Tag Archives: Holly Lisle

January Smorgasblog

Okay. Here’s a random list of catch up things for January. 11 in November, 12 in December… Should be either 1 or 13 in January, no? Well, somewhere in between. Here we go.

0. [inserted last] Today is Lizzie’s 14th birthday! Born 1/11/2002.

1. My friend and writing mentor Holly Lisle’ s Memory of Fire (World Gates Series) is on a special price for Amazon Kindle = $0.99.

My review: Great opening to a cool universe. Pretty classic parallel universe with lots of nice twists. Strong females! Yeah. Be happy that they are all out so you don’t have to wait read them all like I did! I can’t find my paperbacks, so now I can have it on ebook! Holly Lisle writes books you can’t put down. This is no exception. 

Currently #211 paid in the Kindle store! Check out her stuff at her websites: [Her Books & Blog] [Her Writing Classes]

2. First Convention booking WeAreAllSFfor 2016. WE ARE ALL SCIFI. NOV. 4–6, 2016 ♦ OCEAN SHORES.

Join Tor editor Beth Meacham, authors Jennifer Brozek, Nancy Kress, Jody Lynn Nye, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Raven Oak, Mike Resnick, David Gerrold, William F. Nolan, James E. Gunn, Angela Korra’ti and many, many more TBA for a fun con at the beach! Kid friendly!

Our other Guests of Honor include Celebrity Guest of Honor Drew Hobson (Grimm, voice actor, State of Decay & more), Games GoH Scott Hungerford, and musical guests Dara Korra’ti (Crime and the Forces of Evil) …and games, costumes, writing workshops, panels, dances…

See you there.

3. We now have the first two members of The Desert Club, a street team of Deserted Lands fans. Want to help? Want a FREE ALL IS SILENCE T-shirt? Click on the link.

4. Oh, and have I asked you to read Toils and Snares? Yes? A hundred times? Are you sure? Are you exaggerating. Only a little? Would you leave an honest review? You haven’t finished it? It’s on your Kindle? I’m needy? Did I tell you why? Did I mention that BookBub promos usually have over 20 reviews and I have 19? You’d tell me if I was that author, right? Oh, I wasn’t but I am now? Yes, in fact, we did play the game of questions in Drama at school. I lost? That was a statement? Oh. You’re right. Sorry.   

5. November’s Elevensies sale sold 111 ebooks, at least that was my count until one final sale came through from November on iBooks. So, 112. Probably biggest month ever for number of sales, but adding in promotional costs made it a less than average month in income. Still a lot more people have read one or more of the Deserted Lands series. I’m planning on doing another sale near my birthday in February and the date of ALL IS SILENCE’s print publication.

6. Some personal goings on you can check up on the non-writing blog. I’m working on lowering stress levels by finishing old projects, getting rid of shtuff, reading more, exercising more and rebooting my relationship with alcohol. Planning on blogging about these processes there, interspersed with non-alcoholic drink recipes and food to go along with them.

7. Working on building a library at Windward High School where I teach. So, moving books from my house thataway as well as donating a bunch of my books to worthy causes like Heinlein for Heroes, Books for troops, alternative high school and juvenile detention center libraries. If you would like to donate to my school library, let me know!

Reflection on 2014 goals and renewal, revision and recreation of Goals for 2015.

How do I follow up a year like 2014? To finally be able to call myself not only a writer, but a published Author, has been a dream for decades and a goal since 1991. That was one small part of 2014!

2015 looks to be a challenging year for all authors, as the industry continues to flex and flux to maximum capacity. My overarching goal for 2015 is to beat all the records I made for myself in 2014: get more words written, more stories and books published on more platforms. Develop my web presence more to increase my discoverability. All of these are within my locus of control. I must have confidence that the sales will follow and keep to the long view [As opposed to the Longview] of success.

Doing some end of the year accounting I discovered that I have paid for all the printing costs of books I purchased: 600 copies of the paperback, 50 copies of the hardcover and another 10 copies of the Advanced Reader Copies. My cost in books, shipping and tax? $3935. My estimated income for 2014? $4037. Now, I haven’t paid for the cover art, editing or advertising yet, but I also paid the bulk of those in 2013! So, I very nearly broke even this year! When I have to order a second printing, I will have covered those costs.

So, onto the goals. In 2014 my original goal was 150,000 words [I actually raised it to 182,500 in a fit of optimism and then got very little writing done for the first four months after releasing All Is Silence. Not counting what I may write in the next two days, I hit 127,551 or 85% of my goal. I’d give myself a solid B for writing. 102,055 of those words were fiction and the other 25,000+ were blog-posts. So for 2015, my goal is to write 150,000 words of fiction and 32,500 words of blog posts and other non-fiction activities for a total of 182,500 words, averaging 500 words per day. Not bad for a father, partner, teacher.

I intended to complete two on-line writing courses I purchased from Holly Lisle. I got partway through both. No goals for writing courses in 2015 except for finding advice as needed.

