Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome!  This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA chapter's weekly progress check-in.

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

(The best prize is achieving your writing goals, but as an extra incentive, we will award gift cards from Powell's bookstore to the chapter member and the non-member who check in for the most weeks in 2012.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rewiring my writing machine

Current Project: Untitled
Status:  Some character sheets complete a couple of pages into the ms.






No, the picture has nothing to do with my current project. I thought the lines of electricity hitting the ground a bit more powerful than my rewiring but it was beautiful and powerful.


Along with Genene I am getting ready for the release of another novel. I am not quite so organized as she is. Hmm... I think I should copy her list. Or I could just keep referring to the blog. I am sidetracked from current project for a few more days while I am finishing galleys for Rebel Heart. It always amazes me that even after what must be the 100th time I've read this, I am still making changes. I'm going to cut this short because I have 25 more pages to read today and two more blogs to post.


Happy writing and blogging everyone.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

PREPARATION

Current Project: My LEGACY SERIES
Status: Preparing for release of the second book in the series, LEGACY OF ANGELS



What do you do in preparation for a book launch? I seem to drive myself to the edge of crazy wondering if I'll get everything done. That's silly, because I know I will. And what doesn't get done won't even be noticeable to anyone but me. 


How does everyone else prepare for a book release? And if you're yet to be published, envision that day because your turn is coming!

Do you…
--Update your Web site
--Update your blog
--Make sure the blog posts for your virtual blog tour are finished
--Buy lots of chocolate to eat while you're worrying whether everything will go right
--Have a bottle of sparkling cider chilling to celebrate The Day
--Check the publisher's site, Amazon and other eRetailers to see if your book has been released early
--Sleep in and not worry about preparation
--Post a Facebook message every five minutes 
--Go out to dinner to celebrate
--Launch a new contest

What else? Please offer your suggestions!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kindle or Nook?

P.S. I have continued my research and learned that people who want a fully-functioning tablet will probably not be happy with the Nook Tablet. Despite the name it IS an e-reader with a set of "light" tablet functions. If you want to "root" your Nook so you can "sideload" tons of android apps, you will be disappointed. If you want to read lots of books and sometimes check your email, let the little ones play a game, and watch a few movies, you should be pretty happy. 4-26 MMQ

For $200, which is a better device? Which is easier to use? Which attracts readers more? Which is better for the publishing industry? For writers? (I am not including the iPad because it, and lots of other Tablets, are in a different price range.)

Here’s my short answer: the Nook Tablet.

Here’s the long answer: These are the two newest and most popular e-readers, and in my research I found out lots of interesting information about the similarities and differences between them that could be valuable to you as a writer. Both provide a beautiful 7-inch LCD screen with millions of colors and a light weight, cost about the same, are about the same size, offer email and limited web browsing, play music, video, and games in addition to print media, and read PDF, TXT, and DOC but not HTML. They are both backed by power-houses that allow all kinds of great publishing features for writers.

They are so close that even though my research leads me to the Nook, any writer who already owns a Kindle is in a great place. Until I started this research I was convinced I'd get a Kindle.

The two devices have some differences, though, that may affect who buys and uses them. My guess is these differences also have the potential to affect your e-book sales.

Here, have a table…


Nook Tablet
Kindle Fire
eBooks
2.5 million
1.6 million
eMagazines
230
272
eNewspapers
36
9
blogs
No
Yes
Internal Memory
16 gb
8 gb
Expandable Memory
32 gb
6 gb
Battery life
11.5 hours
8 hours
Recharging time
3 hours
4 hours
EPUB (free and open)
Yes
No
PPT (Power Point)
Yes
No

Nook has more books! Which means that many people who purchase a Nook expect a more book-focused experience. Nook’s book formatting also supports this, with more fonts and sizes, plus optional highlighting.

The Nook also has a more memory. People who want lots of books don’t have to store them in “the cloud,” like they do with Kindle, so they can travel outside a wi-fi or internet zone and still have their books. Want to take 300 books to the mountains or on cruise? Nook can do that. Kindle can't.

