Spring

The sun had begun to filter through the gigantic crystalline structure of the ice flow, separating into rainbow that fell upon the rusted shell of a partially crushed truck.  What had once been a man sat inside and watched the light diffuse over its former body, frozen solid years ago.  Scavengers had picked away at the flesh at one time, but the little that was left was now rock solid.  The picture of the wife and son was long gone, ravaged by the elements and blown away in pieces.

Seasons came and went, the truck was compacted inch by inch.  Someday it might fall into the dark sea below.  And the thing that had once been a man watched it all, wondering if this was all there was.

Marketing…

So, a big part of being a budding new serial writer is trying to get readers (and in the case of Jukepop Serials, votes).  This directly translates to marketing.  And since I’m not endlessly wealthy, or thinking that I’m going to break the bank with this particular project, I will be marketing myself.

So far, this translates to using Facebook and Twitter to get the word out when I’ve published a new chapter, trying to drum up votes and readership from people I actually know.  The key, however, is to get the people I don’t know reading and voting.  How do I do this?  Take out an ad?  Since they cost more money than I’d make in a month of the project being really successful, I doubt that’s the road I’m going to choose.

Because I know absolutely nothing about marketing I’ve bought two books recently; Self-Publishing for Dummies and Marketing for Dummies.  Not exactly the last word in either subject, but an affordable jumping-off point in my opinion.  At this point I’m willing to try almost anything since I feel as though I am constantly pestering my family and friends (and still not getting enough votes, which is a bummer).  I wouldn’t mind constantly pestering strangers instead, as long as it was a lot of them and they voted for my piece on a regular basis.

Reading over the books I’ve bought now though, I wonder if they’re really for me.  I don’t think anyone from the press is going to be that interested, so a press kit seems to be an exercise in futility.  It seems like most of these self-publishing marketing tactics pretty much hinge on what you’ve got being a book.  It’s all press kits and getting interviews and maybe paying for a PR firm… none of which I’m in a position to deal with.  Maybe I should find a book on internet marketing?

I recently attended a two-night class on publishing, but it didn’t really teach me much I hadn’t already learned by reading what other writers had said on the subject.  When it came to marketing my product, I was already far ahead of the game and received no advice on how to further my efforts.  It didn’t really strike me as a class for those who are serious about publishing their work anyway, more like an entry-level orientation for hobbyists to get their feet wet.

But I need some sort of guidance.  What I’m selling is free to the consumer, so really, I just need to get people interested.  Maybe do some smaller, short-story projects as a tie-in?  I don’t know…  Feeling frustrated.

If you have advice, I’d love to hear it, and if you don’t, please support The Pythagoras Syndrome over at Jukepop Serials by voting for it.  You can vote once for every chapter, so it would be a big help if even one person voted.

It’s In The Blood

Episode three of The Pythagoras Syndrome is fresh from the oven over at Jukepop Serials, complete with brand new cover art.

The Pythagoras SyndromeI feel like this whole serial fiction experience has been teaching me a lot about many things; pacing, plot development, and definitely time management.  I release and episode every two weeks because I’m writing them as I go.  I have fourteen days to write each one and edit it.  I didn’t mention the time I take to plan each plot point because that’s going on all the time.  I think about Pythagoras when I’m falling asleep, washing the dishes, watching TV…  It’s always in my head somewhere.

Another thing this experience has taught me is that marketing is important.  A lot of authors who are doing really well on Jukepop belong to big fan and writing communities, or have thousands of friends on Facebook and Twitter.  They post about their stories all over the place.  And not just Jukepop authors do this, professional ones do it as well.  Neil Gaiman’s on Twitter and Facebook, but since he’s already got a huge following, he can spend his internet time talking about other people he thinks are awesome, or just fun, really cool stuff.  But he’s got a presence.

I wish I was there.  It’s weird trying to sell my work through social media.  I don’t like talking about myself that much, and I don’t like message boards.  I guess it’s not that I’m shy, but it’s scary to put myself behind my work so much.  It’s one thing to show a piece to my friends, it’s another to not only put that piece online, but then try and point as many people as possible to it.  I’ll do my best though.  At first I wasn’t very attached to this story, but it’s begun to grow on me.

