Naima's Published Titles

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Writing Advice from Comedians

I listen to You Tube clips of comedians in the late afternoons to lift myself out of that post-lunch carbo slump. Two comedians, Patton Oswalt and Louis C.K,, made a very good point on the importance of staying prolific and always generating new content. I will include the clips here and thank You Tube posters OVRFND and Bromista5. In OVRFND's uploaded video, Patton Oswalt roasts Edgar Allen Poe to make his point about the importance of writing constantly. In Bromista5's video, Louis C.K. talks about how George Carlin inspired him to write new material constantly, digging deep into the darkest regions of his heart and psyche to make fun of his every vulnerability and fear. Neither comedian is G-rated, but if you listen, you'll get that nugget o' wisdom. Thanks Patton Oswalt and Louis C.K., and thanks OVRFND and Bromista5 (respectively) for posting.

Patton Oswalt:  http://bit.ly/s69Srz

Louis C.K.:  http://bit.ly/vjthwa Bromista5's upload is a clip from a tribute to George Carlin at the New York Public Library hosted by Whoopi Goldberg in March 2010. More of this tribute can be seen here: http://bit.ly/cca0tp

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'm Passionate About ...

In Juicy Writing, we considered why we write. Why are we motivated; what drives us toward that accomplishment. That way, if we're tired of writing, we can look at our list and remember why we cared enough to go the distance. So here's what I'm passionate about:

I'm passionate about making something that wasn't there before.

I'm passionate about giving people something to think about.

I'm passionate about giving people an escape from anything that worries them.

I'm passionate about the people in my books. They're real to me, and I want to give them expression.

I'm passionate about having something to do.

I'm passionate about doing something no one else has done before. Like snowflakes or fingerprints, no one else is going to write my stories, even if they were given the plot points and character profiles and assigned to do it.

I'm passionate about leaving something behind when I'm gone.

I'm passionate about taking chances.

I'm passionate about disappearing into a fantasy.

I'm passionate about finding out what happens next.

I'm passionate about the human race, and the fragility, beauty, nobility, and triumph of their existence.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Most Amiable Read

I am about halfway through the very entertaining Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons. The book was written and illustrated by Vera Nazarian as a paranormal parody of Jane Austen's book Northanger Abbey (which was Jane Austen's parody of the dark fantasy novels so popular in her day). Nazarian gives equal credit for writing Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons to Jane Austen, which was a smart and fair thing to do. I haven't read Northanger Abbey, but what prose I have seen suggests that the angels and dragons are Nazarian's literary contribution to the parody; Austen's prose is still there. I watched Masterpiece Theatre's adaptation of Northanger Abbey, and Nazarian's parody does not alter this likable heroine or the charming flow of the story.

I am enjoying Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons. It's light, witty, and fun to read. The premise is that Austen's heroine, Catherine Morland can see angels, as well as demons and dragons. Nazarian's descriptions of the angels is particularly pleasing. Her style is very visual, and I can really 'see' the little angels and their firefly glow illuminating cravats, bonnets, puffy sleeves, and Georgian interiors. The demons masquerade as members of society, but the fact that Catherine can see and hear them as they really are makes for very amusing characterizations. The dragon is cool -- I gather it plays a larger role in the 2nd half of the novel and look forward to its reappearance. There's another creature that's appears unexpectedly to vex people in the extreme -- I won't tell you what it is, but it will make you smile.

I haven't read other paranormal parodies of Jane Austen novels, so I can't say how Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons stacks up against them. I can only tell you that I find this novel very easy to read. The structure of the paranormal world is neatly drawn and makes sense. The dialogue and description just sort of roll you through the paragraphs (props to Ms. Austen for this, but Nazarian's additions blend without any glitch in style). Nazarian's contributions make me chuckle. You will probably like this if you like Jane Austen and classic chick lit of the 19th century, if you like fantasy novels, and if you like lighthearted horror elements. I like the dark, horrific stuff too, but that's another type of book. For my lighter side, Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons does quite nicely.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sandwiches and Clichés

Recipe - http://bit.ly/sDFdfX
Sharon always opens Juicy Writing class with that date's reading from The Awe-Manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder by Jill Badonsky. Tonight, according to The Awe-Manac, it was National Sandwich Day and also a day to consider the worth and wonder of clichés. Sharon surprised us with a treat of tea sandwiches. As we munched on little white triangles filled with cream cheese-pineapple sprinkled with cinnamon, we wrote about our favorite sandwiches. I wrote a poem praising Day-After-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. Then Sharon went to the seventh page of Mary Balogh's novel, Seducing an Angel, traced down seven lines and picked the seventh sentence after that: "It is the season, Alice." Using that as a starting point, we could write using sandwich references or deliberately use clichés. I decided to do both and had a lot of fun. Here's the scrap of story I wrote:

It is the season, Alice ..., He immediately began scribbling, ...when a young man's fancy turns to love. Mortimer took a bite of his Monte Cristo sandwich and contemplated his next line as he chewed. Powdered sugar fell onto his Garfield stationary, but such was his concentration that he didn't notice. "Ah," he said, hit with sudden inspiration. He anchored the page with an elbow and wrote the next line of purple passion. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn if your eyes are like moonbeams and your lovely hair like thistledown. It is the milky smoothness of your voice, the hammy fullness of your communicative style, the sweetness and softness of your smile that I crave. To consume you would be heaven. "Heaven," he mumbled, popping the last big bite into his welcoming mouth. He closed his eyes and thought, 'Others' love is like a red, red rose, but you, my dear, are as sumptuous as my favorite sandwich.' "I'll write that down!" Mortimer exclaimed, powdered sugar and Texas toast crumbs flying on his exhaled breath to scatter across his letter. Mortimer was not handsome, but he had a way with words and an appetite he was sure Alice could not resist. He would marry her in April -- April was the loneliest month, after all -- and he resolved to be lonely no longer. He would teach her to cook on their honeymoon. They would never go hungry and they would live long and prosper.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel

I was halfway through the 1933 Academy Award winner, Grand Hotel, and ready to give up on it when all the character development and plot lines soared upward into a great story. The art deco sets and cinematography probably kept me hooked up till then. The characters are a broke baron/cat burgler (John Barrymore), a sexy, hard-shelled stenographer (Joan Crawford), a high-strung prima ballerina (Greta Garbo), a dying nobody (Lionel Barrymore), and a German industrialist (Wallace Beery). The hearts of these vulnerable people are laid bare in the second half of the film. The importance of money to their safety and self-respect became painful to acknowledge, due to history and the present times validating the underlying truth of it. GH was shot during the Great Depression and as I watched it in 2011 when our economy is sliding into an abyss and our cities are Occupied by the 99 percent, I realized nothing much has changed, except our behavior is perhaps lower in standard and our architectural styles a lot uglier. Grand Hotel has a lot to say and a beautiful, visual means of expressing itself. Plus there's a shock in the last half (I did not see coming), which made the ending all the more powerful. I recommend you Netflix this one.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ballet Pensacola's Dracula

My brother and I attended the 7PM Saturday performance of Dracula, performed by Ballet Pensacola. It was a fresh take on the story and beautifully choreographed by the Ballet's Artistic Director, Richard Steinert. It began with a trap door opening in the stage floor. From this void, two "creatures" (Dustin Simmons and Kristopher Williams) extended limbs that appeared to be multi-jointed and literally coming to life from some long-dormant state. The effect of Lance Brannon's lighting on their musculature was dramatic in contrast to an otherwise dark stage. Their dance was strong and masculine, but graceful and modern. Throughout the production -- as if the creatures' evolution never progressed beyond the demon realm, their movements were always weirdly contorted. This was a wonderful counterpoint to the delicate, classical ballet danced by Kristen Springer and Kayla Bartlett in their roles as Lucy and Mina.

Following the creatures' emergence, "bats" crawled out of the open space in the floor until thirteen filled the stage. The bats, Ballet Pensacola's corps, were ingeniously costumed by Christine Duhon. Their sleek hair was parted in the middle; their leotards were patterned in an op-art check like something from an Escher drawing and had sleeves that were puffed above the elbow. They wore large pointed black belts and slim black trousers that flared from the knees. According to the choreography, the bats movements looked mechanical or flowing a la classical ballet and the full sleeves or the fluid hems helped create that impression. Ranks of bats dove in and out of each other, filling the stage. It was wonderful.

Dracula's brides were Goth chicks with cherry red hair and black skirts that hung in funereal strips over black leggings. Tyler Day's Dracula was lithe, dominant, and seductive. I loved the pas de trois where Samuel Joseph Mounce's Harker danced to save Mina from Dracula. Dracula's pas de deux with Lucy, culminating with his bite was sensual and romantic. Later, the creatures' attack on Lucy was an altogether different dance, a choreographed act of brutality. This was a very interesting ballet, by turns sensual or perverse, romantic or violent.

