Category Archives: word count

Lessons from the Universe Continue to Plague Me

Some days are just full of headaches and embarrassments.

The headache is mainly just that I’m sick with one of those nasty, painful colds. At least we didn’t have a snow day for the THIRD day in a row. I know I’m not supposed to consider school my babysitter, but come on.

Anyway, I feel terrible about this, like I just have total promo fail. I can’t believe my reach is still so small that I can’t even give away 10 copies of a book. And it may be partly that Imogen and I have been doing cross-promo and she’s already tapped as much of my small network as she’s gonna. And it’s probably also that I had to go our around 12:30 yesterday, didn’t get home until 8pm, and then just crawled into bed, so the PM world didn’t really know about the giveaway. So basically, everyone who commented yesterday wins, and I appreciate it. I’ve already sent those out.

So a friend of mine, who is somewhat down, has written to me with some questions about self-publishing. And like the indie fiend that I am, I’m responding with a long letter, attempting to take advantage of his frustration and bring him over to the Dark Side.

And while I’m doing this, an email I wrote a few weeks ago come back to haunt me.

While I was away for that reunion thing over Thanksgiving weekend, I got this email from the people at BookBuzzr, basically saying: hey, since you’ve been with us, your rank has gone from this to this. Do you know how that happened and have any marketing tips we could share with our readers?

Well, now, you guys know that I am always happy to babble about that stuff, so I did. With my husband tapping his foot, I furiously typed this really long email in which I brain-dumped everything I could think of, most of which you guys have already read. Only, you know, I thought I was just talking one-on-one, and I was pressed for time, and I left out the self-effacing humble stuff that I actual feel, but just didn’t have time for that morning.

So in the middle of what’s supposed to be a kick-ass, indie-rah email to my friend, I get a promo in my inbox that mentions my name in a link. And follow it to the reprint of this previous email.

Now, don’t get all mad on my account. I say I didn’t know it was coming out, but I’m sure it was a misunderstanding on my part and I’m not mad. You’d be AMAZED and frightened by the amount of stuff that goes over my head and that I just plain forget. If you’re one of those writers who goes about in a fog most of the time and makes the absent-minded professor look like Franklin Planner-Man, you know what I’m talking about. (I am, actually, the antithesis of Kait Nolan. And suddenly the Anti-Kait has a ring to it…) But it leaves me sort of nonplussed and kind of embarrassed, and concerned about whether, perhaps, I came off as a big no-it-all with a huge, bloated head. Plus I might have tried to sound more smarter than I do around here, talking with you friends.

The lesson here, for all of us, is to remember to be careful in our communications with others, to pay attention to whether or not we’re projecting what we intend, and that what we say electronically can live on for a long time in ways we didn’t originally expect.

Heroes ‘Til Curfew, for enquiring minds who want to know, is going fairly well this week. I enjoyed the 2500+ words I wrote yesterday from Dylan’s perspective, many of which were written in Burger King, with its wonderful indoor playground. You know, when I mention fast food playland, NO ONE takes their kids to unhealthy places like that. Oh well. Deal. I got words down and no one had to die, and if someone had to suck down some chicken and fries for the cause, so be it.

I have now exercised two days in a row, and three times within a week. Now, I will grant you, it hasn’t been a lot of exercise, but I have turned on the Wii and done something, and I demand at least partial credit for this. Plus, there was water consumed that was not even carbonated. I know, right? But I did it anyway.

That’s it! That’s all the babbling you get for now. I have things to do, tissues to destroy, and vulnerable writers to corrupt, and I must move on.

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Filed under Contests, Heroes 'Til Curfew, Increasing Kindle Rank, Laws of the Universe, links, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, what not to do, word count, 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 Random.org 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.

Smartass.

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?

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

End of Days

Well, I suppose that once a month is better than nothing, and if I’ve been too busy to drop in here lately, at least I can actually add writing to my list of excuses.

Today is the last day of school for the year, and it started out as one of those days where everything goes wrong. I’ll spare you the details, but you can see the broken china for yourself. Bad, bad dog.

There’s Briar from an early morning photoshoot before Awards Day. It was a lovely, sunny, misty morning for pictures, and there she was all dressed up for graduation. I actually managed to get a few that weren’t blurred. Well, that one in the up right I had to crop out her blurred, flapping arms.

Also from that morning is the pic on the bottom right with my yard, allegedly in need of mowing, but given my non-standard nature, it pleases me to live in a field of clover. Honeysuckle is taking over the world as well, and all I can think is now nice everything smells when I venture outside.

