Monday, December 19, 2016

Print Edition of ‘Circa Sixty Years’ Coming Sooner Than Anticipated

A Tyrannosaurus rex in a Santa Clause suit.

Well, the photographic cover for my single short story book, “Circa SixtyYears Dead” will not be here in time for the holidays. However, the print version will be here sooner than I had anticipated, thanks to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing’s new paperback print option.

“Circa Sixty Years Dead” Print Edition

Until recently, a print version of a self-published Kindle book had to be produced by separate means through Amazon’s Create Space. But now a print edition of an ebook can be produced a little bit more quickly through Kindle Direct’s new print option (currently at the beta level). So far, I’ve partly registered “Circa” for this option. I just have to upload the manuscript and cover to the program. The manuscript is what may take a while before I upload it because I need to make sure it’s formatted correctly and formatting isn’t the best of my self-publishing skills. Apparently, the manuscript and cover have to come from my own files rather than the ones Kindle Direct already has for the digital edition. Perhaps someday Amazon will take things a step or two further and enable the files for the ebook to convert more easily to print-ready format. So look out for the paperback edition of “Circa Sixty Years” coming between now and the first week of the new year!

Holiday Deal

And now for my Holiday Deal: from now until Christmas Eve, customers can receive a free ebook copy of The Fool’s Illusion if they purchase the print edition. This is a great deal to save on those last minute Holiday gifts you are looking for for that reader friend or relative.

One Last Holiday Donation for the Season

I donated a model Millenium Falcon to the California Highway Patrol’s toy drive, and a monetary donation to the local meal program for the elderly (Meals On Wheels of Yolo County). Now I have one last donation to make for the holiday season.

I’ve been working on some Christmas fantasy art which I am going to donate to the public domain. Once I donate to the public domain, I will donate it to where many of the beautiful illustrations you see here at the Fantastic Site come from and are done by some really great artists. These artists have been kind enough to donate their work for free use making it easier and more affordable for writers and bloggers like myself to post images on our websites. So I felt that it’s time to give back. Be on the look out for my Christmas coloured pencil drawing by visiting my Facebook page throughout the week. I hope to have it up by Wednesday but it will be up by Christmas Eve for sure. I will provide the link to it on my Facebook page where you can download a copy (for free, of course). That will be my holiday gift to you wonderful readers and fellow writers out there.

This weekend will be extraordinarily busy for me since it’s the Christmas weekend. So I’m taking a week off from posting here and will return at the beginning of the new year. I hope to have the paperback edition of “Circa Sixty Years” launched by then and to have made some progress on the photographic cover. I also said I would provide a review of the movie Arrival which I wasn’t able to do this time but will try to have it here next.

I wish everybody a Happy Hallow-Day Season and New Year and will see you next year!

Until then . . .

Monday, December 12, 2016

Falling Behind But Writing Through the Busy Season

It’s been a very busy week especially as we have gotten further into the holiday season. If you missed my post last week about writing around holiday busy-ness, you can take a look at it here. Hopefully some of those ideas I’ve put into practice will work for you other writers out there too. Still, my writing’s come to a slow-down because I’ve had a load of other things to do, yet I continue to work on my stories and that is most important: to write everyday even when you don’t feel like it. If you only do it when you feel like it, then you’ll never feel like it. Or, to put it more precisely, the days when you don’t feel like writing will out-number the ones when you do and so you will always come up with an excuse not to write.

A Little Nemo comic panel depicting a Santa's workshop exterior.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been continuing to work on my novella averaging at least a page a day considering my full-time day job, and I try to get one to three extra pages in on the weekends. Plus I’ve been giving a little time to my current short story in which I’m developing the character interaction and working the characterization into the story. The photographic cover for “Circa Sixty Years” has been the slowest project in the last three weeks since it’s not actual writing but the marketing side of it and I’m first and foremost a writer. So I’ve been concentrating more on producing the stories themselves. I was hoping to have the photographic cover edition out by now for the holiday rush, but it may not happen until after the new year. If I get it done before the holidays I’ll definitely announce it here and at my Facebook page. So far I’ve gathered stock photos for it, but I still have to look for some more before I start cropping and pasting.

But this weekend was so busy with the Christmas shopping, decorating and visiting family I rarely see that I didn’t even get to see Arrival like I wanted too. I’m planning to see it this week sometime and hopefully read the short story it’s based on so I can have a review of both for you here next time. We’lll see.

Does the holiday season inspire you to write more or does it hinder you in your writing?

Until next time . . . 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Writing Around the 'Distractions' During the Holidays

A floating mountain orbited by flying machines.

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas will be here before we know it. The holiday season brings with it a cramped schedule. We’re running here and there shopping for food and gifts and trying to deliver those gifts. We’re trying to write and mail off those holiday cards in time. Then we have family to cater to, including those who come from out of town and stay with us. On top of that there’s our jobs and other everyday, year-round duties such as paying bills. This cramped holiday schedule makes us writers’ writing time even more cramped. This is especially so if, like me, you’re working a day job.

It’s even tougher when you have family to cater to who stay with you during a holiday week or weekend. You can’t just ditch them to go write. After all, they are our family, our blood, so we should show them appreciation and love. That’s what the holidays are all about, or should be at least. But still, an artist needs his/her own space where they only work on their art and won’t be sidetracked. That’s often a challenge when family from over three hundred miles comes to stay with me during a holiday week, especially when I live in a small apartment and there’s really no private space suitable for writing.

When I write fiction, I have to, or more like prefer to, be alone in my house to connect to that other world that I’m creating and to “journey” through it with my pen as my walking staff or, in the case of sci fi, as my rocket ship. My most honest work comes out when I am writing alone. But sometimes that just can’t happen, such as in the case of family or friends from afar who stay with you, or even just everyday intermediate family or roommates year-round. So during the Thanksgiving week when my parents were staying with me, I told them that I would see them when I get back from my day job and my errands. Those errands mostly consisted of my writing. This was especially the writing of my novella that I’m presently working on that was started during NaNoWriMo and, though I started it late in the month, I was trying to use that time to focus on just that. So I had to find an alternative central control for my writing. Everyone has their own alternative writing space that works best for them since we all work differently. Some people will use the library, some will rent a hotel room if they can afford it (which is not quite in my budget). My alternative writing space for fiction? The fast food joint.

I already write best at fast food places and cafes when I’m working on non-fiction such as articles and movie reviews (or this blog post). Unless there’s someone there who I know, I often don’t heavily converse with other customers at these places and so can focus on my work without being distracted by other customers. And so if I don’t know the majority of the people in a restaurant, including fast food, I can more easily write fiction than I can around people who I know. Why? When I’m around friends or family there’s an air of expectation that I won’t get when I’m writing around strangers. I also feel forced to write more quickly because I know I can’t just take my own sweet time and leave my parents hanging at home and making them think I’m trying to avoid them.

So maybe the holiday rush can make us writers work more quickly and even productively since we know we’ll have lesser time to write. Maybe that can even be the greatest gift Life can give us each Holiday season. At least aside from that new fantasy anthology or space battle video game you asked St. Nick to bring you.

Do you have an alternative writing space for when friends or relatives stay with you? If so, where is it? Feel free to leave your answers in the box below.

Until next time . . .