Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Indie VS Traditional Round: Excitement

I've been thinking a lot about publishing the last couple of days. I've been a little wishy-washy about what route I plan on taking, told a friend I was would probably go indie, my hubby thinks I should go indie and it does appeal to the DIY in me.

That's for another time though.

A question popped in my brain, one I had to debate with myself about. Who deserved more excitement about getting a book published: Indie author or Traditional author? Okay, so this may not be an important question but I still wonder. One could argue Indie because they're doing all the work themselves - or more of the work. Indie means either doing the cover yourself or finding a cover artist, finding an editor yourself and slogging through formatting and everything else it takes to hit published. And when the author finally hits published, the excitement is well deserved. They did it and without the help of an agent or publisher.

But a traditional author has earned their excitement at their book being published as well. After all, they snagged an agent and the agent found an editor and they polished the book until it shined. That alone took a good while to do. Then the agent sold the book to a publisher and the author signed a contract. Again, more time. Months to years can pass before a traditionally published author sees their book on the shelf and all that time spent agonizing and waiting is finally over.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I'm going to make book reviews a habit... maybe

Since my last book review got tons of hits (in one week it became my second most viewed post) I figured I'd try to make a habit of reviewing a book. No schedule, I'll do it when I feel like it. =P No preference to indie or trad books either but I will probably do more indie books since I believe it will help raise the bar for standards of indie publishing.

So the indie book up for review is Better Than 8 Fantasy by Erin Jamison. It's the first in a series. First off, my main reason for doing the review, Erin just released the story and was doing a give away on her site and I won a copy. And since I enjoyed the story, a review seemed like a good thanks.

This story had some very nice sizzle to it. There are a few scenes that if it was me, I'd blush writing them. Sadly, for the novel, Erin did a little fast forward and had a summery for three months of Amara and Seva's relationship. I'm sure it could have been explored and if Erin wanted the novel longer she could of but the tension that starts to happen after easily made me forget to wonder about the details of those three months. When communication between them gets cut off for reasons I won't go into for the plot's sake, I don't think I sympathized with Amara as much as I could have. I was eagerly waiting for Amara and Seva to meet up though and when they finally met face to face, in a business meeting, the tension made me squirm and laugh a little. I'm not saying it was hilarious, it was awkward and made me think, Glad I am not the MC! I do wish the sex scenes were a little longer. I felt like I didn't get into them as much as I could have

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lake's Rage

When it comes to names and angels you always see Michael and Gabriel. I cringed a little knowing there are a ton of other angels stories with those names but I couldn't change Michael's name, he is the leader of the four in my story. Gabriel I could have gone with another but I couldn't see him as anyone other than Gabe. That's the sacrifice you make when you write a story about angles 99% of the time.

Part four of my story was all about Gabe and Alexander (also Charlie - I also have a thing for giving girl's boy names so FYI Charlie is a girl.) How their part fits in with CJ's poems about Lake is Gabriel has rage issues and gets pissed easily and there is a part in Michael and Lake's story were Lake gets very mad. I can't remember if I was writing Gabe and Alexander's story when CJ wrote this part either.


Rage
You foolish freak,
To be taken in,
By lies of love and,
What could have been.
They lure you in,
To hurt you more.
They give you hope,
And leave you sore.
But they'll be sorry,
Oh yes, they will.
They'll feel my rage,
And its icy chill.
 Before this night,
Is through and done,
I'll make them bleed,
And scream, and run.


Part Five: Lake's Realization

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Me: OMG That rocked You: Umm, are you blind?

FYI I'm still in editing trenches and it's gonna reflect in my posts until I'm done.

Maybe it's just me but half the time I don't get how people can complain so much about a movie or book or some form of entertainment. I pretty much like 99.99% of what I see. No lie. I'm easy to entertain. Of course maybe it's my mentality towards entertainment, which is an escapists mentality. I want to get away from the real world, forget it even existed while sitting in the dark theater or lost between pages.

