Getting It All Done

I’ve laughed a lot here lately. I’m stupidly busy. I need to learn to say no more, but life is going like gangbusters on all GOOD cylinders. I’m not someone who finds it easy to say no to good things. I also end up on a lot of panels about Time Management for Writers and about Writing with a Day Job. So what all am I doing?

I do work a full time job. I’m a lawyer for a local government agency. I’m no longer doing involved trial work, but I’m in court regularly. It’s a 40 hour a week job, but it’s not one that comes with a ton of overtime.

I also work a part time job. I’m lucky enough to have found a part time legal writing job that, while there are deadlines, it’s a very flexible schedule, and generally involves a couple of evenings and maybe a Saturday morning every week. I’m starting to move some of this work to the hours after The Girl and The Boy go to bed at night.

I’m between book contracts at the moment. THE PERRAULT VOW will be out within the week (!) then my contracts for the GRIMM series are fulfilled. I’m working on a new novel, and while my goal is to have it completed in October, if not before, I do not have a contract for it, and do not have a deadline. In fact, I don’t have any writing deadlines at the moment. I generally write on my lunch break at the moment, and after The Girl goes to bed at night.

The Boy is in high school this fall. EEEK!! He’s on the high school soccer AND cross country teams. Which means that I’ll be there cheering him on as much as humanly possible.

The Girl is crawling. She, however, seems to be unhappy that she’s not making faster progress…she wants to stand and walk and run. She can pull herself up on furniture if it’s low enough to get hold of; otherwise, she keeps doing a very frustrated baby version of downward facing dog and getting ticked off that she’s not getting what she wants.

And The Husband and I are trying to eat healthier on a regular basis, eating out less and cooking at home more. The next step will be to add in exercise, but a lot of times that’s an issue of lack of time rather than lack of desire.

So people keep asking me how I’m getting it all done. To which, depending on the day, I either want to tell them that I’ve given up sleep for Lent (since it’s not Lent at the moment it’s fun to watch their faces as they realize this), or I want to tell them that I’m not getting it all done.

Truth is falling somewhere in between.

There’s a measure of planning required to have this kind of schedule and still be Mom. There’s a whole lot of tag-teaming going on between my husband and I as to getting The Girl fed/bathed/put to bed at night/packed for morning and getting The Boy fed/to practice/to games and matches/to team meetings.

My house is nowhere near where I would like it to be; but the level of cleanliness when I lived alone with one job, the writing, and a cat, is not something I can maintain with two jobs, the writing, four people (including a very active teenager), and the cat. The home improvement projects are coming along, though much slower than either of us would like, because of the aforementioned craziness in our schedule. And fall sports have just started this week.

And the writing is happening around deadlines for my part time job, on breaks and lunch hours at work, as well as after The Girl goes to bed at night. The other night, my husband and I were hunched over my laptop kicking around ideas for upping our game for our convention displays, and coming up with a more cohesive, professional look (not that it looks BAD per se…just how can we make it look BETTER). I’ve talked marketing on a phone call with a marketing consultant while spooning strawberry peach apple baby food puree into The Girl’s mouth one evening. Email marketing will be kicking off soon.

Now you see why I find it funny to be on these panels about Time Management. I swing wildly between wanting to say that if I can find time to write, others can too, and saying that if it’s important, a writer will find the time. And then I realize how condescending that sounds, and I don’t mean it that way. The reality is, however, that there’s some truth there. If you truly want to write, you will write after the kids go to bed, on the commuter train to work, on your lunch hour, or first thing in the morning before the rest of the family gets up for work. If it’s important to you, you will treat it as something important in your life.

Or you can just be me and totally lose my mind trying to do it all…and taking my husband to the funny farm with me…

 

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Guest Blog; Terry W. Ervin, II

So, I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus lately while real world and real life stuff has been taking over. If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I’ve given birth to a daughter, Olivia, and am home on maternity leave. I’m learning how to blog and type with a highly cranky infant glued to my chest (and I don’t mean just to eat, but wanting Mommy All.The.Time.) 

