Saturday, July 29, 2006


Yesterday, I finished a straight-through revision of "Star Sons" that took into consideration the input of, um, (counting on fingers) three of my five betas. Hopefully the other two will get their input in soon! But by leaving it for so long, and then reading it straight through, I was able to catch little mistakes in continuity, repetitions of certain phrases, a few illogical or not-explained-well-enough things, and also get a feel for the flow of the book. I enjoyed the first part a lot, and when it got to the battle stuff, WOW! It SINGS! And the aftermath is excellent too! I think the pacing of the first part is good for the kind of thing it is, establishing the characters and setting, etc. The next book will have battles and "fluff" (some romance) in it, and the third will have the same things but more intensely as we reach the climax of the trilogy.

My friend, Asad Asif Asad's Blog has left a couple of comments and I'm trying to figure out if there's an easier way to install links (his in particular, since we're exchanging links) in this site. Putting them in via the html is a pain. Ah well, it's all part of the learning curve, right?

Earlier today, I sent "Beginnings" (my new HP fic, 78 pages long, I think) to Asad, who's my techie on my Yahoo group, and Iris, who uploads for me on the OWL site. I went through and polished that twice in the last day or so, and it's a fun read. It's a lot easier to just start a story in the middle of things than to establish the characters, setting, what their abilities are, how magic works there, etc., as I have to do in my original fics. On to the second book of the "Star Sons" saga!


Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I'm still learning how to use this blogger format and have just listed this blog with a couple of "pinging" sites, one of which wanted a picture. So this is the picture I chose - I'm the blond in the hat (although my hair in shadow doesn't look blond here). The "redhead" is my Quarter Horse, "Impowered for Time" ("Jack" to his friends and he thinks nearly EVERYBODY's his friend). I'm usually the one BEHIND the camera, so there aren't a lot of pictures of me, which is fine. I hate breaking cameras by letting them take my picture! LOL!

I may be changing the template here, since for some reason the links section doesn't show on this one (it's in the HTML, it just doesn't show online). I'm not techie enough to figure out what's wrong with the template, so I'll just try another!

Meanwhile, the polishing of the novel is going very well indeed! I'm nearly 160 pages through (it's 272 single-spaced pages long right now) a very detailed edit, and I like what I'm seeing. Planning on the second novel is racing along and I wish I had time to work on it, but I want to finish this polishing job on the first one while all the details of the story are fresh in my mind.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It's a good read!

I let "Star Sons" sit untouched for a couple of weeks and just re-opened it a few days ago after getting the beta job back from one of my betas. I plugged in her input, then went to work on fixing the formatting problems (the novel-writing software and I had a disagreement about the formatting - the software won, which means I had a mess to clean up when I transferred the document to Word. *sigh*) Anyway, that's fixed and now I'm going through and polishing. It's an honest-to-goodness good read, YAY! I love the characters, and haven't hit any "slow" spots. I'm fixing all the glitches or problem spots as I come to them, but honestly, it's so cool to read it more as a story than as "pieces" as I have to do when writing it.

I've got to figure out how to publicize this blog so it isn't just me here talking to myself, although that's fun too, LOL!


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

On marketing

On one of my writing message boards, we've been discussing the benefits of having a blog. I was one of those who said it was a way to get the word out about your work, marketing your writing. Someone responded that they thought that was what the publisher's marketing department is for. That comment prompted me to write the following, which I thought was worth repeating here:

>>So you don't see a need to go do book signings, to promote your book online, to do interviews, etc? I've read articles by authors who did this (one author took himself on the road and did book signings in a tri-state area and watched his sales shoot up) and increased their sales a good bit. Sorry I can't quote the source for that story at the moment - I've been reading so many books and magazines on writing that I can't recall the source at the moment.

I know from my art career that I am the only one who cares enough about my art to promote it properly. Galleries don't. I think the publishing world won't be much different. Some amount of money will be set aside to promote your book (IF YOU'RE LUCKY, or so I've read recently), but publishers will promote it for a certain amount of time and that's all. To get the maximum effect, you have to get your feet wet in the marketing pond too.

