The book draft is back from Margaret, my editor, and I am so excited… in part because she is so excited with this draft! So the next two to three weeks are dedicated to working on edits before one last read then we publish at Smashwords! Aiming for the middle to the end of July to make that happen!
In the meantime…
Relentless Pursuit has been re-titled to Relentless Obsession and has an entirely new focus. Eager to get started on it, I discovered the NaNoWriMo website and became aware of their November challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Okay… I decided to challenge myself ahead of time to see how doable that would be and I did it! I wrote 50,000 words in just two weeks.
Here’s how it breaks down… if you average writing about 2,000 a day, you can make it happen! Even if you only type at 40 w.p.m, that would take just under one hour a day for only 25 days!
When I hit that 50,000 word mark, I was stoked! Wow! To create a rough draft that quickly. It does help to have an idea to work with, of course, but after that, it’s just a matter of taking the necessary time to go back in and flesh it out. Granted that will definitely take more than two weeks but at least I have something constructive to work with.
Building those writing skills…
As I continue to hone my craft, I spend a great deal of time collecting and studying various aspects of writing, in particular all the nuances of grammar. Margaret pointed me to yet another great website, Grammar-worksheets, which I have devoured and will add to my arsenal of writing tools and resources. I would encourage you to check it out.
How my current eBooks are doing…
Alright so I’ve been tracking the daily downloads of my eBooks at Smashwords and was tickled to see a really nice running total for the two books I haven’t seriously marketed. Out of the over 300,000 published works at Smashwords, people just find them, which I think is pretty cool. Granted, I don’t have any best sellers… yet… but I am grateful for each and every one of those downloads.
But when I recently took some time to check on a recent quarterly report, I was surprised at how well they are doing via the numerous retailers Smashwords has partnered with. Names such as Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Diesel, Scribd, and Oyster to name a few, posted an additional 90% more downloads (over and above Smashwords) that same quarter and from 28 different countries (to date)… AND… I’m still not heavily marketing them! That added up to many, many thousands of downloads all totaled.
Yikes! Seriously? Yes!
Like I said, they may not be best sellers, but these numbers are exciting and very encouraging. So, June marks the end of another quarter and I am very anxious to see what the numbers will look like when that report comes out.
Are you an Indy writer?
If so, share your writing and publishing experiences with us!
At Smashwords, find:
It’s for certain…
…my blogs are not overwhelming my readers! I laugh at myself sometimes, especially when I keep thinking I need to produce more blog commentary. If I didn’t need sleep…well then maybe. Unfortunately there are only so many minutes in a day. I still have a ‘day job’ (helps with the bills and such for now), in addition to being a novelist. Blogging is important, but finding time to squeeze regular posts into my already hectic schedule is challenging. Even so, I am currently on a six-week hiatus from work and making use of every moment to write! I finished my final draft of Unwitting Alliances and it’s in the hands of one last test reader. Then it’s off to my editor! Once I get it back from her, I’ll polish it up and submit to Smashwords for publication…hopefully in June 2014! I still need to finish the cover art and write a ‘dust cover’ synopsis, but beyond that…I’m very excited!
This novel finds our hero, Hunter Blake, a successful and award-winning actor, facing a series of mysterious, unexplained, and in some cases, life-threatening events. Couple that with an unexpected moment of truth from a close friend and the return of someone from his past, add to the suspenseful flavor of this novel and forces Hunter to come to grips with unscripted life outside of Hollywood.
So with this extended time off…
…I’ve made it a priority to develop the framework for two more novels. Each will be a sequel.
1. Relentless Pursuit finds Janet Feldman, of Desperate Rescue, getting adjusted to a new life in San Francisco. Unfortunately, she is going to have her hands full attempting to discourage a very determined, albeit unwelcome and mysterious, suitor. So how do you fend off a mysterious suitor? One who calls at work and sends cards, flowers, and even arranges deliveries of your favorite Chinese take-out to your desk? I guess we’ll find out.