While I’m getting settled into the new reality of learning to be productive and a good mom (or at least a mom that gets some of it done and some of it right some of the time), I’ve got an interesting post for you from my friend, Terry Ervin. 

Terry and I live in the same area of West Central Ohio, just a few miles (about fifteen) apart, and we both enjoy science fiction and fantasy. In fact, we end up talking at different local book events all of the time about the genre, about publishing, and about a whole lot of other things. It was interesting to see his take on this topic, one we’ve discussed before. Also, Terry’s got a new book out there, so go check it out and see what he’s up to. Here’s Terry…

 

Fantasy and Science Fiction: Good for Movies but Not So Much for Books?

What got me thinking about this topic? Talking to teen readers I’ve met at libraries, book festivals and similar events.

It started a while back with conversations similar to this:

Me: “Do you like fantasy?”

Teen: Shrugs. “I liked the Lord of the Rings movies. Did you see them?”

Me: “Yes, They were pretty neat.” Smiling, I continue. “I’m an author, so I have to ask, did you read the trilogy?”

Teen: With a shake of the head, frowns. “I tried reading the first book. I couldn’t get into it. I don’t like reading fantasy.”

To tell the truth, I’ve read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. There were parts that were difficult to get through. They were written for another time, possibly a different audience.

The conversation continues:

Me: “What do you think of science fiction?”

Teen: A small grin. “I like Battlestar Galactica.”

Me: “The new one, right? Not the one from the 70s.”

Teen: “Yeah, but I don’t like reading science fiction either.”

Me: “Maybe fantasy and science fiction aren’t for you. Or maybe you’ve tried the wrong books?”

Sure, fantasy has elves and orcs, dragons and wizards. But fantasy also has vampires and fairies…and superheroes and ghosts, and more. My novels? They have earth wizards battling panzers, and Stukas engaged in aerial combat with fire breathing dragons. (Yes, I’m sort of a World War II history buff)

Science fiction? It’s as varied as fantasy, if not more. It has space ships and wormholes, aliens and androids, time travel and pandemic viral diseases, dinosaurs and, well, the sky…or the rim of the galaxy is the limit. My SF novels? They have brass knuckles and shotguns mixed with magnetic pulse pistols and taskforce sized space battles, and alien species like the Umbelgarri, Chicher, Crax and V’gun.

Are you interested in reading but not sure about Fantasy and SF? Like any other novel, they can have humor and romance, mystery and revenge, horror, hate and redemption, heroines, heroes and villains, average guys and gals, treachery and…well, you name it, even talking frog princes. (aside from Addie…yes, they can! wink, wink).

My first serious dip into SF was in grade school and Jr. High, where I read “A Pail of Air” by Fritz Leiber and “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury. Through them my mind began asking questions, about the survival of humanity, and the consequences of traveling back in time.

Then, I read The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. Some might say it’s sort of like ‘Lord of the Rings light.’ That opened the door to Lord Foul’s Bane and the rest of the Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever books by Stephen R. Donaldson.

Those titles just rang for me. Does that mean they’re right for you? Maybe. And maybe not. Just like The Lord of the Rings trilogy…they’re good books, ones that have withstood the test of time, but aren’t for everyone.

Teen: Holds up a copy of Flank Hawk. “So what movie is this book like?”

Me: “It’s like Lord of the Rings meets Gettysburg, meets Saving Private Ryan.”

Teen: Points to a copy of Relic Tech. “And this one?”

Me:Babylon 5 meets Starship Troopers, meets The Rockford Files.” I smile. “You might have to look a few of those shows up. They’re good…almost as good as my novel.”

My advice? Don’t automatically turn away from fantasy and science fiction. Take a look at the cover, and read the back of the book, and maybe a few pages. Look up reviews if you’re so inclined. With the vast variety of stories fantasy and SF encompass, there’s certain to be something in there for you, something to challenge you…capture your imagination like nothing ever has before.

 

Terry W. Ervin II is an English and science teacher who enjoys writing fantasy and science fiction. His First Civilization’s Legacy Series (fantasy) includes Flank Hawk, Blood Sword, and Soul Forge.

