Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Technology and I...

Sometimes we are not friends.

But you are all my friends, and as such, I will tell you that I had hoped to have my Kickstarter ready to go tomorrow (or today, depending on your time zone).


Due to some glitchiness on someone's end regarding bank accounts and whatnot, I have not managed to get my account completely set up in time. Also, Kickstarter has made a policy change that requires review and so, long story short, The Dragon Undone is on hold until these things can be resolved.

No one is more disappointed by this than I am, I promise you. I made great strides toward getting things set up with third-parties. I finished the creative bits on my end. Being held up by someone and/or something else is frustrating (and there's been a lot of that, this week -- ask me about my diabetes medication) (on second thought, don't), but I'm sure it will work out.

Rest assured that I will flail, gesticulate wildly and make other amusing noises the minute the project is ready to go.

Until then, I'll continue to prep for the house cleaners. Ten years of two people cluttering the house. One person attempting to remedy this currently. I'm going to have a drink while they clean.

Hey. It could be fun.

Stay tuned! There will be news! Honest.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A rambling writer

So, S. Got any news to share with us?

Well, randomly invented questioner, not really. A few decisions maybe, but nothing truly concrete.

That said:

1. The Kickstarter will run for the month of March. Mark your calendars because that's coming up Real Soon Now.

2. I have a cover artist in mind. She's pretty dang amazing so expect to see something wonderful in conjunction with this project. She will not be able to start until Aprilish, probably, so it'll be a reveal after the Kickstarter has concluded, successfully or not. Maybe we'll get lucky and she'll be able to start a little early to give us all a peek.

3. I am going to redo the intro video. That has to happen in the next couple days. I'm not so thrilled with my big head out there doing the intro, and I came up with a -much- better idea anyway. I just have to, you know. Do it. It'll happen. Stay tuned. Hints: It involves sonnets. And dragons. Could it get any better?

4. In the meantime, I will stress over having my house cleaned on Friday. I feel like I need to scrub the place before they get here, which...sort of defeats the purpose. And yet...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Men vs. women

I'm quite sure I've asked this question before in some form or other, but it comes up all the time when I'm writing, or more particularly, revising as I'm doing now.

I find it much easier to get into the heads and hearts of my male characters than I do with my women. For some reason, despite the fact that I set out to write strong women, and I think I'm pretty strong myself, my women tend to start out whiners. And wafflers. And I have to work pretty darned hard to make myself toughen them up.

Maybe it's because I'm not fond of Xena syndrome. You know, women who kick ass, take names, chew bubble gum -and- still manage to wow in an evening dress, while insulting everything with a penis for laughs. Maybe I just don't know my female characters well enough before I start writing. They don't tend to pop into my heads fully-formed like the men, it's true. Maybe I have some deep-seated, therapy-required issue with members of my own sex and should make an appointment ASAP.

Whatever the reason, they give me fits.

But I'm working on it.

Here's a buffed up dragon-girl for your snippet-reading pleasure:

Anger blazed in the glare she returned. When she backed away, disappearing into the shadow beneath the beast's legs, she didn't do so in retreat. Oh no, she'd issued a challenge. Even when Berdhan could no longer see her face, he could feel the weight of the invitation. If he dared he would have a fight on his hands. 
Come and get me

Monday, February 20, 2012

Beads are tiny, needles are sharp.

I continue to pick away, both at revisions and at setting up and arranging things for the Kickstarter project I have planned for next month. This is requiring not only my writing brain, but many different slices of the creative pie as well.

Like a lot of us writerly types, my urge to create does not only come out in putting words on the page. I'm a crafter. I was a crafter before I started trying to write for publication. I cross-stitch. I sometimes play with clay. I have done some drawing though nothing much that I would share with anyone else. I have a small business in which I dye yarn and spinning fiber. Makes sense, then, that I'm a knitter, spinner and crocheter myself yes?

I also do beadwork. I don't string beads, as I feel I have no real talent with that, and the few times I've attempted wire-wrapping, I'm mostly made spaghetti with beads for meatballs, but I do beadwork, or more specifically, beadweaving. I've made bracelets, necklaces and earrings. I design them myself.

