Balancing Act

With all the things going on in our house with the remodel, we’ve been discombobulated in the rest of the house. This means my crocheting has been stashed away. So I haven’t really been crocheting at all.

Love a great yarn sale…

Now there are two things which sooth me – crocheting and writing. There’s nothing better than having a movie weekend and working on a crochet project. Or to have a week off work and spend as much time as possible writing.

July I released Through Destiny’s Eyes. In August I was part of Into the Dark anthology and To the Moon and Back anthology. I loved both opportunities. They tapped into different writing challenges for me. Saturday I release Paranormal Investigator Files and I’ve been prepping for this event. I also have a release a month through February.

That’s a lot of marketing and promotional work. It’s detail work which is often repetitive. This is not my favorite thing to do but if I don’t then no sales. So it’s an essential activity I must do.

The opportunity to be part of another anthology came to me. Pushing myself to finish a short story in about a month made me realize how much I love writing. Pumping out anywhere from 2K to 5K or more in a night satisfies me in a way I don’t know that I can describe. It takes me to a place I rarely go. I feel fulfilled and satisfied with me. I get the same feeling when I crochet.

Clearly I need to find a balance. I’ve struggled with blurred and double vision and headaches because I’m spending so much time on the computer. So tonight instead of feverishly trying to get promotions done so I can squeak out some family and writing time, I spent tonight with family and not looking at my computer. I started designing a new pattern for crocheting and have really enjoyed crocheting – playing with colors and stitches and figuring out what works.

This was one of my best purchases

Tomorrow night, I’ll be working on the short story to edit, rewrite and see if I can squish it down to 15K. In my head, I’ve accepted I will end up publishing it myself. Don’t get me wrong – I want to be in the anthology. I just like a backup plan. So when I’m revising and editing, I’ll be looking at how to revamp it so I can expand it if I need to publish it myself if needed.

I need a little bit of all – practically I need to have time to promote my books, time to write and time to crochet and design. So I’m working on it. This weekend, a bit of promoting and crocheting. Then later this month I have a week off and I’ll spend those days juggling all three activities. My hope is I’ll be able to finish a project or two for writing. But also work on crocheting and designing. I have gifts to make for the holidays and biographies to watch (or movies or ???). Intertwined with those activities, I’ll work on promoting.

Short Story part 3

I realized last night when I couldn’t sleep I need to transition better for my third chapter. I thought about how I could transition and had no idea. It’s part of why I was up late late…

Today I got back into the story and created the transition I needed. It turned out beautifully and explained one of the key points in the story. Now I have to figure out what the key point will be for the other character. I’ve already hinted at it but I need to solidify her reasons.

I like the progress this is making. I like the characters and if it doesn’t get chosen, I’ve got a place for it. I’ve got a cover and I think it will make a nice holiday story to release on my own. I’d rather be part of the anthology but either way, the story won’t go to waste.

So progress and 1800 more words in the thing. I’m up to just over 7300 words. As I’m looking at it, I think I’ve got a sexy scene, an argument, and the make up scene and I’ll be done. Now that’s what I plan but my characters are frequently annoying and decide their own path. So if it truly is three scenes, each of those scenes can be right around 2500 and still stay under the 15K total. Only time will tell if I can actually do it.

Short Story Progress part 2

I had free time over the weekend. I should have been writing but the words just didn’t come. This happens to me when I finish things. I finished the other short story – alien prison planet. It’s so different from this short story, I think that’s why I’m hung up.

I made some progress today. I made myself do a schedule tonight. I have client work to get done. I spent an hour on that. I putzed around on social media for too long but still got stuff done. I answered emails.

Then I returned to my holiday romance. I finished writing a scene where I ran out of steam. I was thinking about how my couple could get closer… an idea just popped into my head. I’ll have to see how it pans out tomorrow because I’m trying to be responsible and it’s already midnight here.

I’m up to about 4500 words. I’m starting Chapter 3. And I just got an idea which has driven my words up to 5500. I like the scene. I might need to smooth it out a bit. Now – time for bed so I can do my day job.

Short Story Progress

By September 1st, I need to finish a holiday romance short story which is between 3,000 and 15,000 words. I started it two weeks ago. Up until today, I had 717 words written. I’ve got the premise and my two lovebirds but I hadn’t gone much beyond that.

Tonight when I should have been thinking about sleep (hahahaha) I opted to reread it. I got to the end, wrote a little more, and did some formatting. I didn’t think I’d much more than that. These characters have not pushed me at all. But I’ve given myself a setting where I have approximately seven weeks in which my two characters have to go from being a bit adversarial to in love as well as resolving something in her past (not sure what yet though I have ideas brewing) about the holiday season.