A dominant feature of Lance Brannon's set design was a steampunk conglomeration of cogs and wheels. The trapdoor led to an underground mausoleum with coffins and oven-style cypts like you see in New Orleans' multi-tombs. The storyline broke from Stoker's novel, but I won't tell you how -- just in case they perform it next year. I hope Ballet Pensacola will repeat Dracula as a Halloween tradition, just as The Nutcracker is for Christmas. If so, don't miss it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Alex Kava Speaks at the Friends of the Library Dinner

I had such a good time with my friend DeAnna at a dinner for the Friends of the West Florida Public Library, Friday night. The speaker was novelist Alex Kava, whose thrillers have been New York Times bestsellers. Neither DeAnna nor I had ever read Alex Kava. In preparation, we read her latest, Hotwire. Well, now we're fans. Kava has a neat economical style that I can't quite pin down. You know all about a character's personality very quickly without having been aware of reading a description. She writes short chapters with cliff hangers. Her protagonist, FBI agent Maggie O'Dell, is easy to relate to on a personal level; she's kickass but also someone you might know. Hotwire's plot revolves around a possible government conspiracy and weird shenanigans with the nation's food supply. DeAnna and I would text each other, saying, "Man, I'm never eating out again!" or "I'm giving up meat!"

As a speaker, Alex Kava was wonderful. She was funny, self-deprecating, and warm. She talked a lot about what it was like starting out. How subjective the feedback was; one rejection letter saying, "it needs more detail" and the next rejection letter saying, "it needs less detail". And how there's a double standard for crime-fighting protagonists such that Maggie O'Dell really can't develop a drinking habit or swear a lot or cat around. She spoke movingly of her respect for the contribution that libraries and librarians make to community life. She encouraged aspiring writers to stay true to their vision and believe in themselves. She talked about her friends who live in Pensacola and who were in attendance. She spoke of her friends' mother having been a lifelong supporter of our library and of their father, on whom she based one of the characters in the Maggie O'Dell novel, Damaged. It turns out, she bought a house here in Spring 2004. This made the audience laugh ruefully. It was Fall 2004 when Hurricane Ivan made landfall at just under Cat 4 strength and devastated our region. Alex buckled down under the storm with her two friends and used the experience to write the plot for Damaged set against a hurricane.

Oh, and we did not make good on our vows to never eat meat or eat out. The dinner was delicious. Thanks, West Florida Public Library and Alex Kava, for a lovely evening.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Facebook Changes and Seven-League Boots

I had a Facebook-focused week. I created the Welcome on my new fanpage, Books by Naima Haviland, so that visitors get a free short story. I have a hidden motive for this: once you have 25 fans on your page, Facebook lets you assign it a shortened, official name. The official fanpage name is much more memorable than the rambling automated one Facebook initially assigns. That's a great advantage, from a marketing standpoint. So click-thru and Like me, people! And get a free short story ;-)

I noticed after Facebook's last round of changes, that the content I created with 3rd party apps wasn't showing up. In this case, if you reactive the missing app it shows up again (Your Page>Edit Info>Apps>[your disappeared app]>Add or Remove>[then click Remove, then go back in there and click Add]).

I attended a webinar walk-through of the changes Facebook has on schedule for October 1. For instance, after October 1, the iframes app that enables you to give freebies won't display your graphics anymore unless they are hosted on a secure server. The iframes developers are working to setup their own secure server but you can also host your graphics on FreeVPS, which I did with no fuss/no muss. The webinar was produced by Shelley Hitz, the Self-Publishing Coach, whose Get Your Facebook Done webinar series was instrumental in getting me started with my fanpage. In addition to showing us the adjustments we'd need to make to keep our fanpages visible, Shelley shared bonus marketing tips and resources that I am very excited to try out. I have implemented and plan to implement so many of the tips and resources I already gleaned from her newsletter and website, that -- as I said to Gigi, my hairstylist, while she undertook the sisyphean task of keeping me beautiful -- "I'm just glad Shelley Hitz is in the world". This past week, Shelley shared many article links regarding Facebook changes and just really helped keep her clients up to speed. Thanks, Shelley!

Also, thanks to Steven Lewis. I used his tutorials on formatting for Kindle to publish my Demontorium stories and I subscribe to his Taleist blog to stay informed on all that's happening in Amazon's Kindle universe.

