Tag Archives: writing

Snippet of WIP

It’s a cold morning…brrrrr…..

Personally, I think the cold weather slows the blood and caffeine flow to my brain. I know you’re thinking…don’t you have heat in your home? The answer to that is yes…yes, I do. But your logical question has absolutely nothing to do with my theory why forming coherent thoughts and sentences this morning isn’t working so well for me. lol

That being said…I thought I’d share a snippet from a WIP that has the working title of Unexpected Treasure (subject to change) This snippet is unedited and also subject to change. As of right now, there is no release date, because it’s not even the story I’m suppose to be working on, but was the one demanding attention this past weekend. lol One MUST obey the Muse lest she decide to give you the silent treatment when you need her most, and that’s never a good thing.

So here you go…

“My apologies,” he started, releasing his hold on her coffee, “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“Um, no problem.” She responded, though she was pretty sure that wouldn’t have been the case if her keyboard had been bathed in the yummy caffeinated goodness of her turtle latte. “Thanks for the quick save.”

“It was the least I could do,” he responded, his voice tinged with an accent that sounded Scottish, or maybe Irish.

Shaela picked up her drink, bringing the plastic lid to her lips, not only to moisten her mouth, but to keep it from gaping open at the smooth-as-butter tone of his voice.

“I don’t mean to intrude, more than I already have…” he smiled down at her sheepishly, “but would you mind if I sat with you?” He swept out his arm towards the front of the coffee shop, “It seems to be a full house today.”

Shaela leaned to the side, peering around his tall body, to see his assessment of the crowd was right. She’d rarely, if ever, invited strangers to sit with her. In fact, she usually made it a habit to look engrossed enough in what she was doing that those who were looking for an empty seat were hesitant to disturb her concentration. It wasn’t that she was a snob, she just wasn’t a big fan of small talk. She got enough of that at work. Sighing, she sat back in her seat and smiled up at the charming stranger who had just saved her laptop from certain doom. Leaning over to remove her bag from the unoccupied chair, she replied to his question, “Of course.”

The scrape of the chair legs across the tile floor was barely heard over the cacophony of voices, music, and whirring of various coffee machines that had mere minutes ago been nothing but white noise, and was now a battering ram to her ears. Taking a sip from her cup, she fought to keep her brow from wrinkling in annoyance from having her peaceful interlude interrupted, even if it was by a handsome stranger with a mega-watt smile invading her space.
©Jolanthe Aleksander 2017

Until next week…Happy Reading!

~Jolanthe~

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It only grows

It used to be that every other year, we did Thanksgiving with my parents, and the opposite with my in-laws. With my MIL’s passing last year, it hasn’t really had time to shift, but more it became if my sister and her brood would be present or not as they were still on the alternating year plan. Interestingly, this year my parents are taking the holiday to my sister since they cannot get away with school things. As my girls are older, we don’t have that hiccup…only multiple work schedules to navigate.

Which means…it’s just my household doing the holiday together…which is nice on many levels. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I love being with family and laughing…but there’s a perk to keeping the gathering small too. I have no idea how many years are left before there will be plus one’s at the table and it won’t just be us anymore. I can totally enjoy turkey day in my jammies this time instead of having to dress for the travel & company factor this round. We can have our favorites at the table and all the leftovers we can handle. There is a win-win to this scenario.

The challenge is everyone keeps adding to the menu and I think I’m going to need a bigger table soon if we hope to sit at one to eat. I am also wondering if I should make the bird. Our family is not opposed to turkey…I’m happy to make it…but good gracious the sides are getting to be so abundant, that I’m not sure anyone is going to eat turkey anyway. And, just when I think I have the list complete, and most of the ingredients, except the fresh ones, bought and set aside, someone adds another dish to the list. I’m going to be waddling for a week or more…and that’s before seasonal baking.

At this rate also, I’m not sure what NANO WRIMO holds for me. I had thought to use my holiday week to crack out the backlog, but at this rate, I’ll be in the kitchen…likely wearing ingredients and laughing like a maniac. 🙂 see…there was a writer’s reason to mention the holiday odd going on…food & family vs. words? Family wins.

My writing itinerary is getting complicated for 2018. Then again, I’m not sure I’d recognize it any other way. 🙂 manic is me.

What’s your favorite holiday dish? What’s the one you could live without? Enquiring minds want to know…and, s’long as I’m already cooking enough for a battalion, what else can I add to the fun?

Time to Get Lost in the Words

My day started at 3:45 this morning. Seriously, there is not enough coffee in the world that would make getting ready for a long day at this time of the morning ok.

