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No Rest for the Wicked

In The Blood is Finally Here!

I am so excited that In The Blood, the first book in The Blood Royal Saga is finally out there for people to read and enjoy.

img_0117For those who are interested in purchasing a copy of In The Blood:

Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-947181-00-7

  • Amazon (Link goes to the US Amazon link, but if you search using the ISBN number, you will find the copy, no matter what country you’re in)
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Or you can request an order from your favorite local bookstore

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-947181-01-4
Available from your favorite online outlet

Autographed Paperbacks can be ordered directly from Eagle Heights Press.

I’ve been sending out a lot of signed copies, and it’s amazing and humbling to me how many countries it’s reached. I’m considering getting a big world map and pinning all the locations I’ve mailed to. Yes, I’m sending them out myself, so if you order one of these, I’ll be the one mailing it out to you.

It’s been a very long road to this day, but one week into the sales, and I’m pretty pleased with the comments I’ve gotten back. I’m hoping people find the book exciting and interesting and that they want to keep coming back for more.

I’ve tried very hard not to swamp people with too much advertisement. Some of it is necessary, but it’s hard to find a balance between simply sharing your excitement and feeling like you’re spamming people. I hope I am doing the former rather than the latter. No one likes constant advertising, and I don’t want to do that to my friends.

I know I can’t just sit around and wait for people to buy, however. It’s not just going to become a success without effort.

Help Spread The Word

Some people have asked what they can do to help me get the word out. There are a few things, if you’re so inclined:

  • Post about it on social media to help me find new readers
  • Write reviews on Amazon and Goodreads
  • Tell people you think would enjoy it
  • Request the book at your local bookstore

Those things will help more than anything else, and would be greatly appreciated.

Release Party

On July 15, I’m hosting an afternoon release party open house celebration at my house for anyone who is local. I’ve ordered a cake from The Upper Crust bakery in Columbia (LET THEM EAT CAKE) which I cannot wait to see (It’s supposed to look like my book cover). We will also have champagne, though there will also be punch and coffee for those who prefer it. So far, we’ve got about sixty five people or so who have confirmed that they’re attending, though there may be more.

At the party we will have special guest Marie Antoinette in attendance, and you can have your photo taken with her to celebrate.

With as many people as we are anticipating, we’ve spent a lot of time getting the house ready for the event and have purchased a canopy tent thing where I’ll set up outdoors to sign copies for those who want them. I’ll use the canopy for festivals and outdoor events later on, and may even take Marie on the road with me.

Camp NaNoWriMo and Sequels

Thououtforbloodcovergh this first week of July has been hectic, I still set myself the goal of doing Camp NaNoWriMo and using the time to complete revisions on Book 2, Out For Blood, before sending the book to an editor. I’m planning to finish my work on the book this month so I can publish the book by December, and even get a head start on finishing Book 3, Trial By Blood which I plan to publish in 2018. I don’t want to make readers wait too long for the sequels.

I’ve also made a mockup of the cover of Out For Blood, and I’m very excited to see it come to its fruition. I’m feeling more confident with InDesign, and I truly enjoy that aspect of the job as well. Though being responsible for every aspect of the project is extremely hard work and sometimes I feel like Dick Van Dyke’s One Man Band in Mary Poppins, it’s so rewarding to have every part of the project be something I had a hand in. Every choice has been mine, from font to layout to cover art. Having creative freedom also means creative responsibility, but it’s an aspect of the job that is extremely satisfying to me.

Public Radio show and Podcast

After meeting with the station manager of the local public radio station, KPIP, I’ll be hosting my own show regularly, and that will then be posted online as a podcast. The schedule has to be set, and I am still working on a title for it, but I’m really excited that this is a thing that’s going to happen.

One segment of the show will be me reaching a chapter of In The Blood a week. I intend to compile those once I’m through and put out an audiobook.

I’ve bought a microphone and headset to do the recordings, and the equipment will work on both my desktop computer and on my iPad. That means I can take it with me to events or on research trips and do recordings on the road as well. As soon as I have more information, I’ll be posting about that so people know where to listen in.

