Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in Review

And not it's time for (old timey male announcer voice:) Year in Review.

2010 was eventful!
I launched my website (, released my first book, my second book, and three short stories. I did a bunch of illustrations.

My work was downloaded or read through various outlets over 1100 times, which barely registers as any attention at all in the grand world of pubishing. For underdog me, it's pretty awesome. The first book came out at the end of May, so that's really only 7 months worth of stats. I'm also not counting downloads (fiction freebies) from my blog or website because I don't have any way to track those.

And now for some lists:

I learned things this year:
1. Be completely in love with your title before you publish. I never loved the first title for my first book. I wasn't great with titles in the beginning. I am getting better though! Seriously, changing a title and/or cover art is a royal pain in the ass.
2. I learned to let go. My writing will never be perfect. No matter who a writer is, there is always room for improvement - more concise wording or a more poetic way to convey a message, whatever. The important thing is not to hold out for perfection because it doesn't exist. That way, madness lies.
3. People really like free stuff. Most of the downloads of my writing were the freebies, I will admit. I don't have an issue with that because I would rather have someone read what I write. I don't want to toil in obscurity holding out for that 80 cents royalty I might have made. I don't plan to give away everything though, FYI.
4. I should be more proactive about getting book reviews (and maybe some sort of publicity) before the books are published.
5. How to format ebooks and print books in a somewhat professional manner.
6. How long various publishing activities take.
7. Publishing through createspace is more cost effective for me and my readers than going through lulu.

Goals for 2011
1. Release the novella in January or February
2. Write and release 2 novels, maybe 3 if I really get moving.
3. Put 1 novel up on authonomy prior to publication to get some feedback.
4. Release 1 audiobook or maybe do a short reading for download. - this requires me to move past some insecurities. I've never read my work aloud for an audience. If it's a whole book, I will probably see if I can enlist someone else to do it.
5. Create at least 1 book trailer and release it on youtube.
6. Sell (or get people to download) twice as many books as they did this year. That shouldn't be too difficult, seeing as my writing was only released at the end of May.
7. Be better about announcing releases and maintaining the e-mail list. If you would like to subscribe to release announcements, send a blank message with the word 'subscribe' in the subject line to I will actually send some this year.
8. Get some better profile pics of me that a. are not cartoon and b. don't make me look ten years older than I actually am.
9. Get at least one copy of my book on a library shelf.
10. Non-book related- Change up the illustration gallery a bit to be more house decoration friendly. I like the weird stuff, but where would one hang it?

Ok, I think that's it. 2010 was awesome. Hopefully 2011 will be even better!

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Today is a day of various updates

Weather: dreary

Current audio obsession: The Beginning, Black Eyed Peas

I'm still sick, but slightly better.

AnnaBeth 2 - 33 pages

Novella cover art - nearing completion. I just need to push a bit harder to get it finished. I'm starting to think I have a fear of sucess with this particular project. Also, choosing a font is proving difficult. I usually have no trouble with that task.

Lady Editor has finished editing. Now I just need to get my copy back so I can make the changes.

Favorite website of the moment - Scribd. They have a new system which let's you sample a book online and download it to your computer if you want. Also, there is an option to e-mail books to your smartphone. Very cool. I have some stuff on there, so look me up if you log on. The first five chapters of MacDowell Sisters & AnnaBeth are there.

Like Clockwork is up and running on Barnes and Noble, so if you got a Nook for Christmas, please be sure to check it out. Is freebie.

Now if I could just get them to update the rest of my stuff...

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

coupla movies

Hello all. I think the holiday weekend of running in and out of the cold weather finally caught up with me. I have a cold or what could also possibly be an allergic reaction to all the chocolate I ate. Regardless, I feel a bit like the Christmas ribbon my cat ate and subsequently regurgitated.

Today is half-ass movie review day.

We had a couple of interesting choices.

First was - A Walk on the Moon (1999)

It's about this family that goes to a summer camp for Jewish families in the sixties. Dad has to go to work through the week. Mom gets antsy and starts flirting with the man who comes to the camp in a bus to sell blouses. He is referred to as the 'blouse man'.

This is a story about how selfish and self-centered people can be, especially if they begin to feel trapped in a marriage. The movie has an awesome soundtrack, talented actors (Diane Lane, Liev Schreiber, Viggo Mortenson, and Anna Paquin), and a decent story. B+.

Second movie - After.Life (2009)

They should just save everyone some time and trouble and call this movie Christina Ricci, Naked. Las Bubies are the stars of the show. She spends an inordinate amount of time wearing very little or nothing.

