If you have ever wanted to read my novels – there’s a Kindle Countdown deal starting Jan. 12 at 8am (GMT in the UK, and PT in the US) at 0.99, and all the details are at the books’ blog.
There are also instructions for creating a free BookSprout account, downloading the ebooks for free – in exchange for writing a review. I have ZERO control over the review content, as it should be, and love to read what readers think.
I’m the worst marketer ever, in addition to one of the slowest, but I LOVE my blog readers to get a bargain.
A friend said you should consider a blogger’s fiction if you like their posts – makes sense.
PRIDE’S CHILDREN: NETHERWORLD IS WAITING FOR REVIEWS
If you hurry, you might be the first to post a review – poor NETHERWORLD is sitting on Amazon without a single one as I write this.
I’m slowly getting over the aftereffects of surgery, so I will be more proactive in the coming months.
FIRST SALE FOR NETHERWORLD BEGINS OCTOBER 19
because Amazon needs its price to not have changed for 30 days, and I have set up a Kindle Countdown Deal for my readers who follow this blog: you can even buy it for $2.99 in ebook on Amazon US that day (unfortunately, countdowns are a US thing, too).
OTHER ways to read and review:
IF you want to download an ARC
follow this link to the books’ site, and it will tell you how to join Booksprout and become a reader/reviewer (they even have other books you might like to download and read). While you’re there, if you haven’t clicked ‘Follow’ before, feel free to do so now – it is the best way to get details about the book delivered to your inbox, and to hear about sales in a timely manner.
I’m using this method because I am still not well enough to handle the back and forth of individual communication about ARCs; if you want that, it’s going to be about a month before I can commit to doing it (it takes a lot of work on my part).
I would appreciate it very much if you join, download and read, and review – and it will be much faster for you.
IF you would rather buy
simply mosey over to Amazon’s page for Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD, and choose ebook or print. It is a bit longer than PURGATORY, but the ebook is the same price.
And, of course, I would still love a review!
It’s that easy.
But be warned: I write long books.
But then: that may be partly why my readers love them.
I’m slowly getting back to functional, but surgery isn’t easy for someone like me. All anyone really needs to know is that it seems to have been successful, and I’m working on the pain part, and can’t wait until I’m back to what passes for normal for me.
If you are interested in my fiction, and haven’t signed up at its site, click on Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD‘s announcement post for the ebook – but the print version is already up, cover and all, and Amazon has notified me it may take 3 days.
The ebook took ONE HOUR to be approved, late last night – I guess no one else was up!
Details at the link – not everyone who comes here is interested in fiction.
Check there, too, for the details of the two Kindle Countdown Deals that are set up – one for PURGATORY, Sep. 21, and one for NETHERWORLD, Oct. 19. Best way to pick up a copy of either.
When we find something that blows us away, that touches us somewhere in the deep recesses of our hearts – sometimes for an odd reason – in this case because something about Mark reminded me of our middle son, so that when they appeared in my FaceBook feed, with an instrument (the Chapman stick) I’d never heard about, I was intrigued enough to listen: we need to share.
Because of my ME/CFS, I have a very hard time listening to music, instrumental or otherwise, and have a horrible tendency to get earworms from it, and to not be able to get it out of my head for literally weeks (I think it’s one of the many processing problems from the damage the disease does to the brain).
So I don’t listen much any more – but Cascade’s versions don’t kick that pile of dust up. I just went through making up a weeks’ pills, listened to 3-4 of their pieces, and none of them wrangled my brain to the ground, so I was immediately prejudiced in their favor, because I LOVE music, and miss it greatly.
In the publishing of the next book, every self-published author has to face the fact that typos exist, are blamed on the author (who has ultimate responsibility), and are as hard to eliminate completely as cockroaches.
What is a practical limit for the number of typos?
A little checking provides a couple of rough guidelines:
A typo per thousand words is too many.
Three typos in ten thousand words is proofing to a professional standard.
That standard means that, in a novel of 187,000 words, one could discover 56 typos – a huge number – and still be within professional quality. But it’s a twenty-chapter book, and that is only 2-3 typos per chapter, which doesn’t sound quite so bad.
The kind of errors matters
Using the wrong word isn’t a typo – it’s a mistake. It often comes from not knowing a word well enough, and not looking up the correct usage if you’re not certain.
