Time Crunch!

It’s the eve of the beginning of NaNo 2015, and I still have some prep work to scramble for. I want to finish this one last flash story for my October collection. I’m going to be harried for a few days as I have some pressing RL issues, finishing that collection, and starting that 50k words.  Usually, I stop my fanfic writing around the middle of October to do my rough outline and make up some names.

I really really want to so another flash collection every month, to make a backlist, and that may even be a higher priority than NaNo. My original novel length piece, done twice for previous NaNos just sort of crashed because I can only see the edges of something that’s missing.. Alas revision classes and a paid editor are way, way out of the budget, and finding a genre content editor has been an ongoing challenge. That doesn’t give me a lot of confidence that trying a different story will work any better. Right now, I’m just more comfortable with shorter fiction, despite my aspirations.

I’m not sure which I should make priority when push comes to crunch. Some years my muse gets on fire and I write my 55k for NaNo and short stories too, but not every year. The medium range goal of publishing my flash collections vs. the longer range publish a novel length SF/F story. Which is more important for me if time gets tight?

Trading Spaces

The reality of writing today is very different from even JK Rowling’s start twenty years ago. She submitted to multiple pubs until she found one willing to help polish and prepare it for the little (and not so little) kids. Publishers or agents guided and promoted the author to their mutual benefir. Now, for some authors with a long term track sales record like Stephen King or Danielle Steel, that may still be true. But newer authors take a more direct hand in their publicity and brand; James Patterson went whole hog into TV ads long before his Zoo became a TV series, but others like Tess Gerritsen also bootstrap sales from multimedia presence.

For newer authors have to build that presence and many, many writing sites and teachers will tell us that we need to start doing this before we find a publisher or even self-pub. I’ve seen books, seminars and full blown marketing classes in getting attention for your writings and releases. Some advice is plain silly and some is way above my budget, while others, like networking with other authors in forums, critique circles, conventions, and classes can be more practical.

So I also hang out and connect with other writers trying to get started. One of those led to a invitation to participate in a holiday collection. I’m all excited and scramble to freshen my bio and make an extra goodie. I’ve released four collections so far and had only minimal purchases, even with a low 99 cent cost. As a test I made one free, and I got far more downloads even as an unknown author. I hope trades like this will help all of us to locate the eyeballs of people who might like our works.

Writing Contests

I’ve been reading about writing contests, especially the ones that are run for a profit, as ‘public exposure’ for the writer. I’ve seen and entered a few that are legit, but there are a lot that benefit the contest organization far more than the writers who submit.

The list of ways they can take advantage is long, Writer Beware has many examples in their blog. The biggest problem is that many contests aren’t playing straight want to keep the rights to the submitted stories, that includes an excessive grab when announced in an Amtrack contest last year. Some contests offer lame prizes like some achievement badges and vague promises on their scantly organized site like Inkitt. Others promise a chance at being sent to an agent. After you’re read reports on the scam promises and charging writers through the nose for so-called editing, and formatting, and publicity, and being left with a stick of unsold books as an endtable or not even that much to show for it. You start to see the patterns of phantom employees, unspecific prizes, and lack of previous winners and about their success.

I don’t want to lose the rights for my writing for phantasmal prizes. Exposure and publicity is only a prize when it’s a big name sponsor, not Joe’s bait shop.

It’s the Little Things…

Sometimes it’s the little things that take only a moment that can drive you batty. Vitamins fall into that category. Now I know if I had a well balanced diet fitted to all my health quirks, I wouldn’t need vitamins. Alas family meals also include both a budget and logistic limitations. I could always make my pasta sauce from scratch, cooking down the heirloom tomatoes fresh-picked from my garden, free of salt and preservatives and fillers, but I don’t have that kind of time or energy. So mine starts from a paste and I select the herbs and spices. A compromise diet and vitamins is the option that virtually all of us make.
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Twice in One Month!

Success! I managed to catch up with one of my major writing goals for last month, I finished my fourth collection. I’m really glad because this collection includes my gothic mystery. The movie Alien combined SF and a gothic Cthulhu menace, but less helpless and free of agency.

Now that it’s October, I need to kick into high gear to prep for NaNo. I want to have a cushion if finished stories, so I can still publish collections for both October and November. My ideas for my NaNo book this year feel to insubstantial to sustain 50k words. Also, I’m starting to regret that I have an unfinished fanfic and readers who deserve an ending after my dawdling…

We’re not even going to think about holiday prep for a week.

SF/F short story collection cover

Necklace of Citrine collection

Any hard won victory can still be lost. Any future denied if foresight is flawed.


On a tiny research station, a poor orphan gets a place as apprentice, but when she arrives she learns that her mentor supposedly committed suicide from space madness. Which secrets are worth a life? In another tale, powerful senator in a cruel empire plans against his brother, who may be his nemesis and death.

Wanting and hard work may not be enough when there are dangerous secrets in these tales of empty wastes and poisonous double dealing.


Earlier collections:

SF/F short story collection cover

Necklace of Lapis collection

Necklace of Amber short story collection

Necklace of Amber

Necklace of Garnet short story collection

Necklace of Garnet