Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The End is Here! & Indie ReCon

I know many of you are in the middle of the April A to Z challenge, so I'll keep this short.

Just a quick update on my novel progress--I finished Archanum Manor! I wrote "the end" last week and the final installment to the Lorne Family Vault clocked in at 81,000 words. I also finished my first read through two days ago, so it's on its way to the first round of beta readers. But there's no time to rest. I'm now plunging back into editing Doria Falls.

So it's back to work, but before I go, I wanted to share that the virtual indie author conference, Indie ReCon, will be taking place April 15th - 17th (that's right, it starts today). This is the conference's third year and should be packed with the latest self publishing information. Find out what the best-of-the-best are doing right now and what changes are taking place in the constantly evolving self publishing landscape. Click the icon below to be taken to their official website. Be ready to take notes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: The End in Sight

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

As I said in my previous IWSG post, this past month would be an important one, and it was. I just passed 74,000 words, which is a number I'm quite proud of. I have two chapters left in Archanum Manor. The first one is huge because it's right in the middle of the climax. The second, will be a short resolution and wrap up. I can finally see the end and I'm pushing to finish by this coming weekend.

I know many of you are starting the April A to Z Challange, which is a huge commitment. So I'll keep this short and just update you on my progress. Once I finish this first draft and do a full read through, I'll go back and edit the third book, Doria Falls. During that time, Archanum Manor will be sent to a few beta readers. When I finish the Doria Falls edits, I'll have the distance I need to dive back into Archanum Manor and clean it up. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but it doesn't feel much like work anymore.

I'd like to leave you with another song I recently added to my Archanum Manor playlist, one I've listened to a lot this month while writing. But I've been listening to the album version and ran across this beautifully haunting acoustic version by accident. But as Mr. Gordon would say, accidents don't just happen. I was meant to find this song tonight. It fits the tone of the book so very perfectly. Take a few minutes for yourself and enjoy the sublimely melodic duet. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Cover Reveal: A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford

Title: A Change of Mind and Other Stories
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: Contemporary speculative fiction
Release Date: May 25th 2015

A Change of Mind and Other Stories consists of a novella, four short stories and one flash fiction piece. This collection puts the extremes of human behaviour under the microscope with the help of lashings of dark humour, and includes four pieces previously published in Writer’s Muse magazine.

In A Change of Mind, Reuben is an office worker so meek and mild he puts up with daily bullying from his boorish male colleagues as if it’s just a normal part of his day. But when a stranger points him in the direction of a surgeon offering a revolutionary new procedure, he can’t pass up the chance to turn his life around.

But this isn’t your average surgeon. For a start, he operates alone in a small room above a mechanic’s. And he promises to alter his patients’ personality so they can be anything they want to be…

In Marissa, a man who is determined to find evidence of his girlfriend’s infidelity ends up wondering if he should have left well alone.

The Dog God finds a chink in the armour of a man with a megalomaniacal desire to take over the world.

In The Insomniac, a man who leads an obsessively regimented lifestyle on one hour’s sleep a night finds a disruption to his routine doesn’t work for him.

Hole In One sees a dedicated golfer achieving a lifelong ambition.

The Loner ends the collection on a note of hope as two family members try to rebuild their lives after they are torn apart by jealousy.


Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working, he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. You can find him hanging out on his blog or on Goodreads or Twitter.

Preorder Links: Amazon US, Amazon UK

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cover Reveal: A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander

Today I'm excited to share the cover of A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander, the second book in the Bakeshop Mystery series. This book releases June 30, 2015 by St. Martins Press.

Welcome to Torte--a small-town family bakeshop where the coffee is hot, the muffins are fresh, and the cakes are definitely to die for…

It's autumn in Ashland, Oregon--'tis the season for a spiced hot apple cider with a serving (or two) of Torte's famous peach cobbler. It's also the perfect time for Jules Capshaw to promote her family's beloved bake shop by competing in The Pastry Channel's reality show, Take the Cake. The prize is $25,000. But as Jules quickly learns, some people would kill for that kind of dough. Literally.

Then, just as Jules dusts off her Bavarian Chocolate Cake recipe and cinches up her apron, the corpse of a fellow contestant is discovered--death by buttercream. What began as a fun, tasteful televised adventure has morphed into something of a true-crime detective show for Jules and everybody else on set. Who could have killed Chef Marco, and why? Can Jules sift out the killer before someone else gets burned?

Don't miss out on book one, Meet Your Baker, available now!

About the Author:

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.

Find her on Twitter | Facebook

Triple chocolate brownie mix
Oregon Chai tea
Custom handmade coasters and napkins
Signed copy of Meet Your Baker
Signed Advanced Reader copy of A Batter of Life and Death 
Open to US only
Ends April 9, 2015

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: Crossing the River

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

Another month has flown by and I'm taking a moment away from my writing cave to give an update on my current manuscript. I just passed 50,000 words in Archanum Manor, which feels substantial, but it's obviously taking longer than I had hoped. So I actually averaged 500 words a day this past month, not the 1000 I was pushing for. The important thing is just to keep writing, so I won't come down on myself too hard.

