Saturday, May 30, 2009

Names to Grab You

Have you ever read a book where the name of the characters stuck in your head long after you finished the novel? Like hearing a song on the radio in the morning and then carrying it in your head all day long even when you try to forget it. Naming a character can be very important for making a lasting impression with readers. I don't know about other authors, but I brood over characters names each time I start a new book. Especially in fantasy fiction, the name of a character should inspire an image of who and what that person is.
For instance, if the name of a character is Morag, the reader isn't going to be expecting this person to be the hero of the tale. Morag, sometimes spelled Mhorag, is a monster in Scottish folklore. In my fantasy series coming from Medallion Press, I've used many names from folklore and mythology for characters and beasts. Bayard is the war horse ridden by the male protagonist in The Chronicles of Futhark. In folklore tales of medieval France and Italy, Bayard is the name often given to Charlemagne's immortal horse. Bayard was faster than a normal horse and perhaps possessed of other magical abilities. Though the horse in my book isn't enchanted in any way, he is quite special.
A Gorgon is a monster for a variety of monsters from Greek mythology and perhaps with some Roman influence. I changed the name a little and endowed one of my monsters with the moniker of 'gordragon.' It's a rather enemy.
As a reader, do you assume certain images from a character's name? As a writer, do you spend long hours considering names for all the persons and creatures appearing in your works? Has a particularly clever name used in a literary work made a lasting impression?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now

As promised, Verizon delivered my new router today. It was just like the other big monster that brings my FIOS TV and high speed internet to brillant light all over my home. It was even easy to replace. So I'm back online and feel a great deal of relief. I can check in on my yahoo groups, visit facebook and stop in to tweeter. Life is as it should be again.
I was worried about promotion and all that daily stuff I do to 'keep my name' out there. But guess what? My web site had the average number of hits it always does. I don't know what to think about that.
In the meantime, my first fantasy novel, The Keepers of Sulbreth, is available for preorder at Amazon. Even if you don't want to preorder, I would appreciate a few tags. I'm working on book#3 in that series, tentative title, Beneath the Mountain. The second book, Beyond the Gate, is already contracted though I don't have a release date for it. Book #4 will be the final. It is an epic fantasy so it will have an epic battle for survival. Enough said.
Nice to hear everyone again. Can you hear me now?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Back in the Day

I had comitted myself to doing a lot of promotion this weekend including updating my website. I only work on my website from my desktop. I also had some big plans of designing some business card size promotion for pre-ordering The Keepers of Sulbreth, now that it is on Amazon. I vowed to visit all my usual blog haunts everyday and perhaps discover a few more.
Well, Thursday my daughter and I were watching a Lifetime movie on demand, one of Nora's, while I visited some blogs, and Kapow! The ondemand movie went off and so did my internet. I thought it was minor clitch but after checking my desktop and my son's laptop I discovered we had no internet. Two hours later, three times getting cutoff, Verizon told me my router took a fatal dive. I was not happy. They promised to sent one right away but with the holiday that means I won't get it until Tuesday.
So here I am at Borders, checking my mail, doing a quick blog and thinking I'm wasting an entire weekend of promotional time. So, quite dangerously, I started thinking. Is the internet all there is to promotion? Is that all I can do? Isn't there more to promotion than blogging, yahoo groups and facebook/twitter? While at Borders, I picked up the newest copy of Realms of Fantasy. It's filled with glossy book ads. I know it can be expensive, but many authors use it to promote their fantasy and science fiction books. Other magazines such as Romantic Times offer another expensive venue for advertising. So I wonder, back in the day, before the internet, how did beginning authors get the word out about their books? I know some newspapers will run a small blurb, but what else it out there?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What Day and Age?

How long has it been since I had to visit the post office and shell out over ten dollars for postage? How long since I had to stand in line with my white envelopes, two partials, one full, and wait for my turn to put them on the scale?
How long until the publisher receives them? How long until I get a response?
Two days ago, I replaced my ink cartridge once, opened a new ream of paper and spent a frustrating hour addressing envelopes, lining up the partials just right, and then stuffing a full 400 page manuscript in the Tyvek envelope and fuming.
One of the publishers I submitted to allowed me to do it online. Every other NY publisher I considered requested three chapters by mail and one wanted the entire thing for a first look. And to save me money (laughing without humor) they're all going to shred my manscript if they don't want it. I only had to enclose a business-sized stamped envelope for them to send back their rejection. My 500+ pages will be recycled. Do they think when they send it back ot me I throw it out? Don't they know I'll send the same pages onto to the next editor on my list of hopes and dreams? Unless of course they spill their coffee on it.
New York is finally on the ebook bandwagon, but when are they going to get on the paperless submission train? When are they going to set up an automatic response system so I know they received my novel without including a little postcard? Isn't one press of a key to delete a rejection easier than shredding a pound of paper?
I know many agents have started to go the online route but so many of the big publishing houses have embraced this convenient and cheap method of looking at new material. Any thoughts on when they will learn?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Take a Breath

