Category Archives: progress update

#ROW80: I’m in. What could possibly–?

Okay, mostly I TRY not to be unreasonably superstitious, but, as many of you know, the one thing I fear is the Almighty Jinx and the resulting backlash of the Universe. My daughter’s favorite thing to say to freak me out these days?

What could possibly go wrong?

OMG, I hate that.

Nevertheless, here I am, tempting the ire of the Universe and joining up for this round of ROW80, just because I’ve managed to write over 1k each of the last 4 weekdays in a row. Because I am unreasonably stubborn (understatement), goal-setting often proves to be my downfall.

Incidentally, the money you spend on consumables so that you can take up space at the coffee shop…that’s tax deductible, right? Workspace rent and all?

Well, anyway, 1k+ per weekday is my goal for this round. That will be a real challenge come Spring Break next week and the end of school at the end of May. But hope for the best.


Filed under progress update

#ROW80 Wrapup

Forgive me friends for I have slacked. It’s been six weeks since I left the internet.

And except for a single blog post, a few automated tweets, and a handful of blog comments (mainly responses on my own site), I really did put a stop to the general mingling. I can definitely feel a big difference as far as how much I feel is packed into my brain all the time.

A Round of Words in 80 Days

But I don’t want to get too much into that, because this is supposed to be about the end of A Round of Words in 80 Days. Strangely, I can’t find where I listed concrete long-term goals for the challenge. Mostly I’ve talked about my short-term goals which were about working daily on the series for at least an hour, with at least half an hour unplugged from the internet, and to write at least three scenes per week on Heroes ‘Til Curfew until it was done.

Heroes 'Til Curfew Cover Art

Cover Art by Robin Ludwig

I had mixed success on that. On the time spent, I’m still not great with daily habits. And this is on everything, not just writing. Exercise, dish washing, bed making, and there are still a lot of days I forget to eat for the better part of the day. So consistency continues to be an issue I need to work on. I would say that, for the most part, and especially since I’ve taken my internet break, I’ve at least averaged my hour per day, which is something.

Three scenes per week? No. I’ve still got the end of Heroes ‘Til Curfew ahead of me, and there was definitely a point at which I just got stuck. I stubbornly let myself stay stuck for a long time and accomplished next to nothing.

I finally decided to let myself go back and edit the front end. I’m back to working productively. I’ve fixed things that were wrong or just not so good, things that may have been holding me back in some subconscious way. I’ve done a fair amount of new writing, working on a few scenes I’d skipped the first time around, I’m shifting the order of things a bit, and I’ve still got some new material I need to add. I’m hoping that by the time I edit up to the point where I left off, I’ll have gained a stronger sense of what of I’m working toward and will be able to push through that block. I think I will. New ideas have already started coming to me.

So yeah, I didn’t stick to my short-term goals, and I didn’t achieve my Round 1 goal of finishing this book and getting it out. But I am back to doing quality work and I feel a lot better than when we started in January.

My other Round 1 goal was to try to write a short story for the Kiss Me, Kill

Cover Art by HP Mallory

Me anthology. I hadn’t actually written anything short since college, and I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. It was hard to wrap my brain around that way of thinking. But as I wasn’t getting anywhere with Heroes ‘Til Curfew at the time, so I felt like it was okay to take a side trip, try to do something productive, and maybe get my writing brain working again.

Impulse Control Cover

Cover Art by Robin Ludwig

I really enjoyed writing it. It was fun and a lot less stressful than the novel. Most of my stress, ofcourse, is crap I put on myself, and I didn’t have to do that as much on a short story as the monumental amount of crap I have buried myself in over this sequel. So that goal was also achieved, was released in the anthology, and is being well received. I also decided to release that on its own, so it’s up for free at Smashwords and a few other places around the internet.

I’ll admit that I’m on the fence about Round 2, and that’s about the nature of me rather than about the nature of the challenge. These days, I kind of feel like the last thing I need is social pressure to meet my goals, you know? And the fact that I think of it as social pressure rather than community support shows the kind of place I’m still in right now.