There are a number of these anthills to die on, and experienced writers will know the difference between may and might, principal and principle, and verb affect/effect and noun affect/effect.
No one but beginners should have problems with its and it’s, or their/they’re/there. A professional writer needs to be certain about the basics, and have a cheat sheet for the ones which cause them trouble personally.
And it never hurts to check again, reinforcing what you know, challenging what you think you know. I am getting very humble in that department, as my damaged brain keeps throwing me the almost right word, I find it slightly odd – and have the sense to check. The bigger your vocabulary, the more chances for this to trip you up.
Leaving out a short word is a typo – a good friend just caught me leaving out ‘to’ from the infinitive ‘to commit’ – thank you!
The little shorties which are the wrong word, but are an actual word, are one of my peccadilloes: it, if, is, in – it is so easy to type the wrong consonant!
Transposing a couple of letters or leaving off a final letter – happen frequently to all typists, and can be very hard to catch. Sometimes the best way is to have the robot voice of your computer or program read you your own deathless prose – and make you giggle. My current typo-in-hiding is leaving the final ‘r’ off ‘your,’ which sounds funny when read back to me – YMMV.
Paying for professional proofing
does not guarantee perfection, unfortunately. It may be worth it but I think it doesn’t teach you anything. You’ll still make mistakes and typos, and have to figure out how to make the corrections stick in your writer’s mind, if they’re the kind you can learn from such as using a word incorrectly.
If you accept the corrections made by a pro too quickly, you may not move the problems into long-term memory properly – and so will continue to make that kind of flub. It’s worth taking some time to ask yourself why they happened, and whether you can make a permanent self-fix.
And you’re still the one with your name on the book.
So wish me well on what is the final proofing:
Sending out ARCs I think are perfect, and getting back the little niggly (and wonderfully welcome), “I liked it – but on page #n, you have a typo…”
Embarrassing – but I am grateful for every catch.
And vow to learn from them.
Can’t be perfect – but I can always become better.
Every year this date reminds me that we STILL have no diagnostic marker, treatment, or cure for the devastating disease that stole my life as a physicist in 1989, the week of Nov. 5th.
Another year with nothing really new that can turn me back into a functioning person.
Or even help new victims.
Except that this year there is an understanding that, if we didn’t know what virus had done the damage, ALMOST ALL of the long-covid victims would be diagnosed, based on symptoms, with ME.
But we know that virus, and possibly that will help some of the targeted research that now has been funded to figure out the mechanism of the damage and find a way to reverse some of it.
And maybe, MAYBE, some of that research will benefit newer victims of ME/CFS, and possibly – though the damage is so long-standing it’s hard to think how – those of us who have been waiting for decades.
If you pray, pray for us.
If you’re not the praying kind, think of us kindly.
We’re still sick – and I wouldn’t wish this illness on Putin.
Meanwhile, Pride’s Children: PURGATORY is still in existence because of ME/CFS, and NETHERWORLD will be out very soon (the disease makes me very slow).
And they cost the reader nothing but a few minutes.
If you’ve never done it before, or it’s been a while, that first one seems, uh, hard.
Often the best time to write one is when you have just finished a book, and can’t wait to share.
But many people are shy, tell themselves they’ll write one later, and never end up doing it.
So: to make it easier, save either the link to this post, or to Rosie’s, and be ready the next time you’re bursting to say something, to extend your time in the book’s universe just a little bit longer.
Rosie Amber’s Review Templates
Rosie Amber has a lovely set of templates that will get you going on your review. Fill in whichever of the prompts you like (not necessary to write more than about twenty words), and voilà, review!
Want to write something longer? Keep typing and wax eloquent. Tell other potential readers why you like a book.
Create in your wordprocessor of choice and copy/paste, OR write directly into Amazon’s prompts for a review. The templates are SO much more encouraging and helpful than facing a blank page or review form. Thanks, Rosie!
While at Rosie‘s, check around – there are so many wonderful reviews. There’s an easy sign-up to have the blog come to your inbox.
Can you tell I’m getting ready to ask you to read and review a book?
WANTED: INTERESTING BLOG POSTS ABOUT LIFE AND WRITING
If you’re of a certain age, or ever went to Scout camp, you may already been humming along.
I’m having to sign up to follow and receive via email more and more blogs, because the bloggers I’ve been following for years are publishing fewer and fewer posts, and I need reading material to keep myself centered in the writer-support blogosphere I inhabit.