Nook has more children’s books, a more traditional interface that allows each reader to customize it themselves, a button that gets you to the home screen, a volume control button, and….extra’s when you walk through the doors of a B & N store. The Kindle can't do that, either.

What’s that you say? You DO still like to go to the bookstore sometimes?  Me too.

In all fairness, there are some things a Kindle can do better than a Nook. Kindle has better video access, a better “membership” service, and easier web browsing. If you want to watch movies on an airplane, Kindle is a better choice. If you want to buy "stuff" on your tablet reader, Amazon has tons of it, and the Kindle gives you easy access. Kindle also has blogs. Does this mean I can't read my own blog post if I get a Nook? I'm not sure...do any of you know?

These features are great, but not as important to me as a reading experience that is easier on my eyes and gives me more formatting options. And while a Kindle allows you access to all the shopping available on Amazon, is that a good thing? I was talking to a salesperson at Best Buy about this. He’s actually concerned that Amazon will put Best Buy, and other big stores, out of business. As the ultimate “big box” store, Amazon can sell you just about anything that any brick and mortar store can sell you, and more. But I like being able to go try the thing out, whether it be a book, a Nook, or a microwave, and not have to wait to try it after I’ve already paid shipping charges on it.

I don’t want Amazon to put B & N out of business any more than I want B & N to put my local Book Bin out of business. I like running errands that let me put my hands and eyes on the thing myself, including checking out the latest in eReaders to see what they’re all about. Amazon is also doing some shady things with Digital Rights Management, and in many ways acting like a monopoly. I'm not sure I want to support that.

If you’re a reader first, still love paper books, magazines, newspapers and bookstores in addition to electronic books, and you want to attract readers who feel the same way, the Nook Tablet is your best option.

What do you think? Do you have one of these devices? Have you learned something I left out? Can you tell us what it's like to publish to both services?

To check my information out for yourself, go here:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome!  This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA chapter's weekly progress check-in.

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

(The best prize is achieving your writing goals, but as an extra incentive, we will award gift cards from Powell's bookstore to the chapter member and the non-member who check in for the most weeks in 2012.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Stories of the Heart



Back in 2009 I drove 700 miles to go clean out my parents' house while my dad was very ill. On the trip I got horribly sick with the swine flu (remember the swine flu?), and while lying in a hotel room with a fever and wallowing in self-pity (don't ever have the flu alone in a hotel if you can avoid it), I heard the then-breaking news of Jaycee Dugard, the woman who had been kidnapped as a child and held prisoner for 18 years before finally being freed. So I sat around, sick as a dog, watching dvds of vampire shows and pondering the amazing story of this courageous woman.


In the next 24 hours I wrote a story I called "Cat's Blood," a rather fevered stream-of-consciousness tale about a woman held prisoner by evil vampires.


I later tried to turn the story into something commercial--it won a couple of contests, I reworked it as a novel, but the spark went out of it. The story never sold to New York, coming along toward the end of the publishing industry's vampire craze, and at its heart being more a musing about the nature of forgiveness and free will than anything else. So I set it aside and let it go.


But the nature of this new publishing landscape has changed that.


While I'm working on revising my next two novels, I went ahead and published my old story in its original form, and it's now available on the Kindle.  Because it's not at all like my usual "brand" of sweet, heartwarming and G-rated cozies, I published it under the name Barb Lee (not exactly a pseudonym, but a bit different from my full real name).  It's a 99¢ short story in a glutted market so I'm not expecting to really make any money on it, but it's out there now, in the world.  I'm glad, since it was always something that I wrote from somewhere deep inside me, not a story written to be commercial or to impress anyone else.


Do you have any story like that?  Something you wrote because it mattered to you, because you had something you wanted to say? Something you never really thought about as part of a career plan, or publishing strategy, but something you just wrote because you're a writer, and writing is how you work out things in your mind and make sense of the world you live in?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Have the Most Amazing News!

