An Interview with Blaze Ward – Short Flights Bundle Author

Today, we have Short Flights Bundle author Blaze Ward stopping by to answer my interview questions. Blaze makes his home in Washington, and writes science fiction, superhero tales, fantasy, and alternate history. He keeps a website at www.blazeward.com, and you can find him on Facebook, Goodreads, and other places around the Internet. So let’s dive in…

SDR: To start, tell us a little about the story you have in the Short Flights bundle.

BW: “The Librarian” is the first of the Alexandria Station universe stories I wrote. She’s turned into my narrator for over 10,000 years of human history.

SDR: Imagine you’ve been kidnapped or trapped by a natural disaster. Which of your own characters (from any work) would you want to rescue you? Why?

BW: Vo zu Arlo (Jessica Keller books). Man’s a total badass who will stop at nothing.

SDR: Describe your current writing workspace.

BW: The peninsula dividing my kitchen from the living room. Just the right height to stand and work.

SDR: What’s your current writing project? How do you feel about it right this minute?

BW: Seventh Jessica Keller novel: Lord of Winter. Just started Act 3 and can see the end. Really hyped. Also just wrote a short story in the Fairchild universe.

SDR: Do you remember what sparked the idea for your story in the Short Flights bundle? What was it?

BW: I needed to know more about the AI in Javier’s ship, for The Science Officer. Already knew she survived the galactic apocalypse, so put her in a place to be discovered by my favorite salvager: Doyle Iwakuma.

SDR: Do you remember what sparked the idea for any of your stories? Tell us about one.

BW: The Science Officer was something I wanted to write for years, before I discovered that I could just publish stuff myself and make money. Having a character who was a scientist, a botanist, rather than a Jim Kirk/James Bond action figure. I grow things, and wanted to put that into space.

SDR: Why do you write short fiction? Love, necessity, marketability, or something else?

BW: The ability to take the worlds of my novels and spin off little side things about various characters. Or to create new worlds where I can play.

SDR: Do you belong to any writer’s groups or communities? Do you think these types of social interactions are important for writers?

BW: Got a monthly lunch group in Seattle where we talk business more than craft. Won’t do a critique group. They always fail in rancor, or fall apart in indifference.

SDR: Which one of your characters is the most like you? The least?

BW: Vo zu Arlo, probably. He gets his relentlessness from me. His intensity. Javier’s snarkiness and chaos-surfing. Hard to nail one. Most of my characters are actually amalgamations of people I know, where I take bits and merge them.

SDR: Have you written any series characters? What’s their appeal for you?

BW: Bit stories. Jessica is 6 novels now, and will be nine. The Science Officer (Season One) is eight novellas. Season Two will be nine. Everything tends to be serial with me.

SDR: I understand that feeling…like even when the story’s over, the characters aren’t. Do you remember the first story you wrote? Tell us about it.

BW: Absolutely not. Drek, and the statute of limitations has not expired. :)

SDR: Oh, all right. I’ll give you a pass on that one. :) Have you had to deal with bad reviews? How do you manage them?

BW: I never read a review that’s less than 5 stars. Better that way.

SDR: Are there certain themes that keep coming up in your work? If so, is it intentional, or something that just happens?

BW: “Sticking it to the man.” That’s probably intentional, but no.

SDR: Are you a planner/outliner/architect or a pantser/gardener/discovery writer?

BW: Yes. And. Both. Neither. Have done extensive outlines. Have sat down and discovered the next sentence as I typed.

SDR: Do you think there were early influences as a reader that have guided the stories you create as a writer? What were they?

BW: Doc Smith. Isaac Asimov to a lesser degree. Robert Howard. David Drake. CS Friedman.

SDR: Do you think the place where you live (or somewhere you have lived) influences what you write? In what way?

BW: Lived in a LOT of places. August 1990 – October 2001, moved 17 times. Time zones, three. Zip codes, almost all of them.

SDR: What’s the most challenging thing about being a writer in 2018? What’s the best thing?

BW: I am in control of my own career. Someone else is in charge of me making enough money to survive.

