If you've read this book, you will remember the "caterpillar pillar," which the publishing industry has come to signify to me. I live my life in six-month increments (between cancer checkups) and I feel that I've been a hamster on a treadmill the last year or so, spending lots of valuable time learning how to market and not making any headway.
I'm okay with it now. I realize I don't really want to "be an author." I just want to write while I still have time to put down all the stories in my head. I've been given a valuable gift of remission, long past what the doctor believed possible, and I don't want to waste another minute on fruitless marketing to be heard in the cacophony that is today's book market. I've met some amazing people in the last year or so, and I wish each and every one of them success in selling their books, many of which I've read and enjoyed. Now that I know how to support authors, I'll continue to do my part in reading, reviewing, "liking" and tweeting as I can. But it's time for me to climb down from the caterpillar pillar and focus the time and energy I have remaining to writing my stories. If no one reads them, that's okay. It takes more than good writing and good stories to sell books, and I don't seem to have a salesperson's bone in my body.
Whew! I feel less stressed already! :)
I'm very sad that Cool Well Press went under but really not surprised--the signs have been there for months. I'm thankful I bought 50 copies of the paperback and have given several copies away and will give several more to children's hospitals that treat cancer patients.
I just wish my brain worked more efficiently at learning new technology. Chemo kind of mushed things up, and having frequent debilitating headaches doesn't help. :(
But enough feeling sorry for myself. I always said I'd keep writing, even if I never published another thing. And it's true. I'm still working on my other long fantasy series, and I have an idea for a third book about Leandra and friends. When I was a kid I'd write stories for my friends, and they'd pass them around, reading them for fun. Even if all I ever do is share my stories with my friends, I'll be content. I know what I write is not what the majority of people want to read anyway.
I saw a wonderful quote on Nick Vujicic's facebook page (he's the young man born without limbs who has touched so many lives) and realized it applied to what I write and why it will never sell: "Sex sells, but love gives."
About 27 years ago I had a four-year-old son, a six-year-old foster daughter, and a foster baby on a heart monitor. I loved being a Mommy but I was pulling out my hair, wishing for something "adult" to do.
My sweet hubby suggested I take a class at the local university to get out of the house once a week. Since I'd been interested in writing most of my life, I took creative writing.
I wrote dozens of science fiction and fantasy short stories. I wrote a few stories for children. I began to send them to magazines much sooner than I ought to have, but I'd had a fire lit under me and wanted to write, write, write and see my stories published.
It took SEVEN years and literally HUNDREDS of rejection letters before I sold my first story to Marion Zimmer Bradley for her Sword & Sorceress X anthology. Since then I've gone on to publish many things, but nothing has made me feel more like a proud Mommy than this double paperback of two stories that are dear to my heart. Because of the subject matter (cancer) I'm sure it will never make any best-seller lists, but that's okay with me. The people who have read the book and liked it are worth all the effort to write, rewrite, edit, and get it published. Many have said they better understand how a cancer patient feels, and those words are music to my ears.
May your journey be tenaciously sweet.
My name is Katy and I have a problem with Clutter. It's been a lifelong problem, actually. My mother used to call my room "systematic chaos." I've tried many times to "get organized" but it doesn't last more than five minutes.
Actually, when we sold our first house, after living there almost 17 years, I had to clean my office (er, shovel it out) in order to show the house to prospective buyers. During those three months I could not write a single word, draw a single picture, or write even the simplest melody. I realized there is some connection, however weird, between my clutter and my creativity. The trick is finding a balance between creative clutter and semi-organization so I don't waste precious time trying to find important stuff!
In the photo above you can see the twin bed in my office covered with parts of my latest novel, guarded by my hand-sewn dragon and my piccolo, which is almost buried by paper...
This is the opposite wall with the latest symphony music on my stand, my purple "gig bag" perched precariously upon some plastic boxes that need to be gone through--again--and my unusable sewing desk because I have too much clutter piled on it!
And this is my actual desk, which I recently purchased at a second-hand shop, hoping it would help me organize better, or at least close the doors upon the clutter. You guessed it--the doors are always open (to my desk, to my mind, and to my home, if you'd like to visit).
Please tell me I'm not hopeless! Or, barring that, please share some of your organization techniques....I have tried "Fly Lady" which has helped with the rest of the house, at least.
Standing center stage under a spotlight can be a frightening experience, but this blog's "Center Stage" is meant to be a pleasant experience. Today the spotlight is on author Ann Swann. Thanks, Ann!
