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Thankfulness #132: Fan Message

Today I am thankful for the super amazing fan message I got on Facebook. I won’t lie, I’ve been feeling kind of down. A sort of postpartum always happens after a book release but it’s worse this time. Maybe because it’s the end of the series (though no the universe or characters), maybe because it was so rushed that I didn’t have any preparation time, maybe because I haven’t engaged in a whole lot of fanfare; no blog hops, or tours, just the one Facebook party (because, you know, everything was so rushed I was out of time). Or maybe it’s the lower sales numbers. I’ll usually sell about 85 the first week (including pre-orders) but my total so far after twelve days is still sitting at 61. There are a ton of factors that could contribute to this: It’s the last book so some people have admitted to putting off buying and reading it because it’s the end – my brother actually owns series where he’s never read the final book for that exact reason. There’s also that lack of fanfare, the different season –  I usually release in March when it’s still crappy out, but now it’s warming up, people are outdoors more, not reading as much as they do in colder months. It’s also graduation/end of the school year and people are busy. The market has been trending down for all authors since 2014 and keeps going lower and lower thanks to a glut of free books caused by KDP Select and then the Amazon Unlimited subscription service – which my books aren’t in because I refuse to go exclusive. On and on.

Anyway, the whys are not important, what is important is the funk is real, so the fan letter really made my day and reminded me why I started writing the books in the first place. When I published book three I had 12 fans and knew each by name. So, downward trend from book eight or not, that 61 is still a huge improvement on those 12. That’s the kind of thing I need to tape to my wall somewhere – If I had an office wall, that is. Mostly I have walls that need the wallpaper stripped off of them so we can paint.

And now I need to get the Turtles page done for the night.

Have a fan mail kinda day!

Jo 🙂

Song going through my head STILL: Closer by Saliva – Repeat #362. Literally.

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Thankfulness #120: Last Minute Changes

I know I haven’t posted much here in the last month because I’ve been overwhelmed with the upcoming book release. It’s my own fault because, while I always leave a lot of things to the last minute, I am really pushing the envelope this time. In fact a snafu with Smashwords’ system almost ended up pushing the release date back to May 7th, but luckily I contacted Smashwords Help and they fixed it back to the right release day. (whew!) That crisis was averted.

Anyway, with only four hours left to edit the document before Amazon locks it down for publication, one of my beta readers (Amy) mentioned that the ending felt flat. Honesty moment: I thought it was, too, but since no one else complained I decided it was just me. Luckily, Amy brought it up, along with a suggestion on how to fix it, so boom – got it fixed (aka added a sentence) which makes it soooo much better. So, today I am grateful to Amy for helping me fix the end.

Now I need to start changing over all my banners and website images and what not. This release stuff is a lot of work, and I’m not even doing a blog tour or party! I should have scheduled something, but I was so last minute that I didn’t have time. Boo!

I have news on house plans, but I’ll write that up tomorrow.

Have an Amy to the rescue kinda day!

Jo 🙂

Thankfulness #117: Beta Round One

Today I am grateful for round one betas (Mom, Penny, and the bro) whose suggestions and corrections have hopefully made this mess readable for round two. Yeah, I am still up. I’m adding in a prologue before I send it to the other betas later today. I had a flashback scene that covers the space between books, but the consensus was it needed to be expanded so I just did a prologue instead. We’ll see what round two thinks.

Let’s see. It rained. I didn’t get to go pokemoning. But I did get to watch Jonathan live:

Oh, and hubby made something fun at work. He couldn’t bring t home, but he put a pic on Facebook, so hey, that counts.

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And now I need sleep. Have a Beta kinda day!

Jo 🙂

Thankfulness #101: DONE!