SDR: Do you prefer music, silence, or some other noise in the background when you write? If music, what kind?

BW: I zone out noise around me when I work.

SDR: Many writers also put their creativity to use in ways other than writing. Do you consider yourself a “creative person?” What other creative outlets do you have?

BW: Role-playing games. Poetry. Sewing. Gardening. Zen. Archery.

SDR: Tell us about your other works, projects, publications, and what’s on the horizon next. This is the shameless self-promotion portion of the interview. :)

BW: Book six of the Jessica Keller novels, The Red Admiral, comes out May 10. Going to do a special on the first three books in April as a lead in.

SDR: What question do you wish you’d be asked in an interview, but it never seems to come up? Ask it, and tell us your answer.

BW: “Money or fame?” – Money. You can pursue Traditional Publishing and see your name in the bookstore, but most of the people I know doing that still have to have day jobs. And there are few people making a living in TradPub anymore. I retired from a good job as a database architect in February to become a full-time writer, and most people have never heard of me. Making good money, though. :)

SDR: Well, thanks for answering all my questions, Blaze! It’s great to have you in the bundle!

The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is available now across many online platforms. Along with Blaze’s story, you’ll find nine more single stories and five full collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.

Come back next week for more interviews!

An Interview with Linda Maye Adams – Short Flights Bundle Author

We’re back with another author interview today, this time with Short Flights bundle contributor, Linda Maye Adams. Linda lives in Northern Virginia, and enjoys writing science fiction, fantasy, and mystery, particularly military sci-fi, drawing on her own background and experiences. She keeps a website at lindamayeadams.com if you’d like to learn more.

You know, I sent all the authors the same batch of questions and asked them to choose a few and answer them, so I’m really enjoying finding out which ones different authors have chosen to answer. I hope you are, too! Now, let’s see what Linda has to say…

SDR:  Tell us a little about the story you have in the Short Flights bundle.

LMA: My short story is called “Watcher Ghost.” Hope Delgado was recruited by GALCOM, a space military command, because she is the only person who can see and talk to alien ghosts. She is called to an older space station because the ghost haunting it has become violent and she has little time to figure out what he’s trying to tell her.

SDR: I absolutely love the idea of this story! Now, what’s your current writing project? How do you feel about it right this minute?

LMA: It’s the third book in the GALCOM Universe series, called Cursed Planet. Hope Delgado’s on a planet drop to assist Alien Affairs with a mediation over a ghost. But the aliens are hostile to humans and they are difficult to communicate with. I’ve been embracing my nerd side with this one big time—we have zero-gravity, meteorites, and even an aurora. So a lot of fun playing around with the cool side of science.

SDR: Do you remember what sparked the idea for your story in the Short Flights bundle? What was it?

LMA: I was working on the first book in the GALCOM Universe series, Crying Planet, and saw an anthology call. It had just hit me that Crying Planet was actually a series, so I gravitated straight into a short story with the same character for the call. The idea was a haunted space station. The bug sensors came into this story first, so I was adding them in the novel. I think I’ll have one of them floating by in zero-g in my newest story.

SDR: I’m always interested to hear how other writers work. Are you a planner/outliner/architect or a pantser/gardener/discovery writer?

LMA: I’m a pantser. It’s both terrifying and exhilarating to start a story because I truly have no idea what’s going to happen next. I have to write it to find out. It’s kind of like sailors in tall ships going out on the sea with only a general idea of where they’re going and then they discover the island with the lost treasure and gets caught in a nasty storm that hadn’t been there five minutes ago. It’s always an adventure.

SDR: As a fellow pantser, I understand. :)

Do you think there were early influences as a reader that have guided the stories you create as a writer? What were they?

LMA: When I was growing up, there wasn’t much for girls unless it was a romance or Nancy Drew. I liked reading science fiction and adventures, and yet, if there was a girl in the story, she was usually wallpaper. The guys always got the adventures, and the girl got to be rescued. And then I saw Star Trek and Uhura on the bridge in this important and visible role. Even though she didn’t have many adventures, it was a lot more than what I was seeing at the time. So I write about characters I want to see, having adventures.