The Crax War Chronicles, his science fiction series, includes Relic Tech and Relic Hunted (his most recent release from Gryphonwood Press).

In addition to writing novels, Terry’s short stories have appeared in over a dozen anthologies, magazines and ezines. Genre Shotgun is a collection containing all of his previously published short stories.

To contact Terry or learn more about his writing endeavors, visit his website at www.ervin-author.com and his blog, Up Around the Corner at uparoundthecorner.blogspot.com

Upcoming Appearance at Cleveland Concoction

I will be at Cleveland Concoction March 13-15, 2015, which is being held at the Sheraton hotel at the Airport in Cleveland.

This is my panel schedule… (I think they rather took me seriously when I said to use and abuse me on panels. Good thing I really like doing them!) I do have one or two meetings in between all of this, but those details are still getting finalized.)

Friday 2 pm Publishing Standards Q&A

Friday 3 pm Twisted Fairy Tales

Friday 7 pm Autographing Session

Friday 10 pm Crafting Villains Readers Love to Hate

Saturday 1 pm There are No Saints in Fiction

Saturday 4 pm Writing for YA versus Adults

Saturday 9 pm Humor in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Saturday 10 pm The 10 volume Trilogy

Sunday 9:30 am Author’s Breakfast

Sunday noon Reading/Author Showcase

While I’m in Cleveland, I will be handing out promotional GOT FROG? Buttons, bookmarks, and other swag-a-licious stuff…and this sounds like a truly wonderful conference. I’m so looking forward to it! If you’re into books or writing or publishing at all, you should really considering attending.

ALSO stay tuned….publishing news coming soon with regard to THE GRIMM LEGACY series…but it’s not finalized yet, so I don’t want to start celebrating just yet.

Doors and Windows

There’s a saying out there about “when one door closes, another opens”, or a “door closing and a window opening.”

That’s scant consolation when one is at a crossroads and trying to make decisions on what to do next.

My publisher, or rather, one of my publishers, Musa Publishing, announced last week that they would be closing their doors as of February 28, 2015.

To say that I was surprised is an understatement. I’d just recently gotten word that they were going to start releasing books in print, and so I hadn’t expected this kind of news.

There are some who might speculate as to why they are closing, and I’ll say here that I have no idea what the true, underlying reason is. I know some of the issues that have been cited to the authors, I can guess at others, but it’s not my business to guess as to why others make the business decisions they make. I’m not their lawyer, their business manager, or their accountant, and so I don’t have firsthand knowledge of any of those things. If I was, I wouldn’t be able to share them for confidentiality reasons.

Meanwhile THE GRIMM LEGACY, THE ANDERSEN ANCESTRY and THE WONDERLAND WOES are all for sale for readers through the end of the week. If you click on “Bibliography” at the top of the page, you’ll find buy links for all of my Musa books. If you buy them through the publisher’s website, (click on “Musa” link) you’ll find them at major discounts that will last until February 28, 2015.

As for me, I do not plan to have these books die. And I do not plan on leaving the series hanging. I’m still planning to edit THE BUNYAN BARTER (which is already written) and planning to write THE PERRAULT VOW (which would finish the series.)

There may be a time where they are not up for sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all the other sites, but please keep in mind that I am looking for a home for the books. That home may end up being self-publishing. It may be with another publisher. Please know that I am exploring options and will report more when things become more settled. I hesitate to post any plans here, because I am still working through all of that. I’m hoping that I have answers for you sooner rather than later, but I’m not going to provide answers I don’t have.

I am planning to be at all currently scheduled appearances, and have not changed those plans AT ALL.

I have to say that regardless of the reasons, I have enjoyed working with the Musa staff and employees, and have to say that they have been very responsive to all questions, concerns, and ideas I’ve had come up, not just in the last few days, but also throughout my tenure with them. I wish all of them well, and hold no ill will toward any of them. Maybe someday I will be lucky enough to cross paths with any (or all) of them again, and will happily see if our publishing interests again intersect. I am grateful for all that I have learned with the company, and I cheer them for their ethical and moral stand on transparency and responsibility to their authors.