2. Justified Betrayal picks up where soon-to-be-published Unwitting Alliances leaves off. Hunter Blake is thrown into further mysterious events and situations. But this time he also has two women in his life that he promised to look after. Heart strings are tugged in different directions as he struggles to maintain a balance, not only in his personal relationships, but also in an effort to keep everyone safe. Although things wrap up pretty well as Unwitting Alliances concludes, as with any story, there’s usually some loose ends that never quite get cinched up completely. We’ll find out more in the sequel.
Here’s another little tidbit…
Janet Feldman is in the Hunter Blake series as well. She’s more grown up but with the same spunk and determination she pulled together to rescue her best friend in Desperate Rescue. Because I’ve received a lot of requests to build a series around Janet I decided to go ahead and do that, continuing with Relentless Pursuit. In the meantime, since I already had her written into Unwitting Alliances, she has now grown into a more mature woman in her later twenties and now has the opportunity to explore new horizons and continued adventures with Hunter Blake. Eventually the Janet Feldman series will tie in nicely with Hunter Blake’s. And who knows… I may even find some other interesting spin-offs to play with later on.
I do have some other items of interest to share, regarding writing in general, how my currently published eBooks are doing, and the continuing excitement developing with ePublishing! With my extended time off, I should be able to push out one more blog post before heading back to work in a few weeks.
In the meantime…thanks for dropping by!
At Smashwords, find:
I’ve spent so much time the past few months getting my next novel ready to publish, that I never seemed to find the time here and there to ‘blog.’ Good? Bad? I don’t know. I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules regarding blogging frequency. Although I am a subscriber to several other blogs, on occasion I will just skim them for content. The good thing is that many of them offer valuable information I can use, so I appreciate getting them. At the same time, it can be time-consuming trying to keep up.
Blogging. It’s not that I don’t have information to share, or an opinion about things…I do…about lot of things, actually, but I’m not so sure I need to blog about all of them. For instance, I’m not ready (probably never will be) to plaster every detail of my whole life all over the internet. I’d like to keep most of my personal stuff…personal…you know. Seriously, does anyone really care what I ate for dinner last night? I doubt it. So, as I reviewed some of my previous blogs, I noticed that my last post was waaaaaay back in August 2012 (Really? It’s been that long ago?). At that time I was lamenting about being without the internet for a short period of time. As of this writing, however I’ve not re-experienced that challenge. Good thing, since I do so much research online when I’m working on a manuscript.
Writing. Now that’s something to chat about. I love to write, in spite of my lackluster blogging, but I’m a story-teller and excited that my next novel is nearing its publishing date. I love the story, and so do my test readers, as well as my editor. It’s always a good thing when your editor, in particular, likes your work! As such, Hunter Blake will be making his debut and the intrigue will begin. So, if mystery, suspense, and intrigue – with a splash of romance thrown in for added interest – happens to be among some of your favorite reading genres, stay tuned. As with my other publications, this next novel will be available at www.smashwords.com.
Website Hosting. I recently switched hosts (for my book writing website – not this blog site) but I think I’m going to switch again. I need more behind-the-scenes access to my site, which my previous host let me do. I would have stayed with them, but unfortunately they were making some changes that necessitated I make a switch. My current hosting company doesn’t provide me that kind of access. In fact, they only allow me 60 minutes a month to add stuff or make changes. One hour a month isn’t much time to dink around, and besides, they’re expensive. I have no idea what possessed me to sign up with them. Well, maybe it was the pitch that they would design a website for me for free. Yeah, okay, but in the meantime, I think I’ve found a much better hosting company so we’ll see how that goes.
Politics. I could offer my opinion on the current state of affairs, politically speaking, like how I think We the People should have the power to orchestrate an immediate election, fire all our elected officials and start over without going through the mess of months (even years) of traditional campaigning, empty promises, and media-controlled elections. Maybe I’ve missed something somewhere, but I thought they (the elected officials) were supposed to be working for us, not the other way around. Public servants, right? Or wait! Maybe that was a typo and it’s supposed be ‘self-serving.’
