Showing posts from 2011

Are you on Goodreads yet? You should be! Please check it out and give me a rating if you've read my book.  I'll be eternally grateful.

My website is live. is up.  There are buy links there to all of the versions of the novel.  Soon I will have store and I have something very special planned for those who choose to buy books directly from me. Also, I've got updates for you on my progress with  Starweaver's Dawn coming soon .  

Why I lovehate Glee.

Dirty confession time.  I was in show choir, in Ohio.   I competed.  I didn't grow up in Lima, but I remember seeing the choirs from the tundra bound towns and the shocking level of professionality they tended to display.  In particular, I remember an invitational at Coshocton and being floored that the choir there had a stage that they didn't have to share with the basketball team, cheerleading squad and the gym class.  We couldn't even field a band to back us up, because the first-chair trumpet player was on the football team and was auditioning against me for solos.  My school was too damn small and backward. So, when I see these generally morally reprehensible characters on Glee busting out Broadway level Billy Joel tunes between product placements while pretending to be high school students I'm struck with the most chest exploding sense of irony.  Look, most show choirs suck.  It's a lot of marginally talented and poorly rehearsed kids doing poorly chosen num

Oracle VirtualBox is incompatible with Windows Media Center.

It would have been nice to have seen that sentence somewhere before.  But, no.  I have to troubleshoot the issue myself.  Figure out what I changed.  Walk back the track. I know, I know.  Oracle would point a slim, sushi fed finger right at Microsoft and its myopic home network hegemony.   Microsoft would point it right back at Oracle and say, what?  You couldn't figure out how to implement our nearly undocumented API?  What idiots! Seriously,  screw you guys.  I'm just trying to live five minutes in the future here, and both of you fat fuckers are harshing my buzz.    But yeah...  The free software was the loser.  I just uninstalled it and I'll do my alternate OS experimentation on my Mac.  You know - where we go to do real work. And Xbox, it wasn't your fault.  You were doing exactly what you were supposed to do.  Which is way more than I can say for that glorified Blu-Ray-drive-slash-boat-anchor that Sony made that sits next to you that calls itself a gaming st

I woke up ready to write.

That was about 5 AM.  Then, I went back to sleep.  I haven't really been able to get it back.  I'm just distracted.  The novel is going to seep out, it just doesn't want to come out in order, nor does it seem to want to come out at a decent hour. (Which will be fine once I start working a "day-job" again.)  Right now it's just frustrating.  I feel like my narrative is teasing me. Maybe I should just try writing it out of order...

Walls are expensive, but you can help.

Dry rot!   This is going to be expensive. So... Please go buy one of these !  Thanks!

Shh... It's a secret to everybody.

The dead tree version of Starweaver's Retreat can be acquired here!

"Reality TV" tries Seattle

I was enjoying a latte and doing email in my favorite downtown cafe when I see this ill-matched couple take a seat at the end of the big table with their drinks.  An older man in his sixties, and a woman in her thirties are taking turns scanning the place and fiddling with their cell phones.  Neither fit the mold of professionals or hipsters who usually frequent the place.  Soon a younger man with an ironic baseball cap sits down and joins them with their coffees.  The woman says"Hi" to me from the other end of the long table.  At first glance they look to me like they belong in L.A. instead of Seattle.  The woman is wearing designer jeans with inappropriate bagginess and has an unrealistically optimistic but freshly-colored bottle redhead job happening.  I can't help but notice.  I start doing my "author" thing and try to make up a story for why they are here in the coffee shop, but nothing is coming.  A client meeting, maybe?   I pick up a snippet of conversat


Check it out!  That was me in the September 1996 edition of AV Video & Multimedia Producer magazine.

Solid progress yesterday, today.

I enjoyed a beautiful afternoon on Alki and banged out 300 words.  More importantly I feel like writing again.  The second novel is starting out with a definitively dark tone and I'm going to have to pull it back from the abyss a bit to keep it safely in YA-land.  I might need to write a little bit on the contemporary fiction project just to get the darkness out of my system, but then again - darkness seems to be the coloration that sells novels best these days.

-11 words on the day. The next novel is getting shorter!

