Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cover This

This week I'm hoping to finish up In the Leaves, my Toriana story from Just Write Thursdays. Once I do I'll need some cover art for it, so I began playing around with some ideas and put together three possibilities:

Cover A



Cover B



Cover C



I haven't been able to narrow it down to one because I like all three ideas, so now I need some other opinions. Which cover of the three do you like most, and why? Let me know in comments.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

UF Sub Op

Infinite Acacia has an open call for their upcoming UF antho: "Infinite Urban Fantasy One will be a collection of urban fantasy short stories. We are looking for great UF that breaks away from the tired tropes of the genre. Think Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes or The Skyscraper Throne Trilogy by Tom Pollock. Sure, throw your vampires at us, but have you seen the sheer number of stories (good and bad) about them--they damn well be special if we're going to consider using them ourselves. Same goes for werewolves, witches, and little faeries living in Bon Temps." Length 1-17.5K; Payment: "Pay is 1¢ per word for the first 4,000 words." Reprints okay, electronic submissions only, see guidelines for more details. Submissions open September 30th, 2014 (don't send before); Deadline: December 31st, 2014.

Friday, September 19, 2014

By Hand

Beautiful handmade books are rare things these days. Here's the intricate process of making one, via Russian publisher Lamaritis Publishing House (contains background music, for those of you at work):

Birth of a book from Lamartis Publishing House on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just Write

Today I'm picking back up where we left off with Just Write Thursdays, so I'll be writing something new that I can post online before midnight. Everyone inclined to do the same is invited to join me.



My link: In the Leaves novella (and for those of you who have been following the story, today's new material begins on page 21).

For more details on Just Write Thursdays, click here to go to the original post.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014



As I mentioned on Monday I'm joining in National Novel Writing Month this year, so my November will be devoted to writing a book in thirty days. During that month here at the blog I'll also put up some motivational posts, progress updates, helpful links and anything I find that may be of interest to other NaNo'ers. They haven't updated the official website yet for 2014, but when they do I'll share whatever I think is notable (and please, Lord, let them design a better logo for this year. 2013 was pitiful.)

You may be thinking of diving in the madness as well, and I encourage you to go crazy and do it. For one thing, NaNoWriMo is the most work you will ever love and the most fun you will ever have in a single month. It's terrific to hammer out those 50,000 words and win, too, but it's not about that, not really. It's about you, and your writing, and living the writing life. For thirty days you get to experience what a writer's life is like; the nuts and bolts of what it is to be a writer (versus daydreaming/talking/wishing about it.)

For NaNoWriMo last year I found a bunch of November novel links in the PBW archives, and to get a jump on 2014 I thought I'd repost the list. Here they are:

ABCharacter -- a quick and easy way to outline a character.

Endweek NaNoPost -- making cover art for your NaNonovel along with some resource links.

Hiveword -- my review of Mike Fleming's terrific online novel organizer.

NaNo Now What? -- my suggestions on how to edit your NaNonovel once you're finished.

Midweek NaNoPost -- if you're a late starter, stuck in a rut, or you like to beat yourself up over anything writing-related, join the No Expectations Club via this pep talk.

NaNoFun -- Scroll down past the old 2010 badges to find some links to fun, free NaNoWriMo-friendly widgets.

NaNoNotebook -- how making up a notebook for your NaNonovel can help, with links to helpful freeware.

NaNoStuff Ten -- a list of freeware for NaNoWriMo'ers.

NaNoTen -- ten things to try when writing your NaNoWriMo book.

NaNoWriMo Wednesday -- some thoughts on planning your November novel, along with some links on outlining resources.

NaNoWriMojo Ten -- ten things to try when you're feeling blocked, it's no more fun, the magic has gone caput, etc.

Old Rides, New Roads -- my suggestions on how to evaluate an old story idea and its potential to serve as inspiration for your November novel.

Prep Talks -- The Mountain, Stand Out Characters, Food and Fire and Glass Wisdom.

Ready, Set, NaNoWriMo -- ideas and resources for November 1st.

Red Notebook -- my review on this interesting, helpful virtual calendar/notebook freeware.

