Wednesday Writer’s Cafe 6/15

So my regular Wednesday night baby sitter, is gone for the summer. slaps forehead.

This means I get to take my kiddo to Writer’s Cafe. sigh. There are worse things. But it makes everything more complicated.

This last weekend was Maple Valley Days. I manned a booth for an insane 27 hours over the course of three days. I sold two books. Possibly the worst ROI ever. LOL. It wasn’t just me though. It was like we were the black hole booth. No one wanted to stop at us. Or if they did, in response to our opening, “We’re a cooperative of seven locals authors, we’ve either written or read everything on the table so let us know if you have any questions,” we heard “I haven’t heard of any of these authors.” um, gee, I heard Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and James Patterson declined to attend this year, sorry to disappoint you. LOL

Oh well, chalk it up to a learning experience and move on.

In the cool stuff category, I just got an email from a publisher asking if I want to review an early galley of an upcoming book by an author I had previous reviewed on the blog. How cool is that?


I’ve decided to report on my stated 2016 goals each Wednesday at cafe for a little prod of accountability.

– Participate in one flash fiction challenge per month.

√ um….June isn’t over yet right? right.

– Prepare and teach “Nano to Publish”.

√ Rolling, rolling, rolling.

– Any time I am not actively working on my 2015 Nano Novel, write 2500 words per week on my spy novel until it is done. (After four years, it’s time to put this mess to bed.)

-A hop, skip, and jump from being done, baby, done. I would like 3-4 authors who would like to give author beta. Contact me if you’re interested.

Non writing goals

– Prepare and teach two classes at the coop for the 2016-2017 school year.

√ I ordered some book from the library so I can start  developing that geography class. Does that count? LOL

– Take better care of my body, ie. stop compulsively painting, crocheting, and writing until my back or shoulder is so tore I can barely use either.

√ Check, Check.

– yoga daily.

√ er not so check. I got off schedule on my trip to Cali but I’m working back around to normal.

Wednesday Writer’s Cafe

was preempted this week by The Bard & Starlet hour. I have to say it went really well. And no, none of my work was included so I am not biased. LOL

Six local authors, members of FreeValley Publishing, gently modified scenes from their own novels or short stories into screen plays which were then acted out, radio play style, by local actors. The whole shebang was directed by local director Michael Renney, who also managed sound effects and acted as host of the “radio hour.”

The crowd at Boxleys was really warm and why wouldn’t they be. They were getting fabulous entertainment with their dinner. From my vantage point (behind the camera) I could see half the room ordered the Tequila Shrimp, so they must be good, in case you ever find yourself at Boxleys.

The evening started with a short story by David S. Moore. A sweet innocent family is looking for their new home. And their real estate agent would love to sell them this genetically engineered house, even though he doesn’t quite understand how it works. See, it’s adaptive to it’s environmental influences. And that’s where David leaves us. Wondering just what this house might do in the future as it “adapts” on it’s own. I had to pounce on him as soon as the evening’s show ended just to find out what does happen. And no, I’m not telling you. Ask David if you want to know.

From there we flow to the amusing adventures of The Witty Miss Livingstone by Kennedy J Quinn. I had the pleasure of being at many a write-in while Kennedy was penning this entertainment last November for Nanowrimo. I have heard so many clips I am chomping at the bit to get a crack at beta but no words yet. sigh. Miss Livingstone is a young woman who is moved from her proper Eastern sphere to 1910 Snoqualmie Valley. While initially bored with her new locale, she finds worlds of wonder in time travel. I don’t want to give away too much. Kennedy is editing for beta and hopes to publish Miss Livingstone later this year. You can tell her to hurry up, here.

Onto the nicest woman I have ever met. I should tell you each author sat at a little table on the side of the stage and “typed” out their thoughts as each scene unfolded. While Victoria Bastedo sat there, she didn’t type but she had the best facial expressions. I almost believed she was thinking up what her characters were saying as she sat there. Green Eyed Pursuit is a young adult mystery set in Victorian times is my guess. A simple quest to find one’s father evolves into so much more for the main character. Last night was the official release for Green Eyed Pursuit and the 457th book for Victoria. I exaggerate but not by much.

I am always predisposed to like a book for charity. Just the fact that someone went to a lot of effort that will benefit themselves to the tune of nothing, makes me want to like the art. If they can actually create art so much the better. Jeffrey Cook is no stranger to creating quality, his attention to detail pleases the researcher in me immensely.  Sound & Fury, Shakespeare Goes Punk, is an anthology of short stories written for the benefit of Paws Animal Shelter in Kirkwood. Local authors doing good locally. In “Young Secret Nobles in Love,” two young steam punk pirates negotiate the murky world parental permission for engagement, then negotiate their own rules of marriage.

Swim, Swan, Swim was also written during Nanowrimo last year. I heard lots of snippets, but finally got a real flavor during last night’s scene where Tennyson Swan attempts to placate both his niece’s demands for white alphabet food and his nephew’s demands for information about the murky family history. A mystery with a lot of emotional trappings is my guess when all is said and done. No word from T. Tommia Wright on when we might get to see the finished product. Nudge her along here if you like.

We capped off the evening under Stars in the Texas Sky by local author Stephen J. Matlock. I have not read this book but each time I hear a portion of it at an event, I become intrigued. The first scene I heard made it feel like a social commentary. Last night’s scene focused on the interplay and blossoming friendship of two young men 1952 small town Texas. I must admit I like the friendship better than the social commentary. I believed these were 14 year olds just on that cusp of becoming aware of themselves, finding who they are, finding how important it is to have a friend who understands you when you need to go spelunking in your own mind. Stephen is working on his second book set in Windmill, Texas.

