Just a quick post to let you know Apple and Kobo have joined Amazon and Barnes and Noble in making VISIBLE, Book Four in the Ripple Series, available as an eBook. If you are waiting on the paperback, that should be coming in about four weeks. (Hopefully by St Patty’s Day!)
VISIBLE picks up where Unfurl left off, so you should read books one, two, and three of the Ripple Series before diving in.
If you have read about my writing habits, you know I like lots and lots of revision. I also find it super helpful to step away from my stories in between drafts. Over the course of a year and a half, I have a lot of “down time” during which I set my manuscripts aside to age.
This year (and a half), I did something fantabulous with all that downtime: I wrote a whole ‘nother book! I am so very pleased to announce that the Ripple Trilogy now has a companion title. Okay, it’s a read-after title. But it is full length and it is publishing just in time for Valentine’s Day. *Squee!*
VISIBLE, A Ripple Novel, tells the story of Gwyn and Christian in the days after Unfurl ends. If you aren’t already on the New Release List, you might want to sign up now! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this story, and I can’t wait to hear what you think. (Yes, that is the actual first page from one of the late revisions of VISIBLE.)
Next week: Cover Reveal!
Are we excited yet???
**Mars fans who are holding your breath: so am I. Actually, I’m working like crazy to get it finalized for release this Spring.**
This is just a quick post (and giveaway!) to let you know 2 things:
1) Rippler has been included in a 6 e-book Box Set for just .99 including best-selling authors SM Reine and Sarra Cannon! Woohoo! (And yes, they still pay us authors!) If you like your fantasy heroines edgy, you can pick up copies at these e-tailers:
The bookshelves, they are groaning once again. With the daughterling’s week-long vacay in the hospital (see Jan. 4 on timeline), I didn’t get some end of year cleaning done. I figure this blog hop is the perfect opportunity!
Enter below to win a combo of 5 paperbacks/hardbacks (my random picks) from my groaning shelves (US) or your choice of one of my ebook box sets (INTL). Blog hop ends January 24th. Good luck!
Me! And I did, too! And today’s Chinese launch of a rover to the Moon reminded me it was high time I blogged about my recent visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for the launch of MAVEN, the probe traveling to Mars to figure out where all the water on Mars went to. I applied as a guest of @NASASocial, which you should totally check out if you are interested in space or going to see a launch some day yourself! https://twitter.com/NASASocial
But really, pictures do such a great job of telling a story, so here are a few of my trip to NASA:
We got to hear presentations from some of the NASA women behind MAVEN!
I got to hang out at the countdown clock. That would be the same clock that counted down the Apollo missions!
And then, they let me be the launch director and say, “All systems go!” (Okay, so, just remember at this point that I make stuff up for a living.)
And then it was out to the launch site itself. Or as close as it was safe for us to get…
The launch was stunning. Even the birds thought so. (You have to love how a couple of them are all, “Dude, this happens all the time. No big.”)
And finally, some cool artwork that I found inspiring AND a copy of a dictionary in the flight control room alongside the flight manuals. Oh, yeah, baby!
It all started with the phrase below: She was the kind of girl who slept with books on her bed. Well, to all good things must come “The End.”
I finished drafting the Mars Series all the way to the end this past week. (Drafting, mind you, is not where I put in the serious hours. Read about how my brain works here.) Anyway, as I was doing this I kept asking myself, what else will my readers want to know?
And then it occurred to me I could, you know, ASK my readers. So this is me, asking: what little or big “loose ends” are you hoping to see wrapped up when The Saving Mars Series is complete? I can’t promise that I’ll be able to fit everything in, but I can promise I’ll take your requests seriously. You, dear reader, are the reason I’ve been able to spend years with Jessamyn and company. I truly, deeply appreciate it!
So hit me with some questions you are hoping to see answered. You might even win a button (US residents) or a sticker (international) for your efforts! (Image below.) Enter by using the Rafflecopter form!
What do you want to know?
It has been quite awhile since I wrote a craft post, and the last post I popped up was just so full of sadz, so I thought I would turn to something that makes a small smile creep up on my face: revision.
Yes, that’s right, I Like Revision. A bit of an understatement. Let me try again. I Live For Rewrites. There. That felt better.
Here is the first page of a novel I started when I was eight. There are clear signs of what kind of writer I would eventually become. Um, that would be the cross outs in case you were wondering. From a very early age, I really enjoyed going back over my stories, my letters to grandparents, my journal entries–anything I’d written, really.
