Progress – June 11, 2018

June 11, 2018

For the readers that have asked for a continuation of The Doorway Prince, rejoice! This last week, Eclipse started telling me that something happened and now we’re off on a mystery together.

I’ve also gotten several chapters of  Tangled Magic reviewed. And I’m rethreading The Missing Thread (yes, I find great humor with that one!).  I’m into chapter 3, piecing together several parts I’d previously written, and it feel so much stronger.

I got the Sacred Knight box set up onto Kobo. Speaking of the series, the audiobook for Quest for the Three Books is getting closer and closer. Yeah, baby steps. On all fronts.

Plus I got some drawing and painting done this week, though Eggs at Play still doesn’t want to manifest as a print book. Argh! I have to keep reminding myself that the first one is always the hardest because of the learning curve. I’m figuring things out, slowly, as expected. It’ll get there, but not as efficient as I wish (obviously).  Read the rest of this entry »


Mystery of the Stardust Monk release

June 5, 2018

I’m pleased to announce the release date for Mystery of the Stardust Monk: June 19, 2018.

My reader has declared this as one of her favorites (so far).

This is a deeper glimpse of Moonhunter. I’ve been writing about him in a novel I’m working on, Dragons of Wellsdeep, and hope to have out later this year or early next year. That kind of depends on how other projects go. But, I was glad to get to know Moonhunter better in this story.

Mystery of the Stardust Monk is a prequel to Stardust (and is a sequel to a story called Alexander’s Den). Yes, I do seem to be writing quite a few stories in reverse order these days.

This story was inspired by a little monk statue I saw in the courtyard of the Anchor in Lincoln City, Oregon, while I was there for a writers conference a couple years ago. Last year when I journeyed back, I had to get a photograph of the statue for the cover. Read the rest of this entry »

Head games we play with ourselves

May 1, 2018

Yesterday on my blog, I mentioned a problem I was having.

Here’s how it started:

I have Mystery of the Stardust Monk completely ready to upload to distributors for both ebook and print. Completely ready. As I said, I don’t want to be unprepared when going to publish something again. So, everything is ready.

Guess what I can’t do.

Yep, you got it. I can’t even click the “Add new book” button on any of the distributors. I’ve tried. I log into my account, then I sit there staring at it.

This is such a dumb problem to have. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

I wrote it all out, but then I decided to make this a separate blog entry. Partially because the progress post was getting long, and second because there’s a lesson in this that I want to share (as well as remember myself when I need a good kick).

Let’s pick up where I left off:

Okay, maybe some backstory is needed here. Mystery of the Stardust Monk was supposed to be my March release. Didn’t happen. I skipped a March release because I had too much else going on. Now that it’s ready, I though, okay, June release. Then I put out Prince of the Ruined Land (as you all know) and I got “challenged” to have the next book in the series out by July 1st. There is no way that’s happening, especially with my current lessons. But, silly me, I thought I could push it for Onesong. Irregardless of how I split it, I could have book 1 out by the last week of June, so that it would be out by July 1st and still fall into my traditional publishing day of Tuesday. I think there’s a part of me that’s trying to see if I can do it. Challenge accepted! Except, I don’t want to be pressured. I don’t want to have two releases that close together. There’s a lot going on in my head about this, both from a writer and a publisher point of view — which, if you’re going to be an indie writer, you must hold onto both hats at once sometimes.

So I sit with this dumb problem.

I thought might get a handle on it when I finally had Onesong written, but there’s still so much to contemplate. Plus, a cover that needs a decision when I have 8 various versions of the mock-up (all of them frustratingly fun!). If it weren’t fun, I’d have to quit doing this because, grrr, at the moment none of this is worth what I’m putting into it. Whenever I once again think about all this, I teeter on that edge of thinking dangerous thoughts which have no good end.

See, it’s a dumb problem. I write for myself, but sometimes I like to challenge myself. I have learned hard lessons and want to learn and grow from them. I think about my readers and I want to make them happy because my job isn’t done until the story is finished and someone reads it. There is so much work to be done (all by myself at the moment) to publish a book and make sure people know about it. I’m invested and so are several loyal readers. I don’t want to disappoint them. I don’t want to disappoint myself. I want to enjoy the ride.

But now, I’ve basically tucked Mystery of the Stardust Monk away under my bed, or in a drawer, or the closet, for publication later. No one gets to read it.

To me, that’s depressing, and if I were a reader, I’d be disappointed knowing the writer was intentionally withholding something from me.

Logic says that I should set it up as a June release or a May release to go along with Eggs at Play, since that’s a children’s picture book. But Logic’s friend, Fear, says I should wait because it might be better to save it for a month I don’t have anything else to release (like in March when I went without a release because I had too much going on). And their arch-rival, Reality, says that no one gives a damn so just put it out there!

