Saturday, June 30, 2012

Two Proofs And A Writer's Block

Last week, my most awesome father (who spent his career days as a commercial artist) finished a gorgeous pen-and-ink drawing for me to use on the new cover of Becoming Brigid.  Then, last week, Dad and I went over to Max's house, and Max kindly spent his afternoon using his spiffy computer skills to put together all the pieces of the new book cover.
So, last night, I was able to submit everything to CreateSpace, and now my 1st proof on Becoming Brigid is on its way!!!  So cool.
(I've also been tinkering with a book trailer for it.)
Also last week, my third proof of All in the Half-Vampire Family arrived.  We're still having cover issues with this one.  (This time it's at least 3 shades darker than it's supposed to be!)  And I need to read through it YET AGAIN to check for errors.  But we're nearly there, folks.  Nearly there.
So, where's the writer's block?  On The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay, that's where.  I can't seem to get the dang thing to end.  I stare at the pages and can't make them work!  Ugh!  SO frustrating!!!
First drafts are always the hardest for me.  I'd MUCH rather revise and edit that write that bare-bones first draft.   But I've got to get this one done!  And soon!
And that's the news, folks.
P.S. I am thinking of doing a cover reveal for Brigid when we get closer to publication.  Is anyone interested in participating?

And The Winners Are....

The contest to win Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire, a tee-shirt, and bookmarks over at Falling Books has now ended.  You can see the winners listed here.
As soon as Sam e-mails me with which person won what and the addresses, I'll ship off the prizes to the far corners of the world.
Congrats to the winners!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I'm Dreaming Of The Edinburgh International Book Festival

In just a few hours, tickets go on sale for THE book festival to end all book festivals.
No one here in the States ever seems to tweet or blog about it.  Fools Uh, uninformed people who don't know what they're missing.
I haven't been able to attend it for the last four years, and with my health in its current state, I have no freakin' clue when I'll manage to get another chance, but I can still dream.
I just wasted spent the last 30 minutes going through the THIRTY-SIX pages of EIGHT HUNDRED or so authors and choosing the events I'd attend if I could.  Here are my choices:
Jeanette Winterson - as I had to write papers on some of her bizarrely beautiful stuff, and I think it would be awesome to hear her in person.
Darren Shan -- because -- DUDE, VAMPIRES!!! vampires that don't sparkle!  Cool vampires!  And now he's doing zombies.  What's not to like???
Margaret Ryan -- okay, I've met her before.  But now she's doing Celtic legends updated for MG fiction.  Awesome.
Philip Reeve. Philip Reeve, people!  As in Fever Crumb and Here Lies Arthur.  Yeah, that guy!  He's at the festival.  So cool.
Ian Rankin -- who never, ever disappoints.  I've seen him over and over.  He's charming and brilliant.  And he created John Rebus.  Rankin is the absolute ruler of Tartan Noir.  We bow before him.  Always.
Garth Nix.  Somehow I've just never gotten around to reading his stuff.  I think it's about time I did.  Don't you?
Patrick Ness.  I'd never heard of him before tonight, but now I want to go find and read all his stuff.
Nicola Morgan -- I've read a couple of her YA books, and she's teaching a workshop.  Awesome.
Alistair Moffat -- I read one of his books on DNA in Scotland.  It was pretty interesting, and I'd like to hear him speak about it.
Val McDermid -- somehow I've managed never to read her stuff.  It's time to start.
Alexander McCall Smith -- because he's hilarious.  And because I've never seen him in Scotland before, only in Utah.  But that's a tale for a whole different post.
Robyn Marsack -- she's not an author; she's the head of the Scottish Poetry Library.  I worked under her direction for months as I did the initial research and cataloguing for the library's Edwin Morgan Collection.  I'd love to hear her speak on war poetry.  Sounds fascinating.
(Oh, you didn't know I'd catalogued a whole collection for a library, eh?  Yup.  Five months of volunteer work.  Maybe I'll post about that sometime, too.  I'm not just about vampires, you know.)
Fraser MacLean -- the history of animation.  Cool as heck.  (Hey, Richard, are you reading this???)
Liz Lochhead -- current Scottish Makar.  She is AWESOME.  And to hear her read her poetry is wonderful.  I've met her before and wouldn't hesitate a second to see her again.
(Yeah, I've met both the first Scottish Makar and the second in person.  Interesting, that.)
(Note: a makar is a national poet.  The first one was Edwin Morgan, now deceased.)
A. L. Kennedy -- I actually don't even like her writing, but SHE is wonderful!  I've actually had classes from her before, and I would love to see her again in person.
Barry Hutchinson -- I'd never heard of him before tonight, but now I want to find and read his MG novel.
Seamus Heaney -- because, well, yeah, he's SEAMUS HEANEY, people -- the most famous Irish writer since Oscar Wilde.  Seriously.
Alasdair Gray -- having slogged through Lanark twice for two different classes on post-modernism, I would love to have a look into the brain of the man that created that bizarre piece of torture (although I really love the index at the end with Monty Python references and footnotes to books that don't exist).
Neil Gaiman.  I met Neil Gaiman when Coraline was new.  He drew me a rat while he answered my questions about post-modernism.  And now he's speaking on the 10th anniversary of Coraline.  Oh, to be there!
Barry Cunningham -- He's the publisher who made JK Rowling, Philip Reeve, and Stuart Hill famous. I've met him before, but I'd pay to see him again.
Eoin Colfer -- I've seen him twice before, on two different continents.  He's hilarious.  Not to be missed.

