Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cautionary Tale

Indie publishing is turning out to be a rough track to run.

There's an awful lot to try and keep up with as we prepare for the book releases and I'd been keeping up with all of it pretty well...but then disaster struck: I got sick. This was right after the very sick cat and the marathon week of finishing the first draft of The Devil Stood Up. With everything tapping me, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I was, well, tapped out.

I should have known something was up when I had a small breakdown last Sunday night. The Husband was suggesting some additional things I might want to look into doing, and ... I ... melted ... down. I'm talking 'cotton candy covered, achy tummy, grimy face, overly tired four year old at the end of the fair' meltdown. It was ugly, my friends. It's actually been many years since it seemed pitching a fit was the most reasonable answer to adversity (the last time was the Moorestown Mall when I was about twenty-five...a crying jag in Boscov's two days before Christmas...picture it...).

But things are looking up now that I have a system full of antibiotics, help with the website, and a new book I'm excited to start.

As usual, time has saved me, and I am going to start drinking all my juice and taking my B vitamins. Hang in there, body. I'll try and do better by you from here on out.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Serendipity Kicked My Cat's Ass

If you don't know already, I am a full time Art Director by day--it's my bacon job.
Well, the Husband and I aren't taking any vacations this year, and I have to use my time or lose it, so I put in for Thursday and Friday off this past week. I am getting down to the end of "The Devil Stood Up" and I figured I could use the time to write to my heart's content. Kind of pretend I was a 'real' writer. (I know, I know! I said I had no such fantasies; it was in the previous post for God's sake!...but maybe I do...a little...just a little...)
Anyway, good plan, right? Four day writing extravaganza! Woot! As long as I was able to keep myself home, I figured I'd get a good bit done.
Then, guess what? My cat became gravely ill two days beforehand. Very, seriously, ill. It was a urine thing; I won't burden you with the details (emergency vet, blockage, catheter, ouch!), but the upshot was that Chewie and I spent my two days off sequestered in my writing room (okay, my closet) and I wrote and wrote and wrote and...well, you get the idea. I wrote a lot. Lots of words.
Between the writing and the worrying and the distracting someone from licking parts, I was exhausted, but I also felt really good, like I'd accomplished something.
So, serendipity kicked my cat's ass. I'm not really ready to say "Thanks, Serendipity, for forcing me to stay in my room for two days straight by putting my cat's life in jeopardy!", but I am nonetheless grateful for any time I get to write.

Keri, thanks for the comment! I can't answer back (see posts relating to my technological impairment), so please feel free to email me at I'd love to have your thoughts on the books!

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Don’t Play Piano

For much of my adult life, I tried to learn to play piano. I’d always had this fantasy of being at a party or local tavern, sitting down to ‘tickle the ivories’ and wowing the crowd with a medley of popular music. When they begged me for one more song, I’d produce some piece of classical so complicated and powerful, that there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house.
Then, of course, the standing ‘o’.
Such a cool fantasy, right?
Here’s the problem: no matter how many times I’ve tried–with lessons or books, upright piano or electric keyboard–I’ve never been able to stick with it. And I know why I never stuck with it. Shameful as it is, it’s because it didn’t come easy. I wanted it to be easy…I wanted it to be fun…I didn’t want it to be a struggle as I fat-fingered the keys making sloppy non-notes that made my ears wish for ear plugs.
So, I decided that the piano wasn’t going to happen. The crowd doesn’t give you a standing ‘o’ for chopsticks. No one cries at “Mary Had A Little Lamb”.
The keyboard was sold at a yard sale. It was a shameful day for me.

No matter, I decided, I’d go back to one of my first loves: painting. So I bought paints, pencils, paper, and sat down cozily with my new fantasy of finding myself the talk of the art world with my stunning paintings. But I found I had nothing to paint, or at the core of it: nothing I wanted to paint.
I gave the art supplies away.
I guess I might have cried a little. Listen, it’s really sad to give up on your fantasies!

Then I thought very hard about the one other thing I could do. The thing I’d done well in high school but had then let go in college: I could write. So, I took a refresher course and started writing short stories and it was easy and fun and absorbing and I loved it. Loved it!
My instructor suggested I send my stories out into the world and they were accepted for publication so quickly, so eagerly, that I knew I’d finally hit on something. I was so encouraged that I started writing books and everyone seems to like them, too, and, I’ll tell you something weird: I don’t have any fantasies associated with it–no dreams of grandeur, no standing ‘o’, nothing crazy–I just want people to read the books and enjoy them. That would be enough.
I can’t play piano, and I probably never will, but I think I’ve found what I can do, and it’s writing.

