Category Archives: Banging My Own Drum

December Update

December Update

What Do I Have to Lose?

Back when I was preparing Gliese 581: Departure for it’s final revision and upload to Amazon, a friend of mine said, “Wait! Why aren’t you sending this to a publisher or agent?”

I thought about it for a few minutes and replied, “I’ve just never had luck with traditional publishers. And I guess the idea of going to an agent and asking them ‘pretty please’ to take 20% of any potential income just seems silly to me.”

My friend was concerned for me, though. “It’s a good story, it has such potential. Aren’t you limiting yourself by self-publishing?”

And, as much as I would like it, the chances of me becoming a female Hugh Howey (author of Wool, which went viral and ended up earning him a publishing contract) are pretty small.

So I told myself I would give it six months.

My first fiction book, War’s End: The Storm, sits at six reviews. My second work fiction, the sequel to The Storm, A Brave New World, sits at five reviews on Amazon.

So in terms of total reviews, Gliese 581: Departure, now at 21 reviews, has been a screaming success. And I’ve made about half of my investment back (not counting hours put in writing and editing) so that’s something.

But it is time to push it out into the bigger world.

I bundled it up and mailed it to a potential publisher today. They may look at it and say, “Wait? It’s already self-published? Forget it!”

And if they pitch it into the circular file and move on, I’ll try again. After all, the postage was right at $3.00 when you include the SASE. They may say “no” – and the next guy might say “yes.”

Being self-published, having the book up on Amazon, might be a death knell. But then again, it might not. The times, they are a-changing and self-publishing is slowly becoming less of a bad thing.

We will see, I guess. What do I have to lose?

Two Weeks of Writing Immersion

I have declared us done with homeschooling until after the New Year. Specifically, nothing but fun and relaxation from now until Tuesday, January 3rd for the kiddo.

And that means I get to write!

I am hoping I can knock out a good chunk of the needed parts of Schicksal Turnpike in the next two weeks. I would love to have it edited and some advance reader copies out there and ready with reviews by the time I upload the book to Amazon in the spring.

A Special Present – Just For You

A few years ago, long before I finished Gliese 581: Departure, I wrote a short story titled Forward Reach. It is set approximately 30 years after the events chronicled in Departure. It has been sitting there, unloved, in a file folder on my computer for far too long.

Earth after the devastating plague is a very different one from the Earth of today. The image of families, of mothers and fathers raising 2.4 children is a thing of the past and Forward Reach offers a glimpse into that world, and the effects of the planetary breeding and repopulation program.

On Christmas Day, as my present to you, you will be able to read the story here.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Three Free Days for Gliese 581

Three Free Days for Gliese 581

Gliese 581-Departure

So today, tomorrow and Sunday will be the last free days on Gliese 581: Departure for a while.

I’m racking up the reviews but I could always use more!

Here are some recent reviews:

reviews

I’m just one chapter away from having my first draft of Schicksal Turnpike done and headed for my editor. Schicksal is…well…consider it the prequel, to the prequel, to the prequel, to Gliese 581: Departure. Set within the same universe it is set in 1950s Kansas City.

So get Gliese 581: Departure. Read it and review it, and I’ll try and get this next reading adventure ready for you.

 

That’s Why I Need YOU

That’s Why I Need YOU

A while back I felt it click on – the single-minded desire that I have experienced, off and on, for most of my life.

“I want to be a writer.” I thought, “I want to spend a majority of the rest of my days on this Earth writing stories and sharing them with others.”

I realized I was tired of wasting time. I had put it off in the face of economic upheaval, life changes, and more – way too often. And it was time to change that.

And so I have begun to lay the groundwork.

You are going to see a LOT of my posts centering around my writing. Feel free to unfriend me on FB if it becomes too much. I know it isn’t for everyone. It is a line I walk, trying not to be obnoxious about promoting my writing, but also not languishing in obscurity.

I will be posting about free days, discounted days, my reviews, my stats, and my word counts regularly.

