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Posts Tagged ‘writer problems’

Those of you who use Twitter, either for salesmanship or personal connections, have no doubt heard about the platform being under new management soon. First there were rumors of a hostile takeover by Elon Musk. Then there was a poison pill that held it off. But now the sale is peacefully concluded. It’s interesting, sort of, as a writer, to watch how organizations can publicly proclaim something, but then instantly double back and do the exact thing they were fighting against. I guess the resistance was just a tactic to increase the price?

I’m concerned about this, to be honest. First of all, Musk sets me on edge. People who proclaim so much about freedom of speech, usually turn about to against it. As sole owner, Musk will have too much power to censor speech that he personally doesn’t like. He has followers, sure, but he also faces skeptics on Twitter. Now he’ll have the power to silence them. Depending on how he enforces community standards, I can foresee a tidal wave of misinformation that swamps the world.

In addition, Twitter is also one of my main social medias at the moment. I get a lot of news on Twitter, even if it has to be followed up for accuracy, and I’m in touch with a lot of fandom. I promote my books more there than anywhere. Plus, where will I get my adorable “cape beansies” pet art? Anything that might tamper with the experience makes me anxious.

I’m not going to vow, as some friends have, to leave Twitter immediately. Maybe it’ll be okay. It isn’t as if I actually enjoy having comments appear in my conversations that turn out to be advertisements in disguise. Even as I have to remind myself to hype my books sometimes, it might be a good idea for me to look around and find a few new arenas for promotion.

Because, when all is said and done, there are few things I trust less than a rich guy who says he’s going to save my freedom of speech.



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Yes, I managed to enjoy my vacation! There were a few flight delays that made the travel portion of it stressful. Once we got there, it was all worth it.

We went to the Grand Canyon, if I hadn’t mentioned that. It was incredible. This national park is world famous, and I think everyone must have seen pictures. To be there in person was so much more. The scale of the place is hard to describe. You stand at the edge and it’s so far down. So far across. It extends both left and right as far as you can see.

There are layers of those colorful rocks — yellow/white on top, then blazing crimson, then a strange gray/green, and this craggy black stone at the very bottom. You see these eroded bluffs, but there’s another layer beyond, and then another and another. So many layers! Even the wind has a different sound in the vast gulf of the canyon.

We also had half a day of layover in Las Vegas. That was mind-boggling in a different way. The huge hotels were covered in lights, and there were these fabulous giant sculptures of tropical plants, Egyptian temples and Roman colosseums. My husband dragged me up and down in the heat, not going anywhere particular, until I set my feet and demanded ice cream.

I kept thinking that if I put something like the Grand Canyon or the Las Vegas Strip into a book, it would be mocked as overly dramatic. And yet, the real world goes beyond what any author could invent.

I didn’t get a whole lot of writing done. It was too far off my usual routine. But I did take my notebook along, and I came home with a few pages of scattered ideas. Something will come of it, I’m sure.

Eventually.



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? Spring break is here! My usual strategy is to spend the break doing heavy housework or yard work such as pruning roses. This year I’m actually taking time off. The housework can wait.

What I’m Working On. I’m still going at the first draft of The Tale of the Drakanox. It’s about 47,000 words now, or half a novel. My goal of 80,000 words is looking about right.

What’s Next? Not much, honestly. I have a few volunteers for Queen Titania’s Court, so there’s that to keep recruiting for.

Fun and Games. Two years ago, I got my husband a game called The Outer Worlds. He hardly looked at it, so I’m giving it a go. Evil corporations colonizing outer space, what could go wrong? Well, our Xbox appears to be dying slowly, which causes a lot of crashes. We’re looking for a replacement but so far they are not to be found. Good thing I have a Switch and can play Animal Crossing also.

Time to get back to packing. My vacation awaits!



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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About two weeks ago, the state where I live determined that it was safe to take face masks off indoors. As a result, the kids in my school got to take theirs off, too. I kept mine on, though. I have a trip planned over spring break, and it would suck if I got sick right before my trip.

Besides which, I haven’t been sick with anything in the two years since I started wearing a face mask. Why would I want to go through all that again?

Unfortunately, it might not be up to me. Kids have started coming to my groups sick this week. This morning, they went through half a box of Kleenex in three hours. One of them kept sticking his hand into the Kleenex box and squishing around like it was a toy. Another one told the teacher of a different group that she couldn’t smell anything, ha ha.

Notes were sent to classrooms, asking that these kids visit the school nurse, but who knows if they did? We’re back to the “normal” situation when parents sent sick kids to school because caring for them would be too much inconvenience.

Here we go again.



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I’ve mentioned working through a long conversation with a big group of people in The Tale of the Drakanox. So here’s a step-by-step of how I write these long scenes.

First, I write it in a very skeletal draft. The “bones” of the scene, if you will. In this scene there are potentially 15 characters in the conversation, so I cut it down to two representatives from four groups, or eight characters in all. I decide things about the setting, like where they are sitting and standing, and what furniture is there. Then I sketch out the dialogue to a tentative conclusion. It will be messy, with broken sentences like, “‘Head to hornwood be halfway there’ Bettain.” I try also to make sure every character has a chance to say something, even if they aren’t leading the discussion.

Once I have the flow of the dialogue, I go back and start putting on the muscles, so to speak. I complete those sentences and add in reactions from characters that haven’t said much. Everything and everyone gets described more fully. I fill in new ideas that have popped up, and make sure that I’m not forgetting important plot threads.

