Thursday, September 30, 2010

I GOT CALLED FOR JURY DUTY! I know for most people that would be worse than death, but I think it would be interesting to be a juror. Now, I realize that the real court system is nothing like what's on TV (I'm not an idiot), but I would still like to do it. People have fought long and hard for this freedom, and I would like to be a part of it. Keeping my fingers crossed I get picked.

This will be the second time I've been called. If you don't know what happens, all the jurors meet at 8:00 in the morning, then we go into the court room. The defendant is in the room, and the judge goes through the case. The Clerk of the Court then calls the juror's numbers, and they go up to the jury box. From there, the lawyers ask them questions and decide if they want to keep them or not. The first time I was there I didn't even make it to the jury box. As you can imagine, they have more jurors than they need in case they have to replace them. Really, it's a pretty somber affair. I was thinking if I got picked this time, I was going to run down the aisle yelling and screaming, you know, like they do on the Price is Right. What do you think? You think that would go over well?

The editor sent me a draft of the cover for Finding Eden last night. It is AWESOME! I can't wait for you all to see it. Publication has been pushed back a little, but I will let you know when you can expect the novella to come out. YEAAAH!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I was reading this post this morning, and I couldn't help but feel a little cynical. I know, I know, I'm usually always cynical, but this pushed me over the edge a little. I know agents have to be passionate about your project to sell it, and most of the time they only take on projects that they know will make money. I find it slightly odd and refreshing that this particular agent took on a book that she knows probably won't sell. I guess I'm just jealous that it wasn't my book.

So I've been thinking about the format of my blog, and I think I'm going to change it again. Not how it looks, but what I talk about. Since I have such a hard time coming up with topics, I thought it would help if I talked about certain things on certain days. For example, Mondays I will review movies. We almost always watch a movie on the weekend, and they are very important to what I do, so I will post my feelings about it. Fridays I will update everyone on the progress I've made during the week and post my new audio chapters. I'm still figuring out what to do with the other three days. I'll let you know when I have something finalized. What do you think? Does that sound like a good format?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Progress on the nonfiction is going very well. I finished the write up for Nightmare yesterday, so now I only have Psycho to watch. I have one more section in chapter 1 to finish up, but I'm making good headway! My goal was to have it done by the end of the year, but I don't think that's going to happen. I'm doing my best though. This project has been haunting me for years, so it's nice to actually be working on it.

I've been going back and forth in my mind if I made the right decision by sending my zombie novel to the publisher. I'm still undecided, but I read this post, and it pushed me a little more to the I'm-OK-with-it side. I mean, if my book was that wonderful or sellable, agents would have been drooling all over it already. Doesn't matter (I'm trying not to be negative). I've made my decision and I have to live with it. I just hope the publisher accepts it!

Don't forget, Friday is the big day for chapter 1!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I started the write up of A Nightmare on Elm Street last night, but I'm going to have to delete everything I wrote. Even while I was writing it, it didn't feel right. I had to step away and think about it. Once I did, I realized what I wanted to say. I'll feel a lot better about it when it's redone.

I received an email from my publisher this weekend, and it was a little disconcerting. They said they sent the manuscript out for a reading evaluation, which means there might be a small chance they will reject it. That kind of surprised me. I suppose I just took it for granted that they would want to publish my work. I think that would be the ultimate rejection. I'm still planning on doing the podcast, though, even if they reject it. Don't forget, I will post chapter 1 on Friday!

My goals for this week are to get the write ups in chapter 1 finished, then I will move onto chapters 2 and 3. I also have to start thinking about ag articles (boo!) sometime soon. *sigh* If I just didn't have a real job...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Had a great morning this morning. I got two movies written up and started watching A Nightmare on Elm Street. After that, I just have Psycho to watch. Once I'm done with those write ups, I can start on the second half of the book, which is talking about the remakes of the 7 films I am discussing. I still have a lot of work, but I'm getting closer. Feels great!

I started doing the edit of the fiction novella I was sent last week. I'm getting stuff done, just in time for new ag articles! Ugh, it's a never-ending process in my life!

That's all the exciting news I have for now. Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm a little late posting today because I was busy this morning. That doesn't change the fact that I have nothing exciting to report. I didn't do any work last night. I know, I know, bad me. I was lazy. In my defense, though, I was extremely tired and left work because I didn't feel well. I'm taking tomorrow morning off, so I should get a lot done. I'm so excited! I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Is it Friday yet? I really need it to be Friday. I am dragging ass today. Worked a little on my nonfiction last night and this morning. My goal is to take part of Friday off so I can write my little heart out. It's still up in the air, but I'm optimistic!

