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Archive for June, 2017

After a few weeks tending to other things, I’ve finally gotten back into the first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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And, like magic, the ideas are starting to flow. I wrote that new chapter.

And I broke down and made changes to those two chapters I was trying not to revise quite yet–because I don’t want to get into revision mode when what I’m supposed to be doing is writing the first draft. Those are two totally different and inconsistent parts of the writing process. But there were some things that were just going to niggle at me until I fixed them. Or, at least, fixed them for now.

I’ve also blocked in another chapter that I’ve decided I need, as well as two new scenes. One is in a chapter coming up soon. The one I just blocked in needs to take place in the chapter I’ve already gone through. I’m going to try to hold off on that because I still try to hold to keeping a first draft moving only forward. (Making notes about something I want to add or change is permissible, though.)

On the whole, what these new chapters and scenes will do is get the main and secondary conflicts front and center earlier. And, hopefully, hint at some of the difficulties and consequences to come. I can only say hopefully because, obviously, I haven’t written them yet.

But the important thing is that I can feel the creative juices moving, like sap in the spring, and preparing to make this story stronger and more exciting. And that, of course, helps to excite me about writing it.

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After spinning my wheels on this for over a week, I finally wrote that new chapter yesterday, in two sittings (only broken up because I had to make and eat dinner).

So, progress is finally being made again on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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I’ve also roughed in the idea of another new chapter a little farther down the road, keeping a certain fraternal relationship just a little stirred up.

Now, I need to proceed with the read-through of what I’d already written. And try to force myself to remember that it’s still only a first draft. It’s much too early to start serious revisions. Even though I have a strong suspicion that I’m going to want to cut a lot out of the next two chapters, which I think are slowing the story down. That’s a decision for after I’ve typed “The End”, not before.

Hopefully, now that I’ve got some significant time off, I can make good progress on at least getting the first draft finally done.

Meanwhile, I think I’ve got everything ready to finish getting the boxed set of the first three books of the Dual Magics Series and the short story “Modgud Gold” up for wide distribution when they’re free of Kindle Unlimited next week.

Dual Magics 1-3 Boxed Set

I put WAR OF MAGIC up on Pronoun yesterday.

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Then I need to plan a promotion for this series. With a little bit of luck, the audio book of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE will be available at the same time. It’s still pending review on ACX.

TSC Audio

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So, now I’m working my way back into the story of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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The last few weeks have been pretty much dedicated to getting a good start on taking my stories to a wider distribution. I’m far from done with that, but I think I’ve got the process down to where it should be fairly smooth.

Getting back into this story should be easier than it’s proving so far. But, well, each story is different and I think all the struggles I had with figuring out how to get the early story in, before I finally decided to publish it separately as BECOME: BROTHERS has affected my motivation for this story.

Brothers

Maybe this new chapter I need to write will help fix that–if I can ever figure out how to start it. It’s the first POV switch in this book and therefore just a little tricky. Plus, it needs to be one character’s reaction to what another character learned in the previous chapter, so I can’t just start with him being told the same thing.

I’ll figure it out. After tomorrow (when the school year ends), I’ll have approximately two and a half months to work on this first draft. I ought to be able to get it done in that time.

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Today is the seventeenth Father’s Day since Dad died in October 1999.

Dad in Uniform

My father.

Fiftieth Anniversary

(Yeah, that’s me with my eyes closed. It’s really hard to get a picture of me with my eyes open for some reason. That was my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary, btw. Yes, they were married in December, hence the wreaths in the background. And, yeah, if a couple of my stories have tall male protagonists with short, fiery love interests, well, you might be looking at part of the reason for that right there. 🙂 )

I was outside earlier (despite the heat wave) using a gardening tool of Dad’s–one he adapted for the purpose. I’m pretty sure it started out as a hoe, but Dad straightened it out and turned it into a long-handled scraper. It’s the perfect tool for scraping weeds out of my decomposed granite driveway (where they’re impossible to pull out because the ground is too compacted). Which is what Dad used it for. (It also makes a pretty decent lever for lifting stepping stones that have gotten well set into my adobe clay soil.)

