Emerald City Comic Con Approaches and a Kickstarter for Magic: The Gathering

In The Flesh is moving right along. I’m very pleased with the edits I got done last night. Dayyan Cantu is becoming a more well rounded character.

Emerald City Comic Con starts Friday and I’m getting very excited. I’ll be driving up on Thursday so I can be fresh and ready to go bright and early Friday morning. Carrie Fischer had to bow out due to medical problems. I hope she gets well soon. I’m still looking forward to seeing all of the other artists and actors and writers that I can squeeze into three days.

For you Magic: The Gathering fans out there, there is a Kickstarter project bringing together 30 of the original artists to make a book of art for fans. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1464555500/the-gathering-reuniting-pioneering-artists-of-magi

I will keep you updated and as always I do hope you enjoy reading. K

Portland Comic Con Saturday Impressions

My impressions of the Portland Comic Con from Saturday: Wow there were some amazing cosplayers with some amazing costumes both homemade and store bought. I’m going to start with my personal choice for the best costumes of the day then tell you who all I saw (character wise). My choice for best costumes go to a mother and her two children, a boy around 10 and a girl around 8 near as I could tell. They were, from youngest to oldest: Princess Jasmine, The Doctor (Matt Smith’s doctor) and River Song. Every time I saw them it warmed my heart. Parenting, you’re doing it right.

Also represented were: A Dragon under construction, Phoenix, Wolverine, Storm, She Hulk, Rorshach, The Invisible Man, Mass Effect and any number of other assorted space marines, Vampirella, a variety of Lokis, Thor, Spiderman (several, including one in the black Spiderman costume who really should not have gone commando), several Captain Americas (including one who looked absolutely delicious), a couple of Poison Iveys, some Harley Quinns, three or four Wonder Women, Batman, Batgirl, old school and new school catwomen, Zombie Trekkers, Cinderellas of all ages, Princess Aurora, Belle, Link, Goku, Sonic, Galactus, Assorted elves, Green Lantern, quite a few Doctors (Smith and Tennant), Strawberry Shortcake (PG rated), a handful of awesome anime characters that sadly I could not identify, and a lot of others I either couldn’t identify or can’t remember right now.

I actually felt too normal at the convention but I love seeing all of the costumes people make. I love seeing people dressed up and having a good time. It was mobbed. There were so many people in there I couldn’t even get to some of the tables. The river of humanity swept me right past Henry Winkler signing autographs. But everyone was as polite as could be given the press of humanity. Some very kind gentlemen actually got up and offered myself and my companions their seats when we got a bite to eat.

We’re going back today. Brent Spiner is going to be there and I expect to see a lot more Trekkers out.

I think for the Emerald City Comic Con I’ll look into making a nice Steam Punk costume to wear.

Editing, Feedback from Beta Readers and a Radical Alteration to the Ending of In The Flesh

I’ve made it through three full edits of In The Flesh since last I wrote.  The mechanical edit where I checked for spelling, grammar and syntax errors.  Two minor edits where I checked for particular consistency issues and now I’m on the final major edit.  This edit is where I flesh out (pardon the pun) the character interactions and really give the framework I’ve already created life.

I got great feedback from two of my beta readers and as a result I’ve radically changed the ending.  It was, as one beta reader pointed out, unbalanced in comparison with the rest of the novel.  Now I feel it is stronger and better balanced.   My beta readers have given me excellent feedback with real suggestions as to what could be improved.  I am very thankful for them.

Editing has fallen into a bit of a pattern for me.  I edit four or five chapters in the evening and then the next day I go over those chapters in the morning to make sure I like the edits.  I check for mechanical correctness and for continuity with the rest of the story.  There are also some things I don’t want to give away too soon in my attempts to make the characters more engaging.  Then once that’s done, usually by the afternoon, I go on to editing the next few chapters.

This process is taking quite a bit more time than I had anticipated it would but I am pleased with the results.  The narrative is stronger and more engaging.  I am still confident I will make a March release date.  K.

Valentine’s Day, John Wesley Harding, Peter Buck, The Decemberists Benefit for My Music Rx and Children’s Cancer Association

Today is Valentine’s Day and I thought it would be appropriate to highlight two charities.  Love for our fellow mankind, and especially children, should be celebrated as much, if not more than romantic love.  To that end I share the following.

