Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Woof... I mean, Meow...

Ok, so this was on the front page of Yahoo, so you may have already seen it, but I loved it so much I had to post.  Especially since this cat looks exactly one of mine - the sneaky one!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Settling in

Wow - I can't believe I haven't been here since October.  Maybe because all of November was taken up with trying to get a new job, then the past two weeks have been taken up with working said new job.  I've been pretty tired, but it's still a good thing.

Just wanted to check in to see how people are - it's fuh-reezing here right now.  This blog comes to you courtesy of two pairs of pajamas, two pairs of socks, and a robe. :)

How's by you?  What's new and exciting?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bits and Pieces

In keeping with the last blog post on those bits of prose and poetry coming to you from nowhere, I had that experience again.  Only this time, I was just waking up and could hear this song still playing from a dream I had.  That has happened before, as well, and usually the song had some deep meaning with what was going on in my life at the time.  This time, if that's the case, then it's just darned depressing. :)

Nevertheless, because the experience was still sort of cool (especially the music), I thought I'd share it.  This first bit was set to music in my dream and stayed with me most of the morning before another one started on the train ride into work.  If you recognize it from a song I may have heard and forgotten, let me know.  I always wonder where these things come from.

The dying starts the day we're born
we leave this life tattered and torn
broken down, beaten and shorn

Somewhere along the way you forgot
to strike at the curves life threw you
And as you sing your last refrain
you realize you're the one who remains
of all your friends and all of those who knew you

Round and round you twist and turn
and all the while the fire burns
in your gut and lips with all the truths unspoken
reminders of all the promises you've broken


Then you fell for the demon's kiss
the pride, the pain, the deluded bliss
that shreds the seams and transplants
your skin with his

You threw away the gold in haste
chasing after jewels of paste
Too old now to even try
all you can do is say goodbye

It's all been wasted


Depressing, huh?  I hate to think about what that says.  The last time I heard a song in my dreams that I didn't recognize, the message was fairly positive.  This one, not so much. :)

Nevertheless, it always fascinates me when these things pop up from nowhere and I have a moment to capture them.

Now, in other news, I've got a coupon on Smashwords to read UNMASKED for free if you're interested. Just use coupon code JK69V.  I'm also going to be interviewing for another job this week - it's a stretch for me, so I'm not going to get my hopes up too high, but it sure would be nice.  All prayers, good wishes, and good lucks welcomed. :)

What's new and exciting in your life right now? Any unexpected muse visitations?

Oh! And in time for Halloween, check out Edie Ramer's ghost stories blogs.  Fun stuff - just scroll down a little to start reading them.  I have a couple that maybe I could add there...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Magical Mondays on a Sunday - The Creative Process

Occasionally, something a little strange will happen with my art or writing. These are things that I normally wouldn't tell anyone about because they might start to question my sanity.  I certainly would never mention them my doctor, lol.  And yet, I've heard tales of others with similar experiences.  Those who spoke of characters who refused to act a certain way (and I thought the writer was cracked until it happened to me), and some who spoke of "voices in their heads, talking so fast they had to hurry to write it all down" and how they "sometimes had to tell those characters to either stop talking or come back later."  I really worried about those writers.

Until it happened to me.

The other day I had just come home from work, put my backpack down, and was getting ready to fix dinner when WHAM.  This woman started talking very clearly in my head and I ran to get to the computer because here is what she was telling me:

They say the Devil is in the details, but I’ve never been too detail oriented, which might explain why, when the Prince of Darkness came calling one Saturday night, I had no idea who I was dealing with. Or rather, with whom.  Yeah, that detail I get.  The Grammar Maven, that’s me. No, really, it is.  At least, during my day job at the Milford Herald.  (But just between you and me, I like to leave work at work, ya know? So don’t hold this against me.)
Now, where was I? Oh, yeah. Dancing with The Devil. He strode into Billy Goatz Bar-n-Grill pretty as you please and told me to dance. With him.  That’s right; he didn’t ask. He commanded. And struck as I was by those big blue eyes with long, dark lashes, and deep, deep dimples next to the sexiest smile you’ve ever seen, well...what’s a girl to do?  I danced. 
With him.
For him.
Because of him.
As the night wore on, he told me his name was Rob. Which turned out to be true.  Because before daybreak, he’d robbed me of both my virtue and my sanity.
See, while I was boogying with Beelzebub, one of his henchmen stole my little sister.