I write fewer posts because most of my posts have had something to do with the skills I acquired while learning to write – and I’m not actively working on those right now unless I find something I need to learn to get through a current scene.
Because I’m getting to the end of Netherworld – and know exactly where I’m going.
And there aren’t any tricky or new scenes – just the kind of wrapping up I’m hoping will put smiles on readers’ faces, followed by worried frowns about the implications!
I use writers’ blogs to stay up-to-date
I haven’t done marketing in a while (and it shows) because I have two brain cells, and one is needed for breathing, while the other takes an occasional turn at writing a few more words.
But one of these days someone will post something which will trigger something else, and I’ll be off and running.
There are lots of beginner ‘How to’ posts, fewer post on marketing, and almost none on marketing a very small output. At least not successfully.
So I take on new blogs
when I find one which has something a little less basic to say, or is in an area I probably won’t write – hoping to steal the genesis of an idea I can tweak into the book-selling campaign of the century.
I’d appreciate suggestions of blogs to follow, especially if you wouldn’t mind telling me what you like about them.
New platforms may be the problem
I don’t think I’m going to try Instagram or Tik Tok or Book Tok or even Twitter – mostly because I don’t think that’s where my kind of writer finds readers and followers.
Certainly not Youtube – not now! The competition must be fierce.
Trying a Patreon was a waste of time for me (this time) because you have to bring your own followers – and then generate extra material for them. The latter I like – I have lots of words about process and writing – but I don’t have yet the critical mass of followers, and, with very little energy, can’t afford to try.
But a lot of people ARE moving to the new platforms – the young ‘uns don’t use FB much any more.
Where are the readers?
To be more specific for me, where are the readers of mainstream/literary/contemporary fiction, but only those who are not hiding behind the wall of ‘I only read traditionally published and vetted fiction.’
And that, my dear readers, I have not solved yet.
But then I spend most of my time writing lately, and ultimately that will have to yield the answer.
So I try each new blog I find through blogs I already read or people who somehow find me, and participate for a while to see if we are a good fit. There are tens of thousands of my words out there contributing to these fun conversations.
I didn’t expect to, not this late in the middle book of a trilogy.
I capture these thoughts when they happen, hoping to have something to refer to when it happens again.
The constraint here is both the calendar – the end is near, and the content until the last scene is what it has to be – and a sense of pace.
In the real world, things have their own importance, and can’t be hurried – or slowed. Their pace is what their pace is.
In fiction, however, technically every bit is under the immediate and complete control of the writer – nothing happens without her say so – and completely not. Why? Because the pace you work hard to develop as you go seems to have a built-in speed you didn’t put there.
I’m not used to this
All pantsers are familiar with this.
Whereas I, an extreme plotter, like to think I’m in control of everything.
The story takes over.
And you bumble around in the dark until you learn.
Oh, and try doing this with WRITER brain fog!
You can’t write chaos smoothly
But it can’t be completely chaotic stream-of-consciousness either, not for very long on the page: the Reader won’t stand for it.
So it’s a mixture, and, from deep third multiple pov, you have to credibly present a chaotic situation for a character you’ve already developed (starting that way in Chapter 1 or with a new character is a different ballgame), and who is usually much less confused.
So you will get a little indulgence from your audience, but don’t want to presume on that – or they’ll start skimming, and you’ve lost them.
So, another skill attempted in the craft.
I wonder what the beta reader will say.
If you’re a reader, do you notice this kind of thing? And how much patience do you have for a change in how you see characters, especially when they’re under stress?
If you’re a writer, has this one bitten your ankles?
When you are reaching the end of writing a novel, it looks as if you’ll never finish.
Encouragement comes in odd places:
a reader wanting to know when the next one is out
sales you didn’t expect, didn’t advertise for
the writing going particularly well
a tough section written
and a review that blows your metaphorical socks off (one gets so jaded).
This morning, my inbox contained a link to that kind of review, and I encourage those who are here for the fiction to take a quick look at the books’ sister site, Pride’s Children . com, and sign up there if they haven’t – because NETHERWORLD will be here early next year, and that encouragement keeps me focused.
An encouraged and supported writer (thanks to all my visitors and commenters and fellow bloggers and friends from FB and GR – you know who you are, and I hope you know how important you are) is a happy writer, and is probably writing much better than a discouraged one.