I've been doing marketing for my art for over ten years now and it's a lot of work, yup, it is. But the results are truly worthwhile. No gallery ever promoted me the way I promote myself, and I have ALWAYS had better sales on my own than I ever did through a gallery (and my art is good - it's not a question of quality).

One art form resembles another in that what we're producing is NOT NECESSARY TO LIFE - it's a luxury to read fiction, just as it's a luxury to buy and live with art. Fiction and art both enhance our lives, but many people live without both. So in order to sell our work, we need to create interest in it, so we do interviews, book signings, send out press releases, make personal appearances, etc., many of which we arrange ourselves.

If you haven't read articles on such topics, I recommend Writer's Digest magazine to you for starters. If STEPHEN KING, after a lifetime of success so his name is known by anyone who's been paying any attention at all the last few decades, is promoting his books via a website - which he is - rather than just using his website to entertain his readers as JK Rowling does with hers, there's a good reason to do some of your own promotion.

Marketing is a creative activity, if you look at it right. Yikes, I can't believe I'm having this SAME conversation with another group of creative people. Some artists are so artsy-fartsy they think it "prostitutes" their art to try to sell it! (I'd deadly serious here.) And then they wonder why their work doesn't sell. DUH! Sorry, I just don't "get" creating art for art's sake - my house can't hold all the bronzes I've created already. I sell them to be able to afford to create MORE because I love to sculpt! (I also sell them because it's a kick to sell things I've made!) The more I sell, the more I advertise, the better people know my name and the more often they will recognize my work from a distance. (I've been in my booth at shows and heard someone from across the building say, "Oh, that looks like a Sappington!" when referring to my bronzes. And what do you know? It IS a Sappington! LOL!)

If we're going to be successful, it won't be just the publisher's marketing department that made us so, unless you have such a remarkable book as a "Harry Potter" - and even that became such a monster hit because people got on the internet and spread the word about what a cool book JKR had written. (I've read that in numerous articles about JKR's success story. And that's how I found out about Harry myself, from online friends raving about the books.)

I'll stop ranting now. . .but I believe if we don't participate in marketing our work, whatever it is, we're shortchanging ourselves.


Monday, July 10, 2006


I have had a VERY busy day, with little time for writing. Let's see, it's (digging watch out of pocket - the band was making my arm itch when I was working in the barn this afternoon) nearly 9:30 PM now. I had an hour this afternoon and about 45 minutes just now to write, and in that time, managed to do about 7 or 8 pages on my new HP fic, "Beginnings"! And they're GOOD pages! Single-spaced, not double-spaced anywhere except for scene breaks. I THINK the story is finished (it's 54 pages now, and was SUPPOSED to be a "ficlet" - NOT! LOL!). I'll have to look through it in a couple of days to see if I'm still happy with it, then send it to the betas (IF I'm happy with it!). They're busy with my first novel, so I have no idea how quickly they can get this fic back to me. My HP readers will be delighted with this story, though. It covers a wedding and a lot of other "beginnings" of things mentioned in the epilogue of my HP novel, "The Time of Destiny."

I've thought out a lot of stuff for the second "Star Sons" novel but still haven't had time to put any of it to paper. I finished some research on fairies and put my notes in my computer files for reference. That's all the actual WORK I did on the novel today. And I haven't had time to paint or sculpt, which is frustrating. I spent most of the day running errands (which is rare for me, thank goodness): Lowe's for more mulch (it's done at last and looks great!); Target and Lowe's looking for an airtight container for my horses' treats (bugs have gotten into the covered bucket I've been using, yuck); um, what else? Grocery, bank, PO, library, cat to vet this afternoon (he needed an allergy shot) - everything just took so much TIME! Argh. And I'm jealous of my time. I really wanted to do some painting today. I also need to take pics of my hubby's horse, Pepper, so I can build an armature and start a sculpture of him soon. And I have this novel eating holes in my brain, keeping me awake at night with scenes racing through my mind! ARGH! And then there's riding my horse, which didn't get done today either. *sigh* There aren't enough hours in the day, that's all there is to it! But I did make progress on that HP story, and got some research done. There. I looked on the bright side! And that's where I'll end this for now!