It’s time again for Blogophilia, the awesome blog group where Martien gives participants prompts to use in weekly posts. This week’s prompts are:

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 2.10 Topic: Route 66
**BONUSES:
Hard (2 pts): Incorporate the “beast of Bodmin Moor” (aka Cat)
Easy (1 pt): Mention “free spirit”

I m also doing my thankfulness blog post coz, yeah, I roll that way, so first I have to say I am thankful because the 25 chapter rough draft of Goddess of Night is DONE! Of course, that doesn’t mean I get to be a free spirit now. Instead I get to reread it, poke in some scenes I thought of later, then edit until my fingers fall off, or until I get fed up and feed the manuscript to the beast of Bodmin Moor. Whichever.

But writing is the hardest part, I think, so at least that is done. And if things go well, there will be a standalone book coming next about a couple of characters who want to go on a rad trip to California. I don;t know if they’ll be taking Route 66 or not, but you never know. I am envisioning kind of a Thelma and Louise story with guys. Who are vampires. Oh, and without them going off a cliff at the end.

It could be fun.

But before I worry about that, I need to get this editing done, so I think I’ll go start at it.

Have a DONE kinda day!

Jo 🙂

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Thankfulness #99: Haunted Tours

I’m still struggling along to finish the book. Okay, I’m not really struggling now. I was. It was that final big, multi-chapter battle where I had to kill so many people off *cough*. I won;t give away a bunch of details, but I’ll say that I was trying to keep the setting vague (like I usually do) except I had to name the city earlier in the story. As I was plodding along, it occurred to me that since I named the city, I should probably make sure that a place like the one I was using actually existed there. So, I hit google images and the third image down was pretty much exactly what I had in mind, not just in appearance but location. So then I hit Google maps to make sure and yes, the location was just what I needed. But, if I’m using a real place – even if I don;t name it specifically – I like to kind of know things about it so that someone who might read the book and recognize it doesn’t go “pffft. That’s not how it is”.

Usually I spend days scouring the internet for photos and trying to piece things together, but not this time.As it turns out, the location is haunted, and they regularly have ghost tours, and people – god love them – have filmed these tours. I found everything from a video of the inside of the antique elevators to one showing the roof access area. I do need to rearrange the pool’s location in one scene, but otherwise it is 100% what I envisioned for the place to be. How awesome is that?

Anyway, armed with that inspiration, I’ve finished the battle, am moving through the immediate aftermath, and will soon skip the months necessary to bring me to my closing event. Yay!

We did have some storms today. Nothing horrific. They hit about 5:30 and were done by 6:00, but we did get some hail:

And of course the dog was terrified, so we spent time hanging out in the bathroom (he likes to lay next to the bathtub when it storms – or in the bathtub.) Speaking of Fido, he is doing much better. Tonight is the last of his three Lasix a day and tomorrow he gets cut down to two. Yay!

Not much else. Before the storm it was in the 70s. Now it’s in the 40s. So that gets a BOO from me!

Back to writing. Have a haunted video kinda day!

Jo 🙂

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Thankfulness #93: Feeling Better

Though I didn’t mention it, I’ve been under the weather since we came back from Florida, in fact I spent most of the weekend either sleeping or watching TV with hubby (we’re getting caught up on NCIS and NCIS New Orleans) which hasn’t helped the writing thing much. Hard to write if you’re asleep. But, today I felt quite a bit better – so either I’m getting over it or coming back down with it (I actually have a day or two of feeling really great before I get sick – lots of energy, clear headed, etc etc. I think it’s because my immune system finally has something to attack besides myself). Either way, I was able to get some stuff done – like package up things I need to mail. I got all but Jonathan’s sent off (it’s a big box and can;t go media mail). I also did a bunch of odds and ends and on the writing end of things, I am quite deep into the final huge battle, and in fact finished chapter 22 and started 23. I’m at a niggly spot right now, though, and am not sure how to proceed, so taking a break to do this.

Today was also Terrible Turtle Tuesday in Book Born, which means Jonathan and I get to kind of take over and post some games and such. It’s a lot of fun and we had good participation today.

It was also not too bad outside. The plants outside in the flower beds are peeping up, which has ruined my schedule. I planned to get plastic and start working on the flower beds in March – before the plants started popping up. Now I guess I’ll have to try to do plastic around them. Yeesh.