I don’t buy the drugs-and-alcohol motivated writer narrative (one reason being because my body doesn’t process alcohol fast enough and I don’t tolerate most meds), so I have to go on HAPPINESS, the universal salve.
Sleep and lowered stress would be nice, too, and research to treat and cure this dratted disease (ME/CFS). I’m doing the best that I can.
I gather a lot of pre-written material when I start a scene.
I also have a lot of lists of prompts I fill out which remind me to think of various aspects of a scene, from the internal twist to the various beats to the emotions I wish to invoke in Readers, so I’ve created a lot of new material now that I’m about to write this scene.
And I have one bugaboo, what I call the Old Text (OT), the original polished-but-primitive draft that I wrote when I had the three books in the trilogy plotted out, and wanted to see that I could make it logically from the first line to the last.
The Old Text can be missing, a few paragraphs, a scene in the wrong point of view (pov), or even, in the worst case, a
PERFECT FINISHED COMPLETE SCENE IN THE CORRECT CHARACTER’S POINT OF VIEW.
Except it’s not right.
And every attempt to take what you have and rework it, rearrange it, change it, edit it, tweak it
It’s still wrong.
Worse, it’s throwing you off and keeping you from getting into the character’s pov so you can fix things.
For those times you have a secret weapon:
You can choose not to keep ANY of what you wrote before.
Or only a couple of tiny new pieces you just wrote that you know are in the right pov.
Or an image or two, reworded of course.
Or the time/day/date.
Or even the idea of the scene.
But you don’t have to because there is no Scene Police Division
down at writing headquarters.
No one who can make you, encourage you, or even try to persuade you.
Just because you wrote it gives it no rights.
Just because it was finished, complete, polished, and has impeccable grammar and spelling, punctuation, and capitalization, and you worked for days on it way back when you wrote that particular version, it has no integrity or separate solidity: it is just as friable as your grocery list.
With me, it means I am really stuck.
All the journaling in the world can’t fix something that needs to be plowed under and redesigned from the bottom up.
I just redid a scene like this – from a blank page. After getting fairly close to…something.
I had so much new stuff to put into the scene, and such a solid Old Text version, I thought it might be one of the few things that survived from that draft.
Maybe if I had published the scene as a story fifteen or twenty years ago when I wrote this particular little gem, and spent days or weeks getting it to be the best I could do back then. It might have been a book I removed from my backlist after getting much better with the newer books.
I’m glad I didn’t publish that older draft.
Even I had the sense to realize it needed a lot of work.
The new version is so much better.
But I hadn’t realized that the OT had so much power.
I didn’t want to start from scratch. I didn’t want to dump everything.
I wasn’t sure I could write something better, or come up with an entirely different version of the original idea.
That’s just the FEAR talking. Trying to protect me from wasted effort (old and new).
So I labeled the old contents ‘draft version’, and left it where I could get to it easily if I needed to swipe something from it.
And I started a blank file with the words: ‘just putting this here so the page isn’t blank’
And I started all over again, paying special attention to how that character operated, felt, saw, listened and wrote it again from the top.
Then I deleted ‘just putting this here so the page isn’t blank’, proceeded with my other steps to get a scene into final usable state, and didn’t insist it contain any of that old but good stuff, and …
It’s finished. It came out far better. I wrote the new version in a day or two, edited and polished it, and it doesn’t look at all like the OT.
I still can’t imagine any amount of tweaking that would have turned the previous grammatically-correct-but-completely-wrong and progress-blocking scene into what I signed off on today.
It hurt. A lot. All that nice clean text!
But sometimes you have no choice but to start from scratch.
After I wrote the above, I realized that I think of them separately (personal choice), with effort being the whole mental atmosphere surrounding what writers do – from paying attention to things other people never notice, including information on publicity, covers, and selling – and work being actually sitting down and turning that attitude into things such as a finished ad or a description that rocks or any number of other ‘deliverables.’
‘WORK‘, of course, includes the writing itself, the finished words on the page of a pdf you are about to upload to Amazon or others.
And know it’s the best version of the story you are able to provide that mysterious elusive creature, the Reader.
After that, Amazon takes over and supplies copies of the WORK to those who pay for it.
For many of us, Amazon is currently publisher and distributor, for a hefty portion of the rewards (30% for ebooks, more for print books). I am currently okay with that. Because that equation is far worse on the traditional publishing side, and many of the benefits to using them (editing, covers, advertising, promotion, reasonable advances, royalties) are on the path of the Dodo bird.
