On Thursday 12/8, I did a live stream on Facebook to celebrate the launch of Cauldron. I did some readings from both The River Maiden, and Cauldron as well as some spoiler free(ish) discussion of the new book.Read More
The kids are going back to school and that means that I can get back to a working schedule that I can be happy with. Make no mistake, I adore my children, but as an introvert with a sometimes pathological work ethic, being surrounded by chatty kids and prevented from working can be a bit crazy-making.Read More
One of the things that has come up in some forums after The Wedding episode is the question of whether Dougal MacKenzie is made to seem more of a villain in the show than he was in the books. I don't think so. I know what you're thinking, I'm Dougal's chief apologist and to a certain extent, you're right. I love Dougal, because he's a challenge. Who doesn't love a guy who is described like this?Read More
To celebrate kids going back to school and me being able to FINALLY dive deep into writing the next book in the series, I decided to do a Goodreads giveaway. So, 5 lucky readers can win a signed copy of The River Maiden. All you have to do is sign up below.
Not on Goodreads yet? I highly recommend that you join. It's great for reading reviews, and discussing books with other readers. Just click here. You can even login with your facebook login so there's no extra typing and finding your reader friends is easy.
I've finally done it! Well actually, I did it about two weeks ago. I've been remiss in updating things here because I was also wrapping up another project, which I'll talk about in another post. However, I am happy to say that The River Maiden is now available as an ebook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Scribd and iTunes. You can download samples to your device or you can read the first seven chapters on Wattpad.
I am working now on making it available in paperback. I have some proofs from one printer that are being reviewed and am awaiting proofs from another printer.
The feedback I've been getting so far is great. Check the reviews on Amazon and ratings on Goodreads. Many of my twitter followers have had glowing things to say, and are already asking about the next book, which IS coming. I've got an outline and some passages written. I might even have a little preview for folks this summer just to whet appetites.
I am SO gratified that it has been received as well as it has. I can only hope that with some more marketing attention that I wasn't able to do while wrapping up the other project, the momentum will only keep building.
I have more to say about the process of getting this book to market, but I will save those things for other posts over the next few weeks.
There is nothing like a deadline to get my butt in gear. I've been attempting all summer to balance the consulting gig with revising The River Maiden. Meanwhile my husband/alpha reader has been harassing me about how I need to be sending queries out already and who cares if I think it's ready. Well, I care. Still, I'll probably always find words that need to be rearranged and things that I could have written better. So, I see his point...somewhat.
In any case I'm trying to finish my revisions and adding to the end to answer some of the questions my beta readers wanted answered. Unfortunately, the list of things jumping in the way over the last few weeks have included no less than, consulting gig, back to school, home renovation and some stuff that was just plain invented to get in the way. (When I finish reading it, I'll review Stephen Pressfield's The War of Art and all of the things he has to say about resistance).
In the spirit of stepping out of my comfort zone, I decided to step out and take myself to a writer's conference. So, I'll be attending the James River Writer's Conference in Richmond next month. Hopefully I'll be connecting with some other writers in the area and maybe even some agents. There is even an opportunity to pitch books on Sunday. I may even step up there and try. In any case, should be a good way to make some connections.
I'm also hoping that the date of next month will put a little pressure on me to step up my revision efforts. Hopefully I can finish this draft before the conference. At the very least it gives me a date to work toward rather than a vague hope that I can finish quickly. They've very nicely added a countdown clock to their page that displays the days/hours/minutes/seconds until the conference. Let's hope that its a good fire starter.
It's been about a month since my beta readers and critique group have given me their feedback on the latest draft of The River Maiden. The general consensus is that the characters and writing are good, and the story is mostly good but there are too many questions left unanswered for a first book in a series. I had come to this conclusion on my own before many of the readers even got back to me, but it was nice to have that confirmed. So there appears to be a good deal of rearranging, revising and rewriting to go into the next draft before it's ready to be shown to potential agents/publishers. Since I have already outlined the next book in the series, I have some timeline gymnastics to work on. There is the question of what to reveal in the first book, without completely ruining the plot of the second. Also, the question of how far the romance in the first book can/should progress and how that might change some of the tension in the next book. There are storylines to be dropped and others to be built up. Needless to say with almost 250 pages of content, this is a daunting prospect, and one that I've been chewing on in the back of my mind like a particularly tough piece of literary beef jerky.
Fear not! I have not been idle while gnawing away on my various writing dilemmas. In fact, I have been even more active than usual though just not in the area of writing. (I know terrible to get out of the habit of working every day, but there it is.) So here are some of the things that I've been up to instead of revising The River Maiden.
- Taken on an Instructional Design consulting client.
- Added a Clearance section to my etsy store and marked down a bunch of items to go in it.
- Organized/customized our closet in the master bedroom complete with drawers and shelves.
- Planted my vegetable garden, succulent garden, herb garden, shade garden, water garden (with fish) and fairy garden
- Completely revamped our deck from it's previous jumbled state into a gorgeous oasis including container gardens, a new gazebo, social area and even a workspace for writing/editing outside while the kids play.
- And last but certainly not least, binge watched 4 seasons of Dr. Who.
I know, I know. I should have been working on The River Maiden. The good news is that I am getting back to the grind. Even though, I'm working for my client during the hours of the day that I would have previously devoted to writing, I have a plan. This morning I got up at 5AM and came downstairs to work on some reading and editing. I know this has worked for other writers with day jobs and I have high hopes. My characters and my story are usually the last thing I think about as I'm going to sleep at night, so maybe getting up and getting to work before any of my other responsibilities intrude will be a good model for getting things done. It went pretty well this morning. We'll see how well it works when I get to writing some of the new material.
Oh! I should also mention that in honor of Stoddard-palooza (Our month long family festival from our anniversary to our birthday's) I will be giving away my historical fiction shorts this month, though not at the same time. Right now The White House is free on Smashwords. I'll keep it that way for a couple of weeks. Then it will go back to its regular price and A Fond Kiss will be free. I hope that Amazon and Barnes and Noble will be adjusting their pricing accordingly, but I don't really control that the way I can on Smashwords. So, if you haven't read them or have read one and not the other, check them out this month to get a free taste.
One of the things I love best about writing is research. I'm a naturally curious person, so it's just the way I operate. It's one of the reasons that I fell into training in my corporate life. I just wanted to know how things worked and I didn't mind explaining what I learned to other people. It struck me the other day when I caught myself reading up on the parking brake of a 1990 Honda Civic, that I've learned some unexpected things on my way to finishing this novel. There are the obvious things; Celtic lore, Appalachian culture and off the grid living. Naturally, my Gaelic vocabulary has increased about ten fold. there are also some unlikely things. These are things that I wouldn't have thought of until I got to that point in the novel, things that I probably wouldn't have Googled if I hadn't been writing this book.
1) The basic geography of Nova Scotia.
2) This looks like an awesome place to spend a summer vacation.
3) The little blue house on Ransom St. that I used to live in is no longer blue, no longer has a porch swing and has fallen even further into disrepair.
4) The basics of moonshining. I watched a lot of how to videos. Here's a relatively short one.
5) How to malt barley and corn for making liquor.
6) Recipe for peach brandy.
7) The path of ocean currents from Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Maine.
8) The basics of disarming someone with a handgun. Just one of the many ways it pays to be married to a former Marine.
9) And, of course, this is the parking brake of a 1990 Honda Civic.