Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Staring at an empty page, the first thing that crossed my mind was, "What?"

What had I gotten myself into?
What did I think I was doing?
What was I going to do about it?

I knew that I had to get some words written down on the page. I knew that just random letter or words wasn't going to cut it. That meant the words had to make sense. What kind of a deal was that? I wasn't sure I ever made sense. Yet, I rested my fingers on the keyboard and let them tap away. Words appeared, sentences formed, an idea developed, and suddenly I was writing.

It amazes me at times that I always have so much to say, so many ideas swirling in my head, so many opinions to share until it's time to put them down on paper. Then my next surprise is figuring out just the perfect thing to say after I've finished. You'd think inspiration could hit a bit sooner, but no. It always waits until I've hit send, print, post, publish, or done. Writing is a passion, but sometimes I think it's a curse.

Today, has been about the finishing touches on my short story, Legend. I'll take writing a full book any day over short stories. I now appreciate those that can write something full of meaning, complete and total, in a short version. Short and I don't understand each other, except in regards to my height. After wrestling, chopping, cutting, hacking and clawing I'm satisfied that Legend is finished. The cover even came together in a snap, that's a first for me. It's all ready to go.

Except one thing....

Writing that brief description. Oh, man. Brief? The story was brief, how much more brief can I get? Well, now I'll write, delete, write, delete and write a description a few more times before I can call it all good. So, I'll ask myself again...What was I thinking? A short story. I think I'll stick to writing books. I like lots of words.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The work never ends

I've typed the last words to my short story. It didn't have quite the same sense of satisfaction as typing the last words to my book did, but maybe because the book had a whole lot more words to type. No, I think it's because I never do well with short. I keep thinking of how much more could be added to this story, yet I know it doesn't need it. I just have a need to do it.

So, I keep my fingers away from the keyboard, where the short story is concerned, and tell myself you'll be happy that it's done. Even with a short story, there's all that messy editing to be dealt with. I don't mind the editing part, but toss in designing another cover and I cringe. I might be artistic when it comes to words, but designing "art" is a whole other challenge. My book cover seemed to come out well, so I'm sticking with the same principle, simple.

My other challenge, that of creating a reasonable looking map for my series is not going as well. I have drawn "a map" but that whole reasonable looking part seems to keep escaping me. The only good thing about it all is that each new challenge is another feather in my own cap. I'd never figure out how to do all this if I didn't do it for my book and my writing. These are things that scare me, but I'm proud to conquer. Even if the conquering isn't exactly award winning. It's still my accomplishment.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday recovery

One holiday down!

I've always loved Thanksgiving. I think because it means that Christmas is just around the corner. As a kid, there was nothing better than having that warm up day with the family in preparation for the big holiday to come.

Family gatherings were always very important until my grandma died. Now, we're scattered and don't really get together like we used to, but Thanksgiving always brings back wonderful memories. Sitting around watching football, smelling turkey cooking and snacking on all the other great food before time to stuff ourselves.

This holiday, my first as a published (self-published) author is another great memory to tuck away with all those others from growing up. Now, I hope that someone will get their new eBook reader and try out my book and make it a holiday memory of their own.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One giant step for me

WOW! I did it!

You may be wondering just what I did. That's actually build and publish my own website. Right now it's nothing special but for someone who has absolutely no clue what to do, this was a big step! You can check out my handy work at The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir. It is definitely a work in progress.

However, for someone that had never even posted on Facebook until a month ago, I feel I am learning my way around the internet, social media and websites. I know there is so much more for me to learn, and it is a little exciting. My biggest issue is figuring out what to say and how to say it. If I could just put it out there in words, I'd be okay. Funny, html has nothing to do with words. I think I understood Latin back in high school better than html. It's definitely all Greek to me.

I finally learned how to put a widget on this blog and now I'll get to use that newly won knowledge to work making the website look better. It is all about one step at a time. I thought the challenge was over once I hit the publish button and put my book out there. I'm thinking now the challenge to promote and stumble and bumble my way around the social networking has been a bigger accomplishment.

There is nothing that can say it's all been a success, but I do have a great amount of satisfaction knowing that even with trail and error, I'm making headway. One day, I might even be expert enough to write a book on it. Oh, who am I kidding, I'll stick to making my books up. No one can tell me I did that part wrong, they can just tell me they didn't like it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sales, sales, sales

So sales are moving along on the book front and I should have it placed on all platforms by the holidays. Can anyone say Christmas gift? Hint, hint.