You Are My Fire -- my storyteller's take on why we write, and for whom.

Writing Your Dragons -- how to handle writing something you hate to write.

So who else is in? Are you already making plans? What are you looking forward to this year? Let us know in comments.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The View

One of the questions I've been asked most frequently since having my surgeries is "So how bad was it before?" It's tough to put into words, of course, and I wasn't completely aware of just how poor my sight was until after the operations. Glasses helped for a while, and I think with some eye issues over time you get used to them. Plus I was in denial, big time.

Losing the ability to recognize certain colors was what brought me back to reality. Black and dark blue slowly began looking the same, and then I couldn't distinguish any difference between orange, pink or red. I lost green and blue after that. I work with color every day with my art and sewing and quilting, so I couldn't pretend everything was okay anymore.

To give you something of a visual, this approximates what I was seeing from my left and right eye, without glasses, when I finally realized I had a problem:



Six months later this is all I could see with my glasses on:



If you're wondering how much better I am post-surgery, here is the same view with what I can see now:



Other than being able to see colors again and focus, I think the most startling difference is that I can see white again. I don't think I have in a couple of years. Now the world seems dazzling, as if I've been transported to another planet where everything is bright and beautiful.

I also had no idea my bathrooms were so clean, either. What do you know, I am a good housekeeper.

All kidding aside, if you are having problems with your eyes, go and get them checked as soon as you can. I actually procrastinated a bit with mine, first thinking I was just depressed, and then blaming menopause and age. On some level I knew something was seriously wrong, but I didn't want to think about it. I had to go almost blind before I went to the doctor, and now that I can see clearly again, I know I was a complete idiot to put it off -- so don't make the same mistake.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Back Again Ten

Ten Things I Did While on Hiatus

Attended: An art show at a vineyard. We don't drink so no bottles came home with us, but it was interesting to people watch and see all the wine-making stuff along with the art.

Changed: My daily writing schedule, which over time had shifted more to afternoon and evening sessions; I've have gone back to getting up very early and writing in the mornings until mid-afternoon. It's slow going at the moment as I'm just now getting back into a regular routine, but the change seems to be helping.

Discovered: BBC's Call the Midwife series on DVD. Funny, dramatic, entirely lovely show; highly recommend it.

Dyed: My hair and went back to being a redhead. Had some strawberry blondish highlights put in, too. Nobody has fainted, laughed or thrown up after seeing me, so I think it works.

Observed: Lots of things I haven't noticed in a while. Like my dogs, who totally have me wrapped around their little paws.

Learned: How to make a cluster of grapes pendant out of twenty-one beads and 15" of wire (in under five minutes, no less.) Here's a pic of how my first one came out, and if you want to make one, here's the video tutorial.

Penned: A couple of poems, three short stories, many letters, tons of whiny personal journal stuff plus a synopsis and the first three chapters for a new project.

Read: Due to the last item on this list, not a whole lot. At present I'm working on the reissue of Barrett's Hill by Anne Stuart, after which I'll start Downfall by Rob Thurman.

Resolved: To do NaNoWriMo 2014 and write a new novel in a month. So I'm in; more details as I work out exactly what I'm going to write.

Survived: Not one but two eye surgeries. Yep, that's why I shut down the blog and was gone for so long.

Some of you know that I've been having eye issues for a couple of years now, but this past Spring my vision began rapidly deteriorating. I started having trouble with strange things, like recognizing colors, and driving at night. I went to the doctor thinking it was a post-menopause thing (or hoping it was, I should say.) That's when I found out I needed the surgeries.

As for why I didn't say anything until now, well, you can imagine how scary something like this is. Until I saw the specialist I wasn't sure what would happen or what outcome I could expect, either. I didn't want those of you who care to worry, and I also knew I'd be sporadically/temporarily blind while I recovered, so it would be tough to keep everyone updated.

The excellent news is that I'm not blind or going blind anymore. Thanks to my amazing surgeon both procedures went off without a problem, and there have been zero post-op complications. I'm expected to make a complete recovery, for which I will be grateful every single day for the rest of my life.

So what's been happening with you all since I've been offline? Let us know in comments.