Tag Archives: Ygerna

On Words, #WIPpets, and Freedom for #Nanowrimo

I haven’t posted on my blog for over two weeks, oh dear. But I had a good excuse: Ygerna and Nanowrimo. 🙂

Portrait of a Woman by Charles Allen Winter, often cited as Igraine

After I finished the translation of the second Viking book, I plunged into the Pendragon Chronicles prequel with a passion. (I can do alliteration!) And with the help of Freedom, an app that turns off the Internet, I actually managed to make the 50,000 words, for the first time in several years.

I bought Freedom quite some time ago, but this is the first time I’ve used it extensively for writing purposes. It is now definitely going to become part of my writing routine. With Freedom and no distractions, I can get 500 words written in 30 minutes when I’m on a roll. Of course, many 30 minute sessions I only got 250-300 words, but most days, I didn’t need more than 4 sessions (2 hours) to get my daily word count — and I was way behind as a result of the translation.

Of course, being a winner doesn’t mean I’m done with the novel. It’s still full of notes to myself and research ideas. At some point I will have to do a major slash and burn session. But with Freedom, I suspect the loss will be less than usual, since I couldn’t access the Internet during many of my writing sessions. I kept trying to remind myself that most readers won’t care if the historical background isn’t as accurate as in the other books — and many will be relieved. *g*

Besides, with this prequel, I have the advantage of all the research that has gone before. Of course I don’t remember everything, but often an earmarked book or an Internet search will bring back a lot.

That means that progress for the last two weeks was well over 25,000 words. And during that time I also did (a rather neglected) promo for Yseult — which still managed to get it over 100 sales and boost its rank to #4 in Arthurian fiction. 🙂

On to WIPpet Wednesday! Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

My math for today: 12 sentences for the month, plus the last sentence from the last post for the sake of continuity, since I haven’t played for a while. Ygerna and her little brother Geraint are watching the guests arrive arrive for the wedding of their older sister:

“Do you think one is Uthyr, leader of battles?” he asked.
She squinted, trying to see the wedding guests better. Not that it would help much — it had been nearly two years since she had last seen Uthyr, the Pendragon of Britain, not since the funeral of their older brother, Tudwal. Nonetheless, she well remembered his commanding presence and golden blond hair.
Then a figure neared the land bridge that matched her memories. She pointed. “There, I think that could be the Dux Bellorum.”
At that moment, the blond warrior looked up and spotted them. He grinned and nodded in their direction. Now Ygerna was almost certain it really was Uthyr. She blushed and lifted Geraint back off of the wall. “Come, we should join the rest of the family to welcome Argante’s wedding guests. Race you!”
How embarrassing to be caught spying on the arriving guests like a child! What would the Pendragon of Britain think of her? In a matter of months, Ygerna would turn fourteen, the age of choice for a woman. She was betrothed to Gurles, a neighboring prince from the stronghold of Dimilioc. They were to be married at Christmas in front of the impressive basilica of Isca.
And Argante had barely spoken to her for a week after the announcement was made.

All comments welcome!

Changes for #WIPpet Wednesday, and a brief update

For Nanowrimo, I have temporarily set aside the second and third books of The Glassmakers Trilogy and turned to a prequel to The Pendragon Chronicles, Ygerna. Just for fun and inspiration, before starting it, I slapped together a cover:

Ygerna

I wasn’t actually intending to use it for publication, but now I find that I’m liking it better than I expected. What do you guys think? Can I use it? If so, what changes would you still suggest? (I definitely don’t want to keep the corset, frex, since that doesn’t really fit in 5th Century Britain. *g*)

On to the first excerpt! I’m going to make it easy on myself and begin at the beginning with the first 11 paragraphs for the 11th day of the 11th month:

Weddings can be anything from dazzling to excruciating, but more often than not, they are at least memorable. By the look of the guests arriving at Dyn Tagell, this wedding was shaping up to be particularly dazzling.
Ygerna’s little brother Geraint tugged her hand. “I can’t see!” he complained.
She chuckled and took pity on him, lifting him up and settling him next to her on the stone wall. He was big for a five-year-old, and it took some effort. Soon, she would no longer be able to carry him around at all.
“Will the High King be coming to the wedding?” he asked.
“I don’t know.” She wiped sweat from her brow with the back of her hand. It was unseasonably warm for May on the coast of Dumnonia. But perhaps the sunshine would reconcile Argante to having her wedding here in this coastal fortress rather than the capital city of Isca. There had been many tearful arguments on that count between her and their parents, but their father Erbin had been adamant — with Pict and Erainn pirates haunting the western coast of Britain, he could not afford to be away from his strategic summer stronghold during the raiding season.
“King Vortigern is very busy,” she added.
“So is Papa,” Geraint protested.
“True enough.” Resting one arm on the stone balustrade, Ygerna peered down at the newly arrived guests. From their vantage point above the land bridge, they could see the parties crossing to the promontory singly and in pairs — given how narrow the passage was, little more was possible. Sunlight glinted off the jewelry of the richly dressed men and women, but from this distance, she couldn’t recognize any faces.
She pointed. “Look, there’s the Pendragon banner. But I can’t tell if the High King is of the party.”
Geraint leaned forward, and Ygerna wrapped a protective arm around his waist to make sure he wouldn’t tumble down the side of the cliff.
“Do you think one is Uthyr, leader of battles?” he asked.

Here, BTW, is the book description I put up on the Nano site: “When young Ygerna first meets Uthyr, Pendragon of Britain, she is dazzled by the handsome and famous warrior. But when Uthyr interprets admiration as consent and takes her by force, Ygerna’s hero worship turns to hatred.
“And she will do anything to get revenge on the man who got her with child and ruined her life.”

As you can tell, it’s a rather radical reinterpretation of the Uthur and Igraine story, but I never bought that one in the first place, so I’m making it my own. 🙂

As many of you know by now, K. L. Schwengel is stepping down from the post as Head Wippeteer and handing the reins over to Emily Witt. Huge thanks to Kathi for keeping it going for so long. It’s been a grand time. 🙂 But it’s not over! The rules will still be the same: post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link to the Linky. I do hope this change won’t mean the beginning of the end for our little blogging community, so do keep playing, everyone!

Update: I’m a bit behind on Ygerna in Nano terms, but the site tells me that my daily average is 1200 words, so I’m quite happy with that. I still have about another 5 pages to translate on the Viking novel, after which I can hopefully make up for lost ground. But my marketing efforts have largely come to a halt, and my sales are suffering accordingly. I don’t seem to be able to do all three effectively at the the same time, translating, marketing and writing. One of them always seems to suffer. So that is something I still need to work on.

On splitting up a big book: Turning Yseult into episodes

As many of you following this blog know, I started my career as an indie author after I got the rights back to the original English of my novel Yseult, which was published in German as Flamme und Harfe by Random House Germany in 2009.

Flamme und Harfe, Ruth Nestvold

I published the English original in January 2012 on my own with this cover from the talented Derek Murphy of CreativIndie Covers:

Yseult, Ruth Nestvold

Since the original publisher of Yseult / Flamme und Harfe, Random House Germany, told me they were interested in a sequel (which they decided they were not interested in after all), when I published Yseult, I already had the next doorstopper waiting in the wings, Shadow of Stone, which I published in June of 2012.

That too sold quite well, and I began to imagine that I was on my way to a wonderful career as an indie author.

Halt.

Readers started wanting to know when the next “installment” would be available. Of books that were both close to 200,000 words, or over 500 pages long. Unfortunately, I don’t write fast enough to produce novels of that size every year, and I lost readers.

I started writing a prequel to The Pendragon Chronicles, Ygerna, hoping to make it free and attract more readers that way, but I soon noticed that the story of Arthur’s mother was too complicated for me to finish off in a couple ten thousand words, and it ended up on the back burner. I do have a free short story from the second novel available, Gawain and Ragnell, and that has helped my sales somewhat, giving potential readers a taste of the world of The Pendragon Chronicles. So I know for a fact that permafree can help your sales.

