WANA Wednesday is back with Exciting New Releases! plus ROW80 update

smallsultryWhile I was away on blog holiday, my writing friends were busy! I have four releases to share this week. First up is one from my RWA chapter buddy, Macy Beckett, who also presented with me at the Dayton Metro Library a couple weeks ago! A Shot of Sultry is #2 in her Sultry Springs series, about West Coast filmmaker Bobbi Gallagher, for whom going back to Sultry Springs is a last resort. But with her career in tatters, a quick trip to her hometown might get Bobbi the footage she needs to salvage her reputation. She just can’t let anything distract her again. Not even the gorgeous contractor her brother asked to watch over her. Golden boy Trey Lewis is a leading man if Bobbi ever saw one. He’s strong and confident and–much to her delight–usually shirtless. But if he thinks keeping his best friend’s baby sister out of trouble will be easy, he has no idea of the trouble in store for him… Visit Macy’s website for more info and buy links.


Dangerous and UnseemlyMystery author KB Owen released her debut novel a couple weeks ago. Dangerous and Unseemly: A Concordia Wells Mystery, is an unseemly lesson in murder. The year is 1896, and Professor Concordia Wells has her hands full:  teaching classes, acting as live-in chaperone to a cottage of lively female students, and directing the student play, Macbeth.

But mystery and murder are not confined to the stage.  Malicious pranks, arson, money troubles, and the apparent suicide of a college official create turmoil at the women’s college.  For Concordia, it becomes personal when a family member dies of a mysterious illness, and her best friend is attacked and left for dead.

With her friend still in danger and her beloved school facing certain ruin, Concordia knows that she must act.  But uncovering secrets is a dangerous business, and there are some who do not appreciate the unseemly inquiries and bold actions of the young lady professor.  Can she discover the ones responsible…before she becomes the next target? Visit KB’s website for more info and buy links.


Come Back To MELast week also saw a YA debut from Coleen Patrick, with Come Back to Me. In this contemporary story, Whitney Denison can’t wait to start over. She thought she had everything under control, that her future would always include her best friend Katie… Until everything changed. Now her life in Bloom is one big morning after hangover, filled with regret, grief, and tiny pinpricks of reminders that she was once happy.  A happy she ruined.  A happy she can’t fix. So, she is counting down the days until she leaves home for Colson University, cramming her summer with busywork she didn’t finish her senior year, and taking on new hobbies that involve glue and glitter, and dodging anyone who reminds her of her old life.

When she runs into the stranger who drove her home on graduation night, after she’d passed out next to a ditch, she feels herself sinking again. The key to surviving the summer in Bloom is unraveling whatever good memories she can from that night. But in searching for answers, she’ll have to ask for help and that means turning to Evan, the stranger, and Kyle, Katie’s ex-boyfriend. Suddenly, life flips again, and Whitney finds herself on not only the precipice of happy but love, too, causing her to question whether she can trust her feelings, or if she is falling into her old patterns of extremes. As she uncovers the truth about her memories, Whitney sees that life isn’t all or nothing, and that happy isn’t something to wait for, that instead, happy might just be a choice. Visit Coleen’s website for more info and buy links.


purpleSF/Fantasy author and editor Marcy Kennedy also gave us an unexpected treat and is offering a free e-copy of her short story “Purple”  to anyone who signs up for her mailing list on her newly-revamped website. “Purple” is a thriller, and won the Writers Digest Popular Fiction Competition in 2008. It’s not a new release, but I haven’t read it, and if Marcy’s blog content is anything to go by, it’ll be a great read for sure. It’s free, so what do you have to lose? Head over to her website and sign up!

ROW80Logo175Quick ROW80 Update: Yes, those are back too, even though I don’t have much to report in this area. I’ve done part of my writing workshop assignment, and have some notes made for the workshop I’m presenting on Saturday. I normally don’t get much done in the early part of the week anyway, and this week I’m still fighting this cold, AND dealing with the time change – UGH.

What about you? Are you up for some mystery or a bit of romance? Have you grabbed “Purple” yet? Who besides me thinks it’s time we just dispense with this nonsense, and either stick with standard or daylight time year ’round? I’d love to hear from you!