Have I tempted you yet?  If not, click here and have a look through the hundreds of authors.  Whom would you choose?  There must be someone you'd love to see.  Do tell me.

Guest Post: R. Mac Wheeler

R. Mac Wheeler is a blog-buddy of mine.  I thoroughly enjoy his Sunday photo posts, and I stand in awe of the vast amount of books he has managed to write.  Like me, he does self-publishing.
But enough from me -- let's have him tell you about himself:

One Writer's Journey
Who am I?
R. Mac Wheeler…an author of character-driven SF/F/paranormals and suspense filled with quirky sorts who lug a lot of baggage, in worlds that aren’t that far out.
My trek to publishing is typical. I've spent twenty years writing when I could. I set aside each novel and wrote another…returned to the earlier novels and edited. Queried. Edited. Wrote. Edited. Repeat. 
I wanted to be traditionally published, of course. I studied and practiced my craft. I tried new genres. Grew. Still didn't capture the attention of an agent. I had the opportunity to write full time seven years ago, and jumped in with vim and vigor, and a lot of naiveté.
Nineteen novels backed up on the shelf. Last summer I decided there was no point letting them collect dust. I would self publish. No new writing since. Just edit…edit…edit…  
*he screams maniacally* 
I'll soon have my sixteenth novel on Amazon and B&N. Two fantasy novels after that I may or may not publish. I have two novels outlined already. I'm very eager to write.
I've learned a lot. Indie publishing is like every other endeavor. Pages of minutia, each element if done well, improves the quality of the product. But having an asset is only one-third of the effort. 
Building a Platform
I'm not going to kill myself creating a brand. There are companies that spend many thousands of hours doing this. I'm not naïve enough to believe I have the stamina, nor the capital to launch an identity. 
I've embraced Facebook. I blog, mix my journey to publication with my joy of photography to entice folks to visit me…hopefully peek at the novels I brag about there. I've created a home page (not all that flashy…most you can say is, it's functional…but I like simple…I'm not a flashy person…I don't write flash either…my characters are malcontents…a little like me).
Marketing Myself
Selling at this point isn't my priority (Don't tell my wife…she wants to retire). I trust the industry. Maybe that's foolish…but I figure if I haven't enticed an agent to represent me yet…I haven't learned enough to merit a contract.
But, I snort. Ninety percent of those who get a contract, still can't support themselves with their writing. 
I love to write. I'm never going to stop. I unabashedly anticipate living another two-hundred years. Writing isn't something I will EVER retire from. Think of the novels I can create in the next two centuries. It's mind boggling. 
If one of my titles catches fire…fine. I might make a bunch of money. I don't think that will change my life. All I will want to do is stay home and write, with my pups laying all around me.
If I blaze no publishing glory, I can continue to earn thirty bucks a quarter from each of my titles, by the time I die I will have created a library that may help my grandkids' kids afford their first homes…or meet the mortgage…maybe. 
When I have my current novels out there…and have let a little of my backed up energy escape with some new writing…I'll…eh…maybe consider some marketing.
In the Meantime
I write. Love my wife. Pet my pups. And post photographs every week capturing my marvelous hikes…my Sunday Safaris. Come for a visit. Drop me a, "Nice pix" comment. You'll warm my heart. I promise to send you a, "Well thanks for dropping by."
-R. Mac Wheeler
Home Page
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Author Photos? They Might Do More Harm Than Good