One reason for my lower than expected word count was hitting a major snag in the story. I came to the edge of a river that was quite difficult to cross. I could see the opposite river bank with no idea how to get there. Building the bridge cost me time with writer's block and rewrites. But it did finally get built. I've been writing that bridge for the past week and a half, and I can successfully say that I've reached the other side of the river and ready to continue down road leading to Archanum Manor.

Now I'm getting close to the biggest scenes in the book, which is both exciting and terrifying. I need these scenes to live up to the key scenes in previous books, with the hope of actually surpassing them. This will be an important month as I bring the series to a close. I don't expect to be done by next month's IWSG's post, but I expect to be close. Here's hoping.

I'd like to leave you with a song I just added to my Archanum Manor playlist, one I've been obsessed with over the past week, listening to it repeatedly while writing the interactions between Oliver and Desiree. It has the beautifully sad tone of an Elliott Smith song. Sit back, turn down the lights, close your eyes, and let Joshua Radin pull at your heart strings for three minutes while I get back to work. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

IWSG Wednesday: Writing, Covers, and Soundtracks

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

I just received a rough draft of my fourth and final cover for the Lorne Family Vault series, and I’m excited with how well it fits with the others. It feels great to have them all nearly done, one more thing I can cross of my list for releasing (and rereleasing) all of the books. My biggest complaint with my current (and previous) covers is the visibility (and readability) of the titles, especially viewing them as small cover icons on Amazon. This was another live and learn experience for me since these issues with the titles were my fault. I wanted title graphics that were uniquely stylized. But the results were also hard to read. I know not to ask for that anymore. Now, I’ve asked for a bold title font that stands out even as a small icon—and my new designer fully delivered.

I’m still plugging away at the manuscript for Archanum Manor and just passed the halfway point. As I’ve previously written, I’ve been writing without an outline for most of this first half, but I’m now getting nervous. I want to bring this series home with a strong ending and that pressure is building into more frequent writer’s block. I haven’t written in a few days and I need to get myself back on track this evening because days of non-writing can be a slippery slope of losing momentum.

I enjoy creating soundtracks to my books for brainstorming and writing, and I finished the one for Archanum Manor last week (as an iTunes playlist). For Provex City, the songs I chose fit with specific scenes in the book, but now I create a soundtrack mainly for expressing the tone of the story (though some songs in the other soundtracks still coincide with certain key scenes). The difference is that for Provex City I created the soundtrack after the book was written and fit the songs accordingly. Now my soundtracks are WIPs before and while I’m writing until they feel complete.

And now I’d like to leave you with the teaser of a first song from the Archanum Manor soundtrack for your listening pleasure while I get back to writing.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Off the Cuff

I just passed the 30,000 word milestone in Archanum Manor, 19,000 of those words penned in January so far. My goal has been to do 1000 words a day, and while I haven't quite kept that average this year, I'm only 4000 words off, which isn't too bad. Even though I still have a lot to write, it feels good to be back in the swing of things. I have written at least a few new words nearly every day, which fuels my momentum to the finish line.

I had posted a few months back that I would thoroughly outline this book to maximize my writing efficiency. I've known for awhile now that I need to write faster and I wanted to experiment with comprehensive outlining to accomplish that. It was interesting how my outlining sessions became my most unproductive writing and idea producing days--turned to weeks--ever. I don't know if it was fear of digging into this final book in the series holding me back or simple distractions of the upcoming holidays, but I just had to pick a date to start writing, with or without an outline.

So Archanum Manor is my first book being written with absolutely no outline. I started with a general idea of what was going to happen, a couple major plot points, and a climax scene I dreamt up while writing SUSY Asylum. But that's it. I've been writing daily, plotting the next thousand words during my long work commutes. If I have the next thousand words figured out, then at least I can sit down at my computer each night without simply staring at the screen for extended periods of time (though some nights involve more staring than others).

The cool thing about working without a clear path to the end is coming up with ideas you weren't expecting. I came up with an idea last week that changes the whole ending of what I had planned for the series, which excited me almost as much as getting to the end. A part of me believes that if I'd written my comprehensive outline, I might not have been as open and accepting of this curve ball because it would have deviated from the plan. So maybe this was the reason my outlining wasn't working--it left me open to more possibilities. I like that idea and sounds like something Mr. Gordon would say.

I will attempt to outline my next book, but right now, writing off the cuff is rather exciting. I still have about 40,000 words to go. Who knows what other ideas will manifest just to shake things up. Anything's possible.
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Dark City kit by StarLight Designs