Tag Archives: Elliot Marie

Things more important than words…

Things more important than words and streaks and novels and such. And the greatest of these are family and friends. Yesterday I focused on them. I got up early and continued ripping out old decking so that it would be safe for small children to play on. Safe is, of course, a relative term. I wouldn’t recommend anyone go barefoot on the ground I cleared. I think I picked up all the nails and brackets that I removed, but I also picked up several rusty nails from the previous deck installation.

I spent the morning alternating between tearing out decking in the sun to tacking in baseboards and flooring transitions, cleaning and reframing posters, making spinach dip, this time know as seaweed dip for the first grandchild’s first birthday and in general helping my partner, Elena, ready her house for an onslaught of family and friends. The day was lovely, but hot. The work was arduous, but utterly worthwhile. But it wasn’t until I sat down, I think for the second time during the day, to show my mom how to create a blog post that I wrote any words. And that was incidental rather than intentional. Do I begrudge this day? NO! Absolutely not.

I wrote TWENTY-SIX [26] new words yesterday, so I guess I can continue my streak of toils&snares3writing days at 47. But I definitely lost the streak of 500+ word days at 34 days. 34 days was a much longer streak than the previous 11 day streak, so progress is being made. Lots of progress, in fact. I’m still, despite two days under 500 words, averaging 654.40 per day! I’m a third of the way to my 182,500 word goal for 2014. I am 90% complete on my Deserted Lands novella:Toils and Snares. I am nearly 2/3 done with the first draft of Straight Into Darkness. So, today, I reboot to the head my goal of writing 500+ words a day. I intend to reboot it with a vengeance starting with this blog post. [338 and counting.]

My goals this week with Elena at work are to hit NANOWRIMO levels–1667+ words per day. But there are still family and friends to see and to hang out with. School rooms, bedrooms, cars and decks to clean. Food to make and store and plan for. Books to market, stories to edit, kickstarters to get started and things to mail. So, as we head into August, wish me luck. Actually, wish me hard work. That’s where the luck comes from.

Write on,


My Path to Indie Publication: Part X—Finding Equilibrium

Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV. Part V. Part VIPart VII. Part VIIIPart IX

Part X—Finding Equilibrium: the agony and the ecstasy of new authorhood. *

With the success of the three readings equaling sales of more than 70 books, I was very hyped about attending Norwescon 37. I created and ordered bookmarks—5000 for about $200 including shipping. They had special pricing codes: $3 off either a signed print book or a Kobo eBook as well as a note to find me on social media and I’d meet them at the con and sell them a signed copy for a great deal without the shipping and handling. Elena and I went down to the stuffing party to help put 3500 of my bookmarks into the swag bags. The result? [Because, I’m following Kris Rusch’s rule of not offering a deal unless you can track whether it is successful or not.] Nada. Zip. Zilch. The only book I sold was one that was already promised months before to a beta reader. She bought a second book, because I didn’t have change! Sheesh.

The best thing to happen at Norwescon was that I got to see Gordon Van Gelder, he had seen somewhere, a bookmark maybe, that I had a book coming out. He asked if I’d send him a review copy, which of course I was happy to do as I could then send him one of the new and rare copies with the Dante Rossetti Award announced on the cover. Will it lead to a review in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction? Who knows. But , alas, if this one doesn’t break with him, perhaps the next one will.

I still have about 1500 bookmarks and will be taking many of them to ALA14 to see if anything happens this time around. I also gave out a couple handfuls at Vikingcon in Bellingham with no discernible sales off site. I think bookmarks are cool, but don’t spend $200 and expect to get it back. I actually prefer the postcards that I made in cover-shaped format, a better way to get the name and the graphic out there. 