As part of the show, I’d like to host regular interviews with other writers as well, and if you’re interested in participating in that, please let me know. I’m happy to do that, and I’d love to hear from you.

In gearing up for that, as well as to prepare for other things I intend to write, I’m doing some research. Here are just a few of the things on my reading list. If you’ve got recommendations, drop me a line, and I’ll add them to my stack.

 

So, anyway, that’s what’s happening with me this month. It’s likely to keep me very busy. It’s a good busy, though, and I’m loving the work.

I’m looking forward to having a little time to go on a holiday this fall, though it’s likely to be a working vacation. So much I want to do and only so much time!

 

 

Interview with Kari Anne Kilgore

When I heard that my friend and colleague, indie author Kari Anne Kilgore, had three books coming out at the end of October 2016, I was both amazed by her productivity and excited to add them to my collection.

Kari and I first got to know one another a couple of years ago at a writer’s retreat. In addition to my good fortune in getting to know both her and her husband, Jason Adams, I had the opportunity to read some of her work and fell in love with her creative mind and her amazing characters.

I’m very happy she allowed me to interview her, and I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about her work, her process, and her life.

[Book descriptions and links for purchase are below the interview.]


First of all, congratulations on all your recent publications! I know you have three books that just came out, and there are more on the way. What was your inspiration for each of them?

Thank you, Delia! This has certainly been an interesting autumn. Until Death started out as a writing exercise during a horror writers workshop in Transylvania, believe it or not. Richard Thomas was the instructor, and if I remember correctly, he asked us to write a scene drawing from our surroundings. The dogs had been barking outside the night before, so I started with that.

For The Dream Thief, I was a backer for a project called Fiction Unboxed back in 2014. Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant (and a bit of Dave Wright), all from the Self Publishing Podcast, had a goal of writing a novel from scratch in 30 days with the doors wide open. I listened in every day, and before they were even finished, I had a dream about the story. I woke up with the title and everything. I love it when that happens!

Songs in the Mountain started with scanning through the anthology calls listed in the Duotrope newsletter. My writer mind combined two of them, and I started with my own time spent scanning a bunch of glass plate photo negatives for a non-fiction publishing project. A couple of photos and stories from our postcard and photography book ended up in the story, too.

My main guidance for myself and other writers when it comes to ideas is you never know where and when the spark will come. I try to pay attention, stay curious, and never smother that idea before it has time to take root and grow. One of the Self Publishing Podcast laws of writing is there are no bad ideas. It’s what we do with the idea that matters!

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

These three are unrelated, but I’m absolutely a series sort of writer. My brain just goes there almost every time. Until Death and The Dream Thief will each have at least one more novel. I have three other series partly written, with ideas for several more.

Who knows? The characters from Songs in the Mountain may even end up with more stories in the future!

What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your books?

Until Death is the best example, so many things. From the inn we stayed in, the rooms themselves, the countryside, even a few characters that folks who attended the first workshop will definitely realize. That one was so much from that amazing trip.

Songs in the Mountain is set very close to home for me in every way. The main character starts out doing a lot of the same work I do, and the setting is a combination of a couple of towns close by. The coalfields of Appalachia is as close to my heart as you can get.

For a big contrast, The Dream Thief is set in a world someone else created. That was so much fun to play with. I got to read Sean and Johnny’s books as research, too. Talk about a nerdy avid reader’s dream come true! But then I was writing in areas of the shared world that no one else has written in yet. We consulted a little bit at the end, but mainly I had a fantastic time striking out on my own and fitting into the existing world at the same time.

In general, I use, add, subtract, twist, and adjust elements from the world around me all the time. An easy example is another novella that took root at the Stanley Hotel last year. I took strange occurrences in that creepy elevator and set it in a building in Manhattan. So much fun!

Tell me about your writing process. Did you work on these projects one at a time, or do you prefer to write on all of them simultaneously, going from one to the other as your muse dictates?

