Monday, October 31, 2011

Double the Nano, Double the Insanity

Well, we're just hours away from November 1st and the start of NanoWrimo - or National Novel Writing Month for those of you who think I'm speaking an alien language. I wait all year for this wonderful writing season and this year has been no exception. I am squeeing - whatever that means - with excitement! (Like the Nano pumpkin carving I did this year?)

Last year I dived into NanoWrimo with a brand new project - a new novel - that sort of fell into my other series but didn't. I wanted a fresh slate to work from and so I embarked on writing something completely from scratch - new world, new characters, new setting. It made Nano a pain for me. I struggled through the November of 2010 wondering if it would be the first year I failed Nano. I'm happy to say I made it through to the 50,000 word goal, but this year I decided to take a different approach.

To kill two - or three - birds with one stone, I decided to do two Nano books this year - the last two books in my Black Earth series, closing the series off so I can then devote all my time and attention to the Expired Reality series. That's a goal of 100,000 words by the end of the month. A lofty achievement, considering I watch our newborn son full time during the day. Regardless, I will reach the finish line and in the end will have two more novels to add to my repertoire.

Time to start the caffeine-crazed, sleep-deprived, out of control, totally insane month of writing! To all of you other NanoWrimos out there, good luck and great writing. ;) Find me at

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Endangered Memories Proof Revision

There's a lot that goes into paperback production of a book. A lot more than most people give self-published authors credit for. There are many factors involved with book design - font, text size, cover design, paper color and quality, cover formatting, etc, etc, etc. If even one little setting is off in your word processing program, or one minor detail isn't caught the hundredth time through, it can leave a nasty scar on an otherwise beautiful creation, not to mention a bad taste in a reader's mouth.

I have a number of paperbacks to my name and I seem to learn something new each time I go through the process of turning my blood and sweat drenched manuscript into a physical form for my readers to enjoy. I'm by no means an expert - I realize that every time I go through this process - but I seem to be getting the hang of what to watch for before finalizing the physical editions of my fiction.

Just recently I ordered the proof copy of my latest work, Endangered Memories. Surprisingly, it turned out with minimal issues. The cover came out the way I wanted it to - including the spine and back cover w/barcode. The internal components came out pretty good:

Font is big enough ( Times New Roman -11)...

the hyphenation came out good...

the chapter headings are decorative, but not too fancy...

The only real issue I've come across is the giant space at the bottom of each page, between the page number and the bottom edge of the page.

This mistake is one I made in a paperback I created years back. In those days, I was so excited just to have my work in print that I refused to go through multiple proof copies to get things down perfect and my books suffered for it.

This time, within minutes I realized my footer size was set at .7" instead of the .5" I meant for it to be at. Although it seems like a minor correction, resetting my footer from .7" to .5" threw off all of my spacing, hyphens and page layout. After fixing everything, I managed to get the page numbers down another line and closed some of that gap at the bottom.

Now that the book is in the process of populating to Amazon, I'm off to get edits done on the second book in the series - Lost Birth - so I can start formatting that. For anyone who's interested, here's a link to the paperback on Amazon -

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NanoWrimo 2011

We're almost halfway through October, meaning it's almost time for NanoWrimo - or National Novel Writing Month! Each year, the worldwide contest requires those daring enough to complete a 50,000 word draft in 30 days. There's no monetary reward - just a certificate you get to print out and hang on your wall, and most importantly, the rough draft to a complete novel.

I've participated in NanoWrimo for the last 6 years now, completing it each year. During most years I end up completing the 50,000 word count by the middle of the month, so this year I decided to turn things up a notch. I'm going to use NanoWrimo to complete the final two books in my Black Earth series. So by the end of the challenge this year, I will have a pair of 50,000 word manuscripts ready to be embellished, polished, and sent off to my editor.

If you're participating, or you just want to check out my progress in November, head over to my profile at the official NanoWrimo website and friend me. ;)

Friday, October 7, 2011

The End of Black Earth

For months now, I've been working on my current WIP (Work in Progress): Dark Horizons, the third novel in my Expired Reality series. My original intention was to release the first three books in the series in a row, one a month, this last summer. The first, Endangered Memories, has been released, with the second, Lost Birth, coming out of the gates hopefully next month.

Even though I'm about 75% through a rough draft of Dark Horizons, I can't shake the feeling that it's not the project I should be working on at the moment. Once my son was born at the end of August, my writing time vanished for a while. With weeks of no writing, I've had a creative build-up of sorts, and I have a HUGE desire to finish up the Black Earth series.

My original intention was to bounce between the Expired Reality series and the Black Earth series while alternating book releases within each series. As good as that idea seemed a while ago, it doesn't seem to be panning out too well now. I have fans who want to see what happens with Black Earth and for them to have to wait while I finish books in another series is kind of lame. Besides, my Expired Reality series is going to run almost a dozen novels, if not more, so I'd like to give that series 100% of my time and effort instead of bouncing between it and the Black Earth series.

All this said, I've decided to finish off the Black Earth series. My original intention was for the series to run about 4-5 novels and in keeping with that, I'm going to do two more books and close the series off.

Coincidentally, next month is National Novel Writing Month, or NanoWrimo. (Check out to see what it's all about.) Seeing how I have a lot of writing to do with two books, I'm going to use NanoWrimo to do so. I usually complete the 50,000 word limit early on in the month of November anyway, so I'm just going to do my best to complete two, 50,000 word manuscripts for the contest this year. Then I'll polish them up and hand them off to my editor after the new year.

Keep tabs on this blog to find out more about the next two Black Earth novels. I'll be posting plot ideas, writing samples, and some character profiles as I get into the thick of it.