December Update

I’m pretty sure my existence has turned into a lifetime movie:

A writer living the good life in Los Angeles must move back to her hometown to take care of a cancer riddled family member. Her everything is tested as she must bring a mentally disabled old man into her home, return to working a 40 hour a week job, reconnect with old friends and family, face challenges at every turn, and try to make a life in a place that she left long ago…

It’s definitely a drama.  I miss the good ol’ days when I lived a situation comedy.

November Updates

Hi.  It’s been awhile.  There’s been a lot going on.  I’m moving.  I won’t be the LA writer any more.  At least, not for awhile.  I’ll still be writing, of course, but we’re headed back to St. Louis to help out family during this tough time.  Life has basically been turned upside down the last few weeks.

I don’t know what the future holds.  It all feels pretty bad right now.  But life keeps going until it doesn’t.  I will try to make the most of my time and my move.  I’ll do my best to keep you all updated, and hopefully get some real content back on this blog.

October Updates

Hi all.  Sorry I’ve gone quiet again.  I was just getting back in the swing of things when life went and turned stuff all around again.

First the good news:

I have a short story “Auto” in the anthology The A.I. Chronicles, which has been out for a few months now.  Yesterday, it had a great push.  It was ranked #31 on All of Amazon, and #1 in a whole lot of categories.  Thanks to that, my author ranking went up, and I can now say that I am an “Amazon Best Selling Author.”  I got to #16 in SciFi, for certain top 100 in ebooks, and I honestly believe top 100 on Amazon.  The way the metrics are reported, and the way they are delayed, if you’re not constantly pressing refresh, you might miss a big jump.  I went from somewhere around 5,000 to #136 in a day.  From what other people are reporting, I know my rank was higher sometime before it was 136.  How much higher?  I guess I’ll never know.  If nothing else, I am a Kindle Best Selling Author, and a Top 20 SciFi Author on Amazon.  It feels pretty great.

The A.I. Chronicles is currently on sale for .99.  I’ve also got most of my books on sale or free right now, too.

I also found out that my little sister is going to have her first baby.  She’s very excited and I’m excited for her.

The bad news: Continue reading

Mention Monday – San Diego Comic-Con

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Last MM: Author Meet-Up

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I know this is a bit belated, but I wanted to mention Comic Con, and I hadn’t gotten around to doing it yet.  In July I was lucky enough to attend the San Diego Comic-Con.

My day began with an author meet-up with Hugh Howey.  He brought donuts, there was maybe a dozen of us hanging out, it was an amazing experience.  Around the convention center, there were a giant mass of people.  There was a great deal of events, showcases, and costumed people outside of the comic con.  A person could spend all day just walking around outside.

(I had a picture of the horde of people outside, but I lost all my phone photos 😦 so I only have the ones that made it to Facebook before I lost them all.) 

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect inside.  I went in and found a lot of vendors and more people.

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At first, I was dissapointed.  I thought to myself, “this is just a bunch of people selling stuff.”  Thankfully, I was quickly proven wrong.  They were showing a few exclusive trailers in the main area.  It was really cool to gather around and see sneak peeks.

Next, I realized that most things were interactive.  I met R2D2.  He was real, remote controlled, and beeped and moved and everything.

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There was a place to dress up with props and get your picture taken, which I seem to have misplaced that photo, too.  They gave away Yoda Ears for dogs.  The pair I got was too small to put on my dog, so I gave it to him as a toy.  He loved it and it became one of his favorite things to play with for some reason.

The Walking Dead had a neat, walk-through zombie area.

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I also got swag.  I got a free ARC book, as well as a few comic books.  I got a drawstring bag, and a pair of sunglasses that I still wear just about every day.  I got a poster, a water bottle, probably some other stuff…

The author area was great.  Hugh Howey was there, of course.  I arrived at his booth too late to get a free copy of Press Start to Play, but I did enter to win (and didn’t win) this arcade game (I loved Ready Player One):

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There were lines of people waiting for author signatures and lots of giveaways.  There were many more experiences.

All in all, I was utterly unprepared for Comic-Con.  I chose not to attend any of the panels.  For one thing, I didn’t want to have to wait outside in the heat for hours just to sit in the back of a room.  (Hollywood has spoiled me.  If I want to see a panel, I can just hit up the Paley Center, usually for free or $5.  I saw a lot of panels there when I first got to Hollywood, American Dad, Awkward, Vampire Diaries, and many more.  It’s a fairly intimate space.  There are other places and times I’ve seen things like this, too, like LA Book Festival when I saw Scalzi and Wil Wheton have a conversation and I was just a couple rows back.  Like I said, spoiled.  It’s the same reason big, expensive concerts don’t excite me.)  I learned too late that there were smaller talks going on in A hall.  Those might have been neat.  There were also a lot of other things to do there.  There were giant, interactive areas outside of the convention center, but that were still part of Comic-Con.  By the time I found them, I was exhausted.  I wasn’t prepared for just how much walking there’d be, or how stimulating the day was.