What is WANA? It stands for We Are Not Alone, a guide to blogging, social media and networking for authors by Kristen Lamb. It's writers helping writers, whether or not we've taken the course, and proving that we really are not alone!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

 

Behind the Book: the guy behind that Kepler guy, Jim Winter

I have a special treat for WANA/Writer Wednesday! Jim Winter, author of the Nick Kepler crime fiction series, has stopped by to answer a few questions, and give us some insight into the books, and what makes him (and P.I. Nick Kepler) tick.

JJim WinterMP: How long have you been writing? How many books did you write before publishing?

JW: I’ve been writing for myself since I was a kid. I did a novel-length story back in 1990 just to see if I could handle the form, but I didn’t attempt a “serious” novel until about 2001.

JMP: Sounds familiar, at least the beginning! I did the same thing, but didn’t do much with shorts after school. Have you been published by a big publisher? Small press/epub? Independently? Please share your publishing experience.

JW: Northcoast Shakedown was originally published by a small press in the Baltimore area. Long on good intentions, short on resources, they folded just as Second Hand Goods was going to be published. The sad thing is if I’d waited just another week, I could have been with an agent shopping those books to the Big Six.

JMP: Then again, with some of the horror stories I’ve read about agents, maybe you dodged a bullet! What made you decide to take this publishing path?

Compleat KeplerJW: I didn’t want to bury the Kepler books. I knew a publisher would not really want something someone else had already published unless I had a track record. So I decided to release them myself when ebooks made that feasible.

JMP: Totally makes sense, and I’m glad you did! What do you do for a day job? Has this informed or inspired your writing in any way?

JW: I do web programming for a living. Originally, I was an IT drone at an insurance company. Some of that job provided background for Nick Kepler, namely how he got his office, the type of work he does, etc.

JMP: Hehe, great how that works, isn’t it? How does you day job and other responsibilities, like family or school, impede your writing progress?

JW: The biggest impediment to writing for me is my education. I’m currently working on a dual major (because I was too lazy to do it in my late teens and early twenties), and the work involved sometimes takes time away from writing time.

JMP: I hear that! But as noted above, those day jobs can inspire us too (says the author who works at Hangar 18 :) ). So tell us about your upcoming release, Jim.

JW: Bad Religion is the third Kepler novel. Nick is hired to look into possible skimming by a young, popular minister only to discover it’s a ruse to hide someone else’s wrong-doing. We also find out what happens to Nick and Elaine after the events of Second Hand Goods.

JMP: I’m so glad you’re releasing this one! I remember reading it during a slow time at work, and my coworkers kept giving me weird looks because I kept laughing! Bad Religion is definitely the best Kepler yet. In the meantime, what’s on your nightstand or up next in your e-reader queue?

JW: Well, I’m getting ready to read John Rickards’ Winter’s End, which I’ve had for a long time, but never got around to it. I also have this novel about a mysterious hangar at Wright-Patt AFB that a very familiar author has just released.

JMP: :D I hope you like it – and thanks for reading! What’s the most recent nonfiction book you’ve read? What did you get out of it?

JW: I just finished Truman by David McCulloch. I’m a big history buff, and this was a fascinating look at the beginning of the Cold War and the Red Scare.

JMP: I may not comment on them often, but I’ve really enjoyed your posts about these books. For those who don’t (yet!) follow Jim’s blog, he’s been reading a biography of every U.S. president, in order, for about the past year and a half, then posts on his blog what he’s learned as well as what he thought of the particular book he read. In addition, he reviews fiction every now and then, and blogs about all kinds of other things in addition to his own books and short stories.

Jim, thanks for being with us! I’m looking forward to seeing the finalized Bad Religion, as well as digging into his newest release, The Compleat Kepler!



ROW80Logo175
Quick ROW80 upate:
I’ve spent a little time brainstorming my next book, but nothing concrete. I’m re-reading Holly Lisle’s Create a Plot Clinic to see if that shakes some more ideas loose. I’ve done only one workout so far, but did get around to visiting some other ROW80 blogs. And finally, I’m changing one of this week’s goals: instead of doing a chapter in the estate planning book, I need to collect all of our tax stuff for the accountant.

Does anyone have any questions or comments for Jim? Questions about his books, writing in general, Cincinnati or Cleveland, or whatever! Jim and I would love to hear from you!

