Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Crunch Time

I’m coming up for a bit of air before plunging back into Rise of the Seer. It turns out writing the second book in the series is, let’s say, difficult. There is an overall plot to move forward and keep that is the basis for the whole series. That part isn’t really the challenge. I could sit down with you right now and tell you how everything ends and if anyone gets a happily ever after. It’s the subplots that are most likely turning my hair grey, or silver actually. (I’m beginning to sparkle.) Imagine dumping a jar of marbles on the floor and trying to find two or three of one color. Did I mention the floor is on an incline and now the marbles are rolling away from you? Oh, and then a Subplot Gremlin also came behind you and dumped a jar of Gobstoppers into the mix just to make it seem like more of a party. Fun for everyone!

The elusive Subplot Gremlin in his natural habitat. Or it could be a pterodactyl... 

 I’m still hacking my way through this world and story. There have been some developments I wasn’t expecting, and a few that I had to remove because they just didn’t fit with the overall flow of the story. It really does take on a life of its own once it finally gets going. I don’t really know how other people write, but I don’t do things sequentially. When an idea for a scene pops into my head, I’ll go write it and stick in the general area for where I think it belongs. I’ll fill in the space around them until, eventually, it all turns into one linear journey. That’s what I’m currently working on. The scenes are in place, I just need to go through and add more marbles. Or Gobstoppers. They’re all looking the same at this point.

I found this photo here: 
I'm down to 15 days, fellow readers! I'm trying to have the first draft of Rise of the Seer finished by midnight on the 31st...during the Christmas season...when my house will be full of people...with my husband in his critical season at work...and Subplot Gremlins on the loose. What's life without a little adventure?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Good Luck!

The Anniversary Giveaway has officially started! Enter to win, tell a friend, and snuggle up with a good book.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Time Is Nigh

In just over three weeks I will be celebrating a joyful occasion. I’ll raise a cupcake (most likely chocolate covered cherry) to Ransom of the Healer and the journey it has taken me on during the past year. I think Ransom will always be special to me because I honestly didn’t know it was going to be a book. It reminded me that I love writing, and most of the book was just me having a good time telling a story to myself. It was only after I was 3/4ths of the way through it that I considered the possibility of turning it into a book for other people to read. That was probably the single most terrifying decision I’ve made to date, followed closely by singing songs that I’ve written in front of other people. Art can be personal business.

I was thinking about the best way to celebrate something that simultaneously makes me happy and sweaty palmed. A month long party seemed like the way to go, so I will be hosting an Anniversary Giveaway during the month of November. The prizes range from gift cards to a signed copy of the book. If I could spice it up and give away a gold plated version, I would, but alas, the life of an independent artist is not always a decadent one. My September royalties came to a whopping 15 cents, and I had to spend that as soon as it came in because it was burning a tiny hole in my pocket. Best 15 cents I’ve ever spent.

My hope is that Ransom will continue to fall into the hands of people who will enjoy the story, and that those people would tell someone else who might like it as well. Grassroots. I promise now that if we end up somehow getting The Ransom Series to a bestselling list, I’ll make the subsequent Anniversary Giveaway exponentially more exciting. I don’t know how yet, but I have a feeling it will involve confetti and something a little flashier than a cup of coffee.  The possibilities are endless.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Officially Official

It’s been a fun week for the Ransom Series. I had my rough draft of Rise of the Seer printed and have been making my way through it the last few days. I’m going to say my first draft (of MANY) is 75% complete. The fact that it’s finally starting to resemble something close to a book is very encouraging. It’s so easy to get lost in computer screens and digital documents. I need something I can curl up with and highlight while I sip some tea.

I also received my business cards this week. I’m a little bit giddy about them. 

Now I need to figure out a way to force my introverted self to put them out there. I foresee several anonymous pins to random bulletin boards. The thought of more than that gives me a serious case of a condition that I refer to as “the social sweats.” Distribution ideas are welcome and encouraged! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Scenes and Ramblings at 3AM

I’m going to let you in on a secret. My mind is a very busy place. That can be a good thing when you’re trying to make a career (hopefully…eventually) out of writing. It can be a challenging thing when you’re trying to relax, say, during a massage. It’s even worse when it’s three in the morning and your brain is firing at warp speed on overdrive.