The last pass brings it all into focus and puts on the “face.” I make sure I’m not forgetting any plot threads. If it seems like the dialog is too much “Zathi talks, then Duessa talks,” I’ll switch who is speaking a few minor lines. I’ll also make sure there’s good energy in the scene and have more emotional language if necessary.

After all that, the scene will be finished enough to press on with the plot.

Now I’m curious how others approach this kind of writing challenge. Let me know in the comments!



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? We’ve had rain more than snow the past few weeks, which means winter is beginning to give way to early spring. I’ve been looking through seed catalogs and starting to plan out my garden for the summer. Coincidentally, one of the free give-aways at RadCon two weeks ago was a pack of seeds for Cleome, or Spider Flower. It’s a native plant, which is a priority for me, and I look forward to using those seeds this year.

What I’m Working On. The latest Minstrels of Skaythe novel, The Tale of the Drakanox, develops apace. My goal of a May publication is looking far less likely, but I’d rather reschedule to put out a great book, than rush something out on time.

What’s Next? It’s about time to begin the early planning for Queen Titania’s Court in 2022!

Fun and Games. I’ve continued mostly playing Hades and Animal Crossing. I think before long I’ll be ready to try something new, though.

Time to get back to writing! I hope all of your stories are going well.



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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One of my goals for this year has been to get back the rights to some of my books. They came out through a small press, and I enjoyed that working relationship. However, then the publisher suffered a health crisis. I slowly stopped hearing from her. Although she’s been writing and publishing other work, it’s been a couple of years since there’s been anything new from the imprint I’m part of. Clearly her focus has shifted. Since I’m now more proficient with self-publishing, I’d just as soon re-issue the books under my own name.

According to my contract, I can request to terminate the agreement at any time, and my text will be returned to me. (Not the cover art, but that’s okay.) I began the process of requesting my rights with an e-mail.

The good news is, the publisher responded right away. The less good news is, she’s been negotiating to transfer the publications from her imprint to a different small press publisher. Until she mentioned this, I hadn’t heard a word from that other publisher.

When I questioned this, I then heard from the second publisher with a sample contract. This gives me something to go on, so I’ve been going through that and considering my options. Having my work remain in print would be good. But, according to the new contract, if this second publisher is sold, my books would also be sold without recourse.

So I’m in discussions about this, and that’s where it stands.



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? Work has been very weird. Many teachers have been out sick and there are no substitutes for them. The district moved some snow days around and gave us Mondays off three weeks in a row, hoping the ill teachers would have more recovery time. Maybe that sounds like fun, but every day I don’t see my students is a missed opportunity. It’s something I take seriously, even if I can’t control it.

What I’m Working On. Still hard at work on The Tale of the Drakanox, sixth and final novella in the Minstrels of Skaythe series. Due to the above stress, my progress has slowed a lot, but I’m still working on it.

What’s Next? This is the month for RadCon science fiction convention, February 18-20. I gave my word that I’d be there, and I’m going to. I’m just bringing half a gallon of sanitizer along with me. So far I haven’t seen the schedule, but I know I’m running a panel on Point of View. If I can, I’ll post my full schedule. If there’s an online option, I’ll post that information, too.

Fun and Games. After a full month of playing Hades, I finally managed to escape from the Underworld! Only briefly, however. I plan to get back to it before long, but I’m taking a break for the Jaws of Haakon DLC to Dragon Age: Inquisition. There’s also Animal Crossing, my stress-reducing game for just before bedtime.

It’s the coldest month of the winter around my parts, but I hope you’re all finding ways to keep warm and find joy in life.



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? Merry New Year, everyone!

What I’m Working On. My current project is The Tale of the Drakanox, sixth and final novella in the Minstrels of Skaythe series. As I posted last Wednesday, I’ve been making great progress. I’ll probably feel sad and guilty once school comes back and I have to slow down because I don’t have all day to hop on the computer whenever I get a brain burst.

What’s Next? We might actually be able to travel a bit this year. I have an in-person convention scheduled for February, and in April we hope to visit the Grand Canyon. As those dates come closer, I’m watching Covid data really carefully and talking with my husband about the risks.

Fun and Games. One of my Christmas gifts was a new video game, Hades. It’s won lots of awards. So far there isn’t much deep characterization, but it is sort of fun to just run around madly smashing and slaying. I’m also continuing to play Animal Crossing when I need to chill out.

I know I’m not the only one who feels like 2021 was the worst and 2022 just has to get better. But let’s not challenge the fates, okay??



Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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While looking back over 2021, I’ve highlighted two remarkable books and celebrated two of my successes. Now, in fairness, I need to mention the other thing. I’m tempted to call it a failure, but that isn’t exactly right.

In order to promote my books, I try to make at least six personal appearances each year. I always sell more books in person than through blogs and social media. This year, I couldn’t do any. The two events I did manage were both held remotely. One was a virtual convention, and the other was Queen Titania’s Court.

The big loss for me was the cancellation of our SF convention, SpoCon. This, of course, was due to the pandemic, and it’s the second year in a row. However, this time it hit me harder. In 2020, we knew by May that we would have to cancel. This year, we had to decide in August. I had already completed everything for programming: recruited speakers, selected programs and built the schedule. I just don’t know if I can do all that again.

Other live events were canceled as well, most notably Fall Folk Fest, where I read my short work before a live audience.

Again, this isn’t a personal failure by me. I worked hard but circumstances conspired against me. It’s still definitely a step backward.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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