Misc Updates

Hey, guys! I feel like I haven’t been on the blog much lately. My workload has been utter insanity, and while I like being busy, I’d be okay with it cooling off for a while. However, as soon as it did cool off, I’d probably get excited about some other project and dive right in…like the podcast I’ve been thinking about starting. Everything I’m working on simultaneously feels like too much and never enough. 

I’m still making the 45 minute to an hour drive into and working at the day job, proofreading, occasionally writing, trying to make the publishing thing fly, blogging (mostly over at NightLark), and working on publicity for the next release there, which isn’t my book. Not one I wrote, at least. The crazy thing is that I think I’m better at promoting someone else’s work than I am at promoting my own. The effort is more consistent, which is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time.


It’s good because better/more consistent promotion usually equates to better sales. It’s bad because I’m doing things for this book that I should’ve done for all of my own books, and I know that. While putting this thing together, I neglected my own work. And that’s my fault. I should’ve found a way to manage my time more effectively. I am getting better, though, I think…I hope.


I have found that habits are magic. Whether they’re good magic or bad magic depends on the habit.


As far as my book release schedule goes for this year, I should have 2 more kids’ books out by the end of the year as long as the editing is somewhat smooth sailing. Both of those rough drafts are done. Is it weird I don’t get overly excited about finishing rough drafts anymore? I mean, I am happy they’re finished, but it’s kind of just a big step 1.


The adult series I planned to start this year will probably have to wait until next year. I do have one adult novella that I need to finish writing. That may be out around…Novemberish?? Or it could come out in the first couple of months next year. We’ll see what goes down between now and then.


Audiobooks…I’m still working on that. I have an area set up for recording. It’s much better than the setup I had before. I just need to get my rear end in there and use it!


What I really need is an assistant to follow me around and nag me until I finish all the things and also to occasionally knock the PlayStation controller out of my hand.


That’s it for now. Another toy collection post is on the way. I’m thinking Disney Villainess dolls…

Now please enjoy this picture of Bleu with 2 of his favorite things: newspapers and a box.

Chicken Scratches and a Trailer

I’m not sure what compels me to make book trailers. They aren’t very effective as far as advertisements go, not mine, at least. Like who really says, “I think I might want to read a book. Perhaps, I should watch some book trailers to decide which one.”

No one.

No one does that.

And yet, I persist. I think part of me just wants to prove to myself that I can do it…again?

So I did put together a trailer for Desmond Winters in the Realms of the Caged Sun. I really wanted an animated trailer; it is a book for kids, after all. Not crazy Disney-level animation but some variety of drawings moving on the screen.

I found some free animation software. The concept looked really great, but it was endlessly complicated and didn’t save my file properly one night after I’d worked on it for hours.

I also looked at using Flash. I actually have that software already. I can’t remember why it didn’t work out. It might have been due to my extremely rusty Flash skills. What I did end up using is PowerPoint. It does a few things with animation and worked okay.

But first, as with most of my projects, I started out with some chicken scratches. Step one was writing the words, and then I decided what images would go with those words.

Here’s a picture of what my semi-coherent notes look like.

trailer notes

Pretty, right? 🙂

I cranked up the contrast to try to make my chicken scratches stand out a little better. You might be able to bigify the picture if you click on it.

So we have 3 columns on the first 2 pages: script notes, animation notes, and timing of each component. I tried to allow adequate time for people to read the words on the screen.

Then I drew up the images in Fireworks, except for the sun at the beginning of the trailer. I did that one in Photoshop because I wanted to paint it.

Each moving part is a different drawing. There’s a beastie that’s a combination of a mole and a bat, and that drawing is a combination of 4 different image files if you count the fireball.

Animation in PowerPoint is pretty limited because it’s not really built for that sort of thing. There is an animation panel that you have to add to the interface through a setting. Here’s what the pane looked like for one of the slides.

animation pane

Once I had the animations finished, I picked some music. Then I hired a guy on Fiverr to do the voiceover. He was super nice.

Oh, I also edited the video in Windows Movie Maker. With PowerPoint, you can export slideshows as videos. I had to add the music and the voice separately, and I think I added them both in Windows Movie Maker.

