Monthly Archives: June 2011

Updates

-Congratulations to Amanda Brummer! (Who, I have to say, has an eerie combination of two of my childhood friends’ names…) Expect your books and the print of Plamena Doycheva’s artwork  by the end of next week! :)

-For the rest of you who entered, remember that the papberback version of The Poppet and the Lune is on sale for $10.99 until July 5th! (ish. Createspace sometimes takes a while for changes to kick in.)

-If you missed it, there are two new reviews up of TPaL! One is over at A Bookworm’s Shelf, and the other is at Carabosse’s Library, and both of them are making me smile all week even though I had to go back to work yesterday after a full (and glorious) week off. 

-On the writing front, I’ve sent my draft of my upcoming novel, The Hierophant to my editor (boy doesn’t that make me sound all professional! *puffs up self-importantly*), so in the meantime I’m working on its sequel, The Tower. (HONESTY TIME: I’m nervous about this series, mainly because they are SO DIFFERENT from TPaL that I worry I’ll let you all down. But I love these books too, and though they might not end up being as classic and timeless as TPaL, they are still a lot of fun, full of a lot of good ideas and lovable characters. Plus they’re kind of epic, and who doesn’t love a good modern epic fantasy?)

That’s about it for today! I think since I’m working overtime all week there will be a second, more blog-like entry before Friday comes. Hope you all have a lovely week :)

Love Indie Books? Here’s How You Can Help.

So let’s say, for the sake of this post, you read my book, or another indie author’s book, and you loved it–or maybe just liked it enough to think “I hope this author is successful, I’d like to read more by her/him.” You may know that, as independently published authors, we don’t have a NYC publishing house at our backs putting money into our endeavors to become successful authors, speaking to their People In High Places on our behalf, backing us with promotional materials, or covering the cost for review copies, award entry fees, advertising, and so on (maybe you didn’t know. Now you do! :D). So, maybe you’re interested in doing something big or small to help an independent author get a leg up in the publishing world?

Well, here’s a list of things you can do to help!

  • Word of mouth. Think about it–most books on your To-Read List are probably there because someone else told you how much they enjoyed it.
  • Write a review. For the independent author, our readers’ reviews are invaluable for generating more sales, or even potentially landing us an agent or a book deal. Amazon.com has a place for rating and reviewing every book it sells, and while you’re at it, if you love sharing your reading list with others, Goodreads.com is a site built on reading, rating, and reviewing books.
  • Give me feedback. If you didn’t like something about my writing but didn’t feel you could leave an honest review without potentially hindering future sales, let me know. Indie authors do their best to make their work perfect before it hits the shelves, but we’re always growing as writers, as are all authors.
  • Offer to host or interview me on your blog. If you have one, and, you know, if you do that kind of stuff. Most authors love to talk about their inspiration, their process, their favorite part, their favorite kind of pizza toppings…
  • Put an excerpt of my book in the back of yours. If we share a genre, chances are pretty good we might share audience members, and chances are even better that we can grow our audience size by sharing each others work with our established audience.
  • Buy the book. If you received a free copy and really enjoyed it, consider purchasing a copy to support the author as she writes more books you will potentially enjoy as well.
  • Give it as a gift. Spread the love! Some of the best fiction I’ve read has been books given as gifts that I otherwise may have never heard about.
  • Ask for it at your local library or independent bookstore. Chances are they won’t order it themselves, but if they see people know about it and are interested, they’ll probably start keeping a few copies on the shelf. Then the browsers will have a little indie treat in store for them next time they stop by for a new book!
  • Share the author’s other content. Most authors keep a blog and have a twitter account. Some of them write things that are interesting that you might consider sharing with your friends on Facebook or your followers on Twitter. Sometimes they might announce a coupon, a contest, or a new publication. If you can help spread the word on the internet, you can help that indie author reach tons of new people who might have otherwise missed out on their book.

These are just the things I could come up with this morning. If you think of any other ways people can help their favorite indie authors, feel free to post them in the comments below, and I’ll happily add them to the list.

Also, while you’re here, don’t forget to enter the Deluxe TPaL Giveaway before June 27th, for a chance to win a signed, first-run copy of The Poppet and the Lune, and more!

Thanks! (And feel free to share this post ;D)

 

Summer Solstice Sale and Deluxe TPaL Giveaway!

Hello everybody! I’ve got a surprise for you! :D

In celebration of the Summer Solstice I’ve dropped the price of the print version of The Poppet and the Lune from $14.99 to $10.99! And also, I’m doing another GIVEAWAY! Yay!

The Poppet and the Lune will be on sale from now until after the 4th of July weekend. The reason I can’t keep it at this price (because I would like to!) is because in order to have it this low I’ve had to cut two distribution channels, essentially making it impossible for bookstores to order it should anyone happen to come in an request it. So for the next couple of weeks, it will be on on sale, but you will only have until Monday, June 27th to enter the giveaway!