What kept me awake this morning: If we say someone is under the weather, why don’t we ever say someone is over it when they’re feeling better? It could be so much more pleasant instead of the standard fine.

How are you today?

See, that’s not helping anybody. What if the standard became something like this:

How are you today?
I’m over the weather! And you?

I personally think the second conversation is not only nicer, but far more engaging. 3 AM, people. That’s what you get.

I also sketched out a scene for Rise of the Seer and spent the next hour running over dialogue between Nathan and Ian. It popped up out of nowhere. I had just finished the above conversation with myself when Nathan and Ian were suddenly in the middle of his kitchen going through cabinets. Things happen like that sometimes.

The ramblings during the night made me think of my other, numerous, ramblings from other times in my life. I’m going to let you in on a little snippet I recorded back in 2008 while waiting for my husband during his surgery. Why? Because I’m exhausted and I made myself a schedule. Wednesdays are for blogging. My mind is cluttered, so why not let everyone experience what goes on up there?


      There is a horrible beeping sound. One continuous beep when they open one particular door. Eerily resembles the flat -line sound. Perhaps they should rethink that, seeing as to how everyone in this room might be particularly sensitive to such a sound at the moment.

If I write, it doesn’t look like I’m listening to your conversation. But I am.

Waiting rooms are notorious for subjecting captive waiters to daytime TV and talk shows. I don’t think they really have good ratings. It’s all faulty information. I think it’s based entirely on a captive audience. Soaps get waiting room ratings. That doesn’t seem fair.

Big hair. Seriously, at some point isn’t a friend or loved one obligated to intervene? Say, “Enough’s enough!” and quietly and slowly approach them with a bucket of water, scissors, and a rabbit’s foot?

Beginning to think my mind is a scary, odd place. What really goes on in there?

And now, just to keep up with the random ramblings, here's a picture of the happiest protein bar I've ever seen in my life. Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Grassroots and Venus Flytraps

I wanted everyone to know that I am feeling significantly better after last week’s episode of spontaneous combustion. I’ve recovered nicely, and the extra fingers I was fortunate to grow have indeed increased my WPM. This is quite useful as an author.

One of the bits about being an author that isn’t all glamour and signing books with flourish, is having to put your book out there and cultivate an online presence. I’m an introvert by nature and all things social make my third thumb twitch. I’ve devised a plan of attack and thought I would put it out there so you can follow along with, or avoid, my calculated attempt to venture out from my introverted bubble. I’ll be posting on Facebook. *Deep breaths here.*

Monday: I’ll be featuring some favorite quotes. Feel free to share your own!

Tuesday: Pun day for life.

Wednesday: Blog post!

Thursday: Progress report for Rise of the Seer. It keeps me accountable…which is a good thing because I’m sitting alone in an office with a myriad of distractions around me.

Friday: Weekly reader. I always have a book going. Writers have to read. I also want to hear what you’re reading. Bookworms need to unite. Proudly. There are some frightening statistics out there about U.S. citizens and reading. Let’s encourage literacy. It’s good for all of us.

So where does the “grassroots” reference come in? Ah, that is for you, my fellow reader. Please feel free to interact and share links. It would be so fun to build a small community of fellow bookworms.  We are mighty! Like the mighty Venus Flytrap! (Because I don’t have a pet lion to photograph, but I did have a picture of my plant.)

Your voice and assistance are key to helping The Ransom Series find its audience. I promise to write and fill in the story, but I need help letting others know about it. (Introvert, remember?) Thank you, again, for the encouragement from so many of you. Really. It means the world to an independent artist trying to share something I’ve enjoyed creating. I can’t promise that I won’t spontaneously combust again, but at least we know they can always put me back together.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Indie Author Spontaneously Combusts

First time author, A.C. Autry, spontaneously combusted in her home office on September 2, 2014. As with most cases of spontaneous combustion, the only remains found of Autry were one small globule on her office chair strategically placed beside a copy of her novel. Authorities are investigating the incident and remain optimistic that they will be able to solve the current mystery.

“It’s really not all that uncommon in these young and independent artists. All it really takes is for someone to acknowledge their work, or worse yet, compliment it, and up they go in a glob of smoke,” said Detective Ezekiel Brindle, of the local law enforcement. “We’re now just working backwards, trying to find the key to the puzzle that instigated the unfortunate event.”