At 5:15, mom, dad, my son, and I boarded the shuttle from the hotel to the VA hospital. Dad is having surgery. Agent Orange is a gift from the government that just keeps on giving.

The tic tic tic of the second hand making its usual circuit around the clock face seems to be louder than usual. I have brought my laptop, my handy dandy thumb drive, a pad of paper, and numerous books for research…and if the words don’t flow through the tips of my fingers, I have my lovely kindle to help pass the time.

Oh oh ooooooh…the working title (subject to change) of my fairytale retelling is….Breathe Me to Life. I’ll let you try to guess which fairytale it’s based on.

If you have a mind to…prayers and petitions to whichever deity  you choose would be most appreciated.

Until next week…Happy Reading! 

~Jolanthe~

Stirring the water

More ages ago than I could accurately quantify, a speaker made the comparative reference to personal growth as ‘all in’ or likened to a stagnant pond. I think about their comments occasionally, using them as a metric for myself, based loosely on the ‘smell factor’ for the scum on the surface.  There is a great body of water I know for the mental imagery as well…if the spring warms faster than the aerators are activated…there is a lovely green, mossy blanket that covers the surface of the water. While pretty – it is clearly out of place.

The same can be true for notions about writer things. I’d much rather have my life pond look like this…colorful, peaceful, but also…scum free.

(Image source unknown. No copyright infringement intended.)

Why do I mention any of this? Well…I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I have a professional career outside of writing and publishing, one that I don’t always enjoy, but never fail to be proud of. The idea with that work is that we are always innovating, always growing, reaching out to serve the customer in new and different ways. For that position, I am also on a short list of folks for a chance to move up and be a deciding factor for a team, a location, a region, and my company. It’s daunting and exciting at the same time. There is no moss growing. There’s no time.

That said, I’ve often been fond of the notion that those who forget history, the past that brought us to this present, are condemned to repeat it. Consequently, I spend a fair amount of time learning, and sharing the past practices as we reach for new, better, or innovative ones to replace them for my non-author me. Interestingly enough, I’ve gotten an opportunity to do it for the writer side of the equation recently…and I’m submerged in the idea of how much publishing has changed.

Moreover, I’m shocked to see how some things have returned to the fore, often with the user none the wiser for the point. The dialogue and discourse of the industry has changed expansively, and divisively. I’m not saying anything new, I realize that…but in learning about where we have come from, to seeing what we’ve become…I understand better the confusion so many are experiencing. The sheer number of charlatan experiences is mind-boggling. And, I don’t believe that it’s on a course to turn away soon.

There’s another adage I know about filling many roles, but mastering none – I think that’s where publishing is right now. With the floodgates open to allow publication of works that have been neither edited, or reviewed, put into the mix by writers who don’t understand or know the history, the market has flooded. And, continues to run over. Unfortunately pooling in places that don’t get stirred.

There are pros and cons to this. Writers who the ‘gatekeepers’ withheld once upon a time until they were better positioned to be published, either by writing education, or storytelling instruction, etc…are out and in the market…and what early bard didn’t have a few bumps in their stories? At the same time…they are in the market without the benefit of firm guidance on those factors, nor the expanded circle that used to be the path. In my head I see a fish on land…

What I mean to point out is this…once upon a time, the work went through so many hands before getting to public consumption, the village worked together. Now, we have individuals who are author, editor, art designer, marketer, publisher, and media rep. How many hats can we wear well? I think it is far fewer than most believe. And, I would argue that running for the sake of running doesn’t eliminate pond scum, it only churns it up to smell as each task takes a turn on the bottom.

I further believe, that just because we are seeing someone do something, doesn’t make it responsible or an accurate practice. I think most of us NEED others in our circle of influence. I think it reveals a large scale problem with publishing right now…One we need to get ahead of and back down before it destroys us all. There are valuable lessons to be learned from the past. Innovation should be moving the bar farther…not bringing it down. We collectively need to be doing better. I think that includes reaching out to others, and clasping the hands of those who reach for us.

That said…we also need to know and understand when in the timeline it is time to regroup and right our own ship before we align with an armada that isn’t where we’re trying to go. At the end, balance is everything. It’s what keeps us moving forward without letting the moss grow. For me, after the recent learning curve, I’m more convinced than ever that I need to take some time to stir the water. The surface may be clear, but I’m not sure what’s lurking underneath. I can’t accept that.

Last – don’t forget about the Crossword puzzle blog hop…there have been hiccups, but I’m loving seeing so many new sites and what they have to offer. Hope you will too. Until next time, read something great, and tell your friends.

Sav

Recovery mode

What a year…SERIOUSLY, what a year??!