Earlier this week, I clicked on a link that brought me to Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds blog. (In his own words, it is full of “lots of naughty language. NSFW. Probably NSFL. Be advised.” So, yeah. Caveat reader.) But I just loved one section of it so much that I did one of those little out-loud Oh! sounds as I was reading. Out loud. I really did. Here is the section I liked, with some expletives deleted:
The first draft is just me dumping all the puzzle pieces out. But it’s still a jumbled image. This part is where the art lives. This is when the story is smashed together, piece after piece. I can make it all make sense!
I just love that image: first draft as puzzle pieces scattered on a table. I know wonderful writers who prefer to craft what will be their final version from their very first go at telling the story. I have tried to be that writer. But my brain refuses to let me be that writer. When I try to get it right the first time, my creative brain takes a vacation in the land of far, far away. The writing is wooden and I lose interest so fast I might even decide to sort the linen closet.
But if I allow myself to work the way my writer brain likes, I actually get ahead.
I guess what I am hoping to convey about craft is that either way is fine. It is up to you to listen to your brain and figure out what it wants you to do.
Mine wants me to throw that first draft down as quickly as possible, riddled with errors and inconsistencies and things that could only, possibly ever be of interest to the work’s creator. (Me.) It is exhausting, writing that first draft. But if I do it this way, it is far less exhausting than if I do it any other way.
Writing really jumbled puzzle-pieces-dumped-out first drafts means I have a ton (a tonne) of work to do later. But that is the way I like it. I sort those pieces. I look for ways to make everything fit, to create that interesting picture that I know is in this mess somewhere.
Have you ever done one of those puzzles where all the pieces are the same shape (except for the edges)? I have. My writing is like that. I put the whole thing together. End revision one. I notice that the stars are at the bottom where they definitely do not belong. I move things. A lot. End revision two. Then I start to suspect the puzzle maker threw in some extra pieces. Look! There they are! Get rid of them! End revision three.
Okay, the analogy is starting to break down, but when I am actually in revision, there are at least two more passes. One for general flow: chapter to chapter, paragraph to paragraph, sentence to sentence. And then a final polish pass where I look for (or create) one sparkling bright bit on each page. This takes time. This takes passion.
And I love every minute of it.
Really, the only part of writing I’m not crazy about is that first draft. But if I am nice to my creative brain, it is a whole lot more pleasant of an experience.
What about you? What habits do you cultivate to be nice to your creative brain?
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be writers
Don’t let ‘em hold pencils and write all that slush
Let ‘em be actors and singers and such
I just got back from a month in California where I got to visit a farmer’s market twice each week. Those markets always included a musician or two, which got me to pondering something I’ve been brushing up against a lot, lately. Let’s see if I can put it all down in words. (After I show you this fantastic fruit!)
Just before my California sojourn, I attended my second writing conference in as many months. I love hanging with my tribe a couple of times a year. It is good to be in the company of like minds, people who salivate over sentences the way I do.
But I walked away from this last con feeling so sad for the writer’s lot in life. I’ve always lumped writing in with dancing, painting, playing the cello, and so on. We’re all artists. We are angsty and internal; we are driven and haunted by our craft, by our muses; we have this thing that we want to share–we want to know if our art matters.
(Now, there are artists who do not want to share and who don’t care what anyone else thinks of their artmaking. I don’t personally know any artists like this, but I am persuaded they exist. I am not talking about these people, and I hereby beg leave to apologize for leaving them out of my discussion. :P)
At the conference I attended, I heard a clear message. It was a familiar message, but for some reason, this time I found it a bit disheartening. I hope I can summarize it fairly. It goes something like this:
It will take you a very long time to be able to put your art out there.You need to be prepared to have zero audience interaction for each and every piece of art you make for years. Maybe for decades. You should continue to strive to be the best artist you can be, but you will need to do this for love and not for money. Your artmaking must fit into the nooks and crannies after you pay the bills. For a very, very long time.
When I worked in theater (ten-ish years of my life), there was a lot of work-without-pay, for sure. But I could count on an audience to look at my craft, kind of like the musicians at the Farmer’s Market. You hit a certain level of proficiency with your craft and you start to itch to share what you do. Now, I never saw my costume designs on Broadway, but I made costumes for the local ballet, the Shakespeare festival, the kids’ summer theater. In short, I could get my art out there where it could surprise, delight, and connect with an audience.