What about you? Did you participate in Round 1? How did it go for you? How do you feel about signing up for Round 2?


Filed under progress update

Heroes ‘Til Curfew: Cover Art and Latest Info on the Sequel to Hush Money

Ok, that was the longest title ever.

I’m sure that there are some of you out there who fondly remember a time when I had planned this book to be a fall release, with yet another book out before the end of the year. Let’s all get that laugh over with. Life just happened all over me this fall, and I’m still trying to recover.

Work on Heroes is back on in earnest now, in a way that makes me feel like I’ve got a bit of my mojo back. At least enough to go to Robin and say: these are some things I know happen, these are some themes in story, etc. (Incidentally, I think the fact that I discuss themes with Robin, as well as characters, events, and set-pieces, might be why she’s able to come up with things that work so well. Or it could be just because she’s awesomesauce.)

So I have a cover. Here it is:

Heroes 'Til Curfew Cover Art

Cover Art by Robin Ludwig

I’ll give you a moment.

Do you love it?

Ok, so when can we expect the rest of it? Right now I’m saying January 2011. I hope you’ll all run right out and start up some best of 2011 lists as soon as you read it. ETA Release info: Since this post gets a bunch of hits from people searching for release info, I wanted to say that Heroes ‘Til Curfew still isn’t finished (*cringe* sorry!), and I don’t have a release date right now. I’ve added a line at the top of the sidebar with it’s status for your quick reference, and recommend signing up for the newsletter. I so much want to thank everyone for your patience and support.

I know that’s a while yet, although, trust me, it doesn’t seem like so very long from my perspective. I do, however, have a beginning. Imogen Rose was kind enough to include the first scene of Heroes ‘Til Curfew at the end of her latest release, Quantum. That “sneak peek” excerpt is just under two thousand words.

One thing I’ll tell you about the new story: it does not pick up right after Hush Money. A little bit of time passes between the two stories. For those of you who may now be going–

But wait! What happened when Joss got home? What did her dad say?

Hey, no one wanted to know that more than I did. I’m currently working on a short story which will serve as a sort of epilogue to Hush Money. Right now, what I have is being told from Dylan’s perspective. And all I can say is, “Poor Dylan.” Heroes ‘Til Curfew is my number one priority, but I hope to get back to the epilogue while Heroes makes the rounds with the beta and proof readers. I think it would be lovely if I could have that out for you around Christmastime.

As of right now, I intend for that story to be a freebie, a gift to readers who enjoyed Hush Money enough to sign up for a newsletter that will alert them to new releases and events in the Talent Chronicles series. Anyone who signs up for the newsletter now will receive information on how to download the new story as soon as it becomes available. (And anyone who doesn’t want to receive emails about new releases will be free to unsubscribe at any time.)

Did you know that Hush Money has now sold over 2500 copies, here in its fourth month of release? This blows my mind. That’s thanks to a lot of people who have written reviews, tweeted, and even hand-sold copies of the book to their friends, for which I am so grateful. And that’s a lot of people who will need to know about that sequel! If you’d like to offer help or ideas, please feel free.

Meanwhile, I gotta go write the damn thing.

ETA for PS: If any of you wants to borrow this cover image for the purpose of generating interest in the series and otherwise having something to blog about, please feel free.


Filed under books, goals, Heroes 'Til Curfew, Hush Money, love, me me me, progress update, romance, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, writing

Status Update, Coming Attractions, Secret Identities

Let’s just get this out of the way. I don’t think Stacey Wallace Benefiel (authoress of Glimpse, Glimmer, Day of Sacrifice) ever initiates a conversation two times in a row using the same messenger. One day it’s email, then Goodreads PM, then Facebook message, then a DM on Twitter… Is Stacey a secret agent, trying to cover her tracks? Are there coded messages I’m too blonde to see? While posing as a home-renovating mother-of-two, is she really about to drop from a helicopter onto a moving train and wondering why I haven’t rushed her plea for extraction to the agent they have planted at the local Waffle House?