After.Life is about a girl who is dissatisfied with her life. She wakes up in a mortuary with Liam Neison looming over her. He tells her that she died, and she doesn't buy it. Her boyfriend also suspects that she's alive and comes looking for her.

The plot is slow in some parts, but overall creepy enough to keep one watching. Also B+.

I have a year in review post that will probably go up Thursday. Other than that my blog attendance may be sporadic depending on how I feel.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

House on the Rock

I said I wouldn't be here, but I am anyway. I can't help myself, I guess.

So like I said before, I'm reading American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, which I totally love.

There is this place in the novel called House on the Rock and as I was reading, I thought - this is so freaky weird that there is no way it isn't real. So I googled it. House on the Rock is real!!! And it looks every bit as creepy and bizarre as Gaiman described it.

Here is a link to their website. You MUST see the photo gallery, every picture if you have time. I would really like to see this place in person.

And if you're sitting there wondering how I could possibly not know about House on the Rock - kissmyasssowhat. I'm a hermit. We don't get out much.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Helllooooooo! Merry Christmoo!

I am taking the next couple of days off the blog for the holiday. Here is an illustration to hold y'all over.

This is my beloved feline once more. The name of the illustration is Merry Christmoo. His name is Max, but sometimes I call him Moo because he's black and white like a dairy cow.

Everyone have a Merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

aw, I feel like a real writer

I got my first bad review. awwww...I know. It makes me feel like a real writer. I'm kind of excited about it. This is actually two reviews and 20 ratings with a 2 star average. Ouch!

This screen is from Barnes and Noble. Apparently, my story is 'totally lame'. LOL.

I could sit here and pick apart the reviews and be all bitter, but that's not me. People are entitled to their opinions. The story is what I planned for it to be. People on Smashwords seemed to like it well enough.

There's an actual blog post below this one, so keep scrolling if you want more stuff to read. Hopefully it won't be totally lame.

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one more movie plus book working

The hubby and I watched two movies this weekend. The other was Paranormal Activity. I'm just going to do a quick rundown of that one because I'm short on attention span today.

Paranormal Activity is about a couple who is experiencing visits from a demon. Boyfriend buys a camera and other equipment to record evidence of the presence, much to the dismay of his girlfriend. He also does various things to provoke the demon in the interest of catching it on tape. Not a good idea.

There were parts of this movie that I loved and parts that I hated. First, that camcorder filming makes me nauseous, really a lot. Needless whipping of the camera causes my stomach to lurch. I actually had to cover my eyes during some parts of the movie to keep from vomiting.

Acting was meh.

The best thing this film has going for it is that the scary parts were really scary. The demon visits at night when the couple is asleep, ie at their most vulnerable. The true scariness doesn't really start until about halfway through.

I would give this one a B-. Without the scary parts, I would give it a D.

End movie time.

I'm probably going to push the novella release out to February. I'm working slow motion lately. I barely worked on the cover this weekend.

There will be no indie review this month due to a busy schedule, multiple projects and the fact that I started reading American Gods, by Neil Gaiman.

I've hit page 117 and I really like it so far. The voice is very masculine. One of my projects for next year is a novel written from a man's perspective. I'm trying to learn what I can from this book so I can apply it to my own work.

I like the level of detail in the setting and the people in the book. There's also a high level of weird. I'm no stranger to oddness in writing but something about reading this book renewed this sense of ok-to-be-weird-ness in me.

After I spent that four years writing and rewriting Babylon Dragon, I steered away from the stranger things in my writing because I worried that people didn't really get it or were put off by all the surrealness of some of it.

I think I'm ready to be abnormal again...after I finish the current work in progress.

Anyway, that's all I have for now.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Movie: Robin Hood (2010)

I really didn't know much about this movie before we watched it. I assumed the plot was the same old rehash, which really didn't keep me from wanting to watch it.

This Robin Hood is actually a prequel. This story is of how Robin became Robin Hood and how he met his men.

It opens with Robin Longstride fighting in the crusades with King Richard who was actually kind of an ass. Richard gets an arrow through the neck and Robin leaves.

On the way home, he encounters the king's right hand knight. The dying knight gives Robin a sword to deliver to his father. He takes the sword home, meets Marion, and deals with some at-home issues and an invasion by the French.

This movie is quite realistic. Everyone is dirty and the castles and villages look real. You can really tell where the 200 million dollar budget went. Acting by Russell Crowe (Robin) and Cate Blanchett (Marion) is flawless. Max von Sydow is endearing as the blind, slightly loopy yet good-natured Sir Walter. Oscar Isaac makes a wonderfully repulsive and self-centered Prince John.

