Tag Archives: Nanowrimo

SmorgasBlog – Free Fiction with Newsletter sign-up

Okay, ELEVEN short notes for NaNOvember…

  1. Free Fiction with Newsletter sign-up. Put your e-mail in the orange box to the left. I will send you a FREE e-book of Toils and Snares. If you’re already on my mailing list and haven’t read it, what are you waiting for?
  2. NewCoversBkI&IIHere’s the first view of the updated cover art with Book I and Book II! So cool.
  3. PLEASE, PLEASE leave me an honest Review if you have read any of my books. If you’ve decided not to leave a review because you thought the book was only okay, please say that. One of my best friends gave me Three Stars on Outward Bound and explained in Renewthe review why he thought it deserved them. A volume of reviews, especially some that tell people why they might not like it helps me reach those who will. I created this Review meme for those of you who have seen Logan’s Run [and actually remember it! ;-)]
  4. Join my ‘street team’ The Desert Club [Pronounced Dessert club so it’s a play on The Breakfast Club which Lizzie loves.] and help me promote my books to new readers.
  5. Elevensies Sale continues. ALL IS SILENCE is still on sale and Toils and Snares AND Straight Into Darkness will be on sale 11/22 until 11/30.
  6. On my personal blog I’ve started a series called Not to 50posts about approaching mid-life with humor and contemplation. This post is on losing things: hats, glasses, mind…
  7. As part of my ALL IS Science page, I wrote this guest post for my writer friends Richard Levesque on How the Power Stays On When The World Shuts Down.
  8. Pintado’s cover art for STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS won one of five gold stars out of 110 covers for the October. Now ALL IS SILENCE is up for another award at COVER WARS. You can vote everyday! Scroll to the bottom to vote.
  9. Appearances:
    • November 28th, 2015. 12-4 pm. Local Author SigningsBarnes and Noble, Bellingham, WA.
    • December 10, 2015. 5:00PM until 8:00PM. Holiday Book FestivalBellingham Cruise Terminal. 17 local authors. Signing, chatting and selling. I’ll have books, t-shirts & ebook download cards.
    • December 12, 2015: GIFTS FOR GEEKS II. 2:00pm – 9:00pm AFK Elixirs & Eatery. Signing, chatting and selling: books, t-shirts and ebook download cards.
  10. Visit to Juvie! I’ll be visiting the Whatcom County Juvenile Detention center to talk to the kids there and donate some books.
  11. In terms of writing NaNoWriMo is more like NaNOOOOwrimo for me. I don’t want to start No Man’s Land until I have the plot solid in my head. So I have about 3000 words of plot that I am counting, but very few actual words of noveling. I’m sort of thinking like Field of Dreams. If I build the plot, the words will come!

AIS Extras Part III: First Ending

Here it is. The ending I wrote for NANOWRIMO in November 2012, knowing it wasn’t good enough, that it was too easy and quick. SPOILER ALERT. This will ruin some surprises in ALL IS SILENCE if you read it before you read the whole book!

Remember, ALL IS SILENCE is ON SALE for the first time at $2.99 the entire month of November on all major sales sites in honor of NANOWRIMO.

Last NANOWRIMO chapter

“Okay, drive through cones.” Lizzie said. “Don’t go into towns. Jesus, people are going crazy. See you in a bit.”

They got back in the vehicles. Lizzie helped Spike back into the Expedition, “Thanks for protecting me, big man, but Duke’s okay.” Then she got back in the truck with Duke “You all right?”

“Nothing like getting dog-mauled by a big man.” Duke was checking his face in the rear view mirror. “Besides he owed me one for last time.”

Zach pulled out and Duke followed him. When they hit the freeway they headed south. Rachael and Saj were asleep in the back seat. “So, you want to tell me about C.J., Curtis.”

Lizzie shook her head. “Not really. But you deserve to know as much as you want. Fucking craziest part of it is, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be alive.”

“How do you figure?”

“He sold Zach and Nev and I peyote. Besides being young, I think we survived from some antibiotics in peyote.”

“You’re shittin’ me.”

“I looked it up. It was never really used much for modern medicines because it takes too long to grow.”

“That little shit. So, I guess I’m in that group, too. One time we got drunk and he convinced me to try it. He spent the whole next day keeping me safe. It was really bad trip. One of the things that kept me mostly straight. Figured I’d stick with the devil I knew—alcohol.”