SDR: What’s the most challenging thing about being a writer in 2018? And what’s the best thing?

LMA: The most challenging thing is discoverability. There’s a lot of books out there, and it’s hard being found in the sea of them. I want to write full time eventually—have always wanted to—but discoverability is happening at its own speed.

The best thing? I can write books about women having adventures and no one’s going to reject them as not being marketable based on an executive’s fear of the risk. Indie really has opened a lot of doors, and places like Bundle Rabbit offer so much exposure.

SDR: Tell us about your other works, projects, publications, and what’s on the horizon next. This is the shameless self-promotion portion of the interview. :)

LMA: I wrote a memoir on what Desert Storm was like, which is currently in a Rabbit Bundle called Remembering Warriors, along with a lot of other great works. Though I confess that adventures are fiction are sooo much better than real-life ones! I also have my GALCOM Universe series, which includes the first book, Crying Planet. That’s about giant yellow alien slugs who are shipping the ghost population to other planets. The second book in the series is Lonely Planet, with a ghost spaceship that collides with the GALCOM space cruiser. It’s up to Hope to figure out how to save the ship. It’s just so much fun having a heroine save the day. I also have a new fantasy short story up called “Dark, From the Sea,” and I bet you never knew the real reason lighthouses exist…

Readers can find more of my writing on my website: http://lindamayeadams.com

SDR: Thanks so much for stopping by and chatting with us, Linda!

The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is available now across many online platforms. Along with Linda’s story, you’ll find nine more single stories and five full collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.

Still more interviews to come!

An Interview with Michael Jasper – Short Flights Bundle Author

Today on the blog, we have an interview with Michael Jasper, another author featured in the Short Flights bundle. Mike lives in North Carolina, and “is fascinated with exploring the places where the normal meets the strange.” He should feel right at home on my blog. ;)

SDR: I’m asking everyone the same question to start, so please tell us a little about the story you have in the Short Flights bundle.

MJ: My story is called “Finder,” and it’s the first appearance of my dynamic duo, Bim and Hanky J. These guys have known each other almost all their lives, and now that they’re in their early 40s, they’re starting to find some success with their private-investigation company, Finders, Inc. While Hank is the cut-and-dry fellow who has an unquenchable desire to rescue missing people, Bim is the heavy-set slacker who has a special gift for connecting to people that truly makes Finders, Inc. successful. I’ll let folks read the story to find out how his (somewhat disturbing and gross) gift works. I’ve taken these two characters and expanded their situation into a “slightly paranormal mystery” series called the Finder Team, where Bim and Hank and the rest of their ragtag group solve mysteries and find lost souls in the mountains of western North Carolina, and I’m having a blast telling their stories. The second Finder Team novel, Lost & Finders, is currently underway, and should be done very soon.

SDR: Tell us where you like to write; describe your current writing workspace(s).

MJ: We live in a small log cabin in the North Carolina mountains between the small towns of Boone and Blowing Rock, and my work office and writing office are one and the same: I get exactly half of the loft above our living room and kitchen. I have a combination sitting/standing desk for when I’m doing my day job (I work from home as a technical writer for a software company) and when I’m working on the business side of my fiction writing and publishing gigs. But I usually do most of my fiction writing in my comfy recliner up in the loft, close enough to the window so I can see the outside world (right now, a mid-March snow is softly falling out there), but not too close that I get distracted.

Interestingly, I used to be solely an early-morning writer, but lately I’ve started cracking open the laptop at the end of the day, just to fiddle around with my current project, and I end up writing a short scene or untangling a twisty plot issue, and I’ve been doing that writing work away from my usual writing space, downstairs and usually with my wife and kids around me. I think a change of pace is always good for writers, just to shake things up and to keep us from getting into a rut.

SDR: What’s your current writing project? How do you feel about it right this minute?

MJ: I mentioned Lost & Finders earlier, and it’s the second book in my Finder Team series after Finders, Inc. This book takes place about four months after the first book, but it’s taken me nearly four years to write! I’ve developed a sort of love-hate relationship with it, and I actually didn’t even touch it for over a year because it was frustrating me. So I worked on other projects, but I kept coming back to it. Just recently I figured out what the book was really about, and I am now in the process of finishing it up. I think that it will be one of my favorite creations when all is said and done, just because I struggled so much with it and – more importantly – I learned so much in the process of writing it.