Goals for 2015

GOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, I’ve gone to WAY too many soccer games….or, as Husband and The Boy would put it…not enough.

My point is that this post isn’t about New Year’s resolutions, but rather goals for 2015.

My thought is that if I set myself twelve goals for 2015, enough that MAYBE I could complete one each month, that it would be a really nice way to see what progress I’ve made this year. However, as some of these will take more than a single month to finish…I’d like to set them, and then keep myself honest by posting here on progress throughout the year…

Without further ado, and in no particular order…

  • Finish THE BUNYAN BARTER. This one will come up fairly quick, as the manuscript is due at the end of January to the publisher. This is my biggest priority at the moment, so if I turn down plans with someone…you know why!
  • Edit SHADES OF GRAY. Yeah, that werewolf novel I’ve been kicking around for a long time. I’ve just about decided to self-publish it, having put out some feelers about editing and cover art and etc., but it needs a heavy duty deep line edit before I do it. I’ve noticed some inconsistencies I’d want to fix before putting it out there.
  • Finish GIRL VERSUS DEMON: DEMON DEADLY SINS. It’s a third plus of the way done. Once I get contracted deadlines met, this needs to come off the back burner and get out there. I do plan to query with this one; I have a great publisher, but I do not have an agent as of yet, and I’d like to see what I can do with this one.
  • Research THE PERRAULT VOW. The final (!) book in The Grimm Legacy series needs some research foundation under it, and a loose outline finished so I’ll be ready to start writing it in the fall.
  • SEKRIT PLAN #1. I’ll tell you more when this gets started. So to speak.
  • Blog at least once a week. This will be my week one blog…so I’m keeping up already!
  • Work out on a regular basis. I don’t want to make weight loss a plan, because I don’t want this just to be about losing weight, although I’m a-okay with dropping a few pounds. I want getting healthy to be the plan, so I’m good with the idea of some kind of exercise two to three times a week.
  • Bathroom remodel. Husband and I have been stockpiling supplies to remodel our upstairs bathroom. So far, we have linoleum and laminate flooring, a vanity and vanity top, and a mirror/medicine cabinet. We’ll likely be able to reuse the existing toilet, so all we need is to save up the money for a new tub and shower surround, the materials for behind it, a new light/fan, and all the remaining hardware and supplies. Once we have the rest bought, we’ll be able to determine how much time it’ll take to do the work, which we’ll try to do a lot of ourselves.
  • Write at least two new short stories. With new characters and different worlds. I wrote two short stories in 2014; one an epic fantasy work for hire project (more on that later), and a story set in outer space. It’s my understanding that BOTH of them will be released in anthologies in 2015; time to start work on two more.
  • Plant some roses. I’ve wanted some rosebushes in my flowerbeds for YEARS. Grandma King used to have rosebushes, and I always loved them. I’ve had some luck with a rosebush in a big container on a patio in the past. Now that Husband has yanked out the ornamental grasses that I HATED in my flowerbeds, I can start thinking about putting rosebushes in. Not a ton. Thinking maybe one this year, and see how it does. Unless I get talked/tempted into more, that is.
  • SEKRIT PLAN #2. Will have to happen if #1 happens.
  • SEKRIT PUBLISHING NEWS AND THE WORK BEHIND IT. Will have to keep you updated as I can; this is not yet in stone, and is still in flux, but the work it will take to do this will be in the to do list.

Writers Have Lives Too

I don’t care how close to me that you are. I don’t care if you are my mother, my grandmother, my siblings, my cousins, my bestest of the bestest friend, or my third cousin’s brother’s half-sister’s stepdaughter’s college roommate.

My day job is NOT as a writer. I still work a full time job, a couple of part time jobs, plus the writing.

It is wildly inappropriate to show up at my day job and expect me to drop everything to give you advice on how to get your book published.

