Thursday, August 29, 2013

Unavoidable Problems


I'm sure that you've already noticed, but I had no Tuesday post. I apologize for this, really I do, as I had something planned, but I found I just couldn't write it. I have two reasons for this.

1: I was originally planning to write a review. This review was going to be on The Companions, R.A.Salvatore's latest Drizzt novel. I finished this book on Sunday and have suffered from book hangover ever since then. I have attempted to wash this away by starting another book that I was quickly bored by, so I started yet another book and discovered that the books weren't the issue. I just couldn't manage to pull myself out of the land of Faerûn. I need more Drizzt! (I realize I might have a problem.)

2: The second reason I was not able to write a post for Tuesday just so happens to be a bit more serious and a lot less fun. I have somehow managed to injure my right wrist. I'm not exactly sure what happened, either. Sunday was going along well, normal activities, nothing out of the ordinary, but by Sunday afternoon my wrist was killing me. Yes, it feels like nerve damage. I am worried this might be the onset of some form of carpal tunnel. See what I get when everything is going so well?

Not to worry though. I am already attempting to schedule an appointment with the neurologist but, as my husband found out with his issues, it could take several weeks before I'm able to be seen. So, I am coping.

I have made the decision to restrict the use of my right hand and keep activity to a minimum to assist in the healing process. That means no heavy lifting, no mouse clicks and, worst of all, no typing. Now, as you can imagine, I type quite a bit. I've been typing thousands of words a day for years. I really doubt that the typing is what caused this. Rather, the culprit is probably the mouse and poor sleeping habits. More often than not, I've started to wake up with a sore wrist and tingling fingers, verging on numbness. So, I bought a brace.

I have definitely improved since Sunday and feel like I could get right back to typing, but I really want to make sure my wrist has time to heal.

But, Debra, your typing this long blog post!!!

No, I'm not. This post has been brought to you by Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I actually love Dragon and use it quite a bit for my first drafts. So why not blogs? It does seem to be working well but I haven't gone back to check for typos, and sometimes weird stuff just happens. Hopefully you catch my meaning though.

So, before I get to the good stuff, has anyone else out there suffered from carpal tunnel? Just curious about everyone else's experiences.

Now the exciting news that I told you about last week. Well, at least I hope you find this exciting.
I have two first edition After - Part One paperbacks that I am going to give away through Goodreads. Signups for the giveaway will run through the month of September. Now, these are collector editions since they will never be printed again, so they're special! Along with the books, the winners will receive a Phoenix Curse pen and a Phoenix Curse key-chain. Exciting, right? I really hope so!

I will be sure to post the signup link here and on Facebook when it goes live on Sunday.

Looking forward to the extra long weekend!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Paperback Blues

I have been busy, busy, busy this whole week, working on revisions, edits, blog posts and finally getting around to updating the paperback of After - Part One to the new version.
Sad Kitty doesn't like doing revisions.

Yay me, I've been so productive... Right?

Heh... So here's the story.

I finally buckled down last weekend and took on the daunting task of updating my paperback of AP1 on Createspace. I had been dreading doing this since before I even had the edits done, but it was time. I just couldn't hold off any longer.

When I started, I found out that all that procrastination was pretty much well founded, because editing the paperback is SO MUCH HARDER than the digital version. Blargh!

Yet, I dove in and soldiered through it, getting the edits done in an afternoon. This time, I opted to start from scratch instead of the Createspace template. Not saying anything against the template, but I found this to be so much easier and a lot less frustrating. There were some things I was wanting to do with the book that the template just wouldn't allow.

Once I was finished, I did have to upload the file a few times after making some minor adjustments. That included adding a blank page at the end of some of the chapters so that all new chapters would start on the right-hand page. I had read that some book publishers do that and I thought, 'Why the hell not?'

What I didn't account for was me being an idiot. I should have some alarm set someplace for myself to just slow my ass down when I start to rush things. This is now, and pretty much always been, my biggest downfall, and it happens far to often.

Brilliant me didn't think to go back and check the Table of Contents after I had made my page adjustments. So I get the 'proof' in the mail today--and I say 'proof' because it's not a proof, it's the live version because I'm just that errantly bold--and only happened to check the TOC as an afterthought.

Oh, Debra... When will you learn?

So the TOC is all jacked up. This is clearly my fault because I knew better. The other issue I have with the book is the cover. This I didn't think I would have to redo because I only changed a few things but apparently a few pages does make a difference. The text on the spine is no longer centered.

Other than those 2 cosmetic problems, the new version is BEAUTIFUL! I love it! I adjusted the font a little and was quite happy with the other adjustments I made to the book.