“So, I almost hit him with the car. My first day driving by myself. He helped me back to the house with stuff for Saj, the baby. He was drinking, but everything was fine. I went to bed and woke up with him fondling me.” Her body shivered; she shook it off and continued. “I tried to get him to stop. Went to the bathroom. I had a shotgun in there that I almost used to kill myself. I warned him. Thought it would scare him away. But I think he knew I wouldn’t shoot him. And I wasn’t going to…” She stopped, the explosion, the sounds and the smells came spinning back. “Then he pulled the gun. I closed my eyes and must have pulled the trigger. I didn’t mean to kill him.”

“His last words were, ‘I wasn’t gonna hurt you. I just wanted you.’ And then he died. There was so much blood and shit. I’m sorry, Duke. I still see it in my dreams.”

“Stupid little shit. Always the little man trying to prove himself big.”

Lizzie remembered the words. ‘Not little Zach; It’s big Curtis.’ “It didn’t have to go down that way.”

“No, it didn’t. But he never, ever backed down. Usually just used a bigger stick. See this scar? Hit me in the head with a two by four. I’d licked him fair and square and he came back at me with that. 22 stitches.” Duke sighed. “Thanks for telling me. Probably shouldn’t have made you go through it again.”

“No. I needed to tell you. Especially after you saved my life.”

“It was the right thing to do.”

“Exactly. It was the right thing to do.”

Duke reached over and hit the stereo power button. “How about some music?” The opening bells of AC/DC’s Hell’s Bells echoed in the speakers. “Guess I better turn it down a bit.”

Lizzie laughed. It felt good. “Don’t want to wake the kids.”

An hour later they saw headlights in the distance coming toward them. The road sign said the next exit was Bountiful. Lizzie smiled. She was feeling pretty bountiful herself. “I’ve never seen my dad. Not since I remember. Mom kicked him out when I was three. I thought he was dead.”

“Wow. And then?”

“I found a phone number. In the box I went back when I saw you at the house. I dropped the box. Weird. If you hadn’t scared me, I might not have found it.”

“That is weird.”

“I hope he’s worth this fucking trip. Better not be the asshole he was.”

There was a giant Country Inn and Suites building right off the highway as the three vehicles pulled to a stop. Lizzie leaped uot of the truck and ran to the Forest Service Jeep. Jess jumped out and Lizzie felt her strong farmer girl arms wrapped around her. “God, Lizzie. It’s good to see you. Your dad’s still passed out. We ought to get him to a bed. Don’t think he’d had a drink in years.” She felt cold on her arms and saw the beginnings of snowflakes coming down.

“I want to see him.” Lizzie pulled open the back door.

A native American woman shrugged sheepishly. His head was in her lap. “Drank the last of my vodka.”

“Lizzie, meet BeeGee.”

“Hi, BeeGee.”

“Your dad’s a good man, Lizzie.”

“I hope so.”

“You want to switch places?”

“No. Let’s go check into the Inn. We can get him more comfortable there.”

In a matter of minutes, Jess had gotten them keys and rooms. The air was a bit stale, but there were no visible bodies.

Lizzie was in the room with her dad by herself. He was snoring softly. She thought he looked pretty good. His salt and pepper beard was trimmed, not bushy and his hair was shorter than all the pictures except the military ones.

There was a knock on the door. Jess pushed it open softly. “Can I come in for a few?”

“Yeah. Don’t know if I can stay awake long enough to be here when he comes out of it.”

“I’m pretty wired. I’ll try and spell you. If he looks like he’s gonna wake up and you’re asleep, I’ll wake you.”

“Thanks, Jess. BeeGee said he’s a good man. What do you think?” She knelt down by the bed. She straightened his collar.

“Not perfect, but I’d agree. You’re lucky.”

“For once, maybe. Thanks, Jess.” Lizzy climbed into the other bed clothes and all. “Don’t know if I’m gonna sleep either. But I think I’ll try.” She yawned from the suggestion of sleep. She closed her eyes and wished she could hear mama’s voice, but tomorrow she could hear her dad’s and not over a phone.

 Lcallig25

She woke to daylight streaming in the windows. There was a cup of coffee on the bed-stand and someone was in the bathroom humming. “Jess?”

Jess poked her head out. “How you doin’ sleepy head. Tried to talk to you last night, but you were out like a light.”

“Thanks for the coffee.”