I sent those pesky edits off Thursday evening and can now take a breather. If I could afford an expensive bottle of wine, I would celebrate and bask in the peace of no current deadline. But I can't afford an expensive bottle so I'm having an ice coffee instead.
The knife pricking my peace is related to that lack of deadline. I have three books published, three contracted for publication within the next year, one with an editor considering an offer of an contract, but I'm still working the day job. I haven't 'made' it as a writer. At least not made it enough to make it my full time job.
I'm stuck in a curious and exhausting limbo at the moment. I work more than forty hours a week at the job that pays the bills and then I try to put in another forty a week as a writer. Last year, I wrote three new novels and reworked one old one. I'm tired. Tired of staying up to all hours of the night, tired of not getting to read all those lovely books by my favorite authors, tired of the weeds in my flower beds, tired of missing my running workouts, and tired of going to work every morning when I want to sit at my writing desk with a cup of coffee.
I want the big contract. The one that allows me to work only my writing job and not starve. The one that helps with college tuition for the kiddies. The one that sends my scurrying to my accountant on how best to invest it.
So tonight, even though I'd promised myself a weekend off, I'm preparing query letters to all those 'big' fantasy publishers and hoping. This is my best book ever. This is the one they will want. This is the one the SciFi channel will make a movie about. Maybe I don't feel so tired after all.
I know a few authors who are able to make it their full time endeavor. How wonderful for them. I know more authors who struggle along like I am. What would you do if you could write full time? Fresh coffee all day long? A set work schedule or make it up as you go along each day? Do you think you could keep your fingers on the keyboard for hours each day? Would you love it or would you get lonely?
I would like the chance to find out how I would handle writing when and for how long I wanted.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Diving In Again

I'm about to say good bye for another week or more. I received my first edits back from my editor for To Tame a Tiger. She said it's all pretty good and not much needs done, but it's still a 104,000 word book that has to be read slowly and carefully. So I might not be blogging for a little while.
On some other good news, I queried my editor at NCP about One Good Woman last night and she said 'sure, send it.' A response in less than 24 hours. You gotta love that. Andrea is so nice. She's usually very efficient also, so hopefully I hear back on that within a few months.
So I'm going to select a movie to put on in the background and then dive right in to breach once more. I hope to surface by the end of next weekend.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


It's done! I completed One Good Woman and have it ready to send to my publisher, New Concepts Publishing, as soon as they tell me they want it. This fourth and last book in The Solonian Chronicles is perhaps the most uplifting and a perfect ending to the series. When I wrote The Greater Good, the first book in this series, I hoped it would be the first in a series if I ever found a publisher. The Lesser Evil flew off the keyboard while I waited to hear about my submission. A Ruthless Good was a story that had to be told. It made the world of Solonia a more complete world and also answered some historical questions. Favorite characters make appearances in many of the books and fans should have no trouble guessing that Brady Gellot and Cara search for happiness and a better world in the One Good Woman.

I'm back to working on the third book set in the fantasy world of Futhark. I know I might have to interrupt it to work on edits for To Tame a Tiger, but I have to keep busy. I'm also busy submitting my newest fantasy manuscript, First Dragon, to a number of publishers. I'm excited about that, but I dread the wait.

Thanks for all the encouragement as I worked so hard on this. Back to watching my Supernatural before I hit the Alphasmart and work on Beneath the Mountain.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Like an Arrow

I haven't updated this blog for almost two weeks. It wasn't lazinees or distraction from my writing career. It was the opposite. I'm nearly finished with my last rewrites and edits on One Good Woman, the fourth book in my The Chronicles of Solonia series that I have with New Concepts Publishing. I'm down to redoing the last three chapters which do need to have a number of things added, some scenes lenghtened and other plot points clarified so there are no lose ends. This book in the last in that series and I believe my loyal readers will find it very satisfying. But back to my recent neglect of my blog and even visiting the blogs of my friends.
When I'm closing in on the finish to a book, I tend to get completely focused on it. I want to work on it 24/7 until I type in The End. That's what I've been doing with every hour and minute I could squeeze out of the last few days. I've told my children they're on their own for more than one meal over the past seven days. I did feel a little guilty so today I baked some fish and made bread, but it wasn't exactly gourmet dining. So I''m going back to my book right now and work until my fingers start to bleed and my eyes dry out.
How about you? Do you ever get so focused on your WIP you can't think about anything else?