Overlapping those years, I also worked as a clothing designer. I was never hired by Calvin Klein, but I sold at street fairs and at juried art shows, and I retailed online and wholesaled to stores. My stuff was out there. I had both an audience and a paycheck to show for it while I was still in the business of improving my craft. In the rag biz, especially, I know I wouldn’t have become such a good designer without the feedback from my customers. (BTW, I sold that company and my designs are still featured here.)
Not all of my artmaking friends make a living with their chosen craft, but most of the artists I know have the opportunity to share their art with other non-artists. That’s what the musicians at the Farmer’s Market are doing. You get feedback on what works (and doesn’t), you have interactions, you find those who appreciate the art and craft you bring to the world.
This is not the case with my writing friends. There is no Novel-in-the-Park. No gallery that will jury their books in. If they share with anyone, it’s at events like the cons I attended, or maybe in a critique group. That is, a writer’s only interactions are with other writers as opposed to with readers.
This strikes me as so different from other kinds of artmaking. For most artists, artmaking does not happen in a void. That is, along the path to becoming self-supporting artists or deciding to make art for free, they have many opportunities to perform or present their craft to an audience. I think we yearn for this as human beings–for those connections. I know I do. I know my unpublished writer friends do.
It made me happy to see the musicians at the Farmer’s Market making those human connections. And it made me sad to listen at my writers conferences where writers were being told, essentially, to put those yearnings for connection with an audience aside for a very, very long time.
I guess this explains why I pushed so hard at the boundaries that exist for writing. I get why Jane Austen borrowed money to have her work published. (Something I do not recommend, for the record!)
What do you think? Should this make me sad or was I just having a bad week?
Here’s the thing. If you’ve followed me in any way, shape, or form in the last five or so years, you’ve probably noticed a certain vagueness as to my age. A certain je ne sais quoi about being unefemme d’un certain age. (Okay, I totally abused the sense of the phrase “je ne sais quoi,” but it is such an adorable phrase that I couldn’t resist.)
Well, I think it is time, in the words of Puumba, to “Put your behind in your past.” Today I turned fifty. That’s right. Half a freaking century. Born in 1963 when landing on the Moon was still an idea and not ancient history.
When it came to my authorly career, I’ve been embarrassed and worried about my age. I mean, who writes about teenagers when they haven’t been one in decades? (Decades! Plural!) Can someone with that many birthday candles even remember being a teen? (The short answer is: yes.)
And then I went to see Star Trek: Into Darkness last week. And as I watched, I realized I was one of only a handful of people in the crowded theater who would have seen not onlyWrath of Khan when it originally screened, but also Space Seed when it originally ran on air. (Did ya know there was an episode before there was Wrath? Now ya know!)
At that moment, I kind of lost the action of the movie because I was just so struck by how unspeakably cool it was that I’d seen both previous iterations of Khan in one lifetime. And then I found myself wondering how many people in the theater had once had the incredible experience of watching man walk on the Moon for the first time when it was happening! And then, I decided it was actually pretty cool that I’d been around for so many years. I have seen and experienced some really cool shizzle! That’s lucky! That’s incredible!
So, without apology, I now own up to my full fifty years. There. That feels better.
Of course, I’ll still gladly take any advice on how to feel good about aging–there are parts of it that are less-than-awesome. Whatdyagot?
What do you call an author who forgot to hit “post” on her new book launch announcement?
Um…Busy? Blush-y-faced? Buried in promo?
Heh. Yeah. So, all of the above. Which necessitated a bit of a re-write of said blog post. Losing Mars, Book Three in the Saving Mars Series has, indeed, launched. I’ll tease you with the description:
Some Goodbyes Are More Final Than Others…
Jessamyn has survived a terrifying crash but lost her ship, joining Pavel, Ethan, and others in the dissenter settlement of Yucca. Now, Chancellor Lucca Brezhnaya believes Jess is out to destroy the Terran government, and Lucca will stop at nothing to find Jess. The trail of tellurium left in the Mars Raiders’ wake makes them vulnerable to discovery, and when Lucca places a spy in their midst, secrets are spilled that could mean the loss of everything–and everyone–Jess holds dear.
And, dear reader, if you act quickly, you can catch this title on sale on Amazon for 2.99 (reg. 4.99) e-book. The paperback is 12.99 through Amazon and should soon be up on Powells and Barnes & Noble as well.
I think this is the best cover yet in this series. What do you think? Vote in the comments section of the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a signed copy of Losing Mars, paperback for US, ebook for int’l! a Rafflecopter giveaway