Now, I have NO idea where that came from.  Is it from another book I read sometime and just don't recall?  I truly don't know.  If any of it sounds familiar to any of you, I'd like to know.  I'd hate to be plagiarizing someone and not even know it.  And I have to wonder if that woman's voice is just my own "inside my head reading voice" repeating something I've read and stored subconsciously.

But now I'm intrigued by the story.  I only got that little bit before the voice went away, but then a day or two later she added this:

Now, even if I have to die and go to Hell to get her back, I’ll do it.
And. Make. Him. Pay.

But dangit, no more news since then.  And while I really like this start, I need more than this. But since I'm not sure where this came from, or where it's going, I'm letting it sit and continuing to work on my Midnight Ink WIP that I'd posted here before.

Anybody else have weird writing moments?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Just 'cause

It's been a month since I posted, and I can't stand seeing myself advertise for so long!  How is everyone doing?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Interview with Cover Artist Rebecca K Sterling

Today I'm interviewing cover artist Rebecca K. Sterling about how she became a freelance book cover artist.  In a few days, she'll tell us her process for making covers, and give some samples so you can see. 

Kate: Good morning, Rebecca. Thanks for joining us.

Rebecca (yawning): My pleasure. Shame it had to be so early though. We artsy-fartsy types generally like to sleep late.

Kate: Yeah, me, too, but it couldn't be helped.  Anyway, so tell us, how did you get started in the cover art business?

Rebecca: It was something I'd wanted to do for quite a while, but really didn't know how to get started. I  was suffering from the common Catch 22 of no experience/no job offer, so I just pouted for a while and began making covers for some of your own works in progress... by the way... where are all those books?

Kate: We're not here to talk about me. What happened after that?  Did you build a portfolio and go banging on doors with it?  Emailing art directors?  Offering illicit services if they'd hire you?

Rebecca (looks quickly from side to side): Where did you hear that?  It's not true! 
Actually, I still didn't do anything with it because I was too intimidated by all the great cover artists out there.  I figured I didn't stand a chance, so I just kept making them for fun and practice.  Then one day I saw that Sable Grey from Cobblestone Press was hosting a cover art workshop for the publisher's anniversary, and from that workshop, they were going to choose one intern to work with them for a while.  Sort of like The Apprentice, but the boss had better hair.

Kate: So, what happened next?  Did a lot of people show up?

Rebecca: Oh, yeah.  At first.  But soon it was down to just a few die hards, and the competition got really - and I mean REALLY - stiff.  I mean, I was up against PJ Friel and Kendra Egert, for crying out loud!  Who did I think I was?  And at the end, I believe we were the last three.

Kate: What happened next?

Rebecca: Well, I knew there was no way in Hades' undershorts that I was going to win against them, but I was still happy just to have participated to the end.  I spent three long days working around the clock churning out theme after theme that Sable threw at us.  On the final day, I just collapsed, satisfied that I had at least gotten valuable experience.  And a day or two later, I received an email saying I'd been chosen.  I was completely flabbergasted.

Kate: I would imagine so.  I've seen PJ and Kendra, and frankly, my dear - they're much better than you are.

Rebecca: Hey! A little support here, if you don't mind!  This is MY interview after all.  But yeah, they're awesome, so in the end, Sable decided to take on all of us.  I was really glad.  And now, we've all passed from the internship phase to being full-fledged artists with Cobblestone Press, and I just love it.

Kate: That's great when someone gets to do the work they love - I'm happy for you! I'd also like to hear how you come up with the ideas, but we've run out of space here.  Perhaps another day?

