Sunday, October 16, 2011

Progress Report, 10-15-11, and Losing Friends

I finally made it to the novel's last Part. And I've divided into two less intimidating sections. I have only 5 months until my deadline, which means that the last read through/proofreading will likely be rushed, which makes me unhappy. So here goes:

Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Revised: 2.5
Pages Cut: 6.5
New Scenes: 3 --- 11 3/4 pages of new stuff!
Bad Things that Happened: sneaky schemes of murder are hatched
Good Things that Happened: A prince is born

In other news, I'm grieving this week because our circle of friends is losing not one couple, but two. Two couples are moving out of state on the same weekend! Losing one was almost too much for me to contemplate, but two? My husband's mountain biking buddies are moving to Denver, which is their dream come true. The other couple, from our LifeGroup, is employed to build those enormous windmill farms, so they go where the business is. In truth, we got to keep them longer than we hoped, but now they are moving to far southern Texas, near South Padre, which is an absolutely gorgeous island on the Gulf. They'll adjust; we'll adjust. But I'm not sure others realize how traumatically this might affect me. I think it comes from moving so often as a child. All through Elementary School, we moved every two to three years, and I would make maybe a single friend each time. I don't even remember their names, and doubtless, I'm no more than a blip in their memory. I hung out more with my sister's friends b/c there was less of a heart-attachment involved. I wasn't leaving my friends, I was leaving hers. No biggie.

Seriously, the past year-and-a-half is the first time I've had friends as an adult (I was 32). I'm settled at last in a place I mean to stay, so I opened up and let myself become attached to people. Then they move away. I'll have to work very hard to keep from convincing myself, "What's the point? Why bother?" Good thing is, our circle is still intact, just smaller. We get to watch one of our remaining couples become parents for the second time next spring. And they mean to officially open up the LifeGroup for new participants, so new couples will try us out and hopefully be a good fit. We're a crazy lot. We love to have fun while we explore the Word of God. Serious? Us? Ha, rarely. But we're all sad this week.

So here's to learning how to cope...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Our FREE Halloween Antho is HERE!

I'm excited beyond words to bring you the links where you can download a free copy of Past the Patch. Brian, the editor was kind enough to call "The Witch of Mistletoe Lane" -- my efforts for the collection -- "the shining gem of this piece." *dumbfounded gape* I have not read the collection myself, as of yet, so I cannot vouch for the other stories inside. Be aware that these authors come from many genres and backgrounds. It will be an eclectic read, that's for sure. So, friends and family, I encourage you to get your hands on a copy.

Here are the links:




Saturday, October 8, 2011

Past the Patch, A Free Halloween Anthology!

On Tuesday, October 11, Dark Red Press releases its Halloween anthology, Past the Patch, edited by Brian Fatah Steele, author of horrifying tales like In Bleed Country and Fragments of Ruin. This new anthology features 13 all-new tales of Halloween from 13 different authors, writing in a variety of genres, from horror to literary. Best of all the anthology is free! FREE! It can't get better than that. You will be able to find it for download at Smashwords, Scribd, and Goodreads. Once those links become available, I will happily post them for your convenience.

The list of contributing authors, in alphabetical order, is as follows:

Sarah E. Adkins
Jonathan Dukestein
Court Ellyn
Matthew J. Leverton
Jack Lloyd
Jack X. McCallum
H. H. Shullith
John Claude Smith
John J. Smith
Brian Fatah Steele
C. L. Stegall
J. T. Warren
Robert S. Wilson

Friday, October 7, 2011

Progress Report, 10-7-11, and Gleaning Good Stuff From Negative Comments

Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Revised: 0
Pages Cut: 2
New Scenes: 2 --- 9 pages of new stuff! This particular section has allowed me to apply what I've learned about Show vs. Tell
Bad Things that Happened: A bridge comes tumbling down
Good Things that Happened: Nobody was on it

When Daniel Pool of Larks Fiction Magazine reviewed my novella Mists of Blackfen Bog at the Examiner, one of the few criticism he had about it concerned the "Interlude" that I included near the end. It's a linking scene, summarizing the passage of time while including the important details, between the rising action and the conclusion. He called this a "hiccup." Now, I'm indifferent about the matter. I can't agree or disagree with his opinion, but I see his point. How does that relate to my novel Falcons Rising and the revisions it's suffering through? Don't tell, but I had an "Interlude" there as well, in which I summarized not the events of a few days, but the highlights taking place over a couple of years. The reader does not need to know every event that occurs during those couple of years, but some important things do happen. How to handle this information has proven a problem in the past couple of weeks.

My conclusion is to choose the major pieces of information and show them in full detail, while tossing in the tidbits of other important info, as my POV character learns of it, letters, hearsay, battle reports, etc. If "telling" must done (and it must b/c there's just too much info), then let it be done through the characters themselves, their words, their thoughts, rather than a very, very ... very ... distant omniscient narration. It's been tough trying to decide how to present the information in a more interesting way without belaboring the issue and drawing out the book to ridiculous lengths. But I think the reader will appreciate the results, if not the immense effort involved.