Autry is relatively new to the literary scene, having published her debut novel, Ransom of the Healer, in November of 2013. It is said to be book one of The Ransom Series. Whether or not the series will reach a conclusion remains to be seen. The second book in the series, Rise of the Seer, was found on Autry’s laptop in a state of disarray and somehow correlated to a series of multicolored sticky notes. Local authorities are still trying to decipher her system of writing, but have been unable to do so thus far. “She’s just got boards with names and titles all over the room. Here and there you find a notebook or scrap of paper with a scene written on it. I’m not sure how anyone could ever piece this thing together,” Brindle offered.

Autry wrote supernatural fiction and had created a world where people possess extraordinary talents and abilities. Perhaps she simply drew closer to the world she created than one can safely attempt. Not all hope is lost, however, as local pathologist, Zoe Blithe, informed the minuscule group of mourners gathered outside a small bookstore in Autry’s hometown. Unfortunately, the owner of the shop had never heard of Autry and chased the group from the premises with several large leather-bound copies of traditionally published works. “They’re doing remarkable things with globule research these days,” Blithe told the group as they nursed paper cuts as well as broken hearts. “The essence of A.C. is still very much contained within the globule. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they had already grown a new A.C. Autry by sometime next month.”

It’s said all 14 people who have read Ransom of the Healer have taken a collection to raise the necessary funds to unglobulate their beloved author. Inquiries for donations can be sent via message to Autry’s Facebook page. Brindle cautioned well-wishers from leaving too many positive posts on the page. “We found a mention to her being involved in a book club. That might be the key component for the combustion. If she does recover from this, too many kind comments might just make it occur again. We don’t want to see that happen.” 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I'm a Tortoise

It takes a long time to write a book. Unless you happen to be one of those rare and gifted types who can sit down at your screen and hammer out a novella over the weekend, it’s going to be a process that takes up a good portion of your time and attention.  If you’re like me, you are constantly mulling over ideas and stories. In the pick-up lane at school…in the produce section of the market…while doing dishes…while watching people awkwardly engage in small talk in social situations…the mulling never ceases.  The actual writing though, that takes self-discipline and the ability to stay in your current story despite what’s actually happening in your real life.

It took years for me to finish writing Ransom of the Healer. I’m now what I consider to be half-way finished with the next book in the series, Rise of the Seer. I actually started writing scenes for Rise while I was finishing up the first book. Once again I’m trying to keep embers stirring in a story that is now over a year old. When I think about the places I have been in my own life this past year, I can justify how slowly the story sometimes seems to emerge. I’ve lost people. I’ve grieved. And I’m pretty sure that there are going to be places in this next book where I look back and see a reminder of the journey. If I’m going to have to go through grief, I’m at least going to find something productive and beneficial about it. The beautiful thing about being the creator of this world is that I get to choose the people I add to the story. It’s therapeutic to put a character in my story, if only for a couple of paragraphs, who will live on in print for as long as the book survives.

In case you are one of my treasured few who are eagerly awaiting Rise of the Seer, just know that I’m not going to disappoint us. I’m mulling and that inevitably leads to writing. Once that happens dishes pile up, laundry goes untouched, and ideas explode onto the pages of our next adventure.
I woke up to find this little note waiting for me on the coffee maker...



Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekend Winners

Congratulations to Velma and Daniel for winning the Weekend Giveaway!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Weekend Giveway

The giveaway has started! Enter for your chance to win one of three signed copies of Ransom of the Healer!
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You can leave a comment here telling me what you're currently reading. This gives you an extra entry through the giveaway.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another Chance

I have the warmest writing team around. They are always there to listen as I think through plots and map out the direction of the story. They never disagree with me, and keep my feet nice and toasty as we sit together at my desk while we work. If I don't give them more credit in my next novel, Rise of the Seer, they have threatened to walk out on me. I call them on that bluff because they always come back as long as the food bowl is full. Zeke, Zoe, and I are friends for life.
The three of us are excited to offer you another chance to win one of three signed copies of Ransom of the Healer this weekend. I'll be hosting a giveaway that begins tomorrow and runs through the weekend. As Suzanne Collins has famously said, "May the odds be ever in your favor!"

