Lady of Dreams: Kindle Scout Campaign!

As promised, I’ve got an update for the previously-titled Bright as the Eyes of You. You might have already seen this on Twitter or FB, but for those of you who haven’t, BatEoY is now titled Lady of Dreams. It took a lot of time and a dreadful amount of angst, but the deed is done and the cover is now changed.

More importantly, Lady of Dreams is now enrolled in a Kindle Scout Campaign.

What is a Kindle Scout Campaign? I’m glad you asked. There’s a whole page of info HERE, but the short (slightly inaccurate) version is that Kindle Scout is a type of American/Australian Idol for manuscripts. The author (that’s me!) uploads their manuscript onto the Kindle Scout website, where it will spend a month. During this time, it can be nominated by any fan or random reader who happens to nominate it: it will also be seen by the Kindle Scout Selectors, who apparently consider all of the manuscripts.

At the end of the month, based upon a great many factors (some known, others unknown), Amazon in its wisdom will decide whether or not to offer the author a publishing contract. From all I’ve heard, nominations are important, but by no means the only consideration, so if anyone is uncomfortable making an account just to nominate Lady of Dreams, I won’t hold it against them.

It is worth noting, however, that should a contract be offered on Lady of Dreams, anyone who nominated it will be given a free advance copy. So there’s that!

I’m very excited to see how this month turns out for me–and for Lady of Dreams. Please feel free to share the nomination page HERE with friends, family, tweeps, the dog…anyone!

 

“Help Wanted”

No, I’m not seeking a co-writer (though that would be cool, too).

I’m asking for the help of all you lovely people who have read the Shards of a Broken Sword books. As you will already know, the complete trilogy has just come out at 99c: however, because it’s the complete trilogy and not listed with the single books, it has no reviews.

Now, normally, I’d let them gather naturally (cos you guys are awesome and keep putting up reviews as you read–thanks!)

But I’ve got a Bookbub ad scheduled for Feb 20th (gasp! so excited!) and I’d hate to go into that with no, or few, reviews. So I’m asking for your help. If you’ve read the Shards of a Broken Sword books–loved ’em, hated ’em, I don’t mind–PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pop over to your storefront of choice (Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon AUS, Amazon CA, Kobo, iTunes, B&N, Smashwords) and leave a review on the box set.

I seriously appreciate your help. I’ll also remind you that if you want to read Carmine & Fancy’s short story that links in with the trilogy, sign up to my newsletter. All my subscribers will get an email in the next day or two with a link to the short story (plus you get Spindle for free if you sign up at the moment, so there’s that).

That’s it from me today! Stay tuned for my next blog post: it’ll be about the formerly-titled Bright as the Eyes of You, since I should have news in that quarter in the next half week…

Preorders and Formatting and Editing, Oh My!

Okay, so I expected it to be a busy month.

I just didn’t expect it to be THIS busy…

So this is mostly a post where I’m going to whinge and complain about how much I hate formatting, editing, and preorders.

First, preorders…

(…totally NOT a smokescreen to showcase the fact that Shards of a Broken Sword: The Complete Trilogy (Amazon, Kobo, B&N, iTunes, Smashwords) is on preorder special for JUST 99c guys!)

Eeek! Just 99c!

I love preorders. I love that I can upload a draft as a placeholder and have people one-click to preorder so that they don’t forget about my new release. I do. I love it.

But I’m an obsessive-compulsive little writer with easy access to my KDP (and other) accounts. Which means that I’m in there every half hou–haha, did I say half hour? I meant every half DAY. Every half DAY, guys, I swear, hahahaeeeerrr–checking how many preorders there are now.

Soooooo…well, that one’s a mixed blessing.

Formatting…

…kill me now.

Enough said.

Editing.

This one’s another mixed blessing. I love the fact that by the time I’m editing, I’ve written a whole book. It’s done. It just needs polishing. I mean, it needs a LOT of polishing, but the foundations are laid. There’s hope.

