It’s been such a rough month. I mean rough. Snow storms and ice dams on the roof. A canine epileptic seizure. Crazy tax stuff. Credit cards getting canceled because of fraudulent activity. If it could break, it did. A bookcase collapsed. Tile fell in the bathroom. And this:
Yes, that’s a hole in the ceiling. My brother and I were in the attic, when suddenly, we weren’t. Actually, we kind of half-fell, half caught each other to keep from tumbling all the way down.
That said, I’ve been copyediting like crazy, working to republish my debut novel, A Blue So Dark:
This time around, I’ve just been reading the manuscript on a pile of drywall.
Subscribe to my YA Newsletter for the official release announcement–hopefully, hopefully, hopefully that will be soon!
My literary love story, The Art of the Kiss, released in ’19–and the original edition had an incredibly short print run. I’m talking fewer than fifty copies. I still do have some on my author copies shelf, and have decided to sell them at my Etsy store, as a collector’s edition.
The book will also come signed–and you’ve got a chance to let me know how you’d like your copy inscribed (if left blank, I’ll just sign the book).
This recently happened to me–I spent literally an entire workday trying to solve this issue. I tried everything: restarting, updating my operating system. Updating the drivers. Deleting the keyboard and reinstalling. It went on for hours. External keyboards worked. The touchscreen keyboard worked in tablet mode. But no matter what I did, the keyboard on the device itself–the keyboard with the actual buttons, the keyboard I would always want to use to, you know, write–refused to work. At a certain point, the “t” and the “y” kicked in, and I had about decided I was going to have to always use a USB keyboard.
I finally found one last suggestion on a Reddit threat…and it worked.
So if your Lenovo keyboard stops working, START HERE:
Hard Reboot Your Computer
I’m not kidding. Hold your power button for thirty seconds. There’s something about the hard reboot that worked magic in a way that all the other million and a half restarts failed to do.
I have no idea why it worked. All I know is, I’m now typing on my computer, and I was unable to earlier.
January’s my birthday month. It was a (semi) milestone year, the kind that makes you want to impart some sort of golden nugget of wisdom. I’ve been asking myself: If I could give one piece of advice to writers, what would it be?
Simply, this: You need to indie publish something.
Twenty years ago, I never would have believed I’d be giving that advice. I got my master’s degree and took the plunge into full-time writing with the dream of the hardback book on a B&N shelf, a pretty little logo on the spine from an imprint at one of the big New York houses.
I’ve done traditional publishing. I’ve done indie (self) publishing. I’m in no way going to try to sell you on one vehicle being superior to another. There are definite benefits and drawbacks to both.
Nothing’s taught me about writing quite like indie publishing has. I’ve learned so much–about formatting, about promotion, about book classification and marketing. I’ve been able to try out new blurbs and covers, and watch in real time what kind of effect it has. I’ve learned what appeals to readers. And it’s impacted my actual writing. Covers and marketing are right there in the front of my mind as I begin to draft a book. It’s tightened the entire process.
If you’re an author with a drawer manuscript that went nowhere, publish it. If you’d rather do it under a pen name, that’s fine. But publish it–and DO NOT FARM ANY OF THE JOBS OUT. Learn to format it. Create a cover. Advertise it.
I’m a firm believer you’ll grow in ways you never thought possible.
I am now in the midst of writing a mystery. I’ve been working on this for several months now, and I had to share the one thing I wish I’d done from the get-go. The thing I will always do, every time I write a mystery from here on out:
Write the Crime First
I don’t mean some one sentence “Professor Plum did it in the kitchen with the candlestick” either. I mean write the crime as a story. Do not include the detective or p.i. or cop or amateur sleuth or whoever is going to solve the thing. That’s not part of this at all. This is the crime. From the point of view of the person who did it. Write it as a story. Doesn’t matter how long–a short story, novella, novelette. Write how this person manages to steal or kill or abduct or whatever it is they’re guilty of. Write why. Write what brought them to it. Write how they carried it out, and write how they covered it up.
Then, after you’ve written the crime, and have full understanding of it, write the mystery. Introduce your detective who will now try to solve it.
I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for their support this year. For reading the new books, following along at the blog, taking a moment to drop a line. I can’t tell you all enough how much that means to me.
I wish all of you the very best this holiday season. May your nights be lit up with twinkle lights, may your gingerbread houses stand strong, and may you all get the best gift of all–the warmth of love from family and friends.