Then at some point I started noticing something new happening in ebook publishing: it seemed as if a lot of the most successful indie authors were publishing their ebooks in episodes or as serials, in chunks from between 50 to 200 pages. Like with a TV show, each episode might bring a single plot thread to a conclusion, but there was also often some kind of cliffhanger to make sure the reader came back for the next installment. An added advantage of the episode format is that the author can make the first “book” of the novel free in order to entice readers to give it a try.

Slowly an experiment started to take shape in my mind. I had these two Big Fat Fantasies, after all, together close to 400,000 words. But in the era of ebooks, when the reader can’t judge a book by how heavy it is in her hand, books seem to be getting shorter. And while the true short story has yet to make a comeback, readers appear to be increasingly accepting of novella-length books. (This is all totally subjective and unscientific, so don’t quote me on it.)

Anyway, as a result of these observations, I have decided to launch an experiment. I am going to take the four books of Yseult apart — which, btw, is how I organized the novel long before the advent of ebooks — and offer them separately. I will try to make the first book free on Amazon as quickly as possible. Here is the pricing structure I’m considering for the serial version:

Part I: FREE
Part II: 99c (my take, 30c)
Part III: 2.99 (my take $2)
Part IV: 2.99 (my take $2)

My goal is not to make more money than with the complete novel, although that is what would happen if readers were only to buy the individual parts. But when I do this, I do not intend to unpublish Yseult. That will still be available for 4.99 for anyone who is enjoying the series enough to want to buy the novel. Mostly I’m just hoping that with parts 1 & 2 at free and 99c respectively, a few more readers will try out the series.

So recently I’ve been working on a template for the covers of the individual episodes. I wanted to use the cover of Yseult as a basis, to make sure that no one bought any of the episodes thinking it was a new story in The Pendragon Chronicles. At the same time, the covers should be distinctive enough to stand out from each other. Given those considerations, here’s the template I came up with for the series:

Yseult template

And here’s my first attempt at a single title:

Yseult-Part-1

My thought is to use different colors beneath the “celtic fringe” *g* on the left / west side of the cover as a visual signal of the differences between the books. And now, as I write this, it occurs to me that the color for the first book, which takes place in Ireland / Eriu, should be a dark green rather than the dark purple I have now. *g*

Anyway, I welcome any thoughts / feedback you have in the comments below!

I might land flat on my face with this experiment, but I’m not out of much more than a couple days worth of work making the new covers, formatting the individual sections, and uploading them to the various venues. Wish me luck. 🙂 And do please let me know what you think!

Another Round of Words: Fast draft fail and a new project

This past week, I gave up on the fast draft course I was taking. But since the course instructor was mostly absent, it wasn’t much of a loss, other than the thirty-five dollars I paid for it. I’d been hoping for some regular tips and encouragement on increasing writing speed and outwitting the editor; instead, we were all on our own, posting our daily page counts and wondering where the instructor was.

But everything is a learning experience, and I’m hoping I can try some fast draft writing on my own after Christmas, this time using the tips someone in the course posted from Rachel Aaron’s site that I’ve mentioned before.

I think another problem was that I may not have done enough brainstorming and research before I started writing Ygerna’s story. I realize that one of the principles of the fast draft method is not to look things up while you’re writing. Instead, you make a note of whatever it is you need to add later and just barrel ahead. But by the time I quit, it felt like every other sentence was a note to myself about something I either had to research or look up in the other two books to make sure I have everything consistent.

As a result, I was beginning to feel frustrated with the project. So I put it aside, temporarily, and now I am working on a novella / short novel version of short story I wrote many years ago, City of Glass. A lot of critique partners had told me that it didn’t work as a story, that it wanted to be longer, but I didn’t want to believe them. I always have so many projects going at any given time, after all. But after I decided to put Ygerna on a back burner for a while, I was going through my list of potential projects, and this one suddenly spoke to me. It’s a story about a glass-maker on Murano who makes a prince a glass slipper — and ends up with a marriage proposal. But since she has no interest in marrying some conceited noble, she has to figure out a way of getting out of the situation. It doesn’t help that the glass-makers of Murano are forbidden to leave Venice, for fear they might share trade secrets …

And now the writing is flowing again. I’m treating the old short story like an extended outline, adding all the parts all my writing friends said were missing, deepening the characterization, adding more detail. Until now, this version is coming in at about three times as long as the original story. And I’m having fun again!