I generally like to work on one thing at a time, though NaNoWriMo months can be an exception. For a long time, I would start a project, then work on that until it was finished before moving on to the next thing. Last year when we had a family member in the last stages of Alzheimer’s, I would start a project, work on it for a while, then start something new. I’m sure that was a stress reaction of some kind. I’m truly pleased I was able to write at all with that going on. So this year has been a lot of wrapping up the half-finished stories from last year.

I hope to return to going straight through like I used to, but if not, I’ll adjust and keep moving.

I have heard you describe yourself as a “pantser” rather than a “planner,” letting the work develop organically as you write. Explain a little more about how that process worked with these projects.

It’s funny, I do consider myself a pantser, in that I write by the seat of my pants without knowing what’s next. The first two novels I published were written differently, though. Until Death had no plan or plotting whatsoever, like the vast majority of my writing. The Dream Thief is the only novel I’ve ever written from any kind of an outline. It was pretty loose, dictated into my phone on a long road trip to Maine, but it was an outline. I then proceeded to put it away and ignore it while I wrote during NaNoWriMo. Much to my surprise, it matched up pretty well at the end.

I may do another loose outline for the sequel to The Dream Thief because it worked so well the first time. And I’ve created loose outlines as homework for several writing workshops, so it’s not like I hate the idea of it. I do prefer the adventure of writing into the unknown, though. That feels like reading the story for the first time while I’m writing it.

I think one thing that scares writers about writing without an outline is worry that they’ll write themselves into a corner and have to back up and start over. The experience for me and every other pantser I talk to is that’s the exciting part. I love it when I have to stop and think “Huh. What are we going to do now?” It may take me a little while of pondering, but the solution is always there. Every single time, and usually very clearly hinted at earlier in the story. I may have to go back and do a bit of seeding here and there, but never more than a few minutes.

We all have our own process, of course, and that’s wonderful! When I’ve tried to do a strict outline, that shuts the story engine in my head down cold. For me at least, the time I’d have to spend creating an outline is far better spent just writing and telling myself the story for the first time.

What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?

Oh, this is a big question! I deliberately chose to publish in different genres within a few weeks. Until Death is horror/dark fantasy. The Dream Thief has darker elements, but it’s steampunk for sure. Then Songs in the Mountain really is a romantic suspense story with more than a little supernatural twist.

I love writing in various genres, and I plan to keep doing just that. There are only a few that I can’t see doing. Regency romance would involve too much research for me, and my writing is too strange and often dark for cozy mysteries, for example. I write like I read, I suppose, and like I think. All over the place, and always wanting to try something new.

How long does it take you to write a book?

This varies about as much as my genres do, but I’m generally a pretty fast writer once the story gets going. I’d say on average three months for a novel. I really want to work on being more consistent with this! I’ve hit close to 80,000 words during NaNo before, so I should be able to shorten the time with better habits over time.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I tend to be an evening writer, and I’ve been a night owl my entire life. My mother tells me this has been the case pretty much since birth. I love the dark and the quiet, the easy step from daily life to the half-dream when the writing is going really well. I’ll often get in a couple of hours after my husband has gone to bed.

All that being said, I’ve been trying to get a few writing sprints done during the day when I can. What I’d like to do is get my word count goal done earlier, though I’m just not set up to be a morning writer (unless you mean 2 am). I figure if I get that 1000 or 2000 words in earlier, I’ll be even more motivated and eager to write more during my peak evening hours.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

It really is consistency. That’s been my focus over the last few months, trying to get that habit more established. The way it’s been in the past is when I’m writing, I write a LOT. Then like many folks, I can get into stretches when I don’t write much at all. I don’t feel good during these times, and I’m sure my husband will tell you I can be a bit crabby.

When I’m writing consistently and writing fast, I feel so much more connected to the story. My goal is to stay in that groove of the story telling itself, the characters insisting that I pay attention, more often than not.

I do best when I write from 1000-2000 words per day. I want to get there more often than not.

What is your advice to Indie Authors? On writing? Marketing?

The first thing I always say to myself and to anyone else is write the next thing. I heard Hugh Howey say that back in November of 2014, when I first discovered indie publishing. I took that to heart, and it’s made a tremendous difference for me.