What is the first book you remember reading?
My first read-alone book was Fun With Dick and Jane. Loved them!
What book influenced you as a child?
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, and Little Women. And Silver Chief, Dog of the North.
What is your favorite recent book and who would you recommend it for?
Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook. It was fun for women my age. The main character was so real I had to laugh out loud in places. It was almost like looking in a mirror while I read.
What genre have you not written that you'd like to try?
I want to try a crime thriller. I love the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffrey Deaver, but I'm afraid to tackle such a popular genre--I'm afraid it's all been done already.
Which of your characters is most like you (and how)?
Oh, I put something of myself into all my characters. I am shy like Stevie, flawed like Liz Rose, and as altruistic as Billy, my boy in my short story, Chems.
Which is your favorite character that another author created (and why)?
Nick Andros in The Stand (Stephen King). He and Larry Underwood (also The Stand) are two of my all time favorite characters (except for Silver Chief, the dog, LOL). They were both a mixture of good and bad, just like the rest of us. In fact, I often thought of Larry Underwood when I was writing Quinn Rose--they were both quite self-centered. Now, having picked out only two, a whole host of other characters are standing on chairs, waving to be heard. . .look, there's Merlin the Magician from The Crystal Cave. . .
Which is your favorite character that YOU created (and why)?
It's a toss up between Stevie-girl and Quinn Rose. Stevie because she is so innocent and serious. Quinn because he's kind of a horse's ass, yet still quite loveable.
To find out more about Ann and her wonderful books and stories, visit her website "Ann's Afterthoughts" annswann.blogspot.com
or her Facebook page
or find her on Twitter @ann_swann
A new year! Time for new beginnings.
And just as my son graduated from college last month to begin a new chapter, I feel it's time to take this site in a new direction.
The internet is a wonderful and overwhelming place. It's so easy to lose one's identity in the cacophony of blogs, Twitter, Facebook, G+, etc. , etc. I never want to feel less than human or that people I interact with online are anything but flesh-and-blood.
So, even though it's not an original idea, I want to put the spotlight on some of the interesting people I've met in the last year so others can get to know them, too. I hope you'll join me! Now to find some willing victims....just kidding! I promise there will be no blood spilled, only secrets!
Daniel Grubb (http://fantasticfoodstuff.blogspot.co.uk/
), who is CEO of Fantastic Books Publishing
, the UK company that recently published Fusion
, a SF/fantasy anthology which includes my story "Tam and the Giantess," invited me to take part in the Next Big Thing Blog Tour. My nominee, Sarah Dalton, who is listed at the end with links to her blog, etc., will go live a week from now. Thanks, Dan and Sarah!What is the working title of your book? Return to Finian JahndraWhere did the idea come from? I published Leandra's Enchanted Flute with Cool Well Press in January 2012, and because of its short length (about 26,000 words) CWP could only publish it as an ebook. My wonderful editor, Christine, asked if I had a sequel in mind, because CWP could print the two stories together in one paperback. So I asked myself, "What if Leandra goes back to Finian Jahndra? What would happen to get her there, and what would happen when she arrived?"What genre does your book fall under? YA FantasyWhat is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Despite heartbreaking losses, a series of perplexing mysteries, and the exhaustion of her advancing illness, Leandra must find a way to rally the birds and humans of Finian Jahndra to meet a much greater and deadly force before the magic dies forever.(The teaser is: How can you be a hero when you're already a legend?)How will your book be published? Return to Finian Jahndra will be available as an ebook in February 2013, but along with Leandra's Enchanted Flute, the two stories will be printed as a single "omnibus" paperback by Cool Well Press, also in February.How long did it take you to write the first draft? I began brainstorming a sequel in January and finished the first draft (over 40,000 words) in June, so five months. My fantastic critique group helped me edit, and after Cool Well Press accepted the manuscript, Christine has edited it also.What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I guess the closest book in the fantasy genre would be Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant in that someone who is gravely ill travels to a magical world to save it from a terrible evil, but my brave and spunky heroine, Leandra is nothing like Thomas Covenant, who I would call an "anti-hero."Who or what inspired you to write this book? It was a combination of my own cancer/chemo experience combined with that of a dear college friend, who is battling a recurrence of her cancer, and who is spunky and brave, just like Leandra.What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? If you like birds, there are many species, even more in RTFJ than in the first book. There are two new human characters, a brother and sister about Leandra's age, who is 18 in the second book. And there are mystery elements in the subplot. I really enjoyed writing it, although I did cry buckets at the end....Next week Sarah Dalton, author of The Blemished, a will take over with her Next Big Thing on her blog.