You’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached

Ever feel like that? I feel like that… um, on a regular basis. Pretty much every day.

Do you ever feel like this?

Do you ever feel like this?

There is so much minutiae in our lives (don’t you love that word “minutiae?”) that it’s sometimes overwhelming. Actually, it’s often overwhelming. There are groceries to get–or in my case, since my DH does the shopping (bless him!), groceries to remember to put on the store list, or he won’t get them. This is why, as I write this, we are collecting kitchen trash in one of those little grocery store plastic bags. No one remembered to put “trash bags” on the list.

There are appointments to remember–dentists, doctors, the tax accountant. My husband’s in the process of doing some work on the garage, so there are things to remember related to that. There are school projects for our daughter, and programs we want to attend for her. There are things to do related to those appointments–medical info to collect, tax info to collect (and with three businesses, there’s a lot of that), lists of things that need to be done to the garage by the construction guy. Oh, and we’re almost out of turtle food. And will you pick up this prescription on the way home?

And that’s not even counting my to-do list relating to my books and being an author–a to-do list that’s even larger when you’re also your own publisher. I thought I had a lot to remember before I published. I’d always heard that it got worse after you published, but that’s one of those things, like having a kid, that you know mentally before, but have no idea until you have one, how much more there is to do. (And like kids, it’s very worthwhile, so I’m not complaining, just explaining.)

Add in the holidays, and there are presents to buy, parties to attend (or host, with all the additional things to remember for that), kids’ programs to see, wrapping to do, cards to buy, sign, seal and send….

Just typing that is making me stressed, and it’s over until December comes back around!

How do you manage it all?

I used to write notes. But there were problems with that. One, there ended up being notes lying all over the place. My husband still does this, and our daughter and I are constantly clearing the clutter, tiny slips of paper, used envelopes, sticky notes with a phone number or a cryptic few words scrawled on it. When I ask him if he still needs them, he almost never does, but invariably, if one gets tossed without us checking first, that’s one he still needs. As for me, when this was my MO, the biggest problem with the notes wasn’t even the clutter, but I’d lose the note.

One year my company bought me a big, thick day planner, but it was so big and thick (and heavy), it never left my desk. It did help me with stuff I had to do there, but did little that a to-do list I’d scribble on a piece of paper didn’t.

Cozi Planner screenshot

My Cozi to-do list: It’s frightening

Now we have Cozi Organizer to help, but even that’s imperfect. First, we have to remember to put something on it to begin with (trash bags?). Then, if it’s an appointment, we can put in a reminder that will ring an alert on our phone or email us at the specified amount of time before it, but that only helps when I’m actually sitting next to my phone and hear the notification when it goes off. My daughter got a tablet computer for Christmas, and one of the first apps she downloaded was Cozi. She’d used it on her computer before, but that only helped if she was actually sitting at her computer when she thought of something to add to it, or if she had her phone in hand when a text notification came in. The tablet is in her hands enough that this will help, one hopes. :D

What do you do to rein in all the minutiae of day-to-day life? Do you take it in stride, or are you constantly in danger of forgetting something, like I am? What tools do you use to help, and how do you get the most out of them? Please tell me I’m not alone in feeling like the person in the photo!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

 

Changing the calendar, or something more?

Today is New Year’s Eve. Historically, this (and the real holiday, tomorrow) used to be my least-favorite holiday.

CalendarNew Year’s Day was just like any Sunday in the winter when I was a kid, except that you couldn’t go anywhere because everything was closed. It was boring, because it was nothing but the parents sitting around watching football, which I was never into. Then the retailers started wising up, and realized not everyone was into football and there was money to be made from those of us who weren’t. Now everything’s open, so there’s shopping to do if you need or want something, and it’s less boring. Football is spread out for several days both before and after New Year’s Day, so that’s less of a Big Deal too.

But for many, the real holiday comes the night before, when we gather with family or friends to cheer the clock striking midnight.