How I did on other Writing Goals 2014 [and how I’ll adapt them in 2015.]

  1. 26 submissions – No. 3 publications and 1 submission. 2015: 12 publications of novels, novellas and short stories.
  2. Complete Final Draft of Straight Into Darkness before October. – No. Finished a really, really rough draft in early December. 2015: Finish Final rough by 48th birthday, February 15, 2015. Complete Advanced Reader Copies by April 1st before Norwescon.
  3. A three day novel writing weekend (outside of NANOWRIMO) – No. 2015: Renewed.
  4. NANOWRIMO – 4th Deserted Lands novel – No. 2015: Write 50,000 words in November 2015. Probably Grace I or Charley I.
  5. Break record of 6054 words in one day! [using TEK article] YES!! 11/15/2014. 6,238 words. 2015: Rebreak record. At least 7,000 in one day.
  6. Complete 2nd Draft of Oppositions, my second novel, fantasy – No. 2015: Tentatively renewed. Only if I finish a 3rd Deserted Lands novel draft before November.
  7. [added 5/4/14] Blog once a week [added 7/10/14] Blog longer, more content. YES!! 63 blog posts, averaging 386 words each up from 143 words each in 2013. 2015: Aim for 64+ posts averaging 500 words each. Focus not on writing.
  8. [added 5/4/14] Publish Toils and Snares novella in late summer/early fall. – No. Perhaps I should have set a goal to write it first! It was going to be 22,000 words. It’s going to finish at about 40,000. 2015: Publish in January of 2015.
  9. [added 7/10/14] Publish at least one Kindle Single [this summer?] YES. Published Just Desert and One Tin Soldier on KDP. 2015: Publish 8 short stories to Kindle Direct Publishing.

Additional goals for 2015

  1. Read and decide whether to rewrite first novel, Jack and the Beanstalk for YA/MG or not?
  2. Record all unrecorded, written/remembered songs.
  3. Complete at least 2 short Deserted Lands stories TBD: 10,000 words total.

My reading goal was 14 books and I hit it, not certain that I didn’t read a few more on e-readers! Oh, and not counting the three books I read to my daughter putting her to bed! I’m aiming for at least 15 in 2015 [not counting my own books! I read All Is Silence twice in 2014].

Hope your new year is a good one.

Write on,
Rob

My Path to Indie Publication: Part V–Reality and the Instability of Time

My 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.

Reality and the Instability of Time, a.k.a. Learning to Use Scotty’s Law of Time Estimation (or even less well known, how to a write a blog post with too long a title…)*

[Author’s Note: Sorry this is late. It’s at least slightly ironic that this blog-post was late, no?]

When I “finished” the first draft of And Everything After… [Third working title. First was Zombie Zoo, Second was Where Have All Your Children Gone?] I decided I wanted to publish in August of 2013—TEN MONTHS after I’d written the first words. Hubris? Yeah. There have been lots of humbling moments in response to this presumptuousness.

As part of my NANOWRIMO prizes, and on the recommendation of my new editor, I bought Scrivener Writing Software for half-price–a steal at $20. Reasonable at the usual price. I bought the Windows version to format Outward Bound, the Science Fiction & Poetry collection. I had struggled with the NANOWRIMO 45 day free download of Scrivener and given up on it.

After the stress of finishing the first draft of the novel, I found that taking already existing documents and uploading them into the software was easy. Then turning it all into an e-book was even easier. The only real issue I had was formatting the poetry. One poem graphically moves across the page like a spiral galaxy; getting it to look right in an ebook was challenging. I had hoped to release Outward Bound in April or May as a way to build interest in the release of All Is Silence In the World [the penultimate title]. But as June came, it was not yet ready for prime time. Luckily, as a self published author the only deadlines one has to hit are ones own.

Meeting Alice Acheson at the Chuckanut Writer’s Conference helped me figure out a more reasonable plan for marketing and releasing the novel. All Is Silence. Alice suggested waiting until February because when bookstores get a book at the holiday season or soon after, there is so much going on that it may not get noticed. So I picked February 11th. It seemed like a long way off.

With my final installment of Memories of Light, the Science Fiction Serial, appearing in the Bellingham Herald in August, I wanted to maximize that press opportunity. But the novel was not nearly finished. I decided that releasing Outward Bound instead of the novel in mid-August with a sampler chapter of the novel made the most sense.

In late July I submitted the current draft of the novel to CreateSpace to see what it looked like in print. I went with a generic cover and the wrong title, Deserted Lands, not wanting anything to go wrong about having the book out too soon. I had printed a slipcover for it featuring the amazing art of Pintado. ALL IS SILENCE.  I was thrilled to hold it in my hands. For about 30 seconds. Well, maybe five whole minutes. This now svelte title, cut down due to reading a blog from Mark Coker of Smashwords, [Web editor’s note: Rob’s daughter Sheridan suggested cutting the title to ‘All is Silence’ months before he] housed a manuscript that needed a similar svelteness.  If I had published it at this point I would have been deeply embarrassed, yet many of the self-published books I have tried to read seemed to be released at this point.

