Saturday, October 12, 2013

Another Blog Bites the Dust

So, I have made the difficult decision to discontinue my other blog, Publish Kestrel, since I find that I post more often here, and have generated more pageviews, etc. etc. Additionally, with my ventures into LeanPub, I have a place to post my work for profit as I continue the creative effort.
I hate to be like that, but let's be real... my dream is to be a published author, which means that not only do I want to share my stories with as many people as possible, BUT I would like to be able to support my family in the process. Writing might be fun, it might be what my world revolves around, but without the bills paid, it's just a pile of paper that will never see the light of day. Besides, with the weight of the real world off my shoulders, I can focus more on creating more and more stories to tell.
Never fear, content from over there will not be lost, and much will be transferred here. Some traffic still generates there and hopefully leads here as well, but I am just providing a different venue for sneak previews into my work before final editing and publication. I will likely still post snippets here as I work as well, so if you aren't yet ready to commit to purchasing an uncompleted work, just pop in and ask for an update!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Adventures in Self-Publishing, episode 1?

I am pretty sure I have discussed in the past the issue of self-publishing. It is no longer the realm of the vanity publishers, and there are legitimate sites that have really taken off in the last few years. Of course, the very idea of being solely responsible for absolutely everything relating to your precious book is daunting, but it does have its appeal, namely the ability to cling to it as simply YOURS, not some faceless agent, editor, or publisher who is going to take it and do god only knows what to it, and the fear is that it becomes something completely unrecognizable, right?
Well, I was poking around the NaNo site, and there are some really excellent sponsor offers available to Wrimos, both participants and winners themselves. No, really, take a look: NaNo sponsors
Obviously, once I complete my long-suffering work in progress, I would love to publish it somehow. Ideally, yes, get it on bookshelves around the world, getting a fat contract and check, and becoming fabulously wealthy! Ok, but seriously, getting it out there is the important thing to me, to feel like I have actually DONE something. So I'm looking over these offers... and I find LeanPub. Really interesting concept, it allows authors to publish their WIP's... for whoa, actual money? Hold the presses here... I have to look further.
Yes, indeed, for a 90% royalty, minus a .50 fee (did I really read that right? Yep, you did) an author can gain readership, feedback, and a check, all at the same time. It's like getting an advance on a finished novel, with the readers themselves giving you their opinions as you go along. Similar to blogging, I suppose. The author sets the price, can even donate to a cause, and can update their novel as often as they want. Of course, this comes with a limitation as to how much space can get hosted through the file sharing service utilized by LeanPub, called Dropbox, though you can earn or purchase upgrades beyond what is initially offered.
So what does the reader get out of this? Well, by purchasing a work through LeanPub, they get interaction with the author, and free updates whenever the author changes something. I think that's pretty darn neat, so what the hell, I am giving it a try with my NaNo project this year.
So the unveiling of what that project will be? Haha, surprise, it's going to be to finish my novel about Salome, which I am tentatively titling The Marchmont Falcon. (Potential to be a series, here, btw.) Since I already have a significant amount completed, I will publish what I have thus far, and update throughout November, hopefully ending with a finished book. Conclude with some SERIOUS editing, and I can take that to places like CreateSpace and Smashwords to generate a physical copy and ISBN, and provide it to as wide an audience as possible!!!! OMG, too exciting for words, but baby steps, baby steps...
So, PLEASE, if you read this, go check out my book at LeanPub, pony up the 1.99 list price (10% will go back to NaNo) and help me along on my journey to become a published author at last!!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Getting Ready for November

Did I mention what a miserable blogger I am? Oh, yeah, last post, right.
Anywho, lots happening lately, not all of it wonderful, but meaningful in its own way, and all the while leading back to where we should have been all along. It is interesting how our lives lead us around in so many different directions, only to have us end up in what was the only place it could ever, should ever have been...
Like when you are reading a book; (particularly guilty are romances in this fashion) and you totally know where the characters are supposed to be in their lives, and the whole time they are struggling against fate or destiny, or whatever you want to call it, only to end up right where you knew they needed to be after all, only at last they are happy with it? Yeah, something like that.
Yeah, so totally cryptic, ha! But that's all you'll get about personal things lately from me.
So, yes, getting ready for November. In the past, I have participated in National Novel Writing Month, and have set a new goal for this year, since as noted previously, I gave up writing for a year, and it is past time I get back on with it. NaNo has been exceedingly helpful for me when it comes to writing. My biggest struggle is against procrastination, and NaNo takes away the excuses, as well as letting you know you are not alone.
The goal of NaNo is simple. Write a novel. But to be more specific, just write. The goal is to write 50,000 words of an original fiction novel in 30 days. It is not impossible, though there are times when it feels that way if you actually attempt such a feat. I did not make the goal the first time I tried, but I hammered out the word count for two years in a row, and boy, did I feel like I had accomplished something.
Now, I didn't FINISH anything, let me set you straight on that point, but I sure did have a body of work that I can work on, by golly! But this year, this year, the goal is to FINISH a story. I put my own self on forced hiatus and cooked this story over the last year, and it needs to be done already. Then I can edit, search for an agent/publisher, or hell, might even put it up on Smashwords my darn self. Anything to get it out there. Remember, the ultimate goal is to be a published author. The ultimate DREAM would be a published author that didn't have to have a day job and could focus on writing full time!
So that is what I am up to at the moment, mapping things out this month for full time writing in November. And to make it even more fun, I am dragging my fourteen year old son along for the ride! Tee hee... It's part punishment, part effort to drag some creativity out of him... It was years before something triggered a desire to read, and his writing could use some polish. So this is perfect!
I encourage anyone who is interested to join me for NaNo this year... sign up and make me a writing buddy, my profile is cmcarr12.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Long Break, Again

