Category Archives: Heroes ‘Til Curfew

Fire bad, tree pretty, sequel hard

It seems simple enough, right? You already know a bunch of your characters, you’re comfortable in your world, you’ve got a solid story under your belt, and you know what you’re doing, right?

Oh, no. This is not as easy at it looks.

But you knew that, right? I mean, you’ve read enough sequels to know that getting it right is a dicey business.

Here’s my problem with reading sequels: I read them back to back. I hate waiting to find out what’s going to happen next, and waiting six months to a year?? Oh no. Lack coping skills. So yeah, I have to stick my head in the sand to avoid spoilers, especially on the big ones, but it’s a small price to pay. Equal opportunity binge-er here! I also don’t watch TV and instead wait for the entire season or, preferably, series, to be out on DVD before starting to watch the episodes back to back.

Anyway, when you don’t have six months to forget the details, when you’ve just read the book, tossed it aside, and pounced on the next one, eager to find out what happens, re-reading everything you just read is incredibly frustrating. As the ebook trend grows, as “out-of-print” becomes a thing of the past and more people are able to find all the books in a series, in order, whenever they stumble upon it, this will be an issue for even more readers.

The answer, I think, is to start each book like it’s totally new and fresh. Forget about the previous book and every adorable word you put in there, every remarkable moment you lived through with those characters that you want to reminisce about (but suggesting that they want to reminisce). The reader’s here to find out what happens now.

In the first book, when you’re starting out, you know that you’re developing a character for the reader. You’re not dumping her, her vital stats, living arrangements, most traumatic moments, and grocery list on page one. You’re doling out tidbits as you go, as they become relevant to the story.

Well book two? Same goes. The event of book one are now part of the character, part of the backstory of book 2. You know better that to dump a lot of unnecessary backstory into your book, right?

Objection, your Honor! Relevancy?

Now, in case you haven’t figured this out, this is me, talking to myself. Heroes ‘Til Curfew is kicking my butt. What I know about not bogging a story down with irrelevant backstory and useless detail, and what I seem to really want to write, are two different things.

This is way harder than I thought it would be.

I’ve never written a book two before. I’ve never completed a book one I thought was worth following up on before. So now I’m in this whole new world in which I see this whole series of books before me…

This is a skill-set that I seriously need to learn. And I will.

While I work on this, any thoughts? Advice? Commiseration? Are there book twos you’ve just thrown at the wall because you didn’t want to hear about book one anymore?

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Filed under Heroes 'Til Curfew, Hush Money, story structure, Talent Chronicles, tips, what not to do, writing

Why I’m an Indie Author Blog Carnival

I got this from my indie buddy Stacey Benefiel,but it originally comes from Scathach Publishing blog, and is part of a blog carnival, a number of blogs on the same topic. Click here to find more posts in the carnival.

So the topic is Why Indie?

I never tried to shop Hush Money or the Talent Chronicles series to agents or NY publishers. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe in myself or my work, it was because I just didn’t feel that NY and I were going to be a good fit.

If you’re looking at writing as a career, why seek a job with a firm that doesn’t seem right for you? A boss you doubt you’ll enjoy dealing with? It’s kind of like a guy who can’t stand wearing a tie pursuing a job with a firm that would require him to wear a 3-piece suit 80 hours per week. Why would you do that if you have choices?

And right now, we have choices.

For years, the Talent Chronicles simmered on the back burner as something for which I had a definite vision, but something that was going to be pretty impossible for me to market to traditional publishers. After all, as a newbie, it’s unlikely enough that I’d be signed to write a series, and certainly not a series the length I wanted to write. I had all these worries about getting started with it, investing so much of myself in it, only to never be able to sell it; or to sell it and then have it canceled after a few episodes because it hadn’t caught on yet. (Can we all say, “Firefly?”)

Even if I then chose to continue on my own, after having been published, how long might it be before I owned my own work again and could offer the beginning of the series to readers?

See? I’m a thinker. Too much a thinker, most of the time. But when the Talent Chronicles became all I wanted to work on, and it just didn’t seem worth pursuing, I actually took a break from writing and worked on some other projects.

In working on those other projects, I reminded myself how much I enjoy working for myself, dealing closely with the people purchasing my products, and really bringing my business to a more personal level than it ever is working for some corporation.

Enter the ebook self-publishing trend. While I do desktop publish specialty sewing patterns on a very small scale, I had never considered self-publishing in print to be something that would be practical for the Talent Chronicles. That was because I only understood it from the old, crates in your garage model. The indie ebook trend really turned my head, though, showed me a whole different idea. Right away, I found this new opportunity fascinating.

