Progress – September 4, 2017

September 4, 2017

This is now the third time I’ve tried to write this post. Third time is the charm, right? How about we start off with this:

Happy Labor Day.

Goodbye summer of 2017. Let’s not do that again.

While I’ll be glad for a reprieve from the yard work which I haven’t been diligent about this summer, I’m certainly not ready for the steadily approaching winter either. I’m not much of a fan of ice and snow. Maybe this winter will be a mellow one. Keep the snow in the mountains. Yeah, don’t want to think about that either. Moving on.

Last week wasn’t a very productive writing week. Certainly not as much as I had hoped. Oh well, some weeks are like that. I’m hoping the next four months can be very focused and productive.

By the end of the year, I really hope to have Stardust and The Three Books out in audio, as well as the 6th Loki novella (tentatively titled: Mischief on Wheels), Prince of the Read the rest of this entry »

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Progress – 08/14/17

August 14, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 4,423 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,174 words

Writing month to date total: 9,616 words

Writing year to date total: 236,045 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 35+ square inches

Audio: I spent 3 hours recording and editing audio.

Week’s happenings: This week doesn’t look too much different than last week, except that I did some painting. It was busy though. I began rearranging my office last week. I really wanted to be able to set my easel up in my office. With my son’s help, we got that accomplished. There’s still a lot of cleanup and organizing that needs to be done, but at least I’m able to get in there to work now.

I also revised my word count spreadsheet to count consecutive weeks of hitting the word count. Yes, it’s hard to write to a certain word count each and every day. Life happens. I Read the rest of this entry »


1-800-Mischief Audiobook Out Now!

July 18, 2017

1-800-Mischief audiobook

It has arrived!

The audio version of 1-800-Mischief is now released and ready for your listening pleasure.

While writing Loki’s story, with him being the culture geek he is, it certainly has been a pleasure to be his author. I swear, he always makes me laugh and he leads me down roads I wouldn’t normally go (like watching videos on the Aventador, which I never would have done if I hadn’t been working on his story).

But now, to say that I have also become his “voice” is very humbling. I’ve recorded him as I hear him in my head.

The rest of the series will come, but it might be a short while. Right now, I’ve recorded Stardust and I’m working on The Three Books as well. Then For Sale, Call Loki will come around.

Anyway, cheers to the start of the adventure. Happy listening.


Progress – 07/03/17

July 3, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 10.579 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  865 words

Writing month to date total: 53,999 words for June, July to date is 3,472

Writing year to date total: 190,689 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted, for complete paintings, but I did sketch in my sketchbook thanks to one night when I was wide awake from 1:30 a.m. to 4:30-5:00 a.m. I also did get an hour of painting in one evening, which means that I finally destroyed a painting I’ve been staring at for a year wishing that there was some way I could save it and knowing that it was a total loss. Painting over it was the final confirmation that I had failed it. Yeah, that’s okay. The new painting that is emerging is pretty neat so far. Not all of the underpainting is covered yet and in some ways I want it to ghost through. It’ll be fun to see what happens. If nothing else, I’ll have a new painting to stare at for a year wishing I could save it and knowing it’s hopeless. (grin)

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches. Nothing official, since I was practicing in my sketchbook. I was practicing hair.  Maybe someday I’ll show some pictures.

Audio: I spent 8 hours recording and editing audio. This is actually only the time I logged. I spent a lot more tinkering around. Boy do I have some foul news. More below.

Week’s happenings: My writing streak continues. Yeah! I am now at having hit my daily word goal for 26 days. But I will tell you that sometimes I wish I would convert it to a weekly goal, rather than daily because some days are tough. On the other hand, if I hadn’t pushed myself to sit down and get the words done, I wouldn’t have had such a brilliant thing happen in the 5th Sacred Knight book. I won’t go into it now, but let’s just say that cosmic forces really needed to align for this event to happen. If I’d been distracted, I would never have seen it. But my heart said I needed to work on Steigan, rather than trying to kick the words out with Loki (he’s easy to write and I can do 1,000 without hardly thinking). I’d been dinking around with a scene all week, not getting more than 350 words done at a time. I had no idea what was going to happen — I just knew that I had to have one specific character tell Steigan something very important. That was literally all I knew. And, of course, the first think the character had done was walk off the scene, leaving Steigan to deal with everyone else. Argh! No matter how much Steigan begged, pleaded, cajoled, etc., no one was going to tell him. If you’ve read the series, then you know exactly how bad of a situation that is when Steigan asks a question and doesn’t get a reply. Yeah, it’s that bad. But neither Steigan nor myself knew what was going on. Then, the feeling came on that I had to sit down and work on it. No light bulb had gone off in my head, so I hoped that I wasn’t sitting down to lose an hour of time to only getting another 350 words done.

