I've got to go away for a few days and just be a writer, so my presence here will likely be scarce. To provide a very tardy answer to a couple of e-mails, dispell a couple of rumors, and give you some stuff to click on when you're bored --
I am not here.
(waving to all my friends who are)
I am not getting this
done. (we're in good shape)
I am not running away with him.
(well, yeah, if he calls I will, think I'm insane?)
I am not making one of these.
I am not going to this.
(mark that EVER)
I am not stuffing myself with these
but I'll probably be popping a few of these.
(it's a food group, right?)
I will not be reading her
stuff. Or his.
(get that EVER stamp out again)
Y'all behave while I'm gone, now.
Having whined about the amount of blood-sucking e-mail, I should balance that out with a few words about the other kind.
I get a lot of reader e-mail, and while I can't write back anymore I do read every letter. This is important; if someone who plonked down $6.99 for one of my books takes the time to write to me, I'll make the time to hear what they have to say. Occasionally they have complaints, but the majority are just ordinary people who love books, like my series and want to offer their support. Aka my tribe.
From reader mail I've learned that my tribe isn't limited to the US anymore. Recently I heard from a friend that I have a following in Darwin, Australia. My cousins in England and Ireland hand out my books to their friends (and probably threaten them if they don't read them.) I have heard from fans in Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, Rio, Oslo, London and Dublin. My books are in Baghdad with our soldiers. A teenager in Jordan has her physician father buy my books for her when he travels abroad for medical conferences. This despite the fact that no foreign rights for any of my books have never been sold -- what I sell has been mainly due to word of mouth; readers who buy imported copies or bring them back from trips to the U.S.
I've traveled, but my books are going to places I will never see. Getting into the hands of people I will never meet. Being heard in places and ways I could never manage otherwise. Sometimes it makes me dizzy to think about it.
The world has become my tribe, and given me a place by the fire. If you need a reason to keep writing, that's a pretty major one.
By the way, Jessie has volunteered to take over sending copies of my three free e-books out to everyone who missed them. If you'd like the .pdf versions, send an e-mail to StarDocMail@aol.com.
One of the three current WIPs is done, as of 2:09 am tonight. I gotta check the tally but I think it's novel #54. Too tired to count anything but sheep at the moment.
Tomorrow through Sunday, full-scale attack manuscript edit, Monday final read-through, Tuesday it goes in the mail. Deadline is Thursday so I've got two day's leeway to screw up my time table. Second WIP due September 1st, third WIP due September 15th, and somewhere along the way I need to finish the StarDoc novella, write two other stories for the site, negotiate a contract (mayhap two), and write proposals to pitch five more books.** My carrot: I get to take the entire month of December off and have my first real vacation in two years.
But for now, bed. It's raining hard and thundering, and the sound combo usually knocks me out cold.
**This is not counting a copy edit and a galley I still need to proof.
It's started. Some advice for you fame seekers out there -- don't get mentioned in Publisher's Weekly more than once a month. You would not
believe the number of blood suckers that swarm.
A random sampling from this morning's e-mail (slightly rephrased/reworded to keep me from getting sued):
Promotion Strategy Consultant:
"Hi, I'm Lance, and according to PW you've
got an important book coming out! Good for you! Now let me tell you how I can double your sales . . ."
Such sincerity, such wit, such knowledge of the industry -- and he can read, too. Gosh, Lance, marry me.
Personalized Fan DoDad Maker:
"Dear Ms. Vihel, would you like to get your title in front of thousands of readers? With our bulk
pricing . . . "
First, learn to spell my ex-husband's name right. Then come talk to me about stamping it on ten thousand cheap plastic pink heart-shaped bookmarks.
Web . . . Something:
"Internet design services, media relations, e-interviews, affordable rates . . ."
Your damn e-mail took two minutes to load, and then the stupid graphics flashed in my face so much I nearly had a grand mal seizure. Just go away.
Why Aren't You One of Us:
Dear Ms. Kelly, I am writing to you on behalf of [yet another idiot writer's organization] . . .
Sorry, my parole officer says I'm not allowed to join any groups until I finish the new anti-psychotic drug trial and the DA makes a decision on those murder charges.