“Zach doctored it. Said he’d come back with some for your dad. Black with sugar. Just like yours. We probably should change his bandage and he’s gonna need another shot. You ever do any of that?”

“Nope. But Zach might have. Took care of his grandpa.”

“Funny. I remember Zach being an annoying kid, always playing drums on everything with anything. Just his hands if he didn’t have a pencil.”

“Yeah. You haven’t seen him in years. It’s only been a year or so for me and he’d sprouted up and out.”

“I’m going to go check on the coffee.”

Jess left before Lizz could call her back. “Well, dad. I guess now is the time.” She sat down on the edge of the bed and ran her fingers across his forehead. Tears welled up in her eyes. “I missed you. I always missed you.” His eyes flickered under the lids. Then the opened slowly. He stared at her but did not seem to see here. Then his eyes focused. “Jennifer? I thought.” His faced knotted in confusion. “Where am I?”

He thinks I’m my mom. “Daddy. It’s Elizabeth.” She saw realization in his eyes. She put her head on his chest and listened to his strong heartbeat. His arms wrapped around her. They were warm and strong.

“Oh, God. I thought you were dead.” He placed his hands gently on her head and pulled her up so he could see her face. “Tell me I’m not dreaming.”

“You’re not dreaming, Daddy. We’re in Bountiful, Utah. In between Ogden and Salt Lake.” She watched the tears roll unnoticed down his ruddy cheeks and into his beard. “It’s not home, but it might as well be.”

She lay her head back down and she felt his left hand rubbing her head.

“Hush little baby, don’t say a word, daddy’s gone by you mockingbird.”

She hugged him as tight as she could and let her tears fall into the tired cloth of his ranger’s shirt.

The End For Now…

 

AIS Extras Part II: NaNOriginal Dream Sequence…

Yes. Dream Sequence… Gonna have to save my dream sequences for the fantasy series. Thanks, Amanda. Good call.

Remember, ALL IS SILENCE is ON SALE for the first time at $2.99 the entire month of November on all major sales sites in honor of NANOWRIMO.

Original Opening Scene of ALL IS SILENCE as written during NaNoWriMo 2012. Working titles were:

ZOMBIE ZOO
followed by
AND EVERYTHING AFTER…
then
ALL IS SILENCE IN THE WORLD
and finally
ALL IS SILENCE

Chapter One

No good sleeping in when her little brother, mom and mom’s live in boy-friend, man-friend, were making so much noise. She pulled a black hoodie and jeans over her t-shirt and underwear, ran her fingers through her short hair. The Boris Karloff buzz-cut had grown out to a boyish length and she wasn’t taking so much crap about it anymore. She had stuff to do. The flood was coming and they needed to move the house.

        She didn’t know how she knew it was so important, but the urgency was undeniable. She grabbed the combat boots and pulled them on over heavy socks–too much dirty work for the Docs. Lizzie’s little brother, Jason was giggling along with her mom’s chuckle. She’d never been into Saturday morning cartoons—too silly and obnoxious. She slammed the door and headed down the long hallway.

        “Thanks for letting me sleep in,” she said to the room.

        Her mom shot her an odd glance from near the stove. ““It’s almost dinner-time, lazybones.”

        Jerkwad, mom’s boyfriend laughed loudly. “When you turn eighteen-”

        “You’re not my dad,” she cut off the response she wanted to say aloud.

        “What’re you gonna be when you grow up, sissy?” Jason asked.

        Lizzie glanced at the clock—6:18. But the light was wrong. “We’ve got to get the house moved. The floods are coming.” The rain pounded on the window.

        All three of them stared at her.

        Jerkwad spoke. “What the Hell are you babbling about?””

        “The water’s rising. The rain. The news said-”

        “You ain’t watched the news, Lazy.” Jerkwad shook his head, grinning. “You’ve been asleep all day.”

        ““Mom?” Lizzie begged. “Make him shut up.”

        ““He’s right, Liz. What’re you talking about?”

        Jason chimed in, “You goin’ Crazy Lazy on us again?”

        “I hate you all! I hope you all die in the flood. I’m moving the house.” She grabbed a Coke out of the fridge and raincoat off the peg. “I’m moving the house.” She slammed the door. Its aluminum weight did not give her the satisfaction she wanted. When had the heavy wood door gotten replaced?