The TPaL Giveaway will include:

You can enter The Poppet and the Lune Giveaway in 2 steps:

1. Do one (or more! ;D) of the following things:

  • Tweet about the giveaway or the sale using the hashtag #tpal
  • Recommend the book to your friends by posting a link to The Poppet and the Lune‘s Amazon page on facebook
  • Post about the giveaway or the sale on your blog
  • Anything else to help me spread the word!

2. Contact me using the form on my contact page, or email me at madelineclaire [at] gmail [dot] com, or use the comment form below. Be sure to leave your email address (so I can let you know if you’ve won) and let me know what you did for step 1!

I’m so excited to be able to do this. Please help spread the word, and let me know if you do! I love giving stuff away! :D

 

 

 

Trusting the Story

There are a lot of different kinds of writers, but for the purpose of this blog, and this entry, I will tell you a little bit about the kind of writer I am.

I am a storyteller. I craft stories with words. The telling of each story is a spiritual journey, and each time I take away something more, something different, about myself and about the Universe.

Stories are so much more than words, characters, events, climaxes and resolutions. Stories are gifts. Stories do not belong to us, the storytellers, no matter how hard we work on them, how many hours we spend crafting them, perfecting them. They are like our children, and we cannot try to make our children into anything other than who they are. And someday, our children will go out into the world and make their own way.

Wednesday night, at “writers therapy”/dinner with Sarah Diemer, we realized something profound. Let me paraphrase the moment:

Sarah: I’m afraid to work on [this amazing novel Maddie has been waiting to read for YEARS but Sarah hasn’t finished yet!]. I need to re-write it again. I have this idea of what it’s supposed to be, but it just never cooperates with me.

Me: Hmm. Well, maybe you shouldn’t try to make it into something it doesn’t want to be? You know. Trust the story.

Then we had a moment where the stars aligned, and our eyes widened, and our hearts nodded in agreement. Also our appetizer came.

It just made so much sense. I can look back at all my years of writing and writer’s block and see this thread of truth. When I first began to write, I was not concerned with publication. I wrote novel upon novel, and I was infatuated with the art, with the stories, with the process. It was a glorious love affair between me and the story–it whispered, and I wrote, and we shined. And each and every time I’ve written since without the thought of publication, without thinking of “What is my market? Will this sell?” I’ve had that same experience.

As a mature writer, those stories that I’ve written freely, unhindered by thoughts of profit or loss, are by far the best, most honest, touching, and close to perfection stories that I’ve told. (That’s not to say they don’t require revision and editing–they do, but it’s always very manageable, and fun) And looking back at the stories that have gone unfinished, untold, and the projects that have given me the most grief, I can see clearly that each of those tangles, each of those blocks, was always caused by the same thing:

I wasn’t trusting the story.

I would get it in my head that the story I was telling wasn’t good enough, wasn’t dark enough or funny enough or original enough, or the characters weren’t who I wanted them to be, and I would try to make things different. In doing that, I stopped trusting in the story–I stopped listening to the story. She did not and would never stop speaking to me, but I was no longer able to hear her.

I’m in the process, now, of recovering a story. I wrote her originally in a pure and honest state, for the joy of writing, and the first draft was brilliant. But in revisions I got blocked because it was then, as I thought about preparing it for queries, for The Market, that I began to mistrust what I’d created. I tried to shape it into something very different, and then I couldn’t shape it at all. Now, I’m back to the original story, and everything is exciting again. And more importantly, I’m not blocked.

With the freedom of self publishing, I don’t have to think about The Market any more. That’s not to say that I don’t consider my audience, it only means that I’m able to make the story itself my number one priority, rather than the number of people it will appeal to enough to get them to open their wallets.

I am a storyteller. I craft stories with words. To do that, there must be trust. There must be faith–in the story, in myself, and in the fact that the people meant to know these stories will find them. And regardless of profit, regardless of The Market, I must keep listening to the stories, and writing them down for all the world to discover.

10 Things I’m Looking Forward To

I’ve been adjusting again, this time to “summer hours” at work. Instead of working 8:30 to 5 every day we’re now working 8:30 to 6 Monday through Thursday, and getting out at 12:30 on Fridays. It’s pretty sweet, except that somehow that extra time off turns into running errands instead of writing, like I’d wanted. :p But it’s okay. Lots of contrast in life makes for a better fantasy in my head. I look forward to the day when I can write full time from home.

