998. My good fortune ran out when my publisher was sold to another. In the downsizing that followed, I wasn’t offered another contract. By 2011, I had my rights back to those novels and started indie-publishing them and brand-new novels as ebooks.

What genre(s) do you write?

Primarily thrillers and mysteries, set in current time. I’ve written short stories set in the past and featuring young adults and even one with a robot vacuum as a protagonist. But for my longer work, I like to spend my time with a sharp, gutsy woman as she digs into a contemporary problem.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

I did not understand this piece of advice the first time I heard it: Reveal your character’s emotional history through the character’s opinion of the setting. But in several online workshops with Dean Wesley Smith I learned what he meant by that.

I saw that I should put my character in an interesting place packed with descriptive possibilities. She should experience that setting through her senses. What she sees, smells, hears, tastes, and feels triggers memories that are clues to her past. When I finally got it, I realized that I’d first recognized that technique in The Little Drummer Girl by John LeCarré, the spy thriller that hooked me on the genre. Instead of giving us big chunks of narrative back story, he slowly builds up Charlie’s history and the reader comes to understand and care about her.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I write as if I’m driving slowly at night, unable to see beyond my headlights, and constantly checking my guide books. I hit the million-words-published market last year and by now when do start a new book, I trust my subconscious to get me to a satisfying conclusion. Often it’s not one I anticipated when I began.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle.

I have two mystery titles in the bundle and each includes a bonus mystery. FBI Special Agent Dawna Shepherd stars in all four. Dawna was a college basketball star and she first appeared in the cast of my international thriller Night on Fire. Turns out, an FBI is very agent useful in thriller territory and she played a supporting role in two more international thrillers and my new political thriller, Bitch Out of Hell.

Dawna stars in sixteen published short stories, dealing with human trafficking, health care fraud, illegal sports betting, nuclear smuggling, and other not-homicide crimes. “Blown” is an entertaining spy caper that takes Dawna to Poland in hot pursuit of a renegade NSA contractor. The bonus story, “Polonaise,” is also set in Poland and has her protecting a witness scheduled to testify against a Warsaw crime boss.

In “Shaken, Not Stirred,” Dawna takes a break from busting bad guys to vacation in Mexico at SpyGirl Fantasy Camp with her pal, ex-Secret Service Agent Ladyshimarray Harms. My story answers the simple question: Does a hardboiled FBI agent ever get to have fun? The bonus story, “Hungarian Dance No. 5,”is the first published short story featuring Dawna and Ladyshimarray. They run into trouble during a teaching gig at the FBI’s international law enforcement academy in Budapest.

Tell us about your latest book

Lay Bare the Lie, my sixth Nora Dockson legal thriller, will be released on July 1, 2019. An ex-con, Nora pulled herself out of the gutter and became an appeals lawyer. She works only for convicted felons.

She’s sure her current client didn’t murder his wife. The jury was misled by testimony from an expert witness who reconstructed the crime based on bloodstain patterns. She’ll prove the so-called expert made leaps of logic incompatible with the latest forensic science.

But before she can started on the case, a family emergency pulls her back to her roots. Events spiral out of control. Instead of arguing in a courtroom, she’s struggling once again on the dangerous turf of her childhood. And this time she may not get out alive.

You can preorder this novel at the bargain advance sale price from your favorite ebook retailer by following this universal link.

For more about my books, visit my website http://www.dianadeverell.com/

Random Friday


Someone shared on Facebook this article about 3 Defining Features of ADHD That Everyone Overlooks, especially beyond childhood. I know I’m not bi-polar and I am prone to depression, but I had never considered it could be something else. Now, I’m not trying to self-diagnose ADHD to myself, especially since I’m so good at telling lies to myself and believing them, but I do have some of those symptoms.

I definitely have an Interest-Based Nervous System, for example. When I write, I do “get in the zone” and forget time is passing. And yeah, I’d say what they say:

“I have always been able to do anything I wanted so long as I could get engaged through interest, challenge, novelty, urgency, or passion.”

“I have never been able to make use of the three things that organize and motivate everyone else: importance, rewards, and consequences.”

But I’m not going to take any medication for this. In 2012 I had a nervous breakdown and the psychiatrist gave me Xanax and a couple of other drugs. I bought them and never opened the boxes. I still have them, though! 🙂

I don’t have Emotional Hyperarousal, although I do have mood swings, but I shall attribute those to menopause (like I used to attribute them to my periods, LOL!) and an overworked thyroid.

From that online test, I might have Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, although some of those answers weren’t really black or white for me! 😉 I scored 19% for the Women and Girls Self-test and 42% for the generic ADD symptoms test, so I guess I don’t have any ADHD, which is a relief.

Again on Facebook, a friend “came out” as bisexual, and since it’s Pride month, well, here’s my take on the whole thing. I’ve had gay friends since the 1980s. The new millennium brought transgender and non-binary friends too. I don’t care who you love, as long as you respect my boundaries.

Might be introversion, but I do tend to keep people at arm’s length. And I figured out that my lack of interest in sex might be my being asexual, although, according to a (straight) friend, asexuality doesn’t exist and is simply a failure of men to please women. To which I could object that AVEN was started by a young man, but I just don’t want to discuss the matter with someone with such strong opinions but still could be my son.

And since my hormones have gone to sleep, I feel also aromantic, although lately I’m sick of adulting and would like to spend the rest of my life with someone. A BFF would be fine, though! I imagine a village somewhere of creative old people taking care of each other…

Meanwhile, here’s to making it through the long hot summer! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday


Last week I wrote almost 19K, but 15K were that expanded outline that was the original version. By Friday I was able to start adding meat (and deleting some of that outline stuff that didn’t really belong) and will continue this week before moving to Part 2 that has less prose outline underneath, since it’s a comic.

I have considered asking one of my artist friends to redraw that comic, but I’d need to rewrite the story first anyway, so I might as well just do the new prose version and forget the comic. But I recycled a couple of frames in Silvery Earth Kids, when Copperscales tells Torik some history, haha!

I have published Missions 6-10 of the Lone Wolves Team, but you can also wait until I put them all together in one volume. Missions 1-5 is out at 99c, this second volume is at 2.99$ as will the others be. Six in total, for 30 missions.

I’m slowing down the publishing after the summer, especially since l don’t think l’ll sell anything at Worldcon. I’m still debating if actually getting a table or not. Oh, and since the dreaded summer heat is here, I’ll also discontinue the Backstage Pass on the publisher’s page, at least until the end of summer.

You probably know by now that I hibernate in summer, and even though I have two scheduled trips to colder countries, I don’t think I’ll have the brains to do much. I’ll be home, writing, that’s for sure! 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful week! 🙂

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