So, if nothing else, it's good to read the negative comments as well as the good, in the hopes that one's future endeavors benefit. Have you received a less than favorable comment that helped strengthen your writing later?


Monday, October 3, 2011

Falcons Promo

A bit of promo art, anyone?

Well, ideally, I'm not lying about the date. Okay, okay, it's not a date, it's a season, which gives me lots of leeway. Friend Virginia is getting very, very upset that this project isn't finished yet. She only got to read the first half of this novel, and she's anxiously awaiting the rewrites for the rest. I can't let my new head cold get in the way. Rewrites must go on.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I can breathe now...

I had to wait until I had a moment to breathe before I could spend decent time posting. Things have calmed down a bit. I gave up on the LeFiWriMo project, which helped immensely. The writing frenzy was a good learning experience, however. I learned that I'm writing more in a day than I thought I was. All these years I felt as if I wasn't doing enough, not accomplishing enough in my day-to-day tasks. Now I know that's not the case. Seriously, when you write rough drafts longhand for years, you go by the number of pages you've filled with your increasingly horrible scrawl, rather than word count. Now I know I can type 2000 words a day without much effort at all -- as long as the story itself is flowing clearly. So, I will now be typing all my rough drafts. I know, I know. Welcome to the modern era, lady!

In the meantime, colleague Brian Fatah Steele contacted me, along with several self-published writers he's acquainted with, and asked us to be part of an anthology he's putting together. When he said it was to have a Halloween theme, initially I was intimidated. Brian is a horror writer. I canNOT write horror, so I was relieved when he said my story could be of a different genre. Now I'm intimidated because the results are on the almost-too-long end, and barely of any speculative genre at all (which is a first for me!). Literary Americana with a smidgeon of fantastical happenings. I hope it fits. If not, oh, well. I had a wonderful time writing it, and feel that the story has something to say about small town life, about decency to neighbors. Best of all, my very honest husband loved it. *whew*

So if all goes well, be looking for a new Halloween antho this October. I won't release the details until I have permission.

My verse during busy times:

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Which is powerfully interpreted as "Stop striving and know that I am God."


Sunday, September 11, 2011

No More, Please!

I'm starting to freak out. Last post I said that my plate was full. Now I think LegendFire's ezine layout person has quit on us. She and I had a very . . . strange . . . disagreement. Or misunderstanding. I'm not sure what it was. Typing private messages back and forth over a period of weeks manages to conceal the body language and tone of voice that would confirm exactly what transpired. She proposed layout changes to make the ezine look more professional. I said great! Send me your ideas. Then, come to find out, she expected me to have the vision for something she proposed. ???

We have four days till Issue 7 is supposed to be released, I sent the content to her three days ago, and I've not heard a word from her. Which isn't odd in itself. There are often many, many days between my PMs to her and her replies, and because of her busy student schedule we've never once gotten the ezine released on its release date,even after we rearranged the release schedule to accomodate. So I could be worrying for nothing. Or I could be putting up with too much crap.

In her last message to me, she said that she would drop the project then. Does that mean she's dropping the project of standardizing and professionalizing the ezine? Or does that mean she's dropping the ezine altogether? I don't know! So now I'm chewing my nails, waiting to see if she sends me a copy of the zine to be checked for final edits or if I have to scramble around and take up yet another project that someone drops.

There's no way I can afford publishing software. Getting to know something like Scribus, which is free, will take time that I do not have. So, yeah, I'm freaking out. If this falls through, I'm tempted yet again to urge the ezine staff to drop the whole thing. I will shout, I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN!!! Two years ago, some member proposed the idea, thinking, "Ah wouldn't it be great if we still received a newsletter every month." I turned around and asked that member (in slightly more PC language), "So you mean to take this project on, huh, b/c I do not have time to hold your hand and do all the unseen things it would involve." The member with the great idea says, "Uh, I didn't mean me." No, really? Yeah, I know exactly who you meant. I considered the matter dropped, until weeks later someone decides, "Hey, this would be a great idea! Not a newsletter though, but a quarterly ezine!"

I hold up my hands and say, "Fine, y'all industrious folks who have time, have at it. I can't take this on too."

Slowly but surely, I inherited one task for the ezine, then another. Every quarter, I have to spend time hunting up members to write articles, which often feels like begging for someone to step up and take action. In the meantime, the member who first proposed the idea is no longer even a member, due to busyness that took them away. No, really? Then our original editor got busy editing in the real world and vanished, so I'm now the ezine editor too. Somewhere in there, we learned that hardly anyone was receiving the bloody thing in their email inboxes, so I had to involve my husband to try to figure out LF's bulk email settings and server issues, just so folks will receive the product of our efforts. It was so bad that some members didn't know we HAD an ezine the first whole year it was out. *shoot me now*

So, after all this B.S. I have the eerie feeling that our layout lady has dropped us. She only ever showed up once a quarter to do the layouts anyway, which means she's probably looking for any excuse at all to sever ties with LF, and I do believe this was her excuse.

Do I take up yet more slack? Or bury the ezine? I just don't know. Looks like I have four days to wait and see what happens. Then, the old red dragon may rear her ugly head.