A few weeks ago on Twitter, someone went on a rant about how horrible it is that SOME writers use ICONS instead of their photos.  She went on for several tweets about how evil this was.
I'd tell you her name, but I can't recall it; I stopped following her after about the 4th tweet-rant.
I also have a blog follower here who occasionally makes jibes about my lack of photo.
Thus, it's time to make my case as to why it's not always a good thing for an author to put up a photo.
Basically, it's this: pretty people sell stuff; ugly people don't.
Let's face it; advertisers don't put zit-ridden adolescents or fat people or people with bad teeth or -- well, I could go on forever here -- on ads because we all want to associate ourselves with beautiful people, and putting beautiful people on ads tends to make us dream of being like those folks IF we buy the product.
We also expect celebrities to be beautiful.  This sort of makes sense if the celebrity is an actor, but we're beyond that.  Way beyond that.  Long gone are the days when singers only had to have beautiful voices; now they're made fun of it they aren't pretty people.  And politicians and their spouses must also be beautiful.  (Did you catch the media rants over Secretary of State Clinton's hairstyle?  Honestly, why should we care?  But we do.)
And so we come to authors.  Authors, in this info/media age, cannot really function the way Emily Dickenson did.  Authors must become a type of celebrity in order to get people to buy books.
But not all that many authors look like celebrities.  And, as usual, people are more critical of women's looks than of men's.
So, we have Neil Gaiman.  A few years ago, he was totally drool-worthy.  I have ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that a lot of women bought his books because of his looks.  Maybe some men did, too.

He's aging well, but time takes its toll:
He may not capture the hormones of younger readers quite so well anymore, although his charm in person will help a lot.  (He is remarkably good-tempered, even after long bouts of signing books.)

Other authors who look like celebrities include JK Rowling, who has the body of a star and a pleasant face which make up artists can build upon to make her look the part:
She'll be 47 in a month, but she hardly looks it.
Shannon Hale is nauseatingly cute.  And Ian Rankin has incredible charm and rugged good looks, which make him a total favorite with audiences.
But this is about where it ends.
Most authors look like real people, and not like celebrities.  I recall one author who showed up at her book signing in a faded tee-shirt with baby spit-up on it.  And another very popular author stunned me with her super-fakey dyed red hair and clashing shade of red lipstick that over-accentuated her too-large mouth and make her look like a fat, red frog.  Really, I was better off not knowing what she looked like.
But wait, you say: what about photos?  You're discussing live people; surely authors can do better with photos and photoshopping.  Well, yes.  To a point.
A few days ago, I saw a youtube video of an author.  Now, I had been particularly entranced by one of her books, which had a protagonist who was lithe, fierce, and athletic.  I was stunned to see that the author was obese and in need of good hairstyling.  And sometimes the authors are much older or much younger than what we expect.  Or short -- I was very surprised to find out that one man whose books I enjoy greatly is only about 5 feet tall.
Posh!  None of this should make a difference, right?  These are writers!  It's their words that matter, not their looks!
Uh, huh.  Just keep trying to get yourself to believe that.
We are conditioned by the media to expect beauty.  Ugly people don't sell products.  Books are  products.  We say not to judge a book by its cover, but we all do.  A bad cover on a good book hurts sales.  (A great cover on an average book boosts sales, too.)  Likewise, an unattractive author or author photo hurts sales.
Now, I haven't exactly made millions yet off my Half-Vampire book, but I have no intention whatsoever of jeopardizing future sales by putting up an unattractive photo.  My icon is better looking than I am; it won't hurt sales.  True, I have more sense than to let myself look like the fat, red frog or to wear shabby clothes to a major event, but I'm no JK Rowling, either.  My photo stays off.  (And there are probably quite a few other authors who would do well to consider this, too.  I'm not the only one where some things are better left to the imagination.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #24

