Naima's Published Titles

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

I took a floating holiday and spent all day at work using their Adobe Creative Suite to create front cover designs for Bloodroom. I designed 12 ideas and hated them all. I uploaded thumbnails of the 3 I liked best (resized at home in GIMP, an open source graphics program). Let's just say I understand why you hire a professional. I got a fair quote for cover design and typesetting of the print version's interior from the artist who designs many of JA Konrath's books. She's really good ( and my attempt at DIY is no reflection on her. But I'm already spending a lot on design and editing because I'm putting out several stories within the same timeframe. I hoped I could save some dough somewhere. What's your favorite Bloodroom cover?

I got Daniele Serra's first cover design back for my short story, Aunt Téa's Addiction. It's fantastic. I don't understand Amazon's dimensions guidelines for Kindle covers: 500 pixel X 1200 pixel? That's a very long rectangle, over twice as tall as wide. That can't be right?! Can any Kindle authors enlighten me? I need to find a buddy who'll volunteer to proofread Aunt Téa's Addiction for me. Then I'll format it to Kindle and other e-readers. That's my weekend. 

I wrote for about an hour on Apparently Dead last night. I like how it's going. It's a daunting scene to write; so much has to happen in one place. But as long as I write at least a little every day, it'll come together.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

One Foot Up

Last night, I started writing and it was tough going, at first. I played solitaire, listened to music, and browsed through blogs about 18th century fashion. Then a line of dialogue occurred, taking me in a direction I hadn't anticipated. The next thing I knew, I had a good couple of paragraphs of dialogue that showed Julian's confusion and difficulty accepting the unreal new reality that's in his face. "What does she want?" he asked Anika about Malinde. "Blood," Anika said. "Is that all?" he demanded. "What is there to gain by killing me?" He can't fathom violence for any other goal but power. His question foreshadows the end of the third novel. So -- yay, brain! Thanks for throwing me a curve ball from out of the dark reaches. Also, last night I started this scene from Julian's bedroom, rewriting it from its earlier setting of the drawing room. Now, Julian is in bed, in total disarray, when Anika comes in. As the scene unfolds, Julian is being groomed and dressed. Gilbert comes in half way through this and has a wild, scared conversation with Julian, which Julian handles with aplomb, having been revived by medical attention and grooming. By the time the mayor arrives, Julian is completely dressed and sitting in the drawing room, impeccable and perfectly in control. Remember, yesterday I didn't know how I would pull Julian out of his vulnerability. I'm going to do it by dressing him. It'll happen physically as it's happening mentally. Cool, huh? Also, I can bring in the food shortages brought on by the apparently dead epidemic. Anika will have very little garlic for Julian and when he asks why she'll tell him there's very little of anything to buy in town because healthy farmers aren't coming to Charleston and Charleston has quarantined the low country plantations, which means food isn't coming in. She can't hang garlic around the windows and doors. They have to eat it.

So, I wouldn't say I'm over the hump, but I have one foot up.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Like Swimming through Marshmellow Cream

I read a Writers Digest article (available through the No Rules blog I follow) titled What Readers want from Self-Published Books. One thing they want is a quality look - don't rush to get your book out there, the article advised. This made me feel better because if seems like I'll never get something up there. But if it was worth writing, it's worth presenting well. That's why I hired the editor and the artists. For the next two weeks I'm spending most of my time writing Apparently Dead, because publishing and marketing activities can really eat into that time. It's harder to write than to market or publish. I'm writing tonight, and I don't look forward to slogging through the morass my book seems to have become. What a sticky mess.