And sometimes I design things that are a little more silly, a little more fun. Like this guy:

This little fella will be attached to a length of ribbon soon, and become a bookmark, something I'll be adding to my incentives at one of the higher levels of my project. Why higher? One takes me about three hours to do, start to finish. You can understand then, I'm sure, why I wouldn't want to make one for everyone who donated $5. There are other rewards for that.

But at the higher level, I will absolutely make one for those interested. I'll be making up a few more in different colors, just to give options. I think they're fun.

But this is supposed to be about writing, yes? Here's my favorite snippet of the day:

"Of all the things she loved about her brother, his careless elegance topped the list. Some dragons worked hard on their appearance, waiting for just the right sunlight. Just the right breeze. Silaune was simply himself and he was stunning."

I don't know. Something about dragons posing for effect amuses me.  Is that wrong?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Today, I feel accomplished.

Some days, I do a lot of little things and feel like I've accomplished nothing.

Other days, I do a few bigger things, and feel like I've accomplished a lot.

Today is one of the latter days for me.

What did I do? Thanks for asking.

Today, I completed one of the steps on the road to launching my Kickstarter project. I made a video, of myself, talking about the project. It is by no means professional or even particularly pretty, but it works. Given that it was the first time I'd ever used a webcam to record anything -- does that make me an almost-Luddite? Maybe. -- I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. The last time I did anything like that, it was for the very first Project Greenlight, it took the better part of a weekend, and realizing that yes, Catie and I really had just shot for an entire day with no sound, and was just as awkward in the end.

When the project launches, you can all take a gander. Package deal and all. Also, this means I get a couple more days to work up the guts to put the button that puts my mug out there in front of bunches of strangers. I did/do theatre. You'd think I'd be over that 'omg, they're looking at me' fear.

There are no stage lights to blind me in my house. (My fellow theatre geeks will get it.)

Other than that, I finished another chunk of revision. I made some fake fudge (choc. chips + frosting + refrigeration).

All in all, not a bad day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The first (second version) of the project: The Dragon Undone

So it's official. I've decided. I am running with the project that spoke loudly to me and the one I think I have the best chance of completing.


Well. Because it's already done.

As mentioned in my last post, I took a crack at The Dragon Undone back in 2006 when I started e-publishing. I was determined, at that point, to be a romance writer and sadly, in most cases, that didn't work out so well for me. As my pal Catie has always said, I don't write industry romance. (Neither does she, btw, and if you're not reading her books, where have you been?) So for more than a few years, I've been trying to hammer square me into a round hole. Or vice versa.

Not this time. This time I'm revising the story to make it what it should have been all along. Will there be romance? Probably. It does tend to creep in.

At any rate: the book is complete. No waiting for me to finish a first draft. I am excited about revising the book. It opens the door to finishing the other two books of the trilogy. Most importantly, it's gotten me writing again and that, my friends, is crucial to this whole being a writer thing. Go figure.

And since I'm rambling about dragons and things, how about a sample of things to come?


Tomas reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of cloth while he shook his head. "If that was a daydream, I hope I never have another. That sort of daydream leaves things behind."

He thrust his hand at Berdhan with the cloth draped over his fingers. What lay in the center of the bundle could be mistaken for nothing else.

Firelight flickered in reflection on the curve of a black dragon's claw.

Berdhan's stomach lurched, and he swallowed hard to keep last night's spirits down. "Who made this?" He looked around the table, searching out a guilty glance, hoping for the shoulder twitch that would give the prankster away.

But the others stared back mutely. Some shook their heads but non one flinched or grinned or began to sweat. Not one bit of mischief between them, damn it all.

"Made it?" Tomas frowned and glanced at the others as well. "No one made it, Berdhan, I told you. A dragon came."

"And left a claw where you could pick it up?" Berdhan leaned away from the thing as if it might somehow infect him. As if his luck could somehow get worse. "A silver dragon, you said. Why is this black?"

Tomas drew his hand back and refolded the cloth. "I don't know the way their colors work. I only know what I saw. I didn't make it up," he insisted, a little louder. "I wouldn't do that." His gaze met Berdhan's again, darkened in resignation. "You don't believe me."

"Toss it in the fire."

There was stunned silence on all sides. Berdhan shoved to his feet, this time welcoming the burn in his muscles. He was awake. Sober. It couldn't be a dream. He snatched the cloth-covered bundle from Tomas' hand and crossed the room to pitch it in the fire before anyone else could move.

"Hey! My mother gave me that!"