These are things I ponder.

Hush Money hit a new milestone yesterday: 2000 sales. The end of October/beginning of November was freaking awesome on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

This will probably not be the last time that I mention that there’s nothing like a shiny new paperback under the tree, should you wish to consider Joss and her friends to fulfill your gift-giving needs this holiday season.

Can you believe she’s starting up with that crap already, and it’s not even freakin’ Thanksgiving yet? Damn. I know!

Ok, what else. Oooh! Right. So Quantum! Who’s a fan of the Portal Chronicles, raise your hand? (If your hand is not raised, it’s because you haven’t read yet, so go, buy Portal, start getting caught up now, ’cause…) The third book, Quantum, releases on Tuesday, November 16th. The main character, Arizona, is due to drop by here and drop off some kind of message for you on Tuesday. So make sure you’ve done the homework.

Also of possible interest, she said innocently, the cover of Heroes ‘Til Curfew, the follow-up to Hush Money, will be revealed on Wednesday, Nov. 17th. It was not at all what I expected, and really took my breath away when I saw the initial concept. Robin is awesomesauce, and I hope you’ll all like it as much as I do.

Yes, the new book is coming along better, thank you for asking. Yesterday I finally pushed through a scene that was giving me all kinds of problems. When I was finished, I just wanted to sit and write more. Dammit. Self-washing dishes, where are you?? As I was driving to Girl Scouts, I was totally seeing the inside of the record store instead of the road, Joss was yelling, stuff was flying–it was all pretty distracting. Now imagine me, having this realization: Wow, I could totally have a really bad wreck right now! and grinning from ear to ear because I’m finally getting somewhere.

Watch out you Nano peeps. Don’t count me out yet!

Did you guys know I have another identity? No, I don’t use a pen name. In the dark and dangerous manuscript critiquing underworld, I am known, by those who can find me, as Pink Hammer. My supercharged weapon of choice? The Pink Hammer of Doom, of course. Now this is all totally wrecked by Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, because now even I am asking myself if the hammer is really my penis, and it pretty much makes me the laughingstock of the underworld. Thank you very much. Nevertheless, I persevere, and will be taking out these frustrations on Devil’s Eye by Kait Nolan. So if Kait seems a little jumpy this week, if you see her stocking up on adult diapers because she’s pissing herself in fear, be kind.

Haha, no, really. It’s not like that.

Is it?

Ok, I think I’ve babbled at you guys long enough for one morning. Anyone have news? I haven’t been getting out much; feel free to tell me what’s up.


Filed under books, characters, Guests, Heroes 'Til Curfew, Hush Money, Kettle chat, me me me, NaNoWriMo, progress update, PubIt, romance, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, writing

This, That, Stuff, and Things

I used to have this social studies teacher who absolutely hated “stuff and things.” Use either of those words in an essay question at your peril. So now I often say them, just to say them, because I’m just ornery like that.

I’m also constantly behind. Everything’s just late, crazy, and overdue.

Take the 1000 Sales Giveaway. I was supposed to draw that on Monday. Just did it now.

It has been such a week. Sales started a random upswing over the weekend and then just exploded. It was all very exciting, finally slowing back down again, but I’ve been so obnoxious this week that I’m lucky I have any friends left at all, and you’re all lucky I forgot to blog.

So I’m not going to bore you with a play by play, but I’ll just record that my highest rank in the Kindle store was #327, and at B&N, where there is less competition right now, I think the highest I got was #140. Don’t know how that happened, and I think I’m pretty much going to have to retire from trying to figure this stuff out because I haven’t got a clue.

Ok, I know, tell us the winner already. I’m just messing with you. The winner of the signed paperback of Hush Money is Marta! Because thought to itself: which number feels like international postage?? Hahaha. That’s awesome, though, and Marta, I am very excited to send this to you.