I will also continue to offer pdf copies of my books to anyone who asks (and often doesn’t ask) because I want to spread the word.

I am a one woman, writer, publisher, and marketer. I get to do it all!

Look at it this way. If it ever does take off When I am noticed, I’ll shut up and spend my days writing.

I hear the argument, “You spent time writing this book, you should be paid for it.”

And yes, I agree. I would LOVE to make money writing!

However, due to my relatively unknown status in the writing world, the choice becomes:

  • Sell my books to a small handful of loyal friends and get a small handful of corresponding reviews

OR

  • Give my books away to a crapload of people and eventually receive a large number of reviews which will bring me to the attention of MILLIONS more readers.

Guess which one I’m going to go with?!

So if you email me and say, “I would really like to read and review your new book, Gliese 581: Departure.” I will happily send you an electronic copy.

And if you were to read that book and think, “Well, damn, that wasn’t half bad, I’d like to read War’s End: The Storm. Tell me, and I will happily send you that book.

And the same for War’s End: A Brave New World

And the same for my two non-fiction books:

Get Organized, Stay Organized

The War on Drugs: An Old Wives Tale

I know you don’t all want to read the books on your computer. That’s cool, I get that.

However, until I can make this into a successful writing career, there are only so many paperback copies I can buy and send out to folks who don’t have Kindle or a computer to read it on.

I hope you understand.

So if you want to read any of my five books that are currently out, let me know!

And if you know anyone who wants to read and review them, send me their email.

For me to get the word out and see that I manage to get as much as exposure as possible, thereby increasing my chances of eventually seeing some sort of income from my writing, I need YOU.

I need your reviews posted on Amazon.

I need you to drop my name to everyone you can think of.

I’m in this for the long haul, folks, but damn, this is hill is STEEP!

Follow me on Amazon here.

Sign up to be an official book reviewer here.

Or just get all of my blog posts once a month in one handy location by receiving my newsletter.

Back to the Beginning?

Back to the Beginning?

Having settled on an official name for my universe – Kaplaran Universe – my vision for how these stories are all going to play out is slowly clarifying.

I’m going back to the beginning.

Well, at least, the earliest story set on the timeline to date.

Kaplaran Universe

Schicksal Turnpike – a.k.a. Fate’s Highway is going to be my current focus.

Each time I tried to tackle The Chronicles of Liv Rowan, my focus would just slip sideways. That seems to be a clear indication that I am not ready to tackle it. I want it to be soon, but you can’t push a rope.

Although it may take off and surprise me, Schicksal Turnpike should end up being a short story. In which case, I may simply publish it on Kindle. We will see.

Meanwhile, here is a short summary/description:

What if you could start over?

What would you do if the slate of your life was wiped clean and you were given a chance to make everything different?

Would you make the right decisions the ‘second time’ around? Would you find your life to be better in the end? Dean Edmonds was given that second chance. He was given the opportunity to start again, to try things a second time around. Dean Edmonds found that it cost him the love of his life and gave him a chance to live life again. He found his second chance on a small and twisting road known as Schicksal Turnpike.

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Get Your Free Kindle Copy! Two Days Only!

Get Your Free Kindle Copy! Two Days Only!

Gliese 581-Departure

It’s time for me to stand on the street corner with my sign that says, “Read my book!”

And better yet, download it for free on Friday and Saturday!

The reality of self-publishing is this little thing we call marketing. But let me tell you a story first, because that is what I do. I tell stories – and some of them are even true.

Years ago, about a year after I first returned to the city of my birth, I went to work for Children’s Mercy Hospital. I worked in the Nephrology department. Nephrology, by the way, is the study of kidneys. Some doctors specialized in bedwetting issues, others in odd kidney diseases, all the way to kidney transplants.

Of the pool of doctors I worked with, along with three other secretaries, was this one firecracker of a doc. He wasn’t taking the transfer over to computers well. He especially was not interested in ever reading email, dealing with the new computer programs the hospital was pushing him to use, and he frequently would holler, “I don’t work with computers, I am not a computer technician, I AM A DOCTOR!”