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Tell-Tale Attic

There is something living in my attic. I’ve not personally met the squatter, but we’ve communicated through bumps, flutters, and (in my case) shrieks. The tale of the attic begins as a frustrating one. When our house was built seven years ago the team installing the AC/heating unit did a *less than stellar* job. The result is heat suddenly turning on in the middle of the night during the summer and heat refusing to stay on during the winter. We’ve had it looked at, but that’s another story altogether involving beards, wiring, and throwing coins into wishing wells. All of these things lead to having to go up into the attic to flip the switch in order for the heat to come back on.
Attics just teem with ideas of creatures lurking in the corners or other unwanted beings wandering around up there in the dead of night. They hold their own mystery and intrigue. When you couple those traditional, and completely warranted, ideals with a writer, you get a significantly more dramatic version. Logically I’m aware of the fact that Sasquatch doesn't live in my area. (The Chupacabra, on the other hand, are still out there.) Logically I know that the space is so small I would see if someone, say a wandering traveler with malice in his (or her) crazy, messed up heart, decided to camp out up there. They would fall through the ceiling…logically.  The thing about logic is that it tends to falter in the dark, or during extended times of solitude. What might be a trapped bird fluttering around up there while the family gathers around the fireplace with great American novels in their hands, becomes a demon spawn of the underworld as I sit down, alone, to write the next great American novel. Don’t even get me started on what it turns into during the night.

I’ll leave you with this final thought: someday, it’s going to happen. I’m going to pull those stairs down, make my way up there, and something is going to happen. I have a hundred ideas spinning around in my mind as to what it’s going to be, but until it happens, those stories will live and grow until I’m forced to put them into my computer where they will turn into an adventure for some unsuspecting character. I guess what it all comes down to is that every writer needs an attic.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Starting Somewhere

May 2010. That’s when this journey officially started. That’s the day I sat in my favorite reading chair with a spiral notebook and began to scratch out the rough idea of a story. I’d had a dream with an interesting scene and I needed to know what happened after waking. That was the beginning of my story.
I wrote during the preciously few moments of quiet in a house that’s full of life. I wrote before heading off to a job I was fortunate to have at a time when it was crucially needed. I wrote on the front porch when I needed to find solace in a busy routine that could steal my identity if I lingered there too long without a break.

 Interesting things started to happen when I forced myself to step away and work on something I enjoyed. I remembered that I had always loved writing and couldn’t figure out why I had walked away from it. Sure, I did a little journaling, but that’s different from sitting down to see how a story unfolds. I began to look forward to putting my words on a page to see how everything would come together. I began to enjoy the world I was creating. I began to feel balanced and active. It didn’t matter how many times I refilled a cup, or fed the dogs, or wandered through a week of a job that I wasn’t crazy about, or packed lunches, or a million other things that kept me busy. Knowing I could sit down and write helped to keep other things in perspective.
I hope that you, fellow reader, have something in your life that brings you a sense of satisfaction. What does that look like for you?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Will Write For Sequel

I confess, December swallowed me whole. It chewed me up and spat me out. I now find myself in January with nary a new paragraph in the sequel to Ransom of the Healer. I did hammer out 1,601 words on a random short story idea I had just to keep myself writing something. I tend to keep several ideas simmering and stir the pot every now and then to add some life to the story. I have aspirations. I have goals. I want to write a paragraph that people have to read twice because it’s beautiful or thought provoking. Thank you, Margaret Atwood, for your beautiful prose and the challenge it creates for me to become a better writer. In order to do that, I have to practice. Every errant sentence in all of my random musings will mean nothing to anyone else, but to me they are akin to the driving range and teeing up just to keep the motion of my swing familiar and deeply ingrained. (Sidenote: I (sadly) haven’t played golf in 14 years now. I don’t know that I even remember how to hold a club.)

I’m currently questioning the attainability of some goals and how much of a role persistence plays versus right time and place. It seems to me that you just have to keep up with the persistence in order to find the right time and place. Until I’ve met my goals, I’ll just keep plucking away at the keyboard and remind myself how much I love this craft and that there are a few folks out there who are just as curious as I am to see how this journey unfolds. So, fellow reader, look for Rise of the Seer later this year. And give your local independent authors a smile of encouragement every now and then. Who knows? You might just end up as a character in their next story.