Don't miss it!
I agreed to participate in a "Next Big Thing" blog tour but have been unable to coerce, er, find other authors willing to share in the fun (mostly due to NaNoWriMo) so rather than make Dan & Gabi wait for me to find other blogs to pass along, I'm sharing their Next Big Thing here.Dan and Gabi are a husband and wife team who love to cook. They also love to help aspiring writers, which is why they set up Fantastic Books Publishing.
Their cook books
have recently undergone a major transformation with shiny new covers, new recipes, updated weights and measures and even more fantastic tips.However, their Next Big Thing is a collection of sauce and gravy recipes brought together from their family archives, spanning at least 4 generations!
What is the working title of your book?50 Shades of GravyWhere did the idea come from for the book?We had all these recipes in scrapbooks and scribbled on the backs of envelopes and we needed a way to ensure they would endure. This seemed like the best way to immortalise our family recipes once and for all.What genre does your book fall under?Cookery, gravies, sauces and hopefully 'Best Sellers'.How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
To create from scratch? Around 3 months but if you include the generation of the recipes themselves then probably closer to 150 years!What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Well, apart from the obvious pun in the title, we think the recipes in here are truly great and so I would have to use an evocative name like Mrs Isabella Beeton
.Who or What inspired you to write this book?I suppose the thing that finally pushed us to write this was a recipe my grandmother used to make for melting moments. I found the scrap of paper it was on and most of the ingredients list had rotted away. I was mortified but then I thought, why didn't you do something about it sooner? And so, the Fantastic Cook Book series was born.What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?Although the book is for sale under $2, within it readers will find 50 completely different, stand-alone recipes, each with a fantastic tip or two to make their experience even more enjoyable. We're also donating 10% of the sales to charity! Check out my radio interview where I explain it all: Dan's Radio Debut.Dan is CEO of Fantastic Books Publishing, which also just published a SF/Fantasy anthology of stories entitled Fusion. This anthology includes my story "Tam and the Giantess." :)
The gracious and multi-talented Felicity Lennie
nominated me for the One Lovely Blogger Award. As per the guidelines on her website
I am to reveal 7 secrets about myself and nominate 10 other blogs for this award. :)I nominate the following for One Lovely Blogger Award (in no particular order):Megan Cutler,
who always provides a sparkling, thoughtful post.Kevin Rau,
who has more energy than ten superheroes and writes laugh-out-loud interviews of fellow writers.Seumas Gallacher,
the always witty, always debonair Scot.Ann Swann,
who not only is a fantastic writer, she's almost my birthday twin and a fellow Texan.Marcy Kennedy,
who writes informative and inspirational blog entries as well as posts fun questions on her facebook page.Rich Weatherly,
whose blog title reflects this Texas writer's generous nature: "Welcome to My Place."Marilyn Dieckmann,
who not only writes but designs and creates THE most amazing fairy cottage playhouses.Sarah Dalton,
who is a talented and generous writer. Without her easy-to-follow instructions I would never have had the nerve to make my own book trailer.Cinta Garcia de la Rosa,
who is a dynamo, juggling fiction, book reviews, and author interviews.Sher A. Hart,
who writes "for what's right" with a generous heart.Please check out the websites and blogs of these talented writers!Now for the "7 secret" reveal:(1) I was a sickly child and missed a LOT of school. But it gave me more time to read books.(2) When I was seven years old my mother gave me half a baby aspirin for a fever, and it gave me a 12 hour LSD-type hallucination. So horribly vivid I can still "see" it.(3) Because I loved science my grandmother gave me a replica shrunken head for Christmas when I was eight years old. My younger sister chased me with it because she liked hearing me scream.(4) In the third grade I wrote a twenty page science fiction story that so impressed my teacher she asked me to share it with the class. I whispered that I had to use the restroom first. Because I was shy, she thought I was just trying to get out of reading the story. I read as fast as I could, but I still wet myself, turning my white socks yellow. My poor teacher was horrified.(5) It took me six weeks to get a sound out of my flute as an eleven-year-old beginner. Within two years was very accomplished, and now I play professionally.(6) I've had two cornea transplants in my right eye. The second one had unexpected adhesions and makes the eye appear blue. The left one is green. :)