Dumb head game.

That’s where I ended the original post, but now I’ve given myself some clearance to think about it and I want to dive deeper.

That’s all it really is. A dumb head game. It’s the publisher hat trying to dominate the writer child-self. After all, the artist-child is wild and irresponsible. The publisher must control and regulate that artistic side because she might throw a temper tantrum and nothing will get done. We have those new lessons for the publisher, remember? I think it’s the publisher getting all steamed up about having regulations placed on it. Now it’s second guessing itself. Wow, it’s not even the publisher trying to focus the artist, but the publisher trying to swim in a brave new world. Now that’s a mind trip! Wow. I don’t think I would have realized that if I hadn’t moved this off onto its own post.

It is the publisher hat fear that demands that I be regular and consistent in putting things out to the world. To look at Reality’s argument that no one really cares when it comes out as long as the reader has the story available when they want it is really the truth. Anticipation is one thing, and it’s a great marketing tool, but should be used appropriately. A novella? Probably not the best thing to get people anticipating (unless it’s Loki, of course, but that would be the exception because he’s already got a fabulous fan base). But right now, no one cares when I put out a novella. And I don’t treat my books the way a traditional publisher would — that it’s fruit that spoils in 2-3 weeks and must be pulled from the shelf. We’re not in that era any more.

I guess I must ask myself the big question:

Am I ready to release Mystery of the Stardust Monk now?

No. Surprisingly, no.

But it’s not longer a dumb head game problem. I literally do not feel like putting it out there yet. I think about it and I feel my energy drain.

Does my publisher hat have a process that it must trust too? It must. Both hats sit on the same head.

Maybe this problem isn’t as dumb as it looked. Maybe it’s not simple either. Maybe it’s not a problem either. Maybe it’s must my inner knowing tuned into something bigger than myself that I will see when the moment is right.

I do feel like I have to trust the emotion running through me. It says, not now, but soon. Soon I will be able to get on all the various sites and upload it. This might be a continuation of the lessons I am learning. Maybe it is about when to let go. It certainly is about letting the publisher hat trust the process too.

What was disguised as a head games ends up being a clever little lesson. Look at that.

Progress – April 30, 2018

April 30, 2018

I can’t believe we are here at the end of the month. A third of the year is now done.

Hmm, that brings up an interesting question: why do we divide the year into quarters and not thirds? Maybe this hits me strangely now, because I just did my quarterly business meeting with myself over the weekend. I chided myself, as is best when you are having a meeting with yourself because people look at you strangely when you blur out random admonishments at them (Dude! Really? — seek what I mean), that my meeting was coming awfully late; I’d already lost the first month of the second quarter. I’m already starting off this quarter behind. But, considering that people are so naturally tuned to the number 3, why we don’t have 3 thirds with 4 months in it? As I sit here writing and wondering this, I must wonder if I should move to a setup like this. It would force me to think four to eight months ahead instead of three (or two as usually happens) to six (or five) ahead. You know, I might try that for the rest of this year and next year, just to see if that fits my internal nature better. (No, my dear accountant friends, my bookkeeper side is not having issues with that. I already work monthly and yearly, but quarterly only effects me for payroll reports. I am not bothered one bit by shifting my thinking this way.)

I finished the draft of Onesong. There’s still something nagging me about the last chapter, but I’m trusting the process that I already have something rolling around in my head and I just need it to spring forth. It will. It always does. I’m not forcing it right now. And, some of it may come with where I decide to split the story. It’s right about 140,000 words total after all the extra stuff is chopped off. I haven’t looked to see if some of that fluff really needs to stay in the story. I also have a list of things that I kept thinking needed to happen which I need to sift through and see if it’s really as important as I thought it was when I started the list. (which reminds me, I have another Anne Dillard quote that I found when I was researching my previous blog to make sure her words hadn’t been pulled out of context. It pertains to this list exactly. I must write that next blog.) Read the rest of this entry »

Mystery of the Stardust Monk – cover

April 19, 2018

I promised you a first look at some of the covers I’ve been working on. I’m still not happy with what I’m coming up with for The Missing Thread — I just can’t find what I want. But, Mystery of the Stardust Monk is the next story I hope to have out, so let’s talk about that one instead.

So this story is a sort of prequel to Stardust. When I have Dragons of Wellsdeep out, Mystery of the Stardust Monk will actually fall in-between the two. The story is about Moonhunter find the orb that they give up in Stardust. Read the rest of this entry »

Progress – September 18, 2017

September 18, 2017

My son has been wanting to ride on the section of trail along the canyon rim that just opened. So, I’m writing this after we’ve done that ride and I’m a bit tired: “Hey, Mom, let’s ride the trail,” he says. “It’ll be fun,” he says. Me: I barely make it back alive. Everything was fine until we passed Evel Knieval’s jump site. Then the trail starts to go down into the canyon. I got about halfway down and realized that there was no way I wasn’t walking out.