From the early months when we were hitting the 80’s before spring officially sprang, to the summer of rain and cool breezes… & finally the autumn of record and near record highs… It’s finally temperate, and average for the time of year, and I’m in shell-shock. 42 degrees overnight after sleeping in the upper 50s & low 60s with the windows open is a hard pill to swallow.

But, that’s only one of the whirlwinds I’m trying to wrap my head around. This year has been manic, and exhausting, and exceptional, even as it’s been ominous and scary. I haven’t found solid yet…which is a problem since next year is looking like it’s going to be similar – or worse.  I need to find a way to recover quicker. The weather going wonky just doesn’t work for me…I need something to be stable. 🙂 As if, right?

This week is the week. It has to be. This Saturday marks my final signing event for the year- GLASS CITY AUTHOR EVENT – WOOOOT!!! -so the last time to clear inventory before the crates get tucked onto the shelf for the season, or something like that. It’s not like they get buried. It’s also the final piece on my white board of doom…kind of like the white screen of death, except that everything starts on the board and slowly disappears. The notion that I’m starting November with the board blank is giving me a twitch…but I’m looking for the lining and organizing my thoughts to fill it early.

Jump starts are allowed, aren’t they?

My November Crossword Puzzle Bloghop is nearly finalized and ready…look for the details on that with my post next week. I’m so excited to play…I LOVE WORD GAMES. I can’t wait to see how this format goes. It’s a new one, so there’s bound to be hiccups…but I’m excited. I hope you’re planning to join me.

Honestly, I need a week, or a month… where the fam leaves and I can do the gut and grouse…tough love clean sweep of the house with no witnesses. I think that’s the problem I’ve got finding level. Everything around me goes up for grabs while I’m in the cave, but it keeps swirling once I emerge and I can’t get a clear shot to take it out, and keep it that way. I’d hire a maid, but this is SO MUCH MORE than maid issue…this is borderline hoarder in a couple of rooms that I can’t peek into without getting hives.

I think a track loader starting at the back, shoving it all to the curb would make me feel so much better…I just need the others to stop chaining themselves to the woobies, roller skates that no longer fit, and the lawn ornaments that migrated from other family members houses. Do you think they’d suspect cruise tickets or something?? I mean, I can’t wear this whiplash collar forever…it’s me or the stuff. I’m voting for me.

See you next week – hopefully saner. Til then, read something amazing and thank the author…leave a review.

Sav

 

Things to Come

Hi ho…hi ho…it’s off to write we go. Or something like that.

I’m excited to say I will be taking a part in a box set with some amazing authors. The theme of that box set …Fairy tale Retellings! It will be released in May. I’ll post the pre-order links as soon as I get the go ahead to do so from the set organizers.

My initial thought was to do one of the classic fairy tales. Then I thought about doing one that was less known. Then there is the vein of thought that maybe you could combine a lesser known with a well known. The possibilities are endless. What would you do? Is there a fairy tale you would like to read a re-telling of?

Anyway…I have much research to do…some of the original fairy tales are more than a little twisted. lol

Until next week…happy reading!

~Jolanthe~

 

Jiminy Cricket

“A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep…”

Sounds good, huh? It is too…until you get to this line,

“Whatever you wish for, you keep.”

and you realize that this does not apply to writers. I cannot tell you the sheer number of dreaming moments that quilted so beautifully together, weaving the story just so…that even with intentional waking to jot it down, have become completely lost to me.  I’ve resigned myself to the truth that Jiminy Cricket was not an author. So, I’ll just plan to wake up and get my cussing done with first…I’m certain I will’ve lost something through the sleeping part.

With authorship among the many hats that I wear, I find that lucid dreaming is either my staunch ally, or my dire nemesis. Usually the latter. 2017 was an incredible year, even as it was surreal and exhausting. I made a choice to take on a HUGE production schedule. ((I kept it by the way, much to even my surprise)) And…sadistic fool that I am, 2018 is looking to be equally manic, falling essentially even on the production side, but with additional appearances on the signing/convention side. Don’t worry, I’ve already ordered a new ‘hug-me’ jacket in lime green.

What’s a girl to do?

Well, it seems to me that I need to return to a practice that I’ve sort of scooted away from over the last couple years of crazy: guided meditation for goals. I have purpose when I meditate, usually relaxation, but I’ve not used it for my writing production for a long time now. I think that’s good and bad at the same time and it’s coming full circle. To get bigger, and busier, I need to slow down.