I had to skip this game last week because I couldn't think of a darned thing that fit Carmi's theme AND met my own criteria.  But this week is easy.
Carmi, journalist extraordinaire at Written Inc, has selected "Welcome, Summer" as his theme for the week.  Everyone who joins in his photo theme will have summer pics.
But here on my blog, we add a writers' game to it (although you do not have to be a writer to play, as long as you can write a comment).  I post a pic that fits Carmi's theme, then I add a title and a single line of a story to go with it.  Then you join in with your own titles and lines, adding them in the comments section.   Here's a good sample for you to see how it works, if you're new to this.

Okay, let's do it.
Here's my selected photo (with "helpful" text):

My title: Goddess of the Sun
Single line: Most scientists scoffed at the idea that worship of the Frida, Goddess of the Sun, was causing global warming, but they did not understand Guido's true powers to call down heat from the heavens.

Okay.  It's YOUR TURN.
Add your own titles and single lines -- inspired by this lovely photo, of course -- in the comments section.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Not Buying The Farm (Co-op)

It's become quite the rage in SLC over the last few years: buy local, go green, buy organic, support your neighbors' businesses, do urban farming.  So, what could be better than a local, independent grocery mart that sells locally produced, organic food?  Really, it sounds great.
And plus, they have this program wherein the customer pays upfront for several weeks' worth of fresh products to be bagged and picked up on Thursdays.  Wow.  I was hooked.  It sounded awesome.
But it wasn't.
We've now reached the end of our six weeks, and I won't be doing it again.  Ever.
First off, not one bit of the produce was local.  Every single vegetable and the very occasional fruit came from California.  The eggs and cheese were local, yes, but nothing else was.  I, therefore, paid extra NOT to support local farmers and got the same stuff I could've bought for MUCH less shipped in from California to my local chain grocery store.
Secondly, they shoved the bag full of stuff they wouldn't be able to sell otherwise.  Dandelion greens, for example, are nasty things, once eaten by starving peasants in France, so now the French and those who wish to pretend they are high class pretend to like eating them.  Why, in heaven's name, would I want to pay huge prices for bitter weeds that I could pull right out of my own lawn?  And it's kale every single week.  Kale's not bad, but it's not great.  And bunch after bunch of it was stuck in the bag.  And one week they gave us beets that were the same texture as plywood.  Horrible stuff.  I love beets, but I don't like red sawdust, and that's what we got.  Another week, it was 10 bulbs of garlic.  TEN!  Now, I love garlic, but 10 bulbs in one week?  Seriously?
The result was that I paid a lot of good money on stuff I had to throw into the brown organic waste recycling bin.  What a waste of money!
From now on, if I want local produce, I think I'll visit the farmers' market instead.  No more farm co-ops for me, as this was more of a farm rip-off than a co-op.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Look! Paige Shelton Reviewed Confessions of an Average Half Vampire On Her Blog!