I have a new holiday—a new day of celebration. March 26th. Why? Because three weeks ago, on March 26th, I was given some pretty fantastic news. My manuscript, THE LAZARUS GAMBIT, is a Finalist in the 2012 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Awards, in the category: Novel With Strong Romantic Elements. (unfortunately, no romantic elephants were spotted in the list of finalists*)

It's only been three weeks, but already it feels like a lifetime—in a good way. I've met an amazing group of women (online) in my fellow finalists, and we're continuing to get to know one another. Everyone seems genuinely thrilled, both to be finalists themselves and for all of the other finalists. They exemplify the kind of enthusiastic support for other writers I believe is the hallmark of RWA® and my own Mid-Willamette Valley Chapter members. Winning would be icing on the cake, but I think we all feel as though the real prize is being named a finalist.

But beyond the award itself was the immediate boost I felt about my writing. I've worked hard to improve my craft and I'd hoped I told an engaging story which would connect with readers, but there was always that doubt in the back of my mind. You know that voice that whispers to writers? The one that tells you that you're wasting your time. That tells you that you're fooling yourself. Well, the validation I felt on the 26th was like getting a shot of adrenaline, and it hasn't worn off so far.

I'm going to the RWA Conference in Anaheim in July and I'm looking forward to all the hoopla surrounding the Awards. From what I understand from previous years' finalists, this ride is just beginning, and it's an E-Ticket all the way (appropriate, I think, seeing as the conference is being held across the street from Disneyland!).

I have a feeling that in years to come I'll view this as a watershed moment in my writing career. You know, before the 26th, I didn't realize just how huge finaling would be. It really is overwhelming and something I wish were possible for every writer to experience. Since that isn't the case, I'll do my best to share as much of it here as I'm able. And if you have any questions along the way, feel free to ask!

I just realized I made it to the end of this post without telling you anything about THE LAZARUS GAMBIT. I think I just flunked self-promotion! :-) Next post will be about the book — I promise.

Debbie
www.Deborah-Wright.com
Twitter: @DeborahBWright

*I sometimes get tongue-tied. Not too long ago, at a MWV-RWA meeting, I was describing what type of romance I write and I said that romance was always a strong sub-plot—you know, I write Steampunk and Urban Fantasy and Post-Apocalypse Adventures, all with Strong Romantic Elephants. O.o

... I've since named my elephants Beatrice and Frank, and they truly are romantic!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome!  This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA chapter's weekly progress check-in.

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

(The best prize is achieving your writing goals, but as an extra incentive, we will award gift cards from Powell's bookstore to the chapter member and the non-member who check in for the most weeks in 2012.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Looking For Inspiration

Current Project: Rebel Heart
Status: last edits almost finished






I was looking for inspiration for another blog post so I googled pinterst. I found this quote which seems to fit me today. I'm still not sure what I'm writing about but there will be a post. 


I am thoroughly enjoying Bard's blogs on self-publishing.  They are an inspiration. When I commented I forgot to input my feelings about her title, In Deep Water. Having read the excerpt following The Honeymoon Cottage, I really like the new title.


Where Rebel Heart is concerned it seems to keep growing. I know I should cut but I'm not sure what to cut. It has grown to approximately 132,800 words and 363 pages. I know I shouldn't worry too much about the length. But is this too long?


Any comments would be welcome here.


I have also changed it from a hot 'inuendo' romance to erotic. Not sure about this change either. Hoping to increase my followers and buyers of my books. 


Oh, where to go from here. I know! Stop rambling, Chris.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

TEN REASONS I DON'T HAVE MY TAXES DONE…

Current Project: Doing my taxes
Status: not panicked yet!