I’m thinking this is step one of my twelve step program to personal growth. Acknowledging the problem:

Since I can’t count on a cricket to get me to the goal…it’s probably up to me. *shrug* Somehow it always has been. 🙂

Til next time, read something awesome!
((OH…and don’t forget about the crossword puzzle blog hop in November…it’s going to be EPIC!!))

 

(don’t) Let it Show…

I’m not a big dog in this race…not even close. There are some that think I’m a big deal though, and well versed too…why? Because I learned one lesson in business young and have never forgotten it – Don’t flinch…and I don’t.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a full-blown tornado ripping though my soul at any given moment.

I did something a week or so ago, something I never thought I’d ever consider doing again…I pitched a literary agent to go back to traditional publishing. I LOVE being an Indie…don’t get me wrong, there’s just something about the idea of traditional backing, and marketing funds, and a few other perks that are tempting…though only recently. I’ll give it to you gospel…I was shaking in my shoes and nearly yerked my lunch before I got to the door. All in all, there are some great things on the horizon though because of that meeting…and I did manage to keep lunch in. So there’s that too. I just have to re-evaluate how I’m going to travel the road I’ve endeavored to take.

I’m fully confident of my abilities to write and be in the public eye at signings or conventions. I love the energy in a signing room…not gonna lie, it’s a hard habit to break and I have a fix every chance I get. That said, I also know my limitations. Public Relations and Marketing are easily my predominant Achilles heel, and the aspect of the business I struggle forward every inch to gain ground. I have to consider that I may need to go hybrid at the least to be able to have that front get the attention it deserves. It scares me more than a little, but I know I need help.

 

I did not make the decision to leave traditional publishing lightly. Any consideration to go back must be as carefully weighed. Whichever way this road goes, one thing will hold true…you won’t see my frenzy if I can help it. Composure will be me, if I have to stand on my own feet to accomplish it.

Actively baffled-

A long while back…or at least it seems like a long while back, it really wasn’t, I decided that in 2017 I was going to catch up. ’16 had damn near killed me, and my drive…I wanted a do-over.

The goal: Fulfill the docket from 16, and add 17 to the mix…meaning, EIGHT releases…EIGHT releases of MY OWN. Not counting an edit for someone else, or a publishing job for the house, that would all be extra…eight Savie V. releases.

Folks said I was crazy. Heck, I said I was crazy…I was right. I was, still am.

BUT…I did it. Gravedigger releases this coming Saturday. I confirmed it with the final upload around 12:30 this morning. I’ve been sussing over it for weeks now, not happy with little pieces here or there. I was seriously debating killing my ability to do a preorder for the next year…and push it back or cancel the preorder all together. I was that irritated with pieces. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it though.

I’m glad I didn’t. Gravedigger has shown me something that I needed to see, and while it was enlightening…it has also left me actively baffled about where I’m going next.

I’ve called myself a Contemporary Vagabond for a long while now, and I think that will hold true…but, I’m seeing a few things shift as I’ve been writing this year; my tendencies narrowing, my tastes…refining perhaps, and my choices…they don’t surprise me as much as they used to. I am enjoying writing certain genres and twists more than others, and I’m harder-pressed to turn down some things than others.

The biggest shock is that a piece I wrote to stand alone…I believe is going to launch a series. I fell in love with a character who, even though the story is done and in print, won’t stop talking to me. I’ll tell you more about them soon. right now…I’m here to tell you that release #7 of the year, Gravedigger comes out this Saturday. The preorder is live for $0.99 but that price will not last. The change date is on my calendar already….don’t wait.

Release #8 of mine for the year is Veil Break. It comes out in the Haunting Savannah set on October 10th. I am thrilled to share that story in a set with other awesome writers…great all 8 stories at once…just in time for Halloween!

‘Til next time…I’m taking a day to maybe sleep normal, then packing for Penned Con in St. Louis. The writing parts may be done, but the adventure always beckons.

see you soon.

 

Tangled webs

I want to take some time today to talk through a few sticky situations. Why? Because left untended, they become monsters and the tangled webs are too strong, even for ninjas then. I’m no ninja, so venting them openly is the best I can do.

I’ve been gunning HARD lately as many of you know. It’s meant long days, short nights, an ass-ton of coffee, and raw emotions. The combination can be lethal…but I’m holding the tiger by the tail…so far. I know that’s not how we maintain control, but at this point, any grasp is better than none at all. Right?

I’ve noticed that when I’m in this odd euphoria of sleep deprivation that things jump out at me that I might not otherwise notice. Rather than poke the bears, I thought I’d offer some friendly advice without naming names…with the best of intentions and a smile on my face while the caffeine has continued dominion.