This was a surprise!
I came home -- hot, tired, and raspy-throughted, due to all the wildfire smoke in the air -- from buying YET ANOTHER prescription medication (the incision from the surgery is not really healing right; the doctor thinks my glands are still producing saliva and that's what's causing this weird and sore pouch of skin below my right ear), and I logged in to look at my blog -- and there was my own book cover, popping up in the "blogs you follow" list!
Hey!  That's fun!
So, drop over to Radicle Root and have a look at what Paige has done for me.  (Then have a look at her mystery novels and see if  you want to read a few of those.  I really like them.  No kidding.  I've read everything she's got published.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Still Time To Enter My Giveaway Hosted At Falling Books!

Sam at Falling Books reviewed Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire and agreed to host a giveaway.  (Yeah, I'm providing the prizes and mailing costs, but she has more followers than I can reach otherwise.  Plus, she's a cool person.)
You can win an autographed copy of the book OR a tee shirt and bookmarks.
Go on over and enter!  Just click here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why I Proofread My Manuscripts So Many Times (#3)

Sometimes stuff just creeps in without my noticing.
In Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire, 99% of the times we see the character Patrick, he's in Scotland.  And he's wearing a jacket.  He's always wearing a jacket.  Because in Scotland, it's normal to be wearing a jacket for any time during the year.  Even on very warm summer days (which, in Scotland, means anything over 70 F.), one always carries a jacket because one knows the heat is not going to last.
So, I've done edit after edit after edit on All in the Half-Vampire Family, and I just NOW noticed that in a tense scene wherein Patrick, whom Eric admires greatly, is fighting off a horrid attack of bloodlust -- he's wearing a jacket.
Fine, so I always picture Patrick wearing a jacket.  But in this scene, it's July.  In Utah.  In the middle of a heatwave that's torture for Eric.  Granted, it's nighttime in the scene, but that means it's likely still close to 80 degrees F.
And he's wearing a jacket.

Not anymore, he's not.
This is why editing is so necessary.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Little Vampire Praise From Author Paige Shelton

Okay, I've had a lousy few days, so this e-mail about Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire from Paige Shelton, author of two cozy mystery series, was welcome news:

Well, I just loved your book. It is cute, sweet, fun, touching with just the right amount of scary. I wondered how you’d be able to add vampire behavior and still keep it age appropriate – you did a great job! I see how it’s directed to a younger audience but I thoroughly enjoyed it – you didn’t “talk down” to either kids or adults.

Paige says she'll have time to do an Amazon review for me later, too.  Yea!  Happy thoughts.

One Of My Favorite Lines #1

As I tried to take my mind of troubling medical issues this morning by working on what I hope is a nearly-final edit on All in the Half-Vampire Family, I ran across one of my favorite lines in the book:

Next to human blood, chocolate was my favorite flavor in the world -- and it was much more socially acceptable, too.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why I'm Not Putting Up Any Chipper, Charming Posts Right Now

I know that fun and/or insightful posts are the way to keep readers and entice new ones, but I might not be up to that for a bit.
It's been a tough year anyway, and I just got unpleasant medical news which requires me to make a difficult decision very quickly.  Thus, I'm not really up to writing clever blog posts right now.
I did finish one more round of edits on Becoming Brigid this week and have begun what may very well be the final edits on All in the Half-Vampire Family, but I'm dealing with some tough stuff right now, and I'm just not up to anything else.
Soon, I hope.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Weird Dreams, Man

So last night I had this incredibly detailed, well-plotted dream in which I was sailing with the pirates on the Black Pearl, under the command of Captain Jack Sparrow.
Except that the entire plot hinged on the importance of a stuffed toy rabbit which was on the ship with us.
So, swashbuckling, the open sea, awesome costumes, and a bunny.  Yeah.
Must be the after-effects of last week's surgery.
Or maybe I just have one of those brains.

Harry Potter Tour In Edinburgh

Click here to see what I'm talking about.