I wrote. I figured an hour and I’d see how awful it was. Well after doing age calculations, research on storage units, depression glass, antique glassware, and a few other things, I now have 2947 words written and I think I know the path I’m headed with this story.

My hope is I’ll stay inspired and finish the story in the next couple days so I can at least do an edit on it by the first.

Meanwhile I have a story in an anthology out on Wednesday and a short story which comes out September 4. I’m also prepping my October books’ files and getting started on my November release tasks.

I know I do this to myself. I should spread out my releases further. I guess with two of the remaining ones, I could spread them out a bit but they’re done… The reality is – they’re done so I want them out.

Each one of these releases I’m working on building marketing tools, publishing tools, and a skillset that will hopefully lead to me having higher sales. Will it work? No idea. But I’m trying this way for this round of things to be published. I’ll analyze how well it works as I go.

Writing Vacation Day 4

Today has been a day of interruptions, family time, and annoyances. It seemed like from waking up, I wasn’t able to write because I had things like pay bills, answer calls, and so on. It’s been busy with promoting an anthology – fingers crossed it makes the USA Today best sellers list. Trying to write.

My writing today was sporadic. There are times when I open my computer and the words flow so easily it’s like water out of a faucet. Then there are days like today. Every time I got going, I either got interrupted or distracted.

So in spits and spurts today, I worked on my dark romance… not sure it’s dark anymore. Tonight, I finished the first draft. It was supposed to be 10-12K. It was supposed to be dark. I’m laughing hysterically because my muse never follows the rules. Not ever. She’s a naughty tease. Dark, I don’t consider the story dark, though it is more dark than I normally write. Word count…. so before I started these days, I wasn’t sure I would even finish this story. But the characters grabbed me and made me. But instead of a nice and easy short story of 10K, I’ve got a nearly 29K novella. I wrote 5400 words (roughly) today.

I like it. I think. Whenever I finish a project, I either love or hate it. This one is outside my normal so I’m not sure how I feel about it. It will go off to the beta readers so they can tell me yeah or nay. I may reread it once first.

Tomorrow is a busy day and I think my people will be out of my house. I might have to put my phone on do not disturb and see if I can start the next short story I want to finish. I’ll have to see if these characters are out of my head and if the start I have on it inspires me to write more. It’s very different from the one I just finished.

Writing Vacation Day 3

This morning I was woken up earlier than I wanted to be awake. I’m not a happy morning person. It’s the worst part of the day. However, I couldn’t go back to sleep. I got up and started promoting, answering messages, and so on.

For a time I tried to go back to sleep but that was a no go. I started writing again. I’m sort of laughing at myself because this short story has moved from short story to novella. I’m at 25K total and still not done. I started writing with a concept and as an attempt to write a dark romance. I don’t know how successful I’ve been at dark romance but the story has taken on a life of its own.

I’m on what I think will be the last chapter – not swearing to it. But for the last thirty minutes have been fumbling. I know what comes next but my brain is saying – nope. Probably because I’ve been writing most of the day.

This story was supposed to be 15K. I’m so far beyond that, I’ll end up self-publishing this. I know the steps I have yet to go through and think it will be one chapter. But I never know until I’m done. For all I know this may stretch into an actual novel. Today I wrote 9600 words. A really really good day. I’m not sure how many words this is total but I’m pleased with my progress during this vacation.

Tomorrow I have one takeover. Aside from that, I’m hoping to get this one done and move to the next. I’ll be interested to hear what my people think of my story.

Writing Vacation Day 2

At 3:30 am I gave up on finishing my story. I thought – finish this escaping scene and then one more and I’ll be done. Easy breezy. Right? Nope. Can’t be that simple. I finished the scene and wrote more.

I was woken up at 8:30. A dangerous thing to do when I planned to sleep much longer than that. But I got up slowly. My goal today – finish the story. I worked with MANY interruptions. Some were fun, like when Bash jumped on my footstool of my recliner and stared at me until I set aside my computer. Then we cuddled. He got pets and pets. I got snuggles. Some were annoying, like the discussion on how much we should spend on a sink. Do we buy cheap and not what we want or do we spend more to get what we want?

I talked to my niece, my sister, my daughter today. I remembered a day job task which I meant to do before I went on vacation and time ran out before I could figure it out. I worked on budget – never fun. I working on promoting two books – one out on the 10th and the other out on the 25th. I handled messages from a range of people.

Then people went to bed. Classical music played and I wrote. I got 6800 words written today. I’m a bit disappointed by it. I also am cursing the muse who is messing with me. I had a plan. I got to that point and the characters said – what? That’s how you think we end? Nope. Come along we’re taking you on a ride.