Once I’m done with City of Glass, I’ll get back to Ygerna, but I don’t think I’ll experiment with fast drafting on that one anymore. The notes on the things I need to look up are often details I really need to know to continue with the story, not just window-dressing. TI will have to allow Ygerna whatever time it needs.

I hope everyone is winding up the year in style and has plenty of successes to look back on!

Finally branching out: Kobo and Pubit

This week, I finally got a big item off my to-do list: I set up accounts for myself on Kobo’s Writing Life and Barnes and Noble’s Pubit platforms and uploaded my first two books on each site. But while B&N had my books available in less than a day, much like Amazon, my books on Kobo are still “publishing.” Oh well.

The good news is, it was easy enough to sign up, redo the books without the Amazon links, and upload, but as with all things, it just takes time. These are systems I haven’t used before, after all, and I have to get used to the navigation, etc. For both sites, I also had to redo the covers of my books because of different size limitations. But at least for B&N, I can now announce two “new” books:

Never Ever After on B&N

Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur on B&N

Another project on my to-do list that I finally got around to doing this week was to set up a mailing list. Right now, the only sign-up page I have is on Facebook (it’s tied in to my author page there). Getting that squared away probably took nearly as long as signing up as an author in two new online stores and uploading two books each! That’s why I haven’t gotten the mailing list set up for my blog here yet. I really needed a break, and a chance to get some writing done again.

A couple of readers have asked me whether I plan to get some more books up on Smashwords again. I’d like to, but it’s a bit of a problem. Now that I’ve moved all my final drafts over to Scrivener, uploading to Smashwords would be a lot of extra work. First I would have to export from Scrivener to RTF, then I would have to import the RTF into the Smashwords DOC template I made when I first started experimenting with ebook publishing and go through and assign all the correct styles. That’s an awful lot of work for a couple of sales a month. The beginning of this year, Mark Coker (the head of Smashwords) said they would have epub implementation by the end of the year, which is only a couple more weeks away. I hope it happens. I doubt if I will get around to uploading more books on Smashwords soon otherwise.

But with all those projects (which I really had to get done before Christmas), the progress on Ygerna has slowed down quite a bit. It’s presently coming in at 60 pages, of a target of 200. I’m shooting for a short novel for this prequel, something that won’t hurt as much to eventually give away for free as an incentive for people to start reading The Pendragon Chronicles books. Yseult is such a Big Fat Fantasy (~190,000 words) the idea of permanently giving it away for free does not appeal to me at all. 🙂

And now a question: I’ve been referring to the WIP by the name of the main character, Ygerna, a Celtic version of the name Igraine. But I’m pretty sure I will have to give the book a different title because of the similarity to the name “Yseult.” I don’t think I have to rename the character, since Yseult isn’t even born until after the events of the WIP are over. But having two books in a series named Ygerna and Yseult is probably not a good idea. What do you guys think?

I hope everyone has a great week!

The challenge of becoming visible as an indie — and an interview

As anyone knows who’s stuck their toes in the self-publishing waters, one of the biggest challenges facing indie authors is getting noticed. So that beautiful tree you cultivated fell with a satisfying crash? But if no one is there to hear it … you get the idea.

It’s the same thing when you throw your brilliant work of staggering genius out into the pond of all the other newly-minted indie authors — and the pond is so full, it doesn’t make a ripple, since there’s no water left.

When I first published Yseult in January 2012, KDP Select was a totally new element thrown into the self-publishing mix, and having a good free run with one of your titles was enough to give sales a push for weeks. Now, not only is it getting harder and harder to have a successful free run, the sales post-freebie are less and not lasting as long. KDP Select is no longer enough to draw attention to your books.

