Multi-passionate writer, author and solo-preneur

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DOMINION is free! Also, good things happen when you follow good advice.

Dominion of the Damned by Jean Marie Bauhaus Dominion of the Damned is currently a free Kindle download on Amazon, both domestically  and internationally. It will remain free through this Sunday, and then it will go back to its regular price of US$3.99. So get your free copy while you can!

I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with its performance so far. Today is the first day it dropped to free, and until now I haven’t publicized that fact anywhere outside of my mailing list (which is still quite tiny). But as I write this it’s on the verge of crossing 500 downloads, and it’s already cracked the Top 10 Free lists in both the Dark Fantasy and Dystopian categories.

This time around I followed advice from David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible on selecting the right categories to increase visibility, and it seems to be paying off. Before, I had it listed in the more general Horror and Contemporary Fantasy categories, where there was a lot more competition. The current categories are not only more appropriate, but also less populated, which means I didn’t have to register nearly as many downloads to crack the popularity lists as I would have in the previous genres.

Of course, only time will tell if this gives my sales a boost once the price goes back to normal. Hopefully, it will at least earn me some new fans and a few more reviews.

***

910 words added to Radium Town today, bringing the total word count to 8,792. That’s the most fiction I’ve written in a single day in quite some time. I’d hoped to crack 1K, but I told myself I would stop at 9:30 so I could get this post written and still have time to watch last night’s Supernatural and get in some reading on Wizard and Glass and still get my butt to bed on time.

I think this book is shaping up to be a good candidate for serialization, what with its long chapters and plenty of opportunities for cliff-hangers. That’s definitely territory I’ve been wanting to explore, but then again, I’ve kind of always planned to shop this book to agents, so I need to give that a lot more thought.

At any rate, here’s a rough, non-spoilery snapshot of today’s output:

Outside, the air was brisk and clear. Betty pulled her cape a little tighter and followed Will down the steps to the front walk. When they reached the street, he held the gate open for her and asked, “So what’s so urgent you’ve got to leave a dinner party to send a telegram at this time of night?”

Betty sighed. “I was hoping you wouldn’t ask.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s classified.”

“Classified? Heck, Betty, if you don’t want to tell me, all you got to do is say so.” He shoved his hands in his pockets and lapsed into silence as they headed toward Main Street. Betty made no attempt to fill it. She knew it wouldn’t last long. After a moment, he proved her right. “So what have you been doing all this time in Washington? Or is that classified, too?”

Betty smiled. “Depends on which parts you want to know about.”

On discipline — or the lack thereof.

Lately, I have been suffering from a lack of discipline in my life. And I do mean suffering. As if my sporadic attempts at growing my WIP’s word count weren’t bad enough, I also keep failing to do basic good-for-my-health things like establishing an exercise routine or eating enough vegetables or getting to bed at a reasonable hour. All of this failure is leaving me feeling run-down and foggy-brained and blah, and it’s certainly not making me want to write during my allotted writing times, so of course you can see how it’s a whole vicious cycle.

Just as I keep starting out the week with good writing intentions and some actual productivity, I also start every week with excellent health intentions and manage to make myself work out and eat salads and avoid sugar or too much caffeine. But then I blow it on the not staying up too late part, after which I’m too tired to exercise and I need extra caffeine and I start craving starches and sugar.

Ostensibly, when I stopped going to bed super-early with my husband and started keeping later hours, it was to give myself more time to write and work on writing- & publishing-adjacent  tasks, and also to read before I turned in. Originally, I set myself a strict 11:30 bedtime, and it was all working out pretty great. But then my night-owl proclivities started getting the better of me, and I started going to bed later and later.

Part of the problem is that I started catching up on my “just me” shows — the ones Matt has no interest in watching with me — after he turns in, instead of trying to cram them all in on the weekend. At least this shouldn’t be a problem much longer, what with the TV season winding down. Half the shows I watch are having their season finales next week, and the other half will wrap up the following week. Then maybe I’ll be able to get some work done in the evenings and get myself to bed on time. Unless I cave into temptation to start marathoning some new shows. Or some old ones. I’ve already got my eye on a summer re-watch of both Buffy and Farscape.