I last wrote Sunday. I wrote a stream of consciousness inside Julian's head to get at what he's thinking regarding Malinde, plat-eyes, etc. Sunday night after watching Dangerous Liaisons, I remembered Julian has to come at this from a point of strength and command because that's who he is. Julian's not introspective, open minded, or humble. He's arrogant and has a sense of entitlement. He means well, but he's a prick. Since he's a main character in Bloodroom and The Bad Death, continuity in Apparently Dead is key. Now that I've written his every vulnerability, I have to write his way back out of it. There comes a point in writing every novel when I wonder if my imagination has created a story outside the scope of my abilities. That is when I have to put my head down and march on like a good soldier till I get past that moment. Because -- really -- who else can finish this? I started it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy New Year!

Last night I revised two short stories, Sparky's First Day and Aunt Téa's Addiction. This morning, I sent them off with a 3rd short story, He Dreams in Yellow, to Daniele Serra for cover designs.

Thursday night in Juicy Writing, Sharon told me to close my eyes and think about how far I'm come with my writing in the past year. I can't quite take it in. For years, I didn't finish anything. Then, last June I started going to Juicy Writing every Thursday and just the simple practice of creating something new to show somebody once a week brought me to where I am now. Since last June, I finished writing the first novel in a trilogy, The Bad Death and submitted the manuscript to two NYC publishers. I started writing the 2nd draft of the second novel, The House of the Apparently Dead. I updated my novel Bloodroom and sent it to an editor for proofing. I had cover art designed for Bloodroom. I hired 3 artists to design covers for my Demontorium short stories. I revised two short stories that I'd given up for dead. I made the decision to self-publish e-books. I bought a Kindle and subscribed to several Kindle-related blogs (scroll down and look right for the links). I started and maintain this blog and a Twitter page. Whew! I feel like throwing a New Year's Eve party tonight, just thinking about all that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Disquieting Mystery

Woke at 5:30 AM and shuffled into the bathroom to find the toilet seat up. It was down when I went to bed. Only me, two cats, and a dog here. Checked all places an intruder could hide. Check doors and found them locked. I have been known to sleepwalk.

Monday, May 9, 2011

More Questions than Answers

This weekend, I wrote the scene between Julian and Malinde in the hawthorn bushes. I refined the Anika-Marcus-Risa scene in the marketplace. I started the scene between Anika and Julian. But I realized this is actually a big turning point in the book. By encountering Malinde, Julian came face to face with the supernatural, which is the opposite to everything he thinks, believes, etc. In the last book (The Bad Death), his mother told Anika, "Julian must never know." Meaning that they must protect Julian because he's a man of science and reason and facing the supernatural would be the undoing of his mental state. So unless a) Julian is in denial or b) Malinde scrambled his perception post-bite as vampires do (and my thought is that Malinde is doing nothing with awareness, foresight, or caution) -- then Julian has just attained the knowledge his mother sought to protect him from. So I have to think: what is Julian's reaction to the inconceivable? What will he try to do? Cover it up? Deny it? Confront it? Of course, he sent for Anika. He knows she knows this thing better than anyone. What will he ask her? What will he tell her? What does he want most? I dunno. I have to write this scene from his POV to find out.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Changing Gears and Hairpin Turns

I designed the art and cover several years ago for this chapbook of 4 stories I wrote. I have written more and will self-publish an anthology titled Night at the Demontorium with all 10 stories. First I'll publish the short stories as Kindle Singles. I'd planned to do this after I published Bloodroom. But the editor told me she could have Bloodroom proofed by mid-June. That rocked me back on my heels. Is she that booked? Why so long? I could find another editor, but Linda is highly recommended by my uber-consultant friend who tolerates only the highest standards. Plus the price is right. Plus, I know Linda, so.... There's a lot of other things I could do in a month. I could flip some of my goals to the front, one of them being Demontorium. It's an abrupt change, but I think I can be flexible. I'll sleep on it another night before emailing the editor with the green or red light.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Am I a Hoarder?