Let’s start with the person on social media who posts every hour or so about the same thing…or an update on something that will obviously not be resolved for days…or what they are doing at any given moment. Let’s face it, over-sharers exist. Most of the time, I can ignore the behavior, or there is always the ‘unfollow’ to click if it gets to be too much, but let’s talk about some self-regulation on social media. I’d like to point out to those who feel compelled to share such finite changes in your day…there is a difference between quality and quantity in sharing too. If your audience can fathom when you are ‘on the throne,’ based on your lack of posting for those 4 minutes, you’re doing it wrong.

Next, let us take a lesson from Yoga about breathing…there are going to be things that come up that will fluster us to no end, and when that happens…let us stop, and take a good, deep, cleansing breath before we react. The cursing, screaming, spittle-dripping tirades that some have come to favor are so unattractive…live and virtual. Personally, I think one of the rapid killers of civilized society right now is the immediate gratification of responding before having to think. What ever happened to taking a few minutes, or overnight, to process information before spitting out the first, often worst, thoughts that come to mind? We are not showing ourselves very well.

Third up on my list of ‘OhMyGoddessWhatAreWeThinking?’ is the matter of If you ask for it…guess what? I recently suggested a new writer who wanted to publish, work with an editor I know. They write outside my comfort level of what I can edit and have ability to offer good feedback for…so I referred them to someone else. I learned that they got the edits back and have ‘poo-poo’d’ the comments as being too picky, and that it isn’t fitting with their writing style. Also, that a NYT Bestselling author most of us have heard of doesn’t do it that way. Here’s the thing…One, you are not said NYT Bestselling author where you can take license with the hard rules.  Two, grammar rules ARE picky. Three, YOU ASKED FOR AN EDITOR because you didn’t know what you were doing wrong or how to remedy it…guess what? They gave you comprehensive guidance on how to fix what wasn’t working. If you didn’t want to know…you shouldn’t have asked.

Four…and mercy let me slurp some coffee before I begin this one…IF you KNOW the answer, please don’t ask the question just to get attention. I’ve seen recently…seasoned authors, with a year or more under their belts, asking first book, newbie questions. Questions that I am seeing first book/newbie authors answering with ease and confidence. I am floored. That’s all I’ve got. Well…that’s not completely true, and it goes to a larger, pandemic problem that should be addressed…If you ask a question – BOTHER TO LEARN THE ANSWER. there are TONS in the Indie author community that are so helpful and will go out of their way to assist anyone…respect them enough to take in the answer and make it work, not just hear or read the words. You’ve taken their time, return the courtesy by at least trying to apply the response. If you require repeated exposure to the same information, get a notebook.

Four segued nicely into five which is ditch the excuses. LIFE HAPPENS…to all of us. We all get sick, have babies or fur babies who need us, want to take a day away from the keyboard to decompress, have parents, or play-dates, or appliance mishaps, or any other myriad things that happen…at the end…if you made a commitment – keep it. It’s that simple. your best is not the same as anyone else’s…and guess what? It’s all you’ve got to give. Don’t bungle it up with excuses about how you didn’t go as fast as someone else, or whatever…leave the excuses for the quitters. If you’re going for it – RUN!

Lastly, if you’ve just learned it, you are not qualified to teach it and CHARGE for the lesson. There is sharing and information swapping that happens all the time, but I’ve noticed a trend that makes me nervous…young authors who had a good book do well, who jump from that to the ‘teaching class about it for $50 an hour so you can do what they did.’ It reminds me a workshop I attended at RT several years ago about learning the Amazon algorithms to maximize exposure…which translated to sitting in a class waiting in pain to get to the subject, instead of how amazon was like the presenters dating life. Many of you know just how pricey RT is…so I paid for that. I can never recover those funds, not the hour and I learned NOTHING. Welll..I learned I’m not going to that presenters class again. Basically, there is a wide range of information out there and often it doesn’t have a price tag…so Buyer beware.

I’d like to say this is everything, now squarely expunged and I’m good to go…but we all know it isn’t. These are just some examples of the sticky things that are out there…the ones that are easy to get tripped up in and off-track. It’s too easy to lose our way, and get caught up in the crazy of others.

There used to be a meme on my desk that I haven’t rediscovered since moving the office that said: “Don’t let others pull you into their storm, pull them into your peace.” It’s good advice.

All of these things are detractors, and false roads that take us away from the golden path to productivity…so let us now make an agreement to lift each other up, and offer positive reinforcements as we each try to grow, and to put helpful things out in the paths of others, and not to ask for things that we don’t truly need as we try to be a bit better than we were yesterday.

It’s my goal…how about you?