(in no particular order)
-- The dogs ate the forms (and I have a lot of dogs :)
-- What do you mean it's April already?
-- Aliens took me for a ride in their space ship and erased the part of my memory related to taxes.
-- It was a sunny day and I didn't want to waste it inside.
-- It was raining and I didn't want to get depressed doing all that paperwork.
-- Math and I are not bosom buddies.
-- I thought the tax fairy might come by and do them for me. 
-- If hoped if I ignored them, the IRS would go away.
-- I've been really busy and figured the nice tax man would understand. :)
-- I've been writing in an alternate world where they don't have taxes!

Do you have a better excuse? Please share!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Life?

Current Project: The Wooing of Miss Witherspoon
Status: Writing the first draft

My oldest daughter recently married, and she and her husband are living with us, planning their future lives. They have been asking me about my life experience. When you and Dad got married, what...? When you were in college, why...? When you were planning your life with Dad, how...?

Even though in general I am perfectly content to talk about myself, I am not always happy about these questions. I have been remembering things I wish I hadn’t done. This thing was embarrassing, this other cost me a lot of money, and that one makes me sad when I think of it.

Then I think to myself…I wish I could go back and re-live that differently…

“But you’re a writer, aren’t you?” you ask.

Well sure, but I’m not a memoir writer. I write fantasy, magic, romance…you know…the good stuff that we all wish were true. I’m not interested in writing about my life. Huh. Pshaw. Pfft.

Er, am I?

So it dawned on me—wait, wait, I know you’ve thought of this already, just give me another minute…sheesh—that I could write my life…in fiction!

Brilliant, right? I’m so amazed by this fantastic idea! My characters could face the same issues I did, but make better decisions! Or, wait, they could make the same decisions, but in different ways, and then it could go really, really wrong!

I haven’t ever wanted to share my mistakes with other people, but it might be fairly comfortable to share them with other people but pretend they weren’t my mistakes. And the idea of fixing those mistakes, even in fiction, is lovely. I might finally be thinking like a writer.

Have you ever written your own life into your fiction?

Did it go better for your characters than for you?

Or worse?


Monday, April 09, 2012

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome!  This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA chapter's weekly progress check-in.

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

(The best prize is achieving your writing goals, but as an extra incentive, we will award gift cards from Powell's bookstore to the chapter member and the non-member who check in for the most weeks in 2012.)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Adventures in Self-Publishing: A Rose By Any Other Name...

One of the fun but frustrating things about self-publishing is the complete control one has over one's books.

Titles, for instance.  Most published authors will tell you that the working title they use for their manuscript is often not the title that ends up on the published book. By the time agents, editors, and marketing experts have given their input, the title may be changed to something "more commercial."

Not so when self-publishing.

I can call my book anything I want.  But is that a good thing?

My first self-published book is doing quite well, three weeks into the project.  Its title, "The Honeymoon Cottage," I think might be helping it a bit.  That wasn't the book's original title. The Pajaro Bay romantic suspense series books all had, at one time, titles that kind-of "fit" together: Off the Deep End, In Deep Water, Under the Boardwalk, Out of the Blue, Overboard, etc.  But when I was reworking Off the Deep End, I realized that the title The Honeymoon Cottage fit the story much better, and conveyed the atmosphere of the book.

Now I'm working on the next book in the series, In Deep Water. Hmm. This book was originally called Shady's Lady, because there's a dog in the book called Shady, and it seemed like a catchy title. But along the way the name In Deep Water came along and it has been called that ever since. So, do I stick with In Deep Water, do I change it back to Shady's Lady, or come up with something completely different? If I had a marketing team, I could ask them.  But I don't, so I'm trying to imagine what cover image and title would best convey the mood of the book.

How do you decide on titles? If you are self-publishing, or working with a small press, have you given thought to changing your title to be more "commercial"?  If you have worked with a larger publisher, have they changed your titles?

What titles have caught your eye recently? And how important is a title, anyway?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this perplexing topic.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome!  This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA chapter's weekly progress check-in.

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

(The best prize is achieving your writing goals, but as an extra incentive, we will award gift cards from Powell's bookstore to the chapter member and the non-member who check in for the most weeks in 2012.)