Back when I first started out, I did try a few other things. I wrote to review sites to try to get them to pick up my books, (without success) I did interviews and guest posts on other writers’ blogs, all those things they tell you to do to get the word out about you and your books. But the only thing that seemed to have an effect on sales was a successful free run. And now that isn’t even working anymore.

So how is an independent author supposed to become visible?

One of the things I’ve had some success with are group promos. I talked about that elsewhere, and I still think it’s one of the ways authors can help each other out and reach a larger audience. Which is why I’m participating in another one this month: Kindle Books on Fire. Check it out! If you have a US address, you might even win a new Kindle Fire!

Another thing I’ve been experimenting with more recently is paid advertising. I haven’t had the greatest results until now, but on Lindsay Buroker’s blog recently, she recommended BookBub, which sends targeted emails to readers of specific genres. Their list of fantasy subscribers is over 70,000. (BTW, if you’re an indie author or are considering going that route, I highly recommend subscribing to Lindsay’s blog. She shares a lot of useful information about her own self-publishing experience, and I’ve learned a lot from her posts.)

After reading about Lindsay’s experience with a 99c discounted book, I decided to try BookBub with a freebie of Shadow of Stone. The ad prices are staggered according to genre and the discounted price at which the book is being offered; an ad in the fantasy category for a free book right now is $45. They seem to only take one book a day per genre, however, so competition is steep. I think I got in because of my award nominations in traditional publishing, since Shadow of Stone still only has ten reviews. They also only take full length books, according to their guidelines, at least 50,000 words.

Anyway, results. Within hours, I’d recouped the money I spent on the ad — in sales of the companion novel, Yseult. Of course, this only works if you have books in a series. I saw a tiny increase in sales of some of my other books that are not part of The Pendragon Chronicles, but not much. It’s looking like the bump in sales of Shadow of Stone after the freebie would also have covered the cost of the ad. Yesterday, I had 9 sales and 13 borrows on Shadow of Stone. So I’m definitely going to try Bookbub again, as long as they will give me a listing, that is. 🙂

I also wanted to point anyone who might be interested in the direction of an interview with me up on the OWW workshop. There I mostly talk about my decision to go indie, but craft and theme as well. (The interview is about two-thirds down in the newsletter.)

As to recent writing progress: I’ve been slowed down a bit by a cold, and the fact that the colonoscopy I did this week is having some unpleasant aftereffects. (The results of the exam were negative, btw, which means that’s good for me.) But despite that, with the inspiration of Fast Draft, I’ve gotten 38 pages written on Ygerna this week, my Pendragon Chronicles prequel. That’s nowhere near the 20 pages a day we’re supposed to be doing, but I’m quite happy with it. Hopefully once health issues clear up, I can increase that.

I wish everyone a great week!

Experimenting with Fast Draft — and another free ebook

Since my progress this month during Nanowrimo has been less than stellar, when I heard that Candace Havens was doing her Fast Draft and Revision Hell course again (this time entitled “The Book in a Month Club”), I jumped at the chance. I’ve read about this course on other folks’ blogs before, and I’ve really wanted to give it a shot, but it seemed that every time it was offered, I had conflicts. I have conflicts this time too, but I decided to go for it anyway.

The basic idea is to send the internal editor for a hike and write twenty pages a day. That sounds like quite a challenge, since an exceptional day for me is when I write six pages. I’m a trained literary critic, with a Ph.D. in English Literature, and my internal critic can be a pretty stubborn gal. But this time, I bribed her with a trip to Thailand, which has got to be nicer than Central Europe right now. She’s still dropping me nagging notes on occasion, but until now, the writing is going quite well. The first day, Monday, I wrote six pages, the second day eight, and today I’m shooting for ten. I realize that’s still very far removed from twenty, but anyone who reads this blog on a semi-regular basis knows that I’m all about writers not beating themselves up. There are enough people out there will to do that for us. If we can’t learn to be our own best cheering squad, facing all the rejection and negative feedback is going to be pretty tough.