I would definitely go back another year.  In fact, I’m hoping to go back next year, depending on how life goes.  I’m hoping that the Halloween costume I’m making right now will be good enough to wear to it.

I can’t explain exactly why, but honestly, Comic-Con was one of the best days I’ve ever had.

Writing Wednesday – Make Them Keep Reading

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Last Week’s WW: Social (media) etiquette

Yesterday, my fella and I were out writing, and he asked me: “How do you end a chapter?”

This got me thinking.  I’ve been learning about and focusing on tension lately.  I think that a good way to end a chapter is by ending it with tension.  You could do this a number of ways.  You could end it with a big cliff hanger.  Or you could go smaller, more subtle.  However you do it, that last paragraph, especially that last line should intrigue the reader.  There should be something to it that either screams or hints that there’s more to come.  It has to make them wonder.  It has to make them need to know what happens next.

That’s my opinion on how to end a chapter.

Writing Wednesday – Social (media) etiquette *Personal Facebook*

Last Week’s WW: Keep The Creativity Flowing

If you plan to be an author, some day you will publish.  Maybe it’ll be with the Big Five, or perhaps you’ll self-published.  Maybe you’re already published.  However it happens, it’ll happen, and you’ll probably want to shout it from the roof top.  You should do this, well, maybe not from the literal roof top, that could be dangerous.  But you’re excited, and you have every right to be.  Publishing is a huge accomplishment, be proud.

The thing is, not everyone will be as excited as you.   Continue reading

Writing Wednesday – Keep the Creativity Flowing

Last Week’s WW: Structure

Sometimes, I have a lot of ideas.  Occasionally, too many.  Other times, they just won’t seem to come.  Lately I’ve been feeling all of this.  I’ve been letting my writing anxieties build.  I’ve been avoiding writing.  I stopped the creative flow and I feared that the well had dried up.  It seemed like the harder I tried to think of an idea, the further away I got from it.  Maybe I was trying to hard.  I just hated feeling like I had nothing to do.  I hated having a bunch of ideas, but no passion and no real insight into any of them.

How do we over come this? Continue reading

Mention Monday – Author Meet-Up

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Last MM: Future Chronicles

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Hugh Howey is one of my favorite writers and has been a great influence on my career.  Early last month, I had the opportunity to meet him.  A lot of indie authors like to do something called “meet ups”.  You see this sometimes on the Kboards or on a particular author’s Facebook page.  Sometimes, if you have online author friends, and they happen to be in the area for a book signing, or in Hugh’s case, Comic Con, they might just put out a call for anyone who is around to come and meet them.  Hugh even brought donuts.

I made the 3 hour drive (should have only been 2, but Comic Con traffic) down to San Diego to meet him.  His hotel, where he was hosting the morning meet up, was literally next door to the convention center.  Since I was there primarily to see Hugh, I got to park at the hotel and it turned out that it didn’t cost me a thing.  I found Hugh and a few other authors and fans sitting at a table in the cafe area near the pool.  I was surprised to see that there was only maybe ten people in attendance.  Which is ironic when you consider how many people were literally lined up to see him next door.

He talked about writing and his process.  He talked about how he puts a lot of importance on theme and how, even though the specific ideas that influence his story may not be what’s in the story, it’s what the story is about.  I was actually a little surprised to learn what Sand and Wool were really about.  It’s been almost 2 months, so I don’t want to paraphrase and mix up his message.  But they go a lot deeper than just dystopian scifi.

He was very open and invited questions, be them about writing, publishing, or his books in general.  He invited those of us who were authors to let everyone there know about our works.

I actually managed to speak.  More than a couple words.  I even jumped into the conversation from time to time and started a couple.  I was proud of myself.  I messaged Hugh after and thanked him for the meetup.  He was nice enough to write back to me and tell me that it was nice to meet me.

Honestly, that Saturday in July was one of the best days of my life.  I got to meet Hugh Howey, which was a big deal for me, I went to Comic Con (more about that next week), I enjoyed San Diego, and, it was just a perfect day.  Well, almost.  I could have gotten a better pic, lol. 🙂