Rebecca: Sure, if you bring bagels next time.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Stuff We're Made Of

Others have written about this subject far more eloquently than I will be able to, but I'm feeling a need to write about it anyway. (Actually, I'm feeling a need to avoid the Packing & Cleaning Beast that is currently hulking just behind my shoulder; its hot, fetid breath scorching the back of my neck.)

Anyway, a few years ago, I moved across country and gave away nearly everything I own except for a few very important items: computer stuff, art stuff, family stuff. It was so liberating that I swore I'd never accumulate so much stuff again.

Fast forward six years...

Where in the heck did all this stuff come from?! I'm not a rabid consumer - I'm not, I tell you!  Books, furniture, miscellanea - how did it accumulate?  Why did I allow it?  I was doing fine without a sofa - just a couple of folding chairs in the living room... wait!  That was my daughter who wanted a sofa so she wouldn't be embarrassed when her friends came over. And oh, yes! My boss was cleaning out her storage locker and had an old sofa to give away. 

Sofa explained. Check.

Come to think of it, most of the furniture I can attribute to my daughter's influence coinciding with people I know having junk they wanted to get rid of, and I took it on.  Sucker!

So, now I'm stuck trying to sort, pack, clean, and get rid of everything before the end of the month, and have no idea how I'll manage it.  I've made another vow that NEVER AGAIN will I fall prey to the "gotta have stuff" mindset.

However... I was recently also in the hospital. They took away my purse, my clothes, everything I had with me while I was getting ready to be moved from the ER to my room.  It nearly caused a major panic attack. Wait! You can't take my stuff!  I felt so stripped, so horrifyingly bare. 

As they made off with my things, I had a little roll of mints in my hand that they hadn't seen and I didn't mention.  I held onto those darned mints as if they were the Holy Grail and my key to salvation.  After all, who was I if all I had was what they had given me?  How could I function if I didn't have some of my own things with me?  Yet in just a few moments, I had another revelation. Nearly everything I've ever had was given to me at some point, and I was actually in the hospital because I hadn't been able to let go of things. 

I put the mints down before they wheeled me away. Now, I'm hoping that this time, I can leave everything else behind as well.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Romance Readers Paradise

To find out more, you can visit Cynthia Eden's blog about a fabulous give-away some authors are having.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Hi there - thanks again to all who helped choose the next WIP. 

I haven't posted more on it for two reasons: one, I realized I really didn't like the direction the next scene was going in (seems a bit cliche) so that needs to be redone.  If you'd like to see what I plan on cutting/editing/rearranging, it's above under "cutting room floor".  There, you can at least see what happened after Caroline left the shop (which is where Midnight Ink ends in the candidate tab above).

The second, is that my health has taken a turn for the worse for the past two months, resulting in two hospital stays, and now a leave of absence until September. Now, that last bit sounds like it would be a blessing writing-wise, but unfortunately, that's not the case. My concentration is completely shot.  At some point in time, I may blog about it all, but for now, suffice it to say I'm a bit under the weather.  And some weather we've been having, huh?!  Even Maine had 95+ heat, which is something unheard of for them.

Anyhoodles, that's where I've been/where I am.  Hope to catch up to you all soon.  I do try to read your blogs - just haven't been commenting much.  I do know that Edie Ramer's "Galaxy Girls" is out now, and Charles Gramlich's "Ember Starr" is coming soon, so I'm stoked about that.  Check them out! :)

Friday, July 08, 2011

Drum roll...

And the winners are:

$20 Amazon Gift CardKallypso Masters
Art Package: Mark Diehl

Congratulations, Mark and Kally! 

And to all of you who gave such valuable feedback, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Since you were such good sports, if you would like to receive e-book copies of MANAGING MAGGIE and/or UNMASKED, just send an email to and I’ll be happy to send them to you (if you’re over 18!).  Just let me know if you'd prefer pdf or kindle versions.
And if you've already read those books, there are other giveaways lined up for the weeks ahead, so stay tuned. :)

Thanks again to everyone who participated! 