The Patience of Job…………

Writing is an annoying business.  Half your time is spent thinking about sitting your butt down to actually write  and the other half writing stuff you think is crap.  Or getting up to pee for the 6th time because you have avoided writing by drinking an awful lot of coffee.   Ok,  that’s not totally true. I actually think, when I get going, I am pretty good and can write really  well.   I believe dialogue is one of  my strengths and that   I am  pretty  damn  funny.    Getting it all out onto the page (thanks to being an ardent NaNoPhile)   is easy enough, but revising kicks me every time.   I get annoyed at the thought that what I initially wrote isn’t just…..done.  Why must I fuss with it so much afterwords?  But  what  really really REALLY gets me is the fact that when all the work is done and you have bugged all your friends to read your story/novel/poem/whatever and comment on it…… AND  you have revised the thing into oblivion  and  just can’t look at it anymore……AND you have paid someone to do the final edit, create the cover and format it……..you STILL need to fight technology  to get it online.    Maybe I am just too old for  this shit. I’m 51.   I grew up before VCR’s and cell phones.  I didn’t take a computer class in high school because the key punch cards looked like a serious pain in the ass.  Frankly  they  have still not endeared themselves into my heart.   My working motto:  I  believe  computers have never saved anyone, anytime,  EVER.   But being a necessary evil, I must try and be patient and placate whatever God is fucking with me through some poorly written software or indecipherable  icon.

I have a novel I finished  a couple  years back.  It’s ok.   I like it.  I think I have grown as a writer since then but it is my husbands favorite so far, which is really sweet.   It has been edited and I have a kickass cover for it.  My hubby did all the research for me and decided that CreateSpace seems to be the way to go.  Awesome.  My daughter helped format it and upload it onto the site.  I filled out endless screens dealing with tax ID numbers.  Really?  This thing will cost .99 on Kindle.  How much profit are we talking here?   17 cents?   Who knows, maybe I will be the Angry Birds of authors this year.  Why not?  Dream big right?   Most likely several of my family and friends will buy it to be nice and  I will have a copy around the house for fun.   Nothing wrong with all that.  And maybe down the line when I am famous, people will find this old gem and say…….”Boy she got a whole lot better with time.”

Regardless,  I am ready to have this thing done and out the door.  But now the cover  margins aren’t right  and I need to get some friend to fuss with it YET again.    Screaming just seems like an appropriate response right now.  Ah Well.   It WILL happen. All the hurdles will be jumped and cleared.  All the computer Gods appeased somehow.  Then VOILA! I will be a (self)published author.  TaDa!

I do hope you’all will check it out too.   It has some pretty funny and sexy bits in it.   Be nice though. I’m new at all this. Let me know what you have coming up as well.  We newbies need to stick together.

But I must say  the thing that strikes me as funny is no matter how much  time this has taken out of my  life and soul…….I cannot WAIT to do it again.

NaNo is just around the corner and   I am locked and loaded for this one.  I think this new  book  is gonna  be really really cool. It has me peeing with anticipation (and that is NOT just  the coffee talking)    Why do I  plan to go through all this craziness again?   Because after all is said and done,  writing ROCKS harder that anything I have ever done.   When I am in the zone,   I feel like I can fly.   And  THAT makes everything else  worth the ride.

Itsumo, Ai Shiteiru

Here’s a piece I wrote in ’06.  I wanted to attempt to do a Japanese horror story, mainly because they were really popular with my friends at the time and I was having a lot of nightmares from watching so many scary movies.  It’s probably not very authentic, but I think the key elements are there.

Also, if you like this, you should check out my story The Pythagoras Syndrome over at Jukepop Serials.  It’s updated every other Wednesday and is probably much better ^_^

x X x

Long ago, in far away Japan, there lived a beautiful woman.  Her name was Kumiko Yamada and the people of her tiny village swore that she was the most perfect woman in all of the world.  Her hair was black as ebony and as fine as the silk the Emperor wore.  Though her complexion could have been paler, her skin was delicate and smooth and her eyes were deep, deep like the night sky.  Her family was poor, but her beauty and fame brought them much honor and many men, asking for her hand in marriage.  However, she had love for one man and one man alone, Akio Hashimoto, a fisherman who lived at the edge of the village.  Every time her mother sent her to the fish market, Kumiko and Akio would exchange messages, confirming their love for each other.  Kumiko would write their words of love, Ai Shiteiru, in the sawdust that coated the counter of Akio’s stall, and he would hum a song as he packed her fish, smiling as he wiped her message away.  It had to be kept a secret.  Kumiko’s parents had seen what opportunities their daughter’s beauty could and barred her from accepting the proposals of the poor boys of the village; surely their blessed child could do better for her family.