And...David Gaughran. His book, Let's Get Digital, has lots of advice on marketing beyond Kindle and includes 33 successful digital authors relating their own experiences (info that is both grounding and inspiring).

And...Sharon Renae, whose Juicy Writing class reminds me that writing itself can and should be as fun for me now as finger-painting was in kindergarten. (I forget that when I'm all up in this marketing stuff). If you're not fortunate enough to live in Pensacola, she offers creativity classes online.

Among others, these folks gave me 7-league boots to take one giant leap forward.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Amazing, Underrated Anne Brontë

Anne Brontë
I'm almost done reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, written by the youngest of the three famous Brontë sisters. Her work has survived under the shadow of Emily's and Charlotte's bestsellers, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, respectively. What I find truly fascinating (and tragic) is that her obscurity resulted directly from her sister's betrayal and the fact that, during her lifetime, she had to defend her writing to the world. That is such a shame. Of the three books -- Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall -- Anne's is the one that modern women can find most relatable. Over a century after it was barred from reprinting, the story still feels fresh and real.

The novel's focus is Helen, a woman who married Arthur Huntingdon, a handsome bad boy who swept her off her feet. Although she sensed his effusive passion for her was all on the surface, she hoped for the best. Arthur's shallow nature, innate cruelty, and self-centeredness creep into the new marriage but really shift into hyperdrive once a season of London debauchery and raging alcoholism kill his infatuation for his wife. The birth of a son only pisses him off more; it takes her attention away from him and besides, he can't possibly love the baby till it's old enough to show some love for him. It gets worse, not in the explosive gory way of a Stephen King novel, but in incremental stages from disappointment to despair and then desperation.

Charlotte Brontë wrote of Wildfell Hall, "it hardly appears to me desirable to preserve. The choice of subject in that work is a mistake, it was too little consonant with the character, tastes and ideas of the gentle, retiring inexperienced writer." The public was so openly derisive of the novel's plot that for its second printing, Anne wrote a lengthy defense of it as a forward. Yet Wildfell Hall was a runaway bestseller, sold out six weeks after its debut. Hmmm ...why was that?

Could it be that readers secretly felt Anne Brontë had spoken directly to them? Women had no legal rights as individuals. A bad marriage was for most an inescapable trap. Acknowledging this reality not only challenged the assumption that a woman's rightful and most exalted state was that of matrimony, it challenged British law. We have many options today, but once you reach a certain age, you've probably had the chance to feel dismay at realizing a man (or woman) you love is not worthy of it. You may have struggled to eke out some sanity and peace in a chaotic home ruled by your partner's unchecked addiction. You may have thought you could help your loved one become a better person over time. You may have singlehandedly tried to save the relationship by being perfect. You may have secretly started planning an exit strategy for yourself and your children. This was the situation around which Anne Brontë wove her plot. And she sure paid for it. After Anne's death in 1849, Charlotte Brontë refused to allow republication of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights catapulted Emily and Charlotte to literary immortality. Anne became a footnote.

Consider yourself vindicated, sister.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I'm a Kindle Bestseller!

It's Official! The Entrepreneur is an Amazon Kindle Bestseller in the category of Horror Anthologies. It's a bloody sick little tale and I'm proud I thought of it.

A star pupil teams with the problem student on a business class project. But there’s more to this pairing than meets the eye, and soon the project is successful beyond their instructor’s wildest nightmares. There’s a market for anything, and demand can barely keep up with supply.

At 3,000 words and .99 cents, The Entrepreneur will creep you out for little money down and no time at all. (Available in non-kindle formats at Smashwords.)

I'm so dang happy :)


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Painting to Write

This time in Juicy Writing, Sharon reminded us that sometimes we work too hard. Tonight, instead of doing writing exercises, we would paint. I came into the session stressed and left completely relaxed. This is my painting you see here. 

I am a classic Type A. As fulfilling as writing and self-publishing are, I get really wound around the axle. I get really obsessive. I wake up every morning with an aching jaw from grinding my teeth and with my head a mental teleprompter endlessly scrolling a list of publishing tasks. I have to remind myself sometimes that I already have one stressful job. I did not choose to pursue my writing muse to give myself a second stressful job. It is precisely at those times when playing is just what my writing needs. 