Isn’t that pocket sandwich about the cutest thing ever? I got great bento stuff from J-Box. If you’re not used to paying for shipping things from Asia (like we crazed doll collectors are), it might be scary. But I was favorably impressed with my buying experience there and hope to order again soon. So much Hello Kitty, so few funds…

Speaking of why I’m poor, please don’t tell, but yesterday I put in my preorder application for a Unoa Sist kit. I know it was wrong, it just seems like they never come up for pre-order, and then you only find them already strung and sometimes with missing parts, and always for $100-$400 more than the original price. So really, it’s a savings. That’s what I’ll be telling myself when the invoice arrives. And I had nearly contented myself with no more doll orders this year. By the way, my Dollzone couple in the sidebar down there, they’ve arrived at Mint On Card, but my layaway runs through the end of July. I’m trying not to put it on my credit card early just to bring them home. I’ve bought from Lindsay before and have had nothing but good experiences with her.

Decimal, as you can see, is actually starting to look like a sweater. One I hope will be done by the time I leave to

GO VISIT MY CRIT PARTNER IN JUNE!!

I’m stupid excited about this. This will be my first away by myself since 2003.

Also exciting is that I’ve been writing kinda like crazy–for me, anyway–all the month of May and am about 24K words into my WIP with about 45% of my scenes completed and the rest outlined or at least sketched in. I’m hoping to finish my draft before I leave so that I can dump it on her for an in-person workshopping, in the hopes that she will feed me ice cream to make it easier to take. I’m optimistic. It’s a new life skill I’ve been working on. So I’m expecting it to come through without needing a complete tear down and hope to have Hush Money ready for consumption in the next 6-8 weeks. Obviously, I could be completely wrong in all areas and it could be 6-8 months but…I’ll let you know.

I always have a lot of things to talk about, I just keep forgetting to come here and talk about them. Note to self: put someone in charge of that. Poor Kettle. If I give her one more thing to remind me about, I don’t know what she’ll do. She’s been talking a lot about when she has kids…. Oh honey, you already do. Waah!

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Filed under bento, bjds, goals, knitting, progress update, word count, writing

Nano/COD Update: Day 8

I did another little bit this afternoon.  Officially I’m at 11580, although I’ve got another 500 or so words written in the scene I’m currently (not) working.

I got an email from a municiple liason today in which she talked about Week Two and how it’s said to be the hardest week of Nano.  She said, amongst other things, that Week Two is the week in which you may come to feel that you are writing the worst novel ever.

And I thought, nah.  For one thing, I’m pretty sure I’ve already written the worst novel ever, so this probably isn’t it, and besides that, I’ve read an awful lot of crap in my life which often serves to make me feel better.

Then, just now, BAM.  It hit me.  I was sitting here, pondering something other than Nano for a while, and next thing I know

Damn!  My story totally sucks. 

So I don’t know, either I need to figure out how to fix it up, or I just need to get over it and move on.

Anyone else have this happen this week?

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Filed under COD, insecurities, NaNoWriMo, progress update, Sweat 2, word count, writing

Nano/COD Update: Day 7

So my update for yesterday.  Hard hit by the plague, and even though I had to spend most of the day being still so I could keep breathing, I didn’t get much writing done.  It should have been a good time to get ahead, but I just couldn’t think straight. 

 By the end of the day, I was only able to come up with 755 words.  Which is far better than nothing.  It means I only have to write 2572 today to catch up instead of 3334. 

Ok, that was my attempt at positive thinking.  How’d I do?

So the thing that didn’t make sense?  I skipped it.  I know a reasonable answer is there and I just refuse to see it right now.  The thing about the traitor, as well as coming up briefly later in the story, is really a background thread for the series.  So it’s not critical that it be here for me to move on.  Skip!  Then I checked my outline and was supposed to write about my heroine going about town talking to people and finding out stuff about Mac.  Oh, I forgot about that.  The fact that I forgot it makes me wonder if it’s important, or if it’s just fill.  Since I couldn’t think of a way to make it important (like I wanted to write the dinner scene from my snippet yesterday, so I forced new reader info into it, which was easy and worked) I decided to just skip that too, for now.  Maybe I’ll come back and fill it in with things about Mac and thoughts from Colby that I fail to illustrate any other way.  And maybe I just won’t write it at all. 

So what the heck did I do?  Not much, like I said.  Mac came home from work and had some words with Colby.  I established that it’s his regular poker night and it’s his turn to host, and he can’t get out of it because everyone wants to come gawk at the fake girlfriend and he’s pissed off an worried. 

I did have him pull his shirt off as he stalked down the hall to the shower.  It was gratitous because we were in his head and there was no one there to see it but me.  But a girl needs to get her kicks somewhere.

Speaking of which, romance stuff is on the horizon, action too, and, beyond that, immersion into the superhero world.  Trying to remember to be excited about that.

