Donation time.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017 07:53
partlyopenbook: a raccoon looks like it's clapping (yay)
A little while ago, I received payment from my books sold at Smashwords. It was $4.25, if you want to know. If you don't make enough money (I think it's $10) a quarter, they send you your earnings every couple of years, or something like that. 

But, as promised, I will make a donation to the local Animal Humane Society. Probably in the amount of $10, though the minimum is $5, I believe.

I got a new cat from them on December 27th, too, along with purchasing a few items (like kitty toys), so I've been a patron of theirs for a while. Even going back to when I got my other kitty in November of 2015.

The significant other and I also donated a stack of old bath towels, and they were happy to have those! 

Thank you to everyone who purchased my stories and made the donation possible!

***

I'm working on a new novel. It just passed 40,000 words yesterday! As of now, it's called The Buried Cellar, and it's a continuance of a previous manuscript originally finished in, I don't know, 2010 maybe. 

I'm still looking for submission calls that interest me, but mostly just want to work on The Buried Cellar... Someone asked me the other day how many books I'd written, and I honestly don't know at this point. Eleven? Twelve? Two of them I want to rewrite, at least one of them entirely, and the other one needs a new opening (at the very least). There's another one that I want to finish, that I put on hold when I encountered a plot-point issue that has been resolved. 

Over the course of the last two years, it's taken me a long time to feel like a writer again. While I wrote a bunch of short stories for submission calls in the summer of 2015, none was accepted (at least one came very close). Then I didn't write much of anything for over a year. I think I wrote two short stories for submission calls in the spring of 2016, but never sent them in. Both of them I would like to turn into short(!) novels that could probably be written pretty quickly. (Both are set in Canada: one in Ontario, one in Alberta. Again continuing the tradition that I can't write anything unless it's set in Canada or Ohio. The one that is set in Alberta I could easily move to another location.) Writing was always a part of my life, though (since I was seven), and eventually it'd squeeze it's way back into my everyday life. 

The importance of writing started its strong resurgence after I settled into my new place in November [2016]. I had my own office, and I thought that would be helpful, but it's actually really cold and uncomfortable down there so I started scouting for another location. It wound up being the back part of the kitchen, and an old aluminium camp table that belonged to my SO's grandparents. I'm next to a window, with a fine view of the side of the neighbor's house, and another window to the front of me that looks at the garage and the fence where the little sparrows conglomerate on cold Minnesota mornings... I'm also surrounded by plants. There's a jug plant, a giant peace lily, a variegated palm of some sort, donkey tails and other succulents, another peace lily, a spider plant, something that we're trying to root (it's doing very well actually), and, of course, the rhododendron that I brought from my former home. It's doing far better than I thought it would, with plenty of new growth after it sprouted three sets of flowers. I'm still typing on an old Dell (they're not even made anymore), because the keyboard is the best for pounding out thousands of words a day. I have a mug-warmer, a magazine rack that holds notebooks (full notes), my headphones, and a container with miscellaneous office-like items in it. I'm using a rectangular space roughly 4 ft by 3 ft, which includes the space for my chair. 

Ah, my chair. My chair goes with the old 1950's table, and while it is not the most comfortable of chairs (the back is low), it keeps me awake and keeps my legs comfortable. 

But with three cats and a dog, sometimes it's really hard to sit still for hours on end while writing: there's always something going on. 

At the moment, it's quiet. The dog is outside. The cats are sleeping. And, traditionally, plants don't make much noise. 

I've also taken up writing by hand, which I can do while I'm not at home. When I first started on the mission of "Okay, I can write by hand when it's slow at work," I really thought it'd be ridiculous and it wouldn't take at all. Quite the opposite. Writing by hand, with your favorite pen in a nice, old notebook already littered and wrinkly with notes, definitely has its appeals, and it's very calming. There's no stress when you write by hand. I can stop, do some work if necessary, and go back to it without feeling the jam of any creative flow, even without caring whether there is such a thing as "creative flow." I just pick up the pen and go. The only time I have trouble is when I'm tired, and, of course, when it's really busy. Even yesterday, on a day off from work, I thought about writing by hand rather than typing what I've written in the notebook. If you have trouble keeping on task when composing at a computer, writing by hand would be a really good option--at least give it a shot. 

Someday, I'd like to create a new dot-com, but not just yet. I'm still getting used to writing again, and I don't want to take on too much. I've thought of taking my stories off Smashwords entirely and just starting over. I don't receive very many downloads for my free books, about one a month, and no one's paid for my two .99-cent books in ages. Then again, it's hard to just discard all the work that went into creating those ebooks--and it is a lot of work. All you have to do is breeze through the Smashwords Style Guide to know it's a lot of work. So, for now, they're still available. I don't even know if anyone reads this journal. By this entry, you know that I was pretty sure, at that point, that I really wouldn't write commercially again, or have any kind of writing life on the internet. I'm not really interested in marketing myself at the moment, but I still have my goodreads account, and I've started looking at submission calls again. I've thought about throwing together another book of short stories (rejects or unsent stories through the years), but I think I'd like to release it through Amazon instead, probably under a different pseudonym. Using Amazon would be an interesting challenge for me. I've already done the Smashwords thing. Mostly, though, I'm all right with staying off the internet except for research, and just keep writing books even if no one ever reads them or they never get published. 