        The rain pelted her as she pulled on the hoodie and jacket. She turned to the house and found the old single-wide trailer she’d lived in as a kid. Weird. Where was the house? This would be easier to move. She grabbed Jerkwad’s work gloves that never got used and headed around to the front. She started tearing the lower panels away to get to the wheels she knew were under there. Inside she could hear them laughing and joking. Lazy Lizzie was turning into Crazy Lizzie again. She shoved in her earbuds and hit shuffle on her phone. Something metallic and grinding from the 80s soothed her anger. Good working music. With a vengeance, Lizzie tore away more aluminum panels, sending them flying as they broke free.

        The sound of a phone cut through as the song ended. Isn’t someone going to answer it? They call me lazy!? She sent the last panel flying across the yard. How had she done that so fast? The phone still rang. She shook her head in disgust and pulled open the back door to the little kitchen. The house was cold and empty. She slammed the door. The solid wood reverberated. What the Hell was going on? The ringing continued, but Lizzie couldn’t find the phone. It wasn’t on the wall. “Where’d you guys go?” she hollered. The phone stopped. Mom had been cooking. In the new house. Then it was the single-wide. Now she was back in the house, but it was empty. Am I going crazy?

A new screeching sound replaced the phone. Jason’s stupid freaking bird screaming alarm clock. Damn thing could wake the dead. I must be dreaming. It is morning. The dream spun downward as Lizzie’s body sank into the bed. She sighed. For a minute she’d wondered if they were right and the Crazy Lizzie had returned.

Come check out what it later became here. Or buy a copy here for only $2.99 the whole month of November 2015!

 

 

AIS Extras Part I: Lizzie’s Debut

Over the next couple months, I’m going to share some of the false starts and cut endings of my first novel, ALL IS SILENCE. Here are the first words as I wrote them long hand, long before I got serious about writing the novel. Maybe an R rating for language.

Remember, as part of the THIS SALE GOES TO ELEVENSIES, the ALL IS SILENCE ebook is priced for the first time at $2.99 the entire month of November on all major sales sites. Also in honor of NANOWRIMO, TOILS AND SNARES is also on sale for $0.99 until November 7th. 

Original Scene written in summer of 2011 perhaps, at least a year before NaNoWriMo 2012

Working Title: Zombie Zoo

Lizzy stared across the shotgun in her lap at the body on the floor. Damn fool hadn’t absorbed all the pellets. Half of the canned goods in the pantry had small holes still leaking liquids. F***ing a**hole. Not like there weren’t more canned goods than any of the survivors could ever eat in their lifetimes or before the cans rusted away or the food went bad. Besides she’d always hated her step-dad’s choices in food: Garbanzos, Mixed veggies. Creamed corn. Pickled beets.

But did she want to stay in the house now? No way in hell she was going to bury it. It. Not human. Humans didn’t act like that to other humans. Even under these conditions. She drug the body out the front door, wryly observing that her visitor had ruined mom’s crème-colored carpet. NO way those stains would ever come out. She let his body roll down the stairs, “Fair Warning.” She hoped the others were close enough to see the results.

She dead-bolted the door. Plenty of windows if someone really had a death wish and she’d hear them. She strode through the house checking all the windows and doors. She knew how hard this house was to break into, she’d been locked out of it enough. He step-dad had always threatened that she would get kicked out the day she turned 18. Well, I’m leaving a little early, dickhead. I won’t be 18 for three more months. Hell, I might not make it to 18.

She finished her inspection at the upstairs shower. Thank god the electricity and water hadn’t failed. How long would that take? She closed and latched the door then shoved the window to make sure it was locked. She set the shotgun upright on the toilet tank. Within easy reach. She longed for the time a few days ago when she thought she was the last person alive in a hundred miles. That illusion had been shattered rather unpleasantly.

Her black knit dress was stained with blood and the other bodily fluids. She’d have to get more clothes. She’d want more skirts like it, calf length and dark. Let you pee without getting tangled up. In case you were surprised. She’d been wearing her mary janes but her combat boots were coming out of the closet or out from under the pile of dirty clothes on her floor. Second hand at Sally Ann’s, they were actual combat boots, not some Hot Topic knock-off.

She stripped off her t-shirt happy to find no blood or bodily fluids. It had a graphic that looked like kanji but read “F*** You,” if you rotated it sideways. Mom had never let her out of the house with it on.