Speaking of contests, I think Robin and I have settled on a cover concept and images for Heroes ‘Til Curfew. Last night I sent her a bunch of spew, descriptions of Dylan, some recurrent themes and imagery from the new book, that kind of crap. What she came up with is pretty awesome on the first try.

It’s not ready yet. I have to buy the stock images, she has to play with the color and make some adjustments, and I apologize for just teasing you like this with nothing to show. But I’m sure we’ll have it ready for you soon. I already feel so much pressure about this sequel that, to be honest, I’m sort of afraid of the cover reveal. Because I just think Robin’s work is so awesome it’s going to make a mob come to my house and chain me to this machine until I finish the story to go with it.

Which Kait suggested might not be a bad thing.


Anyway, I asked Robin if she was inspired by any of the responses in the Find My Dylan contest, and it seemed that her image selection came mainly from what I told her about the story. We agreed that it’s probably best to go with random selection on that too. So when we’re 100% on everything, and ready to reveal the cover, I’ll announce the winner on that as well. Thanks to everyone who helped look for Dylan.

In other news, my husband and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary on Tuesday. I’ve now been married half my life. Whew.

NaNoWriMo is going pretty slowly. November is always a bear for me. Just in this week I had my attention sucked away by the awesome upswing of sales, our anniversary, election day means a day of no school, I should have had my knitting day but got sick, then doll club with my mom today, and tomorrow I have a bazillion errands and a social commitment I should honor. So that’s all interfering a bit with my whole BICHOK program, but most of what interferes with that program is me. I got 1230 words today of what is mainly note-form to be turned into proper prose later (well, as proper as we get in the Talent Chronicles), which brought me up just over 4100, I guess. I forget, but I updated it at the website, so it’s probably in the sidebar. The stats tell me I’m behind. Big surprise.

How is everyone else doing?


Filed under Contests, Heroes 'Til Curfew, Hush Money, love, me me me, nano, NaNoWriMo, progress update, romance, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, word count, writing

The quick lame post jumped over the lazy blogger…

…and commences making excuses for lack of content. My randomness is spewed below. You have been warned.

Just checking in and saying hey. I had some thoughts for you, but I gave them away. No, really. There were a few things rolling around in my brain from the series last week, so I wrote them down. And then I handed them over to Reena Jacobs who recently asked for indie-related articles for her blog. So you can read my thoughts on the parts of your listing over which you have control, focusing on blurbs and your sample. The post will be titled: Never Too Late To Change.

So that’s tomorrow (Thursday, 10/21). On Friday, I’ve got an interview with Chris Kelly. He’s a writer who’s passionately indie, he’s way into Steampunk, and he’s Scottish. I can’t imagine what more you want, people.

In awesomesauce fan mail news this week, I got an email from a reader in Spain. Yes, Spain! Ok, maybe you don’t think that’s too exciting, but it appeals to my inner need for world domination. Also, last night, yet another of those snarky thanks a lot for making me stay up until the wee hours because I couldn’t put your damned book down emails. Those make me happy.

Speaking of things that make me happy, another book blogger showed Hush Money some love last week while I was out of town and couldn’t tweet about it, so I’ll mention the Fragments of Life review now.

People keep telling me they hate Marco. There should be club. What’s the opposite of a fan club? All I’m coming up with is lynch mob.

I may reach 1000 sales this month. That would be amazing. Because of the number of copies I’ve given away, I’ll almost certainly reach 1000 downloads. But 1000 sales, 1000 people who actually paid money to read my work? I know I say awesome a lot, but come on. Not sure; I might need just a bit of a push in sales to squeak by, but we’ll see.

I’d kind of like to do something, but I’ve no ideas. And no budget. Any ideas what might be fun? (and cheap?)

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Filed under blogs, book blogs, Hush Money, ideas, Laws of the Universe, links, love, me me me, progress update, Signs, Talent Chronicles, tips, writing

Now Appearing Live!

I have book! Finally.