He said it as if that answered everything.

I wish that I could flail my arms about and say that same thing – “I am a WRITER!” and have it magically make marketing go away.

But it doesn’t, so here I am.

So…

Consider this a friendly, upbeat reminder that my most recent book, Gliese 581: Departure will be available for download on your favorite Kindle device all day Friday and Saturday, June 3rd through the 4th.

I do this out of the hope that you will read it, LOVE it, and tell the world – starting with Amazon and Goodreads. I have provided the links there to both for your convenience.

Your opinion matters. Your opinion will make the difference between someone clicking “Buy Now With 1-Click” or moving on to the next Indie book in the list.

Download it for free.

Read it.

Review it.

And remember…

beauty

Progress – Almost Book Like in Appearance

Progress – Almost Book Like in Appearance

Something odd is happening in the past three nights – I’ve actually had deep, refreshing sleep void of pain or restlessness. It’s been amazing! I guess you don’t know you are missing something until you get it again. I haven’t slept this well in months. And it is certainly helping with the writing, especially yesterday and hopefully again today.

I’m getting excited. I want to talk about the details, but more than that, I want it to be complete so I can start with the final edits and then get it out there so folks can read it. I really think a lot of people are going to like it.

Writing Those Science-y Details

My youngest nephew is brilliant, he’s 20 or so now, smarter than most, and certainly a far sight brighter than I am. I queried him the other day about light spectrums and such. As I explained to him, “Sure science fiction is fiction, but that doesn’t mean I can just make anything up. I figure there are a handful of jumps you can make, and then the rest has to be realistic. At some points you have to follow the rules of science, otherwise it’s fantasy, not science fiction.

Despite reading science fiction for years, I have found writing those science-y details a little intimidating. But I’m working on that, powering through, if you will.

Pushing That Word Count Up There

I believe I wrote in excess of 6,000 words yesterday. I may have miscounted, because the number (at least for me) seems overly large, but I did spend they entire day writing. This brought me up from the thin, anemic 74k it was before I began yesterday morning to over 80,000 by the end of the two chapters – Mr. President and Mars Needs Moms.

I typically shoot for a novel that has at least 80,000 words – in other words it isn’t a novella, but it also isn’t an epic tome.

And in case this brings visions of me typing a word and then checking the word count, let me put you at ease. It doesn’t work like that. I write until the story is done – having a goal for the word count is simply for my benefit.

Yesterday was lovely. I spent hours writing, crafting details and small glimpses into this world I am creating, adding richness to the universe of stories I will write in again, and it all flowed out of me peacefully and without difficulty. That’s the way I want the writing to come.

It always surprises me, too, where the story turns or banks. When I sat down to write the chapter Mars Needs Moms, it was titled Supply Shortage and was supposed to be about the colonists in the throes of the virus, desperate for more food. Instead it turned into a story about a young woman who was badly damaged by oxygen deprivation as a child, her younger half brother, and a stranger from one of the other Habs in the colony – the only three left after the rest of the colony succumbed to the virus.

Writing is fascinating to me – a sort of magic in how it springs forth from my mind, often far different from how I originally envisioned it.

The Tunes Help

What do you call a former stepson who you think of as the son you never had? I’m not sure, and I still hover between calling him “Bill, my son” to “Bill, my former stepson” – sometimes there are no good titles – especially for those keepers in your life.

I remember when Bill first picked up this guitar I had – and had never played – and began playing it obsessively. Pretty soon he was carrying it around, tied to his back with a cord. Fast forward fifteen years and I have this to listen to as I write. Pretty cool, and not distracting for me. I love listening to music, but the vocals distract me from my writing.

Writing, Marketing – Rinse and Repeat

I’ll keep reading the books on marketing and keep trying new ideas, but I’ve settled on this concept for now:

  • Every day I need to write
  • Every day I need to market my writing

How that marketing looks depends on my interest, willingness and knowledge, but I’ll never be the hard sell gal. I can’t stand it directed towards me, and I refuse to direct it towards others. I realize that there are more fish in the sea than ever, and that everyone is inundated with distractions, so my voice will often be lost in the din.

