Monday, October 24, 2011

Closets on Sale For $2.99 Again!

Just wanted to post a note and let everybody know that my novel Closets is once again going on sale. The current discounted price of $2.99 will be in effect until Halloween. You can buy it on SynergEbooks' website here.

Ebooks on CD-ROM make great trick-or-treat pressies, you know. No sugar, for one thing. Just thought I'd point that out. Hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Feeling Low, But Getting Help

Blogging hasn't come easy, lately. I've been busy. Up to new things. I've been making some videos with my new digital camera. You can check them out on Youtube here.

The main reason I haven't been blogging, however, is that I've been sick. I mentioned this in my last post, but I decided to be a bit more forthcoming.

I live with two mood disorders - depression and anxiety. I take pills for both, and they help to some extent. Some days are good days, and some are bad. The month of September was a series of bad days.

I won't get into all the details of why it was a bad month. A fellow author advised me against detailing my personal problems on forums intended primarily to connect with readers, and to some extent I agree. I'm not going to pretend that I'm always okay, however. And if I broke a leg or caught the flu, I'd feel no hesitation at all in saying so. Mental health issues shouldn't be treated any differently.

One negative side effect has been a sharp decline in my writing. Over the last year my productivity has gone way down, and for days at a time I wasn't able to create anything. I still had ideas, but no desire to write them down. I just couldn't. I was terrified I'd lost that desire forever.

Luckily, it didn't. I've been getting some much-needed help, and slowly but surely I'm picking the pace back up again. My treatment continues, and I plan to make up for lost time. I hope to blog more, but when I have a lot on my plate I tend to feel overwhelmed. Be patient with me. Become a fan on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter - I'm on those a lot more than I am here.

Remind me you are waiting, and nudge me along. It will help. It really will.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Panels With Professionals

...or, How To Be Totally Intimidated By Authors More Popular Than Myself

I've done a lot of discussion panels at sci fi conventions in the years since my first novel was published. Some have gone well. Some have gone badly. Some were well attended, others not so much. Some introduced me to new friends, and others revealed the bitterest of enemies. The topics have ranged from Fan Panels about the stuff I'm into (like Transformers and Doctor Who), to professional panels about writing, publishing and genres.

Fan panels are a blast, and they deserve their own blog post. Pro panels can also be fun, but for a fresh-faced newbie like myself... well, actually, I've been at this for six years now. But I still feel like a newbie among professionals. Especially when I'm sitting next to people who've been at this a lot longer than I have.

For one thing, they come Prepared. Not prepared. I'm usually prepared for my panels. But other pros come Prepared.

What do I mean? Here's an example from last year. I was on a four-person panel on the topic of humour in science fiction and fantasy. Should be a breeze for the author of Epoch and Evil, right? But while I was prepared to talk about the funny things my characters will get up to, the other three panelists were Prepared with the nuts and bolts of what makes a joke. There's something called The Drop. That's when the funny part of the joke happens. I've always called it the bit when the funny part of the joke happens. They called it The Drop, and thus appeared a lot smarter and knowledgeable than me. I ended up feeling so inferior that when it came time for me to reveal my humour-creating secrets, all I could think to say was: "I... um, do cruel things to my characters."

Another panel on the creation of believable characters in fiction was even worse. I got verbally chastised by a living legend for not doing it right. The other panelists (including the aforementioned living legend) discussed the facts about what makes a character into a believable person while I sat in my corner trying to look small and unobtrusive.

The kicker? All that stuff the other pros talked about that goes into character development? I already do those things. I just couldn't vocalize it properly, because I was feeling intimidated. And I wasn't Prepared.

I need to do better than that. I need to look at the way I write and find better ways of explaining those methods to an audience. I am, after all, a professional. I'm on those panels for a reason - people expect me to communicate what I do and how I do it.

And, I need to chill out, dude, when I'm around other pros. Just because someone has sold more books than me does not mean my opinion isn't valid. It just means I need to work a bit harder to make that opinion heard.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Time Out For Sick Leave

September was bad. Let's not dwell on it.

Once upon A Romance Review did a write up on The Cupid War. Very nice of them! Please check it out here.

I've also started posting videos on Youtube. I picked up a webcam for a very affordable price, and now I am able to promote myself in a brand new way. Here's my latest video, where I discuss The Cupid War.

I've been ill for a while, and it has taken its toll on my writing in the last couple of years. I have two novel projects on the go right now, but both are moving slowly while I undergo treatment. I am getting better; I wasn't able to write much of anything last month. I am moving forward, even if only by baby steps.

One thing that has changed for the better is that I have a better understanding of what I want to do. I'm planning to expand my writing to include articles for entertainment media, and ghostwriting. More on those plans as they develop.