But at least what I've written so far is up to my standards.  Editing can be a disappointing exercise.  Starweaver's Dawn is 100% outlined and the word count is standing around 4500 words so far.  I ordered the proof copy of Starweaver's Retreat from today - so I will officially be "in print" soon. I watched the live video chat with Neal Stephenson today.  It's an interesting data point that I have not, as of yet, made enough money as an author to afford an ebook copy of his new novel.  Publicity, it seems, is quite expensive to gather at $.99 an impression.  I took some solace in the fact that only 300 or so people connected to the chat room.  Selling books can be rough for even the superstars.

Unbelievably frustrating morning

Scrivener's auto-numbering feature works really well for ebook generation.  However, I've lost a complete day trying to figure out how to force it to start numbering on a specific page.  There's a setting buried in the page setting options for the PDF compile called "Start regular header and footer on:".  I had to force it to page 7 to get a properly generated and numbered PDF file. As I'm writing this it is occurring to me that I did not create a table of contents.  Not strictly required for a paperback, but something that you get for free in an ebook.  Wow, the print version was a lot of trouble, but I think I should be ordering the first proof copy within 24 hours.

Why did I write this book? A message to my readers

      Starweaver's Retreat  exists because of a gap I saw in entertainment for young adult readers.  There are many fine fantasy books out there that feature female protagonists.  They have to tackle vampires, werewolves, evil wizards and the like.  I wanted to tell a story about a young woman who embraced science and logic as well as bravery to overcome the forces that opposed her.  It's not that I don't enjoy the more fantasy-tinged science fiction myself,  (I'm a huge fan of the Dragonlance series and Temeraire series.)  I just wanted to see books where the science was plausible, centrally featured in the story, and most importantly the fantastic events of the plot weren't based in magic.      In the coming books, I hope to show a character arc for Thea that illustrates her awareness, her understanding, and ultimately her mastery of the technology of her world.  She will accomplish this through determination and intellect, and by making some really hard choice

Starweaver's Retreat is available!

As of today you can purchase and enjoy Starweaver's Retreat from either of these two sources: I'm still working on the print-on-demand version and the iTunes distribution.  It will probably be a week at least on the paperback and iTunes in a few days.

The writer/publisher/promoters dilemma

I've got a lot of irons in the fire. As of today I have "release candidate" versions of the ebooks ready and two copies out to "Beta" readers. There's more desktop publishing work to do to create print-ready PDF versions for CreateSpace though. There's a whole series of events that have to happen to lead up to a book launch, and I've never done any of them. That's a lot of learning on the fly, shooting in the dark, and throwing on the wall - but I'm going to stick to it. ;) The short list of "known knowns" looks something like this. Final Version of both epub and mobi files. Upload to vendor (Amazon and B&N at least.) Print-ready PDF generation CreateSpace project completion (There's a lot that goes into this. ISBN's, pricing decisions, etc.) Book marketing website Author Website Press Releases GoodReads announcement & samples Oh yeah - and finish the sequel. No problem.  At least I have the blog

Running the final edit

I hate Microsoft Word with the heat of ten-thousand suns. I haven't lost any work, but it decided to crash on me around page sixty-six. I don't trust it. Although, since the editing service I used sends results in Word using Word's "Track changes" mode, I'm pretty much stuck with it for this edit. I wasn't able to figure out how to get Scrivener to automatically sync with a word document and I need to remind myself to suggest that functionality to the developers. It should be possible, since it all ready can sync with rich text, plain text and Final Draft documents. Once I'm done with the edit, I'm literally going to copy-paste each section back into the Scrivener project. This will be an annoying and tedious task to be sure, but one that I feel will give more flexibility as I move forward with the final version for publication. It's definitely a gap in the smooth workflow I had imagined. Perhaps next time I'll find an editor that

I've got my edited manuscript in hand!

The result was a positive "it's in decent shape". I'm deliriously happy. I have a few small re-writes to do and merge in all my fat fingered and boneheaded punctuation errors. Not more than a weeks worth of work in any case. Good notes, and I can't wait to publish. It could be as soon as next week.

Total, utter, complete, distraction today.