SDR: So you’ve written at least one set of series characters. What’s the appeal of series for you?

MJ: I ended up writing a trio of series by accident, mainly because I kept wondering what those characters were up to lately. My first series, Contagious Magic, ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I had no choice but to keep going with book two (eventually!) and then hit book three as well. My other two series, Finder Team and Family Pack, had some interesting side-roads I wanted to take with the various characters in book two, and I’ve been dreaming about a book three where both of those series converge into this nifty crossover event. I look at a series like a really good premium cable TV series, where you can really dive deep with the characters and show them growing and changing as time passes, even more than you can in a single novel. You also get to tell bigger and bigger stories. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m enjoying the learning process.

SDR: Are you a planner/outliner/architect or a pantser/gardener/discovery writer?

MJ: In most of my novels I’ve done serious outlines, which always made the actually day-to-day writing much easier (in most cases!). But lately I’ve been pushing back against detailed outlines and just telling myself the story as I write. It’s scarier that way, and it can lead to a long block of unproductive days if you’re not careful, but I think the stories are always better. I kind of like the risk (if you can call it that) of writing by the seat of my pants.

SDR: As a “discovery writer” myself, I understand (and appreciate) that risk! Now, to finish up, tell us about your other works, projects, publications, and what’s on the horizon next. This is the shameless self-promotion portion of the interview! 

MJ: I’m coming off a year where I more or less had to take a break from fiction writing, because I’d just started a new and very challenging job (as a technical writer at a software company), which I really love. But the job required all of my brain-power and left me a pretty drained, so I couldn’t think about writing fiction when I wasn’t working. But now I’ve got a year under my belt at the new job and I’m finally able to scratch that fiction itch that I couldn’t reach for a long while. So I’m blasting away on my second Finder Team novel and planning out that Finder Team-Family Pack crossover (paranormal private eyes meet a father and daughter who are also werewolves; they fight crime!).

Also, the graphic novel I wrote and my artist friend Niki Smith illustrated was recently optioned for the movies, which has motivated me to start work on Book 2 of that series (the first book was 9 issues, and almost 200 pages of graphic novel adventure). And I’ve got an idea or two for a screenplay. For 2018, I’m planning on publishing my second short-story collection, UnWrecked Tales in April or May, and Lost & Finders comes out in June. Which means I should probably end this interview and get back to my writing. In the meantime, you can follow my writing at http://michaeljasper.net, and keep up with my publishing company at http://UnWreckedPress.com. Thanks!

SDR: Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us, Mike!

The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is available now across many online platforms. Along with Kate’s story, you’ll find nine more single stories and five full collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.

We have more interviews coming soon, so stay tuned!

An Interview With Kate MacLeod – Short Flights Bundle Author

Our next Short Flights interview author is Kate MacLeod (whom I already love because I think we’re kindred spirits–half of her answers could have been written by me!). Kate lives in Minnesota and keeps a website at https://www.katemacleod.net/, where you can find her social media information and sign up for her newsletter.

 SDR: Kate, tell us a little about the story you have in the Short Flights bundle.

KM: “Unsafe, Unsound” is a western weird tale of a family on the edge of civilization who catch a glimpse of the other layers beyond this world. It’s told in multiple points of view because each character has an entirely different experience. For a long time it was the darkest thing I ever wrote.

SDR: I love hearing about where other writers write, so could you describe your current writing workspace?

KM: I have a treadmill desk set in a bay window so it’s almost like walking outside while I type or dictate. I need lots of sun and fresh air when I make the words.

SDR: Do you remember what sparked the idea for “Unsafe, Unsound”? What was it?

KM: This was actually the rare instance where I used something from a dream. I had recently moved from a heavily populated neighborhood to one at the edge of the suburbs, surrounded by corn fields and dairy farms. In my dream I had the image of a man walking up my dirt road in the light of the full moon and I just knew that there was something wrong with him. I couldn’t get the image out of my head and had to know what his story was.

