Monday, March 31, 2014

A-Z Eve...

This Dalek picture is completely irrelevant to this post
This will be my third year doing the A-Z Challenge, and I really love doing it. Every year, I get to discover NEW blogs. For me, that's my favorite part - visiting everyone and finding new sites to visit. I'm excited, but a little stressed. I didn't have the time to write all my posts like I did last year, so this will be as chaotic as the first year I did this back in 2012.

I look forward to sharing a bunch of "One Hit Wonders" with you!

Although I didn't do a blog tour in support of my debut novel, Dragonfly Warrior, I did my best to "get out there" and reach out to people. It's been a busy, but satisfying month. Here's what happened:

1) I participated in my very first author event
2) Dragonfly Warrior went on sale for 99 cents - which ends TODAY, by the way. The price goes back up to $2.99 tomorrow. So download a copy!
3) I participated in two big steampunk events: Steampunk Hands Around the World and Steampunk With Heart
4) I finished my official author page
5) Just about wrapped up my YA horror/paranormal novel with the lovely Miranda Hardy
6) Was a guest on Under the Tikki Hut, The Writing Nut, and Beyond Victoriana
7) I was knighted by David King

Phew. And now it's time for A-Z.

Maybe I should take a blog vacation in May!

See you all tomorrow!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Writing Funk

I'm not sure if all it's all the marketing stuff I'm doing...or the stress from my day job...or maybe all the looming projects waiting for me to either get started OR finish...but I'm in a really bad writing funk.

We're talking a rut the size of the Grand Canyon.

I'm about 90% finished with my latest manuscript, and that's great and all. But I've been cursed by that blinking cursor at the exact same spot for going on two months now. I was rockin' and rollin' with this novel during NaNoWriMo. And that momentum continued all the way through the first part of the year.

But now I'm stuck. Severely stuck.

In the meantime, I've tried to stay busy and be productive. I've done guest posts and visited other blogs, despite cancelling the official blog tour to support my debut novel.

So while I'm searching for my lost mojo, you can find me elsewhere...

1) I finally finished my official author website: I wanted to keep a separate site from my blog. It's much more polished and professional. The best part has been working on the "bonus material" on there. My readers will finally get to learn more about the setting of my steampunk series, The Mechanica Wars by visiting.

2) Maybe I'm biased because I do eat a lot of nuts, but I've been in the spotlight over at The Writing Nut's blog all last week. Nutty is running a giveaway, which happens to be a FREE ebook copy of DragonflyWarrior. Check it out HERE.

3) And because Mother Nature keeps teasing us here in St. Louis with only glimpses of Spring before lashing out with Winter-like temps again, I decided to go Under the Tiki Hut. I'm a guest over at the lovely Ms. Kilgore's, so please visit me over there.

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Very First Author-Shindig

Me and AJ.
So last weekend was That Book Place's 4th Annual Authors Fair in Madison, Indiana. It's a mere five hours away, which doesn't seem too long when looking at the route on Google Maps. But I wanted to get out there and experience an author event and learn from the pros.

I set up my little table at an empty spot next to author AJ Scudiere. I had recognized her name...from everywhere...and I hoped to learn a thing or two. AJ was amazing. Just amazing. Her advice and experience was well worth the five hour trip down. She's got marketing and promotion down to a science, and her operation is a well-oiled machine.

Mine, on the other hand, is akin to one of MacGyver's improptu inventions that includes a paperclip and some lint. Look at my table. I don't even have a damn table cloth.

It was great to meet authors C. Bryan Brown, Marian Allen, K.A. Duvar, and James Percy.

I also gleaned some wisdom from author and publisher, Tony Acree. He's always been like a long-lost
My author table style is what I call "bare bones."
buddy to me, and he's someone I consider a real friend. He told me about many of the events I should attend to sell my books.

Oh wait, I just have ONE book to sell. Aye, there's the rub.

I'm probably only going to go to one other event in 2014, which is St. Louis' biggest science fiction/fantasy convention, Archon. It's in October, so I should have my second book, Shadow Warrior, published by then. So I'll have TWO books to sell.

Baby steps...

And hey, I'm going to be featured on The Writing Nut's Spotlight Week March 17-21st!

Monday, March 10, 2014

National Wormhole Week

Before we begin the Wormhole-fun, I wanted to thank everybody for their encouraging words. I was pretty down last week, and it was cathartic to just get it all out of my system. I appreciate all of your support, especially when times are tough.

So to help celebrate Stephen Tremp's release of his latest novel, Escalation, it's time for National Wormhole Week! This year, the theme is to write about one thing where science advances mankind and another technology that could doom mankind.

I decided to discuss one kind of technology that is both a blessing and potential curse: Nanotechnology.

