The Looooooooong Book Tour

We’ve all experienced it. A new book is released, and the author hits site after site after site to promo it.

It doesn’t take long to bore the crap out of everyone in the community with this tactic. The first day, we’re thrilled. The second day, we smile and nod and may even read the post. But as the tour progresses, more and more people shut down to it. “Enough already! You have a new book out. I get it. I even bought it. During the length of your book tour, I’ve read it twice!”

Unless you’re a die-hard fan of the author, you probably don’t hang in there until the end. I bet even the author is sick of it by the time the last stop on the tour is reached.

Why do they do it? To reach readers and rack up sales. There is no other reason. But the problem with the long book tour is 99% of your audience have seen the first two or three tour posts and aren’t interested in the rest because they are in the community. They’re plugged in, they get the news and hear the rumors, so any tour lasting longer than a few days, a week tops, is pointless and, worse, annoying.  Continue reading

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There are Lots of Ways to Waste/Fill Time

Since I purposefully stopped writing, I’ve been casting around for other things to do. Surprisingly, I was at loose ends for a while. I didn’t know what to do with myself if I wasn’t hunched over the laptop. The days stretched ahead of me with nothing to fill them. It was weird.

Who was I if I wasn’t writing?

Then I got editing jobs. Problem solved. I spent a lot of hours each day working. But when my brain had had enough, I needed other distractions.

Wednesday, I watched the first thirteen episodes of Big Bang Theory, S8; Sunday, I watched the remaining twelve episodes. Thursday, I went over to R’s to catch the Heroes Reborn premiere. It did not impress, and I doubt I’ll watch it again (boo-hiss to Tim Kring, who was in charge once again and somehow blew it).

I’ve been reading more than usual. I’ve taken naps. I’ve tried installing old computer games and tossed the ones that didn’t work–don’t you hate when that happens? Continue reading

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Going on Hiatus

The last few months, I’ve been busting my butt to re-release two books I got the rights back to: Phoenix and The Flamboyant Flamingo. Both needed new editing, start to finish, and new covers. At the same time, I finished Half Moon House and got it out there. The Weatherboy sequel is still only half-finished and looks to remain incomplete for a while yet because I’ve decided to take a break.

The reasons for this are many. First, I have multiple edits coming up the next several weeks, several of which will overlap. This means I’m going to be working long, hard hours, and I won’t have time to be creative. I didn’t plan it this way, but sometimes it’s how things fall out.

Second, I started work on the next book, an SF/fantasy centered around a transgender teen, and hit a wall during plotting. No matter how hard I came at it, or from what direction, I couldn’t break through. So I put it aside and tried something else that equally excited me–for a few days. Then I simply stopped.

Third, sales of my books this year have been less than stellar. In fact, things have been so disappointing, I’ve thought of quitting altogether–yeah, yeah, I know. This is nothing new. Many authors go through this, not just me, and after a few days of gnashing their teeth or feeling sorry for themselves, they’re right back at it. Up until now, that’s how I reacted too.

But it’s been a couple weeks, and I haven’t started writing again. Plots and characters still teem in my mind, but I don’t feel the urge to write.

Instead, I’ve been re-reading the Merlin/Arthur books by Mary Stewart. The first one was published in 1970, and there are five books in the series, one of which I didn’t know existed until recently. I immediately went in search of it on Amazon, and a few days ago, it arrived from Switzerland. Yeah, that’s where I got it, and for $6 US. I’ve read one thousand pages in the last four days, and last night, I jumped into #3, The Last Enchantment.

Mary Stewart lived in England (she died not too long ago). She wrote a string of woman-in-peril romance books that were standouts in the genre due to strong descriptions, beautiful writing, and female main characters who were not wimps. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Disney made a movie based on one of them–The Moonspinners–that sucked compared to the book; in creating a vehicle for then very popular teen Hayley Mills, they turned an incredible piece of writing into pap for the masses.  Continue reading

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Monday Flash Fic: The Window

11215776_1628921717356089_3853036161356003954_n“Tell me about the nightmare.”

Averting my eyes, I focused on a free-form sculpture on the side table. Her office was dimly lit and womb-like, designed to make guests feel safe and comfortable. In my current agitation, the effect was lost on me. “Carousel horses go round and round to insanity-inducing, tinkly music and then abruptly, one breaks free of its pole and leaps off the thing to jump over a bench. In seconds, another follows, then another, until all the horses are gone. The carousel continues to spin, the music keeps playing.” I stopped. I didn’t have to be a psychiatrist to understand what it meant.

She knew me well enough to skip all the mumbo-jumbo and go straight to the heart of it. “You’re afraid.”

“I’m terrified. It’s never been done before.” There’s nothing like stating the obvious.

“If you only had to worry about yourself, would that make a difference?”

“Of course.”

“You’d do it without regard for personal safety?”


“What makes you think every member of your crew hasn’t made the same decision?”

Owl-eyed, I stare. That hadn’t occurred to me. Continue reading

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Dos and Don’ts of Dialog

I often edit authors who haven’t quite wrapped their heads around certain constants in writing yet, and one of the biggest is dialog. Every single thing I’ve said to them about how people talk is in this one blog post, so today, I’m sending you over to Kristin Lamb’s hangout.

I nodded all the way through, recognizing each point she made. I’d highlight one or two of them, but the truth is, they are all important, all true, and all worth implementing immediately.

Dialog is crucial to a story. It tells the reader who the characters are and how they feel. Getting it right is key to telling a good story. Off you go then. Say hello if you’ve a mind.


In other news: I spent more than a couple weeks thinking about, researching, and putting together notes for a new book… only to set it aside yesterday in favor of something else. The SF/fantasy story refuses to come together at this point, so I’m going to work on something else first. More about this later. (Don’t hold your breath; it may be a while.)

Have a great weekend. See you Monday with a flash fic.

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