SDR: I’m always surprised when some people say they don’t enjoy short stories, so I’m asking writers, why do you write short fiction? Love, necessity, marketability, or something else?

KM: I love short fiction! My reading time is half fiction magazines and anthologies and half novels. As a writer I get story ideas that work best at some specific length and I don’t try to wrestle with that, I just let it be the length it is.

SDR: What’s the most perfect short story you’ve ever read?

KM: It’s either “The Dead” by James Joyce or “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. Don’t make me choose between the two!

SDR: All right, we’ll change the subject. :) Have you written any series characters? What’s their appeal for you?

KM: I’m writing my first series character now. I wrote her first book as a standalone but loved her character so much I had to go back and continue her story. The Scout Shannon books are young adult science fiction and I loved the idea of slowly expanding her awareness of her world, planetary system, and galaxy around her as she grows into it. Plus she has two dogs, who are thinly fictionalized versions of my dogs, and I love writing about them!

SDR: Do you prefer music, silence, or some other noise in the background when you write? If music, what kind?

KM: I like music but I get easily distracted by lyrics so when I’m writing it’s all instrumentals, and generally movie soundtracks. The last novel I wrote I had the soundtrack to “King Arthur” on repeat. Currently it’s “Blade Runner 2049”.

SDR: I also love movie soundtracks for writing music–and also video game soundtracks! You should give some of those a try, too (Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo are great).

Now, to finish up, tell us about your other works, projects, publications, and what’s on the horizon next. This is the shameless self-promotion portion of the interview.  :)

KM: I’m currently halfway through a young adult science fiction series called The Travels of Scout Shannon. Book 3 of 6, Among Treacherous Stars, just came out on Tuesday. In April I have short stories that will appear in both Analog and Mythic Delirium, which is huge for me!

SDR: Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us, Kate!

The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is available now across many online platforms. Along with Kate’s story, you’ll find nine more single stories and five full collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.

We have more interviews coming soon, so stay tuned!

An Interview with Harvey Stanbrough – Short Flights Bundle Author

I’ve asked some of the authors included in the Short Flights (of the Imagination) Bundle to drop by and answer a few questions. I enjoy hearing about how other writers work and think, don’t you? I sent along twenty-odd questions to each writer and asked them to answer a handful they liked.

So first up is multi-genre author Harvey Stanbrough, who keeps a website at harveystanbrough.com. Harvey is no stranger to bundling, and his collection, S, F & H is part of Short Flights…but here, I’ll let him tell you about it…

SDR: Tell us a little about the story you have in the Short Flights bundle.

HS: It’s actually a 10-story collection. This collection of ten short stories spans science fiction and science fantasy with a dash of horror tossed in for good luck. Firefighters are trapped in a burning house, an alien crashes a teen party, and other aliens visit a café in a small town. There’s a robot on a robot horse, a game show called Suicide Watch, and a viral outbreak that wipes out much of humanity. Four other stories round out the ten with more aliens, humor and horror.

SDR: So you’ve got lots of characters to choose from for this next question. Imagine you’ve been kidnapped or trapped by a natural disaster. Which of your own characters (from any work) would you want to rescue you? Why?

HS: Wes Crowley (from my 10-novel Wes Crowley series) because he’s honest, hard, and relentless.

SDR: Describe your current writing workspace(s).

HS: Actually, I write on a dedicated writing computer (no Internet) in The Adobe Hovel, a shed about 200 feet from my house.

SDR: What are you currently working on out in your shed? How do you feel about it right this minute?

HS: A new novel in a pulp-noir detective series. Stern Talbot, P.I.—The Early Years: The Case of the Slashed-Up Secretary. I feel good about it. It’s rolling right along. I usually get around 3000 to 4000 words done on it per day.

SDR: Why do you write short fiction? Love, necessity, marketability, or something else?

HS: I like the challenge of the short form. I have over 180 short stories in around 25 collections. But I enjoy writing novels more.

SDR: What’s the most perfect short story you’ve ever read?