New Year's EveThe allure of this, too, escaped me for many years. Of course, the big attraction for many is drinking. I was a boring, rule-abiding teen and didn’t drink. In fact, I was usually babysitting for people with glamorous parties to attend. I didn’t even get dressed up, and I drank Coke. TV was usually boring–I never liked any of the entertainment on those New Year’s Eve shows (still don’t). New Year’s Eve got better when I met my husband, and actually had someone special to kiss at the strike of midnight, but it was still just another night at the bar. When we owned the bar for over ten years, it also meant I saw little of my husband, as he was always working, and I needed to help distribute the champagne. This was okay in and of itself, but there were always the one or two PITA patrons who either tried to scam us out of an extra bottle, or who bitched because we hadn’t gotten around to them yet (everyone always got their champagne before midnight). The best part of New Year’s Eve was having my best friend from college over–there is no such thing as a dull moment with her around, especially with alcohol! :D But that stopped when she found a significant other of her own, and they stayed closer to home.

At any rate, all the New Year’s Eve stuff seemed a big, freakin’ deal to make over what, IMO, amounted to nothing more than swapping out the calendar.

It got better after we sold the bar. All of a sudden, my husband didn’t have to work!

We got together with friends, and went bowling a few years there. I suck at bowling, but it’s still fun. The past few years, we’ve gotten together with neighbors, either at our house or theirs. We aren’t friends with them any more (long, stupid story), so I’m not sure what we’ll do this year. I’ll leave that up to my More Sociable Half to determine.

But it doesn’t matter. Because somewhere along the way, New Year’s Day became more than getting out a new calendar, more than a day to put away Christmas stuff while my husband went somewhere to watch football.

It became a new start, a time to set goals (never resolutions for me!), a time to evaluate last year’s goals and accomplishments. I’ve revised one long-ass book and published it, written and published a short story, written another short book (and won NaNoWriMo!), and designed covers for/formatted two anthologies, plus my Saturn Society Boxed Set, and revised a third novel, which is currently with my editor. It didn’t feel like I’ve done that much, but when I list it out like that… yeah!

I’m in the process of that evaluating of goals now, and it’s exciting to see not only what I’ve done, but what’s to come. I think 2013 will be a good year.

What do you do to celebrate New Year’s Eve/Day? Is it something special to you, or just time to change the calendar? Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

Cruising through the Holidays

Planning ahead makes all the difference! That’s what I say when people ask me if I’m stressed this holiday season. No, I don’t have all my shopping done, but I feel good about where I am with it – and everything else.

I decorated two weeks ago. The main reason that’s done is because I kept it simple: Christmas tree, mantel decorations, nativity scene. My family doesn’t care about elaborate decorations, as long as we have the basics!

As far as keeping up with writing goes, I managed that by setting smaller goals. This is an area where I’m not always successful–I’m hopeful that means I’ve learned from those times I wasn’t!

Here’s what I accomplished this week:

  • Hangar 18 – write up front and back matter
  • Hangar 18 – create full cover for paperback
  • Physical activity 5x this week – partial – got it in 4x

I’ve already met my ROW80 goals for the overall quarter. In addition to Hangar 18: Legacy, which is now with my editor, I’d like to release Times Two, the ebook-only boxed set of my Saturn Society novels. Since they are all already written and edited, and I already have a cover design, that leaves formatting. It would be great to get this out before Christmas. The ROW is over on Thursday, and check-in day is on Wednesday, so before then, I’d like to accomplish:

  • Times Two – assemble boxed set and format for Smashwords
  • Physical activity 5x this week (2-3x by Thursday)

If you’re participating in ROW80, how are you doing so far? Are you ready for the ROW to be over–and are you ready for the holidays??

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

Just Say No… to Stress, and ROW80

Last year around this time, I put up a post on ways I’ve found to deal with all the extra stuff we have to do around the holidays, that can add greatly to our stress level if we aren’t careful. One of those was evaluating which holiday events we really need to attend… and which we can gracefully decline.

My primary decision-making process for this is quite simple: just ask yourself these questions:

  • If I don’t go, will someone be disappointed or hurt?
  • Are there people there I care about, who won’t understand why I can’t make it?
  • If I don’t go, will it adversely impact me (for example, career or business issues)?
  • Are these people who don’t live nearby, and whom I don’t see at other times of the year?
  • Do I really want to go? (<- This one is the most important!)
I had to make one of those decisions yesterday… then woke up not feeling well, so that pretty much made the decision for me. I felt well enough to sit at my computer and play games, and the party I had to skip was one where my friends understood.