Last night, as part of Valentine’s Day I went to a concert hosted by John Wesley Harding who presented his Cabinet of Wonders show which featured a dozen or better artists to raise money and awareness for the Children’s Cancer Association and My Music Rx.  A good portion of The Decemberists were there along with the lead singer from Slater Kinney and Peter Buck from REM to name a few.  I was transported by the voices of Katie Lang and Storm Large.  There were readings by a couple of authors, one was shocking and thought provoking, the second equally thought provoking yet in a more subtle way.  There was comedy and music and it was truly a delightful show and a lovely evening.  That it benefits two very good causes only made the evening seem somehow more magical.

I’m including the url’s for both organizations.  Take a look.  They do good work. The first works to connect ill children with musicians and music to encourage and uplift the spirits of the children.  These very sick children get to meet the musicians and artist they admire and even learn to write music or play an instrument.  Music has power.  It can be a bright spot in an otherwise dark day and it can be an outlet for those who feel they have no other voice.  It can help children heal and bring them hope.

http://new.mymusicrx.org/feed/all/

My Music Rx has an app where you can buy music through it via iTunes and part of the proceeds goes to this wonderful program.  It’s worth taking a look.  The app is free.

 

The second one works more specifically with children who have been diagnosed with cancer and their families.  Children’s lives should be filled with joy and joy also has the power to heal.  That is one of the many goals of the Children’s Cancer Association, to bring a little bit of joy into the lives of children who are facing serious illnesses and even death in the face.

http://www.joyrx.org/

It was touching to listen to the founder of CCA last night.  She lost a child to cancer and rather than letting that devastating loss cripple her she turned it into a lifelong passion to bring as much hope and joy to other sick children as she can.  Her story really touched me last night.

 

 

Editing, Scrivner and Backing Up Your Work

The word for today is edit. I’m in the midst of the first of two editing passes I have to make. This one is for mechanics like spelling, punctuation, grammar and the like. This one is difficult because I have to focus on the details and try not to read the story so I don’t miss something by reading what should be there instead of what is there. It is a task that requires discipline because it is not part of the creative process which I enjoy so much. It is, in a word, tedious.

The next editing pass is much more enjoyable because this is the one during which I actually read the book and make changes based upon story flow, word choice and continuity. This is fun because I can never read something I’ve written without tweaking it a bit. Also I haven’t even looked at parts of this manuscript in months. That gives me a fresh take on things because they’ve been out of my mind for a while.

At the end of the day I had gotten eight chapters edited for mechanics and a couple of little content edits because I couldn’t help myself. I’m using an awesome software package called Scrivner from the fine folks at Literature and Latte to do my work. It’s not that pricy and it’s fantastic for writing. I did have one small issue of my own making while editing yesterday. I accidentally moved a chapter. I was looking at a layout of the chapters and I’m using a laptop and the buttons are always jumpy on laptops it seems. This moved a chapter. I had a moment of panic then I realized how easy it is to reorganize a book in Scrivner. It took me a couple minutes to double check the proper order for all of the chapters, then no time at all to make it right. Thankfully I had a saved copy in a word document to check against.

I cannot stress it enough to have a back up of your work, preferably on another computer or flash drive or the Cloud, somewhere. As you may know my laptop died, like really gave it up just after Christmas. It would have been a disaster except I had backed up my manuscript just the day before that happened.

The Trials and Triumphs of an Independent Author

Today I will share with you, gentle reader, a brief glimpse into the trials and tribulations of a self published author.

Well I took the plunge and contacted, via their web page, KBOO here in Portland to see if they might have some time to fill with an unknown local author.  I’m very nervous about it.  I know that’s silly and yet here I am.    I was only going to mention my upcoming novel In The Flesh, but a friend suggested that The Shadow of The Hand of God was very timely and they might be interested in that too. So I checked out their FAQ to see about how to contact them and did so.

Then I discovered a huge GLARING error in the description for The Shadow of The Hand of God on Amazon and had to fix it.  Funny that my Kindle account had it correct.  Turns out Createspace, whom I specifically and deliberately instructed not to update to Kindle, overwrote my Kindle account.  Swine.  They did it after I’d had several other people double check the upload on Amazon from my Kindle account.  So I don’t know when the error crept in but I was utterly mortified and spent a good part of the day working to fix it.

Ok so that’s a bit of the down side which, really isn’t all that Earth shattering in the grand scheme of things.  I was still pretty stressed and embarrassed all day.  Moving on to better things:  I was actually in bed, all cozy and just about ready to close my eyes when I suddenly had an idea, nay not a single idea but verily a whole swarm of ideas for a prequel to In The Flesh.  So what could I do but get my iPad and jot them down?  And then–then I had an idea for what exactly is the issue in the sequel and a name change for the working title from Lorelei to The Ancient War.