But seriously, I made it on Barnes & Noble and still get giddy and excited when I type my name into a search and the book pops up. Makes me feel so proud that I've managed to accomplish something like this. If you'd like to take a look at the Barnes & Noble listing click here. Did I mention how excited I am?

I'm writing away on another project and am a bit miffed that I missed out on the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) contest. A month to pound out 50,000 words sounds very challenging and exciting. How can you resist something that is labeled thirty days and thirty nights of literary abandon. I'm hoping to give things a shot next time. I have no idea if I could turn out anything that might remotely rate as a coherent story, but what fun trying. The overall word count isn't the scary part, it's the amount of words you'd need to write each day. I think it would be fun.

But since I missed it as it, I have to go back to plugging away on my own with no rushed and frantic deadline to urge me on. I suppose I could take this time to practice and see how many words I could get out a month. It's a very cool challenge I'm looking forward to tackling.

I also just want to throw out a big Kongrats to Coach K! 903! Puts him as all-time wins leader in men's college basketball. The win over Davidson makes the total 904. I don't really want to keep a tally all season, but I'm hoping to see a lot more wins on his total by the end of the season. Go Duke!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Whirlwind Continues

Who knew there was so much social media out there?

Okay, everyone other than me probably. I've been so anti-social media for so long I remember when I just felt the need to boycott being on myspace. Look where things have gone now. From Facebook to Twitter to blogs and more, there are just tons of ways to connect to people you used to know and to people who are just friends waiting to happen.

Getting into the social media gambit in order to help self-promote as been both a blessing and a curse. It has allowed me to connect with people I went to high school with and lost touch with. I have been directed to a number of excellent sites where readers as well as writers gather to share experiences, books and just get to know each other.

Joining social media has also moved me into "the now" whether I was ready for it or not. I'm a complete newbie when it comes to anything about status updates, what to share and who to share it with. When do you link and when do you just say hi. All those social do's and don'ts. I just hope I don't offend anyone too much.

I'm excited to know that no matter what happens with my book, sales or no sales, I've laid a foundation for my next project, and I've added even more books to my to-be-read list. Now, I just have to remember to get out of the Twilight discussions and back to writing my own stuff.

Opps, did I say Twilight? I must have meant something more like Shakespeare. Okay, okay, so I'm a Twilight fan. It's a great series and a fun read. I hear a rumor about some kind of movie coming out soon. I know I can't wait.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tangled Plots

Why when I'm writing on one project do I get all the good ideas for a different project? I sit down to write and things are flowing pretty well when all of a sudden, I get this great idea for a different book. How can I finish one when the other one keeps nagging at me? The really funny thing is if I start writing on that one, I get a good idea for the other.

I think the characters in my head are just trying to mess with my mind these days. I am excited that so many great ideas are flowing. I have tons of scribbled "reminders" all piled up on my desk for me to sort and work through. My only problem now is keeping the plot lines straight. I'd hate for my fantasy characters to stumble out onto the ski slope of my mystery/thriller. Although it might make for some interesting interactions.

On the sports front:

I must confess to not getting as much writing done as I should, Duke Basketball tipped off yesterday and had another game today. Without baseball to keep me focused, basketball is my next passion. These are important games as Coach K is marching towards history. Friday's game against Belmont (77-76 win) put him at 901 career wins, one behind his mentor and all-time wins leader Bobby Knight.

Saturday, the Blue Devils handled Presbyterian (96-55) and moved Coach K into a tie with Knight with 902. This will set up the big game on Tuesday against Michigan State as the possible 903rd win. I'm so very excited. I've been a Duke and Coach K fan since 1990 and I can't wait to see him add yet another milestone to his career.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The beginning of Book Two

Today I took a break from all that book promoting stuff and got back into working on book two. It always amazes me how you can take a break from it, but come back and you just fall right back into the storyline. It was like coming home. It felt good to be with my characters again -- old friends that I don't know what I'd do without.

So my first thing was getting out a few chapters from notes and ideas in my head actually out in book-like form onto the computer. I always laugh because no matter how many times I plot or plan it once I start writing, the characters decide they want to do things in a different order. So after getting a couple of chapters down, I've already switched up the beginning. The real joke is on them because no matter where they wanted to start, my beginning will change three or four times before it's all finished.

I'm already pleased with the flow. I think the action picks up great in the next book and should hook readers right in. I have one word scribbles for 17 chapters but I can already see I'm making some major changes to that. Still no idea on an end just yet, but that always just falls into place as the action wraps up in this phase of the story.