I also got some work done, including my ROW80 goals for the week! Here are the details:

  • Hangar 18 – finish type-in – Done!
  • Hangar 18 – get answers for new/remaining few research questions, and send to editor – Done!
  • Hangar 18 – put together book info sheet – Done!
  • Physical activity 5x this week – Done! (Good thing I did it Monday – Friday!)

I’ve already met my ROW80 goals for the overall quarter. But I’m not going to take the next week and a half off. There’s still much to be done, although with the holidays coming and all the extra to-do that entails, I am going for small goals. So for this week, I’d like to:

  • Hangar 18 – write up front and back matter
  • Hangar 18 – create full cover (for paperback – ebook/front cover already done)
  • Physical activity 5x this week

If you’re participating in ROW80, how are you doing so far? Do you have any tips on beating holiday stress? If so, please share – I’m always looking for more!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

I won! Or did I?

Wednesday night, I hit a milestone: at last, the word count meter in the status bar of WriteWayPro registered 50,123. I was done with my NaNoWriMo novel!

I actually finished the novel a few days earlier, on Sunday night… with a word count of only a little over 46,000. Not enough. But I’d left a bunch of plot holes and dropped subplot threads, which I’d normally tackle in revision. Instead of moving to another project, I decided to tie some of those up, and that got me to 50,123 on Wednesday night.

I was elated! I exported my document to Word, fearing my word count would change, and it did – to 50,006. But that’s still over 50,000, right?

I entered my new wordcount into the NaNoWriMo website, and the “I’m ready to validate my novel” link appeared. I pasted my whole dang book in…

And no winner bar appeared. Instead, the wordcount I’d entered now read 49,926. What???!!

So I went back and added that author’s note, just a short one. Re-exported, and re-entered. This time, I made it over 50,000 words and got my Winner! graphics.

Here’s the details on my ROW80 goals for this past week:

  • Finish NaNoWriMo novel – Done!
  • If NaNo novel is less than 50k, write author’s note and/or nonfiction project to add up to 50k – Done!
  • Physical activity 5x this week – partial – I got it in 4x
  • Hangar 18 – review and markup Chapters 13 & 14 – Done!

Here are my overall goals for this round:

  • Format and release OVRWA holiday story anthology – Done and now available!
  • Revise Hangar 18 - revisions/markup done, corrections typed in through Chapter 10 (of 14)
  • Keep up with my exercise, five times a week – ongoing
  • Win NaNoWriMo -Done!
So that means I’ve already met my revised ROW80 goals, how about that??
But I’m not going to take the next two and a half weeks off. There’s still much to be done, although with the holidays coming and all the extra to-do that entails, I am going for small goals. So for this week, I’d like to:
  • Hangar 18 – finish type-in
  • Hangar 18 – get answers for new/remaining few research questions, and send to editor
  • Hangar 18 – put together book info sheet (blurbs of varying lengths, and other details needed for publishing)
  • Physical activity 5x this week

If you’re participating in ROW80, how are you doing so far? If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, how did you do? And either way, have you ever finished a big task, only to find out that you weren’t finished after all?

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

When the Other Half’s Away…

…the writer will play! Or will she??

Not if it’s November, and she’s participating in NaNoWriMo!

Well, okay, maybe a little.

Oh, you want an explanation? Okay. It’s that time of the year that really helps a writer out. No, really.

It’s hunting season (the other helpful time being “football season”). How so? Well, to be specific, this week is gun season for deer in Ohio, which means my more-sociable half is away at deer hunting camp with lots of guys, lots of guns, and lots of beer (for after the guns are put away!). This means there’s lots of quiet in my house. I don’t think the TV has even been on in the past two days. The one in the room where my computer is hasn’t been on since he left the other day.

It’s been weird. And good for the word count – I finished my NaNoWriMo novel on Sunday night.

And as noted in Sunday’s post, fell short of the 50,000 words required to win NaNoWriMo – my book clocked in at only 46,000.

I was going to write an author’s note (wow, that would have to be a long one!) or do some work for a nonfiction technical piece. Then I came to another realization: There were holes in my book. Lots of ‘em – maybe as many of them as there was beer at that deer camp earlier this week. But mostly, I had a fraying book – tons of dropped threads, subplots that were introduced but never tied up. This is something I often do (doesn’t every writer? No?) and then go back and catch these suckers in revision.