I hope you all think so, too.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Follow me!

When I hear or see the words 'follow me!', I am reminded of being an excited little kid, just having discovered something AMAZING and offering to show my friends. Can you recall that feeling of nervous anticipation as you near the AMAZING thing and your every hope is that your friends find it just as enchanting as you do?

That's what writing is like for me. I hope with all my heart that you like what I have to show you.

UPDATE: The books are still in their various stages of publication–all out of my hands–and it is driving me INSANE (quite literally, according to the Husband). I waffle from impatience to rage to tears as I wait and wait and then wait some more. I guess that's another little kid kind of feeling, isn't it?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Been Doing a Lot of Thinking

As we have seen thus far, I have had some trouble with the tech aspects of trying to become an indie author. All this trouble with technology made me think about how grateful I am that I have people who understand this stuff and can help me through it. Then I thought about how glad I am to be an Art Director at my day job, because that at least takes the mystery out of designing my own book covers, but for some people, that aspect might be a hurdle. So, that made me wonder if there was anything I could do to help other indie authors, you know? So then I had this thought:
I could help other people with their covers!
Not to build the covers, I'm way too busy to take on another gig at this point, but I could do what I've been doing for twenty plus years as a graphic artist...I could critique it! With permission, I could even post it as a blog and that might help other indie authors, as well.
So that led me to this thought:
Offer it out on Twitter and see if anyone is game. So, I'm putting it out there. Send me your book cover in jpeg or pdf to the 'contact me' address on this page. Don't send content--don't even tell me what the book is about--and I'll give you a friendly little critique.

I am eating a blueberry muffin (I know what you're thinking, again with the muffins, Chris? You must really have a problem) and I just ate some of the muffin paper by accident and it was gross. So I am also thinking that I should avoid that in the future.

Lot of thinking going on over here. Hope my brain doesn't break.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Answers and Questions

Okay, so, obviously I have not figured out how to comment on my own blog, which is depressing. Rachel and Lisa, I am glad I'm not the only one who struggles. I am lucky in the respect that I have a good friend who is very tech oriented (Hi Chrissy! Come over for cucumbers and blog questions! Come over soon!).

I'm writing this just before work. It's nice and quiet in the office. The office is one of my favorite places to be and believe me, I'm not just saying that. I enjoy structure and am definitely task and goal oriented. For some, this would be the opposite of creative, but for me, the structure I build into the day is what allows me to design or to write effectively.

I am working on my fifth novel and am thoroughly enjoying it--it's a good story. It has parts set in Philly and Princeton and it's fun mixing what you know and what you imagine. I am pretty sure at this point of the title, but I hesitate to put it anywhere but in my just never can tell with these things.

I should get the proofs for Darkness Within, Faith Creation, and Messages today and tomorrow. I'd say I might be less than a week away from the print versions  being available on Amazon. Man, is that cool or what?

I hope Stephen King buys them! What do you think my chances are?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Technology, You Are Seriously Bringing Me Down

I wanted to type a comment back to Lisa under the 'Another Avenue' blog post and I can't figure how to do it. I literally cannot comment on my own blog. And this is coming after last night's humiliation of trying to use the 'easy to understand' website building template for my website, which has resulted in contacting a web-building person. On top of that, I can't really get Twitter figured out. It's been a bad two wise.

I'm going to keep trying on the comment problem. If you see another comment pop up under that post, check and see if its mine. If it is, send me a mental pat on the back!

The bad technology news is tempered by some really cool news: I got the first proof of my first printed book, Messages. It was pretty exciting, seeing the cover Husband and I had concepted (is that a word?) in glorious full color print. I'm a graphic artist by trade, and have been for (over, eek) twenty years, so it's not quite as exciting for me as it was for him. It certainly feels like progress which is a nice counterpoint to my technology impairment.

It's almost seven on Sunday morning and it's thundering but I haven't seen any rain yet. It's such an oddly anticipatory feeling, isn't it? I'm at a point in the current book that is like that, too--thundery and full of impending excitment--and I am anxious to sit down with it. No real plans today, so I should get some good writing done. That certainly puts the technology woes on a very distant back burner.