Only, at the moment, I’m formatting SoaBS, doing last, frantic edits for SoaBS, editing BatEoY, and trying to finish writing Blackfoot…

I’m kinda edited out.

So I’m alternating editing with my Korean studies. That’s right, I’m taking a break from editing by studying.

That should tell ya something.

Anyhoo-

I hope you all enjoy the SoaBS omnibus, and don’t forget that if you wanna read the exclusive short story of Carmine & Fancy, and you already own all three of the SoaBS trilogy–sign up to my mailing list! There’s a free book to be had, but more importantly, peeps on the mailing list will also get access to that exclusive story.

If you’re already on the list–congrats! You’ll get access to the story in my next mailing!

Happy reading, you blokes.

“Your Title Here”

Life is hard.

So are titles.

To a writer, titles are like Death and Taxes–unavoidable. So when we find one that fits perfectly (aka, The Precious) like Gollum, we cling to it with all the desperate fervour of a drug addict.

When that title is based on an excerpt from a favourite song, this is a great mistake. Because no matter how precious it is, it’s someone else’s Precious, and we all know how that turns out for Gollum. (“We hates it, Precious, we hates it!”)

What I mean by all of this is that it’s extremely unlikely I’ll be able to keep the tentative title of BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU. I’m still waiting to hear back from the copyright holders as to whether or not I can use it, and when I find that out, it’s still quite unlikely, judging from the prices quoted for use of the excerpts as chapter headings, that I’ll be able to afford it anyway.

But the most pressing problem is that I need to know soon. In the self-publishing business, schedules are important, and I’m already a couple of months behind mine. If I don’t get permission by the end of January at the latest, I need to be ready to go with an alternate title. If the licensing cost turns out to be too much, I also need to be ready to go with an alternate title.

In other words, I need an alternate title.

I was brainstorming ideas with a fellow author friend (who made me snort chai latte up my nose in my local cafe by suggesting “Smart as the Pants of You”–thanks for that, Intisar!–and was otherwise immensely helpful) and came up with a few possibilities. I’ve put them below for you guys to look at: please take a minute to let me know in the comments which title you like the best, especially if you’ve read BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU. I still want your opinion even if you haven’t read it, though, so fire away!

***ETA a new personal favourite, #6***

1.) The Weight of Dreams in the Waking

2.) A Song of Waking Dreams

3.) Bright as the Wakeful Stars

4.) A Star Distant and Bright

5.) Bright as the Distant Star

6.) To Dream a Star, Distant and Bright

What’s your favourite? Don’t be shy! Let me know!

A Belated ‘Merry Christmas’ and an early ‘Happy New Year’!

MerryChristmasandaHappyNewYear, guys! Today’s blog post will be a post in three acts, courtesy of my insanely rushed-and-jumbled Christmas season.

Part One: Merry Christmas!

And if you’re Jewish, Happy Hanukkah! For anything else, I offer a blanket “Happy Holidays!” in my ignorance, with my good wishes.

This year was a pretty quiet Christmas, low key and enjoyable. Cheesecakes were made. Food was scoffed. Presents were given. Little sis’ fiance has been visiting, which is lovely, and although the part-time job was more than usually insane, I was able to recuperate with three days off.

The Dad, modelling his new bow tie, spots a camera.

Best of all, I managed to get a couple of reasonably decent pics of The Dad, which is nearly impossible given his penchant for pulling faces and weird poses whenever a camera appears.

Literally one second after the camera is spotted…

Part Two: Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Orright, orright, I know it’s early, but I want to discuss New Year’s resolutions. More specifically, I want to discuss my New Year’s resolutions.

I’ve not been as prolific toward the end of 2016 as I was hoping to be. There were a range of different reasons, some of which I’ll discuss in my next blog post, but the upshot of it all is that:

1) the publication date for BLACKFOOT (the 2nd Two Monarchies Novel) has been pushed to late February 2017 instead of December 2016 (bright side–got a blurb sorta finalised!)