If you missed it, I’m sorry for you.

The Pitfalls of writing over a long period of time

When I wrote my Wednesday Writers Cafe recap, I sort of glazed over the whole Mongolia and Moscow situation in my spy novel but I thought touch on that a bit more.

See when the night started I thought my characters were in Uzbekistan. I had just finished editing the most recently written section of my novel, where my main characters infiltrate the home of an arms dealer and force him to tell them who he stole the warhead for and where it is now, not that he knows the latter. But in that section I have the arms dealer speaking Uzbek to his son, who tries to defend Dad, it’s a long story, about 40K words right now. So at the start of the cafe I was grumbling about how to get them out of Uzbekistan without sending them back through China which is how they got there.

My writing friends, like true friends, began throwing out all sorts of suggestions, and I started checking into the feasibility of them, flight distances, etc when I suddenly realize when I started writing the section, 18 months ago, all of my distances, and travel times, and issues have them going from China to Mongolia. Mongolia, not Uzbekistan.

Crap, somewhere in those 18 months I forgot where I put the arms dealer’s house. I started writing based on where I thought I had left them and because really I wanted to be able to say he spoke Uzbek.

Sigh, so now not only did I have to rewrite some stuff but my spies are in Mongolia and I need to move them out of there. Repeat the previous fun and games where I try to figure out how to get them out of Mongolia without going back through China. sigh.

This is the problem with writing a novel over the course of 2 1/2 years at current count, and it’s only half done. Plus I just decided to change the bad guy because of that whole mess with North Korea and the movie. All my North Korea research is for naught and I must start again. This time however I picked a bad guy I know something about, having taken a class in it while pursuing my degree. This will hopefully cut down on the amount of research I need to do.

Ok new goal. If I want to finish this spy novel before this year’s Nano how many words per week do I need to write….There are exactly 23 weeks until November first. If I write 2k words per week for 20 weeks, that leaves me 3 weeks to research this year’s Nano before it’s time to write. That’s not bad. I think I can actually do that. But that does raise the question, what am I going to write for Nano 2015? Don’t tell me one challenge at a time, I don’t work that way.

Aren’t You Beautiful….

Well, aren’t you?

Last night was writers cafe, I had super good intentions about how much I was going to get written. I had a sitter, she even showed up,  I was ready to write given that I got little done yesterday morning and then it happened….

the Writers Cafe. We should give up the premise that anyone gets more than a few words written at these things. I did manage to hold the line long enough to get my spies out of Mongolia and into Moscow. Out of the pan and into the fire one might say but then I got a text.

To back up, a few weeks ago at the cafe I was told I needed to think about my author’s photo for that book I’m going to publish this summer. Not to mention for my blog (what my laptop and fingers shot isn’t going to cut it?), and for my promotional materials. Ugh. Marketing. I hate Marketing. I have a whole blogs about it hating it and panels I went to so I could hate it a little less.

The problem with marketing, for me anyway, is that these days you aren’t just selling your book, you’re selling yourself as well. Readers want to know their authors. I am so not comfortable with that. I don’t want to be looked at. I want to be invisible behind my screen and produce novels that do my talking for me. Yes, I know, reality check.

So I texted a friend I am going to see in a few weeks, who’s taken most of the pictures of me I have ever liked, and asked her to take my author photos for me. Last night she texted and asked me to find examples of pictures I might like, I had said I wanted whimsical and weird/arty shots, and we would recreate them. LOL. Down the google rabbit hole I went.

So this is my question to you, what would your author photo look like if you had money, time, and a professional photographer who knew how to get the best out of you?

“Different TDY, Same Shit.”

That’s the final line of my spy novel. It amuses me every time I read it because the TDY the assistant is wrapping up is handling Stanley. And it’s Stanley who’s asked the question. The hwole novel the assistant has quietly propped Stanley up or soothed his ego as the situation called for. It’s this easy little tweak of the idiot the assistant is assigned to run rather than being able to do real work.

Not that the spy novel is done by any stretch of the imagination. But I wrote the final chapter during the first Nano I worked on the spy novel in. Yes, you read that right. I worked on this spy novel for 2 Nanowrimos and the year in between. And still it’s not done. I’ve only got about 35K words. I expect another five years will get it done. Laughing. Given that half the year I am working on a nano, researching it, writing it, editing it. That doesn’t leave much time for Galatea, Talon, Gareth, and Stanley. On the other hand it provides a much needed vacation from these characters so I don’t hate them, because after three plus years, I’m a little tired of them every now and then.

I went to writer’s cafe last night. I love when I’m working, editing as it was in this case, and I’m not wholly absorbed in my work so that I have twenty percent of my brain available to catch the amusing snippets of words from other conversations. My writers group is having an Old Fashioned Radio Show on May 27th at Boxleys in North Bend. There was lots of conversation about that tonight which I won’t repeat here, LOL. Then an odd discussion on writing advice from Stephen King. But I think my fave was when I got drawn into a conversation that started like this…If Castle had a cross over episode with NCIS who would Rick bond with best? Hello, Tony of course. But that led me down a long rabbit hole of amusement which ended with me explaining that soon I would be back at the Friday writers cafe because my son would be done with co-op on Fridays and I hadn’t enrolled him in any classes on Friday for next year after a long debate over education versus my writing career with my husband. The woman I was talking to got that “oh you poor dear, I understand” look on her face so I felt compelled to explain that I had been arguing for Henry’s education, while my husband had been arguing for the writers cafe. She says, “What incredible support.” To which I could say quite easily, “yes, it was. My husband is amazing in all the ways that really matter.”