She jerked the water knob and twisted it all the way to hot. She grabbed the shotgun and sat down to pee. For the umpteenth time she checked that the magazine was full and that one shell waited in the chamber. Maybe her OCD would come in handy in this brave new world. She didn’t bother to wipe, reset the gun on the toilet and climbed into the steaming hot shower. She wanted to sear off the top layer of her flesh. The regular cuts on her arms had healed to angry white lines, though a few still stood out red from the last time she’d used her knife. So long ago. A thought flashed through Lizy’s head, but she shoved it aside. How easy would it be just to go to sleep? Mom had enough sleeping pills in her cabinet, but no, the last experience had led inevitably to this moment. But maybe she’d take the bottle with her.

The water poured down drenching her hair, dead and faded from too many bleachings and colorings. The water was hot, but not too hot. The Dickhead wanted to save electricity so the hot water was set to 110 degrees.

As she soaped herself she dispassionately looked at her own body. She’d always been a bit on the soft side, but two weeks of being sick, plus the aftermath had given her muscles a tightness and tone they’d always lacked. If Chad could see her now would he even recognize her? Her hair had grown out enough that she’d seen dark roots at the scalp and he’d never seen her with hair more than about an inch long. It was long enough now to lay down. Rinsing the soap off she felt the stubble in her armpits and on her legs. F*** it. She’d always thought shaving was stupid.

Under the hot faucet she let it flow over her face, rinsing her mouth, letting the water in and out. She scrubbed at herself. Suddenly tears flowed. Where the hell was Zach? How come he hadn’t been around when the a**hole and his gang had showed up? He’d promised to be back. Like he’d ever been on time.

For the all times she’d wished everything and everyone would go away, now she wished she wasn’t alone. She sank down into the water, tears washed away by the deluge. With hair in her eyes and shaking with sobs, she wrapped her arms around her legs and gave in. She’d never cried before. Not like this. Not since she was a little kid. Never let anyone in. No weakness. Weakness got you pushed around. Like her mom. Always needed a man. What kind of man was never as important as the fact that he had testosterone and a penis. Her body wracked with all the pain she’d never shared. And the only people she really cared about: Mom and Billy. Gone.

When the water changed from warm to lukewarm to cold in a matter of seconds she broke out of it. She gritted her teeth, slammed the knob in, shook her hair and scraped the drops of water from her body. Her legs complained as she stood and her fingers had gone all wrinkly. She grabbed the fluffy towel with “For Guests” emblazoned on it. The ‘good’ towels her mom always said. Like they’d ever had any f***ing guests since Auntie died.

The crying had done her good. She felt wrung out, but clean inside and out. When she stepped out of the tub a wave of dizziness swept over her she realized how hungry she was. She wrapped the fuzzy towel around herself and pulled the T-shirt over her damp hair. Funny how free she felt. She glanced at her face in the mirror amazed that her face did not look more like she’d been crying. She smirked at herself. Not bad for a vigilante killer. She snagged the shotgun off the toilet as she headed downstairs.

20 minutes later one of the last pizzas from their store run was sitting half eaten on the table. She’d never eaten like that. A half-finished beer sat next to the pizza. Lizy belched. Tasted as bad the second time. D***head certainly had no taste.

And some notes: Rescuing cats and dogs, filching small items as she goes. Guilty. Too much time as a klepto-5 finger discount. My little pretties… Cigarettes? Cell phone stuff? Need a cell phone for each service. At what point would the systems shut down?

Do people who survive without immunity lose some elements of humanity? Are there wild ones? Rabid humans? Zombies, but not traditional zombies. Angry, bitter beings who resent those who did not get their humanity stripped away? Feral ones… Children, adults, teenagers, teen boys would be really dangerous because of strength, stamina, etc. 

Current Author’s Note: Writing’s a bit rough, but the essence of Lizzie is there. And the focus on peeing, my editor came to notice. It was there long before NANOWRIMO.

This Sale Goes to Elevensies…

BREAKING NEWS. ACT NOW AND GET BOTH DESERTED LANDS NOVELS FOR $5.98 on KOBO

U. S./Australia/New Zealand. Oct 27th–30th. Promo Code: GET50SALE

Canada. October 28th–31st. Promo Code: CA50SALE

United Kingdom. Oct 30th – Nov 2nd. Promo Code: UK50SALE.

What I really wanted to announce is my biggest promotion to date.

ELEVENSIES SALE – In honor of NANOWRIMO and the anniversary of the beginning of the Deserted Lands series in November 2012, I am having a sale on all of my currently available works of fiction. In the 11 days around 11/11 readers can get every one of my e-book works for under $11 on Amazon Kindle. Or both DESERTED LANDS novels on e-book for under $11 from Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Smashwords. Or you can get either print novel signed and shipped for $11 each.  That’s $22 for 2!