OH! I almost forgot - Midnight Ink won the "excerpt to be continued" contest. Congratulations, Ink. ;)

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

Ok, as a holiday weekend bonus, I'm adding to my earlier request (and prize). 

To be entered to win a gift from Amazon, all you have to do is help me choose between the two excerpts posted above (see tabs re: Candidates 1 & 2).  That's all: just read two short excerpts, tell me which one you like best and why you chose it over the other.

(And hey - if you hate them both, just tell me why you hate one less than the other, and you'll still be entered to win!) :)

As an added bonus, if you're an indie author, you can also be entered to win a free cover art package if you choose.  Just let me know in your comment whether you wish to also be entered for the art package.

The winner(s) will be announced July 8, 2011.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Promos and Motivation

I've read a few books lately on Indie publishing, and it seems the thing they stress the most is social networking - promo, promo, promo.

Being a naturally reclusive type, that is a bit hard for me.  However, it did occur to me that while I might have a hard time self-promoting, I don't mind at all to promote other people's work when I like it.  In fact, I started to wonder why I'd never invited any of the authors whose cover art I did to come by my blog and talk about their books.  Seems a natural thing to do, right?  And why haven't I done more book reviews?  I've read tons of books this past year - many by my blogging pals.  I could have been active in promoting them - I have no problem pumping up other writers on my blog, facebook, and twitter.

So, to those of you I've overlooked:  My deepest apologies; I'll remedy that situation very soon.

To myself... maybe I need to create an alter ego to peddle my own stuff? lol

Meanwhile, I've got three - count 'em three - WIPS I want to finish this year, but I'm finding it hard to stay focused and motivated.  However, I did narrow it down to two to focus on, but I still need to choose one to finish first, and decided to ask for you help in choosing by posting two excerpts to vote on.  You can find the candidates in the header tabs above.

With that in mind, I also decided to take a page from the awesomely talented Avery DeBow and try a Mad Lib (or, as she called it, Bad Lib) approach to finish the chosen story. Avery had posted a bit of a story each week, and asked for people to supply words which she had to include in the next week's excerpt. Her end story was incredible, and while I don't have the same amount of talent as Avery, the utter horror and shame should I fail to produce something might just be motivation enough to keep me going.

Mind you, both of those ideas fill me with utter terror.  You might not bother to show up.  You might hate both excerpts and refuse to vote.  You might hate the mad lib and not participate.  You might hate me.

And worst of all, I might be incapable of producing anything usable in such a manner on a weekly basis.

Oh, well.  All I can do is try.  If you don't want to play along and torture me even more senseless than I already am, I suppose I could just randomly pick words out of the dictionary.  It does lack that motivating, public humiliation factor, though.

UPDATE 6/30: By the way, if you participate, I'll promote your book across facebook, twitter, amazon, etc., and you'll be entered to win a free cover art package should you wish to receive one.  Just let me know.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Old School Vampires

Just discovered these guys today and had to share. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Like night and day

Some of you know that it recently seemed all the technology planets were aligned against me: I lost the use of my car, cell phone, computer and alphasmart all in one blow.

Well, the mechanic to whom I had been taking my car for a while, and to whom I had already given tons of money, told me it was going to cost around $1200 to make the car safe to drive again. Told me lots of scary stories of why it wasn't safe to keep driving. Since $1200 is what I pay for rent each month, there was no way I could afford that, so I just had to let the car sit in the driveway and walk to the train station to go to work. 

Now, my daughter just came home from school last week, and bless her lazy little heart, she just couldn't go without a car, and wouldn't/couldn't possibly drive it with someone following her to the shop, so she called another shop and had them come pick it for her while I was at work.

They had it for a day and half and came back with the following verdict:  the noise it was making was from carbon on the pistons which they cleaned off; the front brakes were a little rusty, but still ok for now, and other than that, they said, nothing was wrong with the car. Total cost of repair: $45.00. They didn't even charge me for picking it up.