2) the publication date for BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU has been pushed from early January 2017 to (hopefully) late January 2017

3) early 2017 is gonna be a VERY busy time for me

My New Year’s resolutions, therefore, are as follows:

1) publish BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU no later than early February

2) finish BLACKFOOT by mid-January and publish it late February

3) publish the COMPLETE SHARDS OF A BROKEN SWORD TRILOGY in paperback and ebook January 31st

4) write the 2nd TIME-TRAVELLER’S BEST FRIEND novella in February

5) get started on the 3rd Two Monarchies novel in March

6) write, write, write…

There’s more, but they get kinda repetitive after a while, so I’ll let #6 stand in for the rest of ’em.

Part Three: The Search for a New Title

I’ve loved writing BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU. Getting it ready for publication…not so much. Reason being, when I first used excerpts from The Monkees songs as chapter headings, I had no idea I’d have to seek licensing to use said excerpts. I thought that a couple words from a song didn’t fall under copyright laws.

I was wrong.

It took ages to find the holders of the copyright. It took even longer to send off requests and wait for the answers.

And when the answers came back, they weren’t good.

I could use the excerpts (3-7 words each), but I would have to pay $1500 AUD for the privilege.

Not $1500 in total, you understand. $1500 FOR. EACH. EXCERPT.

Yeah, I’m starting to earn half a living at my writing, but I can’t afford that.

And now I’m really scared to hear back about the licensing rights for my title. Because *coff*I was dumb enough to make the title of my book an excerpt from a Monkees song as well*coff* I have no idea if I’m going to be able to afford to use BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU as a title after all. Which means I’m now looking for alternative titles, because even if I can afford to use the title, I don’t want to wait forever to hear back. Song licensing, like trade publishing, tends to move at a somewhat glacial pace. If I don’t hear back by mid-January, I’ll go ahead with an alternate title.

So basically, throw some titles my way, guys. If you’ve read BATEOY on Wattpad and know something of what it’s about, give me your best shot. Help an author out!

W.R. on the Air-Waves!

Current Frame of Mind: alternately terrified and excited.

Why, you ask?

Because I’m having my first radio interview as an Author, tomorrow. Now, I’ve been on the radio before: I was a School-of-the-Air kid for a few years, after all, and we visited the base station a time or two. I find that I’m significantly more nervous about this particular interview, however.

Sedate, authorly me

Part of this is because I’m not particularly fond of communicating aloud now that I write more than ever. I never quite know what to say, especially if I’m talking to someone I’ve never met, in a place I’ve never before been. The rest of it is because I sound like a little boy when I’m on the phone or radio, so there’s that.

Despite that, I’m still reasonably excited. Well, it’s not every day I get the chance to be on a local radio station to talk about myself and my books, after all. I ran around madly this morning, making sure that the places that stock my paperbacks had a supply at hand–yanno, just in case people hear me and immediately go dashing out to find my amazing books for their precious loved ones–and now that I’m on lunch at work, it’s time to write down some Things To Say.

Terrified, authorly me (otherwise known as NaNoWriMo face)

I knew about this interview roughly a month ago, by the way. And yes, today is the first day I’ve actually sat down to write down some thoughts on what I’m going to talk about if asked. I may or may not have mentioned my superpower of procrastination before…

But it can’t be that bad, right?? Right??

Update: Bright as the Eyes of You

Hi, everyone!

So, as you may have seen, Bright as the Eyes of You has a complete first draft on Wattpad, and now nearly a complete second draft in hardcopy (changes which I now have to transfer to digital, argh!) Some very lovely readers have already sent me niggles and inconsistencies that they noticed in the first draft so that I could fix them for the second, so I’ve been very busy with that.

What’s next?

I’m so glad you asked.

At the moment I’m mired up in Copyright Swamp. As some of you may or may not have guessed, the title of BatEoY and all the chapter headings were tiny excerpts from songs by one of my favourite bands, The Monkees. And since songs sung by The Monkees are still under copyright, I’ve had to go scouring the internets for the copyright holders of 16 different excerpts from 16 different songs.

