Sunday, November 16, 2014

Book Land's Early Christmas

Is it too early to think about Christmas? IMHO it is too early, prior to Thanksgiving.

But in BookLand, authors are busy getting Christmas books out there. And so am I. (Check out my updated Book List)

But the Other Side of me, that homey side is busy gift-making.

I have a whole line-up this year, and beaucoup thanks to a good friend, Carolin. She helped me get down one crochet stitch, which has served me well during lots of stress. After a full day's work, I crochet dishcloths. It's so much fun choosing the colors to suit the person I want to gift. They are great little gifts. So me and my one stitch have been busy. I have no idea how many I've made and gifted. Caro has promised to teach me a new stitch next year.

This is a big flat basket filled with my crocheting stuff. I did just crochet an eternity scarf for someone who needs to cover her nose and mouth during winter chill. And I'm headed toward those Tunisian needles someday. Maybe. :)

I usually bake cookies, and always, always, gingersnaps.

This year, I think I'll make apple butter and homemade laundry soap. Maybe.:)

But those little dishcloths have done wonders for my stress levels, topping off the night with a movie and crocheting.

My current Work in Progress features a heroine who does a lot of this homemade stuff, so I have experienced what I write. Most authors research their topics, but quite a few of us sew, paint, and have creative hobbies, aside from our profession, writing.

Meanwhile, if you're stocking up your Christmas reading, do check out the links to my Christmas "Snuggable" List on my Book List Page, which is growing.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Humor Mystery Novelette Series


**Now on Kindle, available elsewhere soon.

Introducing Sue Kowalski, a Kansas City suburb homicide detective. Recently divorced, Sue holds her own in the all-male force. As the smallest, most agile, Sue has been been hefted up, lowered down, and scrunched into places no woman should enter. She craves good bear-claw pastry, coffee, and Jose Morales, a co-worker. Her chances for the first two are good.

Death by Coupon: A body found outside an alley dumpster has Sue working a new case. The Body was a couponer, desperate enough to climb into the dumpster after them. The scissors found in her throat said someone didn’t like her. But then, as temporary lead detective, Sue finds no one liked Maggie, not even her husband. The question is: Who killed Maggie? And can Sue learn the ins and outs of couponing?

Death by Salsa Dancing: A dead body found in Gino DiMarco’s house sets Detective Sue Kowalski on the run to save her ex-stepfather (Mom’s husband Number Four). Gino, a former mob knee-capper, is distraught: his wife, Hilda’s salsa dancer teacher is dead, Hilda alias the She-Wolf is missing and he’s a likely suspect. Sue has to act fast to protect him.
NOTE: Watch for more of the ex-stepfathers coming up. I had so much fun with Gino.

From Cait: I've been wanting to try a light, first person short story series, but Sue's stories are turning out to be longer than a short story and shorter than a novella, thus: NOVELETTES.

How Sue Because I know a lot of hobbyists, and I am one, my light research is easy. Sue Kowalski's name was difficult to settle into, because I really, really wanted to honor an old wrestler, Killer Kowalski. And Kowalski is the 2nd most popular name in Poland. And finding a common first name slid into Sue. After all, Johnny Cash did that song, you know, about A Boy Named Sue.

I hope you like these light humor mysteries which will be available in other channels soon.
DEATH BY COUPON and DEATH BY SALSA DANCING  Stay Tuned here and at my newsletter. Or you can easily join at the right sidebar.

Sue and I are really busy preparing for the upcoming holidays and hope you are well and happy, too.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dealing with Novel Interruptus

Read More About My Christmas Stories...

With the busy holidays straight ahead, every writer deals with Novel Interruptus.

I’m doing quite a bit of DIY indie publishing which is hard to balance with writing time. And I've changed computer systems (a time-sucker for a writer), the usual family stuff, and now facing the upcoming holidays. I’m just now back into a story that has waited for months. In the last few days, I’ve picked up the story line and have been burning my fingertips on the keyboard. It feels so good.

I’ve written other things in the months between when I had to stop this story and when it started pulsing again. (Yes, I believe that a story has a heartbeat/a pulse, when it starts to come together as a whole, all parts moving like one body.)

Novel Interruptus is just what it sounds like: A Novel Interrupted. For reasons of everything, sometimes it’s months before a writer can get back into a book, sometimes only days. Getting back into that book can be treacherous, the story threads unraveled and forgotten. Shutter. A cold story, dead. Two more shutters.