I have a lot to say about it, but…I’m not gonna do it today because you’ve got a lot of blogs to read. I’ll just say that as I watched friends like Zoe Winters and Kait Nolan getting their feet wet in self-publishing, having a chat window open to each of them, having them giving me their stats in stereo, I got damned jealous.

I wanted to be writing again, and for the first time I actually felt like it was possible to write and have a place to put the stories out there where they might be read and enjoyed. As some of you reading this will know, the first installment in the Talent Chronicles series, Hush Money, was released about two weeks ago, and I couldn’t be happier with my self-publishing experience so far.

My only regret is that it took me this long to get started.

I have tremendous respect for all authors, regardless of what paths they choose. This is the path I chose because it’s the one that allows me to own my own work, to choose and hire the people I want to work with, to offer my work at whatever price I want, and to give it away any time I want to.

The next steps for me: a print edition of Hush Money, and I’m also hard at work on its sequel, Heroes ‘Til Curfew, which I hope to have out this fall. Two releases so close together? Heck yeah. I don’t have to wait, and neither do the readers. I’m hoping to release a third by the end of the year, but we’ll have to wait and see about that.

Because I can.

Because I’m an indie author.

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Filed under books, Heroes 'Til Curfew, Hush Money, Laws of the Universe, self-publishing, Signs, Talent Chronicles, writing

Click Here for Free Book

I’m just back from a week at Disney. We’re very lucky in that our family has had a house not too far from there since approximately the dawn of time. Unfortunately, said house, being of the dawn of time vintage, is an internet-free zone. So this last minute jaunt has kept me unplugged for the last week. Whew. Glad to be back.

Although I fretted about it, Hush Money has done pretty well in my absence. Whether I’m around or not shouldn’t really make too much difference, I suppose, given that I’m a lousy self-promoter. Up to the minute total sales, for what is not quite 2 weeks yet, is 31 copies.

Now that I’m home, once I get out from under all the little back home, back-to-school details, I really need to buckle down and get some writing done on book two, Heroes ‘Til Curfew.

Meanwhile, I would love more exposure for Hush Money and have free copies of the ebook available for reviewers. If you would like to leave a review at Amazon, and/or review the book on your blog, etc., please feel free to drop me a line or just let me know in a comment to this post.

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Filed under book review, books, Heroes 'Til Curfew, Hush Money, Talent Chronicles, writing

Too Many Babies

Seriously. I feel surrounded.

I had so hoped to be finished with Hush Money and have it out the door before my daughter’s birthday. Holidays of any kind stress me, and being at Chuck E Cheese’s, on a Saturday, with a bunch of 5-6 year olds is really more stress than anyone should have to deal with. But a good time was had by some, and I’m calling birthday #6 for baby #1 a success.

Baby #2’s name is Beau. We brought him home on Thursday. He’s a huge puppy of not quite 5 months. He was treated like the adorable puppy he is until he got too big to handle and had to find a new home. I’m exhausted.

Baby #3, Hush Money, is finished. I’ve sent it off for final copy edits. I’ve been dragging my feet a bit on getting it to this stage because I’ve been waiting on cover art. Yesterday my cover artist finally decided to pull out due to some personal life stuff, but I’ve talked to a new one and I hope she can turn out something fantastic fairly quickly. I’d really like to have this out by the 1st.

Baby #4, Heroes ‘Til Curfew, is developing nicely. My basic outline is 3/4 finished–quarters 1, 2, and 4. Over the weekend I came up with the last missing major plot point, so I’m ready to hammer out part 3, I just need to sit down and focus without all these other babies dividing my attention. Not only is this story a bit longer and more involved than the first, but it’s got a lot more action/fight scenes that take me longer to block out. I’m anxious to get going on it.

Oh, and PS for more new babies. Doll stuff. I’ve been expecting some new ball-jointed dolls that have either been on order, or on layaway for, like, ever. My Unoa Sist showed up over the weekend. For the uninitiated, Unoas (when you can GET one!) come as unassembled kits. I was going to check mine over just to make sure she was all good and then leave her to put together at my leisure. However, possibly having realized that might be never, I ended up putting her together right away and now she’s waiting in the face-painting queue with the other impatient, unpainted dolls. Crescent Shop was awesome to deal with. I just got word that my layaway is complete and my Dollzone couple should ship out today. (Mint on Card Inc, great to deal with as usual.) So two more for the faceup queue by the end of the week. I need to find the energy for some pictures: birthday, new dog, new dolls, my obligatory collection comparison shots, etc.

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Filed under bjds, Heroes 'Til Curfew, Hush Money, me me me, Other Stuff, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, writing