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Revising East of Yesterday – Plus Stuff

People's DrugstoreHere is a cool drugstore pic from the 1920s. Whenever I blog about East of Yesterday, I’m going to try to find a cool old picture to go with it, to get you in the mood. Click to enbiggen. Shorpy has another picture of the same store, restored and in high-res.

I took my three-week writing break and am now neck-deep in revisions.

I took a different approach with this revision, because I have already revised East of Yesterday quite heavily. I am reading the story aloud to my husband. In the process, it has grown from 111000 words to 115000. I have found some I can cut, and probably will do so tonight, but it won’t amount to more than about 2000 words, if that. All the scenes really do advance the story. I guess it is officially an epic. But historical fiction is often lengthy, so I think it should be okay.

In between read-aloud sessions–I can only go for about 2 hours at a time before my voice gives out–I am doing some revisions further along in the book that I know I need to make, such as rewriting a few scenes in another point-of-view.

~*~

Other than that, I read a fantasy that was very good, but the reviews on the 2nd book are not promising and it is a bit expensive, so I have not purchased it yet. This is the second such novel that I have read. (With the other book, I actually did purchase the second novel, but the plot crashed and burned half-way through) Both started out as self-published Amazon sensations. Hmm.

Does anyone know of a good Google Reader-like website, for reading blog feeds? I prefer RSS feeds to getting a bunch of emails from individual blogs, but have not found a replacement for Google Reader. Therefore, I don’t read blogs as much as I used to, and I’d like to get back into it. Neither Facebook nor Twitter a very good substitute, IMO.

When not writing, I blog. When not blogging, I write.

Just thought I’d explain my infrequent posting lately. There are a lot of things I can blame, but mostly, it’s the writing. The first 3/4ths of East of Yesterday was so easy to write. But this last quarter–or maybe the last 5th or 6th–has been every bit as difficult.

And I have it all plotted out. Remember this?

PlotWebs

(In case you don’t, it’s across-functional diagram of my plot, showing all the back and forth of time travel.)

I have kept it up to date with all plot tweaks, and I am progressing painfully through each bubble. Right now, I am on the column of bubbles all the way to the right! However, due to time travel, these are not the final bubbles. The time travelers swing back over to the left a scooch before they head on into the ending.

I am less than a thousand words away from 90,000. And of course, I think it is all crap. But hopefully that is just the summer blahs. Because I know I’ve written some good stuff here. 🙂

Another thing I think I can safely blame is some medications I have been on for high blood pressure. I started the medication just before The Sevenfold Spell was published, and I am in the process of switching to a different medication. The other medication just made me too sluggish and dampened my enthusiasm for things like blogging and writing. I don’t think it is any coincidence that six months after I started this medication, I felt too overwhelmed and had to shut down Debuts and Reviews. I already am already feeling an improvement in my attitude. This process of switching meds is going to extend into August. We have to do this safely, but so far so good.

Anyway, that’s my life update. One reading tidbit before I go — I am reading Kings of the North now, the second book in the Paladin’s Legacy series that I started last month. I am enjoying this book even more–lots of interesting characters, including some that we didn’t get nearly enough of in the original trilogy.

More on that soon!

Dratted, Overcrowded Brain

Today, I got a nice email from Zillow. Why, you ask, would Zillow send me a nice email? Because of this post. They asked that I embed a link in it, and even though the link was rather real-estate-y and this is not a real estate blog, I did what they asked. Because they asked so nicely. Who knows? Maybe the cool architecture will inspire one of you to move to St. Augustine one day.

Lesson learned: It never hurts to ask.

Anyway, when I reviewed the post, I realized I had never written a promised follow-up. Even though I took the trip to St. Augustine and drove down the streets I mentioned. (In my Jeep. With the top down, of course.)

I keep doing that. Forgetting stuff I say I’ll do. I guess I need to come up with a reminder system. So I am going to brush off my old Google Calendar account–the one where I used to keep track of debuts–and have it send me reminders. Because apparently, this brain is overcrowded.

In fact, I think I’d better write a procedure for writing up blog posts. Because I evidently need all the help I can get.

(Nah. Cause if I do, I’m sure to forget I wrote the dratted thing.)

A Failed Experiment. A New Start.

Well, that didn’t work for me.

A while back, I put forward a proposal to convert this blog into some sort of shared memory blog. I worked to develop the idea, and I even wrote two blog posts.

That’s right. Two whole posts. Since December.

Woohoo. Big whoop. I guess that idea didn’t even take off with me.

So, that’s out.

Therefore, I’m bringing back a format that works for me: book talk, book reviews, author guests and writer talk. And I’ll work in my two shared memory posts as occasional retro posts, which I have been known to do from time to time.