Watched the 1st season of Hoarders via Netflix last night and got freaked out thinking of my own filth. The garage filled with random junk and building scraps! The dog shit in the back yard! The fallen leaves! The spoiled food in the back of the fridge! Where am I going to find the time to address all that? In between stretches of writing over weekends. Don't worry. Great writers don't worry about such. Do you think Kerouac cared about his lawn? Hawthorne never cared about it. He became mega-famous, then lived in utter splendor (and one assumes utter cleanliness and lack of clutter). I could be like that. I'm no Hawthorne, but I'm pretty good and I have options he didn't have in the 19th century. Namely, the Internet.

Also thought it would be cool to have a hoarder unexpectedly save the day at the climactic part of a horror novel. I dunno how. Build a trebuchet and hurl great loads of debris at the monster? Writer buddies, feel free to run with this idea. I bet AL Fetherlin would do something cool with this. She has a penchant for turning misfits into great Forces of Reckoning.

Decided not to give myself a hard time about hoarding books.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lotta Things Going On

Wednesday night I wrote for 4 hours. Very unusual for me to write that long in one stretch. I intertwined the two scenes of the men and women in Mouret House. I tried to break the Anika-Eugenie-Malinde scene at cliffhanger moments. Like someone would pounce and I'd immediately cut to the men downstairs. Think it works because last night, reading in Juicy Writing, at one break Sharon cried out laughing, "you bitch!" She said about Julian crawling through the hawthorn bushes at the scenes' end, "What are you doing, Julian? Malinde's there!" I hadn't thought of that but Malinde could be there, standing on the hawthorns and the hawthorn branches taking her weight without bending, as if she stood on the bough of a tree ...

That would be the first thing wrong with the picture, in Julian's perception. He'd notice she wore a tattered maid's uniform but that, incongruously, she wore pearl earrings. He'd notice there was a gaping wound in her breast that she seemed unaware of and then she'd smile invitingly and her eyes would warm like a lover's. And he'd feel filled with love and desire for her, and then ...

Ha! Then maybe we cut to Julian in bed. His valet, Prince, has sent for Anika. Anika comes to Julian's bedside where he's recovering from a bite to his throat. Julian grills her -- what were you doing there last night? Anika will evade answering directly. Gilbert will visit and tell him two other men are "sick" in the same way (he knows this because he visited them after they didn't show up for coffee this morning). Wow -- thanks for the idea, Sharon! (a very gifted writer, artist, psychic, and creativity coach who can  be found at My mind took it and ran with it!

Maybe I'll do the marketplace scene right before that. Anika will  come to Julian's house right after seeing Marcus and Risa and she'll be so emotionally charged from that she has no feelings whatsoever for Julian's plight. Here's some garlic. Wear a cross. Whatever.

Hee hee! So there's my weekend. Writing that.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Just finished updating all cultural references in Bloodroom and emailed the manuscript to an editor for proofreading. Pow! Way to knock out a task!

Time for bed.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I wrote in the morning, then came back and wrote in the evening the scene with Anika confronting a plat-eye. There are 3 things happening at once, really 3 scenes happening at once twisting around each other. Two scenes happening simultaneously in the same house and a newspaper article being discussed in one of the scenes. I found it necessary to write each as separate scenes in order to make each plausible and meaningful to the plot. So I wrote the article in its entirety, the scene with Julian and the men entirely, and the Anika/Eugenie/plat-eye scene entirely. Now I must intertwine the scenes. I probably need to polish the Julian and Anika scenes first. I have an iffy feeling abiout Julian's scene - something tells me it's unfinished. And the Anika scene I dashed off energetically till 9:30 when I decided to knock off and watch a DVD.

The DVD is The Conversation, a Coppola movie about a surveillance expert who begins to suspect his client intends to kill the people he's been hired to spy on. I think this must be a very underrated Coppola film because I never heard of it and it's really, really good. Gene Hackman plays the surveillance expert and the script is written in such a way that the movie has personal depth. Gene Hackman's character is lonely and paranoid. His career has cut him off from true connection, and he's beginning to understand the extent of the cost even as he begins to understand the lethal nature of his assignment.