Now I’m at 15,480 for words. I was only supposed to have 12K. Ooopppss. The main five characters – Zulma and her reverse harem Drake, Claud, Parker, and Stuart were supposed to ultimately ride off into the proverbial sunset and all would be well. They refused. Bastards. Instead they said – well what about the others? What about the rest of the cannon fodder imprisoned on the planet? Why can’t we save them? My brain said – nope too complicated. I’m too close to my word count. I just need to finish…

Yeah and then the characters said. Word count? Meh! We don’t care. Here’s what we’re doing… Not surprising, I like what the bastards want to do and think it fills the plot out nicely with a lovely little surprise at the end which I hope no one sees coming. I’d tell you but then the characters would kill me.

For now, still not done. I’m hoping for quiet tomorrow morning and better quality writing time. I hope to finish by noon but I’ll see how the day goes. It’s a little after 2 am so earlier than last night. I’m off to bed with the hope of kitten snuggles as Bash Bear has graced me with his presence. I’m also hoping for sixish hours of sleep… not holding my breath.

Manuscript Progress

Procrastination is a great tool if you don’t want to accomplish anything. Today I set up posts for my blog, did some promoting on some of my books, celebrated my first hardcover book and a variety of other tasks in order to avoid writing.

I had a lot of excuses – my female character is too… I hate my story which is me being unsure of whether I’ve got the right tone. So I putzed in the story. A bump into encounter which lead to breakfast… a conversation with her daughter…. texts from her ex (bastard that he is) and more.

I whined to another author about being outside my comfort zone in genre, and so many aspects of the story. Finally my little Bash Bear (one year old kitten) came and lay on my lap for attention. He wanted Grammy time. He snuggled in and I pet him, scritched his chin and gave him love.

When he had enough Grammy time, I realized I needed to stop my bitching and just get it done. Now it’s 2 am and I’m headed for bed. I’ve written 6752 and I’m up over 11,500 for total words. All good and I am starting to like my female character more. I also like how my characters are syncing with each other. Only 38,500 left to go. Hopefully tomorrow I get some good writing time in. This will be my focus all week. If I can get somewhere between 3-5K words each night, I might be able to finish the rough draft in a week. Fingers and toes crossed but we’ll see whether the characters will cooperate with me.

Day 1 of Furlough

I’m officially on furlough through the end of May. I was lucky to only have to take 13 days over the next 13 months but I opted to lump them together to get them out of the way.

This means today… well last night I stayed up till 3 am editing which meant I slept until 10:30. I got two more of the Wayfarer books edited. I’m re-editing them and releasing them with new covers. I have four more to get through the edits. Then I have formatting and other things to work on before I can publish them.

I signed up for unemployment and put up a resume – because it’s required for unemployment. It wasn’t difficult. Go to the site, create an account, and follow their questionnaire.

Aside from that, I’ve been marketing my books and set up posts for my book tours. I have a long long long list of things I want to get done over the next two weeks. We’ll see how many of those I manage to get through.

My middle daughter and I are doing a virtual paint night tonight. I’m looking forward to that. They are always fun and I enjoy the time spent with her and painting.

No I’m not planning to document all my furlough days but I figured what the heck, let’s do this one.

Shawn Gale

Shawn and I met through social media. Through this interview I discovered he studied in my home state – yeah Wisconsin!

Author Bio:

Shawn Douglas Gale is a Canadian screenwriter, an academic, and a critically-acclaimed author.

Gale graduated from Fraser Valley Writers’ School with a Master’s diploma. He then graduated from Humber College’s prestigious School for Writers, where he was awarded a Letter of Distinction. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing at Bircham International University. He was a student at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Creative Writing department from 2014 to 2017, where he earned two certificates in screenwriting. He has completed various other courses and programs in areas such as trauma, psychology, criminology, and vocational training.

Gale’s many stories and articles have been publshed in anthologies and periodicals in the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of the acclaimed, award-nominated story collection The Stories That Make Us. He is also the author of World of Dawn: Arise and World of Dawn: Reveal, books one and two of his critically-acclaimed fantasy series for all ages. Books three and four will be published in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Gale is a member of Burnaby Writers Society and The Writers’ Union of Canada.

Tell us about yourself?