Oh I’d had a vague idea of what was going to happen in the sequel and have even jotted down a very rough outline.  But last night was an idea bonanza.  They just kept coming.  I know the name of the issue.  I know how to start the book and I know what I want some of the characters to do.  It was a busy bit of sleep deprivation.

The long and the short of this being that what I started out to write as one book does indeed look like a trilogy now.  I will be busy for the foreseeable future.  And I promised myself I’d let myself write a space opera.  I guess it’s going to have to wait now.  Hopefully not too long because I really want to write one.

As always, I hope you enjoy reading, as much if not more, than I enjoy writing.  K.

 

Cover Art for In The Flesh and Editing as well as Release Date

I paid for my cover art last night and posted the banner ad the artist made for me to go along with it.  I also updated the about section of this page to have a very brief synopsis of the story.  This is so exciting.

Originally it was my intention to publish, self publish that is, In The Flesh as an eBook only.  The thing is I’ve now had two people ask me about physical copies.  One of my beta readers asked how she was supposed to get a signed copy if it was an eBook only.  That being said, and with the feedback I’ve gotten I think it would be worthwhile to make In The Flesh available for print on demand also.

When I self published The Shadow of The Hand of God I looked into publishing through Smashwords which would have made it available in many more venues than just Amazon.com.  I chose not to because it would have required stripping all of the formatting out of the book and that book is organized into discrete sections for a reason.  In The Flesh does not have that issue so I am once again considering going through Smashwords to make it available in iTunes and Kobo and many other eReader formats.

For the record, both books are very different.  The Shadow of The Hand of God is a memoir and a ringing condemnation of fundamentalism and what far right conservatism has become.  It is a cry out to everyone who has felt rejected by the modern church and a heartfelt assurance that you are not alone and not unloved.

In The Flesh is science fiction.  It is pretty hard science fiction.  It is accurately sub categorized as post apocalyptic which is my favorite genre.  It is, I hope, exciting and fun and interesting and everything good science fiction can be.  I also tried to give it the flavor of the early science fiction works from the 40’s and the 50’s but with quite a bit of updating and a modern twist.

Once I have editing done for In The Flesh I will work on a synopsis and pitch for the back cover and to use in any advertising I might do.  There is still quite a bit of finishing up for In The Flesh but I hope to have it fully ready to publish and available for purchase in March of this year.

For those who are wondering how tedious editing is—I’m going to go do the dishes.

Preliminary Feedback On In The Flesh

I’ve received feedback from two other beta readers. One said, and I quote (with permission): Oh for crap sake!!! You BETTER be working on a SEQUEL!!

Also from what I’m hearing I’m moving otherwise gentle souls to cussing when people hit the end of the book. And yet, when I ask if I should extend or change the ending they universally tell me to leave it as it is. Just get to work on that sequel. Which is funny because I planned that ending from day 1 and I never planned a sequel.

I only just started seriously thinking about a sequel in the past couple of weeks when I started having ideas for one. I don’t much care for planned trilogies because all too often they have one idea and artificially stretch it out to encompass more books than the idea merits. I never want to be guilty of that.

The cover art is nearly complete and it’s fantastic. I showed it to one of my beta readers and she was completely blown away. She said it looked exactly like she imagined it. Plus it’s just beautiful. The artist I know is so talented. I can hardly wait until I’ve paid for it and can rightfully change out the header for this page to reflect the new artwork.

It is very exciting and emotional to see your vision come to life in the cover of a book. There is something very visceral about it. I put all of the work and sweat and a lot of myself into writing In The Flesh and to see someone else pour their talent into making an image from my story come to life is a wonderful experience.

In The Flesh Enters The Editing Stage

That’s right gentle reader.  I am currently enjoying a celebratory brewski in honor of writing the ending to In The Flesh.  I am rather nervous about the ending.  Surprisingly so.  I’ve sent it off to several of my beta readers and I will see what they have to say about it.  I hope it is as good as I imagined it to be.  There is a big reveal and some moral ambiguity in the end.

Now the hard part starts. Tomorrow I begin editing, not just for spelling and grammar but real editing involves cutting extraneous parts and looking closely at word choice. It is in the editing that a manuscript really comes to life.