Obviously, my trust had been misplaced in an opportunistic and unscrupulous shop ower who saw a single woman walk in and went, "Ca-ching!"  Unlike Frank Pasquesi, who didn't try to take advantage of the situation.

But there was more to come in my tech-challenged days.  Not  only did Pasquesi Auto prove themselves to be angels in a time of need, so did Evan Marshall and Edie Ramer.

When I lost my computer, I lost downloaded software, one of which was the Marshall Plan Novel Writing Software.  I sent Evan Marshall an email, and he quickly responded, freely replacing the software for me, and was very supportive and kind.

When Edie heard that I'd lost my Alphasmart, she immediately mailed me hers since she was no longer using it.  It was (is!) a huge help, and I'm very grateful. 

So, thank you again Edie Ramer, Evan Marshall, and Frank Pasquesi!

Has anyone recently proved themselves to be trustworthy, kind, and worth their weight in gold in your life?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Grumble, mumble, grr...

Will someone please remind Mother Nature it's supposed to be spring here already?  What's up with the SNOW?!  I woke up to an inch of it yesterday, and today, it's all howling winds and freezing rain.  Sheesh.

On the plus side... well, there really is no plus side to that. 

OH! Wait! I did work from home yesterday and today, so that is a plus. If I'd had to walk to the train station in this, I'd have been (even more) severely ticked off.  Also managed to get a chapter and a half on the new book done, so that's a plus too.  Ok, so  there were a couple of pluses to staying home in bad weather. :)

What's new in your world?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Time Travel

So, I was feeling a bit nostalgic today and sifted through my old blog posts.  I can't believe that in July it will be five years since I joined blogspot.

It was fun to discover this post that I wrote four years, five months, and four days ago, and now to know how it turned out:

It was also fun to see what has since happened with some of my early commenters: Amber Scott and Karen Weirich (aka Devin McKee) hadn't as yet been published, and Cynthia Eden was still mainly with small e-pubs, and I don't believe as yet had her first NY contract. Now look at them!  Edie Ramer and Michelle Diener, too - look at them go!

If you've been blogging for a while, see what some of your oldest posts were and what you would tell yourself now that you didn't know then.  I'd like to hear how it went. :)

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Silly Me

I thought I was a few books shy of my first month's Indie sales matching my first month's sales with Cobblestone Press, but the reality is, I surpassed them. I had forgotten to add in the Smashwords and Barnes & Noble sales for the month!

Well, now. I found that very interesting. It was also fun to discover that people from the UK, Australia, Denmark and Canada bought my book - and that the most of the foreign sales went to Australia and Denmark. Thanks, mates! Mange tak! :)

(Mind you, those weren't a LOT of sales, but it was still fun for me.) :)

Does this mean I'll stop trying to go for a traditional publisher? No. But it does mean that I'll dust off those "unusual/not mainstream/hard to define genre" manuscripts and put them out there to let the readers decide if they want to read them or not.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, I am totally pooped today. I shouldn't be so tired on the first warm Saturday this year - what's up with that?! Ah, well. Managed to get my living room thoroughly cleaned (baseboards, walls and all - could account some for the tiredness), the dirty kitchen is still looming, and I just want to hunker down with a good book or movie. Any recommendations?

(Although, I was in the mood to watch "The Princess Bride" again after reading this post.)  :)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Magical Mondays on a Thursday Evening

In the realm of "you never know what life will bring", I found this video last night. 

It's JK Rowling just after she finished writing the second Harry Potter which hadn't come out yet, and she was working on the third.  What I loved most was her excitement when she says (speaking of the first book the year it was out) "I sold 30,000 books in the UK which was just phenomenal." :)

Little did she know she'd be selling about that many per day just a few years later.  Enjoy and be inspired. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Books by the Numbers

There is a persistent belief that if you go indie, you'll never sell much. They say people like Amanda Hocking, Zoe Winters, JA Konrath, Tina Folsom, etc. are just "lucky" and the fact that they are now making a living with their indie books is a fluke. Ok, yes, they've gotten lucky - the luck that comes with writing a great story, being enthusiastic, learning what you need to know, believing in yourself, and taking a chance. The luck that is defined as "preparation meets opportunity."