HS: “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury.

SDR: I agree, that’s a fabulous story. Do you belong to any writer’s groups or communities? Do you think these types of social interactions are important for writers?

HS: No, because most of them are more social groups than working groups. The members tend to talk a lot about writing, but they do very little actual writing.

SDR: You’ve published a lot of titles. Have you had to deal with bad reviews? How do you manage them?

HS: I don’t pay attention to reviews, good or bad. What some like, some don’t. No worries.

SDR: Are you a planner/outliner/architect or a pantser/gardener/discovery writer?

HS: This is very important. I’m just a writer. Like the guy who paints houses is a painter, or the person who works on car engines is a mechanic. That’s all. I adhere firmly to Heinlein’s Rules and I trust my characters to tell the story. After all, they’re the ones who are actually living it. I’m just kind of the recorder.

SDR: I try to follow Heinlein’s Rules myself, although I have the most trouble with #2 (finishing things!).

Do you prefer music, silence, or some other noise in the background when you write? If music, what kind?

HS: I’m down in the story, running through it with the characters, trying to write everything they say and do. That’s much more entertaining for me than any other thing.

SDR: Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Harvey!

The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is available now across many online platforms. Along with Harvey’s collection, you’ll find ten more single stories and four more collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.

We’ll have another author interview soon, so stay tuned!

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…Brand?

So. I’m taking a publishing and marketing course this month, and a recent lesson was about building a brand. I haven’t given branding a whole lot of attention in the past, preferring to think of myself as my “brand” and that it’s fairly evident what that means if you read my work or follow me here or on social media. However, some advice in the course was to consider how “branding” can help convey information about one’s work in a quick and concise way, which can be useful to potential readers. Discussion included logos and slogans or tag lines as part of a brand, among other things.

I was a little surprised to discover that many participants in the course already had logos and tag lines in place.

Hmm. That seemed to put me behind the curve. But I felt a little stumped. I write science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk…I could go on, but you get the idea. I write a broad range of stories under the speculative fiction umbrella. Encapsulating that seemed a daunting task. Thinking thematically didn’t help me out much, either; I don’t know if there are particular themes that run through all or most of my work. So this was me most of the weekend:

via GIPHY

But…I think I did it. I’m going to take a day or two to let it cool and do some tweaking, and then I’ll share it here.

Friday Desk Report – February 2, 2018

I was going to start this post with a pithy quotation about selling books, but all the ones I read were starting to make me depressed, so I changed my mind. Yes, this week I’ve been largely focusing on marketing, promotion, and how to help readers find my books (and want to read them). While I did make many pretty pictures, and learned many new things, I also came to realize that I need to get all of this stuff organized on my computer, in one easily-accessible place. Everything probably took me twice as long as it should have as I searched for cover images, blurbs, links…it’s definitely time for some computer housecleaning. *gulp*

On a brighter note, I worked on the next Nearspace novel (started in November, currently in the process of getting it back on track), and some editing on another, older project. Wrote some new words on the current Olympia Investigations story I have underway, but the brain was not really in a word-writing place this week. Considering the time of year it is, I’m in a remarkably good head space (much of which I attribute to my new daily yoga practice), but it’s still best to work with what my brain tells me it can handle. I think next week the words will be inclined to flow better, since I took a bit of a break this week.

I’ve also switched up the newsletter signup freebie, which has been the same for a while. As of today it’s a newly-compiled and packaged collection of five of my short stories, all about alien encounters. They’re a nice mix of serious, funny, heartwarming and thought-provoking. If you haven’t signed up before, or haven’t read these stories, click over and take a look! The cover image is a beauty by by Joel Filipe on Unsplash, where you can find some really amazing images the artists have made freely available for whatever use you wish. Thanks, Joel and Unsplash!

January Stats!

Okay, so I didn’t really get back at the treadmill desk until almost the middle of the month, but even then, I was a little spotty on it. 419 minutes for the month, which translated to 5.14 miles walked. I can do better!

Word metrics for the month worked out to 5633 written, and 12,509 revised. I’d like to keep up this revision pace for February, but really up the writing. Guess we’ll see how it goes.