As far-fetched as that sounds to some, I’m optimistic. I’ve “got my eye on the prize,” so to speak. Actually, on a lot of prizes. I’d say that kind of thinking has gotten me quite a few prizes, too: a mind-blowingly amazing marriage, five months abroad in the UK, a month in Costa Rica, and, oh yeah, a published novel, and the brilliant network of writerly friends and supportive family who helped to make that possible. But there are some more immediate things I’m looking forward to experiencing which I’d like to share with you : )

Things I’m Looking Forward To: (List 1, in no particular order)

  1. Vacation, vacation, vacation! I have a week off this month, which I’ll be using to clean house and write novels. Actually, revise The Hierophant and write The Tower. Then, husbern (yes, that’s “husband”) and I are going camping 4th of July weekend in Allegany State Park. I expect to be leisurely soaking in a creek while building towers from rocks, hiking valiantly up mountains, through virgin forest, commanding fire demons to leap from the logs, and roasting many a marshmallow.
  2. Meeting the LLHB (Long-Lost-Half-Brother). Sierra’s coming with his wife in the middle of July. This has been an adventurous/tumultuous year for my family, and I hope we all get along. He seems like a great guy. I also hope he might be willing to put his tattoo art skills to use and help me with some cover-art for the ARCANA trilogy… heheheh…
  3. Salem. Salem doesn’t go under “Vacation” because it’s more like a pilgrimage. I’ve been every year for the past… five? Six? I don’t know any more. Every summer, though, the BFF and her wife and I go there to walk the cobblestone streets, ride out onto the ocean, wander the ghost towns, and soak in the magic of Massachusetts. Salem, Gloucester, and Rockport are our main ports of call. Every year it is a religious experience. Every year, I return from there, full.
  4. Buying a house! That’s right! Husbern and I begin the search tonight by giving a call to a local realtor’s office. We’re aiming to be moved in by October. Our little two bedroom just isn’t big enough for both of use any more–I need an office, and we both need to not be on the THIRD FLOOR any more. After three years of carrying groceries and laundry up and down three floors, I’m about ready for a single-level home : p
  5. Having my own office. One might think that, with a laptop, you don’t really need an office. Or at least, I told myself that when I basically let my husband turn “our” office into his man-cave. Now I know better, since all my officey things are scattered all over apartment for lack of a specific place where they belong. In our new house, I’ll have a space of my own. I’ve had visions of it–a longish room, like a bedroom with the closet wall removed. It’s in a corner of the house, a window on either side of the corner. I have my desk and filing cabinet and bookshelves on one side, and at the end with the windows I have a comfy chair set up for meditation. The opposite wall, buy the desk, is painted with chalkboard paint, so I can brainstorm big, all over the wall. *sighs with pleasure* I’m not sure what color the other walls are–something light. Maybe a sky blue.
  6. Having our own washer and dryer. Again with the house. But seriously, carting laundry around or waiting for other people in the building to be done with the machine? Not cool. So much time is wasted waiting for laundry to be done. Having our own machines means no lugging it around the city, no keeping quarters on hand, and hey, if we’re investing, I think I’ll get one of those washer’s with a steam option. Yeah. And it’s gonna be blue.
  7. My next book release… The Hierophant (Book I in the ARCANA trilogy) revisions are coming along nicely, and I’ve even got a fantabulous editor lined up for the job (Hi Jenn!!!). This book… well, it’s nothing at all like The Poppet and the Lune, but it is so. Much. Fun. It’s epic, it’s modern, it’s dark, it’s funny, and there is the swooniest of forbidden romances in it. I drew from my background in anthropology for this one, so are a lot of historical and cultural references that make it all work. I’m so, so proud of it. I’m a bit ashamed to call it “YA paranormal romance,” considering some of the less-than-stellar titles associated with that genre, so I think I’m going to dress up the genre and call it “The Thinking Person’s YA Paranormal Romance.” Jk, jk. ; ) I’m aiming for an early October release date.
  8. Dog! My parents are finally looking at getting another dog! Our old dog, Zelda, passed away over seven years ago, so it’s about damn time. I know it’s not my dog, but since I still live in the area I see them frequently enough that I’d get to enjoy its company too. In case you didn’t know, I’m one of those people who would much rather have a lot of pets than any kids. I love animals, and pretty much all animals love me. Once we’re settled into our house, we’re going to see about getting a dog next spring… until then, my parents’ new pup will have to suffice.
  9. Writing retreat! My awesome writer friends and I have access to a sweet vacation spot near Lake Ontario, so we’re taking a weekend in July to go on a mini retreat where we can focus on NOTHING BUT WRITING XD This makes me so happy I can hardly stand it (especially as I’m writing this from my cubicle at work). And when our eyes begin to bleed from staring at the screen for too long, there is a beautiful Great Lake outside for us to stroll along, and contemplate…
  10. Choosing paint! This goes with buying a house, but still. When it’s time to nest, it’s time to nest! I love picking out paint. The only thing I hate is deciding, lol. I love all colors, bolds, pastels, warm, cool. And should the whole house sort of go together? Or can each room be its own entity? Hmmm… I’m excited to figure these things out.

So, okay, I could probably make a list of 20 things I’m looking forward to about buying a house alone, but still. All of this. Plus more, things I can’t yet speak about… things that I just know are coming. Good things.

Alright! Back to work, all pumped up and excited about everything not having to do with being at work! Woot!