Someone else whose "luck" is increasing due to the same formula, is my blogosphere pal, Edie Ramer.  She just sold 1000 books on Kindle this past month and I couldn't be happier for her.  I fully expect that as more people read her books (which are fabulous, by the way - I LOVED "Dragon Blues") those figures will increase and she will soon be making a living wage at it herself.

My former critique partner, Amber Scott, is also doing amazingly well. Like Edie and Zoe, Amber's enthusiasm and passion for what she's doing is carrying her far. In fact, I recently told her she is my hero right now because I remember clearly the first time we met in Barnes & Noble. Neither of us had been published, both were very shy - she, exceedingly so - but were having fun trying to make something of what we had. Now that formerly shy young woman is burning up the internet with her podcasts, vblogs, interviews, presentations, panels, you name it, and her book "PlayFling" was in Smashwords top 20 for weeks.  And I fully expect her next book, Fierce Dawn, to do really well. Go, Amber!

Now, as for me, I didn't really have very high expectations venturing into the Indie Arena. I had seen how badly things turned out for my grandfather when he self-published (in the days before Kindle), and I've read all the caveats (even by successful indie authors) that say don't get your  hopes up too much in the beginning. And of course, there is still some stigma attached to it. But I was willing to try it, to see how it went.

Since "Unmasked" is a re-release of an older novella--as well as a bit niche in its audience*--I didn't do any promotion except to mention it a couple of times on my blog, Facebook and Twitter.  I put it out there to see what would happen, and to test the waters of this Kindle publishing thing.

To my surprise, I've already sold more copies in the past month than I did the whole time it was with its original publisher, and I'm within 15 copies of matching my first month's sales of "Managing Maggie" at Cobblestone Press - and MM was their bestseller for that month.  (At first, I thought I had surpassed the sales figure, but when I looked up my royalty statement from last year, saw that I'm almost there.) Fingers crossed that I can match it in the next three days, but even if I don't, I've still been pleasantly surprised.

"Unmasked" started out ranking at around #1 million something, then got to around #300,000 the first few days, peaking so far at around 20,000 in the US, but generally ranking between 25 and 40K.  I was a bit discouraged by that number until I bought the most recent book by a well-known, traditionally pub'd  author that I like a lot, and hers was ranked at #36,000+ that day.  But about an hour ago, I just found out to my surprise that "Unmasked" was #36 on the Amazon UK's list for bisexual erotica - I broke into a top 100!  Who knew?!

Now, in reality, the number of sales this month aren't going to pay my rent (especially with Unmasked now priced at 99cents), but even so - color me hooked!  Being able to control whether and when my story gets put for sale was so liberating and empowering. Now I'm asking myself, "If my first niche novella that I've hardly promoted at all can do this, what might happen if I promoted a book that has a wider audience range -- one that I'm also very enthusiastic about?"

That will my next experiment.  I'll let you know how it turns out. :)

Meanwhile, I know Charles Gramlich, Avery DeBow, Sidney Williams, Marcia Colette, and Steve Malley have all also tried the indie route recently - any of you want to share your experience so far? :)


*When I first wrote Unmasked back in 2006, it was in response to a call from a publisher looking to fill slots for an erotic anthology about a masquerade ball held by the gods. In researching the editor, I discovered she really liked male/female/female menages, so I wrote a story with that in mind and sent it to her. Two morals to that story: One, if you want to have someone else publish your books, research the editor; and two, even if your book has a limited audience, that doesn't mean it has NO audience, so don't give up!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cat Burglars and Covers

First of all, you may have noticed the slide show with your book covers has disappeared from the top of the page. That's not because I stopped loving you, but because Amazon cancelled all the affiliate accounts of people in Illinois due to some new tax law.  I'll add something else to point people to your great books later. :)

While you're waiting for that, let me tell you about our cat, Macy.  She has the bad habit of opening every drawer and cabinet she comes in contact with to examine the contents - she's worse than a toddler.  She goes through the kitchen cabinets and drawers at least once a day in search of food and entertainment.  One day, she pulled out all the pot holders and dish towels from a drawer and dumped them on the floor. The other cat promptly came over and peed on them. 