The best part of it all is, I added the deleted scenes to the back! Woohoo! Now I have to go back and do that for the digital versions, but I'll be putting that off for awhile. I only have time for so much right now and that doesn't really fall high on my priority list. The digital version aside, I'll probably get the the revision to the revision uploaded for the paperback this weekend, though. I think that's pretty important.

And where do I stand on the subject of AP2? I'll let Harry Zidler tell you.

Yeah, that's right! October is still looking good for the release. Now that the beast of Amarillo is out of the way, the edits are going so smooth and I feel like I'm flying through everything. I won't hold my breath though. I know that can change in a heartbeat. It's funny how I can clear 2 scenes in a day, then get stuck on one scene for a week. I just never know what's going to happen.

That's all I have for you this week. Be sure to check back next week because I'm already working on some more exciting news for everyone!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Author Spotlight, Featuring Kelly Samarah

Beneath The Blood Moon
Hello, hello everyone! I hope everyone's week is off to a good start.

I have a very exciting post today! Please welcome Kelly Samarah to my blog, my very first author spotlight! I hope this is the first of many to come.

Kelly has a brand spankin' new anthology releasing on August 25th, Beneath the Blood Moon: Six Terrifying Tales. Sounds like my kind of book. I can't wait! It will be available on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.

Without further ado, I give you Kelly Samarah!

1. Why are you a writer and when did you first start writing?
I write because I have stories to tell. As simple as that. There are characters in my head, waiting to be put down on paper, and I'm doing them an injustice if I don't follow through. 
I've been writing since I was very young. My second grade teacher told me I had a gift for words, and I knew then I wanted to tell people stories. It's always been about trying to show people what's inside my head, and writing has been a way for me to communicate little pieces of myself to others.
2. What will you tackle next? (If you are writing a series, what will you write after the series is over?)
With my horror shorts being released, I have more time to focus on my book, the first of a trilogy about a boy who learns he is a warrior from an alternate universe. I post my rough draft chapters each week on my blog. Readers can read along while the story is in it's rawest state. I thought this would be fun, to watch a story come to life, and for readers to see just how much changes from the first time that pencil hits the paper to it's absolute, final draft. And hopefully, give them a better appreciation for how much work author's actually go through from start to finish. How involved we become, how tortured and doubtful and frustrated we can get with making it "perfect."
Thorns Of Glass

3. Who is your favorite character that you have created and why?
I love (and in some cases, hate, where it is a given) all my characters. They are all pieces of my personality in one way or another. But right now, my favorite character is Sam, from my book, Thorns of Glass. There are so many aspects of his character that touch strings in my emotions I would rather ignore. He truly became something tangible as I wrote about his tragic life. He feels like a real person to me.

4. What is your favorite genre and author to read?

This question is always so hard for me. I like a good story. In my experience, I've found some of my favorites in the horror, paranormal, and fantasy genres. Stephen King is an all time favorite, as well as Lois Lowry. Recently, I have enjoyed the work of John Hart, Neal Shusterman and a very twisted and original book of horror shorts by Claire Farrell.
5. What about movies and TV shows, (or if that's not for you) How do you relax?
I relax by sleeping. There's too much to do in my life sometimes to find a time to relax besides then. I'm a single mom and have a 15 and 10 year old at home. I also work full time besides writing and marketing, so it's not often I get to veg out in front of the T.V.. But when I do, you can find me watching The Walking Dead, True Blood, Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Story, and all those reality T.V. ghost hunting shows. I also love to read and paint, and try to fit those in when I can.

Bio: Kelly Samarah lives in the small logging town of Molalla, Oregon, nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Range near the Mt. Hood national forest. She enjoys reading, writing, painting, cooking and spending time soaking in the beautiful Oregon countryside.

~ ~ ~ ~

Everyone, mark your calendars! We only have a few more days left to wait. Here are a few links to keep you up to date with everything Kelly's up too!

And remember, if you like a book, please leave a review! You have no idea how it brightens our day.

Catch everyone on Thursday!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Deleted Scenes

And, as promised, here are the deleted scenes for the very beginning of part two. Remember, the story line is still accurate but, in the published book, this scene will be through Joss's eyes, not Ali's.

This past week went really well. I finished up the Amarillo chapters and was sad once I wrote those final words. They are now in the done pile and I have moved on to rework the other chapters of part two. It's going well! 

I'm still expecting to hit the October deadline but I don't have an exact date worked out just yet. Hopefully there will be no more setbacks between then and now but I really don't foresee anything like that happening. I hope I don't jinx myself by saying this but it looks like smooth sailing from here! It's on to Boulder City.

Well, I will leave you with that since I know you guys have a little extra reading to do today. ;)

Happy reading! And to my indies, happy writing!

Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend and I will be here next Tuesday with a new and exciting post!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Amarillo By Morning

This week has just been totally awesome. I feel like me again and I've been able to fully focus on my writing and, once again, I'm so happy that things are back to normal!

For reference, I'm writing this post on Wednesday night to auto post tomorrow morning.

So, I had a moment today. It's one of those moments that every writer loves to have. It's when inspiration gets behind you and just launches you forward. The story grabs you, takes hold of you and starts running away while you're furiously typing as fast as you can, doing everything you can to keep up. You're nothing but a spec of dust in the face of a hurricane. The story has control.

And you type, and you type, and you type.

And an hour and 3k words later, you look up to face reality and wonder what the hell just happened.

It. Is. Magical.

Now, this was not my first moment and I love it every time it happens, (the feeling is indescribable) but this time it was so important because of the surrounding circumstances.

I've been trying to tie Amarillo to Boulder City now for two months. For those of you that have been with me since the very very beginning, who actually downloaded my NaNoWriMo manuscript from Smashwords last November, knows that Amarillo simply didn't exist in my first draft. It was only a vague idea that never got written. When I made the decision to flesh out the world, Amarillo was back in.

And then I got stuck.

The original plan for Amarillo was only supposed to cover two scenes but, as I wrote, the story began to demand more time. Things went into flux and I had to rewrite scenes and perspectives, and now I'm looking at two full chapters for Amarillo. These are not stretched-out filler scenes, mind you, but action-packed adventures.

This morning I started the last Amarillo scene, thinking it would just be a hop, skip and a jump to Boulder City. I've had a foggy vision of how this would play out in my head for a while now, so figured I would get it over with fast and continue with the editing process.

And then things... happened...

I was mid sentence, trying to figure out my wording, when I thought to myself... What if? and BAM! The scene unfolded in my brain as the fog cleared and I went into a daze. An hour later it was like I woke up from a dream. Just a few more shots fired and Amarillo is complete... And it's not even Friday yet!

I just can't wait to see what the weekend brings!

Oh, and just as a reminder, that first deleted scene for Amarillo will be posted next Thursday! It's purely optional if you want to read it. The scene will be accurate to the story line, just in a different perspective than what will actually be published.

Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ready Player One - By Ernest Cline

Yay! Happy Tuesday! So glad to be back and ready to write. Once again I apologize for how brief my last update was, so I am hoping that this makes up for it.

I do want to mention again how I rate my reviews. I really don't care about the occasional typos or grammatical errors every now and then. We all have them, so that is no reason to knock a star off a rating. If the errors are every other sentence, then it might be a problem but, otherwise, I tend to overlook those.

Also, if I choose to read a book outside my typical genre, I'm not going to knock a book because a horror was too horrific, or a romance was too heavy on the romance. That's not being fair to the author. It seems that this should go without saying but I still see this very thing happening in reviews quite often. I don't understand why people do this. Just seems so silly and only hurts the author.

Ready Player One
By Ernest Cline
Now on to the review!

I actually read Ready Player One last month, or... June. I forgot it's already August. I just lost so much time last month due to vacation, Tradeshow, and getting sick. It was a crazy July. I'm glad things look to be getting back to normal.

Again, the review.

When I first started reading Ready Player One, I was so sure that it was going to get a 5 star rating from me. The book started off excellent, had an excellent premise, was written from a gamer's perspective for a gamer, was full of wonderful 80's references and I absolutely loved it.

However, it wasn't without it's flaws and I ended up only giving the book 4 stars. The issue that I struggled with was the massive information dumps. There were parts where the pace of the book was slowed down to a crawl while we got some 80s history, but I was really craving some action by that point.

Aside from that, it was wonderful. The book is set in a dystopia world where people plug in to a virtual reality called the OASIS on a daily basis to work, go to school and, of course, have fun. The main character gets involved in the game of a lifetime that's centered around finding the Easter egg of all Easter eggs. It was a great ride.

I was not aware of this when I was reading the book but there are Easter eggs within the book for the reader to find. I didn't even pick up on them. I do know that Will Wheaton voiced the audio book and I'm seriously considering buying it from Audible. Maybe I can catch some of those Easter eggs while I listen.

So there is the review that I've needed to write for a while. The next one will probably be on The Companions since that released today and I'm going to battle my reading addition just to get my word count in.

Ahh, it's so good to be back!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rough Weekend

The post today is going to be fairly short. A viscous stomach virus has been making its rounds through the house this past week and I am completely drained. I hate those!

R.A. Salvatore's first book in his newest trilogy is being released next Tuesday and I am super excited. I will probably have The Companions purchased before I even get out of bed that morning.

I know this post is so lacking but it's difficult to even set at the computer right now. I'll make up for it next week, I promise!