Nope, can't talk about it. Nope, doesn't make me happy. Trying to put it out of mind so that I can get back to work. Everyone wants to know where the story is going.

TIme to hit it again.

The morning is still shrouded in misty fog that is lingering far too long for summer. Fall is sending warning shots. Nonetheless I need to get writing on book two in the Starweaver Cycle. Scrivener tells me that I need ~2200 words a day to hit an October 1 deadline for the book, and that would be writing 6 days a week. I'm behind. I misjudged my refractory period after writing the first. It was more difficult to steel my resolve for the second than I imagined, because writing is a lonely endeavor. The interesting fact is, I can meet that aggressive deadline as long as I focus and keep on socializing. 2200 words a day and I can do anything I want with the rest of the time. However, the blog doesn't strictly add to that total - so I'm off. I know that I'm going to get busy with marketing and final formatting when I get the first manuscript back from my editor, and if I don't use this time I will lose it.

The hard drive finally gave up.

I've had problems with my Western Digital WD10TPVT ever since I installed Lion on my Macbook Pro. I've had to restore it three times and yesterday's kernel-panic sent me over the edge. I went out to get a replacement 1 TB drive and the only "local" company who had one in stock was Instead of paying a huge price for next day delivery I went to "best buy" and they had nothing in a retail package larger than 500 GB. Instead, I purchased a Toshiba Canvio for $75 total and hacked it open with a Dremel tool. It was the hard drive equalivalent of a grab bag. I drew well and got a Toshiba MK7559GSXP inside. I was amazed at how many helpful sales people have no idea what is inside the little plastic boxes they sell. It's not the fastest drive, but was way cheaper than any other option and it was available. I needed to get back up and running as soon as possible, and I am. I was able to retrieve my Scrivener project file from yesterday,

Starweaver's Retreat

My first novel, Starweaver's Retreat, is in the hands of my editor.  So, I made French Toast to celebrate.  Barring any significant re-writes, I will be releasing the ebook version on Amazon in about 4 weeks.  The physical copy will be available through CreateSpace and their distribution partners a couple weeks thereafter.    Now I need to get started on the second book.  I'm setting a deadline on that manuscript at the end of September.  That gives me forty-three days to finish the second book at around 1100 words a day.  Gulp. In other news, I had to rebuild my Mac again.  It seems a little more stable this time, but I still don't trust it.  I did a clean install and treated it like it was a new machine.  I'm still concerned because I need to get backups back online.  I'm going to have to dump my project files on Dropbox just to make sure there aren't any catastrophic failures.  I was tempted to run out and but a Macbook Air this morning, but Erica helped t

Solitary Confinement

     I'm not doing that well with being a solitary writer.  I'm starting to think that the real reason writers need agents is because they need to give someone a percentage so that they will stay in contact and keep them connected with the world.  Plus, I was really used to working on teams.  I miss it.      So - I spent this morning doing layout on the cover.  I was going to contract it out, but I was inspired by the positive feedback I've gotten so far from what I thought was going to be a temporary cover.  It seems more "pro" now after I've given it some attention.      The book is off in the hands of a couple of alpha-readers, and I've made a few small edits.  I just don't know what to do with myself right now.  I can't decide if I should continue writing this week or concentrate on editing.  I almost feel like I should be doing something else entirely.  I'm in uncharted territory, really.      I should establish some amazing post-novel


Despite internet failure and near hard-drive collapse, I am thrilled to announce that I've completed the first draft of my first young adult sci-fi novel,   Starweaver's Retreat .  It is the first novel in the Starweaver Cycle which I expect right now to be a trilogy. I've got some revising and editing to do, but my best guess is that  Starweaver's Retreat  will be available on Amazon and CreateSpace in early September.  Thanks to everyone who has offered me support.  I really couldn't have done it without you. I'll be putting copies in my Alpha readers hands today!  (You know who you are!) I'm feeling thrilled and bewildered right now.

Great morning session

The manuscript is currently at 41042 words.  It looks like I'm going to come in at around 45 - 50k for this one.  I've decided on the ending and I can now see beyond the first book to the second in the trilogy, so - that's exciting.  At the rate I'm producing I should finish up the first draft next week. I've also settled on the title and I'll be launching that sometime soon.