Not on Amazon yet. If you’re waiting for Amazon, that’s still going to be a few days (I’m hoping for Thursday night or Friday). [ETA: The page has started and it’s buyable now! Check out the link in the sidebar.) But you can download the Kindle-compatible sample from Smashwords and get started on that.

This self-publishing stuff isn’t so hard, but it can be very tedious and frustrating. Fortunately, I had no formatting issues with the Meatgrinder at Smashwords–at least none that I’ve seen so far. When I submitted my file last night, it was to find out that I was #663 in the queue to be formatted. After a day of fixing little things, adding a few excerpts and shout-outs to the back matter of the book, etc., I was just too bleary-eyed and spent to stay up and wait for it.

When I woke up this morning, it was all set to go. But no sooner did I start to page through the HTML file to make sure it was ok, then Smashwords went down and stayed down for hours.

Now it’s back up and you can go get your very own copy of Hush Money. It’s available in several formats that should please just about everyone. You can also find it in PDF on Scribd. If you need some format you don’t see, please contact me and let me know.

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Filed under books, Hush Money, Laws of the Universe, links, me me me, progress update, self-publishing, Signs, Talent Chronicles, Violations, writing

Holding Pattern

The good news: I’m publishing today.

The not as good news: I’m not totally sure about being live today, and won’t be until I have it all buyable right in front of me.

I’m very anxious/hyper/nervous/excited today, so please bear with me.

Kait, who actually said the other day “I love Adobe Acrobat!”, offered to do the PDF and whatever headers and stuff I need to file for copyright. (Actually, she’s ranting today about how formatting is not hard. Check it out.) But she had real work to do this morning so I must wait until after lunch for her awesomeness to finish doing my work for me.

After that, it’s upload city, baby, and I get to see if it’s really as no hard as she says. So far, everything I’ve done is really…not that hard. I just have to wait to see if it all blows up before I can actually talk about it.

While we’re waiting, if you would consider liking my new Facebook author page, that would really help me look less losery, thanks so much.

I should be doing more productive stuff. I have a list, but I haven’t opened it today. I’ve been thinking about printing with Createspace, doing some reading on that, asking for some experiences and opinions and stuff. My biggest obstacle really is that I have to go back to Robin for the rest of the cover since I only bought a front. Her price for that is really reasonable, I just don’t have a lot of money right now. I wonder if she’d accept this slightly used puppy who ripped through two skeins of pricey yarn this morning… Likely not, and I couldn’t blame her.

Anyway, see, this is the thing with the hyper. I get really rambly. I’ve got to go do something while I wait. I’ll get those links out to you soon!


Filed under books, Hush Money, knitting, links, me me me, progress update, rant, romance, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, writing

The Big Reveal…

I have a book cover!!

Cover Art by Robin Ludwig

Two months ago, I contacted an artist to work on my cover. Unfortunately, she had a lot of personal life issues this summer and finally had to pull out of the job–just as I was sending my final draft off for copy editing.

A few days ago, I went to Robin, of Robin Ludwig Design Inc., with my tale of woe. She pulled together what I think is a beautiful cover in just a few days. She spent a lot of time with me looking at images and tweaking the design. She really made an effort to get a feel for my work and my tastes, and to understand what the story and characters were about. Absolutely amazing communication and service. Robin manages to be 100% professional while still being approachable, personable, and fun to work with. And while I was initially scared by how professional her website appears, her rates were completely reasonable and she did everything she could to work within my budget. In addition to doing the cover, she also quickly worked up a new blog header, background, and avatar for me, so that I could update my formerly uninspired-looking blog to match the new book.

Indies, if you’re looking for a cover artist, consider Robin. Feel free to tell her I sent you.

Now, more about ME…

Like I said, Hush Money is with the copy editor over the weekend. And now I have my cover. I think the last thing I need to do is register the copyright, and then I’ll be all ready to upload to Amazon and Smashwords, possibly as early as Monday, August 2nd. It’s very exciting in a head-spinny kind of way.

So much so, in fact, that I can’t remember if there was other stuff I’m supposed to tell you. You can read a bit about the Talent Chronicles series by clicking the new tab at the top, or by clicking here, and you’ll find a brief excerpt here.