Right now, for example, I have several projects that will be fairly easy to put into the publishing pipeline. I took the time to study and work on my craft, and I got a ton of words under my fingers. That not only built my confidence and my ability to write faster, but it also gave me more than one project to put out. I attacked the fear of publishing the second novel by doing it right away.

As far as writing, I’ll quote Dean Wesley Smith and say have fun! That’s the most important thing, just enjoy yourself and tell yourself a fantastic story. If what you’re writing isn’t fun and you don’t enjoy it, it’s nearly impossible to create something readers will enjoy.

As far as marketing, I feel like I’m barely at the beginning there. The Self Publishing Podcast has been a wealth of information for me, as have their books Write. Publish. Repeat. and Iterate and Optimize. I also loved Susan Kaye Quinn’s Indie Author Survival Guide, and she has another called For Love or Money for folks a bit further down the road. I’m normally a Kindle reader these days, but I have each of those in print so I can take notes!

What formal education have you had in creative writing or publication? How has that training influenced or changed the way you write?

Well, I was an English major for a while, but that was almost exclusively focused on how to go to the library and research things written before we were born. There was no opportunity to write original work, much less fiction.

As for publication, that was SO round about for me. I taught PageMaker classes way back in the 90s, so when my uncle asked if I could put together a book for him back in 2004 I said sure. Little did I know what I was getting into! We essentially indie published years before it was cool, and long before there were any resources for help. I asked an awful lot of questions, and I still do.

From that paperback science textbook for high school kids in our region, we put out another for a different watershed, then moved on to a regional print and online magazine. The big one that forced me to get really good at InDesign (PageMaker’s descendant) was a 320 page postcard and photography book. That had 1100 images and captions for almost every one, so I had no choice other than seriously increasing my skill level.

All of that combined to make page layout for a novel a heck of a lot easier!

The main thing that influenced and continues to influence my writing is reading. Writers must read, as much as we can, and as widely as we can. That’s how we fill the well, along with movies, music, travel, museums, conversation, whatever inspires us and lights up our imaginations.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what project are you working on?

I am! I’d planned to work on the sequel for Until Death, but as often happens I found myself drawn to another story when midnight rolled around on 11/1. I’m working on one of those half-finished projects, a kind of mystery, kind of steampunk story called Clockwork Voodoo. I thought it would be a novella, but we’re getting pretty close to that magic 50,000 word mark.

Once that’s finished, which should be before the end of the month, I’ll see what’s demanding my attention.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

This is a loaded question! I absolutely believe that from time to time, life simply gets in the way. We can be ill, have someone else we must take care of, have an insanely busy stretch at the day job, have depression, or any number of things that can slow down or stop our writing. I do my best to at least revisit the stories during these times. Write if I can, maybe make notes of what pops into my head, at least think about the work in progress. Anything to keep the connection alive as best I can during a down time.

As far as what most people call writer’s block, this may be an unpopular opinion, but I do not believe in it. The idea that some kind of muse or uncontrollable inspiration has to show up for me to write doesn’t make sense to me at all. When I get to the computer or recorder or page, I plan to be ready to write. Therefore, I am. And if I decide that’s out of my control and in the hands of something I can’t influence or define, I’ll lose the spark altogether. That’s all I’ll say about that.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Can you give a sneak peek into what’s coming next?

The finished novel count stands at seven! Two of those are out now, and the others are parts of series that I want to finish before publishing. I have three novellas that are just about ready to go as well, and several short stories I’m submitting to magazines.

Assuming Clockwork Voodoo turns out to be a stand-alone, which I think it will, that will likely be next out for me. Then it’s time to turn my attention to wrapping up the series. One is a post-apocalyptic story set here in the Virginia mountains and in Illinois where I spent my teen years. Another is wrapping up the first series I wrote, with two finished and at least one more underway. Those focus on a geneticist from Scotland who stumbles across a mystery in Wales that affects him, his wife, and their family more deeply than he could have imagined.