I’ve been listening to Evanescence’s first album all day. Weirdly enough. I was burned out on them, and haven’t listened to them in years – in fact the sound of them annoyed me – but I guess it’s been long enough that I’m over it. I ran into one of those “vocal only” videos on Facebook last night that featured Bring me to Life and it kind of made me interested again. (cool. I pasted the FB link in and WP made it a video. Snazzy.)

Not much else, so I leave you with a freaky snap chat.

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Have a feeling better kind of day!

Jo 🙂

 

Blaming Mom or Why Did I Even Write an Outline?

Yeah, so as you might know, I’m working on the last book in my series. There was so much that needed done in as few drafts as possible, that I spent two or three days sorting everything out and making an outline. It wasn’t a super specific outline, more like:

Go to such a place. Need to talk to so-and-so about what’s-and-all. Such and such needs to happen. Such info needs imparted for X reason. Go to another place.

You can see it’s pretty loose – but my characters still – STILL – cannot stick to it. Someone who was supposed to live – who was in fact integral for the ending – got themselves killed, someone who was supposed to die skipped out on it and are still trucking along, which has had a big impact future books (unless I manage to kill them later, which I doubt). An event that was supposed to come AFTER the final battle has already happened (and taken two chapters of aftermath that it wasn’t supposed to). They screwed up and left where they were supposed to be and are now in a completely different state than they were supposed to be in. People who were not supposed to show up until after certain conversations have appeared before those conversations have taken place. A confrontation scene vanished in the dust, and now the big scene that was supposed to come immediately following the last big battle has been ruined. They’ve barely stuck to anything at all!

This leads me to question why I even bothered outlining at all – and reminds me why I don’t normally do it – because my characters are bad, bad, bad and won’t follow directions!

I really shouldn’t blame them, though. I should blame my mom. Follow me here. When I was a little kid, my mom would tuck us in at night, and when she did she would “play teddies”, which was when she would talk our favorite stuffed animals. They would talk about their day, what they’d done, and what we were going to do after mom left and we went to teddy town. It wasn’t just at night, though. Sometimes she’d talk them in the daytime, too. Each stuffed animal – or teddy as they got called no matter what animal they were – had a distinct personality. Booy was naughty; he read comic books, carried a sling shot, skipped doing his homework, and got into harmless mischief. Clowny was the epitome of sweet; he never had a mean word, and only got angry once when someone picked on his friend and fellow clown Fatty. Doggie was Booy’s best friend and a budding chef. He was more serious than Booy, and tried to keep him out of trouble most of the time, unless it involved their favorite comic hero, Captain Teddy, and then he would skip off to conventions or movies. Annie was a Lucy van Pelt knock off, who spent quality time punching her little brother Andy for being bad and having tea parties with the other girls. I could go on (we had a huge cast), but you get the idea.

What does this have to do with my characters? I’m getting there. As we got a little bit older, part of the teddy game involved us  talking the teddies – or in my case talking for them. I couldn’t do the voices, so instead I would just tell my mother what they said to me, like a third party narrator. But in order to tell her what they said, what they did, I had to understand each one’s personality. Annie would never do or say the things Booy would, just as Clownie would never do what Booy or Doggie would.

Thanks to that little game, I learned as a toddler how to make those characters into real people – as real as you or me. And they’re still real to me. Go on. Ask me what Booy did today (He skipped his chores and hid out reading his newest comic books and eating cookies), or what Clowny said about what he did (he looked sad and told Booy that when he skipped out it made extra work for others, which made Booy feel bad, so he tried to make up for it by offering Clowny cookies he’d had in his pocket all day – they’re okay so long as you pick the lint off). See?

The trouble is ,that magic wand of realness gets waved over a lot of my characters, including my vampires, and being real they’re convinced that they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, with no say from me, just as Booy didn’t ask me before skipping his turn at dusting. And since they feel empowered, they feel like they can ignore my neat outline and run amok, even when I yell at them to stop.

*sigh* Just blame my mom.

Have a teddy town kinda day!

Jo 🙂

 

 

 

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