That’s fine, I’ll keep working at it.

Learning Curve With Scrivener

Learning Curve With Scrivener





Scrivener Learning Curve

So I made the plunge into Scrivener the other day. I found the idea of it rather appealing – instead of scrolling through a manuscript each time I want to edit a certain section – instead I just go to the section.

It is sort of like a database for writers. You can add all of your files…Excel, Word docs, et cetera…into it for one stop editing and writing. And when your manuscript is ready to go, just hit Compile and it will put it in the correct format for uploading to Kindle, or as a manuscript for editing, et cetera.

It is, however, taking up vast swaths of hours as I import, adjust, and learn the ropes. As a result, I’ve done little or no writing in blogs or manuscripts.

Juggling of Projects? 

I envy one-trick ponies…I really do. At the moment I am in discussions on a possible non-fiction book project with an individual who recently received international news coverage. I can’t say too much more at this time other than, I would really like to work with this person and tell their story. I’ve sent a copy of my book The War on Drugs: An Old Wives Tale and hope to do a book that is part memoir/part call to action. One last tidbit…it would shed light on the prison industry in our country.

In addition, I’ve been chewing over the idea of writing smut for a while. I’m diving in, in a matter of speaking, and have set up a website and more as I work through ideas and more. Smut sells, folks, and I would love to make more than a latte’s worth of income on a monthly basis. More on this as things develop.

Lastly, now that I’ve finished my main learning curve with Scrivener, it is time to finish G5D (Gliese 581: The Departure). Yeah…working on that…sort of…

Interview With Unblocked

I meant to write a full post about my interview with Unblocked – a new podcast on writers. Charlie, who I have known for years through homeschool co-op interactions, interviewed me as her first guest. I was quite impressed by her list of questions – having been interviewed before by a variety of podcasters and on the Walt Bodine Show back in 2008, I can tell you that Charlie is definitely up there. She was well prepared, thoughtful, and sparked conversation on some great topics. You can find her website here, and listen to my interview as well as others.

Thanks Charlie for having me on your show!




I’m Doing SOME Things Right…Sort Of

I’m Doing SOME Things Right…Sort Of

I am continuing to muck my way through Tim Grahl’s book Your First 1,000 Copies. It isn’t a thick book by any means, it is rather thin and very concise.

I like that.

However, each idea takes a while to process.

  • Build a subscriber email list and start sending out newsletters – check
  • Add pop-ups to each website to get more folks to subscribe to your email distribution list – 2/3 check (for some reason, Homeschool Advocate REFUSES to let me do this – sigh)
  • Add new content – check (this is of course an ongoing production)
  • Continue to write in my manuscript – my goal but obviously needed!
  • Write in journal(s) daily – getting there, also my goal, but it helps it really does
  • Monetize my current writing more – again, my goal, but I’d rather it to cleaning toilets, and can you blame me?!

I was pleased to realize that already having the blogs in place, and folks that read them (you like me, you really do!) was one area that was already a done deal. And really, hooray for that, it is one less mountain to have to climb!

AdSense – Who Knew?!

Years ago, when I started my first blog, I immediately seized on the idea of adding AdSense ads to my blog. These give ‘per click’ income. It isn’t much, for instance, yesterday I earned two cents on my blogs. today I’ve already earned two cents and overall in the past seven days I’ve earned 15 cents.

I had forgotten completely about the AdSense ads until I looked them up yesterday. I need to fix/learn/upgrade what I’ve got out there so that they are more relevant, but I was surprised to find that I have a whopping $67.67 in the account. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to redeem until I have $100 in there. Which has lit a fire under my butt to a) get up to $100, and b) start monetizing my blogs better.

Again, I would far prefer that to cleaning toilets for a living. Just saying…

Anyway, now they have a Google Search field. Apparently, anytime someone uses it, I will earn money. So, if you feel the need to search the site, which will be linked to all three of my websites, then feel free to use the Google Search field at the top right sidebar!