I’m at 10764.  How’re you Sweaters and Nanoers doing (and those of you who don’t need a challenge to get stuff done too)?

 P.s. If you didn’t visit Joely Sue Burkhart’s blog yesterday, she had an interesting post that included her storyboard and a collage of inspirational stuff for her story.   Which, of course, made me want to show you whom Mac and Colby resemble.

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Filed under COD, NaNoWriMo, progress update, romance, Sweat 2, word count, writing

Nano/COD Update: Day 6

You know, I like to write in scenes.  I write from beginning to end and then I’m wiped.

So it seems to be a bit of an issue that scenes for me are rarely more than 1600 words.

Anyway, 1632 today to total 10009.  That makes me happy.  My heroine told the hero why she was there, which, of course, he didn’t take so well.  But neither she nor I expected him to.  She because she read his file, and I because I’m just all about the conflict and I know it.

So I sat down to write out some notes to get me throught the next scene.  I wrote some general impressions of the head of the bad guy agency and then WHAM!

Um, if the bad guy agency has someone inside the good guy’s secret mountain compound (such that they have the information they’re about to discuss in this scene), why don’t they just get its location from the aforementioned traitor and wipe them out?

Yeah, so my outline has a bit of a flaw, huh?  I think I’m too stunned by my own stupidity to think my way around this right now.  Right now it feels important to me that they actually don’t discover the location, as opposed to being able to get that information but feeling like other goals are more important right now.  So I don’t know what to do and I think a simple solution is right there and I’m too sick and miserable and pissed off right now to see it.

And aside from how lousy that last paragraph was, I’m not really in that bad a mood.  Not really.  I am, however, out of it to the point of senseless babble.

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Filed under COD, ideas, NaNoWriMo, progress update, romance, Sweat 2, word count, writing

Nano/COD Update: Day 5

I just wrote that scene I wanted to write last night.  I put in a bunch of political stuff that should hopefully be interesting to the reader, sort of explains what’s going on, shows off more of who the characters are, both to the reader and to each other. 

I’m really happy about that, and that I’ve just passed the minimum goal for today.  Hoping to get a bit ahead later on.

Did 1618 and am now sitting at 8377.

 Of course, I was supposed to be making this week’s menu and grocery list and getting ready to go out on errand day.  Gotta run!

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Filed under COD, NaNoWriMo, progress update, Sweat 2, word count, writing

Nano/COD Update: Day 4

I got some time to myself this afternoon and I just passed today’s goal.  So I was happy.  I figured that tonight I could get ahead some more.  But frankly, I’m very sleepy.  It’s not coming to me, and my DD’s got a cold, so I think she’s going to wake me up…again.  So I’m taking myself off to bed.

6758 as of today.  I’m in the middle of an uncomfortable dinner situation.  The main characters can’t talk about what’s going on because there’s company.  But it still has to be worth reading, so I’m thinking that the company should bring up something in the news that will bring the fictional world into focus a bit better for us.  But I’m not inspired as to what that is.

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Filed under COD, NaNoWriMo, Sweat 2, word count, writing

Nano/COD Update: Day 3

Such exciting post titles for me lately.

So, what did we learn today.  Well, I learned the following:

  • One cannot intimidate the Nano site with how many times in a row one can hit refresh.  It doesn’t care.  It is not impressed.
  • When making icing, don’t just put in the listed ingredients, pay attention to the consistency.  It’s easier to add a little milk to thin it out than to add a lot of sugar to try to bring thicken it back up.  Admittedly, that’s not really a learn, that’s more of a review, and a duh at that.
  • Even when it seems like you’ve been in a scene so long that you must surely have written over two thousand words, it is very likely that you haven’t written one thousand yet.  Do not be surprised with you it see the actual number.
  • Three year olds, chocolate cake, and NanoWriMo progress do not peacefully coexist.

 Ok, that’s probably about it, really.  My hero and heroine had their first conversation.  My heroine’s just sashayed back off-stage, and my hero is standing there dumbfounded and not knowing what will happen next.  Guess which character I resemble.

I’m up to 5778 now, and losing a bit more of my lead every day. 

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Filed under COD, love, NaNoWriMo, progress update, romance, Sweat 2, word count, writing

Nano/COD Update: Day 2

Ugh.  I just crawled through a patch of guy talk to introduce my hero.  The heroine just walked onstage and put me out of my misery, thank goodness.  But I know I’ve hit the point where I need to go to bed and I’m not going to do good work, so I’m going to stop at 1132, even though it’s not what I wanted to do today.

That puts me at 4081.

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Filed under COD, love, NaNoWriMo, progress update, romance, Sweat 2, word count, writing