I'm sure most people do as well but for me, I take a certain amount of pride, I guess, in getting swept away by a story. I just don't care about spotting typos or errors, they are unimportant as soon as I sit back and relax. I noticed when I read a book, the only punctuation I notice are periods. Yeah, I know commas and semi-colons and all those other little marks are in there but if I think back, I don't recall seeing them. I don't take a mental note on where they are placed so I can try to apply it to my own writing. (Spelling errors... I'm so bad at spelling I doubt I'd notice.)

Of course, this isn't to say I don't notice bad acting or when a storyline starts getting shoddy. I'm saying it probably has to be really bad for me to notice. Movies I can completely forgive too but books, not so much. I'll start skimming to get through it faster if I want to see how it ends. Or flip to the end.

I read books to take a break from life, same with movies. As long as I'm entertained, I can forget flat acting or choppy writing. Hell, I probably won't even notice until someone points it out. Easily entertained (and amused) but someone's has to balance the critic that complains non-stop.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Look Mom, I wrote a book review!

Warning: This is my first book review I've ever really done. Bare with me please.

The other week I had a little gift card money in my amazon account so I decided to spend it on some ebooks. I had a small wishlist and most of the ones I downloaded were 99cents. Only one was a traditionally published book and the rest indie authors. Lat night I opened up Anomaly by Thea Akinson. I had read a sample chapter on her blog. The story intrigued me and I knew one day I'd have to read the rest.

And I did. In one sitting. That right there is a sign of a good book to me. If I can't put it down, if hours slip by unnoticed, if I miss appointments (which I have for other books in the past. Oops.) The story sucked me right in and throughout it all I was cheering for J. When he teetered towards a relapse into drug use, I was on the edge of my seat pleading, DON'T DO IT! And when he didn't, I cheered.

J was a raw person, there really wasn't anything sugar coated about him. He was a man physically but didn't always feel like one and often switched from dressing and acting like a man to dressing and acting like a woman when the moods hit. And all that confusion about what gender he really was sent him down dark paths that are slowly revealed. Also, I love his obsession with bras and underwear and the care he gives each piece. It wasn't painted in a perverted light but a light of someone who enjoyed to occasionally wear those items or a female lover wear them just so they could be taken off.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Writing Blues

I was working on a story the other day. My muse was being quiet so I was struggling with what I wanted to say. I hate when that happens because usually I can see what I want to happen as a movie scene but the words escape me. This time though I wasn't feeling the writer love. I kept wondering, "Is this story any good? Is it original enough?"

Now you don't have to tell me there isn't an original idea left. I am well aware of that. The most I can hope to do with any story I write is give it a new twist.

Still, this story brought up questions. I had no answers. The story is written around the end of 1800s/beginning of 1900s. - not exactly sure on the date yet and have never tried to write a historical type story. I haven't read many stories set in that time. I'm doing a lot of googling, asking questions about that time period, the dialogue I use is way different as I'm thinking on movies I've seen set in that time. I feel I'm flying blind and that makes me feel vulnerable.

What if this exact same story is out there and I just have no idea it exists? What if I screw up something big that has to do with the time I'm writing in? What if the story just sucks?

You can see why I might be feeling insecure.

I try to tell myself there's no written law that says every story I write I have to attempt to publish. I can write a story, publish it then skip over the next one. It's not a waste, each story I write helps me become a better writer. That could have been just a bad writing day and any story I looked at I'd wonder why I was bothering. Bad days happen and let's face it, they suck. Maybe a bad day is a sign I need to take a break from my writing, read a book or hang with some friends. Maybe a bad day is my muse deciding she wants a break to recharge. Or maybe it's all in my head. Kind of like my characters.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lake's Lies

I think this is the saddest part of the poems and matches quite well to Jophiel and Mariangela's story. Mariangela is a fallen angel who regrets her role in the rebellion so she escaped hell to live on earth in hopes of making amends and being accepted back into heaven. Oh and she's pregnant and the baby might be very important in later parts of the series. Joe... he's a good guy, that's all I can really say about him at this point. Joe and Mary's part is one of uncovering lies and discovering truths. Lake had his own lies and truths to deal with as well.

Lies
Loving kisses,
A warm embrace.
A longing need,
You can't erase.
It haunts the mind;
A teasing thought,
Of what you lack,
That which you sought.
The warmth it tempts,
And lures you in,
But the cold remains,
Deep, deep within.
Its icy words,
Echo your doubt,
'Do not believe,
The lies they spout.
To cause you pain,
Is all they seek
How could they love,
A worthless freak?