I have nothing exciting to report, and I'm so tired I can't think straight. I will try to come back tomorrow with something exciting to say! Until then, if you find my motivation, tell it to come back!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I worked a bit more on my nonfiction last night. It feels good to be making progress, even though I'm not even half way done with the book. I'm trying not to think of it like that, though. I'm just trying to plug away.

I uploaded my first podcast yesterday. You can access it through the Audio tab at the top. I decided to start small, so I did my flash fiction piece. I'm pretty excited how it turned out, even though I sound like I have a cold (perhaps that's the way I always sound, I don't know!). Tamara and I joke about how serious the podcasts sound, but its really difficult to make them sound natural, especially since I am concentrating so hard on reading. Now that I know it works, here's my plan: I am going to post one chapter from my zombie novel every Friday, beginning on October 1. I will continue to do that until the entire novel has been podcasted.

I received an email from the editor for Finding Eden yesterday. He has a fabulous idea for the cover and is (hopefully) sending me edits soon. It sounds like the publication deadline might have been pushed back a little, but that's all right. It's better to have it perfect. I'll let you know when it's supposed to come out!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Watched two slasher films this weekend: Black Christmas (1974) and Scream. Black Christmas wasn't as bad as I expected (but I was watching from a different perspective. Normal people might have hated it, I don't know), and Scream wasn't as good as I remember. They will make great additions to my book. I worked a little on it yesterday; made some edits and started the write-up on Black Christmas. I'm thinking I'm going to write up these two films then move onto the others (Psycho and A Nightmare on Elm Street). This way they'll still be fresh in my mind. Plus, I have to go back and watch parts of the movies to make sure I have my information correct.

Other than that, it was a very busy weekend. I forgot we (my inlaws, the boys, and I) were going to the football game, so Saturday night was out. No work then. It was a fabulous night, though. The weather was perfect, the boys were great. Our team lost, but we expected them to. They were playing the 3rd ranked team in the nation. I wasn't surprised.

I read a post on The New Literary Agent blog list on Friday. The debate on ebooks and how it's going to affect publishing has been going on for quite a while now. A lot of people foresee the death of traditional publishing. Personally, I don't think it's going to be that bad. I think we'll always have bookstores and physical books. We might not have as many, but they'll still be there. The digital book revolution is a good thing. I think traditional publishers need to take a step back and evaluate what they are doing. They have had the same model forever, and times change, so they need to change with them. Does that mean authors will get published easier? Traditionally, no, but they will have other options open to them: self-publishers and small presses. Hopefully, within the traditional publishing world, ebooks will make it more profitable for everyone involved. I mean, it's cheaper to produce an ebook, there is no paper. They just have to figure out rights and all that good stuff. I think it will be interesting to see how this debate continues and what actually happens.

Welcome, Martin. I hope you enjoy the blog!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I received an email from the nonfiction publisher yesterday. She sent very detailed notes about what they would like to see in my work. She also said, "We remain interested in your work, and see the promise of a great manuscript here." I was very excited. I wanted to run home and write my heart out, but real life got in the way. Stupid mortgage.

I started some actual writing on my nonfiction last night, and I got stuck. I think I was just tired, but my brain would not work. Constructing a sentence was like trying to split an atom. So, I pulled myself away from the screen, grabbed my notebook, and outlined what I was trying to say. I think I figured it out, and if I had time this morning, I could've fixed it. I'm not that lucky, though.

Nathan Bransford had another interesting post yesterday. He talks about goals and dreams and how sometimes, when dreams become expectations, you lose sight of what's really important or undermine the success you've already had. The first thing that came to my mind when I was reading that was, "That's easy for you to say, you've had a book published." But he does have a good point. Not everyone can be a bestseller. That's impossible. You've all walked into a bookstore, you know how many books are in there. Plus, you add in electronic books, there are literally millions of books out there. How do you stand out? How do you become a bestseller? Name recognition is a big thing, but if you're a new author, you have a lot of work to do. And most publishing houses don't want to take a chance on you. That's not to say it doesn't happen. My friend Tamara landed an agent, and I'm sure she'll land a fabulous publishing contract.

It got me to thinking about my own situation. Yeah, I would love to land an agent and see my books in Barnes and Noble or Hastings. Who wouldn't? I love to imagine that my stories become as popular as the Twilight series and get made into movies. But, I don't think that's going to happen. While there is a niche out there for zombie books, there isn't a market. Unless you're doing a mash-up, but I think those are starting to fade. Like my spouse said, just because my book doesn't make it big time, that's no reason to deny people reading it. It's better to have a few people read it and enjoy it than have it sitting in a drawer collecting dust. I have a publisher. Yes, they are small, but they believe in what I'm doing. It just got me to thinking: I have some decisions to make.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My family had a bad day yesterday, so I didn't do any work last night. I was both emotionally and physically drained, so I sat in front of the TV. I really needed a good laugh, so I caught up on my Destination Truth and Tosh.O. Wonderful! Just what I needed.