And my daughter wonders why I want to give them away...

This morning I got up, went to the kitchen, and saw that she had discovered there was actually a drawer under the stove she hadn't seen before.  This is a heavy, metal drawer full of pots and pans, but she somehow managed to get it open and sifted through my pans.  What was she doing?  Baking cupcakes?  Loaning the pizza pan to the neighbors?

Tonight, I think I'll post a sign on my door: "Cat burglars welcome. Steal my cats, please!" 
Of course, Macy might slip the muffin tin under her arm as she goes...


Now, on an unrelated note (or related, since I did say "cats and covers"), in keeping with the 10 day overcome writer's block program, I've been bribing the right side of my brain with treats for writing.  For example, 20 minutes of writing = 20 minutes of something fun.  Tonight my reward was to play with making a cover for my WIP - a book unlike anything you've read from me so far - this one probably won't even have a single sex scene in it. ;)  It's more of an action/adventure with strong romantic elements.

Anyway, here is the result, and I kind of like it.  Of course, it's subject to change once the book is actually finished, but the right side of the brain had a good time, and it inspired me to keep writing.  (Oh, and I did another different sort of cover for my friend, Mark Diehl, whose drugs/guns/horror book will be released soon - you can find it on the Digital Art page - and if the cover I mention above doesn't show ((it keeps disappearing)), I'm going to try to add it to that page as well.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lies We Tell Ourselves

You're not good enough...You have nothing to say...You'll never finish this, because you never finish anything...You lack what it takes to follow through...You should give up now because you're wasting your time...No one will ever read this...

And so on.

Vicious, nasty inner critics that have paralyzed my writing for days, weeks, sometimes even years.  All based on one thing:  Fear.  Fear I'll never get published; fear that I will.  Fear no one will read it; fear someone will.  Fear it will be bad; fear it will be good.  You name the inner conflict, I've felt it.  And apparently, I'm not alone.

I've just finished reading a book on overcoming writer's block by Karen Peterson called "Write. 10 Days to Overcome Writer's Block. Period."  In it, she promotes the idea that the left and right sides of our brains put out conflicting information when we're afraid of something, and gives some exercises to help figure out how to get around that, such as writing and answering certain questions using first our dominant hand, then the non-dominant hand to see where the conflict might lie.  She also gave lists of things to check off, using alternating hands.

I really didn't expect to see different answers for the questions, but was astounded when I did the exercises: my left hand really didn't know what my right hand was doing!

For example, for months I've been plagued by the thought that I have nothing to say, therefore, I shouldn't write (not even blog - that's a big reason why my blogging has been so sporadic.)  But when I checked off the lists of questions that included "I have nothing to say" and "I have so much to say I don't know where to start" I actually checked both - each with a different hand, and didn't realize it.

Using more information from the book, I delved a little deeper into that conflict, and realized that in fact, I have a LOT to say, but have been terrified of saying it; which is why for almost a year, I haven't said much of anything.  I also realized where the source of that fear came from and have been able to smack it down.

It was quite an interesting exercise.  I have a way to go yet, but found it helpful.

Meanwhile, to deal with that critic who keeps telling me I can never finish anything, I also took a long look through my hard drive. Yes, I did find 22 incomplete manuscripts.  But I also found 11 completed.  "Hah! Take THAT, inner critic!"  Obviously, I can write a story from beginning to end.

Then on to the next lie: "You'll never get published and no one will ever read/like what you've written."  For some reason, that's been a persistent belief, until I realized that I've only ever submitted 3 stories, and all three were published, and all three had strangers write to say they enjoyed them.