Scrivener 2.1 released yesterday.

The release resolved my only real compatibility issue, so I went ahead and pulled the trigger on Lion.  I'm not overwhelmed with anything so far.  But, you know, downloading, installing, and screwing with a new OS is a great way to completely blow a day that could have been used for writing. Geekery is difficult for me to set aside.  Y'all better buy these books so I can go get a Macbook Air. Current word count: 36,495.  

Update and distraction

The project statistics are telling me I'm starting with 35613 words today.  However Apple released OS X Lion and new MacbookAirs today.   So, there's that. UPDATE:  It appears that Scrivener's full screen-mode in incompatible with Lion.  I need that, so I'm waiting until Scrivener's 2.1 release at very least.  :-()

New process Tuesdays.

Tuesdays have been my least productive days, so I'm trying something new.  Breakfast while reading previous days' pages, then I'm going for a walk.  Giving my brain and my body breathing space.  Project statistics report 34033.

I didn't knock it out of the park today.

+999 words, sitting at 34,033.  I've got 4 chapters to go.  I think its time to line up my editor and artist.

Are Estributors the future of publishing?

I have my own thoughts on the matter, but here's a pretty good article on the subject. I've been spending some time looking at the online presence of several literary agents, and I find it unsurprising that they are about to get their lunches eaten in the digital realm.  They complain about things like poor punctuation in query emails and can't seem to manage a spam filter or an over-flowing inbox even if they have enough savvy to maintain an amateurish website or a blog.  Every single employee at has an overflowing inbox and they learn how to deal with it.  (Hello,  inbox rules?)  The only  thing that makes it a fight at all is their relationships with legacy publishers and their distribution channels.  It will certainly be interesting as those channels begin to dry up.

Busy day.

Lunch with friends, appointment.  Still kicking out the prose though.  32,069 words baby.

Yesterday I woke up with a case of software tester brain.

My hillbilly self used it to evade the primary and secondary shielding.  I don't think he likes how much of him I put into the characters I created on Monday.  Better now.  I'm starting the day at 30,111.

It's not you, it's me.

I've been asked to explain my decision to forego traditional publishing.  For me, it boils down to these three factors: 1.  Publishers and agents don't seem do enough to justify their commissions in perpetuity.  I'm not saying that they can't provide valuable services, I just believe the price over the long term commercial viability of intellectual property is simply too great.  They are running a business based primarily on marketing the creativity of others, and they haven't streamlined their operations in such a way that they can feed the great digital beast of the internet just yet.  They may come around to it at some point, but from a strictly logical perspective, I believe it will be just as much work to create, polish, and publish a novel as it would be to try to attract attention from publishers.  That may not be true, but I'm going to find out.  At least I'll know how much work it really is once I get there and I'll be choosing my distribu

Single-threading this morning

I'm going to turn-off the internet and write.  I'll be back when I reach my first word goal of the day. Starting the week at 27534 words.

27087 words.

Can't say I'm exactly flowing, but I like what I've written today.

Day interrupted.

I had an appointment today so I stopped at 1004 words.  I'm trying to get back into the swing, but it's just so damn beautiful outside. 26139.

Imprimatur and the brimstone of the media

The reaction to the Casey Anthony decision has got me thinking.  While there is most certainly a clear purpose for freedom of the press in a democratic society, where is the current balance on what ought to be broadcast or published?  Facebook is full of condemnation for this woman from people who did not hear evidence presented in the court, did not sit on the jury, and most importantly did not hold her life in their hands.  I would use the phrase "armchair quarterback" here if it did not utterly over-trivialize the discussion. There is certainly cause for some local media stories to have the national media spotlight, but this one does not rise to that level.  Her fate is not connected in any meaningful way to our own.  She did not enjoy any previous celebrity.  She is in our collective conscience only due to sensation of her alleged crime.  In this case the "isn't it awful" sensation is the nearly unavoidable human instinct to witness pathos.  It is the same

That first day...