Anyway, back to Fast Draft. My accepting attitude of my own limitations as a writer (and a human being *g*) doesn’t mean I’m unwilling to take on new challenges, even if they sound absolutely impossible. But I’m also in favor of being realistic about those challenges. If I can get a single twenty page day out of this exercise, I will thrilled. It’s all about learning new habits, after all, and even one 20-page day will be something completely new for me. I did get close once, while I was writing Yseult. It was a showdown scene near the end of the book, full of tension and emotion, and it practically wrote itself. By the end of the day, when I checked my word count, I was amazed to realize that I had produced 18 pages, without even really trying.

It has never happened again. 🙂

So I’m trying to learn how to make it happen a little more often. One of the other gals in the Fast Draft loop pointed us in the direction of a great blog post, “How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day.” (That, btw, is twice the wordcount I’m shooting for with Fast Draft! *g*) In that post, Rachel points out that one of the tricks of writing more is Enthusiasm. Duh, right? But how often do we find ourselves working on a scene we think has to be there because we need that transition, or we have to introduce that character, or we read somewhere that our protagonist has to cross the first threshold — and we’re just bored with the whole thing? I don’t know about you, but I know that I’ve ended up during the rewriting phase trashing a lot of those scenes.

The lovely lesson is, if it doesn’t excite you, or you can’t find a way to make it excite you, don’t write it. 🙂

Rachel says a lot more wonderful, wise stuff, and I strongly recommend that everyone head over there and read the post. I may even buy the corresponding ebook, myself.

Also, Shadow of Stone is free today and tomorrow, November 28-29. If you don’t have it yet, and you like historical fantasy, head on over to Amazon and get yourself a copy! I will probably be taking it out of KDP Select after this run. Before Christmas, I need to take some time out from Fast Draft and get a couple of my books up for B&N and Kobo. Not to mention finally formatting them for hard copy, sigh. I love the independence of ebooks, but I’m not a big fan of all the extra work …

Latest free run for Yseult and some thoughts on KDP Select

My sales this month have been pretty pathetic, and that after awesome months in August, September and October. Partly it might be due to the fact that I was gone for over two weeks, plus frazzled before and jetlagged after. My online presence diminished to near-invisibility, and I can’t help but think that played a role in my diminishing sales.

Another thing that’s hurting me (and others) is that free runs are becoming increasingly ineffective for boosting sales. There have been a number of discussion threads about this on the Kindle Boards, but what it comes down to is that with the glut of free ebooks from all the authors in KDP Select, readers aren’t grabbing everything that looks remotely interesting anymore. Add to that a change in algorithms on the part of Amazon, in which books given away free count a lot less towards popularity and bestseller status than they had previously.

Fewer books given away + unfavorable algorithms = limited sales after free run

Take my most recent freebie, for example, my fantasy collection Dragon Time. Short story collections are notoriously hard to sell, but when it was free in February for two days, I gave away over 3,000 books. In the weeks following, I then sold over 100 copies. The last free run it had in October, I only managed to give away about 350 copies. Since then, it’s sold one copy and been borrowed once. With results like that, KDP Select is useless as a marketing tool. As a result, I have decided (once again) to slowly start pulling my books from KDP Select and try getting them up in other stores. The last time I did that, with Yseult in May, it was a disaster. Smashwords took forever to publish it, and when it did, it wasn’t approved for extended distribution. After six weeks and seven whole sales, I took it back down again and returned to KDP Select.

The plan this time is to go directly to B&N and Kobo, the stores that account for most sales outside of Amazon. Those stores also allow the author to upload epub files, which I can generate with Scrivener, rather than the elaborately formatted doc files Smashwords requires.

That said, I’m having a surprisingly good free run with Yseult this time. As I write this, it is at #106 in the free Kindle store, and doing very well in it’s categories:

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Arthurian
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Historical
#5 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy

And that all without getting picked up by the “biggies” Ereader News Today and Pixel of Ink. But I’ve been featured on a lot of smaller blogs, one of which, XTME, has led me to mark my best showing on Amazon.de to date.