I know you have been on several literary pilgrimages. How have those influenced your writing?

That first novel I wrote set in Wales led us to visit there twice, and I’d love to live there for a while. That art definitely influenced my life.

I’ve mentioned Until Death and the two trips to Transylvania. For the second trip, we went through Prague because that will be a setting in the second novel. Then while we were in Budapest, I got the spark for another story that I’m excited to dig into.

The main way is having those experiences and feelings – and lots and lots of photos – stored up for use in ways I can’t imagine. It kind of feels like having an extremely well-stocked pantry, but you can wander in there without any idea what you want to cook and get the idea from what’s on the shelves.

More often than not, though, I’ll be in the middle of a story and one of those past drives or trips or even flights gives me the touch I need to bring a setting to life. A trip I took 10 or 15 years ago may show up in a novel today. Those experiences keep me from being afraid of a new setting, even one that doesn’t exist. A sleeping berth on a spaceship may come from a train trip across the US, or the magical palace in a fantasy world may come from a tour of a castle in Romania.

The open mind and curiosity are key! And again, having fun.

Tell me about the publication process for these books and about Spiral Publishing.

Spiral Publishing really started with those non-fiction print projects going back over ten years. Once I have the books designed, I work with a local printer who does wonderful work for us. Those are specialized print runs, often with a landscape 11 x 8.5 format that isn’t really possible with something like print-on-demand. That layout and proofing and overall experience has been invaluable to me, and I plan to continue that work when the project is one I care about.

Strangely enough for an indie writer, I had a bit learning curve when it came to ebooks! Most indies are reluctant to get into print, which is where I’m perfectly at home. A big lesson with Until Death, the first novel I published, was to do that print version first. That’s my natural instinct anyway. The reason is I will always, ALWAYS, see a typo or word choice problem or something in the print version that I missed in every electronic version. It’s so much easier to get those worked out before I have the ebook completed.

One thing about indie publishing is we get to work with a team that we choose, not one that’s assigned to us. I edit the non-fiction projects, but I’d never edit my own fiction. My husband Jason is a wonderful first reader and editor himself, which is a huge help. I’ve been lucky enough to work with three fantastic editors for these first three books, and I hope to work with all of them again. Richard Thomas, Jason Whited, and Ellen Campbell. We can potentially learn to do layout, design, covers, so many things, but I believe a good editor is essential.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I can’t remember not wanting to be a writer. I read constantly from the time I learned how, and I was always telling myself stories. I specifically remember using my crayons to act out a great drama when we were supposed to be having quiet time in second grade. Even without the crayons, I could use my fingers to act it out. On long hikes during Girl Scout camp or on long car rides, I always had a narrative going in my head. I’m the same way now on the rare occasions when I can’t sleep. That’s prime storytelling time!

I first realized it was possible after I read WOOL by Hugh Howey and discovered indie publishing. I’m not afraid of traditional publishing by any means, but the slow pace and giving up all of my rights for novels doesn’t appeal to me at all. I submit to magazines and will keep doing that, so I’m really a hybrid.

But the excitement of finishing a story, working with an editor, finding cover artwork, designing the book, and getting it out there is so satisfying to me. I’d lose so much of that joy with a traditional publisher, and the tradeoff is not worth it for me. It’s a perfectly viable path for those who want it. I love the adventure and excitement of doing more for myself, and of working with a wonderful team along the way.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Travel is at the top of the list, but I also love being at home with my dogs and my cats, and my husband Jason. I read as much as I can, and I like to sew and bake when I have the time. I love my day job work with page layout and design, though I don’t love having to make websites for those projects.

I also love and am inspired by communicating with other writers. It’s such a delight to realize I’m not the only one who sees the world a bit differently.

Do you have certain apps or websites or gadgets you recommend for other writers?

I’m like you in that I adore Scrivener for writing. I don’t know how I’d manage without it, truly. I tend to write out of sequence, so being able to have those mini-documents for each chapter is a lifesaver. I still use Word for short stories, but anything approaching novella length goes right into Scrivener.