But usually, I need to cut words. This time, I need to add, so why not add something I’d add anyway, now?

So that’s what I’ve been doing. My NaNo novel is right on schedule for a win tonight or tomorrow, currently sitting at 48,442 words.

I’ll leave the rest of the ROW80 recap for Sunday.

Oh, and my DH is due home today, but he called yesterday with good news: he got one! Looks like there will be some good eating in our house this winter (he’s also a very good cook)!

If you’re participating in ROW80, how are you doing so far? If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, are you on track to win, have you already won, or have you already conceded that you’ll not hit that 50k (which I don’t necessarily consider “losing”)?

I haven’t spotted any new releases from my writer friends the past couple of weeks, so no WANA Wednesday book news this week. I think many of my writing buddies are doing the same thing I am – writing! If you know of any, give me a heads up in the comments, please?

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

ROW80: Running out of Story

My NaNoWriMo book has come along quite a ways this week… in fact, I expect to finish it today or tomorrow.

And I don’t expect to hit 50,000 words until Wednesday or Thursday.

In other words, I’m running out of story. And I’m a bit shocked – if anything, my work usually runs long, just ask anyone who’s read Time’s Enemy or especially Time’s Fugitive. Even my short story, “Time’s Holiday,” clocked in at over 7,000 in its first draft, and the Home for the Holidays anthology required it to be 5,000 or under. It turned out I had some repetitious stuff, and stuff that wasn’t absolutely vital to the story that I could cut, and I whittled it down to size while making it a much better book.

The NaNo novel is already lean – there’s almost no description in it. That’s something I usually have to layer in during revision, but it’s even more scant in this book than usual. Then again, I’m just now getting to the big boss battle, and I do write long, so this may take up the words after all.

If I don’t, I have a plan. I can add an author’s note, and see how much that adds. If it’s not enough, I can start in on a little nonfiction project I’ve been meaning to write for a while – an instruction manual, of sorts, for my web design clients.

Here’s the details on my progress for this past week:

  • 12,000 words on NaNoWriMo novel, to a total of 43,000 words or more – Done!
  • Physical activity 5x this week – partial – got 4x in – not bad for having a holiday!
  • Hangar 18 – review and markup Chapters 11-12 – Done!

Here are my overall goals for this round:

  • Format and release OVRWA holiday story anthology – Done and now available!
  • Revise Hangar 18 - revisions/markup done through Chapter 12  (of 14)
  • Keep up with my exercise, five times a week – ongoing
  • Win NaNoWriMo – on track with 43,063 words so far!
For this week, I’d like to:
  • Finish NaNoWriMo novel
  • If NaNo novel is less than 50k, write author’s note and/or nonfiction project to add up to 50k
  • Physical activity 5x this week
  • Hangar 18 – review and markup Chapters 13 & 14

If you’re participating in ROW80, how are you doing so far? If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, are you on track to win, have you already won, or have you already conceded that you’ll not hit that 50k (which I don’t necessarily consider “losing”)?

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

WANA Wednesday: An Interview with Prudence MacLeod, plus ROW80 Update

We have a special treat for WANA Wednesday this week! Prudence MacLeod, author of romance, science fiction, and fantasy, agreed to stop by and let me pick her brain. Prudence is one prolific lady, and I wanted some insight into how she does it. Okay, enough from me – here’s Prudence!

JMP: Prudence, how long have you been writing? How many books did you write before publishing?

PM: Thanks for inviting me over for a coffee and chat, Jennette. How long? Off and on for close to fifty years, I guess. Seriously for about seventeen.

JMP: That’s a good while! And I thought I’d been at it a long time. Have you been published by a big publisher? Small press/epub? Independently? Please share your publishing experience.

PM: I had a few articles and short stories published in magazines long ago. As for novels, I acquired a box full of rejections and spent a fortune on postage before the internet changed the publishing world. As soon as the option became feasible, I began self-publishing.

JMP: I don’t blame you! Your books tend to cross genres, and I’ve found self publishing to be a perfect fit for that as well. Now that you’ve tasted the control and flexibility that comes with indie publishing, are you still pursuing a traditional publishing contract, or perhaps an agent?

