Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book cover!

After much agonizing, I finally decided on a book cover. I'm waiting to hear back from Cathy, and once I do I'll be able to unveil it! Very exciting. Now the real promotional work can begin!

I need to redo .... wait, what? I have no idea. I thought of something else in the middle of that sentence and forgot what I was saying. Squirrel!

Oh, I remember. I need to redo the blog to reflect the book cover design at least somewhat. I tossed the Robin McQuay girl pic up there just to have something, but now I want it to tie in.

I finished the rewrites, but I haven't put them in yet. My 30 day free trial of Word expired, as I mentioned last time, and I've been too lazy to get on the old PC to do the Word edits side-by-side with the Pages. I'm off tomorrow, so I should be able to get it done then.

So what's left? A promotional blitz heading into the next two weeks leading up to the on-sale date. I've offered to do reviews for some authors in the hopes that they'll review me in turn. That'd be nice, right?

Work's been insane, but I've tried to make brain time for the book. It's important to me, and I want it to be the best it can be. I read that self-publishing was hard work, but I didn't realize it would be THIS hard!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The (for real) rewrites begin!

I haven't read my book in about three weeks now, and I've basically been trying not to think about it at all. I mean, not not think about the book itself, but not think about the writing. It hasn't been easy, and I've been tempted a few times, but I've resisted. I told myself when I got the cover, I'd sit down, give it a good read, and do any final rewrites before publishing.

Last night Cathy sent me the first mockups of the cover, and so my long fast was broken. I picked up the book. I started reading.

Well. Shall I forgive myself because chapter 1 was written so, so long ago and I was a different writer then? I'll give myself the benefit of the doubt. And chapter 2? It's been gutted. Like, I cut about half of it. Those pages aren't gone; I'm going to use them in the novella; but I think I was trying too hard to squeeze too much in when I included them in Dark Man's Son.

So many "advice to writers" type things say cut, cut, and cut some more, and that each cut is a victory. It's true. But with these rewrites I'm not just cutting; I'm revising and polishing and remaking. The book will be better for it........

I understand a lot of the issues with self-published writers now. It's not just bad comma placement or split infinitives (though I split infinitives, and I split them defiantly); it's also that rush to publish. You've worked so hard on something, and now it's done! Huzzah! Hit that little button on KDP or Pub!It or Smashwords and blammo! Instant book.

Of course, said instant book is probably pretty frightful. Yeah, it might be readable, even enjoyable, but it's not necessarily...good. Was my first draft bad? No, I don't think so. Was it the best it could be? God, no, and even the final, published version probably won't be.

But each time I sit down with the manuscript and go through it, it gets better. I took 3 weeks away to give myself some distance, and now I'm back with a fresh eye. I'm seeing the flaws and inconsistencies I didn't see before, and I'm correcting them. Scenes that were once sharp and vivid in my mind -- because I'd just made them up -- are now hazy, and I can recognize when I need to put a bit more effort into those pesky descriptions. I hate writing descriptions of where people are, but 3 weeks away has given me the distance to see when it's necessary.

Well and so. I'm only halfway through chapter 2, and I've got a revision nearly every page. Even if it's just a small thing. It's worth it, though.

Now my problem: my free trial of Office has expired, so I can't revise my Smashwords edition. I have word on my big, old, clunky PC, but that means I'll have to put off doing the revisions until I feel like dealing with the damn thing. *sigh* The trials of a poor writer....

Sunday, May 13, 2012

An update...because why not?

Today is Mother's Day, and I just wanna let y'all know that I have a great mom. She's awesome. Happy Mother's Day to her, and I'm glad she's able to put up with all my shit.

In other news...I signed a contract with the oh-so-talented Cathy Helms to design my book cover, and I'm very excited. She's going to be working on it near the end of the month, and I can't wait.

I haven't done much with the book in the last week or so. I'm trying to let it breathe -- like wine, I guess -- and then once Cathy gets the cover to me, I'm going to give it another read through. The last one. Really. I'll do any final (REALLY) tweaks, and then it'll be ready to go.

It's sort of surreal, because I finished it a few weeks ago, and it's kind of like...then the hard work began. Would I do anything differently at this point? No, I don't think so. This process is exhausting, a bit, but overall worth it. I'm excited about the release and the cover and all of it.

Short entry tonight, kids. I'm tired, but I didn't want the blog to feel neglected. Hi, blog. Here's a cookie.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Moment on my Soapbox

I swore to myself I wouldn't use this as a forum to air my own personal issues, and I mean to keep that promise. I have a LOT of issues, and if I turned this into a bitch/rant blog, that's all it would be.