To understand how this works, I recommend the book My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. She suffered a massive stroke to her left hemisphere and lived with only her right during the first long stretch of her recovery. What she unexpectedly found was bliss. She lost her ego, lost her agenda, lost the concept of linear time, lost her need to be top dog, lost even her sense of physical separateness. Without these qualifiers, she felt constant love and joy. As she regained use of her left hemisphere, she had to develop mental habits that disciplined her left's dominant tendencies so that she could maintain inner peace.

One of the ways I maintain balance is through creative play, like painting. For you it may be throwing pots on a wheel or playing a round of golf before noon while the air is still fresh and cool. Something that absorbs your attention and brings you into Now. Something that has nothing riding on the outcome. This transfers your mental energy from the left hemisphere of your brain, which collects data and makes predictions based on its findings, to the right hemisphere, where creativity reigns and anything is considered possible. As writers, we need both hemispheres working in partnership, but for many of us left is dominant and really stifles right. So let Right out for a frolicsome run!

If you're interested in something like I do, you might check out Sharon's websites, http://www.sharonrenae.com/ and http://sharonrenaeart.com/. She's starting an online series of classes soon. Throughout the next year, she plans to branch out into a number of intuitive and creative subjects. Her newsletter will keep you informed as these opportunities arise.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What I Know About Kindle Singles

I hoped to get my Demontorium short stories into the Amazon marketplace as Kindle Singles. The Kindle Singles store is smaller than the Kindle universe. I'd have a chance to be more prominent right off the bat. Finding no info on the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) pages, I Googled. I reached  the January 26 Amazon Kindle Singles press release, a first-hand Singles submissions experience on ZdNet, a Facebook post on the subject from Steve Lewis, self-publishing guru and author of the Taleist blog, and the Submissions Guidelines right on Amazon's Singles bookstore page. First a word on what a Kindle Single is, as described in the press release:

"... each Kindle Single is intended to allow a single killer idea -- well researched, well argued and well illustrated -- to be expressed at its natural length. Available to both Kindle device and app users, and priced between $0.99 and $4.99, the first set of Kindle Singles include original reporting, essays, memoirs and fiction."

Here's what else I learned:

  • Amazon's editors review your manuscript submission, just like a traditional publisher would. It's not a direct publishing option.
  • The permitted word count is 5,000 - 30,000 words. This leaves my short stories out. My longest, The Entrepreneur, is just over 3,000 words.
  • If accepted, your Kindle Single royalty can earn you 70%, even at a price point below $2.99. This is different from the KDP experience, where a price point below $2.99 rates a 35% royalty.
This is a good opportunity for writers, especially journalists who long to expand a topic beyond the amount of space usually alotted for their work. I say this because I believe readers look specifically for fiction they can read in the pockets of downtime available -- on a train commute, for instance.  However, authors on the KDP Community forum have expressed some confusion and frustration with the Singles process regarding such things as 1) longer than expected wait times for news of acceptance/rejection and 2) the perceived quality of accepted and published Singles. It seems Amazon is working itself into a space previously monopolized by traditional print publishers and the receiving end feels pretty much the same to authors.

I hope you can take this info farther than I can. The 5,000 word minimum rules me out, so for now, as we say in the South (US), "I don't have a dog in the race".

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What I Did Instead of Working

Yesterday the work was so scarce that I logged in half my time as vacation and spent it surfing my social networks. On Twitter, CC Ekeke (@ccekeke) tweeted a link to the writer's newsletter he publishes called The Daily Novel. I read an article called Maximizing Digital Book Sales, by Carolyn McCray. It talked about improving your ranking in Amazon through tags and classifying. There are some categories in Amazon that are less populated and, therefore, less competitive -- shortening the distance to the hundredth place in the top 100 best-seller list. Some of the categories are classifications Amazon has total control over, but you can influence Amazon to classify your books by the use of tagging. This article explains how to use tagging to increase your visibility to Amazon and ultimately to more readers. Another tweet (and I apologize for forgetting which tweeter contributed) had a link to JK Rowling's address to a 2008 graduating class at Harvard. Her subject was the gifts of failure and imagination. It was so stirring. I had no idea she had had extraordinary experiences before she became a bestselling author. Blog surfing informed me that 2 Twitter followers have new books out: AL Fetherlin's Brynn, The Exorcist (she's gifting free review copies) and Elisa Hategan's Race Traitor, a thriller. I'm looking forward to reading both.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Working with a Professional Editor


If you're undecided about hiring a professional editor before you self-publish, I strongly advise you to do so. My editor is Linda Wasserman of Pelican Press in Pensacola, Florida, USA. She strengthened my story so much. For instance, I never realized how many times I used passive voice, which resulted in weaker sentences. 