So, roll up your sleeves, it's time for the inner critic smackdown!  Kick those doubters to the curb!  What lies has your inner critic told you that you were able to prove wrong?  And didn't you feel like Rocky when you knocked them out? :)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

You've waited all year, and now it's here - Read an EBook Week!

Ok, maybe you haven't been waiting all year. But if not, why not?  Ebooks are great!  I'll admit, I was a skeptic, too, but they won me over. AND, I don't even have an e-reader. If I ever get one, though, I'm afraid my book store days will be over, except for rare occasions. That's a little sad, but there you have it.  You just can't beat the convenience, the price (well, with indies and the small pubs, at least), not to mention being able to carry your whole library with you at any time.

So, in honor of "Unmasked" now being up on Amazon Kindle (soon to be out in Barnes & Noble's Nook), and National Read an Ebook Week starting today, I put up a slideshow of some of my friends' ebooks, as well as just a few others that I've enjoyed - all with helpful links to take you to their pages on Amazon.

Try one!  Any one!  I'd love to hear about your experience with them.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Maybe not so pretentious this time?

OK, changed the header again.  I think this is better. :)

Meanwhile, in spite of my lofty goal this year to focus solely on craft and not publishing, I find I just can't do it.  I LIKE the publishing aspect too much.  In fact, I love everything about it - the first story idea, the last page, the edits, the cover art, that first sale... it's such a rush.  And I love it not just for me, but for other people, as well.  I'm always so excited when I hear the good news that someone received a new contract, or decided to go indie.  It's fun!

So, please excuse the mess as this blog continues to undergo updates as I work out its design and purpose.  I was working on setting up a new website, but I've seen several sample lately of blogs used as the author's sole website, and they've done a great job with them (I hope they don't mind if I steal some of their ideas!) 

For example, Tina Folsom did a very good job, I think (although I believe she also has a regular website as well.)  I really like the widget at the top and want to get one, but since I only have two books of my own right now, I'm going to try to add some friends' books to it (providing the friends don't mind - if you'd like to be included, let me know and I'll do it if Amazon lets me.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Coming Out and Shouting Out

Notice anything different about this blog?  I'm working on a new website and updating my blog in preparation.  Since I've been writing under one name, and doing book covers and other art under a different name, I decided to "come out" and combine the two.  (I figure if Steve Malley can do it, why shouldn't I?) :) 

(Quick shout out, Go Steve!)

As for the title, I can't decide if it should be "creatively squared" or "creativity squared" and would be interested in hearing your opinion. Or do you think something else altogether?  All opinions are welcome - even if they are half-baked, cracked, and not worth listening to. :)

Meanwhile, I also want to congratulate Amber Scott and Edie Ramer on their Kindle success. (The crowd goes wild....Yaayyyyyyyyyy)

Some others with new books and exciting projects coming down the pike (in alphabetical order) are:

Avery Debow
Charles Gramlich
Michelle Diener
Natasha Fondren
Rick Moore
Stewart Sternberg

Any news you want to share, whether your own or about someone you know?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Digital Book World, 'PW' Present Self-Publishing Webcast

Digital Book World, 'PW' Present Self-Publishing Webcast

Got this from an email - thought I'd share, since there is such a boom in self e-publishing.  I want to see/listen, but I'll be in the office at that time. :(   If anybody can make it and is willing to tell all, I'd love to hear about it. :)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Heads Up Horror Writers

I just saw that Samhain Publishing is now open to horror writers.  Info is here:

I know a few people who have published with them and they were all extremely happy with the experience.  I haven't had a book published with them (yet), but they have rejected me, lol, so they are at least discriminating. :)  They were also very nice and helpful in the rejection as well.  Told me where I missed the mark, and encouraged me to keep submitting to them since they liked my writing style overall.  I was impressed, and plan to submit to them again in the future.  Whenever I have something ready, that is. :)