Then the gates opened. The character returned to the scene and started talking to Steigan. None of it was good news. Yet, it all fell in place with the story. I love it when that happens!

Trust the process.

In case you’re curious, I’m currently working on 4 novels and 2 short stories. I rotate between all of them and usually work on pieces of several of them in order to get my words in. A few hundred words here on one story, a few more on another, just keeping building until I have my word count for the day. It always seems that I’m anxious to work on one story or another and that’s the one that runs with it that day. My brain, meanwhile, is sitting back thinking about all the others. Unconsciously working on stories. Then I just get to sit back and play. Yeah, best job in the world.

Now that I’ve shared the exciting part with you, let me break the bad news. I have to re-record Loki. While recording The Last Ant and The Doorway Prince, I just made too many adjustments to my booth that I can’t duplicate the sound for corrections on 1-800-Mischief. I hear every one as clear as day. That’s just not the quality that I want to put out. One chapter is already completely re-recorded and edited — I had to do it because the ending of the chapter was so messy that re-recording was the only option. I got so close with duplicating the sound. But so close wasn’t close enough. I keep telling myself that now at least all the books should be similar in sound quality since I’ve finally got a mic placement I like. Still, that doesn’t help for the last month of working on all the audio, thinking that it was going to be ready soon, then discovering it was an epic fail. I keep telling myself the same thing that I do with writing and painting: trust the process. There has to be a reason that I’m having to do it over. I have to be happy with the work first. If it bothers me more than it entertains me, there’s a problem. Unfortunately, I didn’t uncover all the issues until chapter 7. With an 11 chapter novella, that means the one or two things I had to clean up in earlier chapters could have been overlooked, but when the ending of the book just falls apart, it’s better to scrap it all and move on. So, I’m back to square 1 – record the book. Argh!

Practice, I tell myself. I’m still learning. I am improving.

UPDATE: After writing about that, I went back and listened to it again with a different set of headphones. I re-did so of the earlier corrections I had done, but I haven’t merged them in yet. I am hoping to salvage it. It’s hard when I know what corrections I’ve made; I hear them. My job is to make them as seamless as possible. So, cross your fingers and let’s hope that I don’t have to redo the whole thing. I will if I really need to, but I do like this version and I’d not be able to get it read like that again. Besides, I’m ready to move onto the next recording. 

Last week, I also released Fall’s Confession for Kindle only. If you are an Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read it for free until September. After that, I will take the story to wide distribution like all my other stories.

That’s been all for this week.

I hope everyone in the U.S. has a happy and safe 4th of July.  See you again next week.


Progress – 06/26/17

June 26, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 12.424 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,307 words

Writing month to date total: 46,027 words

Writing year to date total: 179,245 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 10 hours editing audio. More below.

Week’s happenings:  As you can see, I didn’t get as many words written this week as last week, though it was close. I’m really hoping to hit 50,000 words by the end of this month. I often tell myself that non-writers probably don’t care about my word count — it Keep Reading


Progress – 06/19/17

June 19, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 13.243 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,021 words

Writing month to date total: 32,296 words

Writing year to date total: 165,514 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 7.5 hours editing  audio.

Week’s happenings:  This last couple of weeks have been amazing for writing. I am currently on a writing streak of hitting my daily word goals for the last 12 days. I feel like
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Progress – 06/05/17

June 5, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 7.865 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,290 words

Writing month to date total: May finished out with 29,064 words and June to date is at 7,252

Writing year to date total: 140,470 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted. I did get my Cintiq set up so that I can draw on it again and I spent some time last week working on Weblinks. I have a new page which I haven’t yet posted because I’m tempted to give Lucky a couple extra lines of dialog on the page and I haven’t looked at it to decide if I want to do that or not. I also spent some time inking and coloring the page for one of my children’s stories. More on that below.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches. I don’t have my digital work included in this count since that’s kind of hard to do.

Audio: I spent 4.5 hours on recording and editing  audio. More on this below too.