Part Four: Lake's Rage

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Give me a break... or not

I had a thought sometime last night that lasted to now. It's about writing all the time. It's one of the top pieces of advice. Write every day. I tend to roll my eyes at that. Do I really want to write every day? Not really. I usually do. If I'm not working on one of my stories, I'm writing a blog post. Yet I keep rolling my eyes at that piece of advice. Us writers deserve a break don't we? It's not going to hurt if we take one day off and not worry about writing. Our muses deserve a little rest, right? RIGHT?

Enter my thought.

I can't really complain about writing every day. As of this post I am still unemployed so I have a ton of writing time. I have too much writing time. Really, I need to stop bitching about other writers saying we should write every day. Not everyone gets to write ever day and some want to write every day. Now I'm not saying I'm changing my mind about giving the muse a break every once in a while. I'm just saying I need to shut up.

I'm going to keep talking though.

Maybe what really gets me is the obsessiveness over writing every day. OMG I need to get writing in!!! The world will end. No, it won't. The world will keep on ticking if you let those five minutes you could have squeezed writing in by.

I guess that train of thought goes against my laid back personality. The other day I didn't write a single thing. I was busy. My two BFFs came to hang out with me and we went and played with bouncy balls and hula hoops in Walmart. Then we went out to dinner and made even bigger fools of ourselves via whipped cream. Making a fool of yourself for fun is hard work (also so is walking in three inch heels) so by the time I got home I was beat. Writing just didn't hold any appeal. Could I have written something? Oh hell yeah but I didn't and I really see no big deal about it.

The moral of my story (if there even is one. I'm just typing out words in hopes they make sense) sometimes you just don't write. Whether it's life or procrastination, sometimes you just don't get the words down. Don't beat yourself up though. You'll get another chance to crank out those words. I promise the world will be here tomorrow. (And if not I'm very sorry for misleading you.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Riding the editing roller coaster

I have to admit, this post might dip down into unprofessionalism. I'm going to be honest, brutally honest in a way that would probably make me cry. It involves beta readers and editing and the roller coaster of emotions I've been going through since getting a few critiques back.

First I'd like to point out something that bugs me about editing. It has to do with the suggestions and how all writers act all cheerful and grateful for them. I've heard writers say 'I don't have to listen to my editor or the suggestions but I will because it will make the story better." I'm not saying you shouldn't be grateful for the opinions given or you should ignore suggestions.

The point I'm striving for is why should I be cheerful about it all the time?

Hear me out. It's agreed that seeing red ink is cringe-worthy. We all wish we could put our fingers on the keyboard or pen to paper and write gold. We can't so we need to hand out our writing and ask for red ink.I did just that and got all but one critique back (it will get back to me; she had other stories she was reading before mine.) At first glance, I want to cry. My writing can't be that bad, can it? I have step away or else I will start crying and when I go back I feel better, more optimistic about all the red.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lake's Hope

Welcome to part two of CJ's poem for Lake. It was interesting reading these poems and seeing how not only they matched up to Lake and Michael but my other angels' stories as well. Part two of Path of Angels was Zadekiel and Zephyr's story. (I have a thing for names that start with Z.) I had fun with this part. Zephyr is an atheist with an ability to write poems that predicted the future. It's an uncontrollable gift that requires she keep pen and paper on hand at all time. Meeting Zade threw a wrench in her lack of beliefs. I am an evil writer mommy like that.

Hope
What use is there,
To live this life,
Filled with nothing,
Save pain and strife?
They'd be better off,
If I took the fall.
One small step,
And I could end it all.

Yet through the cold,
And blinding dark,
A fleeting light,
Leaves its mark.
An angel's voice,
And silent promise,
Of warmth and love,
Sealed with a kiss.
But like a flash,
It's gone again,
And all is dark,
Save hope within.


Part Three: Lake's Lies

Friday, May 13, 2011

The 10 Commandments of Egoless Coding

My hubby told me about this the other day. I was talking writing with him and he said he writes too: Code. Then we got to discussing similarities between the two and he said he seen a list of commandments for coding that he thought sounded like it'd work pretty well for writing. What do you think?

