Sunday, February 18, 2018

Out Shortlisted for the Paranormal Book Award 2017!

I received notification via a facebook post from Chanticleer Reviews and International Book Contests that vampire novel Out has been shortlisted for the Paranormal Book Award 2017!

Those of you who have been following my blog know that Black King Takes White Queen was shortlisted for the OZMA Award 2016, another of Chanticleer's contests. I skipped buying the silver Shortlisted stickers for that book, but splurged on them this year as I can put them on both books this year.

I am so excited to rise above the slush pile for the second year in a row! I think Black King Takes White Queen reached the finalist level, but didn't make it to the list of Finalists from which the grand prize winner was chosen. It was just thrilling to be shortlisted for a novel that I'd just written 4 months prior to submitting to the contest without all the revisions and corrections in place.

Out went through four proof versions, and then two revisions once it had its final cover image and font color in place. The novel was written in 2015/2016 but not published until 2017 because I had been working with Archway but then John lost his job and I was discouraged about everything and just put it aside, finally deciding to just self-publish it in July 2017, officially launched in October 2017.

At Articulture 2018 both Black King Takes White Queen and Out should have their silver shortlisted stickers on the covers.

I am doing the happy dance!


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Revisions Finished! New Book Back on Market

I approved the revised proof of The Hanging Man and Other Stories with typo and name corrections (in one place auto correct changed a woman's name from Beth to Bath...really! And I accidentally gave the main character in The Hanging Man story two different last names...my bad! Also added the ISBN numbers on the copyright page which I had forgotten to do and fixed a continuity issue in The Hanging Man because Isaiah didn't remove Daisy-dew from the barn the second time he saw the hanging man, he just removed Winnie.

The Hanging Man and Other Stories is available n Amazon.com and is now also going to be available as an ebook on Kindle for $7.99

Preparing for Saturday's WhipCity Wordsmiths meeting. I was sitting at the kitchen table late the other night jotting down some notes and playing with a ladybug that was wandering around n the table.

Had an MRI this morning...had to have anesthesia because of claustrophobia and panic attacks. They knocked me out but good! Came home and slept all afternoon. Very grateful to Kelly for taking a day off from work to be Mom's driver and caregiver today. She's the best!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Revisions in Progress

The Hanging Man and Other Stories is temporarily unavailable on Amazon (abut 24 hours down) because I found some errors in the printed copy and have made corrections. Should be back up on Tuesday at the latest!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Hanging Man and other Stories

Nine copies of The Hanging Man and other stories have sold on Amazon.com. This is a record for me. Maybe I'll sell a whole dozen copies!

One can only hope.

Version #4

That novel that got off to several false starts before sailing along into the 76000 word range? Um...crashed when it derailed. Version 4 has been started.

Sigh.

My life has been full of ups and downs since the beginning of the year and my writing and concentration have suffered for all the upheaval.

I just wish things would settle down and all the distractions would fade back into the woodwork.

.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

New Book Available February 1, 2018- Today!

NEW FOR 2018: The Hanging Man and Other Stories is available today on Amazon.com. I haven't yet made it available for Kindle, but will before the end of the month. It retails for $14.99 and is 292 pages. There are 17 ghost/paranormal/supernatural stories included in this volume.

To Kill or Not to Kill

One thing many writers have difficulty with is killing off a character (not necessarily one you personally don't like, but one you've written and invested your own emotions in). I can't think of any other art form/medium in which the creator invests so much of themselves into the process of building a world, bringing characters to life and imbuing them with personalities, foibles, flaws, good qualities, etc. You make these people you create interact in good ways and bad. They grow. And sometimes, to make the story reach it's natural conclusion, you find you have to kill one or two of them off.

By the time you reach the point where the inevitable occurs, you, as writer/creator, have invested a lot of your own feelings and emotions, and yes, little pieces f your very soul, into the character. It really is akin to giving birth to a child and in a relatively brief span of time, watching them grow. You want the best for them, but sometimes the story dictates otherwise.

It can be a very emotionally wrenching moment for an author to kill off a character they like or even love. I have a novel in which two young adults struggle with issues in their lives and strive to be better people, to do the right thing. The young woman has a little sister she adores. She's been more a mother to the girl than their own mother has been. The mother has issues. A series of incidents happen and it drives the young couple to the point where they are worn down psychologically and emotionally...both struggle with depression. They agree that they've fought long and hard and their tired and just want it to end...so they make a suicide pact, which includes not leaving the younger sister behind, they're taking her with them. I cannot write the end of that novel. It's been sitting unfinished in a binder for two plus years. The young couple are good people. They work hard, they have been there for one another for a couple of years, but life will not give them a break and they are broken in spirit. I cry thinking about how they're going to die. I don't want it to happen. I cannot put myself through writing the ending of that novel...so it will remain unfinished forever.

Do artists get that emotionally invested in their art? Do musicians wrench their own hearts writing song lyrics and performing their music?

I was asked tonight if readers want a happy ending? I'm sure the majority of them do. However, as in real life, not all stories have a happy ending. Sometimes bad things happen and characters, like real people, die.

My advice to this author was- "Readers will cry and feel sad when a character dies. Some will feel let down or disappointed by a sad ending. Some will become angry and feel cheated. It all depends on how they personally related to the character that is killed off. We're all wired differently. however, we share emotions in common- empathy and sympathy. The point of killing off a character is to draw that emotional response, whatever it may be, from the reader. Readers don't read to be bored or to remain not drawn into the story. They read to experience something, to be escorted into another time, place, world and experience what happens there. The author's job is to provide them that experience. However your story ends, whatever happens to the characters you've created, you've done your job. An author cannot be held responsible for how each reader reacts as an individual. So, authors/writers, write the story you've set out to write and find satisfaction in having done the best of your ability to do just that."

Another piece of advice is one a writer often hears- write the story you want to write and don't worry about other people and what they'll think. If you write to please everyone, you'll never write again.

And, as for your own personal response to the death of your own character (-s)...don't be ashamed to cry and feel blue for a little while. Just remind yourself, as you mourn for your character, that he/she/it is not real. Yes, you chipped off a piece of your own soul to give that character life, but these little wounds heal and you move on and create more characters. It might be a long time, and many more stories later before you are able to kill off another character. Sometimes killing off a character can be a catharsis...it flushes something dark out of your system and allows you to move on.

And my final thought is, it's always better to kill off a fictional character than to go out and harm a real person.It can be good therapy after a bad day.