One of the most fascinating examples of nanotechnology is the respirocyte. This nanobot is microscopic. 1
micrometer in diameter. To put that in perspective, the diameter of one single strand of human hair is 80 micrometers. So these tiny respirocytes would function like a red blood cell in patients who are in dire circumstances.

The use of respirocytes would especially come in handy for heart attack victims. Getting respirocytes inside someone suffering a heart attack would keep them alive for literally several hours! An infusion of respirocytes would completely replace the need for any kind of blood transfusion. Imagine being able to give life-saving respirocytes to people who need blood, but are afraid of the side effects of rejection or contamination.

Also respirocytes would save the lives of those with deadly respiratory diseases like pneumonia and emphysema. Even asthma. Patients would no longer need to suffer or take any drugs.

Damn respirocytes!
HOWEVER, respirocytes are capable of storing and transporting 236 times more blood than a normal blood red cell. What does this mean? It means you could give someone the ability to hold their breath underwater for HOURS. Someone who got an infusion of respirocytes would be capable of sprinting at top speed for a full 15 minutes without taking a breath! Muscle fatigue would a thing of the past.

The potential abuses of respirocytes would include creating super soldiers. Could you imagine an army of super-charged human beings that have many of their abilities a million times over? You can bet the government is investigating the use of respirocytes right now.

I know Captain America is a good guy, but what if you had a bunch of evil Captain Americas able and willing to do some evil-doers bidding?

Science can be so incredibly useful and good, but the potential for abuse always exists.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG, The Debbie Downer Edition

Insecure Writer's Support Group's Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

For this month's IWSG post, I'm going to do some real expressing.

I'm not one to usually wallow in self-pity, but I'm really frustrated with the publishing industry. I'm a medical sales rep during the day, so I'm used to rejection and having to compete to close the deal. So high pressure and do-or-die is what I deal with on a daily basis.

There are days when I wonder if this is all worth it. Writing and publishing, I mean. I've trudged through the rejection, the heartache, and the obstacles for years...and maybe I'm just running out of steam. I look at all this time and money I'm investing, and I'm not seeing even a hint of interest out there in my work. This is all so different from my day job, because my writing is not just work. It's my art.

It's me.

I feel like I've been doing a lot of begging lately. Begging for people to read my blog. Begging for people to buy my book. Begging for reviews from the few who have read my book. Several awesome people have reached out to help, and that has been my saving grace. But I guess I'm just not able to gain any traction. No momentum.

Anyhoo, I have a second book and third book on the way. As we all know, the percent of readership of sequels drops with each subsequent volume. So, should I invest all this time and money into books 2 and 3 for even LESS readership?

I've been trying to promote myself as much as possible, but I just don't see even a blip on the screen to show me it's worth it. I still have the same four people signed up for my newsletter. My blog traffic has dropped. And my sales. Well, let's not talk about my sales. Even after making my book 99 cents, I might as well have made it $99.

Something's missing, and I just can't figure it out. It keeps me awake at night, and it's my first thought in the morning. Many would say that my writing and publishing venture is a very expensive "hobby." I guess there's worse ways to blow your money. But then there's also time. Being a writer, publisher, and marketer takes up a lot of my time, and I can't help but wonder if my time is better spent doing something else. Especially if I suck.

It's been a very long time since I've been this down, but it's my current state of mind. I don't normally have such a bad attitude, but I just had to get this out.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday on Ice

I'm sick of winter. Anybody else? We've got ice, snow, and everything in between covering the streets here in St. Louis.

Since I'm going to be stuck here in my home office, I'm going to catch up on all kinds of busy work. I've got piles of stuff on my desk, and just not enough hours in the day. So I'll make this one quick.

My post last week, It Ain't Just About Victorian England Anymore got a lot of global exposure since it was part of the Steampunk Hands Around the World celebration that ended on Friday. Thank you to all that read it and gave me great feedback and comments. Also, I'd like to extend a warm welcome to my new readers.
Diana M. Pho "Ay-Leen the Peacemaker"

One of the best steampunk websites out there, Beyond Victoriana, is featuring my debut novel, Dragonfly Warrior. If you want to check out the prologue and entire first chapter, visit Diana M. Pho's lovely site. Diana is an expert in all things steampunk, and she's been featured on BBC America, HGTV, the Science Channel, and the Travel Channel.  She also works for Tor books.

Diana has really promoted my book, and I'm forever grateful for her help.

So give her a visit!

I'll see you back here on Wednesday for another edition of my Insecure Writer's Support Group post.

P.S. Dragonfly Warrior is only 99 CENTS on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and  Smashwords. This is only for a limited time, so download the ebook version of my debut novel NOW!