More updates!

I’ve been sadly neglecting this blog lately. For that I apologize. But I have good reasons!

First of all, I’ve been very busy working on a music video for my friend’s awesome new band. We’re just about finished with it (we’re going to finish editing on Thursday). It’s been a labor of love since late spring, and it’s finally come together. And honestly, it’s exceeded everyone’s expectations, including my own.

NaNoWriMo is coming up! I’m going to try to participate again this year, though I might do the rebel thing and finish some half-written works that I’ve been procrastinating on rather than starting a new project.

Here in northern Vermont, I’m gearing up for winter. The weather has been beautiful so far this fall, but it’s supposed to turn cold this weekend, and I doubt we’ll get much more warm weather before spring. Of course, the approach of winter means a million things to do, including winterizing my house. Not my favorite task…

A Playlist for NaNoWriMo

Music is a huge part of my creative process. It inspires me in so many ways, more so than any other creative medium. So for each novel or screenplay I write, I like to compile a playlist that I think matches the tone, feel, and story of whatever it is I’m writing, to listen to while I’m working. I listen to it at other times, too, to get the creativity flowing.

For NaNoWriMo this year, I have two projects, and so far I’ve only come up with a playlist for one (The Difference Between Flying and Falling). I’ll come up with one for the other novel I’m working on as I start writing it, as the tone for the two projects is very, very different. Continue reading

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo 2012!

National Novel Writing Month 2012 (aka NaNoWriMo or just NaNo) starts in just over a week: November 1st! This will be my fifth year doing NaNo, and hopefully my fourth win. I’ve been slacking on my fiction writing this year, but am really getting back into things now. I’ve got the third book in The Steam and Steel Chronicles nearly done (I’ll be starting on revisions to the fourth likely after NaNo). And I’ve got two ideas I’ll be working on during NaNo.

I’m doing something a little different this year: I’m going to be a NaNo rebel! I’ll be starting the month working on a screenplay: The Difference Between Flying and Falling (hereafter known as TDBFAF). The title was actually taken from a NaNoWriMo “Adopt a Title” thread. TDBFAF is going to be about two people who deeply love each other. But just because they’re absolutely in love doesn’t mean that they have it easy, or that they don’t hurt each other. In fact, I think because they’re so in love, they maybe hurt each other more. It’s going to be a super-low-budget feature, with only a handful of characters and a couple of sets.

Now, since screenplays usually only run 13,000 – 19,000 words, I’m obviously going to need to do more than just one project to reach 50,000 words before December 1st. That’s why I’ll be working on a novel after TDBFAF is complete. The novel will be titled Music For the End of the World (another title I lifted from the same “Adopt a Title” thread, hereafter known as MFEW), and will be post-apocalyptic sci-fantasy. I’m pretty excited about this one. It’s an idea that just came to me as I was reading through the adoption threads on the NaNo forums. It’s kind of a mix between Firefly, Mad Max, Tank Girl, and The Road. Continue reading

Pushing for 200 Sales!

There’s less than 10 hours left in November (in the EST time zone anyway), and I’m having my best sales month yet for The Steam and Steel Chronicles. I would really LOVE to break 200 sales this month, but I’m still a ways away from that. Not so far that I don’t think it’s possible, though.

But I need your help! If you haven’t bought the books yet, now’s your chance. They’re only 99¢, available for a variety of ebook reader platforms (including Kindle and Nook), and are sure to entertain you (I hope).

Here are the links to buy them:

Aboard the Unstoppable Aerostat Fenris:

Barnes & Noble | Kindle/Amazon US | Kindle/Amazon UK | Smashwords | Goodreads

The Great Healion Race:

Barnes & NobleKindle/Amazon USKindle/Amazon UKSmashwordsGoodreads

If you’ve already purchased them, then please pass along the links to someone you think might enjoy them. Post a link on your Facebook page or on Twitter. Send out an email. Or even buy them as Christmas gifts for family members.

What am I offering in return, you might ask? My unending gratitude. And it will give me more motivation to get the third and fourth books finished (the first draft of the third book is already done, and I’m about 75% of the way through the fourth book). Nothing extraordinary. (Though I am planning some pretty awesome stuff for the release of books three and four…)

See? I’m not at all above begging for sales! I just think it would be really awesome to end this month on an even higher note than it’s already at, since winning NaNoWriMo and having great sales anyway.

NaNoWriMo Day #28: I Won!

I hit the 50,000 word mark last night and have now officially “won” NaNoWriMo. I’ve still got about 8,000 words left to write for the fourth book in The Steam and Steel Chronicles, but I’m going to push to finish it by the end of the month. I’m really loving the way this series is turning out, and hope everyone who’s read the first two books will like the second two.

I’m also going to work on a short story that will fit in between books one and two, and will focus entirely on Stig. Since book four focuses mostly on Isabell, I feel like it’s only fair!

So, I’ll be finishing up soon and will put the books away for a few weeks before I begin editing them, and hopefully will have them out in January or February. I’m aiming to release them about a month apart, and I’m 99% sure that I’ll be pricing both at 99¢ each. I feel like that’s a good/fair price for these books.

Once the series is finished, I’ll also be releasing a print version of all four books combined, and possibly a special, limited edition print book. I’ll keep everyone updated on those.

Happy Thanksgiving and a NaNoWriMo Update!

