I managed to get my next test in the AWC block taken in 6 weeks instead of 3 months, but it still hasn’t been graded,and its been a week since I submitted it.  That means my timeline is in the toilet.  There is now no way I can finish it with several weeks between tests.  Not before October.  But the good news is I don’t have to devote so much of my time to it.  I have an extra year tacked on now till the next board meets, so I can focus more energy on my writing.

I took a flyer on something this week that won’t likely pan out, but it will be a game changer if it does.  I’ll speak more about that if something happens.  I’m not holding my breath.

I ‘m on another adventure this week and next, I’ll discuss that on the aftermath also.  Sorry to keep you hanging.

I started playing Angry Birds a little more than a week ago, and I don’t recommend it to anyone that wants to have a life.  It’s like crack, I wouldn’t be surprised if I disappeared for 3 days and then showed up having not eaten or bathed.  Avoid the game at all costs.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I am in the middle of reading 5 books at the same time, 2 are hardcover and 3 are electronic.  I need to focus on one and knock it out.  I read in between other stuff, like waiting at Jiffy Lube, or the down time when I’m flying.  I have a long sortie later today that I’m not primary on and will have hours of time to write and read.  My laptop battery is teh suck, so I will only get an hour or so to write before it conks out. So the rest of the time will be reading time.

I am looking at getting a wireless keyboard for my iPad, the downside is that I have to use a Pages, and that doesn’t use the same fonts.  I’m not sure it will matter, but its annoying.  Dropbox is so damned cool, I use it on all my devices and it allows me to move between platforms almost seamlessly, if I had word for the iPad it would be perfectly seamless.

I’m still trying to figure out Google +, it is easy to get on and add friends to circles, but I haven’t really done much with it yet.  I think it will be cool, when I’m ready to start marketing though.  If you want to try it and haven’t let me know and I’ll try to throw you an invite.

I think I am past a roadblock on my Novel and should be able to fly to the end now.  Yeah right!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Clear Ether!

To Pay, or Not to Pay? That is the Question …to the editor I mean.

I’ve been thinking a lot about editing lately.  I can’t judge how good my own writing is, I’m too close to it and have read it so many times I can’t evaluate it objectively.  I also want to know where the glaring problems are so that I can fix them.  Thankfully I have a writing partner, but even after that process I might want to have a “Real” editor take a whack at it (no offense meant Stacy).  Looking at the average cost for a novel of 500 pages or 120,000ish words it runs around $1500.  It can vary up and down from that several hundred dollars, but let’s use that as a baseline figure.  In order to recoup that cost I have to sell books.  If I put it up on Amazon for $3.99 I get to keep 70% of that or $2.79.  That would require me to sell 536 books to hit the break even point and that is not even counting the cost of getting it published.  If I choose to sell it at $2.99, I get  $2.09 and have to sell 718 copies.  If I choose the $.99 price point many new authors are using I get $.35 a copy and that requires 4286 books to sell to hit the break even point.

Honestly, I’m sure having a real editor give my book a good going over is really worthwhile, but it’s a real leap of faith to make that investment on something that may only sell to my family and friends out of kindness.  I think anyone that is self-publishing should have their book edited by a professional.  The other option is to try to get it as good as I can and get a publishing company to buy the rights and do all that stuff on their nickel 

I’m really curious how many of you are using an editing service and if you think it’s worth it.

The Life Cycle of an Idea

Kids are able to make up stuff on the fly, but as adults we have a really hard time with people changing stuff on us. Why is that? Do you remember when you were a kid and the world was full of wonder and nothing seemed impossible? We could dream big. One of my dreams was to be an astronaut — I really wanted to be Han Solo, truth be told. We could tell outlandish stories to our friends that made no sense, but we told them anyway because it was fun! Remember fun? I see my kids do it all the time. They take a simple idea and run it over and then back over it and run it over several more times, making it different each time and laughing all the way.

Somewhere along the line of becoming an adult we lose that outlook on life and become cynics to one degree or another. Things need to make sense. Life becomes about the realities of the world and not the possibilities of the world. All the mundanities of life intrude on our time for reverie. We have bills to pay, and jobs or school or both that eat up gobs of our time. We start having children and then we have not only ourselves to worry about but little protégé to teach our worries to. It’s amazing we have any imagination left at all!