Having said that, there are certain issues too big for me to let pass me by. They make me angry. They make me sad. They make me cry in my car all the way home from work despite a blinding rainstorm.

I'm talking, dear blogledites, about Amendment One here in North Carolina. There are a lot of things I love about my state. We went for Obama in 08. We're hosting the DNC in a few weeks. We're home to one of my personal heroes, Maya Angelou. Obviously we're not the "Deep South" that people are so afraid of.

But painful ignorance still holds far too much sway here, and yesterday's vote made that obvious. They called it "the marriage amendment," and it was, but not in the way people thought. Yes, it banned gay marriage -- something that was already against the law in this state anyway -- but it also banned gay civil unions. AND it also banned heterosexual civil unions. Now, in North Carolina, the only way your union can be legally recognized is if you're a MARRIED heterosexual couple. Also, civil unions are not even recognized in NC. So if you were civil unioned in Virginia, say, and you're driving through the fair state of NC and get into a car wreck, and your partner is in a coma -- sorry, you have no legal rights in this state, no matter how legal your union is.

Does that sound right to you? It sure as hell doesn't to me. What gets me is how Republicans are always bitching about the government getting into their lives. "Don't tell me I have to buy healthcare -- I'm a free American and should be able to choose!" Right. Okay. But the government has a right to tell you you HAVE to get married in order for your union to be legally recognized? Sorry, y'all: you didn't just invite big government into your home, you ushered it straight into the bedroom and gave it a seat right beside the bed.

The hypocrisy of this is staggering to me. The "sanctity of marriage" line is BS. There are maybe five people left in the continental US who actually believe in the "sanctity" of marriage. But now, because of ignorance, bigotry, and hypocrisy, kids all across NC will lose access to healthcare.

How? you might be asking. I listened to two ladies outside my polling place yesterday mocking those of us against Amendment 1 for believing...well, the law. You see, before this new law passed, a stepparent could carry health insurance on their non-biological child if said stepparent was in a civil union with the child's biological parent. Now, of course, such unions are illegal, so if the biological parent is unemployed (and NC has the 5th highest unemployment rate in the US), the child loses healthcare. Unless, of course, the parents get married. And naturally the government has every right to sashay in and tell these two people that they MUST GET MARRIED or face the CONSEQUENCES!!

And what about seniors? Many widowed seniors specifically choose not to get married, because the social security benefits they're receiving as a widow/er are their only source of income. NOT ANY MORE, old people! GET MARRIED or get CUT OFF!

I think, dear blogledites, that you can sense my anger here. I'm furious and hurt and upset. I'm a straight woman, and I support my LGBT brothers and sisters in their right to love as they choose, and to marry the person they love. I also support my fucking right to marry or not as I bloody well choose.

The last amendement to the North Carolina state constitution made interracial marriage illegal. My only hope is that one day, in the not-too-distant future, North Carolinians will look back at Amendment One and shake their heads at their forebears' ignorance and bigotry, just as we look back at that last amendment with disgust.

Now let's get this shit repealed.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Don't feed the idea gremlins after midnight

I want to go to sleep. I had a long day, and I'm tired. You might be wondering why I'm telling you (the infinite abyss) this rather than just going to sleep, but it's pretty simple: I can't get my brain to shut up.

Seriously. I'm writing scenes from the sequel in my head AS I FRAKKIN TYPE THIS. Do you have any idea how annoying that is? I can't get the characters' voices out of my head. They have medication for that.

I'll probably try to get it down on "paper," but then it won't be as good as what I'm hearing in my head right now, and I'll be all pissed and disappointed and end up staying up until 8am or something trying to get it right. Thus is the curse of a writer. As melodramatic as that sounds, I've come to accept its truth.

In other news, didn't go to The Avengers midnight screening tonight. I thought about it, toyed with the idea, but in the end I decided I'd rather wait a few days. Midnight screenings are fun, but they're also stressful. I don't do well around huge, excited crowds.

Ari Hest is playing the late show tomorrow at the Muse, and I'm excited about that. Gonna see Joe and Bradley play with The Matt Perrone Band on Saturday for Joe's birthday, so that should be fun. Other than that...I'm bleary-eyed and tired of thinking about angels and demons.

What idjit thought this writing thing was a good idea?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Working, working!

It's funny. I thought writing the book would be the hardest part. Actually, compared to my usual writing process, writing it was the easiest bit of all.