I have a website. My email is on the website. In fact, just to be clear, I’ll list it here again…

addiejking AT gmail.com (insert @ character in appropriate place…trying not to encourage spam. We all get enough of that).

My email gets checked multiple times during the day; on breaks, at lunch, after work, and before and after I go to bed at night. I’m always available to give advice if someone contacts me in that way, but it might take a few days, depending on my schedule, the Husband’s schedule, and The Boy’s schedule. They come first,always.

My co-workers should not have to deal with this. They have plenty of other things that need to get done every day, and they are not paid to handle this kind of request. Luckily, they did not have a huge line of people at the time that this person came in.

If you are close enough to me to 1) know where I work, 2) know what I do, and 3) think I’d drop everything during the day to talk to you, then you ALSO know that I’m not a writer from 8-4 pm; I’m working the day job.

Look, guys, I love to talk writing. I really really do. I’m happy to give advice; heck I spend tons of time doing so at conferences, in emails, at writer’s workshops, etc. I LIKE helping writers…lots of them have helped me.

I mentioned on a panel at Origins that it was okay to ask a writer if they had time to read stuff from an aspiring writer. I stand by that advice. I also declined when someone in the audience asked me to do so, because my schedule does not currently permit it, but I encouraged them to keep asking. Six months from now? Who knows. And someone else might have a schedule that fits earlier than I do. I know lots and lots of writers who have taken someone under their wing. Someone did that with me. I will likely do so myself. It just isn’t going to happen at the moment.

Let me be clear…the person who asked at Origins was NOT the person who showed up at my day job.

It’s okay to ask. It’s NOT okay to show up at their day job and want to talk about publishing. Period. (Please everyone, keep in mind, that most everyone out there has rules about discussing outside work on company time. If you get a writer disciplined from their day job, or even fired, they will not be happy to give you advice.)

 

Quick Updatery

Life is a whirlwind at the moment. Between keeping up with work stuff, keeping up with The Boy’s soccer games, and the recent round of upper respiratory crud (doctor informed me Friday that I wasn’t quite at bronchitis yet, but definitely heading in that direction), and working diligently toward hitting my deadline on THE ANDERSEN ANCESTRY, life’s been a bit goofy/crazy/all over the place.

BF and I have both had the sinus/upper respiratory crud, which meant that we had a fairly quiet Valentine’s Day, but a good day, nonetheless. We celebrated by exchanging small gifts (a necklace with a frog on it from him; a box of Marie’s Candies from me) and then dinner at the local restaurant where we had our first date. And then, home, to take more cold medicine and crash. Yeah, we are an exciting couple!

I do have a few appearances coming up. Here’s the first one…

March 5, 2013 I will be one of the local authors at the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center in Springfield, Ohio from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Click here to see details. It’s open to the public, but they do want to know how many to expect, so RSVP on the site.

I am hoping to make several appearances at different conferences, etc. this year, and probably going to be at even more than normal, but still firming up details on all of them, so I don’t want to post until we’ve got some finality. More to come.

More to be announced as details firm up…

Author Event in Urbana

Friends of mine have asked me to pass on this upcoming event at the Champaign County, Ohio library…

On March 19, 2013 at 7 pm,, Cara Black will be visiting our local library to talk about her upcoming release in her Aimee le Duc murder mystery series.

Put it on your calendar if you’re going to be in the area and come check it out!

 

 

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

And now for The Next Big Thing!

This blog hop includes ten questions to help you learn more about an author’s current work in progress, so here’s a little info about my current project:
1: What is the working title of your book?

THE ANDERSEN ANCESTRY…the sequel to my novel, THE GRIMM LEGACY, which came out in ebook last year from Musa Publishing.

2: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Janie Grimm has survived being targeted for her ancestors (the Grimm Brothers) actions, only to have the faerie courts request her help in locating and protecting a relative of Hans Christian Andersen from the Seawitch, while trying to start a summer internship and keep a part time job.

3: Where did the idea come from for the book?

The better question is where the idea for both books came from…I’d watched a movie about the Grimm Brothers (the one with Heath Ledger) and thought about how I’d tell a different kind of story. As I’ve done more and more research on fairy tales and folklore, more and more ideas come to mind!