It's a tough world out there, which is exactly why I started writing again in the first place. I've borrowed my life from Nietzsche:

We have art so that we shall not die of reality. 

Chores

Thursday, 22 January 2015 10:39
partlyopenbook: (wolf)
All of my chores are done -- and before 11 AM!

//Smashwords//

The (very minor) epub errors of The Hero and the Holly have been repaired. The new file is already on the site. The only thing that appeared to be wrong with it was a mishap with the NCX ToC... I forgot to make one of the hidden bookmarks carry the prefix "ref_" ... and that hurt the little NCX's brain. So I fixed that, and added in my own ToC.

Also mentioned in my Smashwords profile that I'm available for these services: story editing, Smashwords manuscript prep, book cover design, and private story commissions.


//Learning//

The other day, I was browsing ebooks, as I do, and I came across one called BOUND, by Kate Sparks. I haven't read it or anything (it's on my Wish List), but one of the things that struck me was its synopsis.

If you want to learn how to write a really good book synopsis, study this one. It has a good beginning hook. It's concise. It hones in on the important parts of the novel and makes them seem even more important.

It's one of the best synopses I've read. I'm studying it. Everyone should.

Well. On that note...

I'm off to start editing my newly finished story! If you hear a continuous and rhythmic THUMPTHUMP... that's just me banging my head against the desk... I'll have to keep track of the number of preposition errors I fix. If there's a typo, it's usually a preposition. My other common error is an improper verb ending!
partlyopenbook: Not me. :) (Default)
I don't know about anyone else (no, really, I don't), but I'll be happy to see the last minutes of this year.

Granted, I realize that every moment contains its own RESET button. But 2014 wasn't very good to me, and at times it was hard to remember the RESET button existed.

There were a few good things about 2014. I released three "books" on Smashwords: The Information Man... Zandry of Bonewood... and my newest one, The Hero and the Holly.

I met some interesting people. Of course, now none of that really matters, since I moved back to The North Hole and left those interesting people behind. Which didn't seem to bother those people that much. C'est la vie!

I got a new (used) car. That in itself has been a mixed blessing. I love, love, love driving my car... but I hate that I've had to put $1400 into it since I bought it. In May. I hope it doesn't cost me nearly that much in repairs and maintenance in 2015.

I got away from some very bad people that were in my life. And it hurts to think that they're thinking the same about me....

Despite having only a couple of stories accepted and published by the professional writing world in 2014, I am still writing. During the upcoming year, my focus will stay on what I can accomplish. The last two years, I honed in on challenging myself as a writer. Whereas my inability to have erotica published might have seemed like a failure, to me it isn't quite so. I did write a lot of erotic tales, and I had a very good time doing it, too! That isn't a failure. Am I going to try again to have an erotic tale published? Probably not... I'm not closed-off to the idea altogether. Simply, there are other avenues to explore.

I have a few things that I want to finish up in 2015... like The Pickled Pirate.... and After Dan & Steve Saved the World. After that, my intention is to clean up my novel manuscripts and send them out to publishers using Ye Old Query Letter and Submission process. This upcoming year will be about that, and if I work on anything at all, I mean for it to be this sweeping, gargantuan epic that I've wanted to work on for years... Or (sigh) perhaps a couple of sequels. I have three ideas for sequels to stories I've already finished. At the very least, I could block them out, chapter by chapter, which is handy to have if a publisher is interested in Book The First, so I hear.

Largely, however, I've found that blocking books out doesn't work very well for me... I tend to get a bit tangential when I write. Or another idea hits me that makes the book more exciting for me to write! And that, that I like better than trying to stick to a pattern. Patterns tend to dull the senses after a while. Good some of the time, but not, for goodness sake, all of the time!

So, in 2015, I intend to finish my outstanding projects... The Pickled Pirate will probably be out sometime in February... depending on the amount of editing the volume requires. The titular tale isn't finished yet. The accompanying four short stories are in splendid shape and form, as far as I can tell, and the editing there will be minor, if it exists at all. But the release date depends on how quickly I can actualize the book itself, seeing as how I plan to release it using a different site. There will be new formatting rules to grasp. Always an adventure!

I plan to read more in 2015 than I did this year. Of course, this year was dangerous with dips into devilry, beleaguered by bandits and beasts of the metaphorical and allegorical sort—and I didn't have much time for reading. Since returning to The North Hole, I've felt relaxed enough to sink into books... now, of course, that all of my books were left behind me. Thank goodness for digital libraries and electronic reading devices (and my brother's personal library)...

In the upcoming days, I intend to start charging the minuscule fee of ¢0.99 for my books, except The Hero and the Holly. This includes all others, though: The Information Man, The Carols of Holly House, and Zandry of Bonewood (which is already listed for a price). I would like to try and make some money (please reread Paragraph 5), and, of course, free samples of those works will be available to read prior to purchasing. A lot of people don't want to pay for art, I know. If you don't want to pay for my books, there are plenty of other good stories that you can find for free, either on Smashwords, Project Gutenberg, Fiction Press, Archive of Our Own, or your local library... But a nice book, for less than a dollar? If I found a book at the thrift store that I really wanted, it would be ninety-nine cents there, too. Comparatively, my books are bargains, even if they're not very long. Please consider buying books for authors you like, whether it's me or Meg Cabot or Chris Colfer!