The whole project probably took a couple of weeks of evening work time (maybe it was 3?) and I only spent $5 on the voice guy.

Here’s the finished product.

And the day improves

I know. Two blog posts in one day. This is crazy, but I’m super excited. I came home to both a Stranger Things shirt and a box of books!

First, the shirt. It came in my LootCrate. I LOVE Stranger Things. I can’t wait for Season 2.

stranger things shirt.jpg

Now, the books! These copies are going to various individuals and organizations. Library of Congress gets one. A couple of local libraries get them. A couple of people who helped me out immensely with feedback get them.

Bleu the buttface helped me with the unboxing. Here he is going nyoom over them when I was trying to take a picture.

cat picture 1

This was the first chance I had to be at home for more than a few minutes today, so I think he may have been trying to get my attention.   🙂    Big baby.

Here he is next to the box, being slightly less of a blur.

cat picture 2

He is a wild and crazy guy.

Anyway. The book is finally available in both ebook and paperback! There may be a hardcover eventually. Here’s the link to the book on Amazon.

Additional book related posts on the way.

Argh.

I made the mistake of reading a review of one of my books. I usually don’t because it makes me obsess even more about what I might doing wrong with my writing. And trust me, there’s enough of that already.

This one was pretty bad. The number of stars was okay but they tore apart everything from my story pacing to my dialogue to my apparently ineffective use of pronouns. It was just bad. I felt like I was being graded by a really crotchety creative writing teacher.

Sigh.

I won’t be reading more reviews anytime soon. I just need to stay away from them, or else my motivation will be in the toilet. Positive energy only!!! Cue cheesy motivational photo.

image

Writing Stuff

Hey-o! A paperback release is imminent. I will post a link once it’s available. The sequel to that release is nearly finished, so I’m trying to decide what I need to work on next. I have 2 other books in progress. One is a rough draft I finished about a year ago. The other is a rough draft that I stopped working on right in the middle for some reason or another. I hate it when I do that, by the way. It’s really the best method I have for annoying myself.

Anyway, so I picked up the half-written thing today, thinking that might be the next project. I really like what I wrote so far. Most of the time, writing feels like I’m trying to run backward uphill. It’s kind of awkward, and I can’t always see where my feet are going to land. When I picked this story up to look over it, I was pleasantly surprised.

Sometimes, despite the awkwardness of the process, things click into place, and they flow just the right way. That was today, and it was a really good feeling. I’m looking forward to getting back to it, now.

The only bad part of having a project that I really love is that I have more trouble seeing what’s wrong with it when editing time arrives. I’ll have to be careful with this one.

In unrelated news, have I mentioned that I like popcorn?

popcorn

Whacking Moles

Hey! Just thought I’d pop on for a moment and offer up an update. I do have a new book out, the eBook version anyway. Link! I’m still engaged in battle with a few last-minute details on the print versions, which is killing me inside. I wanted to be done with this thing, but stuff keeps popping up like some hellish whack-a-mole game. Whack one mole, oh look! Yet another mole. Apparently, I have an overabundance of moles.

I have never had the problems I’m having with this book. It’s really weird and distressing, and if every book fought me this hard, I would probably never publish any of my work.

Official foofaraw shall commence once the paperback version is out. I didn’t want to dive too far into promotion without that at least being available.

I’m going to go work now. I hope to one day be free of this thing. Until then, please enjoy this photo of sleepy Sneaker.

img_20170303_201751694

 

 

 

Maybe the Grossest Story You Read All Day

I was an odd child. As with many children, I had more energy than good intentions.

In the third grade, I had some wax lips. I might’ve gotten them for Halloween. I might’ve bought them at the candy store down the street from my house.

wax-lips

Being the creative soul I am, I discovered that I could chew them up and then form the wax into shapes. I began to sculpt. I made small snowmen and other simple things, probably a cat or two.

I made a bunch of them and hid them in my desk. It was one of those models where the top flips up, and you stash books and whatever inside.

Then I came up with the bright idea that I would sell them. My classmates really seemed to like them, and they never questioned my materials. I sold several of these saliva and wax masterpieces.

Unfortunately, my gig didn’t last very long. I don’t remember why I quit. I think my teacher must’ve told me that I should not do such things. Of course, teachers did that a lot.