  1. Understand and accept that you will make mistakes. The point is to find them early, before they make it into production. Fortunately, except for the few of us developing rocket guidance software at JPL, mistakes are rarely fatal in our industry, so we can, and should, learn, laugh, and move on.
  2. You are not your code. Remember that the entire point of a review is to find problems, and problems will be found. Don't take it personally when one is uncovered.
  3. No matter how much "karate" you know, someone else will always know more. Such an individual can teach you some new moves if you ask. Seek and accept input from others, especially when you think it's not needed.
  4. Don't rewrite code without consultation. There's a fine line between "fixing code" and "rewriting code." Know the difference, and pursue stylistic changes within the framework of a code review, not as a lone enforcer.
  5. Treat people who know less than you with respect, deference, and patience. Nontechnical people who deal with developers on a regular basis almost universally hold the opinion that we are prima donnas at best and crybabies at worst. Don't reinforce this stereotype with anger and impatience.
  6. The only constant in the world is change. Be open to it and accept it with a smile. Look at each change to your requirements, platform, or tool as a new challenge, not as some serious inconvenience to be fought.
  7. The only true authority stems from knowledge, not from position. Knowledge engenders authority, and authority engenders respect—so if you want respect in an egoless environment, cultivate knowledge.
  8. Fight for what you believe, but gracefully accept defeat. Understand that sometimes your ideas will be overruled. Even if you do turn out to be right, don't take revenge or say, "I told you so" more than a few times at most, and don't make your dearly departed idea a martyr or rallying cry. 
  9. Don't be "the guy in the room." Don't be the guy coding in the dark office emerging only to buy cola. The guy in the room is out of touch, out of sight, and out of control and has no place in an open, collaborative environment.
  10. Critique code instead of people—be kind to the coder, not to the code. As much as possible, make all of your comments positive and oriented to improving the code. Relate comments to local standards, program specs, increased performance, etc.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Where's the vampire?

If you look through my writing files you will see an abundance of paranormal creatures. I have vampires (naturally,) werewolves, mer-people, spirits inhabiting people, a boy who grew cat ears, demons, angels, androids and trees that can move. All my stories contain something out of this world, an element that makes it supernatural. I love writing these types of stories too.

What about a non-paranormal story? Would I write one if the idea hit? I can answer that and it may surprise you to learn that nope I won't.

I had an idea for a story. There were no werewolves or vampires, nothing out of the ordinary. Just two boys in a small town hiding their love. They get discovered and one gets beaten to a bloody pulp and the other thinks he's dead and runs away. As the years pass he grows up bitter, becoming a hitman for a mob or some other type of violent job. He winds up going back home to get revenge and low-and-behold sees his childhood sweetheart alive.

I have very little desire to write this story. And don't think I didn't try to give it a paranormal twist. Ghosts I thought then realized no one had died so ghosts were impossible. The middle is completely undeveloped. I know nothing of writing something as nitty gritty as this would have to be. All these excuses served to convince myself that no I don't want to write this story.

I'm just a paranormal sort of writer. I love writing them and reading them (yes I will read non-paranormal stories and have read some very good ones.) There's just no motivation for me to branch out, try something normal, something less fantastical. I'll gladly leave that task to others.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lake's Emptiness

I had a story idea. I didn't think there was anything insanely unique about it. Arch-Angels and Fallen angels battling. I was compelled to write it none the less. It was different than Being Human or my others, more adult (meaning sex!) I knew it'd be a four part series but not full length stories. All four parts averaged about 20K words. I even had a name for the series: Path of Angels.

The first part I sent off to my writing partner-in-crime CJ Cook. I think we both fell in love with Lake Divine. He was a soft spoken character, given the short stick in life and a nephlim - offspring of a human and fallen angel (he thought his father an angel in heaven) and he believed he had to rise above humanity. During the A to Z Challenge, CJ decided to write a few poems and came up with a five part poem based on Lake and Michael's story - the first part of my series.

Here's part one: Emptiness. I'll post the rest throughout the month of May. Maybe I'll figure out a query for the story too since I'd like to do something more with it than let it sit on my hard drive.