The upcoming year is far from mapped out. (See my sidebar on blocking books.) There are things I want to do, sure... Mostly, I just want to have a good time, have some fun, earn a bit of money from my stories, from hard work in the less fictionalized world (Real Life), and maintain an interest in my art without falling into crevices of heartache. Basically, I want to stick to my oldest of old new year's resolutions: Be happy, and try not to die.

Happy 2015 to everyone!

partlyopenbook: Not me. :) (Default)
The "Summervale" rewrite is... slow. Really slow. But worthwhile, I think. It's growing increasingly difficult for me to concentrate, since I've so many other things to do right now as I prepare to head back home. I start writing, then think of all these other things I should be doing!

But for those of you who read this and might be writers, or just students, or just downright curious, here's a literal side-by-side comparison of Draft 1 and Draft 2.

Draft 1Draft 2

It'd been a long time since Riddien had watched an angry Kwinn storm from a room. The sensations it evoked were far from pleasant. Often enough, Riddien had wished Kwinn had stabbed him with the end of his famous sword rather than abscond with the stillness and silence of a parish monk. Whether he'd said something silly or stupid, Riddien wasn't sure. His companions, still seated at the thick table there at the pub, were quite certain.

"You're really not good at this speaking thing, are you?" Trill, his flat-featured face and watery eyes of his people was certainly cut out for making a guy feel stupid, even without the rhetorical questions.

Already, the back of Riddien's neck burned. He recognized the symbol, left over from his long, difficult relationship with Kwinn. There he was, trying to be the good guy, say the right thing, and it was always Kwinn who got a little too offended, always the one who wandered away and, somehow, worsened Riddien's feelings. As if he had feelings to spare.

"I was just trying to—" he started to say, interrupted by Trill's twin sister.

Ages had passed since Riddien Slance was required to observe Kwinn, at the peak of anger, storm from a smoky pub. Sensations caused by Riddien's heated inspection of Kwinn's departure were far from unfamiliar. Dust, blown from the hurt, gave Riddien a clear view of feelings he'd repressed for three years. More than three bygone years, too, for his warmth toward Kwinn over the last two weeks was difficult to disregard entirely. Their complicated history, full of wonder and magic and mayhem, seemed compressed into the difficult fortnight just behind them, also full of wonder and magic and mayhem.

Across the previous two weeks, moments drifted upon Riddien when he wished Kwinn would stab him with the end of his famous sword rather than flee with the stiffness and silence of a parochial mystic. Riddien had grown more used to one, rather still hoping for the other. If Kwinn had made the slightest motion of showing his anger toward Riddien Slance in the form of physical violence, Riddien would've preferred it. Such action would've provided Riddien with something of Kwinn to grip and squeeze. The Kwinn who ran off without a word, with just a slight curl in his lip and a faint gleam of revenge in his eyes, he was a Kwinn too squirmy and illusory to grip and squeeze.

Whether Riddien had dropped an unwanted phrase, or if he had delivered an unappealing joke, couldn't be immediately decided. Perhaps he'd been speaking a bit unrefined. Sometimes his voice tipped into cadences brutal, intonations unsavory. Yet these were flavors of his character Kwinn had tasted throughout the years, and would not, therefore, be so shocking that he'd need to escape.

Riddien's companions, still seated at the thick table in the center of the pub, were quite sure Riddien had been in the wrong.

"You're really not as good at this speaking thing as you think you are," said Trill. His flat-featured face and his watery, white-blue eyes of his people cut a thorough and mean stare. "There's a lot about you that you think you're good at, and you're not really all that good at. Takes a lot more time to learn these things, it does."


Contents not edited....

Delay

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 11:08
partlyopenbook: (strong)
I should make an informative post...

I thought Zandry of Bonewood would be released within the next week... and it still might... except I'm going to rewrite "Last Time in Summervale." 

When I read through the whole ebook yesterday, "Last Time in Summervale" is by far the worst. It doesn't seem to fit with the other stories, thanks in part to its lower quality of prose and abrupt scene shifts. Simply put, it's not as refined as the others. Since I like the story, the concept of it, and the characters, I'll just rewrite it.

Well, back to work!
partlyopenbook: Fairy-winged child and gray wolf. (friendship)
When dancers join a troupe, straight out of school, they are full of hopes and aspirations, not all of which will be realized. Then comes the long, laborious battle for advancement, complete with disappointments, injuries, and small, hard-won victories. It’s not a life for the weak-willed.

This applies to every kind of art for every kind of artist, if it's your passion.

source

***

Along those lines, I offer this dialogue from Dance Academy (season 2, ep. 6)...

"Ballet is more pain and violence and sacrifice than you'll ever know, kid."

"Then why do you do it?"

"Because if I didn't, I wouldn't be me."


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