Vikingcon was really awesome. I met a bunch of cool people, and renewed my acquaintance with Greg and Astrid Bear. I met Greg at a Vikingcon in the 1990s and then got to be on a panel about Robert Heinlein with him in 2005 at Norwescon. So, I got to hang out with Greg Bear, I got a free table in the conference hall to sell my books and I got to meet really cool people. I am a fairly terminal optimist, so I signed 10 books with my name and inscribed Vikingcon 2014! But none sold before the panel with Greg. The panel on technology in SF, “Text me, Scotty.” went well. After the panel, my daughter Sheridan, womanning the booth with her daughter and younger sister, had sold two copies. A few people who had attended the panel came by and bought books. Then the Vikingcon folks came to pick up the signed copy I’d promised them. And as the Vendor’s hall was closing I sold the last of the 10 books. Maybe next time I should pre-inscribe 50? Nah. Lesson learned.

The biggest bump of sales not related to meeting people directly came from a friendly source. Dean Kahn, the Bellingham Herald editor who had guided the Serial Science Fiction story Memories of Light the previous year asked his readers to nominate the best books set in Bellingham. Four fans [also friends] wrote in praising my book. The day it came out I sold 9 ebooks and 2 print books in the next 24 hours and several more over the next few days. Yeah!

I’m currently sending out some short fiction set in the same universe to magazine editors in the hopes that a story might lead people to the novel. I’m also planning to release a standalone Deserted Lands novella, Toils and Snares, in the fall as an ebook. As I write this sales have gone flat, but they’ve already been better than I expected. I’ve got more readings set up and a trip to Las Vegas for the American Library Association convention followed by a drive up to Provo where the next book, Straight Into Darkness takes place.

The long awaited hardcover of All Is Silence will be here soon as will summer with more time to write. I’m doing a PubSlush campaign so I can pay my editors and cover artists more. The benefits will be commensurate with the crowd-funding amounts. More to come after school comes out.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. It’s been a roller coaster for me, but as this ride continues, I feel more and more certain that choosing the Indie Publishing route was absolutely the right decision for me. As I have more insight into this amazing process, I’ll blog a bit more, but for now… I’ve gotta write on…

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top

Vikingcon, Novella Cover Art, and other news…

VIkingcon 2014 was awesome. 17 newsletter signups, panel with Greg Bear, Jason Andrew, Susan Matthews, met Alma Alexander, Jennifer Brozek, and John Patrick Lowrie. Hung out with daughters & grand. Sold 9 novels and donated one for the WWU Associated Students Raffle. Had some cool conversations about books, apocalyptic fiction and music. I love small cons! Looking forward to next year.

I have now sold 200 of the first 500 hundred books I ordered and had delivered to my house! Also, have sold an additional 200 in ebook, through distant bookstores, and to libraries, none of which touched my hands! Would love to sell out of the first printing before the end of the year.

Hardcover faced additional delays. The proof copy is on the way, but I already know I need to resubmit the interior text. I didn’t click the right boxes in Scrivener. So, all the extra font work I did for the print version disappeared and that first proof copy will essentially look like the mobi file on a Kindle. Grr… Also, somehow, added an ‘s’ to my dad’s first name in the credits!


Sneak preview of a possible cover for Toils and Snares, a Deserted Lands novella, I plan to release in the fall. It’s set a month or so before All Is Silence in Portland, OR and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. The story will be a prologue of sorts for a later book set 15 or so years in the series future.

This is the first cover art I’ve ever created that I begins to approach saleability. Mostly due to the work of Pintado. Now, back to writing.

Photo by Ian R. Q. Slater
Cover design by Robert L. Slater 

Debuts of another sort.

Secret’s out. I’ve got my new glasses on. My hands look wrinkly. “Jes call me, grampa.” Poppy actually. Sitting here with Nonna Elena. Toasting the new babe with dark chocolate and a Syrah.

Sheridan M. Musick Slater and Cameron Caya had a baby girl, my first grand-kid: Elliot Marie. 8 lbs. 19.5 inches.

Not a lot of sleep last night, but I did sleep on three chairs pulled into a “couch” and my 9 year old’s purple pillow pet.