The Colleague with PW Envy:
"Hi there, It's been too long (no, it hasn't.
) I see you made PW at last, congratulations! (sorry that voodoo doll thing didn't work out for you.
) You must be
thrilled . . ." (about as much as you are, thanks.
I found Spin Doctor's Dissolving Writer's Block
via a random search, and I liked the practical suggestions -- lots of common sense here.
Judy Justice advises how to escape the Bog of Details (is that like the Bog of Eternal Stench?) in her article, Lost in the Details.
A .pdf version of Dr. John Broderick's how-to writing book, "The Able Writer" can be accessed for free here.
He's a linguist so it's probably good.
Also found while I was out cruising random sites and free for the downloading, a story generator program called Adrift.
Check out the screenshots, looks neat.
The Write Stuff:
New York Metro.com has a semi-interesting article on how several established literary authors made it
into print. My eyes started to glaze over a few times -- poor but just out of Grad School; unworthy but determined to be a writer -- but it's not like we have to bond. I did enjoy Jennifer Egan's modest entry, which sounded honest, funny and painful all at once.
Use What Ticks You Off:
I got the admittedly odd idea for my July web site story Throw
because of a scene in an old movie (the title eludes me, but it was one of those religious Cecil B. DeMille flicks like The Robe.)
In this one scene, the Romans throw a bunch of Christians to the lions. Just before the lions are released, an old man comforts the other Christians by saying they would be going to heaven that very day, and then they just stand there and pray until the lions get them.
It's a very touching and spiritual scene, and I've always always
See, I would make a very bad martyr. In the same situation, (I hope) I'd go out fighting for my life. You can fight and pray at the same time. Also the Romans abused and starved the lions to force them to do their dirty work, which made the big cats as much the victims as the Christians.
Like most writers, I rework reality to suit my idea of how it should be. I also frequently funnel what ticks me off into the work. So I thought, how could I make it so that it would be a good
thing to throw people to the lions? The story grew from there.
I'd Make a Good What?:
Found over at the Washington Post
"IF JULY 14 IS YOUR BIRTHDAY ... you're high-spirited, talented and generous, with a free-and-easy attitude. You have a restless, mercurial mind and are always looking for answers. You'd make a good lawyer, politician or chef. This year sets a precedent for achieving independence -- and maybe your own business, provided hard work is the basis. November is outstanding for cash rewards; December for relaxation and cruising."
A lawyer? No way. Even my own attorney says I'm too nice. As for chef, just last night I burned Mike's dinner, so we'll rule that out. But a politician? Ick.
Never Say Die:
Ready for day 2 and more Fun With Fiction. My muse, who I imagine by now is wearing her Writers Suck
t-shirt, is sitting quietly in the corner of my mind and behaving herself. Which is good, because if she gives me any lip today she's going to regret it. I am never so much like my mother as I am under intense pressure, and in those moments? Mom could put the fear of God into Patton.
Starting Wordcount: 33,749. New Goal: 58K or better by midnight. Please secure all carryon luggage and fasten your seatbelts. :)
Wordcount: 35,590. Slow start, but I think I nailed this scene between the brother and sister. Having Kath and Mike to draw on helps; kids are tough to write.
Wordcount: 36,378. The kids want lunch, so I'm on a Mom break.
Wordcount: 41,040. Breaking for dinner.
Wordcount: 44, 518. A chunk of that came from cut-n-pasting pre-typed notes -- maybe 2K -- so don't think I'm breaking the sound barrier here. Tired, yes, quitting, no. Breaking to toss the kiddies in bed, then back at it.
Wordcount: 47,614. Close to 30K of new material for the weekend, but around 10.5K shy of my total goal. Still, I really liked what I got -- I won't have that much to rewrite, it's really strong and tight.
This also makes a respectable-sized dent in next week's quota, and buys me the extra time I need to finish a set of revisions and
do the final read-through on the deadline book and
still have time to be a Mom.
My thanks to everyone who left encouraging comments. You guys are the best.
Now I'm off to light some pretty candles, soak in a hot tub, nibble on some cookies, sip some raspberry tea and listen to the lovely sound of me not typing. :)