     I know it has been a long time since I have posted, I am a miserable blogger, but this time I have avoided doing so on purpose. Not initially, but hear me out.
     Only a few hours after making my last post, one year ago, I got the phone call that my 91-year old grandfather had passed away. He had been sick for some months, it was a miracle he held on as long as he did, so the call was not unexpected, but when it did come, it was with such a feeling of finality, I was literally stunned.
     I made the arrangements and flew out for the funeral, I was going to post the eulogy I wrote for him, the patriarch every family could only wish for, but it felt just too personal. Not only that, but the behavior of the individuals I have to claim to be related to, by blood, was just too shameful to be believed. I was angry and depressed. My grandfather was the best father figure I had in my life, and he would have been rolling in his grave, if they had given him the decency to be buried yet, before they started picking at the remains. I won't get into a lot of detail, but suffice it to say, I will not be talking to any of them in the future, possibly EVER.
     At any rate, the experience got me to thinking about the legacy I would be leaving my own children, the lessons I want to impart to them, especially the understanding of family and what it means to really stick up for and care for one another. My writing kept my head tied up with unrealities, so I decided to take a break. My job meant I worked a lot of late nights, and the compensation was not worth the loss of time with them, so I quit and found a new job, it meant less money, but it was five minutes away, and I got a lot more time at home. I figured I would give it a year, and then look back and reflect on if it was worth it.
     So, has it been worth it? The answer is a resounding no. Again, not for the reasons you might think. I absolutely love having time with my kids, but we do have bills to pay, and for the most part, we are a one-income (mine) household. It adds stress that can only be relieved by the necessary sacrifice of AGAIN looking for a new job. So that is on the table.
     I do not do well with stress. I have to admit to a struggle with depression all of my life, and unnecessary stress only makes it worse. I could do a whole post on depression, and I probably will, at some point, since many of my characters are faced with it. Not writing only compounded the problems I heaped on myself. Writing is my creative outlet, my channel for all the pent-up emotions I can't just bleed onto people around me, no matter how much I wish I could make them understand where I am coming from. Writing allows me to vent so I can see clearly how to approach my real life issues.
     Depression is a vicious circle. It can be triggered by outside sources, but for the most part, it is a cycle of self-inflicted torture that even the best specialists at Guantanamo could not devise better. It is usually sparked by anger, which becomes blame and resentment before turning on you and becoming self-loathing. (I don't even know if loathing is a strong enough word, but it is a feeling that just seeps out of you, the depth of hatred you carry towards yourself is so powerful.) Ironically, this self-loathing and pity turns into determination, to make things better, and things usually do turn around for awhile. So then there is hope, and joy, contentment at last! But the little things start to get you. You feel unappreciated for your efforts, so you get frustrated, and though you cling to the veneer that everything is okay, because you know where these feelings will take you if you let them get their hooks into you, and you cannot let that happen again.... suddenly, there it is. Frustration, which so quickly becomes anger, and you just can't hold it back anymore, all these emotions roiling around inside you, the feeling that no one understands, you don't know how to explain, and you are lost. Because look where you are again. Anger, and they cycle begins again.
     Well, at least, that's how I experience depression. I think I feel things too deeply sometimes, take things too much to heart, too personally, and I cannot maintain objectivity, which is annoying to me, because when things are going well, I think I do a damn fine job of keeping a level head and approaching life logically. To make a Star Trek analogy here, it would be like a Vulcan and a Betazed having a child. Vulcans are logical, observers of life, but maintain a careful hold on their emotions, to the point of it becoming a handicap because not everyone in the universe can have that sort of self-control, which leads to misunderstandings. Betazoids are empathic, keen to pick up on the emotions of others, which can facilitate understanding, but leaves a person vulnerable as well, especially since we all know the experience of having other people's emotions affect our own. My life feels like a constant struggle to keep my emotions in check, while remaining open to the people I love. It is almost as though I take the pain of the people I love and make it my own, like it will make them feel better if I am the one that suffers instead. Which is illogical by itself, but it is what it is, and I try to cope as best I can. No amount of counseling could help me with this struggle, it is the way I am made, I must accept it and keep on moving.
     So I must write, and will endeavor to do so regularly once again, because it is the best way I have to pick apart the things going on within me, and examine the facets of what makes my brain work but putting pieces of myself into my characters, while coming up with ways to keep them from seeming one-dimensional. You can't put all your eggs in one basket, after all!
     Thank you for hanging in there, if anyone even reads this, I am at the determined stage in my little life cycle, so lets hope something productive comes out of it!