"It's just cloth, boy. It can be replaced." Berdhan watched while the fire peeled fabric away from the claw inside. Burn, he willed it. Catch fire. Prove yourself a fake. If it would burn, it might be wood. It could be a piece of many things.

But a dragon's claw, the legends said, could withstand any fire. It would carve stone and never break, spill the blood of a thousand men and never dull.

Someone jostled him, and Berdhan looked over his shoulder to find himself surrounded by a ring of curious men. Tomas fidgeted beside him, waiting.

"It's real," he announced when the last ashes of the cloth drifted away.
"I told you," Tomas murmured, "but you didn't believe me."

"I didn't want to believe you, boy. There's an important difference." He turned from the fire and faced the circle, taking the measure of each man listening. All his reluctance had been burned away with the disintegrating cloth. There'd been no time, no chance to avenge himself on the beast that had ruined everything with a swipe of its claws.

Now, today, that would change. Berdhan could reclaim his life, his reputation. His name. "Get your swords, your axes, and anything you need. We're going to fight a dragon."

And this time, he meant to bring all of them home.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Don't judge a book by...

I have all the respect in the world for cover artists. I honestly do. I do not have the talent or skill to know what looks good together or, more importantly, how to make things that don't work together at first glance blend together into seamless works of art. Kudos to those of you who can do it. I've had the privilege of having some of my ebooks done by extremely talented people.

But "back then", when I had my first few books done, I did not have the guts to stand up for what I really wanted. I was simply so amazed to have a book out in the ether at all that I smiled and nodded and pretty much took what I was given. I did ask for a few changes, but never anything major.

And sometimes that meant that the cover just ... wasn't quite right.

There's a series that I would really like to revise, with some editing and extending and completing book two and three.  The first release did all right. I think it could do better. And part of that is that I don't think the cover sold the story very well.

Note: I am not using this for promotion's sake. The book is currently not for sale anywhere. I am showing the old cover purely for comparison.

This is what I was given at the time:

Serviceable. Doesn't match the tone of the book very well, in my opinion, but it was a fantasy romance sold to a house that I don't think really knew what to do with it at the time.

So if and when I relaunch the book, I'm going to do my best to find a more accurate representation. Something more like this, I think:

Which one would you rather read?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Words and more words.

It's me again. Did you miss me? Do you remember me? No, I'm sure you don't. I'm not even sure I remembered myself. It is, however, time to get over my slump, get back into the game and make something of myself in new and exciting ways.

Part of this remaking is to realize that since I started writing for publication, I've done a lot of just that. It's easy to get overwhelmed by "No", "Almost" and "Not for me." It's even easier to lose sight of what we, as writers, have achieved and where we have succeeded.

So, in that vein, I thought I'd take a moment to cheer myself up and count up the things I've accomplished.

Since The Beginning, fourteen years ago, I have written:

-9 short stories totaling approximately 37,000 words. Two of them were published at a small electronic press. One of them has been published in a professional e-magazine. One of which earned me entry into a writing workshop (I didn't get to attend, but I was invited. That counts for something!)

- Two full length (2-hour) movie scripts. One of which was optioned very briefly. They're 100+ pages a piece but wordcount doesn't measure up the same way. Let's call them 20K a piece for a total of 40,000.

-Two spec scripts for now defunct tv shows.  45 minute episodes, so let's call those 7K a piece, for 14,000.

-One half (dividing the work equally) of the pilot, several episodes, and a partial series bible for tv show I still believe will happen one day.

-One half (again dividing the work equally) of a spin-off tv series that will never happen, but was fun.

-Nine novellas totaling  212,000 words. All but two of those were published at small electronic houses.

-Six and a half novels totaling 450,500+ words. Plus, because I'm not sure exactly how many words that half a novel contains. Quite a few.

This accounting does not include novels/novellas/scripts that were partially completed, because that would just be ridiculous, no matter how many thousands of them are currently inhabiting my hard drives.

Even without the partials, my victories to date equal 746,500 words, give or take. It doesn't compare to what some of my friends have done in the same time, but then, I'm not my friends. They have their roads, I have mine, and all in all, I've done pretty well for myself.

If you're having a rough time of it, and/or feeling like you've accomplished very little for all the time and effort you've put in, I recommend doing this with your own works. If you have completed even one short story, that's a victory.

And victories add up.