It doesn't matter that I can already identify nearly every spot they mention and nearly every spot in the photo gallery.  It doesn't matter that I already know most of this stuff.
It's Edinburgh.  At Festival time.  And Harry Potter.
I am SO homesick!

Look, for those who don't already know it, I spent several summers and a full year living in Edinburgh. And it just so happened I was living there when Half-Blood Prince was released.  It was awesome to be running around that night taking photos of the carriages taking selected school children up to spend the night at a reading inside the castle.
And the Edinburgh International Book Festival is THE book festival.
Lately, I keep reading about Book Expo America.  Bloggers have been talking about it like it was the be-all and end-all of book festivals.  But after I had a look, I was not all that impressed.  It was what, 3 days?  And I counted 18 authors on their website.  Oh, whoop-ti-do.
The Edinburgh International Book Festival runs usually about 3 weeks.  It has around 800 events and 750 + authors.  It's hard to be impressed by BEA when I've been to the Edinburgh festival several times.
BEA this year had Chris Colfer, Lowis Lowry, and Dan Handler.  Not bad.
Wanna know whom I've met at the Edinburgh Book Festival before?  Try Neil Gaiman, Ian Rankin, Doris Lessing (yeah, she's a grouchy old lady -- but she's also a Nobel prize winning writer), Debbi Gliori, Stuart Hill, Meg Rosoff, Liz Lochead, and at least a dozen others.

Unfortunately, it's been since 2008 since I've been to the book festival.  Or seen the places that inspired Rowling as she wrote Harry Potter.  Or toured the castle.  Or walked the Crags.
I really want to go back.  Really.
Maybe that's why I keep writing Scotland into all my books...... :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #23

Here we are again, playing a writers' game that is a combo of Carmi Levy's ideas and my own.
Every week, Carmi picks a photo theme and people share their takes on it.  You can check it out at Written Inc here.
And every time I play, I make it into a writers' game.  Last week, a fair number of people participated.  You can check that out here.
This week's theme is "got the blues."
I choose a photo, then add a title and a single line of the story to go with it.  Then it's your turn; you add your own titles and single lines in the comments section.  And we end up with a whole lot of different ideas.
Here's my "got the blues" pic.

My title is: Farley
My single line is: "That damn dog always expects full service!" said Pete, leaning out the window.  "If he can drive the car, why can't he fill his own tank?!"

Your turn!  Add your titles and your single lines in the comments section below.
(Oh, and so many of you end up asking me where the photos are taken.  This one was shot at the Silver Sage Cafe in Vernon, Utah.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Healing Is Exhausting

It's not that I don't love you all or anything.  It's just that I'm exhausted today.  I'm not sure why it is that 6 days after the surgery, I feel like I've dug ditches all day, when, in reality, my most difficult physical achievement was getting dressed, but that's how it is.
I may feel up to putting a new writers' game up by tomorrow.  If not, we may just skip this week.
Let's see how it goes, okay?
Nap time.  Again.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Why I Proofread My Manuscripts So Many Times (#2)

From a current draft of Becoming Brigid, which is almost ready for proof stage, I found this lovely set of sentences:

Zane had said he'd seen Dougal walk out of the wall there!  There must be a portal there!

Announcing Another Giveaway Of Confessions Of An Average Half-Vampire!

Sam, at Falling Books, has put up an interview with me today!
She's providing a larger audience than I usually get (as she has almost 1200 followers), and I'm providing the prizes (a signed copy of Half-Vampire, a tee-shirt, bookmarks).
Go on over to her blog and enter.  Just click here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bee Ironic

I took this while walking up at Old Deseret Village a few weeks ago.  It cracked me up.
Just stare at the photo for a few seconds until the irony becomes obvious to you in a way that it clearly wasn't to the park rangers. :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Writing Goals For The Summer

1) Finish the first draft of The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay.
2) Get Becoming Brigid to proof copy stage with cover issues and back blurb fixed.
3) Publish both e-copies and POD copies of All in the Half-Vampire Family.
4) Convince The King's English (local independent bookstore) to carry at least one of my books.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Vampire Nibbles And Snacks

This was attached to my neck until about noon today, draining off all the blood from the wound.  (Now it just dribbles down my neck and oozes into the mummy-like bandage that's wrapped around my head.)  I couldn't resist taking this pic.  I wonder if Eric would find this tempting.  :)

I slept most of today.  I hope I can sleep tonight.  Obviously, I'm not getting much writing done right now.