 

“What about Elevensies?”

ELEVENSIES SCHEDULE:

ALL IS SILENCE – Deserted Lands Book I. $2.99. Reg. $4.99. November 1-30Kindle. Kobo. Nook. Smashwords. Print $11.00 [including shipping and handling – regular price $15.]

STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS – Deserted Lands Book II. $6.99. November 1-30Kindle. Kobo. Nook. Smashwords. Print $11.00 [including shipping and handling – regular price $16.]

TOILS AND SNARES – A short novel of the Deserted Lands. $0.99 Reg. $3.99. October 31 to November 7. Kindle.

One Tin SoldierFREE. Reg. $0.99. October 28-29, November9-11. Kindle.

Just DesertFREE. Reg. $0.99. October 29-31, November 8-9Kindle.

Outward BoundFREE. Reg. $0.99. November 12-16Kindle.

I have only THREE copies left of the original pressing of my debut Singer/Songwriter CD – Some of the Parts.  I have several copies of the family poetry book, Blue Deer, that my mom released. I also have quite a few ALL IS SILENCE T-SHIRTS. Only in November you can get any two of the three: CD/Poetry Book/T-Shirt for only $11.

And the last ELEVENSIES deal. All Four of my ebooks as signed download Signed Download cardscards, available for all major ebook platforms. Also, only $11.00 including shipping. Regular price $23.96 See more info on download cards here.

Depending on how November goes, I might also release a new story, but it won’t be until later in the month. And finally, something to keep you smiling even if you don’t take advantage of the sale! 😉

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

Updates, Requests, and Beta Reads

UPDATES: Almost mid-November. Writing-wise, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. I’ll start with the Bad, which isn’t really very bad.

Bad news?

  1. NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month] counts are down. Not likely to hit 50,000 words in November.
  2. All Is Silence was requested for consideration by the Phillip K. Dick award administrator, Gordon Van Gelder. Alas, since I released a hardcover version, it does not qualify. Sigh. Nice to be asked.
  3. No review from Publishers Weekly. Bummer.
  4. Pubslush campaign has been pledged $252! [Need $500+ to fund it.]

Good NewsSqueeGaiman

  1. See Bad News #2!
  2. Broke 50,000 reads of All Is Silence on WattPad.
  3. Got a Tweet response from Neil Gaiman himself.
  4. Invited to be a panelist at RadCon 6C over my birthday weekend in 2015.
  5. Invited to do Indies First local bookstore promotion with Village Books on November 29th.
  6. Finished rough draft of the parallelequel novella, Toils and Snares.  [Click to read a scene or two.]
  7. Finishing rough draft of All Is Silence sequel, Straight Into Darkness. [Click to read a sample or two.]
  8. Pubslush campaign has been pledged $252! [We’ve got 18 days left.]

REQUESTS: Please, help. If you can share or spare a pledge for the Pubslush campaign, please do. Or just become a fan.

toils&snares3BETA READERS: Toils and Snares, the parallelequel novella to All Is Silence is ready for Beta Readers as soon as I finish formatting and setting up ebook formats. If you would like to read something set in the Deserted Lands universe and not wait until April… drop me a line. Anyone who responds will get the opportunity to read it early and help my find those dreaded typos and other issues.

Thanks for your support. Gonna go write on before exhaustion hits.

ALL NANO’s EVE

ALLisSILENCEpumpkinHappy Howl-a-ween to those of you who celebrate such things. I’ll post costume pics later.

Two years ago on this night I embarked on a fantastic journey. I planned to write 60,000 words of a novel, tentatively title Zombie Zoo, during the month of November and “WIN” NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month]. It was my third attempt at a decent novel and I had this killer idea. What if an at-risk teen girl, one who might have said, “I hope you all die,” to her family, where to be one of the few survivors of a massive pandemic? I had the idea as early as 2009, I think, so it had been rattling around for a while. I had a list of 42 odd scenes and figured if I could write 30 of them at about 2000 words a scene I would have most of a book. And that’s pretty much what happened.