Writing successful fiction requires two additional things:
Finding your potential readers, and
Getting them to try your writing.
If you haven’t truly written a good book that readers would buy if they only knew about you, YOU’RE WASTING YOUR TIME when you promote and advertise and stand on your head to do PR. You may fool some of the people some of the time, but that is rarely a recipe for commercial success.
Indeed, after reading some authors’ latest ‘work’, I know I will never read another from them.
But the whole discoverability part of writing is hard, tricky, and requires the one thing I don’t have: energy and the capacity for endless self-promotion.
If you have written ‘a good book’ for a segment of the population
the satisfied readers should be clamoring for more.
If you have more (backlist), they have a lot to discover and enjoy.
If not, well, keep working. And some readers will never get that pleasure from you again, but it won’t be your fault, if you’ just keep truckin’.’
And hope for some luck, or ‘Here a miracle occurs,’ or going viral, or catching someone’s eye…
Some of us will simply have to hope for an afterlife, and wait to ask Margaret Mitchell what happened to Scarlett. Assuming she still cares – the afterlife runs on different rules, I believe.
And now I’m going off to nap, followed by keeping my nose to my particular grindstone.
I do so want to finish. It’s coming nicely. And every time the idea that life might be easier if I spent it entertaining myself instead of torturing myself with imaginary people, I have managed to fight that attitude off.
What are the things in your life that you will never give up on?
Other than some minor (I hope) health problems, which I hope to get taken care of asap, it has been weird not to be blogging occasionally, and the reason is literally that I have not much to say lately.
But I don’t want anyone to worry – and there are, I think, over 600 posts, most still relevant, if you like to poke through either the personal or the writing stuff – and comments are still open on all of them. I love comments.
My usual writing post in the past has been about solving some plotting or writing problem, often in a way I haven’t seen done before (which doesn’t mean there aren’t many posts out there about that topic). It intrigues me, I figure it out, I document – and voilà, reading material. I’m not sure if non-writers find them amusing, but they are easy to skip and usually obvious from the post title.
However, as the writing has matured (and I don’t want to change things so it isn’t obvious how long it takes me to write), I find fewer reasons to document new writing problems solved – as I go along.
Other posts came to be when we uprooted ourselves from the US East Coast (New Jersey) in 2018 and re-established ourselves permanently in Davis, California, at a nice Continuing Care Retirement Community – so we will never have to move again. One of these days we might actually be settled in, but now that the pandemic is under control here, it’s mundane, and I have to remind myself to spend a bit of my precious energy, and go outside occasionally, since every day usually has a ‘nice’ part to it. Maggie and I may go for a ride on the way home from dinner – going the outside route around the building instead of the shorter one through the inside carpeted halls.
I WILL tell you I’m writing – and it gets – and takes – all my available energy and all the time during which my brain is functional. NETHERWORLD is going extremely well – albeit slowly – I’m two thirds through it, and have just finished writing the two hardest scenes of the whole trilogy. So, technically, it’s all uphill from here (but NOT in a straight line). It didn’t help much – the next scene was still hard – but the commitments I made in 2000 to the plot have never wavered, and yes, I did the deed and wrote through the Dark Night of the Soul and Whiff of Death moments – and they came out even better than I had hoped for.
Still hoping to finish it this year.
We saw our daughters in person!
We hope for a family vacation (the kids pick the dates, and then we scramble).
And we will be celebrating the reception part of a family zoom wedding from last October – this October. In person. Yay, vaccination!
I have, at last count, about 90 started posts I never finished for one reason or another. Periodically I read through some of them to see if they might provide some mild entertainment for a visitor – you may see some of those pop up.
But mostly, since the energy is STILL extremely limited (think back to what you’ve read of covid long-haulers – that’s typical), it goes to finishing the Pride’s Children trilogy every day.
Stop by and say hi, contribute a bit about your current, hopefully post-pandemic panic life, and rest assured I’m still working my tail off for those who have been so kind as to say they’re waiting for the next book in the trilogy – and after that to get the third published as well.
The end of NETHERWORLD should make a lot of people happy – and then extremely worried again.
The third volume, still to be named though I’m leaning toward LIMBO & PARADISE, is a doozy. I hope to soon not be the only one who knows how it ends.