I Have Survived The Right Parotidectomy

I spent yesterday in the hospital having my right parotid gland removed, as I had a small tumor (about the size and feel of a frozen grape) on my jaw.  It doesn't sound like a big deal, but the parotid gland grows right over a MAJOR facial nerve, so the surgery was delicate and took roughly 3 hours so the doctor could avoid giving me facial paralysis.  Add all the pre-op stuff and the recovery period, and it took ALL day.
Plus, I was very nauseous from whatever they used to put me out and dealing with migraines from the tight bandages wrapped around my head.  (I look like a mummy).
I also have some really spiffy blood drainage going on from a tube into a plastic handgrenade-type thing.  I took photos, and I'll put them up in a later post.
I'll be dealing with a fair amount of pain and swelling for the next couple of days, so not much writing/editing/blogging will be getting done.  I hope to be feeling more chipper by the beginning of next week.
Fortunately, I'm still getting e-mails from Paige Shelton that she's enjoying Half-Vampire.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I'm FINALLY On YouTube -- And Other Half-Vampire News

Monday was nearly as busy as yesterday was (yesterday involved a dentist appt., an MRI, and lots of x-rays).  After a doctor's appointment (he who ordered the MRI and x-rays), I drove out to a grade school in my district where a friend of mine teaches 6th grade to advanced students.  She had a classroom set of The Hobbit which she had never used, and she wanted to give it to me for my advanced 7th graders.  Naturally, I jumped at the chance.
And, even more naturally, I took her an autographed copy of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire (with bookmark) for her class library.  I also made sure she knew where she could get more -- just in case the kids liked the book.  (Because a little cheap advertising never hurt a self-published author.....)  AND I told her I'd be HAPPY to come and meet her students next year if she wanted to offer a little after school thing next year sometime.  She perked up at that idea -- so I might get to do a school visit!  (I'm still hoping the librarian at Max's school might follow up on that as well -- maybe after All in the Half-Vampire Family is out next fall.)  But, at the very least, I have a copy of my book placed in yet another school.  This is good.
I then drove out to my own school (in the beastly heat) and tracked down our wonderful librarian (he who  put together everything for my book trailer last February).  He was a bit grumpy, as he's in the middle of moving everything out of the library so it can be re-carpeted, but he still took time to transfer my book trailer video from the school server onto my VERY OWN YOUTUBE CHANNEL!!!

I think it worked pasting in the video, but here's a youtube link, just in case.

The photos in the video are mine, the script is mine (except both the librarian and the narrator made a mistake in calling the close "the Flesh Market Close," when it's always called merely "Fleshmarket Close"), the music was downloaded off the Kevin MacLeod site for royalty free tunes, the idea of the trailer is mine, the librarian put it all together for me in return for my writing what he considered a nearly-perfect book to hook in junior high boys, and his son (who has drama experience and a good sense of humor) is the narrator (clearly with his father's permission).
Until now, the video has only been available at school and on my amazon author page, but I'm pleased to have it out there in the big cyber world now.

But this is still not all!
I returned home (after fixing my parents' computer later that afternoon) to an e-mail from Paige Shelton, awesome author of the Farmers' Market cozies and the Country Cooking School cozies.
Here's an excerpt:
I downloaded your book this morning and just finished the prologue – excellent! Love it so far. It takes me for-freaking-ever to read a book lately but I’m forgoing everything else I’ve started to read this one. Great,great beginning, Lisa. Can’t wait to read more. 