Since I want this blog to be distinct from the rest of my site, I should give it a name. I don’t focus on debuts anymore, so anything goes. Here’s some possibilities:

  • The Broken Bookspine – way back when, in 1996, during the early, early days of the Internet, I wrote a few pages about my favorite books. It wasn’t a blog, because I was using straight HTML and blogs weren’t thought of back then. It did have a tiny following, and someone asked permission to reprint part of one of my “posts”, where it still persists here. But the original site existed before the Wayback Machine started caching pages, so it is gone forever.
  • Tia’s Bookshelf – Simple and direct.
  • Elsewhen BookTalk – Takes off on the anywhere but here, anywhen but now thing, plus I’ve been using Elsewhen as my location in Twitter. Also, “reviews” isn’t in the name to prevent an expectation of a significant number of book reviews.

I think I like the last one. How about you?

It’ll take me a couple of weeks to get this going. I’m going to start by arranging for some author guests. I will narrow down the genres from what I used to cover to my most fav genres, which are:

  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Historical

I am deliberately keeping these broad. There will be certain subgenres I will gravitate toward. Although I occasionally enjoy mystery, romance and Christian, those genres will not be the focus of this blog. Narrow worked best for me, and narrow is what I am going back to.

Before I get started, I’ll also clean up my post tags so I can use them usefully. Right now, they are a mess. And it will be a big job cleaning them up. I may also import in my Fantasy Debut posts, but that will be a Phase II task, postlaunch. Very post.

Wish me luck. I know I’ve run a lot of ideas by you guys, only to get busy and let them fall by the wayside. I’ll try to not let it happen again. Thanks for sticking with me!

A Blogging Topic Idea

When I stopped running Debuts and Reviews, I thought blogging would be easier. Back in those days, I put in a lot of time filtering through recent releases at places like Edelweiss, looking for debuts to bring to you. It was fun, but it took hours. All those hours came straight out of my writing time, since I didn’t have any other time to offer up. Several of you pitched in to write the reviews (Deborah, Raven and Katie) so I could spend more time finding those debuts.

But one thing was easy. Topics to blog on. It was a cinch. I blogged on either:

  • Debuts
  • Reviews

Yeah, I would have those off-topic posts and author guests, but even they were usually related to one of the above.

A freeform blog like this one is harder because I don’t have so much to write about. I don’t like the idea of only writing about me, and so I have been writing about writing, which really only appeals to my kindred writers.

I have thought about picking up either reviews or debuts again, but the scope of debuts is going to be really hard for me to handle unless I very narrowly define what debuts I am going to cover. I can’t leave out self-published books anymore because they have gone mainstream, and there are a large number of electronic and small presses putting out quality work. I would have to pick out five or six of my favorite publishers and only cover their debuts. Or cover only self-published debuts (which would still be huge). Or cover only Warrior Woman debuts. Or something like that.

But damn. I really do need a focus. Here are some of the ideas that have flitted through my brain.

  • Reviews. Tor still sends me books, as does Amazon. May as well put them to good use.
  • Jeeping. Yeah, right. Talk about trading one audience for another. Much as I love my Jeep, I don’t seem myself devoting a whole blog to it.
  • Politics. No, just kidding.
  • Technigirl. I wrote a blog once called Technigirl. No one read it except my husband. It was actually a lot of fun. But if I’m going to pick a blog topic, it needs to have a slight connection to my writing. (See “Jeeping” above.)

But the topic I like the best would be on Collective Memories. You guys have helped me a few times by providing your memories of the way things were done in days gone by. So my idea is that I would post a topic every day, and people comment with their memories of said topic. It would fit with my writing. I’m still considering and refining this idea, which I could combine with my research posts and road trip posts.

If I do this, I’ll pick a launch date and design a graphic and prep a number of posts ahead of time so I get into the habit before I launch. I don’t want this to be one of those things that I start and then forget. I may also change the theme for this site to make it easier to group related posts and to facilitate commenting.

What do you think?

Veronica Scott This Week!

Hi, everyone. Just a quick post.

The last two weeks included some crazy highs and lows, and there is at least one more surgery upcoming for a close family member. So I’ll continue to post when I can, hopefully at least once a week. Because I do like it, even though it may not seem that way.

Veronica Scott is coming this week! I told her that you guys were interested in her recent posts at Evil Editor, and I asked her if she would post about it sometime. She got such a kick out of the idea that she sent me a post the next day. So expect her in the next few days.

I’ll also post some true glamor shots of me … with my new Jeep! Yes, I said highs and lows, and one low–saying goodbye to my eighteen year old truck Betsy–was followed by a high of saying hello to my brand new Jeep, Clint. Yes, I name my vehicles. My hubby christened my Jeep Clint Jeepwood. I kinda like it.