Nate Bransford had an interesting post yesterday. He was asking if any of his readers had ever experienced writer's burnout, and he was wondering how they got over it. The first thing I thought was, "Oh, yeah. Who hasn't?" I think I experience burnout every month. I procrastinate doing my articles, then when I can't procrastinate any longer, I find something to write about, dreading every moment. I get over the burnout by just writing. The articles have to be finished (especially if I want that check in the mail!), and most of the time, they're not that bad once I get writing.

Same with fiction. After a particularly bad rejection on my YA novel, I thought for sure I was just going to throw in the towel, quit writing all together, but then I got the email that asked me to write a zombie short. Fate plays a major role. Thankfully it does, or I might never write again!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

As I was drifting to sleep last night, I was thinking about a section of my nonfiction book that I will be working on (hopefully) tonight. I was thinking about movies, then my mind drifted to the new movie Machete. I haven't seen this film, and I probably won't see it in the theater, though I think it looks interesting. These last thoughts before I fell asleep influenced my dreams, and I had a fabulous dream about revenge and torture. A dream that BEGGED to be turned into a short story. So, first thing when I got up this morning, I jotted the first few lines down so I don't forget.

I really don't mean to have more than on project going on at one time. It just kind of happens that way. Plus, the projects are so different, it's not like I'm going to get confused. Sometimes I work better under pressure. And with deadlines. Usually I have to self-impose a deadline or I hem and haw and it's difficult to get things done.

My blog is almost finished. I just have to add one more tab for my audio stuff. I'm still planning on doing some of my stories as podcasts, but I haven't had time yet this week. Things should calm down this weekend, so I will try and get to it then. No promises, though!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

As you can see, I am retooling my blog. Tamara and I brainstormed a lot of fabulous things. I'm still tweaking the colors and setting up tabs and what not, so be a little patient with me. I think the black is a little dark and some things are hard to read. I will fix it.

She also showed me how to do podcasts, so be looking for my first one here in the next few weeks. Mine won't be nearly as exciting as hers. I don't think I'm going put any music in quite yet. It will just be me reading some of my work. I think I'm going to start with some short stories, then I will move on to the novel.

I emailed my zombie short yesterday. The editor says he likes it, so I should be good to go. He says he has a couple publishers interested, so I will let you know when the anthology is supposed to come out.

Did some more work on my nonfiction yesterday. What I need to do is take a day off work and just write. Perhaps I will have that chance in the next couple of weeks. I'll let you know!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I finished the zombie story I was asked to write this weekend. I just have some little edits to make, then it's off to the editor! I'm not exactly sure how I feel about the story, but I think a lot of that is because of my shaken confidence. Ever since the rejections on the YA zombie novel, I've had a hard time with my writing. I find it hard to finish something once I've started, then I get a little panicky when I know someone is going to read it. I keep thinking, "Oh, let me just change this little thing, it'll make it better." But, really, I don't know that it does. I'm not exactly sure how to overcome it.

I started working on my nonfiction project also. Mainly, I was just going back and rereading what I've done so I know where I've left off and what I still need to talk about. I kind of amaze myself. Some of the stuff I've written sounds somewhat intelligent and almost like I know what I'm talking about. I'm really excited to get the book done, but I'm also very worried that no one will publish it. I haven't heard anything back from the publisher. I have a feeling they'll probably just stop talking to me again. I know there are other publishers out there, but the thought of getting another packet together makes my skin crawl and freaks me out a bit. I'm not handling rejection well, so it might push me over the edge. I shouldn't think about all that now, I should just finish the damn thing, but it's really hard not to consider. I don't know how to overcome that, either.

My spouse and I were talking the other night, and I was explaining the whole rejection process and how it affects me. I mentioned that if I really wanted to get the zombie novel published, I'm sure my little publisher would do it. My spouse said that I should probably just do it. That it's better to have my book out there for people to read instead of in a drawer. I'm not so sure that I agree. If I have the small publisher print it, I have to do all my own publicity. That's not a big deal because I've done it for my other book, but it's really hard when you don't have a lot of time. Plus, I think I might have sold a total of 30 books for my first novel. I know there are no guarantees that I will sell ANY if it goes to a traditional publisher, but at least more people will know about it. I don't know. I'm really torn right now. I don't think an agent will pick it up. I don't think it will sell. Maybe I just need to quit worrying about it and move on.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Finished my articles and got them sent of this morning. I feel so free! Now I can procrastinate for a few more weeks before I have to worry about them again.

I also got a draft of the short zombie story I was asked to write finished last night. I just love it when my schedule works out. I was a little worried things would get bumped, but it all worked out. The only thing that kind of stinks is I probably have to work this weekend. That really puts a wrench in the works.