Robin Hood is a very intelligent and complex movie. This is not an invite-your-drunk-friends-over movie. You actually have to pay attention to fully understand what's happening and appreciate the story to the fullest. It definitely gets an A.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Grey Dawn

I went to work today for a while. The driving of certain older people has terrified me the last couple of days. There's been some scary swerving and the best of all - merging onto a 70 mph highway going 30mph. 30!!!! Terrifying!

I was reminded of a certain episode of south park. I managed to locate a trailer for it on the YouTube. I have posted it here for your viewing enjoyment.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

book working on a friday

Ok. I've reached this point in the 2nd AnnaBeth book that I consider the end of Act 1. I had a scene in mind that was always going to be a turning point for the story, but I've decided it's also going to be a major character turning point as well.

In MacDowell Sisters and AnnaBeth (the first novel), AB is thrown into this new life in which everything from her home to her dating life to the way she interacts with the world around her changes. She discovers what she is capable of on several levels and reacts in ways that a lot of people would probably react.

This second book is different. I'm still relatively new to novel writing. I've never written a sequel before. I started one for Babylon Dragon, but I set it aside. I didn't write enough of it to get to this particular issue in a story.

Anyway, this is me focusing. So AB changes as her environment changes. In the sequel, the environment is already established. The element of discovery is somewhat diminished. There are new characters and new settings, but the world is already built.

Also, at the beginning of the sequel, AnnaBeth is so averse to acting as a fate that she is reluctant to interfere with anything. She has seen that side of her power and really doesn't want anything to do with it.

The turning point of the story needs to do more than take the story in a different direction; it needs to forcibly remove her from this mode of thinking in which she believes she's staying out of trouble.

The sequel begins with several aspects of her life slipping into chaos. Her problems are mounting regardless of what she feels shshould do. I think it's time for AnnaBeth to make some trouble for someone else.

If you would like to read the first installment of the series, here is a quick batch of links.

MacDowell Sisters & AnnaBeth on Amazon

MacDowell Sisters & AnnaBeth on Smashwords

MacDowell Sisters & AnnaBeth on Barnes and Noble

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

a facebook rant and Maxwell Dean's disapproval

I have lately noticed a crowd on the facebook who seems to not quite grasp the concept of the status post. People slap up vague exclamations that don't really say anything.

Sort of like this - "finally!" or "so excited!" or "not again!"

I think this may be an effort to elicit some attention.

The point of the status update is to post something that tells your facebook friends what you're up to. On my Facebook app on my phone, the status box asks, "What's going on?"

If someone in real life walked up and asked - "What's going on?" and you responded - not again! Frown emoticon - how would they react? Would they a) back away slowly, b) look at you as though they have reached the conclusion that you are in fact a moron, or c) jump up and down with excitement because they get to repeat their original inquiry? Hint: C is not the correct answer.

I mean, are we really all so starved for attention? What reaction do these people expect?

Is this how we want "friends" to respond - Golly gosh darn gee whiz, I will just die a little inside unless you elaborate. Please tell me, oh pleeez?

In fact, I just might start doing that.

Next time I read - so excited! Or something of the like, I may just have to respond with stalker level enthusiasm. And if I discourage them from posting that inane crap on the wall, then I will have done the world a service, my friend.

Now for a picture of my beloved feline. Maxwell Dean would like you to know that he also disapproves.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

random wednesday updates

Good Wednesday, weblings.

Let's see.

The outdoors is really, really cold right now. The temp was 1 when I left my house, 0 on the way, but 5 by the time I reached work. I think we finally made it up to 20 something degrees. Woo! Summa time!

I hope we get some reprieve in the form of warmer temperatures soon. I don't know how much longer I want to play in the snow.

Ah, also if you are on my Christmas shopping list and you are not one of my wild children, I have not yet purchased your gift. Yes, I am one of those people this year.

Like Clockwork is currently being evaluated for the premium catalog on Smashwords. If you don't want to wait for it to hit Barnes and Noble, etc, then here is a link to the download in various formats on the Smashwords site itself. They offer just about any sort of format you could want from kindle to ipad regular old html.

I apologize there is no print version. A couple of people have asked. If you want to print it out, it’s only about 28 pages.

I'm still working on the second AnnaBeth book in a half-assed sort of way. Well, the writing isn't half-ass, my dilligence in working on it is. I think this cold weather is making me sluggish. I don't really feel like doing anything but stuffing my face full of food and sleeping.

The story is really different from the first book but in a good way. The level of danger is much higher and there are threats to AB from almost every direction.