Airlines. I recently flew out of San Francisco to the middle of Texas to visit with my oldest son and his family. I was so danged excited! I love to fly…usually…but not this time. It was the first time I had a chance to fly anywhere, since they introduced those confounded body scanners. So I stepped inside the thing, raised my hands up high in that ‘stick ‘em up!’ position while this contraption whirled around me. I stepped out and they pulled me aside. There was something suspicious about my right knee, I was told. My knee? Seriously? Yeah, so a female TSA person felt my knee and finally announced to a fellow TSA person, “Nope. It’s her knee.” And I said, “Yup, it’s the same one I’ve had all my life.” They let me move along.
That wouldn’t have been so bad if it were the only inconvenience of my trip. Turns out (I found out later that day) that the air traffic controllers were short-handed due to a bunch of lay-offs that had just occurred, or something like that. So, as a result, hundreds of thousands of happy travelers, such as myself, were suddenly affected while in transit to our vast and varied locations. Well, there’s nothing like hanging around an airport waiting for your delayed flight to finally take off. You get to meet other equally frustrated and tired travelers, watch cable network news sites on giant monitors, and worry about your next meal. Have you noticed how much the vendors charge for food in airports?! We’re at their mercy…except there is no mercy! Pay or go hungry. Glad I took snacks.
I had to make a connection going and coming, but coming home was more of an adventure. My first flight was delayed twice, which meant I missed my connection (and prized window seat) back to San Francisco. I was re-booked, but once I touched down in SF, I nearly missed the last airport shuttle bus back home. At that time of night, and as tired and frustrated as I was, spending the night in the airport wasn’t on my top ten list of things to do before I die.
Okay, I’ve taken up enough of your time. Besides, I need to get back to work on the final edits of my novel. The plan is to start posting updates regarding Hunter Blake in the first book of a series. It all begins with Unwitting Alliances. If this one generates the volume of downloads as my other two at Smashwords, I will be ecstatic! Oh, and did I mention that the first books of any of my series are free? Yes, it’s a marketing strategy, but if you like the book, you’ll be happy to pay for the next ones. On the other hand, if you don’t like it…no loss…just delete it.
Okay. I think I’m done for now. Happy reading, everyone!
My husband and I recently relocated back home…which for us is Napa Valley, California. We’ve enjoyed a wonderful journey living in and exploring several other places in the western United States the past nearly fourteen years, but it’s good to be home again!
With that said, we have been trying to get connected to the internet for the past two or three weeks, which ordinarily shouldn’t be a problem but we’re living in a very unique environment on a picturesque campus of a state veteran’s facility in the heart of Napa Valley. The architecture is fabulous, probably of the 1930′s or 1940′s era…with some additional unique characteristics which has posed some challenges. As a result, getting reconnected to the internet has been frustrating.
Who’d have ever thought that we, as a society, would become so derned dependent on this global network of electronic, wireless, and orbitally essential utility? Beam me up Scotty? Almost!
As we have fidgeted and fumed and fussed and fretted over the lack of a connection, my attempts to access familiar networking sites from work (email in particular) have been summarily thwarted by the agency I currently work for. So although I can access back accounts, news sites, and current weather conditions, not being able to jump into email and occasionally Facebook, not to mention online television programs have been a killer!