So I’ll post some pics of both Betsy and Clint by Wednesday … I think.

Reconstruction Zone!

Well, now that I’ve test-driven wordpress.com for a few weeks, it is time for me to move my domain here. Right now, when you go to tianevitt.com, you are redirected to this WordPress blog. When I’m done, tianevitt.com will work again.

While I am unhappy at losing my plugins, the default WordPress behavior seems to give me everything I need. The only thing I don’t like is that this theme, which is otherwise wonderful with great sidebar features, puts the comments link at the top of the post when you are at the blog page. I have observed that this set-up decreases post comments. If you can’t immediately find the comment link, why bother to look? I’ve done it myself.

So I’ll reluctantly be looking for another theme as well. But only after I get this domain set up.

So bear with me please, while all this construction is going on.

Last Week, This Week

Well, in case you missed it, I was hacked last week and I am squatting here on WordPress.com. I have decided to make this my permanent home, but my hosting plan is still active for several months. I am trying to figure out what else I need to get out of that database before I shut everything down. I have already successfully retrieved my newsletter subscribers (yay!) and my links (yay!) and so I may be finished.

As for plugins, I don’t think I’ll miss them. Happily, most of the things I used plugins for are simply included here at WordPress. Other things I was inspired to learn, such as the art of using div tags for layout. The only things I have not been able to replace were my newsletter system (which was powered by a plugin) and my backup system. I am not yet sure how WordPress.com handles backups. It didn’t actually do me much good to have a backup anyway, because I have no idea when the hack took place and it involved a vulnerability in my database that I needed my host provider to fix.

As for my newsletter, I went back to MailChimp.

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Speaking of newsletters, I am preparing my spring issue and I thought I’d mention that I am putting a special prize pack together, consisting of:

  1. The winner’s choice of one of the following:
    * Synopsis and Query Help
    * First 30 Pages Critique
    * Extended excerpt from my next book, Magic by Midnight
  2. A surprise recommended ebook gifted from the winner’s choice of Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or one of my books if the winner chooses. I’ve even had people ask me to send the copy then won to a friend. Winner’s choice.

Also, during this next issue, I will be issuing a “street team” invitation. This is something that every struggling new writer needs, and struggling describes me perfectly. I feel kind of funny trying to organize a street team (because what if no one signs up), but if I am serious about getting Magic by Starlight out in print and onto bookstore shelves–and I am–I need to start now.

One thing you will definitely get for joining my street team is an early copy of Magic by Starlight. This is absolutely critical, for the whole point of the street team is to get people out there generating buzz, and you will need something to buzz about. I am still working on what will be in the rest of the gift pack; the details will be in the newsletter first.

You can sign up for the newsletter here. Thirty-two people already have!

~*~

Last week I had to inform my guest, Nicole Luiken, that my blog was hacked, and I took down her post until I could get everything working again. Since it was only up a few hours, I am going to repost it this week. Nicole is the author of the excellent fantasy duology, Gate to Kandrith and Soul of Kandrith. I loved them both and I was excited about having her as a guest. Too bad a hacker had to ruin it.

Also this week, I have written a post on writing descriptions, using a country music song as an example.

Plus, I have two reviews to write (at least!) so I hope to have one posted by Thursday.

Hope to see you in the comment threads!

Hacked; In Temporary Home

My website was hacked for the 2nd time in 3 months, so I have moved into WordPress. com. Please pardon the dust. I had four sidebars at my last blog and now I must make do with one. I was working on making a sidebar for each book. Sigh.

The problem is my domain provider refuses to upgrade their MySql to the latest version, even though the version they are using has a known vulnerability where a malicious user can change your MySql password and do whatever the heck they want. The fix that I was able to use last time did not work this time, so I gave up and moved to WordPress.com.  I will probably become a premium user in very short order, or I will find a much more professional web host provider. I guess I know what I will be doing this weekend!

Fortunately, the posts and pages were not corrupted. I checked. The hack does not manifest itself here So I was able to import the content of my site. I am not sure how long I’ll be able to keep my images; when I move to a permanent home, all my images will most likely evaporate. I’ll have to find something better than hosting my images at my site.

So I am sad. I worked very hard on that website, and much of that work was wasted due to a malicious user.

Featured Author at Fiction Vixen

I’m featured author today at Fiction Vixen. Come on by and read an exclusive scene from The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf.

Fiction Vixen Weekend Feature

Tomorrow regular blogging begins again with (hopefully, if I get it written) a science fiction romance review, and the guest posts will be more sporadic.

I have been working on a home for my newly imagined Debuts & Reviews. Right now, the leading option is something here at this site, like a content management system. I’m just trying to find the right one for my idea. Right now, I’m looking at BuddyPress. More to come on that!