I’m so excited! I’ll be announcing here when it becomes available for purchase, so I hope you’ll stay tuned.


Filed under books, Hush Money, love, me me me, progress update, romance, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, writing

Kait Nolan, IRL

Mwahahaha! Here it is, the unauthorized, inside look paranormal romance author, Kait Nolan. Without pics, sadly, because that seems rude.

Of course, if you’ve ever read here before, you know that Kait = Kettle, my critique partner and best friend, and that we’ve been joined at the virtual hip since we met online a few years ago. (Want to know how long, ask K, because things with numbers….I’m not so good.)

K came to see me a few years ago and we had a really good time watching movies, half of the first season of Veronica Mars, and continuing to chat online on our laptops even though we were in the same room. I had to wait to return the visit until my daughter got a little older. So it’s interesting–to me–to note that we did no online chatting with each other this time, and, in fact, were online and social FAR less than we are normally. I did chat a bit with Zoe a few times when she popped up, K kept up with her blogging, but we were not at all in our usual routine of get up, open the laptop and a chat window, say good morning… and then we’re just in and out there until “goodnight”. ) This weekend we got to do that without the keyboard! It’s a lot of speaking for someone like me, but we had such a fantastic time. We watched one, count it, one movie, Some Kind of Wonderful. Because, really, watching this movie is mandatory for knowing what I’m talking about, and there was no way she was ever going to buckle down and watch it without me standing over her. But other than that, the TV was just not on all weekend.

So… what are some things I can tell you about Kait? When she says her house is small, she’s not lying. When she says she really doesn’t have enough room for anything else, this is true. It’s very cozy, her decorating is very warm, it’s a pretty house, but I can understand why she’s feeling like she wants to find someplace to stretch out a bit. When she says she’s a good cook–also true. And while she did put some vegetables on my plate at various times, we also had cookies (well, she eats her cookies raw) for a dinner and a breakfast. This, along with the discussion: Being a Grown-Up Rocks. Finally, when she tells you that she is not a morning person, oh, my, goodness, people. It is a pitiful thing to see this poor creature struggle to wakefulness every day. Bless her heart.

There was work done. Hurray! Part of the purpose of my visit, and the reason I was so crazed to finish my first draft, was to work through some of my revisions. Most of what I need help on is the action stuff. Being girly, my natural inclination is to kind of put my hands over my eyes and say “Tell me when it’s over.” This, unfortunately, is reflected in my draft in which I basically wave vaguely at the fact that there’s a fight or battle going on and…tell you when it’s over. Having a writing buddy who is your opposite compliment in so many ways–a salt and pepper sort of thing, I guess–is awesome when it comes to stuff like this. And I got to see how when Kait does fight choreography, there are detailed drawings, laying out the field of play, there’s active pacing about the room, miming fight moves… Let me just say that it’s quite a show and I have fantastic notes to work with when I get home. I hope I can do them justice.

So this morning, since I AM a morning person, I’m sitting around typing a blog post, which I so rarely get around to doing at home, while I wait for Kait to get ready to go to work. That’s why I’m headed out for the 7-8 hour drive back home. On the way, I hope to stop off and visit Zoe again. I did that on the way down, and it was SUCH a fun hour or so that I spent with her in her nearly infamous frozen yogurt hangout. If you follow her on Twitter, you’ll soon suspect froyo addiction. Zoe is really so bubbly and fun in person, although reaching that 12yo mallrat constant giggle point in public does make me a bit self-conscious about ever meeting her in the same place twice. I really hope that the three of us can get together at some point, although I will not plan on getting any actual work done.

So, I hope I haven’t bored you too much. I mean, I know that often hearing about someone else’s vacation is a big yawnfest. Once I get home I’ll be tackling the harder revisions and also starting my campaign to get K, and maybe even Z, up to my house sometime soonish.


Filed under Hush Money, progress update, Talent Chronicles, writing