Aeon Timeline is brilliant for keeping track of character ages, events, even fitting stories into historical timelines. As a pantser, I use it to make sure those kinds of things are logical, or to see where gaps may be in the timeline. I’d imagine plotters would get even more use out of the ability to see how events fit together. It can sync with Scrivener, but I haven’t played with that yet.

After struggling with ebook formatting for a while, I bought Vellum, and I could not be happier with that. It’s Mac only, which is just fine with me, and it makes formatting for the different platforms simple. And the ebooks really are gorgeous.

InDesign is a must for me when it comes to print. It can seem intimidating at first, but there are wonderful tutorials on sites like Lynda.com. You can get it a month at a time now from Adobe, so I encourage folks who want to learn to format their own print books to check it out. You don’t have to be an expert to turn out a great looking book!

For distribution of review, giveaway, or advanced reader copies, www.bookfunnel.com is fantastic. You upload your files and create a link, then send those out. Then the recipient can download whatever format they want. So much easier than trying to explain how to side load onto a Kindle or Nook, for writers and readers.

I use my iPhone all the time for recording notes and ideas with voice recognition and notes. I haven’t played with Dragon dictation as much as I’d like to, but it makes all kinds of sense to me. The idea of going for a walk or a hike and writing at the same time sounds fantastic! Monica Leonelle has a wonderful book called Dictate Your Book that I’d recommend to anyone who’s interested in trying that out. Monica’s 8-Minute Writing Habit is another great resource for fitting in your writing time in short bursts and enjoying it.

And one last thing is the book 5000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox, and the app 5KWH that goes along with it. That’s made sprints so much more effective and fun for me. There are other apps like Wordly that other writers enjoy, too.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

Like so many other writers who get into horror, Stephen King is at the top of my list. I love how while his stories can be suspenseful or even scary, they’re always about the people rather than the monsters. And he crosses genres constantly, so it’s probably no accident that I do too.

Anne McCaffery and her Dragonrider books were another tremendous influence on me. Those worlds are so richly imagined, and I love the way the different series weave together.

Lately I’ve enjoyed Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books and Jeff Linday’s Dexter books just as much as the TV shows they inspired. They both give great examples of not being afraid of your subject matter or your characters! Jason Gurley is another indie I hadn’t mentioned yet. His book Eleanor is amazing, and it did cross over from indie to traditional.

Philip K. Dick’s short stories are some of my favorite reading, and they’re definitely an influence on my writing. He was so good at putting an ordinary character into an extraordinary situation. And the reader believes it because the other characters do. That’s how we know the strange thing is real, how we know it works. And what an imagination!

What writer organizations are you a member of? How have these writing communities helped or changed your work?

I belong to both the Horror Writers Association and the Romance Writers Association, as do quite a few writers I know. RWA in particular has some wonderful online classes, and they welcomed indies almost from the start. I’ve made great connections and friendships at HWA events, including you! Horror writers as a group are incredibly warm and welcoming.

I also belong to ALLi, the Alliance of Independent Authors, and the IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association. Both of those offer training, marketing resources, and support that’s been so helpful as I learn this crazy business.

What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?

I’m working on building these up more over time, but a good place to start is www.karikilgore.com. I plan to keep book listings there, information about signings and such, and eventually sort of a travel journal with pictures. My publishing site is www.spiralpublishing.net. The purchase links will eventually be there for my fiction, Jason’s fiction, and the non-fiction projects. Both have email lists folks can sign up for.

I’m not much of a blogger, but I am on Facebook more than I should be. I’m on Twitter a lot less, but I’d like to get more into that habit (@spiralwriter). I may investigate things like Instagram and Pinterest, especially for the non-fiction projects, but not just yet.

I know you’ve done some book signings already, and you’ve participated in several writing retreats and events. Do you have any other events coming up that you’d like to let people know about?