Here in the U.S., today is Thanksgiving. I’m taking a rare day off of work (I even went so far as to close my email program) and hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my husband’s family and my father. We haven’t hosted a family dinner at our house in a number of years, so it’s a nice change. And a lot less stressful than the first year we hosted Thanksgiving for twelve or thirteen people less than two weeks after we bought our house. That was quite the holiday!

So today I’m spending time cooking and writing whenever I can. My NaNoWriMo word count stands just shy of 39,000 words at the moment, and I’m hoping to push it up over 42,000 today. That will put me slightly ahead. I’m working on book four at the moment. Book three came in at around 32,000 words, though that will probably decrease during editing.

There are a lot of loose ends from the first two books that I’m tying up in the third and fourth books. I left a lot of things open-ended because I knew this was going to be a series, and I’ve had some negative feedback due to some of those things. But I promise that all of it will be tied up one way or another, and pretty much all of it will be explained in one way or another.

Book four is going to be the most adventurous book of the series, and will bring us back to some of the same places we went in book one. Characters that first appeared in books two and three will become vital parts of the resolution to the series (even if they only had cameos in earlier books).

Writing a series is a completely different animal than a stand-alone novel. Especially when they’re being written a year apart. There’s a lot to keep track of, and I think with the next series I’m planning, I’ll spend some time putting together a story bible to keep track of everything.

I guess I should spill the beans on the next series I’m planning. I was going to take some time to work on a gothic romance novel (a complete overhaul of part of a very early novel I wrote, the same one that Steam and Steel was inspired by) after I finished Steam and Steel, but now I’m thinking I’m going to write another steampunk series instead. The working title (and I’ll be coming up with something better before it’s done) is Clockwork Colony. It’s steampunk set in an entirely different world than The Steam and Steel Chronicles, and will take place in India around 1910. It’s going to require a lot more research than other books I’ve tackled, but I’m really excited about it.

This series won’t be a continuous series like Steam and Steel, but instead will be a number of books loosely set in the same world. This means I can write in that world when I want to, and when I have a story to tell, but I’ll have the flexibility to write other things in between, without worrying about alienating fans of the series. I’ll likely start working on this one in December. We’ll see.

Anyway, happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US, and happy Thursday to everyone else!

NaNoWriMo 2011: Day 12 & Another Little Excerpt

I’m still on track for NaNoWriMo this year. I’m currently sitting between 19k and 20k words, and the goal for today is 20,000. So I’ll be there in another hour or so. I have to say, and this might seem a little pompous, but I’m LOVING this book. I love where it’s going. I love the twists the characters have thrown up in my face. I love the new character who has made himself an integral part of the plot.

Sure, there are some spots that will need quite a bit of work (or that might be cut all together) for the final draft, and it needs plenty of polishing, but overall I really love it. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2011: Day 6 Update and an Excerpt!

NaNoWriMo is going really, really well this year. I’m on track with my own personal goals (2k words per day, which is a bit higher than the 1,667 words per day required to make the 50k goal), and I’m almost halfway through book three of The Steam and Steel Chronicles. I’m really, really enjoying writing this one so far. I’ve had some surprising plot twists pop up without any planning, and I’ve introduced a new main character who will be in the third and fourth books. I’ve also brought back a favorite element from the first book that will play a major role in the conclusion and solution to the books and their central arc.

So as it stands right now, at 12:12pm on Sunday, November 6, I’ve written 12,487 words. I’m going to try to get another 1-2k words done today (probably this evening), because my word schedule is a little bit hectic right now and weekends are the best time to try to build a little buffer into my word count. Continue reading

Transparency in Indie Publishing, Month 9

I can’t believe it’s been nine months since I started self-publishing The Steam and Steel Chronicles! Sales were good this past month, better than they’ve ever been, which is nice. I seem to sell between 145 and 165 books per month without doing much marketing (other than the occasional Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ post), so that’s encouraging. It means the word is out there at least to an extent.

I’m hard at work on books three and four as part of NaNoWriMo (over 7k words into book three already), and hope to release them in January and February. I’ll be doing a tight release schedule like I did with the first two, so you won’t need to wait too long between them. I’ll also be putting together some special editions, and will probably do a contest or two surrounding the launches of the books. I’m even thinking about giving away a Kindle! (It’ll be one of the ones with offers, because while the books are selling well, they’re not selling that well. Of course, if someone wanted to sponsor an iPad giveaway, I’d be more than happy to oblige!) Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2011: Day 2

Just ran into my first plot hitch, which sometimes happens when I just let the flow take over and don’t really pay attention to what I’m writing. The advantage is that sometimes I get really great ideas this way and things turn out better than I’d planned. The downside is that I don’t always know where to go with these plot threads. That’s what happened during this morning’s writing session. So I’m asking for ideas over on the NaNoWriMo forums. If you’ve read the first two books in The Steam and Steel Chronicles (or even if you haven’t), feel free to chime in over on the forum thread with ideas, or here in the comments if you’re not a NaNoWriMo participant. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers in the thread for the upcoming book. And if you give me a unique idea that I use, I’ll mention you in the acknowledgements of Book 3!

I’m currently sitting at just over 4,000 words in less than 36 hours. I’m aiming to get an average of 2k words per day done, and so far I’m on track. We’ll see if I can keep it up!