The primary project right now is the novella cover art. That is a rocky road. The work is slow, mainly because I'm learning a lot while I move along.

This project has helped me to realize that I've become too comfortable with what I perceive as my limitations. There are times I lack in the confidence department, especially when it comes to drawing.

For instance, the cover for Babylon Dragon is not what I originally envisioned. Don't get me wrong, I really love the way it turned out. But I gave up on the original idea because I thought it was beyond my art skill level.

Last weekend, the annoying voice of my insecurity surfaced in the form of the idea that maybe I should have a backup plan for the cover. A backup plan might as well be the white flag of surrender. I'm not going to give myself that out.

The drawing may be slow, but it is progressing. The cover is going to turn out fine if I just keep moving.

End transmission.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

a Tuesday questionnaire

Today I’m doing something a little differently. On Inside the Actor’s Studio, an interviewer named James Lipton asks stars questions adapted from the Proust Questionnaire. There’s a link to more info about that at the end of this post.

I am borrowing his questions for this post and answering them for myself. Hopefully he won’t mind.

1. What is your favorite word?
I really like the word 'vermicular', mostly just because I like the way it sounds. It means wormlike. There just aren't enough times I can use it in everyday conversation.

2. What is your least favorite word?
Panties. Who came up with that crap - the heavy breathing stranger on the other side of the phone line?

3. What turns you on?
I love a good manly man. That metrosexual business is for the birds.

4. What turns you off?

5. What sound or noise do you love?
I love the sound of ocean waves. I don't get to hear them often because I live quite a way inland.

6. What sound or noise do you hate?
People shouting and arguing. The world would be a more pleasant place if everyone would just shut the heck up once in a while.

7. What is your favorite curse word?
I love the F word, which I would much rather verbalize than type. It's so versatile. You can use it as just about any kind of word - noun, adjective, verb, maybe not so much an adverb. He skipped fuckily down the street. Um, no.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I would like to attempt some archaeology; although I'm not sure those sciencey types would let me play in the dirt with them.

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Nurse! Those men and women, God bless them for putting up with the germs and the personality quirks of the masses. They are saints. There is no way in hell I could ever enter that profession.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
That'll do, pig.


Wiki link to info about the Proust Questionnaire

Here’s a link to the Inside the Actor’s Studio show in case you want to see some people who are more famous than me answer the above questions.

Monday, December 13, 2010

movie Killers

Killers is a movie starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl. They play a couple who meets in France and ends up getting married. That might sound like a spoiler but the movie covers a lot of relationship ground in the first half hour.

When they first meet Spencer (Kutcher) is a hit man employed by a super shady government agency. Jen (Heigl) is on vacation with her parents after a breakup. Basically, the two end up together. He retires from the hitman business to be with her.

The story then flashes forward a few years. They live in a nice house in the suburbs. They have good jobs, etc.

Then, Spencer's life as a hitman comes back to haunt him when his old boss makes contact. His wife, who didn't know about his previous line of work, is displeased. They go on the run from would-be assassins while trying to solve the mystery of why people are attacking them.

Killers is equal parts action movie and romantic comedy. There are gunfights, car chases, and things blowing up but also some entertaining relationship issues.

The two cast members who really made this movie were Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara (mom from Beetlejuice). They played Jen's parents. Dad is sort of overprotective. Mom is an oblivious lush who is completely hilarious.

There were some familiar faces plucked from some favorite TV shows of mine: Kevin Sussman (Big Bang Theory), Casey Wilson (SNL), Alex Borstein (Mad TV), and Rob Riggle (Gary Unmarried).

Killers gets A for awesome with extra points for the oftshirtless and delectable slice of man meat that is Ashton Kutcher. Applause for pretty!

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

various arghs

Today I feel like whining and complaining.

and hence.

Google Books has MacDowell Sisters & AnnaBeth with my editor/publisher listed as the author. Hell no! I have e-mailed them to change

see the eff up LINK

It is December 8th and I have purchased almost no Christmas gifts! AAAAAAA!!! yes, I am one of those last minute people, apparently. I really don't like buying people gifts because I think I'm not very good at it. When people unwrap the gifts I give them, I sometimes get looks. I try! I really do! oh well.

And it is butt ass cold outside, which is making me not really want to leave my house. I rarely want to leave the house as it is. You add in some single digit temperatures and I am officially in hibernation.

I may be out for the next couple of days. I am still working on the cover art. If I can finish it this weekend, then NEXT weekend, I can get to work on the book trailer.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

happy google books day!

Google Books finally launched!

I poked around on their site for a while and here are some initial impressions.

