Personal

News

I’ve signed with a small independent press, Fey publishing.

They rock. They’re supportive and respectful. I’m  happy with the decision. And this means that my dark fantasy Spellsword has a home, with the potential of the two other books in the trilogy becoming just as real and out in the world.

Also, I have friends that think I should write erotica, because I do it so damn well, their words, not mine. But I’m going to try that, though I’ll use a pen name.  Short stories that build into a series and eventually become a book or more. They won’t be expensive, and just an afternoon read, a few hours at most.

Progress

Progress on the God’less Saga is going well. I’ve reached the resolution and have about ten to fifteen thousand words left to write. I’m really happy with the story and the way it’s turned out. I have an editor set up to go through it when I’m finished. I found a cover that rocks and the photographer has agreed to a price so that I can use it.

I got my first two star review on Wolf, out of six four and five star reviews. That bummed me out but it was an honest review, one person’s opinion, so I thanked them. What else can one do? It’s part of the writing gig.

I’ve gotten a short story into a horror anthology, due out for October. I’ve given two stories to a charity anthology, no idea if they’ve been accepted but I have high hopes. They are good stories.

And last but not least, I have two publishers interested in the same story, both asked for the full manuscript. Decisions pending. But this is cool.

It’s about story. Go hug someone today.

Smile at the world.

The Holy Grail – a contract

For a writer, a contract is the Holy Grail. I’ve turned down two in the last few weeks. Why? They weren’t right. The first was an Indie publisher, who, when I asked them questions about their company, only replied by changing their contract, all other queries about them, the company and what they meant to me, as a writer, were not responded to. So I refused their contract.

The second was a large christian publishing company in the states. They wanted to change my content so it was appropriate to their ‘mission’, no profanity and other content changes that weren’t specified. I don’t write nice, at the best of times. I write dark, often showing the good man can attain, but it’s still dark. They also wanted four grand out of me, refundable once they had sold the 1000 book. This is not usually how publishers work.

Nothing like being excited and disappointed at the same time.

I’m still submitting, and writing, and I will continue to look for a publisher that respects me as a writer.

It was a ten-dog day today, meaning lots of love from the furry, and their owners.

Kindle Promo

The promo I ran on Kindle the other day for Wolf: A Military P.A.C. Novel was, in my opinion, very successful. Almost 1700 downloads. Now if just ten percent of them write a review…I’d really appreciate it.
Thank you to all who shared this on their page or in their network. I found the whole promo humbling and vital.
Thank you again.

Editing

I’ve done a lot of editing in the past fourteen years. Both to my own work and others. And I’ve noticed that all authors have their own brand of mistake that they can’t see through. They may even critique it  in other groups, about other authors, without noticing it in themselves. This is normal. It’s not hypocrisy. Writers have blinders on when it comes to their work. It takes a long time to notice these mistakes and train themselves out of them, and a first draft, no matter how long the writer has been writing, will have these weaknesses. They crop up. Especially if the writer is trying to finish something in a certain period of time.

Here’s a few examples: Spelling. Personally I’m terrible at this and rely heavily on spell check and online dictionaries. Missed commas, missed words, repeated words in a few sentences that don’t reinforce a need or emotion in the characterization or plot.

This is why editors exist, grammar Natzi’s, if you wish. Harsh as that sounds.

But editing is more than grammar, more than copy, it even goes further than sentence structure and flow. There’s structure for a novel that comes into play – developmental editing is a term I keep seeing lately. For the best book on novel structure – in my opinion – see Larry Brooks Story Engineering.

What I see some editors miss, especially those not formally trained, is that the author has a voice and a style and a way of saying things that needs to be respected. Something to be noticed. And this style needs to be acknowledged in the editing, and the note taking for changes to be made in a manuscript. It’s not just a matter of deleting, changing, or modifying sentences, paragraphs or whole chapters of a book. Good editors, truly involve the author in the process.