At any rate, today I worked out AND ate my vegetables AND added just short of 500 words to Radium Town. Except about half of that was recreating the part of yesterday’s word count that somehow got eaten by Scrivener. I’d post a snapshot, but Scrivener still keeps acting wonky and freezing things up, and besides, I’m still on the dinner party that doesn’t end, so I’ll wait until I have something more novel to post than Agent Blake’s sparkling dinner conversation.

Now I’m going to see if I can watch my shows (Warehouse 13 and Agents of SHIELD) and get myself to bed at a decent hour for a change.

The Dominion Shuffle

Not long ago, I decided to start querying agents about Dominion of the DamnedMore recently, while I was doing research on querying self-published novels, I became convinced that it would be a good idea to take it down from all the places that were selling it. But then wiser and more knowledgeable folks than I convinced me that I’d made a mistake. So now it’s back up on Amazon, at a lower price point and with a new and improved plot description.

I’m still planning to send out queries on it, but I’m also going to start marketing it again (or just start marketing it, period; really, life kind of sidelined me before I got a chance to really put any kind of effective marketing campaign into motion for this book in the first place) and try to boost the sales numbers first. I’m finally reading David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible, and I expect it to be very helpful in this regard.

319 words added to Radium Town today. I would post a non-spoilery snapshot, but my computer is low on resources and I’m afraid of what will happen if I open Scrivener again. This is the first I’ve written on it since last week (possibly since my last word count update here). I’m starting to be kept busy with work I’m getting through Fiverr, and also with optimizing my profile there to keep the work coming. I gotta tell y’all, Fiverr has been a revelation, and I’m planning a big blog post about it here in the next day or two.

I also had a heck of a time with not getting enough sleep during the last half of the week. I had standard insomnia coupled with a tension headache after I went to bed on both Wednesday and Thursday, then Friday morning I woke up shortly after 5 AM to Pete having a seizure (his fourth this month). Saturday morning he woke me up again at around 4:30 AM by just being restless and pacing the bed, acting like he couldn’t get comfortable, which went on for hours. Still, I managed to get yard work done on Saturday despite feeling like poo. Sunday, as you can imagine, was for catching up on sleep and vegging out in my PJs along with Matt.

I wanted to get more writing done tonight, but I still haven’t caught up on all my lost sleep, and I’ve got a big day tomorrow, starting with a vet appointment for Pete to see about starting him on anti-seizure meds, followed by needing to complete several freelance writing gigs for Fiverr. So once I post this, I’m heading to bed. G’night, everybody.

Any day that involves a sonic screwdriver is a good day.

Today I added 486 words to Radium Town — 182 this afternoon plus another 304 just now. That brings the grand total so far to 6,919. I’m frustrated that it’s going so slowly, but considering that up until this time last week I hadn’t written anything on it in over a year, nor had I written any fiction whatsoever in several weeks, I guess I’ll cut myself some slack. I’m still figuring out this world and these characters. I’m confident that I’ll pick up the pace once it’s all more familiar to me and the plot gets rolling along.

Here’s the rough, non-spoilery snapshot of today’s output:

Betty shifted in her seat. She wasn’t accustomed to being the center of conversation. That was uncomfortable enough without having attention called to Will’s regard for her. She could sense Will fidgeting uncomfortably in his seat, as well. She braced herself for the joke he was certain to make, but to her surprised he simply said, “Nope. Not surprised at all.” She turned toward him in time to catch him looking at her, a mixture of pride and wonder on his face. Betty quickly looked down at her plate and took a bite of her roast quail.