The break from all out promoting was great, but I still managed to hit a few groups and just talk books and have some fun. It always reminds me just why I so enjoy writing. An escape to my own little world where if I don't like something, I have the power to change it. Delete and backspace are my friend.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Writing, such an amazing thing

Today, I kicked around an old short story that I had written ages ago. It's amazing how you can go back and read old things that you wrote and wonder, "did I really write this?" At least in this instance it was in a good way, it's way worse when it's in a bad way.

This story has a cool end, but the beginning needs some reworking. I just hope as I tinker with it, it stays a short story. I always seem to want to go overboard. Mostly because I have a hard time finding where the story wants to end. I'm hoping having an end I already like will help the rest fall in line as it should.

Reading some author comments on Goodreads today, there was the discussion of how do you go about your own writing. It was cool to see the wide variety of approaches that each author used. For me, I tend to dive into a story and let the characters steer where things are going. After a few chapters, I might sketch out an very rough outline, but it hardly ever goes the way I've planned.

For me, my characters always surprise me with things that they do that I hadn't envisioned in the beginning. It's like watching a movie of the book in my mind and all I try and do is keep up with the action.

Reading how other authors have things all planned out and stick to outlines is amazing. My style seems completely random and all over the map. Then I always scribble notes, thoughts and ideas out on paper even while I'm writing. It's cool to hear that other people also keep a notebook beside the bed to jot down the ideas that come to them as they're falling asleep or if they have a dream. I've had some of my best ideas while thinking about my story just as I'm falling asleep.

For as many writers as there are, there are just that many approaches to reaching the final product. Yet there are so many similarities. Writing is such a funny thing so personal and yet still appeals to so many people on the same level.

I always feel so lucky that I can write down the things that I experience, the characters that ramble around in my mind and share them with others.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Grind

So my book has been out about a week now and the marketing part is getting to be a grind. I've never been good at marketing, let alone marketing myself so this is a real challenge. I seem to run out of ideas on how to make a new fresh pitch about my book. I don't want to be someone that spams my friends and the few people that might be paying attention, but you do have to keep getting the word out there somehow, some way.

Goodreads has been a great place to find new places to market and to get encouragement from other authors going through similar situations. Some of them are really well versed in making the most out of blogs and Facebook and even the dreaded Twitter, which I have avoided so far. I'm afraid that I might have to even venture into that realm, but I am hoping to hold off on that as long as possible.

My next goal will be to find places to get some reviews. The more reviews, and the better, the more "new" things I can put out there about my book. It's definitely been a learning experience and one that I've enjoyed at times and dread at others. It's a lot like writing, but I have so much more control over my writing. That is until my characters get a mind of their own and change things up on me.

On a Giants note...OMG they finally traded Jonathan Sanchez, YEAH!!!! I was so tired of hearing how he had "no-hit" stuff. One no hitter and no matter how terrible he pitched, they tried to use that as the excuse to keep him. Not sure how Melky Cabrera is going to work out, but I'm glad to see that Sanchez is not someone I have to worry about taking a start.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A great all around Sunday

So, normally I don't see Sundays as all that special. I mean all they usually do is herald in the next Monday, which is the kick off to another busy week. This Sunday started off great with getting two football games that I actually enjoyed watching. Start off with another Niner win, they are almost reminding me of the good ol' days when the Niners were a force to be reckoned with. Sitting at 7-1 now, it's a scary thought that they might even be good again, despite sticking with the wrong quarterback in Alex Smith.

And speaking of quarterbacks, that brings me to football game number two that was worth watching, the Packers and Aaron Rodgers. Every time I watch Rodgers play I keep wanting to kick some Niner butt for passing on him in the draft for Smith. Okay, I might be a tad biased in that Rodgers is a local boy. I got to cover him in a couple of games back in his high school days back when I was a sports writer for the local paper.

But all bias aside, I can't help wondering how much better the Niners would be with Rodgers rather than Smith. Every touchdown pass and play saving run makes me proud that someone from my hometown area does good, and then I wanna spit cause he should be doing all that good stuff as a Niner. In the long run, at least I get a team that is somewhat entertaining and fun to watch when the Niners are blowing it with Smith as quarterback.

On the writing front...

I'm happy to say that despite my lack of actual knowledge of how to put social networking to the best use, word about my book is getting out there. With listings on Amazon and Smashwords, I'm waiting on getting it sent out to Barnes and Noble and several other platforms to make it even more widely available.

You can also find a link to it on a great readers and authors website, Goodreads. It's a great place to find a lot of other people that love books and love to write as much as I do. I also was lucky enough to get a link to my book put on the website 1500 Authors.