The weeks leading up to the release of Outward Bound and my “chapter” of Memories of Light became full of marketing and formatting and uploading and re-editing stories and poetry I hadn’t read in years as well as the new Deserted lands works. On a challenge from Holly Lisle, I had started three short stories set in the Deserted Lands universe intending to include them in the collection. The first two came easily, but I realized the third was not a short story. It told about a European stuck in the U.S. due to the pandemic and trying to figure out how to get home to his lover who had also miraculously survived. This novel, about a bunch of non-sailors trying to cross the Atlantic, is now slated for #10 in the series, I think. Might be #7.

More delays coming. Which leads into Part VI: Playing the Professional.

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

Path to Indie Publication: Part II–First Sale

My 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 Part IPath to Indie Publication.

First Sale *

So after following Kris and Dean to that Rustycon workshop in Tacoma where I learned THE SECRET of breaking through in publishing, I focused on short fiction. It made sense. My pace was somewhat off the mark for one a week, closer to one a month or so. I managed 17 submissions in 1996 and 88 in 1997. In 1998, submission #141, “Shooting Star,” sold to Millennium SF&F. The story was inspired by an off-hand remark by Dean, I still hear his voice when I read the last lines of that story. It took me about 20 minutes to write the first draft. It went on to sell two more times totaling over $30 and let me call myself a published and paid writer. It also helped me believe in Kris and Dean’s suggestion that writing fast was not necessarily writing bad.

I continued to write and submit short fiction while I puttered away at a traditional fantasy novel, which I will publish along with its unwritten, but envisioned sequels at some point. I submitted it to the same slushpiles as the other novel. Again, no luck.

I went to conventions, Worldcons in 96-97 and many other local cons, collected rejections, took workshops, participated in Schrodinger’s Petshop Cyber where I re‘met’ Holly Lisle. Holly was a friend of a friend through the Heinlein Forum and the Galactic Citizen contacts and I bought and loved her first book, Fire in the Mist, and its follow-ups. I participated in the Critters online critique group and attempted to create and fit in with other in-person writer’s groups.

I kept up a steady stream of submissions and discovered Slater’s First Law of Submissions. If one had enough stories in the mail, they didn’t sting much when they come back. Its corollary is when one has gone without seeing or thinking about a story for weeks to months, an honest reading and rewrite is easy when it finally return. [This editing breaks one of the Roberts’ Rules of Writing, but I think fits within the developing yourself as a writer piece.]

The Second of Slater’s Laws of Submissions is more of a guideline or probability—Maybe Slater’s Rule of 12. Whenever I managed to have 12 stories submitted at one time, I would sell one by the time the other 11 came back. [Hhhmmm… 11.]

Over the next few years I sold several more stories, started many more and finished quite a few of them. Was I ready for prime time? No. Not by a far piece of hard road. I had racked up 300+ submissions, gained a pretty thick skin and hated it when people gave me critiques of, “this is good.” I wanted to get better.

My next near-big breakthrough happened the year I managed 101 submissions.


Coming next week: Part III–2003: Breakout year?

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

Hashtags, ALL IS SILENCE follow-up, NANOWRIMO…

Well folks,

We’re into November and NANOWRIMO: NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. If you know my propensity for DOuble TYping CApital LEtters, you understand part of the reason why I like this activity. The other reason I love it is because thanks to NANO I now know [hear that?] that I can make it as a writing pro. I sent my 2012 NANOnovel to the printer for Advanced Reader Copies to send to Reviewers, Booksellers and Librarians ONE YEAR after I wrote the first words. And I’m pretty damn proud of it. I feel like I’ve finally gotten through my million words of dreck and am now producing decent fiction.

I write a lot with music and over the last year have been meandering through Twitter and Google+ and the whole idea of hashtags has only recently gelled in my brain. So last week I created my first original hashtag: #NANOWplaying. So as you check me out in social media, you’ll probably get a sense of the noveling process through my listening pleasures.

#NANOWplaying: Bush – Glycerine.

STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS is over 10,000 words and plot points and scenes are now popping unbidden into my head. The first week was scary because I felt like I was floundering, but pushing forward, without overwhelming myself paid off yesterday with enough new ideas to stitch together the plot pieces I’d already figured out. Cool.

#NANOWplaying: Candlebox – Far Behind

Thanks to all of you writer/teachers out there who have inspired and impressed me with the virtue of tenacity and perseverance: Holly Lisle, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. And to the friends and folks in my life who have become fodder for the fiction. Thanks and apologies if you see yourself too much in a character. Believe me, it wasn’t you if you feel bad. 😉

Write on,

Rob

 

“Free” CreateSpace Proof read-through

Well, I have a proof that will turn into my 5 “FREE” copies of my November Novel.

My goal is to read through it, beginning to end. Making notes of “What I Got” Holly Lisle How To Revise Your Novel Style.

I’ll post a comment when I am through.