If your editor isn’t doing this, it may be unconscious, or ego, or training, so give him or her a break, let them know. Don’t take everything they do as gospel, but, stay open to their ideas and suggestions. This has some of the same components of a writing group. It takes a certain amount of bravery. And in the case of an editor, you’re often paying for a service. This means you get to define the experience before it starts. So take part.

A good editor is like a good therapist, they take time to find. Look well.

Hug something today, rocks and walls don’t count.

Writing Groups

I’ve been going to three writing groups a month for ten to twelve years. That’s a lot of critiquing, editing, and being critiqued. Of course, I sometimes take a break as well, from one or another of them. It’s growth work to sit in a room and have people tear holes in your work. It builds a thick skin. It makes you vulnerable. It leaves you open to grow, not only as a writer, but as a person. You see, you have to keep your mouth shut to really appreciate what other people are saying, to not defend your work or your reasoning behind the work. Why? Because your readers will do the same thing and if you defend or retaliate to the validity of your work, you will lose a reader. At least, I think so. I’ve seen writers get so defensive on line that the comments they get in return become caustic. And it just gets worse. Best just to say thank you and move forward.

A critique group is one of the best tools in the world to learn to be a better writer. Of course you’re going to get every type of personality and ego out there. That’s part of the charm and the curse of writing groups.

Some will be grateful that you shared with them, and a piece of your soul; some will be joyous at the effort it took for you to share. Some call that bravery. I do. Especially if you’re shy or introverted, or both. Some are happy to help you improve your writing. They do this with suggestions to make your writing better: how to change your voice; words choices to make stronger sentences; ways to improve characterization, and heaven forbid, grammar and punctuation changes. The last is a slippery slope as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t matter in a group because if you care about your work, it’s the last thing you do to make your work polished. You may even pay an editor to do this for you, but in a critique group, you’re showing first and second drafts and at that point, it’s all the other stuff that needs details to improve your story.

You will also meet people who will tell you their way of writing is the only way; people who don’t care because it’s not in their genre, and have nothing to say to improve the writing, so it becomes a “why did you write that,” kind of thing; and those that don’t know how to be positive.

Go back to the first paragraph and see the comment about thick skin.

Writing holds a lot of rejection. Get used to it. Learn from it. Listen to the things that most people reinforce, this means it’s being noticed and there may be something wrong there. Things mentioned only once, may really be only personal opinion, and everyone knows what that means on the grand scale of things.

But a writing group should point out your strengths and weaknesses. That’s the important thing. That’s how you grow. It takes time. Be patient.

Give yourself that chance.

Hug someone today.

Struggle

I struggle, not so much with writing, but with the social need to sell myself. To tweet, to Facebook, to blog on this post. These take time from writing, and yes I know I need to do this as well as the writing.  I also don’t submit enough. I need to do more of this. I have a book ready for an editor, and in the next month I’m going get that accomplished. That one I really enjoyed writing. A fantasy setting in a broken land that needed fixing, two strong female heroes that get dragged through the conflict of the story arc and a mystery to how the world came about. It’s a good story. It won’t be my last.

 

Thanks

One more person has bought Wolf: a Military P.A.C. Novel. Thank you, I hope you enjoy the story.

Things Change

I’ve spent the last several months rewriting a book for an editor. It was on spec, and only a look see, but I thought the effort worth while. Well, he’s left the house that might have been interested and gone to another house that only deals with licensed works, which is not mine. And while my time wasn’t wasted — I have a much better product — I was disappointed. I think that this is how things work in the publishing word, or even most creative worlds when it comes to marketing.

Things change. People move to different jobs. I’ll still write though.

Hug something, today!

Wolf Pleases Another Reader

KL Mabbs’ book is an exciting and fast-paced read! While it has genre elements of military, sci-fi, fantasy, and even romance, this book is at heart a chase novel. You’ll feel cold, wet, exhausted and afraid for Michael and Faelon as they flee their enemies. You’ll feel the adrenaline and excitement as they turn around and go on the hunt. And you will feel the creep in the small of your back as you come to understand who is hunting the hunters. Pick it up, read it, and prepare for a long night by a nice fire as the winter winds howl straight through to the end!