I’m Back…I think…

Well, here’s hoping that I will be able to be in front of the keyboard enough to write some blog entries, make some tweets, do some face time on Facebook, and all that jazz! I’ve been AFK for the past two months for various reasons, the most exciting of which was a trip to Belize!!! For research, of course! I’m overflowing now with incredible ideas for Synergy 2012:Return to Magic, my next project. This urban fantasy is going to draw  upon the 2012 Mayan Calendar renewal, and I literally climbed a mountain inside and out to feed this story!

Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased Regression, Evolussion, and Revolussion. It’s incredible to think that tens of thousands of people have read my words, and many have enjoyed them enough to reach out to me through emails. I so appreciate that support, especially with the challenges we’ve been facing both personally and professionally in our family. The print copy of Revolussion will be coming, as well as an omnibus version, but they will simmer on the back burner for at least a few more weeks.  

I have an exciting new semester at school, teaching senior chemistry as well as an online course, and I hope the energy of the changing session will ride me through composition of Synergy…I’d like to have it ready for spring Equinox. We’ll see if life cooperates…

When is a book finished?

This is such a difficult question to answer, and I’m learning my own response to it!

I re-wrote Regression a number of times, and actually am going to work on an omnibus for the holiday season which includes the first draft (alternate ending) as a bonus. Interestingly enough, neither Evolussion nor Revolussion have alternate endings since the first draft was very close to the completed copy. Why?

Because I learnt that the book will never be finished until I choose it to be finished, because there is always something which could be changed. When I read Regression, I begin to re-write it in my head, while I am more satisfied with the other manuscripts.

So the completion of a manuscript is the point at which you the author think it is finished telling the story. In looking at Revolussion, I know there are the smaller, side story-lines which I could have kept on writing, but I decided that those could be left up to the reader’s imagination. Dawn’s story was over. At least, her story as the mother of humanity. Stew, Nicholas, Hope, Avery…I could continue with their stories, but their roles in the original plot have ended, and I need to take a break from the Infinion Series to test myself against new material. Can I write something else? Fantasy? Science Fiction? Contemporary? I want to try them. And then, I might come back and carry on where Revolussion left off!

Look for news on Synergy 2012: Return to Magic on the blog as I begin a new project!

Free Ebook!

I’m getting ready for the release of Revolussion, the third book in the Infinion Series. Smashwords is my distributor for Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc. I’m thinking ahead…I would like to propagate the ‘free’ price for Bestselling Regression on their listings pages, but it can take up to three months to trickle down. By listing now, maybe Regression will be free when Revolussion is released on 11/11/11. And perhaps even Amazon will catch up on the price. So, if you like Smashwords, science fiction, and time travel, stop on by and grab a free copy of my book.

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/5649

Doing a Book Reading Online

Sort Of. I’ve been invited to host a ‘Read With The Author’ Book Klub on Kindleboards and will be reading through Regression, Evolussion, and finally Revolussion (in the form of Advance Reader Copies). So, my monotone voice will not be droning on but I will be reading along with other people, in their heads. I hope. More need to show up or I’ll just be talking mainly to myself!

So, what is Kindleboards? It’s a great social site for Kindle users to share tips, ideas, book recommendations, and just hang out. I just learned a whole bunch about Walt Disney World from hanging around the boards, so it’s not just about Kindles, although ownership is strongly recommended as it does make it easier to take part in the conversations!

Since I’ve made the committment to visit the Kindleboards site daily over the coming months, I’m also going to try to get slamming out some blog entries. And of course, with the final book in the Infinion Series coming out soon, I’ll have to work in some background about that. Get it months before it goes on sale by joining me in the Book Klub!

Sample Sunday

I don’t want to be redundant, so I’ll just post a link from here to my Blogger.com blog, where I’ve put up samples from Regression, Evolussion, and Revolussion in honour of Sample Sundays on Twitter.

Time has been tight lately but lots of blog entries have collected in my head. Once I’ve got a handle on drafting Revolussion, then I’ll begin composing some blog entries once again.

Kindle ‘Gifts’

Authors on Amazon had been offering free copies of their books, but I see the powers that be on the site have quashed the threads. Still, gifting Kindle copies makes a great way to provide promotional copies to digital readers.

If you have a book review blog and would like a copy of both books, let me know and I will gift them to you (no obligation to give a good review, of course!). I figure, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars sending out review print copies but my main market are digital buyers. So, bring on the reviewers who cater to digital readers!

I don’t have high expectations, since I don’t exactly have a large following here on wordpress, but perhaps those great spider/network/linking machines will work in my favour.

Finding My Voice.

As a newcomer to the world of writing, I sought feedback for my first draft of Regression from a variety of sources. With time being a limiting factor, most of my interactions were through online communities for aspiring authors instead of real life writer’s groups. Authonomy, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, and others offered the opportunity to connect and consult with people who were both readers and writers. I learned quite a bit from those interactions, but the main lesson was to believe in myself and not be afraid to say ‘No, I don’t think I can do that.’

I solicited advice from those who took in-depth, critical looks at the work being posted for review on the writer’s communities, and also carefully read the critiques of other author’s work. At first, I frantically made changes to my worked based on the comments of my readers, trying desperately to make every potential reader happy. What I found was that there were as many different opinions about writing techniques and styles as there were authors offering opinions, and what one person wanted me to change or remove, another wanted me to expand upon or develop. I finally ended up explaining to one especially opinionated critic that as much as I appreciated her suggestions and efforts to provide feedback on my novel, the style she was attempting to lead me toward was a style she herself appreciated but one I could never see myself fitting into. I want to write like Kathy Bell, not Jane Austen. I Write Like I Live.

This was most clearly exemplified during my attempts to secure a traditional publishing contract. I submitted my manuscript to multiple publishing houses, and two of them expressed serious interest in my work. But, both of them had a list of changes they wanted to see happen before they would offer a contract. Imagine my chagrin when Publishing House A wanted me to change the exact opposite to what Publishing House B wished to change! I have had many people state one should not change a manuscript until a contract is signed, but of course I didn’t hear that until after I worked for weeks trying to adjust my writing style and story to make the possible book deal(s) happen. Unfortunately, neither lead panned out but the juxtaposition of the editorial commentaries made me realize just how subjective reading is, and just how much guesswork goes into editorial choices. Editors must guestimate the likelihood any given manuscript is going to meet the interests of the widest audience, and yet their guess is likely as good as mine in the changing landscape of the reading consumer. With ebooks making such an incredible array of books available, the final choice really is in reader hands and now we writers can write for ourselves instead of trying to meet the demands of an editor.

There are obviously some aspects which should be acknowledged in making a solid science fiction novel. Ensuring that action scenes are ‘experienced’ and not ‘told’, having continuity and validity, especially in your scientific concepts, making the entire thing make sense. But, these are generally objective aspects for the most part, not subjective. Even so, the objective facets of writing are malleable to a degree.

Now when I read through Regression, my first novel, I see a lot of elements I do not like. Compared to the first draft, the narrative is drastically different, and not always in a way that I think reflects who I am or can be as a writer. I changed it to meet the expectations of others. The retail version of Regression is about the eightieth draft! But, Evolussion is the complete opposite. I think it very truly reflects where I want to be as a writer, and (hmm, should I admit this in public?) is quite literally the second version of the story…much of the manuscript remains unchanged from the moment I put fingers to keyboard. I hope that the positive responses to the tale continue, because then I know that my own instincts about how to write a gripping, moving story were reasonably accurate.

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