I hadn’t figured out the ending. So that took three attempts and another six months of stumbling in the dark to get right, but I knew at the end of November I had a winner. I ‘planned’ to publish it the following August [Oh, how brash are the ignorant.]. It didn’t make it out until January of 2014 and has undergone a significant round of editing since then. It has done quite well for a debut self-published novel: a couple awards, a decent amount of sales and average reviews of 4 out of 5 stars.

SiD pubslush koboOne year ago I started writing the sequel, STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS, and things did not go quite as well. I managed 35,000 words, but couldn’t seem to find my footing. So at the end of November I felt like I had about 20 great scenes that didn’t really hold together as a book. I continued working on it, adding another 25,000+ words, even as I marketed and published ALL IS SILENCE. In the last year I have also written 28,000+ words on a 25,000 word novella, a parallelequel to ALL IS SILENCE, called Toils and Snares. I still need a few scenes to call it a draft.

So, National Novel Writing Month this November I will be aiming to write 60,000+ words in the Deserted Lands Universe. See you in December. If you want to help motivate me, please consider becoming a fan of my Pubslush Crowdfunding Campaign for STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS.

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,

Rob

Slater is Streaking in Seattle (and Salt Lake City).

Sick of Seattle by the Smithereens. Sleepless in Seattle. Stuck In Seattle with Slater’s Airport blues. And now, streaking in Seattle. Basically, alliterating all over.

So, after screwing up parking and missing my flight, I logged onto the SeaTac Airport wifi and discovered that I’ve sold a book a day on Amazon for three days, a book a week through Neilsen Bookscan for three weeks [Brick and mortar bookstores that report sales] and I’ve written at least 500 words of fiction a day for nine days. I wrote 800 on the flight to Vegas. So, that’s what I mean by streaking.

Looking back from the Salt Lake City airport 9 days later. I got good news in Vegas. My three days in a row, became 4 in one day. Then a day of no sales. And another and another. 3 days. No sales. Not the streak I want. Then 2 and 1, 2 and 1… Hhmmm, another streak except this time with alternating single sales and double sales? Or a steady rise? Either would be great.

The difference between all these streaks? I can only control one of them—writing 500 words or more each day. I figure if I can run a streak while traveling and get 500 words a day in short bits and pieces I can hit my annual writing goal which is 182,500 words for 2014, which is equal to 500 words a day for 365 days. At the moment I am way behind, but this streak gave me a big month so far. 13,000+ words bringing my fiction total for the year to 22,000+ words. If I average only 870 words a day for the rest of the year I will still hit the 182,500. My streak of 500 words a day stopped at 11 days, when I only wrote 258 after a big travel/ALA day. Those 258 words I was not even happy with. They may eventually get cut, but my aim was to move the plot forward by the next definitive action and hit 500 words. I did half of it. So, I decided that the important component is writing everyday and wrote those 258 words after everyone else had gone to bed. The writing everyday streak is now at 15 21 and the 500+ words/day streak is now at 3 8. Even with the short day, I have averaged 676 words a day for the everyday streak.

In November of 2012 when I was writing All Is Silence for NANOWRIMO, the third novel I’ve written and the first published, I wrote over 58,000 words in November, Nearly 2000 words a day. In November 2013 I managed 1000+ words a day for NANOWRIMO. Since releasing All Is Silence, my word counts have been abysmal. No words of fiction in February. And minimal words in Jan/Mar/Apr. In May, I realized I had written more words of non-fiction: blog posts, guest posts, and marketing materials than fiction—10,000+ compared to 9,000.

How did I turn things around? Two tools. The tools I used? Scrivener and Google calendar. I’ve started scheduling writing time to hold myself accountable. If it’s on the calendar, I’ll be able to tell people, “No, I have an appointment.” Yes, the appointment is my butt in a seat and my hands on the keyboard, but it is more than a hobby. If I don’t schedule it, it is even less likely to happen.

The second tool is the writer’s software Scrivener. Scrivener’s Project Goals lets me set a word count goal and then as I type a bar of color moves across the box. It starts out red and gradually turns to orange to yellow and finally to green as I reach my goal. In addition, I have been keeping two Scrivener projects open and each day I have been setting goals in both. Usually 500 words per project, or 250 words if I don’t have scheduled writing time and the day is likely to be chaotic. I’ve proven to myself that I can write 1000 words per hour IF I know what happens next in the story. My goal for July and August is at least 1000 words a day. I will write for four hours each workday morning Monday-Thursday in the summer] or until I hit 2000 words, whichever comes first. On the non-work days, I’m planning on at least an hour each morning.