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This isn’t easy at all! Janie and her friends are in their early twenties…and anyone who would be good for them now wouldn’t necessarily be young enough down the road! I do think that the voice of Bert the frog could easily be Alan Tudyk (Wash from Firefly…I’m a big fan), but Woody Harrelson could also be interesting. Janie could be Jennifer Lawrence, from the Hunger Games. Mia…well, that could be Amanda Seyfried, from Mamma Mia. Aiden, on the other hand, is the difficult pick. I don’t know that I have anyone in mind for him.

5: What genre does your book fall under?

Definitely fantasy; it could also be labeled as contemporary fantasy.

6: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m still writing it! Have been working on it for the last year, but the pieces are quickly falling into place on it, and I should be done with all of it, and the editing (at least the stuff I do before I turn it in to the editor) in mid to late February.

7: Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I like the idea of what if. What if you were suddenly faced with something totally unbelievable at a time when you’re already stressed out over what’s going on in your life? The most stressful time I could think of was starting law school (I graduated from the same law school where THE GRIMM LEGACY was set). I remembered my parents reading me fairy tales when I was a kid, and actually going back and seeking them out to read them myself when I was old enough to read on my own. Smash the two ideas together, and I got started on the ideas in the first book. The one I’m working on now is the sequel.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Yikes. I’ve described these books as The Paper Chase meets fairy tales, but that’s more about the first book than the second. The second book, the one I’m working on now, talks about the characters in their first summer internship. I’d like to think it’s a good mash up of the tone in Janet Evanovich’s books with the fun humorous fantasy in Christopher Moore’s books.

9: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Oh, that’s easy! Englebert Maximus Jorganson Horace the Sixth. Also known as Bert, a former prince who was turned into a frog by a witch, and serves as Janie’s friend, advisor, and comic relief in both books. Bert’s soooooo much fun to write. Who ever thought that a frog prince would like NASCAR and imported beer, and have a snappy comeback for just about everything?

10. Where can we find you? How do we follow when your book is coming out?

My website is, of course, right here…and I’m on Facebook and Twitter, and I have an Amazon author page and a Goodreads author page.

You can find links to all those sites here.

There are a handful of authors I would love to introduce you to (or you may already know them!)

They will be next week’s blog hoppers starting on the 31st.

In no particular order, may I present:

Terry W. Ervin, II is a writer from my own neck of the woods, as he and I both live in Champaign County, Ohio. We met last year at an art event in Urbana, where local authors were promoting their work, and had a great time talking books and conferences and all kinds of stuff. Terry’s got some interesting projects available from Gryphonwood Press, and has published numerous articles and short stories. There’s a whole list of his stuff on his website, which is at www.ervin-author.com, and he runs a blog connected to that website.

I hadn’t realized that Chris Garrison had already posted in this blog hop…and I’m excited to see that his projects have recently gotten picked up by Hydra Publications and Seventh Star Press…so I’m linking back to his post talking about the same kind of stuff here…follow his website at www.ericgarrison.wordpress.com Christ and I got to serve on some panels together last year at Context in Columbus, Ohio, and we had a great time! I’m looking forward both to getting his stuff and to hopefully seeing him at conferences in the next year!

There’s also my friend, Dana Brantley-Sieders. We met at Killer Nashville last year, and got a chance to swap projects and hang out for a bit, and she’s represented by the fabulous Natalia Aponte at the Aponte Literary Agency. Dana’s a ton of fun to hang out with, and her writing’s a ton of fun, too! She’s got a romance novella coming out in 2013 from Lyrical Press, and she’s got some other fun stuff on the way…You can find her website at www.dbsieders.wordpress.com

I’ve said before that going to conferences and meeting and networking with other writers pays off…so here’s a shout out to Anne Marie Lutz at www.annemariesblog.wordpress.com I met her at Context last year, and she’s the one who tagged me in this blog hop. Her stuff sounds pretty awesome as well, so stop by and check her out!