Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out With 2011, In With 2012!

I totally meant to write an elaborate blog post last night to wrap up 2011, but then I went out with a friend and came home to SWTOR. Bad blogger, no biscuit! But I will say this much, even though I'm not ending this year on the high note that I did last year, I still accomplished a lot this year:

I moved out of my apartment and into a house. I still have roommates (housemates), but it's a far better living situation than I was in before. I can now rest easy in a place that feels like home with people who don't make my skin crawl, and I feel like I'm one step closer to living on my own at last.

I had a great relationship that didn't last. I'm sad that it ended the way it did, but glad that I was able to share something wonderful with someone while it lasted. She helped me open my life up to things I'd been denying myself over the years, and for that, I'm very grateful. I wish her nothing but peace and joy.

I let my writing take flight in the public domain, first as staff writer for Comic Booked, then as a self-published author. My writing is now up on Kindle and Nook, which was a huge step for me in getting my fictional world out to a wider audience, and I look forward to watching that seed grow in the new year.

Finally, I survived a number of hardships thrown my way this year. Between losing my job, getting into an accident, and going through a break-up, there were times when the old me, the mid-20s me, would have thrown in the towel. But I persevered, and the challenges of this year have fueled my writing in unexpected ways.

2011 wasn't a horrible year. It held great promise, some of which delivered and some of which fell short, and built the foundation for what will surely be a successful 2012. Even so, I'm not sad to see this year pass. If I had to do it all over again, I don't think I'd change a thing. Well, I might have released Everyday Divinities a little earlier, but aside from that...

Now, let's hit the ground running in 2012 and make some magic happen before the world ends in December!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Everyday Divinities Is Available On Nook, Too!

Wow, is it Wednesday already? It seems like just yesterday I'd put my short story anthology up on Kindle, and now I have more wonderful news just in time for the holidays!

Everyday Divinities, a collection of 5 short stories originally released on this very blog, is now a digital book available on BOTH Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook!


Everyday Divinities cover

Man, this week has been so draining on me. It's hard maintaining so much excitement for so many days! I've always wanted to present my writing to a much larger audience, and now it's up in the two major e-reader stores. It's crazy!

Aside from all that good news, I also have an author page on Goodreads! And you can add Everyday Divinities to your Goodreads bookshelf! Can you believe it?! It's too awesome, and it makes me very excited every time I log into that site now. I'll be making use of its various features come January, so keep a watch for that in 2012.

I hope all of you have checked out the anthology, or are about to over the holidays. If you like it, recommend it to friends! If you REALLY like it and feel that $2 is not nearly enough for the extraordinary short stories you've read, or you want to see more stories in a second collection, I'd encourage you to vote with your wallet and use that wee little "Donate" button just to the right of The Everyday Divinities Project links. If you didn't like it... well, constructive feedback is always welcome and encouraged, and knowing what doesn't work for you is just as important as knowing what does. Leave your feedback in the comments below and let me know what I could do differently.

Also, if you'd like to see my digital anthology in another e-reader format, leave a comment below and I'll see what I can do. I'm no miracleworker, but I do want to make sure that everyone who wants to read my writing is able to, regardless of the device they use.

I think that about covers it for now. I'll keep you all posted on Everyday Divinities news, as well as my other projects. Enjoy the anthology, and happy holidays!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Everyday Divinities Is Available On Kindle!

It's here! The long awaited arrival of my short stories to the world of digital publishing!

Everyday Divinities, a collection of 5 short stories originally released on this very blog, is now a digital book on Amazon Kindle!


Everyday Divinities cover

I can't even begin to tell you the gauntlet of emotions that I've run since clicking that "Save and publish" button last night. This is the first time I've really put my writing out there to see if people are willing to pay money for it. It's new territory for me, which is exciting and scary and awesome and terrifying and joyous and... well, you get the picture. This is a BIG DEAL to me, and you, my loyal followers, are here to witness how crazy it will make me! Isn't that exciting?!

Now, let's talk a bit of business. This is only the tip of the digital iceberg for this mini-anthology. True to my word, I'll be converting this document into file types for use on other devices this weekend, starting with the Nook's "PubIt!" service. If there's a particular file type you'd like to see it in, post it in the comments section below and I'll see what I can do. I can't make any promises, especially if it's an obscure file type that my conversion software doesn't support, but I'll definitely make every effort to give my work the widest audience possible.

Speaking of which, those of you who know about such things will be happy to know that my anthology is completely DRM-free. I hate it when I can't transfer music or books to other devices easily, and as much as I'd appreciate the extra income, I won't make my loyal followers buy more than one copy of my work just so they can have it on multiple devices. Put it on your e-reader, your phone, your computer, even all of the above. If you like it, recommend it to friends! If you REALLY like it and feel that $2 is not nearly enough for the extraordinary stories you've read, or you want to see more stories in a second collection, I'd encourage you to vote with your wallet and use that nifty little "Donate" button up there in the upper right corner of my blog. If you didn't like it... well, I always encourage feedback, and knowing what doesn't work for you is just as important as knowing what does. Drop me a line and let me know what I could do differently.