Finally, both my Olympia Investigations stories are in bundles right now! The Immortals bundle and Weird Fantastic Detective Stories are both available at BundleRabbit, so hop over and take a look if you love getting great reads for reasonable prices. And really, who doesn’t love that?

 

Friday Desk Report – January 26, 2018

Whew! It’s not hard to tell it’s the beginning of the year. I got some writing done, worked on promotional stuff, made a new short story available on a bundling site, set up a new bundle I’d like to curate, and poked around on Patreon for a while.

I’ve been thinking about Patreon for some time now…is it something that could work for me as a writer? I’m leaning toward giving it a try, but no firm decisions yet. I’ll keep you posted here on any developments. I do have some fun things I could do on the platform, I think.

The big news this week is that my copies of Beyond the Sentinel Stars arrived! I think it wasn’t really real until I held a copy in my hands. Which also meant I was able to take this picture…full trilogy!

This has also been my second week of doing a yoga practice every day and–wow! I am really feeling the effects (in a very good way). Of course I’m still at my treadmill desk, too, but the yoga is bringing something entirely new and welcome to my physical state. I discovered this wonderful channel on YouTube–Yoga with Adriene–and if you’re thinking you might like to try it, I can’t recommend her strongly enough. No pressure, no stress, no demands to do things perfectly or quickly. Adriene’s laid-back and restful style of instruction is exactly what I needed. Check out her beginners’ videos if you’re curious. Every day I can’t wait to get to the mat for my practice.

Just for fun, this year I’m tracking what I research for various stories. Things I looked up on the Internetz this week for writing: old general store images, row houses, and words in the Mi’kmaq language.

 

2017 in Review: Words

Well, this is what it all comes down to for a writer, isn’t it? How much did you write?

In January of last year, I began using Jamie Raintree’s Writing and Revision Tracker, which is a wonderful tool–as long as you remember to use it. Which is where I usually fail, when it comes to any number of time management/organization/tracking tools. So in order to write this post, I had to do some backtracking, some figuring, some fill-in-the blanks…and I’m still not sure what I might be missing. However, the final numbers seem reasonable to me.

Writing: 108, 883 words

Revision: 80,692

The writing count doesn’t include blog posts, presentations, articles, newsletters–basically nothing in the non-fiction realm. This is just short stories and novels. I’m reasonably pleased with this number. The revision number reflects the fact that there are different ways to track revision–words or pages covered, time spent, etc.–and mine is actually a combination of word and time goals. So, kind of meaningless as a total with no context, I guess. Maybe it’s more useful to know that all of my revision goals ended between 80-107% complete.

So, using these numbers as a base, I’ve set some goals in my new tracker for 2018. Will I reveal them in detail? Will I merely hint and leave you in suspense?

I guess that’s for the next post…

Friday Desk Report – 1/12/2018

So, this has been my first week back at my desk since the holidays ended. I intended to get back here sooner, but this year I found I needed a break AFTER the break, to recover some mental energy. The first couple of days in my office, I spent re-setting and organizing, as usual. My yearly process usually looks something like this:

*beginning of the year: set writing and publishing goals, make spreadsheets, update all organization and time-management tools. Make A Plan.

*early months/spring: stay pretty much on track, adjusting goals as things change and keeping just busy/committed enough to avoid falling into Seasonal Affective Disorder.

*mid-year/summer: completely fall off the wagon when warm weather arrives. Work on whatever has a deadline over the summer.

*fall: frantically try to gather dropped projects. Do NaNoWriMo. Accept that goals are in total disarray.

*beginning of the year: repeat

So right now we’re at a high point for organization and productivity. I have a new schedule which actually blocks out dedicated writing time every weekday, and schedules social media/marketing and business segments, too. I’ve stayed generally within the parameters for three days now. (!) I’m walking at my treadmill desk. I’ve sent out some submissions. Things seem to be working relatively well, although I’ve already thought of a couple of things I didn’t work into the schedule. Might need a little tweaking yet.

I do like this deep-breath, regroup, get organized time of the year, though. I just wish it lasted longer.