Not a whole lot after one of the busiest travel years of my life! Jason and I are really excited to be attending a science fiction workshop on the Oregon coast early next year with Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and we’ll go straight from there to the fantastic Smarter Artist Summit in Austin, Texas. After that, we’ll see what comes together.


until-death-ebook-cover-360x570Until Death By Kari Anne Kilgore

Various and Sundry

Ordinarily, I have a theme I focus on as I write my blog entries, but my mind is everywhere all at once this weekend, so I’m just going to give you pieces of that instead.

What I’m writing:

I’m working on additions/changes to Book One of my vampire series. I’m hoping to have those done by the end of October so I can spend November (NaNoWriMo time) finishing Books Two and Three. They’re outlined, and the word totals for the two books add up to 70,000 words, which is the goal for NaNoWriMo. How awesome would it be to enter December with THREE COMPLETE NOVELS in my series done? SO AWESOME.

I’ve also got a werewolf project I’m planning to co-write with a friend, and I’m very excited about seeing that happen. I’m hoping if we can get more done, I can sign us up for Channillo so it can be published in serial form online.

What I’m reading:

I’m working my way through The Memoirs of Casanova. He’s such a fascinating person. I’m really enjoying his storytelling. There’s such a playful energy to his style and a clear intelligent wit. He’s often laughing, it seems, but at himself as much as at the other people he was surrounded by. I can see why so many women found him appealing.

What’s happening around the house:

New screen doors and trim have been installed on our back porch, and before the cold sets in, we’re having the back of the house scraped and repainted. That wall was the first one that was painted back when the renovations were happening, and some of the paint has begun to peel. It’s been several years now, so I suppose that’s not surprising. I can’t wait to see it looking fresh and new again. As for the back porch, I’m very excited to have that finishing touch completed. I’m looking forward to spending three seasons of the year out there, bug free.

The last big job to tackle is the garage, and that will happen hopefully next year.

What I’m making:

Knitting is relaxing for me. I do it in between writing sprints and as a way to relax my mind when gearing up or gearing down for the day. I let my mind drift, and it seems to help me focus better once I get to work.

For the last month, I’ve been making hats and scarves for five of my friends. I have several projects going at the same time, and I move from one to the other depending on my mood and which room I’m in.

I’m hoping to have them all finished and mailed out by Thanksgiving, and then I plan to make knitted animals for the children in my family as well as a few other people I know would enjoy them.

Next spring, I plan to make my first sweater. I’ve always been a little nervous about doing that since it seems so complicated, but I’m going to tackle my fear and just try. After all, that’s the only way to learn, right?

Nerdy things that arrived in the mail:

Stuff I thought was cool:

How’s ’bout you?

  • What’s new with you?
  • Got any new projects/books you’re excited about?
  • What are you working on? Writing? Reading? Doing?
  • Did you find something cool you think I should know about?

Tell me in the comments!

Want to be interviewed on this blog? Let me know! I’m always looking for writers to promote and talk with.

 

Spring Break Boogie

For the university students at the college where I work, Spring Break begins today. While I don’t have the entire week off from work, I do have two three-day weekends in a row, which is almost as  fantastic. This weekend, I’m working on book revisions, learning to podcast, and spending some time with my family.

Family

DadMy father’s 82nd birthday was last week, but due to the bad weather and my laryngitis, we held off celebrating for a week.

The photo to the right shows him six years ago, working on the front porch of my house on a beautiful day in October. My father, an optometrist by day, acted as contractor for nearly every part of the work that was done on my house, from demolition, rough construction, plumbing, wiring, drywall, paint, finish carpentry…you name it, my dad did it. He did the work in his spare time, giving up days off to help me with the job that would otherwise have been impossible and overwhelming. There is not a room in this house that doesn’t have his stamp on it. Words cannot express the gratitude I have or the impact he’s had on my life.

Though he isn’t able to do as much as he used to, at age 82, I think he’s earned the right to relax. Still, he is always looking toward the next project, and that is an approach to life that I aspire to.

Social Media

Back in January, I started working with my intern assistant, Miranda Herod. To introduce her, she and I did an interview together. Miranda is a business major, concentrating in marketing and advertising, and she’s minoring in communications. Throughout the spring semester, she is working with me on my internet presence, helping to analyze and improve my social media use.

