Skip to content

Month: December 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 12/8/2012

This is my first Six Sentence Sunday submission, from one of the chapters of The Redheaded Stepchild. Be sure to check out the other Six Sentence Sunday submissions at!

β€œIt’s a phase,” Leesha said after several minutes. β€œIt’ll pass.” She continued working through the knots. She was determined to eventually kill the tender-headedness I’d had since I was a kid. Once all the knots were out, she put the comb back into the barbicide and went back to the store room my siblings and I took turns scrubbing to over-sterility to retrieve a ponytail holder.

Leave a Comment

Wednesday Wrant – Your ads are showing…

I had a hard time decided which of the things I’m currently pissed off about to be pissed off enough to write about…

I finally landed on ad-stuffed blogs. I recently started back up with Google Reader so I can have a good list of self-publishing and author blogs to check out. It’s part of being an author, building relationships with others to help advance you books. The beauty of Google Reader is that I can just view the plain text of the posts – no fancy script, no colorful backgrounds, and most importantly, no ads.

Just reading isn’t enough, though. You have to comment on posts to build those relationships (plus it’s another avenue of exposure), which requires me to leave the relative comfort of Google Reader and go to the blog page, where I am immediately inundated with sidebar ads that go on for forever. I understand that people want to leverage their blogs to make a little extra cash on the side. I also know that building a website isn’t cheap. I begrudgingly renew my domain every year and pay the chunk of change to keep it going.

Let me just share a little bit of my own opinion here – if you’re writing an author blog to make money from ads, you’re doing it wrong. Your author site exists for the benefit of your readers and for you to spread the word about your books. Ads make your site look cheap and unprofessional, especially when you’re using a free site framework like Blogger or WordPress. And some of your ads are *really* egregious. Some of your ads aren’t even for things your readers and fellow authors would be interested in, at all. And you put ads in every single place one could possibly put an ad – in the banner, in the footer, in the left sidebar, in the right sidebar. This cheapens your content, which is what your readers are visiting your site to see.

Lucky for me, there’s AdBlock Plus πŸ™‚

Leave a Comment

The Art of Reviewing as Learned from Charles Dickens

This past week, I received my first reviews for The Redheaded Stepchild since I finished publishing it. (You can read the reviews here.) As part of my advertising strategy to be as non-invasive and un-icky as possible, I am using reviews heavily. What does that mean? Everything I read, I review. On Goodreads, or on the site of purchase (Amazon or Goodreads for me, usually). I try to keep my reviews as positive as possible, and when giving criticism, being as matter-of-fact as possible, offering something that could actually be helpful to the author.

I also make it a point to go through the other reviews posted and Like, Mark Helpful, or whatever the site has available. I find it gratifying for two reasons:

  1. Some of these reviews are just plain hilarious. I just finished Oliver Twist and one of the Goodreads reviews was “Please, sir, may I have less?” Yeah, it’s pretty gorram wordy book. Thank you, pay-by-the word olde English publishers.
  2. It makes me feel like I am in good company. If the great Charles Dickens, a household name known by everyone who’s ever read a book, ever, can get a bjillion negative reviews, I can get my first bad one and not feel like a total failure.

Luckily, my reviews thus far have been very positive, but they were both from friends, so they kinda have to be nice to me. When strangers who aren’t so keen on my writing style start buying it by the bushel (positive thinking, people… positive thinking), I’m sure I’ll get a scathing review or two. And that’s okay. I don’t expect everyone on the planet to dig my writing style, just as there are plenty of people out there who didn’t, and still don’t, like Charles Dickens’ writing style, the wordy bastard. Not to compare myself to Charles Dickens, but hey…

Leave a Comment

NaNoWriMo, how’d I do?

National Novel Writing Month is now over. Those of you following my Twitter feed know that I didn’t “win” according to the NaNoWriMo rules, but I did exceed my personal goal. As I enter this NaNoWriMo refractory period after banging away at it hard and fast, I am definitely not going to get down on myself for not making 50,000 words, especially since it took me 3 years to write my first novel, and 4 more years of querying and editing to get it published.

So, I thought I would analyze my executive-friendly burndown chart and assess my performance…

This first week, I had a new client to write dating profiles for every single day. I guess no one likes being single during the holidays. Still, I got a good, steady start and got plenty of research done, too. Oh yeah, and I also was finishing editing and publishing The Redheaded Stepchild this week. That was kind of a priority…

This scary series of flatness was the long weekend that we had a houseguest so that we could tailgate and watch my Kansas State Wildcats beat the 4th Texas team in the Big 12 (why can’t they make NaNoWriMo not fall in the middle of college football season?) so I didn’t get a whole lot of writing done. As you can see, there was a nice spike the day I drove our guest to the airport.

I sprinted pretty fiercely this last week. It helped that we didn’t have to go to three different Thanksgiving dinners this year. These lines should actually be a little smoother, but since I logged a lot of my word counts after midnight, they’re a bit choppy.

So, why was NaNoWriMo good for me?

This writing project (which you can read about in this previous post) required that I actually talk to people to research a little bit. Like a lot of writers, I despise talking on the phone, and typically put off phone calls as long as I can. But because I was on a timeline, I didn’t have the luxury of putting it off. I had to pick up the phone, shoot off an email, or (for certain people) send a Facebook message (seriously folks? this is your primary form of communication now?). And keep in mind, I was asking some of them to tell me deeply personal stories of theirs and then getting their permission, as it were, to mass produce and bastardize these memories.

It did exactly what it’s designed to do – got me to just sit down and write. My typical day is writing tech manuals for 8 hours, doing my freelance writing job for a few more hours, so often the last thing I want to do after all that is write more. Not to mention I have to ship my ass to the gym so I don’t degrade into a complete slob and I have to take care of my family (okay, so it’s just my boyfriend and my dog, but this sounds more like an actual task). So having the looming deadline staring me in the face kicked me in the ass enough to just sit down and write, which is what I need.

Why was NaNoWriMo bad for me?

I’m guilty of edit-as-I-go writing. That’s not to say I don’t typically have an extended editing period once the draft is done (I’m not a complete idiot), but NaNoWriMo doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for polishing. Writing that first paragraph and moving on to the next without re-reading the first one twelve times – that’s a challenge for me. It took me out of my comfort zone a bit and forced me to limit the amount of polishing I could do on what I had already written.

Because life got in the way. I know, me and everyone else who signed up. Boo fucking hoo.

All in all, I’m glad I did it and will probably do it again. The stuff that I’ve managed to punch out in this month is pretty kick-ass, even if it’s not as polished as I’d like it to be. It just means my drafts are really just that – drafts.

I still need to actually fill out my NaNoWriMo page, but was too busy actually writing to do it. As a last note, The Redheaded Stepchild is featured in the Women’s Literary Cafe December promotion this week, so please give this a share to help me get more exposure. Gotta pay down those student loans…

Leave a Comment

“The Redheaded Stepchild” featured in WLC New Release event

WoMen's Literary CafeI do believe I am setting a personal record for earliest morning blog post. I’m usually not even up for another few minutes. Part of that, I think, is the excitement of being part of the December New Release book event by the Women’s Literary Cafe. I’m not exactly expecting people to line up at the bookstore for it, especially since there is no physical form to be had in bookstores, but I am hoping that I can see some traffic and get my name out there for my first novel.

This event is for independent authors, such as myself, who have recently released new books, so feel free to support any other independent authors with new releases that sound interesting to you.

Here’s a link to the event: WoMen’s Literary Cafe December New Release. Happy Holiday ebook shopping πŸ™‚

Leave a Comment