Matt and I both felt better today, and a mix of cabin fever and spring fever made us antsy to get out of the house for a while. We went to Gardner’s Used Books, where we scored a beautiful set of second edition Lord of the Rings trade paperbacks in really good condition.

I also nabbed the next Dark Tower book (Wolves of Calla; I’m currently making my way through Wizard and Glass) and the latest Rizzoli and Isles novel (spellcheck wants to change Rizzoli to grizzly; considering what a scary mama-bear book Rizzoli can be that seems appropos). And being that I’ve been reading all this dark stuff lately (House of Leaves, scads of Stephen King, The Ocean at the End of the Lane which is lovely but not exactly the happiest of Neil Gaiman’s books), I also grabbed Maybe Baby by Lani Diane Rich, because I’m starting to crave something light and fluffy to cleanse my palate, and also because Lani is awesome.

And speaking of LDR, I’ve also finally begun listening to the Story Wonk podcast she does with her husband, Alastair Stephens. You should listen to it, too.

The first 182 words today were added from a booth at the coffee shop at Gardner’s, where I dorked out when Matt showed me the LotR set he’d found, and then dorked out again when I got up to the coffee counter and saw a replica of Eleven’s sonic screwdriver sitting next to the cash register. The barista (who might actually be the shop’s owner) let me hold it. It was shiny. I want one.

Came home, fed the dog, apologized profusely for leaving him and the kitties so long, took him and the turtle out in the back yard to soak up the sun, came back in and fed the turtle, wrote some freelance website copy, fed myself (well, Matt fed me) and watched Wolf Creek 2 before Matt turned in and I got busy writing.

Not at all what I’d call a bad day. And now I’m going to go dork out over Supernatural and SHIELD before I turn in.

Killing My Darlings

All of my efforts to avoid catching my husband’s bug last week failed in their original intent, which became apparent Wednesday night when I realized I’d caught his sore throat. Thankfully, though, all that extra garlic and vitamin C I consumed did seem to lessen the severity of my illness, as it never moved up into my sinuses like it did with poor Matt. My sore throat lasted several days, and I felt pretty achy and run-down, but at least I could breathe. Even so, I’d anticipated being much sicker than what I ended up being and wrapped up my essential work early and gave myself a few days off to rest. That meant a pretty uneventful Easter Sunday, but at least it was relaxing. Now I’m feeling much better, albeit not quite 100 percent.

I didn’t write while I was feeling blechy. The last bit I did was Wednesday night, when I added 509 words to Radium Town. I added another 300 or so this morning, and then tonight I scrubbed more than 1300, including all of the excerpts I posted last week, because that scene just was not working. But then I started over on it and added 522 new words, and the scene is flowing much better now. That brings the total word count so far to 6,433. Here’s a rough, non-spoilery snapshot of today’s output:

Betty had been surprised to see the two cowboys, although if she’d thought about what Will had told her that morning about his father, she might have thought to expect him there. By the look on Will’s face when she’d first been shown into the parlor, he hadn’t expected her, either. Had there been approval mixed with the surprise on his face?

At first Betty had dismissed the notion. She wore a simple dress of pea-green silk and white cotton lace that she had sewn herself. It fit fine, and it was suitable enough for a formal dinner, but it hardly matched the finery of the mayors’ wives, or even the delicate cobalt embroidery on Mrs. Bayless’s black dress. She’d done her short brown hair up in such a way that it looked feminine and didn’t call attention to how little of it there was. She was presentable, but hardly dressed to draw attention.

Nevertheless, as they’d entered the dining room, Will had taken her arm and whispered, “You look right pretty tonight, Betty.”

She’d felt herself flush at the compliment, and warmth again started to spread across her chest and up her neck at the memory. A burst of laughter brought her back to the present, and she returned her attention to Tom Mix, who was regaling the other guests with an account of how Betty had bested Will that morning at the train station.

“Did you really shock him?” asked one of the wives. Betty wasn’t sure which was which, but was fairly certain it was Mrs. Rohde.

