(semi-secret) New Year’s Gift to Friends & Fans

I knew there was an emotional synergy between Under the Bus (my active WIP, set in a contemporary urban American workplace), and the dystopian future I chose to explore as my 2013 NaNoWriMo project.  I’d expected, therefore, to get a much-needed boost of energy from a November spent working on PQR.

As usual, NaNo delivered. But Under the Bus, which I thought would be a piece of cake to write, turns out to be riddled with sticky bits.  This month I discovered that a good trick for pushing through is to take a little detour (if you’ll pardon the expression) back to the future.

With PQR moving apace, and since I always get a kick out of finding Easter Eggs on creative sites, I’ve posted the prologue on this website as a  New Year’s gift (admittedly kind of strange!) to friends and fans.


Holding the dream in your hand.

There hasn’t been any Extreme Marketing for a few weeks, because I’ve been up to my eyeballs in wrapping up another writing project.

Back in November 2010, when I decided to take the plunge and try National Novel Writing Month for the first time, it "The Upsilon Knot" book coverseemed more than a little crazy to try and write 50 thousand words in a single month. I knew I’d only be able to write that much if I found a whole new way of working. Instinct told me this would be easier if the story were completely different from any of my other work. I especially wanted to have some fun! After all, except for the hours spent in my office, I would be writing almost every waking minute of every day. If it wasn’t fun, I’d never make it through the month.

I started noodling around, mind-mapping random thoughts. My first scathingly brilliant idea was to think about Steampunk. I’ve always loved building worlds and, having spent a lot of time (before, during and after college) in “our” 19th century, an alternative one seemed like something I could whole-heartedly embrace. My next inspiration was my heroine. A few years before this, I’d had a flash of “Claude” in a castle corridor. I’d immediately known quite a bit about her (including her name, by the way). Claude came together perfectly with the world I was developing. That was enough to get started.

At the end of November 2010, I had about a third of the story and a whole lot of notes. And then I had to set it aside. Over the next 18 months, I lost the agent who’d signed up The Breast of Everything, started a new job, and embarked on a self-publishing adventure. When I could find a few hours, I’d look back at The Upsilon Knot and review what I’d blurted out during that initial month. At that remove, I was able to make notes about missing links in the plot, glitches in the timeline, etc.  Along the way, I stuffed my Scrivener project file with draft pages, character sheets, mind maps, action maps, timelines, flow charts and a sometimes strange collection of research. Last summer, I was finally able to return to writing and push forward.

I’ve been living in—or at least with—this world for almost three years. I don’t know that the execution ended up Steampunk so much as Historical Fantasy. No matter. The world and its people have been clear as day to my mind’s eye. This is the week everything changes, because now I know that, very soon, you are going to be able to see this too. The printed proofs arrived and, for the first time, I hold The Upsilon Knot in my hand.

At 500 pages, I expect that the ebook edition will be more popular with readers. For me-the-writer, however, there is nothing to compare with the solid reality of that bound volume. Holding it (okay, hefting it; it really is a chunky little book!), I feel a sense of completion wash over me. My mouth smiles before my thoughts catch up to it. I walk in a fleeting state of grace. And while this feeling lasts, there is nothing so great as being a writer.






Baby Steps

Having finally made the decision to publish my own books, I found myself being overwhelmed by the options to the point where I wondered if this was such a good idea after all.  I can’t work and write and be a publisher; my days only have 24 hours and I have to sleep through some of them.

It could take most of a calendar year to figure out “the best” way to do this and learn enough new skills to do it well.   That would be another year that The Breast of Everything wouldn’t see print (yes “print”; I’m determined to have a print on demand paper version as well as epub and mobi digital books).  At the end of that time, would all that work have mattered?  Not really.  I don’t expect this particular book to sell more than a couple of dozen copies; in this case, the old “vanity press” label is pretty accurate.  So I took a deep breath and made another decision.    I was going to get The Breast of Everything out the easiest way I could and I was going to do it NOW.  I chose a full-service publishing/distribution provider and created an account on Bowker to purchase the ISBN.  Most important, I did a single small thing that made this book seem real: I used my chosen provider’s online (free) app to make a mock-up of the cover.  Now that I know what it’s going to look like, surely it’s going to happen.  Right?  Not so fast!  You see, I’d decided to go with Createspace, but with all the buzz about retailers refusing to stock books published by Amazon, I’ve had to rethink this.

I’m back to, well, let’s call it square two.  Looking for another printer/distributor who delivers services for those who are time- and publishing-challenged.  I’ve been networking to collect recommendations (so much thanks to all the generous people of the VC Linked In group), but it still is likely to take another couple of months  (argh!) to find an easy, good quality solution that I can sell anywhere.

Meanwhile, I’ve been focusing on this website.  I am proud — a little dazzled, too — to announce that this post marks the official completion of a two-stage website migration away from iWeb (which is being sunset by Apple) and into my new domain and WordPress.  I’ve taught myself just enough WordPress to be dangerous, so if there are glitches on the site, oops!