We were on the verge of driving a distance to a public library, getting new library cards, and signing up for an hour’s worth of time just to see what we’ve been missing! My beloved Aunt Nell, for instance, is a trooper when it comes to keeping me up-to-date with all the latest and greatest political stuff! And Sue…sweet Sue with her myriad of forwarded jokes, pictures, and funny stories…
Well, today was a day of celebration! After various attempts by the agency’s onsite technical guys and gals, in addition to the local phone service carrier’s awesome dude (who suffered an attack by a yellow jacket, unfortunately! Ouch!), we now have the internet once again! I have been relishing every one of Aunt Nell’s emails, have double checked various “can’t be missed” offers from a variety of businesses (realizing that several of them had already expired! NO!); was reminded of a few people I need to respond to, including a few very important forwarded messages from my sweetie who loves to email me about interesting things he sees…he is adorable… It’s not that we don’t talk to each other, we definitely do, but as he peruses his various emails, he likes to pass some along to me as well.
Ah, yes…the internet…
Oh, and for those of you who are wondering why we didn’t simply access our accounts via cell phones…we haven’t exactly stepped into that era yet. We’re a little concerned that those phones are actually smarter than we are, although my husband’s laptop operates wirelessly…I guess that’s kind of smart. Well, we will get there…eventually! In the meantime, I’m in my office pounding out this blog and getting ready to get back to work on my current novel, while he’s in the living room looking at vintage cars, new cars, and previously owned cars (he likes cars).
I guess you could say we’re both pretty content catching up on everything we’ve managed to live without for the past little while. How did we manage?
Kyle Rynicki is well on his way to Hollywood, with the his recent successful The Beautiful Dead campaign at Kickstarter.com. Now, along with the talent of some very key people, expect to hear about Kyle and see the results of his passion for film-making in the not-so-distant future.
First to line up on Kyle teams is Michael May, of Visual FX, Los Angeles. His most recent credits as a film stereo coordinator include “The Avengers” (2012) completing 2,832 stereo shots, and “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011), completing 2,270 stereo shots. He has worked for Marvel Studios, Creative Cartel, Walt Disney Feature Animation, and Sony Pictures Imageworks, to name a few.
Next is Eric Fox’s team from MORB-X of Orange County, CA. “MORB-X is a special effects and make-up studio specializing in providing high quality practical effects” for the film industry…or anyone else who wants it. When you visit Kyle’s website, he explains in one of his blogs the need for this guy and his team of craftsmen! Check it out!
Finally, Robert Allaire, of Los Angeles, who is orchestrating an original musical score for the project. Robert is “a composer of acoustic and electronic music for the concert hall, film, and interactive media…His film scores have garnered accolades from LA Weekly, New York Times, and Animation Magazine.”
If you love a good thriller, bookmark Kyle’s site and stay tuned!
It’s one thing to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and eager to face the new day. But it’s quite another when your first thoughts center around what you had for dinner last night and the feedback I will get as I perform that daily ritual of worshiping at the almighty and unforgiving scale.
I think its even worse now that we have digital scales. Where once we stood on a bulky device watching a needle whip around a dial a few times before finally bouncing between a couple of faint lines and leaning to one side just enough to make that needle go down one slash, we now see precise digital readouts of our weight loss or gain.
“YES!” I shouted joyfully two days ago. “Down .2 pounds! Okay!” Yesterday, however, it was, “Dang! Up .6!” I knew I shouldn’t have had that extra helping of mashed potatoes and gravy!
These days, when I log on to one of my many email accounts…yes…many…because I have many reasons for having multiple ones, most of the current streaming “news” items tend to focus on either sports or food (sure, okay, maybe ‘nutrition’ sorta) but who, really… actually…for certain knows what the best nutritional advice is for all of us?
I can remember soooo many years ago when pantyhose manufacturers produced what they called “one-size-fits-all” stockings for women. Ya-huh. One size, eh? For all? Are you kidding me? There was no way that my rather voluptuous mother and I (at the time a not-so-voluptuous college gal), were gonna fit in the same size pantyhose! No way!
