31 January 2016


Got a lot of useful comments on the first draft, now in rewriting mode. Lots of things to think about, because my view of the settings, characters, and story evolved over time. Do I try to recapture my initial impressions and stick to that vision? Or do I reset everything to adhere to a new vision? My gut tells me to go with the path of least resistance, the one that will go faster. Unfortunately, my gut doesn't know which path that is! We shall see...

In the meantime, reading recs:
Lynn Flewelling
Ricardo Pinto
Beth Shannon
Martha Wells

01 November 2015

Progress, if slowly

First draft finally finished. Now to begin refinements.

Credit for keeping me focused during the long process: iced chai tea, rosemary aromatherapy oil, and music.

08 March 2015

Time flies

(“I would but I don’t have a watch,” is what we would always reply when I was a kid. No idea where that old gag came from.)

Work on the new book progresses, but not as quickly as I wanted.

Wanted to share this link from the New York Public Library blog: Not Just Coming Out Stories. To the list of fantasy authors recommended in a comment, I would add Lynn Flewelling, whose Nightrunner series of books remains a favorite that I reread (and I’m not a big rereader).

01 December 2014

Announcement for readers in the EU

I have just been notified by Amazon.com that prices for my e-books will be going up for customers in the EU countries on January 1, 2015. The new prices will include VAT. VAT varies by country, so the prices will also vary by country. Additionally, Amazon will be setting a new minimum price based on size (in megabytes) of the book. If you're in the EU and were considering buying the books, buy before December 31, 2014, to get the best price!

Safety Net in the Amazon.de store: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00B8U421O

Extra Points in the Amazon.de store: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00IOE8YAC

In January, I'll do a reality check on the prices that Amazon sets. Because of minimum price based on size, I may not have a lot of flexibility.

The next book (when I can get the darn thing finished!) will be priced with this in mind.

03 November 2014

On writing habits

I'm fascinated to hear my friends discuss their writing habits because no two people have the same ones. I will try new methods I hear about but ultimately fall back to my old, ingrained ways.

I don't outline much. I'll have sketchy road maps in my mind and occasionally jotted down, but between the landmarks is a lot of open space. I usually don't know how the story will end when I begin writing it, and this is undoubtedly a weakness and not a method I would recommend. Writing definitely gets easier once I can see what the ending will be.

That being said, I love being surprised when I write. In the last 6000 words I wrote for my next project, my protagonist met several characters I didn't know existed and did things I never saw coming. Even if these 6000 words change or disappear in the final version, the surprise gave me an energy that will drive the story forward. That's exciting.

I envy writers who can design a strict writing schedule and timetable and stick with it. For me, it tends to be feast or famine:  a lot of writing all at once or a lot of procrastination and no discernible progress.

One tip I got from a friend has helped a lot: spend at least one hour a week on the story. Even if I only open the file and read it or do minor tweaks, it's spending time with it. It's easy to underestimate the importance of just spending time with what you're writing and to beat yourself up for not getting more words written down. But the more time you spend with what you're writing, the more familiar and comfortable you are with it. It establishes a place in your mind and claims some territory your imagination will keep wandering into until you're thinking about it then writing it.

I make lots of short, cryptic notes. Many of them are on paper because if something comes to mind while I'm away from home, I need to write it down. I learned the hard way that if I didn't, the next time I opened the file, I wouldn't remember that great idea I had.

Lots of times I open the file, look at the notes, and the ideas aren't great anymore. That's fine. The note serves its purpose, though: it reminds me of what I was thinking about. I have to review it. Was it a problem I thought I had solved? Was it a solution to a problem I didn't have? Was it an upcoming scene I've changed my mind about? Was it a revision to an existing scene that I should consider?

A lot of the notes are ideas for character names. Names are difficult, no matter the genre. I need to like a character's name if I'm going to be writing about that character a lot.

What I said earlier about procrastination? As in, updating the blog...

18 June 2014

Book rec

Compelling look at the football programs at Grambling and Florida A&M from prewar origins to the late 1960s. Straightforward about the effects of segregation on college academics, sports, facilities, and on the post-college prospects of the players. It really wasn't that long ago. A fascinating, sobering read.