Worse, when we did turn around and I walked partway out (and sat on a bench panting heavily for a good 15-20 minutes), I realized that I had a flat tire. A big, old puncture vine had left a goat head in my tire. Fortunately, I had goo in my tire, but it took awhile for it to seal up. I did manage to ride back to the start of the route (6 miles!) on it, however, my poor old bike only liked 2nd and 5th gears. I’d lost all shifting in between.

“It’ll be fun,” he says!

It’s been a good hour and a half since we finished the trail and I’ve gotten home to take a shower, but my heart is still going at 110 beats per minute. And, of course, my watch just told me that it’s time to MOVE! What a sense of humor it has. I can barely type this; that’s all the MOVE anyone is getting out of me right now.

As for the rest of my week, well, I’ve been putting together some ads and testing them, trying things out. I finished Mystery of the Stardust Monk yesterday. It’s a good novella length of nearly 25,000 words, so I’m happy. Been spending a lot of time working on Onesong as well. Plus, I’m nearly finished with the audio tracks for Stardust. I’m nearly all ready for Salt Lake Comic Con next weekend and have Snake River Comic Con in Pocatello the following weekend. Super excited to get out to these shows and share my stories with people there.

Well, I’m tired, so I’m cutting it short here today. Here are the numbers:


Fiction words written last week: 7,689 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,263 words

Writing month to date total:  18,023 words

Writing year to date total: 275,106 words

Drawing/painting last week: I didn’t do any painting this week. I was spending my normal painting time to organize my artwork for Salt Lake Comic Con. Doesn’t help that the days are getting shorter too.

Audio: I spent 4 hours editing audio and recording some retakes.

Hope to see you at Salt Lake Comic Con!

Progress – 05/15/17

May 15, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 5,645 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  981 words

Writing month to date total: 15,034 words

Writing year to date total: 119,188 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted. I did sketch (doodle actually) in my sketchbook this week.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 9 hours on recording and editing  audio. I have finished all the tracks for The Doorway Prince. I just need to transfer the files to my iphone so I can do a final listen though and make sure I haven’t missed any areas where the sound is bad. However, my iphone and my itunes account are not playing well together. Apple needs to go back to the drawing table with itunes. It use to be so easy to use. The last few versions have been garbage! Now, I get an error with my phone all updated and a new install of itunes. So, an error with fully updated stuff = Steve Jobs rolling over in his grave. There has got to be a better way!!!! Apple, are you listening? There has got to be a better way! Itunes needs fixed from the ground up. There has got to be a better way.

Week’s happenings:  Okay, sorry for my frustration there. I’ve spent 12 hours now trying to get my phone updated, itunes downloaded to my other computer, and no matter what I do (or my children — isn’t that supposed to make it work? If you can’t get something to work, just hand it over to your children? Yeah, that’s not working either) it will not sync. So, needless to say, my Sunday went out the window with me fighting with computer problems. My other computer spent all day trying to upload my audio files that I’d spent Sunday morning creating to the cloud. Two computers down in one day equals me not getting any work done. I am so frustrated that I’m about to burn them onto a CD – yikes!

I did, however, get my newsletter out to subscribers earlier this week. I also got The Three Books all reformatted and the new cover completed for the print version. It should be coming up on Amazon soon. I am running an experiment to see how this all is going to work, so I’m interested to see what the results will be. Curious, I am. (When I’m not being frustrated that is.)

Loki is coming along well. I figure I’m nearing the halfway point for completing the novella. I thought I was coming up on the ending of Mystery of the Stardust Monk, but then I got surprised along with my characters. That’s the best thing about writing in the dark; I have no clue what’s going to happen. And see, with Loki, I couldn’t have planned what happened there, even though Loki was sending me the vibes from the very beginning; he got to be amazed right along with me. (grin)

Along with those two stories, I started working on another idea which actually blossomed from two real tragedies I heard about in the week. While I have no desire to say more than that, let me just remind you to always tell you loved ones what they mean to you. You never know when you might never see them again, at least in this lifetime. I can tell that this is going to be a fun story though. I thought at first that it would be hard, considering the reality behind the idea, but when I started digging into it, I realized I was exactly the person to write this. I have no idea where it’s going — again, writing into the dark now that I have the initial inspiration. Where ever it goes, it will be a journey.

Onward. Wish me luck in getting my files onto my iphone before I have to burn a CD.