It ain’t easy, I’m tellin’ ya!

I’ve heard back from a few of them, but nothing to tell me how much it will cost to get licenses to use the lyrics, so I’m still stuck. If it’s too expensive, I’ll have to simply seek a license for the title and take away the chapter headings for publication. It will make me sad, but I’d be sadder if I were to be sued for copyright infraction, so there’s that.

Fellow writers, don’t do this to yourself. Don’t pick out chapter headings from still-copyrighted songs and then come to love your odd, perfect, whimsical chapter headings so much that it seems to physically hurt to take them away. Learn from my pain.

Anyhoo.

Now that I’ve got the second draft of BatEoY nearly ready to go, I’ll be sending out copies to my Awesome Beta Readers next week. (I’ll also send it off to my mum, so she can pick out all my typos). And after that, BatEoY will be going off to an Actual Editor™ for a second round of edits. I’m kinda nervous, because I haven’t worked with an Actual Editor™ before.

But no gain without pain, eh?

So if you’ve read the first draft of BatEoY, now is the time to tell me all the mistakes I made. Seriously. Have at it.

And now that I’ve (sort of) finished BatEoY (well, come to a temporary, unavoidable halt, anyway), and now that I’m finally caught up on my NaNoWriMo word count, I’m going RELAX HARD. Oh, and sit down and watch some KDrama. Because it’s study, guys.

Photo from Regency Grooming

Photo from Regency Grooming

Have a glorious week, you blokes!

Exhaustion and the Writer

You know how it is.

You lost your job. Your job is incredibly stressful. Maybe you’ve got a chronic illness. Perhaps you’ve had extra hours at work, or could it be that you’ve simply spent all night watching K-Drama and can no longer function normally?

You’re exhausted. Whether that exhaustion is physical or mental, it’s something that makes it incredibly difficult to work on your writing. So what do you do?

Well, if you’re anything like me, you sink into a well of despair, self-loathing, and binge-tv-watching, out of which it is incredibly difficult to drag yourself. When it feels like your head is going to explode, or you’re exhausted to the point that you can’t do anything but sit in the recliner without moving, it’s an easy fix.

Easy, yes.

Helpful? Not so much.

Here’s the thing with writers.

We have to write every day. Some of us write more, and some of us write less; and honestly, it doesn’t really matter what your word count is, whether it’s 50 words a day, or 5000. We just have to write every day. And when I say ‘have to’ write every day, I really mean ‘should write’, or ‘need to write’ every day. It’s not all about habit, though habit is a good thing to get into. And it’s not all about word count, though that’s important, too.

So what is the point, Frixos?*

The point of writing every day is to keep your WiP fresh. It doesn’t matter if you only write 50 words per day, and though it’s great if you write 5000 words, it’s not necessarily more meaningful. Because even 50 words per day is going to keep your WiP fresh in your imagination. It will keep your storyline present in your mind, and it will keep your subconscious ruminating on and building on the WiP. You’ll find it easier to slip into your narrative each day, and you’ll notice that the flow of the story is much smoother. In short, it will make you a better writer: it’s a bit like practising your instrument every day.

What does this have to do with exhaustion?

Simple. When you’re exhausted, it’s hard to find the energy to write. There’s always the suffocating feeling that you should be doing more: more words per day, more writing time per day. You get caught up with the idea that you’ll never feel any better. But sometimes it’s simply a matter of writing 50 words. You don’t have to break the bank. You don’t have to write 5000 words, even if that’s your normal words per day count. It’s okay to take it easy when you’re sick or exhausted. Just don’t give up altogether: a tiny word count each day is enough to keep your WiP going, and it’s incredibly important to keep it going.

And, yanno, have a cuppa. Take it from me, a cup of tea is the best remedy for exhaustion that I know of.

I know quite a few of my writerly friends suffer from chronic illnesses/have full-on day jobs/multiple kids/etc: what tips do you have for dealing with exhaustion?

*watch Princess Caraboo if you want to know what I’m referencing. Seriously. Watch it.