Caught in a time warp of where the story (and the writer) was when interrupted, and yanking that story back into the creative mind takes some doing. Here are my suggestions and I hope you’ll add your own in the comment sections. The following deals only with the actual writing of the story, not plotting, editing the total mss, etc.:
1.              Do NOT, repeat do not, even consider the WB words. You know what they are, but don’t say them aloud. They will curse you, bite you in your behind. This is why: Energy spent on thinking the oh-no WB words prevents your creative mind from getting back into the mode. Let’s just all it mode, okay? Don’t say it, don’t think it. Period.
2.              If the story is not just leaping back into you after an interruption, consider it is not the right time for it to activate. You may be on overload from too much stress/emotion or any other story is due at the publishers, etc. How much can one mind hold, anyway?
3.              If 2.) is the case, get away from the story. Go for a drive, do anything but sit there and hit your head against the wall. Go to a writer’s meeting, work on the business side of it. I get more story activity from going for a long drive—not one that I must concentrate on heavy traffic, but an open road. That settles in plot points or decisions, or to simply leave the story until it’s ready to pop out. Writing a book is a gestation period anyway, where the characters grow within the story, merging into the other characters, twisting, etc. So give the story time to be born, if you will.
4.              Editing what is already written helps me. Or editing anything that might not be that particular story.
5.              Writing articles, blogs, maybe a short story, are productive stuff, like a bank savings account. They and busy work free up time for when the story is ready to bloom and writing time/energy for those peripherals is scarce.  
6.              If you have a chance before Novel Interruptus first hits, do what you can to prep for the next scene or the story line. Sometimes that paragraph or so will launch you back into the story. I do that in just from day to day writing.
7.              As you’re writing, prepare for potential interruption. Take notes on the characters that just sprang to life, ideas for the twists, etc.
8.              To jumpstart, after the time lag when you last wrote the story, you could backboard your story with someone who is linked into your creative side.
9.               Working on the story outline or plot sometimes helps. In changing from a PC to Mac systems, I had to redo my plotting software. That was a first, but it did jumpstart the story after a dry spell of doing almost everything else but writing it.
10.           Write a short story about something inside the story, i.e. the dog, a minor character, etc. You never know—you might be able to use it as promo.

In short, do anything but dwell on No. 1: the infamous WB words.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Love Fall and Pumpkins

In the fall season, I love to get out and drive, snap some shots, and maybe visit some festivals.

When looking for pumpkins for homemade pies, I think the ugliest pumpkin--a pale brown--has the best thick orange meat. FWIW: I think pumpkins should be stored and eaten, not massacred. I'm OK with painting them, though. :)

Just now, the Ozarks are starting to turn into gorgeous fall color, which will flame across the hills. With a lot of nut trees, you can see wild turkeys along the road. They are not that pretty, but at least they are not the ugliest--turkey vultures.

The leaves in the center are sassafras. Not really sure what part of the tree is used for healing Ozark tea.

My neighbor's persimmon tree was loaded this year and the pits held the shape of a spoon. Translated: Bad Winter. Spoons equal shovels. Shovels for snow. Which is why I am ordering more wood for the fireplace insert.

During this time, I usually visit the Amish, pick up baking supplies, etc. and generally just enjoy life.

I hope you do, too. :)

Monday, October 06, 2014

The Reoganized DIY Writer:


 It's a New Publishing World: My background is “legacy” publishing, that is, the traditional big publishers and some of my books have been reverted to me. Others remain with the publishers. I’m slowly indie publishing my reverted books and new work, no easy process, and quite time-consuming, for a DIYer. It’s been a stiff learning curve. 
Info Note: THE LOVING SEASON was my first book as Cait London and the first of several MacLeans.

Repeat: It's a whole new publishing world. FORGET the tons of paper swag, the review clipping services, purchasing reams of paper for printing ARCs, big postage bills for mailouts, etc.

It's all about Networking. Groups can promote each other and are really important now. Aligned with other authors, promotion ripples around the individual. Boxed sets, anthologies, etc. spread promotion around. Getting in with a knowledgeable group means you carry your share. Slackers beware: It’s a tit for tat deal. 

Life Balance and Being comfortable: I’m watching my limitations of what I can do with time/energy/life situation, and everyone is different. I’m not in the fast promo lane, but I’m comfortable with what I’m doing now. I’m not over-extended, I have a life balance—not always easy for writers, and I’m comfortable with what I’m doing. That’s important to me, to be comfortable.

 You can just write and leave the sales work to services or publishers. There are real advantages to writing for publishers. NOTE: You still have to promote heavily. One friend devotes 2 days a week to promotion.

!!Before signing with a service or a publisher, take care with the DIVORCE clause in the contract. And that includes when rights are reversed.

But today, I'm busy. Here’s some of what I’m doing now:
  • Writing new work. New Work is essential and time/quiet/concentration is not easy. Disconnecting from social media is essential for me to write and keep in the story.
  • Redoing my first indie publishing efforts in 2011/covers/formatting. Many hire this done and I’ve bought covers and done them myself.
  •  I updated my computer, tablet, etc. for more social media apps. It’s all about social media. I’m basically a Twitterer (love TweetDeck app, etc.) as it is fast and I like the movement. Making the choice between all the social media is important, though promotion series can be hired.
  • Looked for eloops that would offer how-tos and support when asked. Finding the right fit isn’t that easy. I now belong to 3 and try to keep active in them.
  • Keeping lists. I keep tons of lists, i.e. promotion places, services, etc. A good note taking program is essential. Handy lists to copy/paste: links to books, reviews per book, awards, etc.
  • Checking my book list. This is a long list of titles, published dates, awards, placement in best seller lists. Does anyone remember Waldenbooks or B. Dalton?:)
  • Updating my promo bio. Choosey has an excellent article on this. That’s what I like about Twitter—exposure to info not in my usual realm.
  • Creating Twitter posts to cut and paste. Thank you, Donna Fazano. She has been a super mentor, beautiful person.
  • Lining up promotions. Never good at keeping a calendar, so this is a challenge for me. I'm busy with that today, and like other writers, trying to get ahead of the holidays.

The Holidays. Sigh. :)