I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and grew up on military bases in eastern and western Canada. Throughout my late teens and early twenties, I worked as a carpenter’s apprentice and later carpenter. I built custom timber frame homes in Ontario’s Muskoka lakes, on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

I’ve been an avid reader since I could read and played Dungeons & Dragons seriously in my teens. Some of my favorite movies are Braveheart, Apocalypse Now, Guardians of the Galaxy, and both the Hunger Games and The Lord of the Rings series. I have an eclectic taste in music. In particular, classical music, foreign folk music, and 90’s dance and hip-hop gets my motor revving. Although I don’t write poetry, I read, recite, and memorize it daily. My favorite poems are by Leonard Cohen and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I also really like Anne Sexton’s “The Starry Night” and Marianne Williamson’s “Shine.”

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

In late 2009, at the age of thirty, I had a life changing experience. It was during this time that I committed to becoming an author. I’ve never strayed.

What genres do you like to read? And are these the genres you like to write?

I read pretty much every genre, except for romance (nothing against it), though I do lean toward sci-fi, fantasy, and literary fiction. More often than not, I have three books on the go: fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. For non-fiction, I usually read history, philosophy, and self-improvement. I’m reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly right now for a university course. When it comes to poetry, I read everything and anything. Lately, I’ve been memorizing “The Builder” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Writing is an adventure, and I enjoy challenging myself. If I take on a project, I’ll lean into it with everything I got. I’ve written sci-fi, fantasy, memoir, essay, screenplay, and literary short and long fiction. After I finish my acclaimed World of Dawn, WOD, sci-fi fantasy series, I’ll be working full time on a novel loosely titled Into the Caliphate, which I’m doing research for as we speak. It’s literary fiction in the vein of Cormac McCarthy’s style. It’s about a young man who heads to ISIS’s Caliphate at the height of its power to rescue his younger sister, who’d travelled there to become an ISIS bride. Keep your eyes open for it. I promise it’ll be a doozy.

Is your book for adults, young adults, or children?

My WOD series is for ages twelve and up. I’ve heard glowing feedback from teens to adults. There are themes, subject matters, and characters that I believe will resonate with everyone. With that said, I do suggest parents read up on World of Dawn via reviews, excerpts, etc. before buying books for their children.

What is your current release project?

Currently, I’m preparing to launch World of Dawn: The Great Reach, which is book three of my series. At the same time, I’m seeking financing to produce book one’s feature film and promoting the series in its entirety.

Tell us about your key characters?

The main characters are a band of troubled youth from Earth. On their journey to find a way home, they meet a host of other characters. Some join their adventure for a time, while others pop in and out throughout the four books. As I noted earlier, there’s literally someone for everyone in WOD.

The core characters are the young cowboy Tanner Kurtz. There’s Colby Watts from the streets of Detroit. The sisters Anna and Tabitha Conroy are from a wealthy San Francisco family. Simon Watts is from a Snohomish Native American reserve in the Pacific Northwest. Glooscap is a legendary brave of the Sawnay people who’ve been on World of Dawn for centuries. Ambrose Bierce is the mentor of the group. He’s based on the real-life American writer who actually disappeared in 1917 while searching for a stargate in Mexico. (Yes, I am serious.) And Dejunga is the fiercest brave of the cannibalistic Wendo tribe, who’s hunting the group for WOD’s super-villain One Who Sees All.

What is the blurb or synopsis of the book?

Here’s the synopsis for the soon-to-be-released book three, World of Dawn: The Great Reach. Book one’s and two’s can be viewed on my website

Finding a way home to Earth has proven elusive for the boys and girls of Halton House. Now, in the Women of the North’s alpine village, they believe they’ve made it. They soon learn, though, it won’t be as easy as they’ve been led to believe. With foes around every corner and One Who Sees All’s bounty hunters on the stalk, the group’s mettle is put to the ultimate test. And when a people need help, they’re faced with yet another dilemma. One that may kill them. The time is nearly at hand. A convergence of unimaginable forces are about to collide. And the truth of World of Dawn will soon be revealed. Continue the adventure in the third installment of World of Dawn. A coming-of-age story in which a journey to find a way home becomes a quest to save a world.

Do you have a favorite scene?

This is a tough question to answer, because there are a plethora of excellent scenes. That said, I’m gonna say the final scene of each four books. All four books end with a scene in Dejunga’s point-of- view. There ends up being much more to him than initially meets the eye. That’s all I’ll say. Read the books if you want to know more. And trust me, you want to know more.

What advice would you give a beginner?

If you want to be an author, write every day. Practice your craft and study the market and literature daily: by yourself, in school or workshops. It takes will, courage, and vision to be a critically and commercially successful author. People dream of writing for a living, yet unfortunately many throw in the towel before publishing. Maybe they can’t handle the rejection. Maybe their friends and family question their sanity. Or maybe they just don’t have what it takes. You need to persevere, be strong and brave, and believe in yourself. And of course, you need to have something important to say.
So what are you waiting for?

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