Right now I'm struggling with my whole "marketing" thing. I'm not very good at it, truth be told, and I've never been that great at generating a following.

I've spent the past several hours scouring some stock image sites for cover images. I found a couple I really, really like, but the licensing agreements are so confusing I have no idea if I can afford them or not. Luckily I have a professional in my corner, and she's the one who has to figure that all out.  :)  Since she does it for a living, unlike me, I have every confidence.

What else? Oh, ya, plagued by self-doubt about the book itself. Still doing re-writes, even though at this point I know I should leave it the hell alone. Is there enough chemistry between the main leads? Do I introduce too many minor characters too fast? Is it readable? Are the characters three dimensional beings with flaws and problems and likeability? On and on.

I haven't heard back from any of the review sites I emailed, but I'm being patient. I'm sure they get a lot of emails. Also, my book cover designer said she'd ask around to see if any of her author friends would be able to do a review. And then there's the nice folks over at Famous Five; they'll help me out with that, too.

I'm a panicker. It's just who I am. I need to calm down right now, because honestly everything is going well. I have my book cover design in extremely capable hands. I've got feelers out all over the place about reviews/marketing. And, on top of all that, it's still a month until I'm planning to release! I have plenty of time.

Just mark this, dear blogledites: this is not a task to be undertaken lightly. Make sure you have plenty of time, energy, and...stress to spare.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

BLURBage! (and various and assorted sundry)

Whoa. That title sounds like a particularly unpleasant digestive issue. It's not; I promise.

I'm waiting on my dear friend to write a blurb for me, but I needed one for a site I've joined -- Famous Five Plus -- so I decided to write a temporary blurb until she gets one to me. Wanna read it? Aw, sure ya do! Ok, here goes.

She claimed the muggers were demons, but of course Jason didn’t believe her. At first.

When a mysterious woman appears in a dirty alley to rescue Jason Latimer from a pair of muggers, he tries to write her off as a garden variety lunatic. But he can’t shake the memory of her intense green eyes that seemed to flash gold, or the glowing sword she’d worn on her hip.

She calls herself Alex (no last name) like she’d made it up on the spot, and she offers Jason her protection. From what, she can’t or won’t say. He refuses, and that night he dreams of a dark man with the same offer. His black eyes flash blood and garnet, and he smells of burning things. Jason refuses him, too.

A chance meeting brings Alex and Jason together again, and she tells him of the Guardians: two immortal beings created near the beginning of time with the express purpose of fighting for mortal-kind’s soul. She is Light, and the man from Jason’s dream is Dark. Jason must choose, because Lucifer, for reasons purely his own, has unleashed the armies of Hell to hunt Jason down.

But there are things about Jason that not even he knows, and he’ll face hard truths and bitter choices as he struggles to find his place in a world redefined. Will he rise to the challenge, or, when the time comes, will he falter?

From Renaissance Florence to the French Revolution, from World War II to the modern streets of New Orleans, The Dark Man’s Son is a riveting journey filled with unforgettable characters, wry humor, dark twists, and a touch of romance.

Aaaand that's it. I'm not so good at blurbs, kids, especially since a blurb is supposed to brag about how bitchin' your book is, and I'm REALLY bad at that. I have no idea if my book is bitchin' or not. I mean, I think it doesn't...completely suck...but that doesn't mean it's good, ya know?

Anyway. I've sent out some feelers on getting it reviewed by some blogs that do that sorta thing. I've added all the different ones to my links list over on the right. You should check 'em out; they've got some good info!

In other news, I've decided to write the novella at whatever the hell pace I want. I'm no longer aiming for it to be released before the book. The book I'm hoping to release June 11. Yeah, that's right! You heard me! A release date! But the novella can wait a bit; it can still serve its purpose of letting people dip their toe in the water without taking the whole plunge even if I don't release it before the book itself.

Whew. I'm so tired. Had a long, crazy day at work, and now it's way past my bedtime. I just couldn't leave my to-do list so undone.

Speaking of, if you have an iPhone or an Android-based phone, you should check out the app Astrid To-do. We all need a bit more organization in our lives, and Astrid is super cute. I love the little squids, and it syncs between my iPad and my Incredible 2. I'm not being paid to say this, kids: if I find an app I like, I endorse it because I like it. That's just me. Share the love and whatnot. I just wish they had an iPad-specific version, because I don't like the itty bitty iPhone sized display on my iPad.

Goodnight, dear blogledites. I send this out into the ether with a kiss and a hope.