My friend Tamara has been taking this podcasting stuff very seriously. According to her blog, she's been reading a bunch of stuff, downloading things, and bought a nice headset. I'm very excited about this. Now, when I'm ready to do my stuff, she'll be an expert. She even has her first recording up. It's awesome, and one of my favorite stories. You can check it out here: http://www.tamaralinse.com/about_me_audio.html

Thursday, September 9, 2010

One ag article completely done and put to bed. Now, I just need the guy to get a hold of me so I can finish the other one. If he doesn't, that's fine, he had help with his experiment, so I will just contact her. I've talked to her before, so it should be all right, but I don't know if I'll make my deadline. No worries, the editor is pretty lenient, and I don't do it all the time, so it should be fine. Although, I would have really liked to have been done by now. It's throwing my whole schedule off!

My friend Tamara and I have been talking/formulating a plan for my publicity. Like I mentioned yesterday, I'm planning on doing my novel as a podcast. I've decided that I'm going to do my YA zombie novel as the first podcast, and if that works well, then I'll go back and do my published one. It won't be for a while, though. I'm still waiting for rejections. I figure by the end of September, I should have heard back from all the agents I'm going to hear from. Soooo, my plan is to start recording then. I will keep you informed the closer it gets.

She also suggested that I change the tone of my blog, focus more on industry stuff. I'm still deciding if that's what I want to do. I mean, I try to focus just on my writing and what's going on, but then I find I run out of things to talk about. I guess maybe I just need to try a little harder. If I do change the content, it won't be until next week. On that note...

The Prince of Persia was wonderful! The 3 year old did great and enjoyed the film, but it was almost 2 hours long so he started to get a little tired. Plus, some parts dragged. All in all, though, it was a great movie.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Almost finished my articles last night. Got one done, but I still need to talk to another guy. I tried yesterday, but he was busy and didn't return my call. Oh, well. Hopefully he'll get a hold of me today.

I'm taking the 3 year old to see "Prince of Persia" tonight. I'm a little worried since it's PG-13, but he really enjoys "The Scorpion King," so I think he'll like this. I haven't seen it yet (which is why I want to take him), so I hope I don't have to eat my words. If all else fails and it's too scary, we'll just leave. Plus, it gives us some bonding time.

My friend Tamara sent me a link yesterday for an interview of an author (I can't remember his name) who created on online following by giving away his novels as podcasts. She thought it sounded like a good idea for me, so I thought I would look into it. What do you guys think? Would you listen to my novel if I recorded it?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The boys went on their first overnight camping trip this weekend. I was a little concerned, considering the 3 year old wakes up at home when the wind is blowing, but they both did great! I had it in my head that there were going to be all these weird sounds. Birds, owls, animals scurrying through the underbrush, you know, that kind of stuff. It can happen when you're camping. Back in the day, when the spouse and I had more time and went camping whenever we got the chance, I remember waking up several mornings to chipmunks on the coolers on scratching on the tent. But it didn't happen on this trip. It was actually extremely quiet. The wind was blowing, but, for some reason, it didn't bother the kid. We went with the in-laws, so we had a camper to stay in. It was very relaxing and wonderful.

I got a little writing done, too. I didn't have my computer, so I had to hand write my story, but it worked. I should be able to type it in some time this week. I have my articles to finish, also, but I'm done with the edit (dancing a small jig). After the little stuff, I'm off to working on my nonfiction. I need to reread what I wrote, just so I know where I'm at, then I'm hoping to get started this weekend. Should be exciting!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Another quick one today. I've been fighting a cold, so I haven't done anything exciting. Here is my book trailer (yeah!):

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I was very lazy last night. I didn't work on anything. I watched TV instead. I was nice. Unfortunately, I can't do that tonight. I have to get this edit done. Almost there!

Other than that, I have nothing exciting to report. I will keep it short and sweet today. Hopefully I'll have something to talk about tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I keep forgetting to tell you all about the fabulous movies I watched this weekend. The first one was Disney's "The Princess and the Frog." It was great! The music was fantastic, the characters were hilarious, and both the 3 year old and 19 month old enjoyed it. It was classic Disney, so you know a parent dies and everything works out in the end, but after the weeks I've been having, it was wonderful to watch a happy story like that.

The spouse and I also went to see "The Expendables" on Sunday. LOVED IT! I, of course, grew up watching all of those guys in movies back in the day. The movie was filled with guns, explosions, and fights. How could you go wrong? It was just a fun film!

Other than that, I'm almost done with my edit, then on to the zombie short. After that, nonfiction. Oh, and somewhere in there, I need to get my ag articles done. Busy, busy, but I wouldn't want it any other way!