OOOOO! Late news!! I just got the beta job on the first five chapters of "Star Sons" from one of my betas! She didn't find too many problems with it, YAY! And my Brit-picker has sent the first parts of her beta job, too. Can't wait to see what the others have to say! I'm going to TRY to wait until I hear from ALL of them before I look at "Star Sons" again, so I'll see it with fresh eyes.

And with that, I'm signing off and going to make "lap time" for my cat and dog (another thing that takes time, but needs to be done, and I do enjoy it!)

Off to spend time with my hubby, Mickey (the dog), Jake (my cat) and Cricket (hubby's cat).


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Learning the ropes

I've been whining about my blogging problems on my writers newsgroup, the Critters newsgroup over at A fellow traveller on this "working toward publication" road has shared blogging advice and information as well as her blog address: Her blog is fun and informative as well, and has given me ideas on how to improve mine. Thanks, Sherri! I was going to post her link in my "links" section, then found that there IS no "links section" here as there is on my website! ( Ah well, writing it in the text of a post works just as well, I suppose.

Today I'm stealing time from helping my hubby spread mulch (now that we've changed from church clothes to grubs) to look at my e's and update my blog. I've had some WONDERFUL ideas for my second novel, *not one* of which has been written down in any form yet!! I HAVE to get some writing time, but that doesn't happen when hubby's home, bless him. He works so hard and I get a big case of "the guilts" if I'm not out there with him (unless he's doing something I can't help with - alas, spreading mulch IS within my capabilities!! *sigh*) His office picnic is HERE next week, so we've been working hard to get our landscaping in shape, which is a major job since we have a farm and a huge yard, and the "townies" who'll be coming want to tour the farm, my sculpture studio, the artwork I have in the house, etc. So EVERYTHING has to be as nice as possible. It's fun to host the picnic, but what a lot of work to get ready for it! And I'm SO FRUSTRATED that I haven't had time to write for DAYS because of all this "busyness." Ah well. I'll find some time this week to get that novel off the ground!!

Meanwhile, a ficlet I started to keep my Harry Potter fans happy (and to take a break from Ethan and Jake's tale) has grown to about 50 pages!! That's single-spaced, mind you! And it's such fun! My readers are all excited to have a nice long Abraxan fic to read soon. But my betas, who are busy with my novel - I'm not sure when/if they'll have time to work on it! It will all work out in the end. I should stop being such a worrywart. Of course, being a worrywart is keeping me from spreading mulch. . . .heehee.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Progress of various sorts

I've started working out the plot for the second "Star Sons" book, and have written another Harry Potter story ("Beginnings") to fit into the epilogue of "The Time of Destiny" - but this "ficlet" has turned into a HUGE story, which will be probably fifty pages! My HP readers who know about it (the Yahoo group - ) are dancing with joy, which is always a cool thing. The bloodthirsty one is asking if there's blood in it (not yet) and the ones who love "Baboonery(c)" (love scenes) are going to be happy (I hope!) because there IS a bit of Baboonery(c) in it! I thought it was finished twice yesterday, then realized I had left out a couple of scenes. Now I have one scene left to write, then I have to let it rest a while and look at it with fresh eyes, edit and polish it, then off to the betas! (Of course, they're busy with my novel right now and I don't want to distract them from that task - but hopefully, a HP story will be a nice rest for their eyes too!)

It's great fun to get back to the comfortable world of my HP stories, but it's also hard for me. I was immersed in the Star Sons world now, not Harry's world, so it took me a while to get back in HP mode. I also had to go back through my HP novels to refresh my memory on certain details, which takes time. But doing the HP story was a nice change -- almost like a vacation! -- after finishing "Star Sons."

I have a couple of original short stories floating around in the back of my head, just barely beginning to take shape. I'm not much of a short story writer, but it would be nice to have some out there in magazines to help build up my name as a writer. Hopefully when I get them finished, they'll be good enough that some magazine (that PAYS!) will want them! Yes, I'm an optimist! :-)