Emptiness
A longing soul,
In darkness sits.
A hole to fill,
 That no piece fits.
The cold it wraps,
 Itself around.
No light, no warmth,
 In this place found.
Hope has fled,
And left this hell.
Dead within,
A void-filled shell.
The world moves on,
Without you, Freak.
No lips will touch,
Your tear-stained cheek.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

That dreaded moment before the critique

Every writer has the dreaded moment when they receive an email containing the critique of someone they asked to read their story. It's a horrifying moment where time stand stills and all you can see is red ink dripping down the pages of your baby. But keep in mind three things and hopefully when the time comes to see what another has to say the fear won't lock you up and prevent you from moving forward with your story.
  1. Step back away from the edits and get the anguish over seeing even a little red out.
  2. I don't have to listen to the suggestions.
  3. If I really didn't want help, I wouldn't have asked others to read it.
Once I get around these walls the suggestions are easier to bear. I don't feel like crying or becoming a raging alcoholic. I heard one writer say that he was pretty sure not a single sentence from his first draft was the same as the final. I can believe it.

Seeing the red has made me wonder though. After handing my story out to people to crit and send back, how much of my story is my story? Is my voice getting lost in another? That's something no author wants. It put a knot in my stomach I have to untie. I have to remind myself of those three little things I put in bold above. Step away from the suggestions and take a break, maybe even vent a little about how difficult editing can be. As long as I tread carefully I can find my voice among the suggestions; bring it to the front to shout loudly as my story becomes even stronger.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Support

I would just like to add that it's only been a few days since the end of the A to Z Challenge and it feels weird doing a normal post. Thankfully I had a few posts I wrote ahead of time during the challenge. It will be like it never happened.... Or not. You know what, just enjoy the post, think on it or sleep on it. (That's what I'm going to do. I'm rambling aren't I?) Let's start from the beginning. Hi, I'm Patty... Wait, not that beginning.

Here is your regularly scheduled blog post, no challenges or themes, just my thoughts (hope that doesn't scare you away.)

As you may know, I've been debating which way to go with my book: Traditional or Indie. Through my debate I have been searching and discovering. Indie (or self publishing as some call it) is very much like traditional in there are many good authors putting books out there. Some debate that there are too many bad ones but hey I've read a few too many bad traditionally published book myself. Crap is going to find it's way onto a bookshelf. Whether that bookshelf is real or virtual doesn't matter.

But good or bad Indie books verses good or bad Traditional books is not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about support. I've followed a few Indie authors in my question to decide how to publish. They're nice people, they respond back when I mention them on Twitter. I could say that's more than what I can say about some traditional publishing but I think that point is irrelevant. Indie authors are struggling a bit harder to be seen. They don't have the resources a publisher has to get seen. That's one of the cons of Indie.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A to Z and everything in between

This is for the Mega Reflection post, go add your link to Aree's blog!

I did it. I made it through the A to Z Blog Challenge and wow, it was fun. I had been a little scared at first, uncertain I could hit every letter but there only turned out to be a few letters I struggled on.

I did ramble a lot more than I thought I would. I think Y, X, P, I and E were all rambling, close my eyes and hit the keyboard and see what letter I type posts. They were the most fun as well. Trying to be random needs a bit of creativity. I did slack off on the queries at the end. I blame my muse. She ran off and hide when I thought the word. I did get practice via six different stories and even figured out plotholes and parts that need improvement on a few.

As for commenting it was up and down. Some days I hit quite a few other blogs and commented then some days I barely looked at my own comments. I think that was the biggest difficulty of the challenge. You can write up the posts ahead of time, schedule them to post but you have to stop and take the time to read other's blogs to get the full effect of the challenge. I have new friends now and new blogs to read.

Would I do this challenge again? Oh yeah, in a heartbeat. I'd do it every month... well maybe that's a little too much. I'll do it next year as long as there's someone around to remind me. Thanks to everyone who kept up with me on this challenge, to the hosts - Arlee at Tossing It Out especially and to Elizabeth Mueller for making the badge you see above. Don't forget to check out my Z post and enter my contest. It's my thanks to everyone who commented. I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.