An Unusual Haunting

cover art for An Unusual Haunting featuring sketch of Sara and text

Finally published the book last week through Smashwords, crickets. Yay!

Going through the publishing process was a bit daunting, since I hadn’t released anything in years, but the file and art for An Unusual Haunting sailed through once I had done my homework on preparation.

If I was a serious writer, I suppose I should work harder at promoting what I do. Yet I am serious about writing. Each new project should show improvement over what I did before. And I have been reading and learning and honing the craft as much as I am able. Publishing only serves to mark the end of a project, a challenge to me to put my work out there for someone else to enjoy. If I make anything, it only goes back to purchasing more toner and paper so I can keep going without too much expense.

What will I do now? Direct my attention back on finishing the third story in the Sara series. When that’s completed and goes through the beta-reading process, I will move on to the fantasy book that has languished so long in an unfinished state. Also, the short stories are piling up again, meaning it might be time to publish another collection.

It’s funny how getting one monster six-year project off my desk is leading to more writing instead of time off. I guess that’s the joy of becoming a serious writer, and I am in it for the joy of it.

Until next time, crickets, be well.

Notable Reads and a Writing Update

This year has definitely been an up-ender. Pandemics, work changes, illnesses, remote operations: these past few months have been nothing if not interesting.

I have been reading, though not as much as I would like to. Some of the more notable ones:

  • Bleachers by John Grisham
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
  • Peace Talks by Jim Butcher
  • Actually, the Comma Goes Here: A Practical Guide to Punctuation by Lucy Cripps
  • On Writing by Stephen King

As for the book, An Unusual Haunting, I have everything I need but have yet to run it through the meatgrinder at Smashwords. It’s not a case of fear (I’ve published through the system before, though it’s been a while), yet I am reluctant. This might be a case of perfectionism vs. practicality. Will anyone read the story? The odds are against it, but I want it to be nice for those who do. Are there mistakes in it? Sure. All books have mistakes. I catch them all the time in published novels; I just can’t seem to catch them as easily in mine.

Maybe it’s just hard to set a story free that I’ve held onto closely for several years now. That said, perfect or not, it’s time to let the book go. Expect to see An Unusual Haunting published this month.

Until next time, crickets, take care and be well.

The Art of Article Writing

Computer keyboard with art and light flares leaking out between keys.

Some writers can put art into article writing by uplifting a potentially dry subject and inviting readers into a short tale woven with facts that entices the audience below the fold of the electronic page and through to the end of the piece.

These artists certainly know people don’t have much time for reading in today’s barrage of information bytes. Their palette of tools includes the usual limited word counts and the use of sub-headers, small paragraphs, simple but effective words and imagery, and an explanation in the first one or two paragraphs to inform the reader what the article is about right upfront. Yet the enthusiasm these writers have for the subject leaks into every sentence, holding reader attention to the last period.

I admire that.

Sure, it’s great to craft a fantasy plot that can easily hold together a 100k book, but if I cannot work on a small scale and write an article that lets others discover something fascinating, learn something new, or open their eyes to another line of thought in nonfiction, how can I hope to entertain them with fantasy?

But articles and storytelling are two different things, right?

Well, yes and no.

Just as there are formulas for writing a good article nowadays, there are formulas for solid storytelling. Solid arcs and sub arcs, grammatical and technical writing skills, hero journeys, character evolutions, action and reaction moments – these are some of the tools needed, and there are a staggering number of books and online advice blogs that expound on others.

But the passion – the love of sharing something, making it exciting, offering a good tale well told – should burst out between the written lines and grab a reader no matter if the subject is fact or fantasy, or takes 800 words or a magnitude more to impart.

I work with people who have that passion, and their writing frequently astounds me. I hope to learn all I can from them so I can do it easily on my own someday. And I anticipate it’s more of a journey than destination kind of learning.

Have a great month, crickets! Thanks for listening.

Book update and sequel progress

Greetings, crickets! I finished the book last month – the one that was initially a novella and the sequel novel. I sent it to a beta reader in August of last year and then spent four months hashing through to make it better than it was before.

It’s still not perfect, but it is head and shoulders above anything else I’ve ever written. Which means there’s still room for improvement…

I have five more illustrations to complete and then I can upload the epub file to Smashwords and be done with it. Which means I’m probably going to drag my feet…

And the sequel to this monster book? It was actually nice to take a break away from it for a few months so I can see it with fresh eyes. I’m not rehashing what I’ve written yet, because I believe that edit should come after I finish up the missing scenes, but I am making notes on what to look for. I learned a lot from the beta, and found she made eerily similar notes to what I’ve written on the works I read for friends. Maybe I’m a beta reader at heart, but I still can’t seem to notice everything in my work that I should – probably because it’s just too close to me to see it objectively. Which means, I will still need a beta for the sequel and should start saving some money for that…

Here’s hoping I can send the sequel off later this year and take a break.

Or maybe I can write the short fics needed to round out the next anthology. Or maybe dust off the fantasy book and finally finish the rewrite. Or maybe…I’m just hopeless. Thanks for listening.