Week’s happenings:  Like I said above,  I set my Cintiq back up in my office. It’s been sheltered away for far too long and I was getting such an urge to get back to drawing that I could no longer take it. Then, while I was watching the videos for the writing class as well as another webinar video this week, I was working on my webcomic and children’s book. Let’s just say that my webinar video wasn’t very good, but I realized why I haven’t been drawing. Okay, it wasn’t really a new discovery. It was more of me finally admitting it to myself. I often realize something then spend another six to eight months of pounding my head against the wall to really get the lesson before it sinks into my hard head.

Last October when I was sitting in the writing masterclass, Dean Wesley Smith was talking about how he would quit if writing wasn’t fun any more. I made notes in my journal about the fun. My writing had definitely taken a turn away from that many years before, but I remembered when it had been fun and I’d just been writing for joy. I admit that I’m still trying to get that back and only recently have I really let that lesson sink in; it’s my own damn imagination and I’m telling stories to entertain me. If someone doesn’t like my stories, well, they can go find whatever best-seller they want to worship this week. I want to write for me and no one else. I write because I enjoy my worlds better than this one. But I’m wandering away from my point.

As I sat there trying to color my kids’ book, I was trying to think of realistic colors and what overall color scheme I wanted to have for the book. I sat back and looked at it and asked myself when I had decided to pick “Martha Stewart colors.” A couple hours later, the answer hit me. I had forgotten to play. In all the art studying I’ve been doing over the last decade, I forgot to have fun with it.

I was making it work.

I had totally lost the play. Worse, I had let someone else into my head to control my art, more than just Martha Stewart. I had let everyone who has ever made me conform to the standards of this world into my room. Pick a color scheme. You have to have a plan. Color inside the lines. Be smooth. Don’t clash. Don’t do something someone will hate. Do these jeans make my character look fat?

Argh!

So now I have to go back and fix the pages, pretend I have no clue what I’m doing (not hard since I usually don’t) and make them my own. I need to go have fun with them.

In other news, I didn’t spend a lot of time recording and editing audio this week mostly because I was busy listening to The Doorway Prince. I probably should have been recording my time, but since I was doing it here and there, I didn’t capture time.  I also spent several hours this last weekend resetting my microphone. I’m still trying to find that sweet spot for it. I’m hoping I’m there.  That was another 2.5-3.5 hours that I didn’t record time for.

By the way, I went back to take a look at my time from when I uploaded The Last Ant until when I uploaded The Doorway Prince and saw that I have spent nearly 100 hours working on the audio The Doorway Prince. Yep, that’s a 100 hours of recording and editing for a audiobook that came in at just over 2 hours in length. Yes, that is a bit high, but probably not too much. That is why I reset my microphone and I keep hoping to learn to get cleaner and clearer audio. I am still learning.

I also finished a short story this week. I had a bit of trouble with the ending. I kept thinking to myself that I write about outcast heroes and this character was more of a villain than a hero. Crazy to boot. I could accept the crazy, but I didn’t like the things that he had done, even though they took place in the story’s past. I kept feeling like it wasn’t complete. Good hadn’t triumphed. My brain attacked it with a vengeance.  I feared that I was going to have to do something more with it, maybe make this story part of a frame for a larger story. I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I just had to sit down and fill in some parts, then poof, it was done and I felt good about it.

I sent it off before I could stop to think any more about it.

I also have a feeling from things I’ve been writing this week, that I’m going to get back to writing some fantasy romances. Shhh!!!  Don’t say that too loudly. Yes, romances. I’m just not sure I have it in me. But, the writing may take me back to that play land once more.

As for Loki, I have about 7,000 more words that I want to write in the story. That’s just my guess at how long I’d like to make it. He always has other plans.

Onesong is making me want to beat my head against a wall. I keep trying to look at it, but I have so much to fill in and my list keeps growing. At least since I’ve been focused on that, I haven’t been killing off any more characters in my Sacred Knight series. I haven’t brought Aeribela back to life yet either. I did find a scene that I wanted to incorporate into the story, and to do that I really need Aeribela alive (unless I’ve already added the scene and just don’t remember it. Yeah, don’t ask me how many projects I have going right now and how I keep them all straight — my answer is “Don’t know.”).

As you can see, it’s been crazy busy. It needs to stay this way because I’m so far behind on my word count to my yearly goal that I’m just stupid enough to think that I can catch up if I focus and work really hard. Then I have a case of “Oh shiny” and move off to something else. Thanks for listening.

Until next week!