His generation did a lot of that. If you needed a tool, you didn’t just run down and buy a new one. First you looked around at what you already had to see if there was something you could use or adapt to the purpose. I need to think like that more often.

Thinking of you today, Dad.

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Audio Book Soon!

I just now reviewed the handful of revisions to the audio book for THE SHAMAN’S CURSE

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And approved the book. If all goes well, it should be available in a couple of weeks!

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Phase 1 is nearly complete. I’ve even had my first non-Amazon sale since 2014. Just a few more minor tasks.

I need to compile the .epub file for BLOOD IS THICKER and upload that to Draft2Digital.

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From there, it’s a simple matter to prepare the boxed set, CHIMERIA OMNIBUS.

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I also need to do one bit of cleanup on THE VOICE OF PROPHECY.

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For some reason I still haven’t figured out, the table of contents in the .epub I uploaded to Pronoun got altered. Their version includes an “untitled” line which seems to correspond to a blank Heading 3. (I use Heading 3 for my revision notes as I work through my manuscript. I delete them as I go. Evidently, in this case, the text was deleted but the style remained.)

Nevertheless, that line is not in my toc, partly because my toc deliberately only goes to level 2. The mystery is how it ended up in Pronoun’s .epub when it is not in the one I uploaded. Hopefully, I’ll hear back from them about that in the next few days. In the meantime, there’s no reason not to fix it. It’s just compiling one more .epub.

That’s all the books that can go wide for the next couple of weeks, at least. So, after that, I can work on preparing the others as time allows and, finally, get back to work on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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I have an idea for a new chapter I need to get to work on.

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Well, I published BLOOD WILL TELL widely yesterday,

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so I now have books distributed through both Pronoun and Draft2Digital. No sales on either, yet, but that’s not entirely unexpected. I’ll probably have to run a promotion or two later in the month to get these noticed.

Here are my first impressions:

  1. I prefer Draft2Digital’s interface. Pronoun’s interface is much glitzier, but it feels like it’s trying to lead a novice through this process. As I’m not a self-publishing novice, that’s a little irritating. It’s also not as flexible as either Amazon or Draft2Digital. For example, Pronoun insists that you use all seven keywords. Also all prices will end in .99. (Though Pronoun will allow you to set the book free, which Amazon won’t.) And, for Pronoun, if you want to (or need to) opt out of Amazon, you’ll have to supply the Amazon link to prove your book is already published there.
  2. Pronoun does offer an Author Page, which is very useful, especially since you can’t include a link to your Amazon author page for books that will be distributed through other vendors. And, in setting up this Author Page, you can list other books, currently only published on Amazon (through universal links).
  3. Pronoun tries to be very helpful, though it falls a little flat. When you enter a keyword, Pronoun makes suggestions. As far as I can tell, they’re harvesting similar terms that have been used and trying to suggest the most popular. I can get that from Kindle Samurai, if I choose. And, anyway, the suggestions for my genre were not actually good fits and all seemed to be directed toward specific books–that were not my book.
  4. Also, under the heading of trying to be helpful, I was bombarded with emails from Pronoun–twice before I figured out how to turn it off (I hope)–suggesting that many of my books (all of the Dual Magics series, individually, plus Fire and Earth) could be in Amazon’s top 100 in the Arthurian category. The only problem with that is that none of them have anything at all to do with King Arthur. Not even remotely.
  5. Both Pronoun and Draft2Digital will put out new release emails, which is very helpful.

So, now it’s just hunker down and wait through a pay cycle or two to see how things work out. I’ll go ahead and publish the other book in the Chimeria series, BLOOD IS THICKER,

 

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through Draft2Digital. And explore some of their more advanced options that I haven’t had a chance to look at yet.

And I’ll prepare the rest of the Dual Magics series to go up on Pronoun when they’re clear from Kindle Unlimited. Then, in July, I’ll be able to tackle the rest of my novel-length works and make a decision about the shorter works.

And maybe, just maybe, get back to work on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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