Please Share

You are going to see a lot of this in the days/weeks/months to come.

Basically, I’ll try to remind you of it whenever I post. Sharing via Facebook or other social media will really help me. I know there are people out there who are fans of post-apocalyptic fiction, Sci-Fi, fantasy, the War on Drugs, or who really, REALLY need organizing help.

And I am hoping you will share my posts and spread the word.

So…please share!

Why I Write Cross-Genres

Why I Write Cross-Genres

Most authors tend to be single genre. If you write horror, then you are known for horror and that is what you write. Sci-Fi? Fiction? Fantasy? TEOTWAWKI (The end of the world as we know it)?

Stick to your genre.

I do not do that.

That might cause problems for me in the future. But for the life of me, I simply cannot summon up a single damn to give over the thought of folks being reticent to read cross-genre. And here is why…

Life Isn’t Just One Genre

Our lives are filled with humor, horror, drama, and the obscure and unexpected. We have moments/experiences we simply cannot explain (supernatural), flashes of what a world would be without structure or society or rule of law (apocalyptic), love (romance), horror, and more.

We all need moments of assistance or advice (self help) or to lose ourselves in someone else’s story (biography, memoir).

Restricting one’s reading habits (or one’s writing habits) to just one genre seems rather…limited.

And I don’t do limited.

One Unifying Factor

In the end, just about anything you read has one unifying factor to it.

Our humanity.

Even if we talk about aliens, we give them human emotions and attributes – folly, greed, love, hate, fear.

To write, or to read, is to explore or try to understand better, our humanity. Your humanity. My humanity.

It helps us understand others.

We are born egotistical and self-centered. The world revolves around us. As we grow, we learn more and more about our world, society, the emotions of others. And in most cases, when we learn to read, we are reading stories about other people. It helps us understand each other, empathize, and more.

And that, my dear reader, is cross-genre.

It is also all a blatant attempt to entice you to read cross-genre. Preferably my cross-genre stuff.

Yeah.

So, uh, get to it. And report back on what you learned.

That is all.

p.s. I wrote 1, 799 words Monday in Gliese 581. Now that’s progress!

Back to Center

Back to Center

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a one-trick pony.

Life would be so much easier if I were, believe me.

Instead, I get comments like “So…do you ever sleep?”

The answer is “Yes, at least seven hours a night!”

My goals are constantly in flux, and I am constantly struggling for balance. Enter in eldest daughter, stage right, and my life turned upside down for a while. But in a good way, because it is amazing and wonderful having her back.

So now that we have had time to ease our way into a routine of sorts, it also seems to coincide with my cyclical “How the heck do I get balance back in my life, do the things I need to do, pay the bills and still get my writing done?” stress out.

I’m challenging to live with…just ask my family.

And after a few days of thought, and endless lists, I’m getting there…somewhat.

First and foremost? More writing. Daily. Here, there, everywhere.

The first tenet of being a successful writer is a very simple one: You must write. Every. Day.

So in respect to that first tenet. I hope to, effective today, write daily in a journal (I have so many journals it is obscene) and do a daily blog post. I’ll probably take one day a week off – but hopefully from here on out you will get one blog post, from one of my three blogs, each day.

I also need to try, TRY, to get 1,000 words written each day in my book projects. For now, I’m going to cut that in half and say…500 words.

I don’t think that is too bad of a start.

I’ve got money troubles a ‘worryin’ me, so that is a lot of writing in and of itself which takes away from the cleaning biz and teaching biz that continue to occupy my time.

Meanwhile, I’m going to ask you for something that would really mean a lot to me. Click ‘Share’ on Facebook and share my blog entries with your friends.

Along with that whole “gotta write to get published” thing, I also need to increase my readership. Your kindness in sharing my blog posts with others means that my writing, books, and more get out to more folks. And I promise I’ll make it all quite interesting. No matter your taste in genre.

Thanks in advance for your support!