#22 on Amazon.de

I also want to thank all these other wonderful folks for helping me get the word about about Yseult. Perhaps some of it will help sales pick up in the last part of the month:

Kindle Books and Tips
The KindleBoards Blog
Free Ebooks Daily
Kindle Buffet
eReaderiQ
FreebooksHub.com
Daily Free Ebooks
e-Literati (another German site)

The need to do a bit of promotion has sidetracked my Nanowrimo project a bit, my Pendragon prequel. Ygerna is presently at 12,092 words. I know that for a “novel in a month” that’s a pretty poor showing, but I’m not too worried about it. It’s coming along well, and I’m having fun with it — that’s the main thing.

Getting back into the swing of things

I’ve been back from the States for just over a week now, and I’m slowly recovering from jetlag while I try to get back into my normal routines again. My attempt to jump into Nano a few days late has been pretty pathetic until now — Ygerna (my prequel to Yseult and Shadow of Stone) is presently coming in at a little over 6500 words. But I’m not going to beat myself up over it too much. The last couple of days, my word counts have been increasing to near-Nano requirements, and if this keeps up, I’ll be producing 5,000 words a day by the end of the month and will easily catch up! (*not*)

But seriously, I will get as far along on this project as I can, and if my brain wakes up enough for me to suddenly write much faster again, that will be a pleasant surprise. As usual, I am using the push Nanowrimo gives me to work on something that was on my to-do list anyway. Maybe I’ll have a super-rough draft by the end of the month, and maybe I won’t, but I will have more than I had at the beginning of the month, and that’s good. 🙂

Hope everyone else tackling Nano is happy with their progress!

And now for a silly Halloween pic to keep things from getting too serious:

US trip 2012

That’s me with my brother and sister after we’d had a couple of gin and tonics …

“The Next Big Thing,” upcoming freebies, and hiatus announcement

I was tagged today in a blog hop, “The Next Big Thing”:

null

This particular blog hop was started as an opportunity to learn about the work of independent authors, one blog at a time. If you would like the chance to promote your book in this way, please let me know in the comments! I need to tag five other writers next week when it’s my turn (assuming I even get around to posting, but more on that later.) You can see the questions on Renata Barcelos’s blog, the writing buddy who tagged me. Thanks, Renata! 🙂

Anyway, I’m flying to the States on Friday, and for 2 1/2 weeks, I’ll be driving up and down I5 and flying to Atlanta, visiting friends and family who I see far too infrequently. For that reason, I’m putting regular goals, both writing and social media, on hold until I get back, giving myself permission to get Very Little Writing Done during that time. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to tell folks I haven’t seen for so long, “Okay, I have to go write now.” So my plan is to just not worry about it and dive into NaNo a couple days late. I will be taking my lovely little eeePC with me, which I will load with my text directory and all my current writing projects, and I will continue to brainstorm Ygerna, the prequel to The Pendragon Chronicles that I want to write during NaNo. But I would much rather be grateful for any writing I manage to do during my visit, than end up kicking myself for not getting any writing done.

I have a number of free promos coming up while I’m gone. Since I might not have a chance to announce them shortly before they happen, I’ll just list them all now. If any of the books sound interesting to you, put them on your calendar!

FREE books in October:

Oct. 22-23: Beyond the Waters of the World (Looking Through Lace, Book 2)

Oct. 23-25: “Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife” (Tales From Far Beyond North)
This promo is part of Halloween Free Horror, which includes 24 books of horror, dark fantasy and Halloween themes.

Oct. 29-30: “Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife” again. I figured the best time to promote a Halloween-themed story is during October, so I might as well use up my free days all at once. 🙂

Oct. 30-Nov. 1: Dragon Time and Other Stories, containing my witch story “To Act the Witch”: Brilliana is a famous actress for the Duke’s Theatre, yes — but she is also a Witch. And it is up to her to save the Age of Magic.
This is in connection with the Witchy Books Halloween Promo. You can access a Listmania list of all the books that will be offered, either free or on sale, here.

That’s it from me for at least a week. Y’all play nice now while I’m gone! *g*