Day after day, new suitors came to the village to barter for the right to marry the most beautiful woman in the world, but Kumiko, consumed with love for Akio, couldn’t see any of them as more than a bother, though she was polite and smiled at them, inside, all she wanted was for them to leave her well enough alone.  Her parents reminded her that it was her duty to the family to marry a successful man and birth heirs to his name.  Each day they went to the shrine where their ancestors resided and prayed for a famous, rich husband for their daughter.  They called upon and prayed to every spirit they could think of, hoping for luck and success to come of the marriage.  The only thing Kumiko prayed for was to be married to Akio, to give him sons and maybe a daughter.  But the gods did not seem to hear her over the rest of her family, for one day, they sent an old Samurai to the Yamada’s door.

Takahashi Amano was an older gentleman, a samurai of some regard, who had lost his wife years and years ago and had yet to take another.  He had never had the heart to search for another woman to share his house, but now the need was becoming dire; his first wife had not given him a son to carry on his family honor.  Without an heir, his family’s history would come to a sad, quiet end with him.  When he heard tell of Kumiko from one of his servants, Amano-sama had been skeptical.  No woman had struck him as particularly unique since his wife had passed on.  How could this woman be any different than the others?  But when he began to hear more and more about “the most beautiful woman in the world” from not only servants, but friends, the elderly samurai began to wonder.  It didn’t take him long to decide to journey to Kumiko’s tiny village by the sea.  The Yamadas could not believe their good fortune; they’d never expected anyone like a samurai to show interest in their daughter.  They welcomed him into their house immediately, bowing and bowing.  “You honor our humble house, Amano-sama,” they said while they served him their best tea in their modest sitting room.

Amano-sama smiled politely, though their tatami mats were dirty and worn and their tea was weak and watery.  A breeze came through tiny rips in their rice screens, which obviously hadn’t been repaired for years.  It was hard for Amano-sama to imagine how anyone could live this way, it was terrible.  He was about to leave, when Kumiko came home from the market.  Even though she was dirty and smelled of the disgusting village, her beauty was so great that it shown through the grime.  All thoughts of changing his mind disappeared completely.  He turned toward Mr. Yamada.  “Your daughter is… not ugly.  I suppose I could do you the honor of marrying her.”

“Thank you, Amano-sama, thank you!  You will not regret choosing our daughter for your bride!” Kumiko smiled politely and nodded to him, trying to look as calmly happy as her parents, but inside, her heart was breaking.

That night she snuck from her house and went down to the sea-shanties where Akio lived.  He sat outside on the big rock jutting out of the beach, repairing a net.  When he saw how upset she was, he forgot all about the net.  “What’s wrong, Kumi?” he asked, letting it drop to the sand.  She threw her arms around him and began to cry, which was particularly startling.  “What’s happened?!  What’s going on?!”  When she told him, he cried a little bit too.  Amano-sama and Kumiko were married later that month.  The entire village turned out to watch the festivities, all but Akio, who sat on his rock and stared out to sea, repairing his nets.
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JukePop Serials

Need to send a big CONGRATULATIONS out to Danni  RItter (  our own blogger extraordinaire) and WellMyWord friend  Alex Pendergrass for having their works published on Juke Pop Serials.  

This is a brand new website showcasing talented writers….with a twist.  You the reader can vote for your favorite authors and stories, which in turn keeps the  writer writing.   Read their chapters, give it a thumbs up and our our friends can keep submitting to the site.   They get paid by the word.  So let’s help make Danni and Alex rich young authors OK?.  

  SO go to Juke Pop now and vote your little fingers off. 

Danni listed her edgy sci-fi  book in the preceding  blog.  You’ll love the main character named ‘Monday.’

 Alex’s is called “To Vivify Evil.”   If you are in any way a fan of Game of Thrones, you will love this! 

Good luck you two and remember me when you’re famous.