I think that about covers it for now. I'll keep you all posted on my further plans to bring Everyday Divinities to new devices, as well as my other projects. Enjoy the anthology!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Between the Lines - The Desktop and Laptop Computers

The release of my short story anthology is imminent! To celebrate, I thought I'd give my loyal followers another peek behind the creative curtain with a new Between the Lines post. We'll skip past The Copier for reasons I'll go into at another time and go straight toward the second to last story in the collection...

The Desktop and Laptop Computers

To start, this story was created with a specific purpose: To give expression to my very judgmental feelings regarding a certain chain of eateries. I don't know if they're like this in every city they're in, but this particular bakery is about as trendy as it comes, which of course meant that I had to poke fun at it in writing. It used to be that I'd make fun of people in Starbucks for the collection of laptops occupying every table. Now my mockery has a new target. I can't come right out and give the eatery's name, of course. That would be A Bad Thing, and I'm not about to sabotage my writing career before it starts by getting sued for libel. I can, however, switch around a couple of letters to create a fictional eatery with a similar enough name that astute readers should be able to figure out what it is without me coming out and saying the actual name. If you got it, points to you! If you didn't, don't worry about it, you're not missing much.

Aside from riffing on this eatery and the people who patron the establishment, I've been meaning to delve into gods who are co-workers as well as friends, similar to what I did with the Television and the Remote Control story. I wanted to take them out of the work situation and put them in casual mode, so I set the story in a bit of "downtime" that the two gods might share in the course of their duties. After all, even the most dedicated of gods needs to forge connections to those of like minds to expand their influence. I had my setting and my discussion, now it came down to forging the voice of each god.

It made sense to make the laptop god, who naturally would be ranting about this eatery that his domain is taken into constantly, the younger and hipper of the two computers. Being so mobile, he would be more well-traveled than the desktop computer, so I made him sort of a free-spirited, jet-setting kind of character. His counterpart, the desktop computer, would be older and more reserved. The contrast was a natural one, which I emphasized by putting the desktop computer in a business suit, to reflect the sheer number of desktops used in a corporate setting. While I didn't go into detail in the laptop's attire, I pictured him as much more casual and relaxed in his clothing (despite his energetic rant).

The names came to me easily enough. Since HP and Dell are two of the most widely used computer brands out there, it made sense to adapt them to my naming conventions. HP became the initials for Holland Parcell, and Dell became Dall. Parcell, incidentally, is a variation of a name found in my family, so my thanks go out to my cousin for marrying into a family name that I could use in a story!

Since I'm a big fan of MMOs, I couldn't help but bring them into a discussion between two computer gods. For curious parties, I used to roleplay on Sentinels server in World of Warcraft under the name Cynlan on Horde side, and these days I'll be active in Star Wars: The Old Republic as Jace Colton on the RP server Vrook Lamar. Feel free to say hi to me if you run into me in-game, but don't be too distressed if I don't get back to you right away. I may be in the middle of roleplay, or I could be in a boss fight.

Incidentally, if you have to ask what Dall meant by that comment of the other "good time" people use computers for, you're better off not knowing.

Finally, major props go out to Karuna Tanahashi for giving this story a critical eye and making some very sound editorial suggestions. It really made the difference in comparison to previous stories. Thank you, Karuna!

Got a question you'd like to ask about The Desktop and Laptop Computers story? Feel free to post it in the comments section below, and I'll answer it right on this very page!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hectic Holidays

My posts typically become less and less frequent around the holidays, and for this I apologize (yet again). But hey, I have some very good reasons for not posting so much this time! In addition to the usual holiday madness, I'm working a new job and giving my anthology one final pass before it goes live on e-readers. I also have a TON of notes to sift through for my trilogy to kick it up to the next level, more behind the scenes stuff to post on the short stories (AKA bonus material for those who come across my anthology without knowing about my blog) and a host of other good things that I don't want to jinx by talking about them just yet. (Two words: Short film!)

With so much on my plate right now, this really is the season of giving! And soon, I'll be giving the world the gift of my imagination. It's coming sooner than you think!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

NaNoWriMo: The End

So, it's December 3rd, and National Novel Writing Month is over. If you made it to 50,000 words before it ended, congrats! There is no feeling greater than having met your word count goal, and hey, you also have a novel to show for it, too! Talk about accomplishment!

If you didn't make it, don't feel bad. You started, and that's what counts. I tried to start so many novels before I did NaNoWriMo, and none of them got past the first page. Starting a creative endeavor can be the hardest thing you'll ever do, so if you got even a couple of pages in, you're still way ahead of the curve.

Of course, every ending is another beginning, and NaNoWriMo is no exception. If you didn't finish your novel, you now have as much time as you like to see it through to the end. If you'd like, make your own deadline and stick to it. You can even ditch the deadline completely and work on it in your spare time. If you finished your novel, let it sit for a bit and then go back through and edit it. Flesh out the parts that weren't as strong because you didn't have time to do the research. Cut out the weak bits that didn't exactly fit but still contributed to your word count. Take that crappy first draft that's now in your position and work it into a strong second draft. Before you know it, you'll have a manuscript that, if you so choose, you can shop around to literary agents and publishers, or self-publish as an e-book.

Whether you decide to forge ahead with your novel (like I did) or let it rest on your mantle as the sign of a job well done, my kudos go out to all of you who participated in this month-long event. Congrats, you're a real writer now!