PM: No, once I decided to go it alone I stopped trying to go traditional. If you’re doing self-pub right you don’t have much time left over for writing a synopsis or sending out query letters. You are spending your time on writing, editing, and social media.

JMP: Boy, isn’t that the truth! And that’s on top of creating, or contracting for cover art, formatting, editing, and more. What do you do (or have you done) for a day job? Has this informed or inspired your writing in any way?

PM: I’ve had a number of day jobs over the years, but I have to say the years I spent as a personal trainer give me the fondest memories. Those years, the people I worked with, and the things learned there are a big influence on my writing. A lot of my characters come from those days.

JMP: I’ll bet you met a lot of interesting people as a personal trainer! Most of us have trouble getting to the writing every now and then, if not every day. What keeps you from writing, and how do you handle it? How do you make time for writing?

PM: Finding the time can be an issue some days and I so admire you folks who manage jobs, children, and still find the time. Me? I just make the time. I learned this in powerlifting. When a lifter wants to enter a contest and lift three hundred pounds, she will set up a chart, probably twelve weeks. She starts with week twelve and marks it at 300. Week eleven is marked at 290, week ten at 280 etc. Each day she enters the gym she knows exactly what she has to do. I do the same now with writing. If I want a first draft of 72,000 words in twelve weeks, then week eleven calls for 66,000, week ten is 60,000 etc.

As you can see I’m constantly setting goals for myself. If I don’t I’ll just drift and get nothing done at all.

JMP: That’s so true, Prudence! I know for me, that’s what NaNoWriMo does – it forces us to set goals and divide up that 50,000 word mountain into chunks we can mark off each day. But wow, you have a lot of books out there now! Tell me, what inspired your latest?

PM: Okay, this was fun, actually. Needing a good kick to get my head back into my writing, I dropped what I was working on and contacted one of my most avid fans. I asked her point blank, “What would you love to see in my next book?” She was pretty clear on what she liked so I set out to write a romance with her in mind as the reader. I sent her a small teaser and she loved it. I’m just getting started on it, but I hope to get it ready in time for Christmas.

JMP: And now for the $64,000 question – CDN or US$, either is fine. :) What are some things you did to build your readership? What’s worked? What didn’t?

PM: Well, pushing in social media doesn’t work, running contests and doing giveaways haven’t worked for me, and offering sales and free books hasn’t worked either. What has worked is personal contact. Any reader who reaches out to me via e-mail or through a comment on my blog gets a personal response; not a come on to buy more books, but a response just to them. This can be a bit time consuming some days, but I will keep it up as long as I am able. I love the one on one with the readers.

JMP: Amen to that! Getting email from readers is the best! What are some things your readers have told you they particularly love about your books?

PM: Most of all it is Hope. I try to offer hope in all my book; they always have an upbeat ending. Folks also tell me they find my books informative; they learn things about all sorts of different people and lifestyles.

JMP: Having read and enjoyed some of your books, I couldn’t agree more! What’s up next for you – and where can readers find more about you and your work?

PM: Oh, gosh, I truly wish I knew. I’m hoping to find more ways to get in touch with the readers in more personal ways. I’m just not good at running big promotions; I’m more comfortable chatting over a coffee.

Here’s where you can find me, folks.

http://www.prudencemacleod.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Prudence-MacLeod/e/B0079XOY8U

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Witchhazel

Jennette, thanks for the coffee and the chat. Let’s do it again soon.

JMP: You bet, Prudence! It’s been fun – thanks again for stopping by!


Quick ROW80 Update: So far so good for NaNoWriMo! I’ve logged another 5,000 words since our last check in, bringing my total to about 36,000. I’m off of work today through Sunday, so I’m hoping to stay on schedule for that. I say stay on track, rather than get ahead, because I’m hosting Thanksgiving! My family’s great – everyone chips in as far as food goes, and it’s always a good time, so it’s ALL good! Hope you’re doing well if you’re participating in ROW80 and/or NaNoWriMo, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

What is WANA? It stands for We Are Not Alone, a guide to blogging, social media and networking for authors by Kristen Lamb. It’s writers helping writers, whether or not we’ve taken the course, and proving that we really are not alone!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.