When you start a new job, there's always a period of nervousness and confusion.  Where is the coffee machine?  Will it be good coffee?  Will I like my new co-workers?  Where am I going to sit?  Will I like my boss? Well,  this morning I had none of those questions.  The coffee machine is brewing delicious Caffe' Vita.  The kitty is nuzzling my shin.  My desk has a Space Needle view.  However, the boss is an irascible but funny jerk with delusions of grandeur.  It's a good thing I don't have to talk with him if I don't want to. Goal today: +2000 words.  (Stretch goal +3000)  I spent the weekend enjoying Hood Canal and getting my workspace ready so I only wrote about 160 words.  Current word count: 22078. Update - I decided to rest for the day after 3057 words.  Total word count now 25135.  Fantastic day!

The Author's Bio

     Do a Google search on how to write an author's bio for yourself.  I'll wait here, but you will be a while. It should be in third person.  No wait!  First person if you are sending query letters.  Talk about your life, or don't if you happen to be a hausfrau who is only dreaming of being a novelist.  Join a group and pay them a fee so you can out the group's name in the bio, but only if you've been published in that genre and only if you've been published by the right people.  Put in your educational background - but wait, you may not want to if it will alienate your readers or if you are cultivating mystique.  But it's all totally different if you are preparing it for wikipedia.  You can't just do one.  Gotta have fifty and one-hundered word versions.  You have to follow this list.  Any variations and your manuscript will most likely be discarded.  Above all have fun, but don't!      I understand that it can be difficult to coalesce your life

Like a drag-racer waiting for the lights.

The tires are hot and sticky sweet with the acrid air of the burn out.  The engine sounds great, powerful and throaty, more feeling than sound as I tap the accelerator with impatience.   My skin pulses with electricity as wait for those beeps and watch the lights change from red.  I'm ready.  Beep.  Beep.  BEEP. I'll be posting daily word counts here.  Today I stand at 21886 words.

Duke Nukem Forever Review- Spoilers within!

No game could meet the pregnant expectation of 12 years of unrequited hype. Gearbox made a wise decision with their attempt to play down those expectations in the release on Duke Nukem Forever. Even with lowered expectations, the game has glaring, nearly unforgivable problems. There have been reports of obscenely long loading screens on the Xbox 360 version, and the STEAM-delivered PC version suffers from an input-locking bug that occurs between each level load that renders the game unplayable without a do-si-do of commands to get the community overlay out of the way. These are not forgivable lapses in a commercially released game, even under a normal release cycle. However, Duke Nukem himself is unique. He remains an unruffled icon of immature male sexuality, untroubled by modern conventions of manhood. Metro-sexuality does not exist in the Duke Nukem version of Earth. The arc of the action falls in perfect alignment with the arrested development of a misogynistic 14 year old

I'm number one! I'm number one!

It takes real skill to get ALL of them wrong.

Full of depression and inaction

I'm not writing.  I'm a triceratops stuck in the La Brea tar pits of emotion.  I'm out of gas,  milking inertia and riding the clutch to get as far as I can down the ramp before everything stops.  There's a cold, hard, smooth concrete wall at the bottom.  I'm frozen in an existential tazer, chastised with every breath. It's that moment in Missile Command when you've missed the incoming ICBM and can do nothing as your base is about to vaporized. Got any quarters left?

Yes, that's right Martha, two Margaritas washes away the corporate day and provides adequate writing fuel.

Note to self: May have to carefully edit this chapter.

3:24 AM and the bugbear of inconsistency

I'm staring at the Space Needle wondering how John Grisham did it.  I'm told he wrote his first novel while working full-time in a law firm.  His bio on his website confirms this information.  I don't like 5 AM.  I like this hour.  Between 3:30 and 4:30 AM nearly the entire world is quiet.  If anything breathes,  or snores as the case may be,  you hear it.  The house pops and re-adjusts as it loses heat and your thoughts echo like tympani drums with each satin stroke of a key. That said,  this hour is unreasonable by any sane intellectual measure.  No civilized thought resides here in the dark, only the wild abandon of far more rational people than I dreaming away their day's problems.  No, this is the hour of mad men heated beyond the polite conventions of society,  wrestling dreams only slightly more tangible into being. This unsustainable, delicious hour has to be enjoyed as the rare treat that it is - with only the waking fantasy and diaphanous promise of livin

Fascinating Feeling

I test-loaded the first act of my novel onto the Kindle just to get a sense of what it will be like when I'm done.  Then, I saw my name in the list of authors and my working title in the list of other literature on there.  I am forever changed.