Then t-shirts were being touted as one-size-fits-all. Oh, come on! All of what? You could toss one of those shirts onto my little 8-year-old neighbor, Katie, synch it up with a belt, add a string of plastic beads and put a bow in her hair, giving her that “I’m ready for my 3rd grade prom” look, or yank it over the head of my fifteen-year-old brother so he could sweat it up shooting hoops with his pals. Or better yet, give it to my dad, complete with his trademark beer belly, and stretch that double-knit fabric to the max! Right. One size fits all.
So what does all of this have to do with weight? Well, I’m rather inclined any more, to question this similar ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy when it comes to planning meals, regulating portion sizes and calorie intake, with regard to eating in general.
Yeah. Food. Portions of food. How often we should eat food. How-many-minutes-after-waking-up we should start eating food. What time in the evening we should stop eating food. Fake food (that reduced, low, and nonfat-stuff). And not only that (and I’m coming out of the pantry with this next statement)…I hate raw vegetables! Hate ‘em! I want mine sautéed, steamed, chopped up and added to an omelet or immersed in a great soup with some kind of meat included in that soup! You know, like split pea with ham or vegetables with beef soup.
As for ‘fake food’ I discovered that eating reduced-fat, low-fat, and non-fat foods actually made me gain weight! Yup! I was packing on the pounds. Why? Because my cute but cranky body kept looking for something that, it was convinced, should be in a glass of milk but wasn’t. So my craving for milk was intense. As a result I drank more of that low-fat, non-fat stuff. Guess what? You may not be getting as much fat, but you sure are getting lots of extra calories instead! And guess what else? What my body really wanted was the milk fat! So we switched to whole milk. One glass. I’m good. Weight dropped. Hmmm…who’da thought?
So what’s the difference between cravings and addiction? Good question. I think it is entirely possible to be ‘addicted’ to sugar and salt, for instance. I said possible. I’m not a dietician or expert in the field of nutrition (if there really is such an animal). Expert. Hey! You want a really cool definition for the word ‘expert.’ Okay, in math, ‘x’ is an unknown factor, and in science ‘spurt’ is a drop of water under extreme pressure. Just thought I’d share that.
Yes, well when I was pregnant with each of my children, I experienced food cravings…all different, but cravings none-the-less. During one pregnancy in particular I couldn’t get enough butter-sautéed mushrooms accompanied with chocolate milkshakes. But once my son was born, the cravings ceased. So I deduced that I was not addicted to those foods.
Then I don’t like to use a lot of salt when I’m cooking, and we don’t add salt at the table very often, but every once in a while I crave salty, and really crunchy, potato chips. Once that craving is satisfied, I’m done with the chips for quite a while.
I can come home from a stressful meeting or event and one of the first things I do is grab a jar of natural crunchy peanut butter from the fridge, and a container of mildly sweet dark chocolate chips. A spoonful of peanut butter, with a bunch of those chocolate chips crammed on top and I’m good to go. But just one spoonful is plenty.
As for sweet stuff, I like to mix sweet flavors with tangy and salty ones at meals. Give me some grilled chicken and garlic, with seasoned, buttered rice, and a serving of apple-cranberry chutney and I’m one very happy lady!
I’ve learned to by-pass the really sweet stuff for the most part. I can look at donuts and generous slices of chocolate cake and say no…however…once I get a taste of either, look out! Yup. My taste buds go bonkers and the fight is on!
Okay, so this morning I said, “Enough!” I’m tired of worrying about my calorie intake, the morning scale readout ritual, clothing sizes…all of that. I feel good. I recently celebrated another birthday – and it was a celebration. At my age, every moment is worth celebrating!
I can still get around in a vertical and upright position…while breathing in and out at the same time. I can hop around and occasionally, when no one is looking, will skip down a public hallway just for the heck of it. It’s fun. Well, maybe someone is watching if they’ve got those ever-present security cameras spying on me. But whatever, life should be enjoyed and I really don’t have time to worry about what I’m eating, when I’m eating, how much I’m eating, and what size clothing I’m wearing.
If it feels good and I’m okay with how I look, that’s good enough for me…at least for now.