She sent me two Word document versions of my edited novel. One has all her edits accepted and Track Changes turned off (so I could read her version without distractions). The other has no edits accepted and Track changes on (so I could see each edit and read her comments on the purpose of the edit). I am going through the second version and accepting or rejecting each edit myself. For the most part, I agree with her. Every now and then, I reject an edit. Below are five examples in the form of "Before and After " edit comparisons:

Example 1: 

My original version:

Julian knew the candlelight was making his features ghoulish. It was darkening the hollows of his face, concealing his eyes and throwing his shadow up to the ceiling.

Linda's version:

Julian knew the candlelight made his features ghoulish. It darkened the hollows of his face, concealed his eyes and threw his shadow up to the ceiling.

Example 2:

My version:

“This annual gala I throw every year, Holiday Lights."

Linda caught the redundancy. Her version:

“This annual gala, Holiday Lights.”

Example 3:

My version:

“Yes,” Julian said a little awkwardly, “I am sorry."

Linda's version:

“Yes,” Julian said, disliking himself for feeling awkward. “I am sorry.”

Linda's embedded comment explained her edit as a suggestion: "I just threw the “disliking” in because it seemed to fit.  What do you think?"

I disagreed with her edit on the grounds of Julian's personality. Julian doesn't dislike himself for feeling awkward. He likes himself all the way down to his rotten core. His apparent awkwardness is an affectation. However, considering the rest of the narrative as context, it no longer seemed necessary to explain that or even keep the word awkward, so I deleted it entirely to make this sentence:

“Yes,” Julian said, “I am sorry.”

Example 4:

My version:

Flat, golden ringlets parted at the center of her high waxy forehead, clinging to her tiny skull and spilling to her waist.

Linda's version:

Flat, golden ringlets parted at the center of her high, waxy forehead. Clinging to her tiny skull, the curls spilled to her waist.

I rejected her edit because I like the flow of the original sentence and because when you take in someone's appearance, your vision flows from her head down, in one sweep.

Example 5:

My version:

Julian's nerves tightened until his long, white fingers became talons impaling the tapestry arms of his chair.

Linda's version:

Julian's nerves tightened until his long, white fingers transformed into talons that impaled the tapestry arms of his chair. 

Linda's comment explained her suggested change:  "I just wanted to offer this as an option."

I had written that his "fingers became talons" as a metaphor, but I liked Linda's suggestion –especially in light of the fact that a few paragraphs down, Julian does transform physically into something monstrous. I accepted her edit.

To sum up, I recommend spending the money and time on collaborating with a professional editor before self-publishing your work. Each individual edit may not seem like a big deal, but together they add up. The result is a stronger story that is still true to your vision.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Is it too Late to Clone Myself?

I'm obsessed with publishing and publicizing. If I could just take one day to insert end matter into my Demontorium short stories, I could devote all my energy to accepting Linda's line item copy edits to my novel, Bloodroom. And I could create my Facebook page and do all the things Shelley Hitz taught us in her webinars. The strategy she teaches is very thorough and implementing seems as full time an enterprise as my other tasks. It's not just the time, but the mental focus. I haven't written anything in my new novel, House of the Apparently Dead, for about two weeks now -- which I tell you, there's an eager little racehorse in me wanting to bust out the gate and write the next scene. I tell myself, this big publishing push is a temporary switch in focus. There's a lot to do at first because I'm establishing a platform. The stories I have already written deserve the best support I can give.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Naima, Inc Chugging Right Along

You might call it a Little Shop of Horrors...yuk, yuk, yuk! I have published four short stories from my upcoming anthology Night at the Demontorium to Kindle and Smashwords. More on that in the near future.

Bloodroom came back from the editor and I'm literally going edit by edit, choosing whether to accept or reject. Sometimes an edit is grammatically correct but it messes up the rhythm of the sentence. That's why I don't just hit "Accept All" or whatever Word calls it.

I just bought David Gaughran's book Let's Get Digital. The book is a collection of advice, articles, and essays on self-publishing e-books. It features many indie authors who've found success, and for that reason alone, I'm excited to read it. I like David's writing style and enjoy reading his blog. My immediate intent is to read LGD sparingly, because I've been suffering a little from information overload, what with all the experts I've been tapping into recently. However, that's like telling myself to nurse one glass of wine at a party. Oops, did I just tell on myself?