Another lunchtime session

I managed to squeeze in another 578 words at lunch.  I wanted to keep going, but now I'm in a meeting.  :-(

Lunchtime session

+509 words, but more importantly resisted the urge to play WoW with a friend.  Saving throw vs. Death Magic made! I was feeling guilty about missing two days in a row, but you know? Life happens.  Last night I went to the hospital to meet my brand new niece, so no writing.  I'm still going to finish this trilogy before she knows how to read.  I'm just going to keep looking forward and enjoying the writing I am able to accomplish.

Weekend in LA

I had hoped to bang out pages on both the flight down and the flight back, but we had a plane change in Portland that really jammed my flow.  The flight back was non-stop and I'm +600 words or so.  I'd like to get back to it in a bit, but I'm going to have to sync the draft over from the iPad and I'm going to hope that I don't have any issues... In other news,  I had some great conversations with my friends who run a web publicity company and it make me re-think how much effort I'm going to have to put into marketing the books when they are ready.  There's no doubt that it's going to be a big job.  I'm glad I'm starting early, as I'm going to need a media list to start pestering both pre and post launch. Possible marketing strategies include: Excerpts Art previews Book "trailer" Interviews ??? I've all ready been following like madman on Twitter and have cleaned up my online presence there.  I have to remember to twee

No writing today

I'm sure I'll hit an extended session on the plane tomorrow.  I can't help it.  Something about the confined space, the humiliation of the TSA and the utter lack of control nearly forces me into the creative realm.  I know I'm just escaping into a world where I have complete control, and am therefore happiest while writing on a plane. My solution for teeny-tiny seat space is to write on the iPad.  PlainText is my editor there and I use Dropbox in conjunction with Scrivener's sync functionality to keep the manuscript sorted.  I had a little problem with that on my last trip and have learned to keep only one copy of the Scrivener project file around.  Otherwise it gets too confusing and you might accidentally sync with an earlier version of the project.  (I did this.  It was bad.  I ultimately sorted it out but it took precious time.) Backups provided by both TimeMachine and Dropbox.  Back up early, back up often.

Lunchtime Session

Bagged 576 words from the ether.  Boo-yah.  One more chapter and act one is in the bag. Now that I've been writing regularly I've been thinking about time compression in a novel.  You can do some truly magical things as an author.  You can make a single day last 80 pages, or even an entire novel .  You can also span 1000 years in a few sentences.  So far that has been the most amazing feeling - the ability to completely control the dimension of time for my potential readers, something I know I'll have to experiment more with in the future.  ;-)

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Ebooks and Self-Publishing - A Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Ebooks and Self-Publishing - A Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath This conversation is particularly motivating. It inspired a set of excel spreadsheets that could only be described as a "business plan."

My Arsenal

Of course I'm writing on a Macbook Pro, that should go without saying.  However, I'm also using Dropbox  to sync my iPad for on-the-go edits and writing.  My main text editor is Scrivener   and it is flat-out amazing.  Nearly every time I sit down to write I find another feature that I know will not be able to live without in the next session.  I don't know how much I should go into the technology I'm using for my process until I've actually published, but you never know what is going to be interesting to people. Right now I'm working towards having a complete manuscript by May 1 and a self-published novel live on the Kindle sometime in June.  It's my own private NaNoWriMo , but I'm not following any of the rules.  Wrong month, I'm all ready well into the novel, and I'm going to publish it when I'm done.  Just to be clear,  I'm not trying to write a novel in a month.  I've been outlining and planning since last year and now I'm

Not a super-productive session.

198 words. However I discovered the manuscript and session target functionality of Scrivener and also downloaded the Kindle ebook generator and preview too. Amazon really couldn't make it easier unless they wrote the damn books for you.

Progress for 3/28

631 words at lunch. My main character's day is finally getting a little brighter.