I've also dusted off an old short story. I know short story? Me? Yes, I have written something short before. I figured since marketing book one was taking up so much time, I should at least get something else written and this was something I could work on in bits and pieces and get accomplished in a reasonable span of time.

I think I'll enjoy the challenge. I've not decided what I'll do with it when it's finished, but there'll be plenty of time to figure that out. Until then, I'll just keep writing and stumbling around social network sites and see what I can figure out.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

To write or not to write...

So with all the marketing of the released book, I've been wondering how I'll ever find time to actually finish writing the second one. Reading up on a lot of blogs and groups, I was glad to see that this was an issue other writers were struggling with as well. It always makes you feel better when you know you're not the only one. Which is why all those groups and discussion boards and forums while intimidating are a big help. Nothing like having a support system that has been there before you and can sympathize and empathize with your situation.

Now I've decided to be sure and split my time between marketing and writing. I know its important to keep my book out there and build up a following, but if there isn't a book two to come soon, I'll lose all that hard work I've done in gaining the following. Seems like one of those endless circles where you can just never get ahead. Regardless, I don't want the whole point of what writing my book meant to me to be lost in the trying to sell, sell, sell it.

I hope that those that are buying and reading it are enjoying it, and I hope that they in turn share with there friends. I know most people want to make a fortune with their books, but I don't think I'm the marketer to do that with my writing. Instead, I just want to sell enough to be proud of sharing the ideas that clutter up my head with other people and give them the same enjoyment that writing them down gave me.

In baseball news....I'm still waiting for the calendar to turn and spring training to get here. Now with the world series done and my Giants on the mend (Keep up the good work, Buster!) I'm ready to take on the league in 2012! Let's go Giants!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Click, click, and more clicks

I had no idea that promoting a book meant so much clicking! I think my clicker is broken. I will admit to being fairly anti-social media before releasing my book, so learning all about marketing the social media way has been an eye opener. It does require a lot of click here, post there, like this, friend that and in the end sit huddled at the computer waiting to see if your numbers go up.

I thought baseball had a lot of stats to keep track of, but so does social media marketing. Gotta watch your friends and likes on Facebook, follow your likes and tags on Amazon, get more likes on Smashwords and always get noticed! I've never been one to do that get noticed part, but I'm working on it.

You'd think writing would be the hard part in putting out a book, but I've found that writing was easy compared to getting your book read. It is exciting to log in each day and check to see how many books have sold or if you have generated more following. Still, I'd rather be writing the next book than becoming a marketer. One of the reasons I went journalism rather than public relations was to avoid things like this.

All in all, it does prove that you learn something new every day and you can teach an old dog some new tricks. We'll just have to wait and see how well I can perform those tricks.




I'd much rather be counting down to spring training. How long 'til pitchers and catchers report?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More book stuff...and Giants signings!

So to get things started today, I just want to say OMG! I'm so glad the SF Giants resigned Javier Lopez, but too bad they also decided to pick up the option on Jeremy Affeldt as well. I thought overall Lopez was a much more dependable arm coming out of the bullpen. Affeldt has continued to struggle after his brilliant stopper season of 2009, he's just never been that good again. I think taking another chance on him is risky.

But yes, I know. What else is available out there to replace him? A Barry Zito relief arm coming out of the pen at his way overly inflated salary doesn't make me feel much better, so maybe $5 million for Affeldt is something I can stomach -- just barely.

I'm waiting anxiously for the big moves this off season. What will happen with Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum? Please, please, please let's not resign Carlos Beltran, and most important come on Brandon Crawford for shortstop! So much to wait and see about, but at least Buster Posey is ahead of schedule on his rehab and should be good to go for 2012! How many days 'til pitchers and catchers report? I can't wait for next season.

On the book front:

I've now got "The Path of Light: The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir Book One" available on Smashwords. You can check it out in a variety of platforms, including reading it directly off your computer here. So take a moment to head over and check it out.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Never so nervous

I thought the most nerve wracking moment was when I hovered over the publish button to post my book to Amazon. I was wrong. I was a very nervous moment, but the time since then has been even worse.

I'm used to having my words put into print and read, usually in a much quicker manner. All this TIME is exciting and scary and freaking me out. I've lived with the characters in my book for so long, they're like my closest friends. Now I've sent them out into the world to see how everyone else sees them. Waiting to see how they will be received is a whole new level of worry.

I'm biting my nails and hovering around my computer watching and waiting to see how the launch goes, but don't worry I'm still plotting out what happens next....