The site runs smoothly and has a nice display of books and magazines on the home page with a list of category links on the lefty.

The magazines samples had a fair amount of content, about 30 pages in the ones I read. There are supposedly a bunch of public domain on there for free and current books for sale. I didn't dive into any books today.

My complaint - the website does not function well on the blackberry and there is also no blackberry app as of yet.

You spoiled iphone and ipad users, of course, already have an app ready to go. But I'm not bitter. Ok, maybe I’m a little bitter.

Google Books also does not work on Kindle. Although, I think I read that if you buy a book, you can select a mobi (kindle) file type.

Babylon Dragon (my first novel) is on there. I submitted it months ago. Here is the link. The preview and the cover art don’t seem to be working. I need to work on that.

Click here to go.

I think the site is awesome. I will probably spend hours on it.

That's all I have for now.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

guns and art

First up, movie time.

The Expendables
I love this movie! Major gunplay and hand to hand combat and throwing knives! I reiterate - throwing knives! The Expendables is chock-full of bad assery.

The plot – A band of mercenaries is hired to assassinate a dictator on an island in South America. When two of them go on a scouting mission, they learn just how bad the situation is for the residents of that island. They are chased away and end up returning with the full team.

The cast was a-fricking-mazing. We have: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham (YUM), Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Eric Roberts, Steve Austin, the list goes on. There are also cameos by Ahnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.

The action is nonstop, pretty much from the beginning. The movie is a pyromaniac's dream. Everything, especially the climax of the movie is laden with explosions and fires. The fights are awesome too. There is a whole lot of kicking and punching.

I really liked the relationship dynamic between the Expendables. They were like bad ass Golden Girls. There was a tendency to bicker but they still cared about each other.

This movie gets an A. Sequel, please. Thank you.

Note on the gallery:

I moved the illustration gallery from Zazzle over to Deviant Art. DA gets better traffic and the community seems friendlier. Their prices are lower too, which is always good.

I will probably keep some t-shirt designs up at Zazzle for the time being.

I like DA's website better too.

Here is the link to the new gallery.

I'm still working on the cover art for the novella as well.

It's going pretty well. I think I may actually be able to draw a man who looks like a man. This is easier said than done for me. My drawing style is very feminine. I'm okay with that feminity most of the time, but it's not really helpng me all that much right now.

I keep wishing I was one of those people who can just draw freely and whatever comes out is the way it needs to be instantly. I've never been like that. For anything with significant detail, I always need to do like ten rough sketches. I agonize over every line because it isn't right the first million times I draw it. Oh well. I'll get there eventually, I guess.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

it puts the thursday lotion on the thursday skin

The title really has nothing to do with the post. I was just thinking about how it was Thursday whilst applying hand lotion and that popped into my head.

I don't have much going on.

I would like to comment that Scribd is hassling the shiz out of me. I keep trying to post Clockwork and I can't even get the site to load! argh!

Today I have an illustration. I know I said they were on hiatus, but I did this one anyway. What can I say? I guess I can't help myself.

This is a second incarnation of an old, crappy illustration of mine. The old one never saw the light of day. In fact, when I pulled it up on my computer, I was filled with shame for the utter suckness.

This is Little Red Riding Hood, of course. The first idea I had was to make the wolf look like one of those chinese dragons and loom over little red riding hood. There was a huge moon in the background and some pointy trees. I did like the background, but the execution of the rest of it was totally lame.

For this second version, I ditched the chinese dragon idea and replaced the moon/forest background with what I think looks like burned paper.

I'm still not sure if I'm entirely happy with this one. There may be a third incarnation yet.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

novella project notes

It is SO FREAKING COLD outside! Aah! I do not love it. There was snow on the ground this morning when I left the house and traffic absolutely crawled. But I made it. That’s what counts, right?


The novella is off to Lady Editor tomorrow! That leaves me to work on cover art and the book trailer for the next month or so.

Book artwork always makes me a bit nervous. I always have an idea of what I want to do, but I have this fear that I won’t have the skills to execute to the level I want to.

This cover is going to be a sort of comic book style. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you may have read my earlier post about wanting to learn how to draw that way. Well I bought and read a book about drawing by Stan Lee and John Buscema. Who better to learn from than Stan Lee, right? He is the master of all that is comic book!

The cover art is going to be the base for the book trailer as well, so that makes it twice as important. I plan to do some animation-ish things with the art, fading in on the different parts.

I’ve also started writing a script, which is strange for me. I’ve never written a script before.

So that’s what’s going on with the novella. This weekend’s major project is the beginning of the cover art. It’s going to take a while.
That’s all I have for now.

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