As part of the internship, Miranda and I are working on creating a plan for a regular podcast I’ll host, and I’m looking forward to making that happen.

Author Fangirling

Neil Gaiman PosterToday, I got such a wonderful surprise! I discovered that I won a contest for this Neil Gaiman signed poster! Eee!! I opened the mail and almost screamed, but then I realized I was on my front porch still in pajamas and there were people leaving the building across the street. Once I scurried inside though, totally shameless fangirling happened.

Now I just have to find the perfect frame so I can hang it in a place of honor in my office.

I’m not at all an autograph hound, but I have loved Neil Gaiman’s work for the last 25 years, and this poster is definitely going to be motivational for me. His work inspires me every day.

The only other autograph I’ve ever sought out is Anne Rice’s.

To the best of my memory, it was 1995. I was 24 years old and was in the process of writing my first book (which was dreadful, though I didn’t realize it at the time). I hadn’t yet made up my mind about grad school, but I knew that my dream was to work as an author one day. In addition to my academic reading, I absolutely devoured horror novels, especially Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.

A friend of mine from college who shared my interests called to let me know that Anne Rice was on a book tour to promote her latest novel. As a gift to me, she got both of us tickets to the signing event at a bookstore near her house. I remember driving two hours and then waiting with my friend for four more hours in line. The demand for the tickets had been much greater than the bookstore had anticipated, and hundreds of people had come from miles around for the event.

Anne Rice AutographImpatient and excited, I clutched my ticket and my brand new copy of Memnock the Devil until my group was called. As long as my day was, when I thought about how long she had been scrawling her name over and over inside book after book, still smiling and saying “thank you,” it made me even more grateful. She must have been there ten hours that day, and she was just as polite and thoughtful to those of us at the end of the line as she had been to the people lucky enough to get there first.

I was so excited about the autograph that I immediately went to buy a second copy of the novel in order to keep the signed one unopened and pristine. I still have it on the shelf next to my computer, and every day as I’m working in my office I see the book out of the corner of my eye and smile.

My Writing

My brain is full of more ideas than I can contain right now. It’s a good problem, but I can’t write fast enough.

Keeping focused on my top priority, I’m making a few more revisions to Book 1 before I send it off for another round of edits and then shop it.

As for Book 2, I’m about 30 pages in. I’ve put it on hold until my revisions are through, but I intend to be back to work on it in about a month.

In addition, I’m working on a couple of short stories which I hope to complete sometime before the end of the summer. One is a ghost story inspired by a dream I had, and I hope that what scares me will scare others. The other is a detective story with a horror twist.

Finally, I’ve had yet another idea for a YA book, also inspired by a dream, this one a dystopian zombiesque story. I have another YA book about werewolves already begun. I’ve made notes on both books and set them aside for the time being so I can concentrate on one thing at a time.

I love being so inspired. I only wish there were more hours in the day.

Layla

LaylaHave I mentioned that I have the best dog ever? Well, I do. She’s a wonderful writing companion-quiet, relaxed, and patient. Layla also makes sure I don’t forget to eat and stretch once in a while. She doesn’t do any tricks except “sit,” and even then you have to give her a treat for doing it, but I don’t need a dog who entertains me. Layla knows how to love, and that is the best.

Dogs don’t ask for much. They cheerfully eat the same thing every day. They love unconditionally.

Things Layla has taught me:

  • Give the people in your life all of your attention.
  • If you love someone, show it.
  • Ask for hugs when you need them.
  • Be excited to meet new people.
  • Show gratitude immediately.
  • Expect the best, always.
  • Appreciate the little things-warm breezes, soft blankets, belly rubs, tasty treats.
  • Slow down to notice the wonder of the world around you.
  • Take walks.
  • Set boundaries and make sure others know them.
  • Try harder.
  • Live in the now.
  • Share your enthusiasm with others.
  • Naps are good.
  • There is comfort in routine.
  • Be willing to follow someone else’s lead.
  • Never give up on something that matters to you.

And on that note, I’m off to work.