And later I got this:
 I read the first couple chapters while I biked at the gym and it is still excellent. I’ll let you know when I finish it, but it’s great work, Lisa.

Cool!  I am so pleased!

Plus, I've found some great new things for my Vampire Pinterest board, if you want to click through and have a look.
So, overall, if I could just get through all the medical stuff and finish up All in the Half-Vampire Family, things would be moving along just swimmingly for my lovely little half-vampire boy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Springtime In The Rockies And Other Thoughts On Today

Yesterday at slightly after 4:00 PM, I got into my car, which had been sitting out in the sun for a couple of hours.  The car thermometer read 102, but it cooled to 97 as soon as I'd driven a few blocks.
Today at 4:11 PM, I got into my car, which had been sitting in the sun for several hours.  The car thermometer read 60, but, as soon as I got driving, it cooled to 52.  :)  (Unfortunately, within a couple of days, it's supposed to be scorching again.  And, even with the cool day, it still hasn't rained -- and we desperately need the rain.)

Getting an MRI and a series of x-rays on the same day when I'm really sleepy anyway makes it hard to stay awake.  My brain feels really fuzzy now.
Today's MRI was much more pleasant than the one I had half a dozen or so years ago.  Most of it was due to the nurse who ran the show.  Years ago, I had a real witch of a gal who refused to listen to me on where she should put the needle -- because, y'know, why would I know anything about my own circulatory system?  After she'd failed to find a vein that didn't roll in her preferred spots and caused me a good deal of pain while she prodded me, she was forced to admit I was right, which really pissed her off. Today's woman was nothing like that jezebel, and things wen't much better.  Plus, the machine was open at both ends and far less coffin-like than the older one.  And today's nurse piped in music via Pandora, so I got to listen to "Let It Be" and a few others while the machine roared its way through the imaging.
Much better.  :)

Then, in the parking lot, I passed a truck with the license plate that read: ZOMBKLR.  I smiled. :)

It's been a very long day, people, and I have a difficult few more days ahead.   I need sleep.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #22

Carmi's back with his weekly photo theme on Written Inc this week, so we can play our writers' game in the usual way.
Here's how it works: Carmi picks a theme for all those who participate in his photo sharing, then I pick a photo that fits his theme, add a title and a single line of flash fiction, then YOU add your own titles and single lines in the comments section -- all to fit the photo.
Here's one from earlier days so you can see how it works.
Carmi's theme this week is "the natural world."
Here's my photo:
My title for the story inspired by the photo is: Thistles
My single line:  "Mom, what are these weird plants?  They weren't here last night," Dana said, as she looked out the screen door.

Your turn!  In the comments section, add your own title and single line of a story.  You don't have to be a writer to play a game with such short fiction.  Really.   Just try it; you'll like it.

Paige Shelton Promotes Her Series With A Cooking Class

How awesome is this?
Local author Paige Shelton gets to promote her Farm Fresh Murder book by working with a local chef to teach readers/cooks the recipes in the book!  What a great way to promote the book.
How fun.  :)

Natural Selection

In spite of all society's attempts to weaken the gene pool by preserving those who would have, in earlier times, not survived, natural selection still attempts to fight back.
Here's this week's prime example. (Note: natural selection did not win in this case, but it tried hard.)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Why I Proofread My Manuscripts So Many Times (#1)

Sentence just adjusted in the first draft of The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay:

"All in all, he was not a bad option at all."

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Of Doorknobs And Broomsticks

Today was my first day off school for the summer.  I spent it fighting off yet another migraine, planting the garden, cleaning up a bit in the house (not much, mind you; there's plenty left to do), and helping Dad fix the doorknob I took apart during one of the weirder episodes of my life.
I really should be working on finishing the first draft of The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay.  But I'm not.  I'm off to get sucked into a good mystery novel.