Well, as writers we have to find a way to tap back into that dream space that holds imagination. It’s our job to find the barely believable, to look around the corners that hide the stuff that’s not quite normal … to rediscover the impossible. People ask all the time, “Where do you get your ideas?” They actually come from all over the place. You have to keep your eyes open, and your mind open. It’s usually a combination of interesting events or articles that I read that trigger a thought. That thought needs to be nurtured and cultivated. I write it down, and then I think about it more. Sometimes they come in the form of a dream. I still have very vivid dreams, which are sometimes like a James Bond movie, or a fantasy film. I try to write down those ideas too, before they flicker out. If you don’t write them down they will fade away and out of your mind’s grasp. I keep a couple of notebooks at arm’s reach most of the time, because you just never know when lightening is going to strike.

I recommend reading … a lot! Read blogs, read news articles, read stories from your favorite magazines. Read books by your favorite authors, or maybe a new author in a new genre that you haven’t tried before. You never know what will combine into a glorious idea. Ideas are glorious and they need time to grow. They don’t usually burst into life fully formed. You need time to think about them more, to add to them. Keep reading, work on other projects then come back to your idea and check on it. Sometimes it will appear as if it’s hasn’t grown at all. Other times your imagination will spark and the idea will grow and mutate. Sometimes you need to prune it back a little, as it goes strange. I find that showers are great for helping the idea grow; my muse likes showers for some reason. Write all these down in your journal.

It’s also a great idea to take two or more of your ideas that you’ve been cultivating and see if they will fit together. Sometimes this will create a really great kernel for a novel. Sometimes ideas are more suited for shorter length and are just not destined to grow any bigger. That’s ok too, especially now, we seem to be seeing a rebirth of the short story that fits very nicely into the ebook format. They are perfect for a $.99 cent sell on Amazon.

Just because we are grown-ups now doesn’t mean we can’t recapture our youthful imagination. It’s like a small ember that needs some kindling and a little breath of air, then we can add some smaller sticks to it, and then bigger sticks and finally some logs as we kick it into gear.


Clear Ether!

Commenting on Blogs

5968a-responseI’ve been wondering what makes people respond to blogs. There are several that I check almost daily, and some gets hundreds of responses and some get almost none. One of my favorites is Charlie Stross. He has a robust and regular posting that is usually thought provoking on purpose and he has a very intellectual group of followers that love to mix it up. I don’t feel smart enough to even post on his site, but I love to lurk. Another of my favorites is new author Mary Robinette Kowal, who is also very regular in her postings, but I don’t think I‘ve ever seen more than a handful of responses to her posts. She isn’t fishing for responses and it doesn’t seem to matter to her. I have no idea how many hits she is getting, but whoever they are rarely engage with her. I think she’s fascinating.

I love it when people post a response. It feels strangely validating. I see some bloggers respond to every response, that’s nice, but unfortunately I don’t have access to my blog from work and I travel and work long hours some days, and sometimes I can’t access the site for a day or two. I like to give back the love to the people that respond, I really do appreciate that they took the time to come to my blog, read it and reply to it. Know that I really love to see responses and if I were able I would reply to all of them. What I do try to do is reciprocate but following back and retweeting their blogs on Twitter. I like to help promote my friends.

One of my favorite bloggers is Jami Gold and she did something this week to celebrate her 1st anniversary as a blogger and started a contest. She actually had more people than ever before post a reply on her blog. I think it surprised her, but I know she is happy about it.

I come full circle back to why I put stuff on here. The idea was to have a destination for people to come to when I actually publish my book. I know I like interacting with my favorite authors and have been fortunate enough to engage with a few of them. One of my all-time favorites is CJ Cherryh, and she’s had an internet presence for a very long time. She started her own website maybe 15 years ago. She now has a very active blog and has even started her own company, Closed Circle, to release her backlist and some new content with her partners, Jane Fancher and Lynn Abbey. They aren’t nearly as well known to the world as JK Rowling, but they beat her to the idea of selling their stuff directly by a year.

Anyway, I wanted all this laid out in advance because I’m hopeful of some limited success and a follow-on career as a writer, and wanted to have my readers have a place to come and interact with me. With this place already established I could focus on writing more and making new internet friends. I wasn’t sure what to blog about and it’s been all over the map, but that’s ok too. I’m just trying to share stuff that I’m thinking about. I’m happy if it strikes a chord with others.

Why do you blog? How do you feel about people responding to your posts? The funny thing is I think you have to have a blog to respond to this blog. I wish I could see everyone that reads, even the ones that don’t have a Blogger account. Just curious.

I’m travelling this weekend to visit my parents. My Dad is having some health issues, and I want to see him before he has surgery. It may be a few days before I have internet access again. I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

Clear Ether!