Sunday, March 25, 2012

Up, Down and Moving On

The last couple weeks have been like a roller coaster.

First, Tor asked for the full manuscript of my first fantasy novel. Wow, happy dance on the rooftop! /\

Second, a spot check revealed that sections of that manuscript had some weird formatting. Bummer. So I spent a couple days correcting it and wondering what had made portions to go all wonky. It wouldn’t have happened if I’d used a typewriter! Of course, a typewriter wouldn’t have spell-check or text wrap…. I suppose the occasional wonkiness that’s fairly easy to fix is better than all the draw-backs of a typewriter. Sent the manuscript off. -~_~

Third, we received word that my mother-in-law was in the hospital. Always a downer. \/

Fourth – or somewhere in there – the cover for my next e-story was finished and delivered! /\ Thank you, Mason!

Fifth, Tor decided my novel wasn’t quite right for them. \/ (Sniff.) But they did have nice things to say about my writing. ~

Sixth, MoonPhaze Publishing informed me they had uploaded my next e-story, The Cave, to Hot Diggity! /\

Of course, this leaves me with plenty of ‘stuff to do’. Marketing, marketing, marketing leads the list, but I still have to deal with #5. Where do I submit this fantasy now? For the record, that makes Baen, Daw, and Tor who have passed on it, and I don’t know of any other ‘big’ publishers who still have an open slush pile. Before that, I spent 3-4 years looking for an agent, but nobody I was interested in working with fell in love with my concept. Do I go back to looking for an agent? No, probably not, because now I’ve made their job harder by submitting it myself.

Do I ask MoonPhaze Publishing to take it on? I could, and if they had more experience, I would definitely consider it. But they aren’t quite ready for a novel, and I’d like to work with a larger press. If not one of the big guys, then a company somewhat smaller. Anybody got any suggestions? In case you’re wondering, my fantasy novel is set on the Atlan world, the same world I’ve used for the stories that MoonPhaze Publishing has put out, but it doesn’t have the same characters.

Oh, yes. Seventh, I have been scheduled for a reading at 4 PM on Saturday, April 14, at Constellation in Lincoln NE. /\ Woohoo! Come and hear about the Atlans!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What Am I Doing?

I’ve been writing since the 4th grade. Back then, it was for my own amusement. Nobody got to see it, because I never finished anything. I never rewrote anything, either. I wasn’t ready.

During my first marriage, I gave up writing for a couple years after an uncomplimentary opinion of my style was expressed by my then-husband. He had an over-inflated opinion of his own writing skills, but after a couple argumentative essays in college, he no longer wrote. After NOT writing for a couple years, my stories demanded to be let out, and I was beginning to see the real person I had married. I was learning, but not yet ready.

Time marched on. I continued to write stories. I took classes and read books and even participated in critique sessions. Still learning.

In 2000, it dawned on me that I had about 5 years to go before I was eligible for early retirement. What did I want to do as my next career? Silly question. Only one answer.

It was time to get serious about my writing. It took longer than I hoped, but I kept working at it, and now I have 2 stories e-published, and another in the final days before it is e-published. I’ve made it!

Well, no. The next step is for me to master the Art of Marketing. People won’t buy my stories if they don’t know about them. I’ve been working on that, too, these past 10-12 years, but when you compare that to how long it took me to learn the Craft of Writing (and I’m still learning), I’ve got a long way to go.

I’m wondering, once I get reasonably good at the Art of Marketing, will there be some other skill I’ll need to learn? Well, if there is, I’ll roll up my sleeves again and get to it. It’s the only way to figure out what I’m doing.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Keeping up With the Saurases

Like most kids, I loved dinosaurs when I was growing up. Of course, it was all much simpler back then. I can remember doing a science fair project where I whittled dinosaurs out of the biggest soap bars I could find. I had a brontosaurus, a stegosaurus and a tyrannosaurus. Way back then, those were the only dinosaurs I ever heard about.

Time passed, I grew up and had my own kids, and they loved dinosaurs, too! They knew about brontosaurus, stegosaurus and tyrannosaurus. And allosaurs, pterodons, triceratops, as well. Hey, the dinosaur age was developing more diversity!

Jurassic Park came along, and there were even more critters; raptors, spitters and who knew what.

Since then, I’ve watched lots of educational tv shows about ancient Earth, different animals that existed in the different Ages. I don’t seem to hear about brontosaurs any more, and I’m not sure stegosaurs and tyrannosaurs lived during the same age. There were feathered creatures – something like gigantic ferocious chickens – in what is now the Gobi desert of China. There were giant reptiles and midgets, and all shapes and sizes in between. There were insects and other crawley things, including the first mammals, which apparently lived underground and looked like a cross between a mouse and a lemur.

In fact, I’m beginning to think there were a lot of critters during the various Ages that we’ve not heard about yet, might never hear about. Just as there are millions of different kinds of critters on the Earth these days, there not just kind of critters in past ages.

So if you are writing about an alien planet, you have to give some thought to the various animals that inhabit it. Some will eat whatever passes for plants, and others will eat the plant-eating animals. There will be big animals and tiny critters. Visiting humans might fear being stomped or eaten by the big animals, when they should really worry about the insects tromping all over their beds.

And that’s just on the land.