“Not enough to do permanent damage,” Betty assured her.

“I don’t know about that,” said Will. “Some of my hair got singed.”

“I said permanent,” Betty pointed out. “Hair will grow back.”

In other news, I finally started researching agents and agencies today. I also de-listed Dominion of the Damned from all the places that had it for sale. You might surmise that these two things are related, and you would be correct.  I’m sure I’ll have more to say about that in the coming days and weeks.

Of Green Dresses and Green Skies

Only 291 words added to Radium Town today. However, I brushed up on a lot of research, as my Pinterest board can attest. No, shut up, it was not just an excuse to be on Pinterest. I learned some useful things, mostly about ladies’ evening fashions in 1907, and that resulted in today’s rough, non-spoilery snapshot of today’s output:

Betty relinquished her wool cape and adjusted her dress. Despite her surprise that the professor had accepted the dinner invitation, such an invitation itself had been anticipated, and Betty had come prepared. Her dress was a simple number of pea green silk and white lace, lacking any elaborate detail. She had made it herself, and while years of working as a seamstress before the government got a hold of her had made her quite good at designing her own dresses, her work left her little time for embroidery or bead work. Still, it would do for a dinner dress, and more importantly, it had plenty of hidden pockets in the silk folds for hiding her weapons. Not that she expected to need them tonight; but she’d be negligent if she didn’t come prepared for the unexpected.

I also had a breakthrough in writing what might be the opening of a short story, but I’m not sure yet. Or rather, I don’t actually know what it’s about yet. I might just keep writing on it and see if it decides to tell me. On a whim, I submitted the first line for the opening line contest Chuck Wendig is hosting on his blog this week. Here’s my entry:

When the sky goes green, you take cover — if you’re smart; if not, you stand on the porch, crack open a beer, fire up the video camera, and wait.

I don’t know what that is, or even what genre it wants to be. I guess one thing’s for sure — springtime in Oklahoma means I’ve got tornadoes on the brain.

Otherwise, today was full of distraction and I was highly distractible. I did manage to finish finishing the laundry (i.e. folding and putting away the last load), so there’s that. My husband is sick, so a lot of my thoughts were occupied with concern for him, and also trying to make sure I don’t catch whatever he has. I’m not sure it’s working, because I’m coming down with a cough, but I’m highly suggestible when it comes to this sort of thing, so that might be psychosomatic. Here’s hoping that’s all it is.

We did our taxes on Saturday, so I didn’t have to worry about that. It didn’t turn out so well for us, but at least that’s one less thing I have to think about until next year.

And now I think I’m going to let my tired brain chill out and watch Supernatural, then try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. I’ve got some client work lined up for tomorrow, so it’s best if I get a good night’s sleep.

Back in the Saddle Again

With not a lot of paying work on my plate so far this week, I decided to set aside today to finally break through my weeks-long writer’s block (well, and to finish doing the laundry. Writing is glamorous, yo). Today was the first time since I said I was going to get back to work on Radium Town that I actually added words to it. 494 of them, to be exact, and let me tell you, getting that first hundred down was like pulling teeth, but I’m glad I did it. As Stephen King said in On Writing, a reread of which I just finished yesterday, the scariest thing is the moment just before you start. So I’m glad that’s out of the way.

It took hours to get done, most of which were spent reading what I already had and trying to get my head back into the story, and then figuring out how to end the scene where I’d left off in the middle. I also had to do some research and fact-checking, although I really should have saved that for the second draft. At any rate, here’s a rough, non-spoilery snapshot of today’s output:

Radium Town explained, badly.

I hate trying to explain to people what my books are about in conversation. To illustrate why, here’s a close approximation to a conversation I had with my husband this morning:

Him: What’s Radium Town about?

Me: It’s a steampunk western with monsters and Will Rogers set in Claremore [my hometown in Oklahoma] at the dawn of statehood.

Him: But, what’s it about?

Me: Um. There’s this Lovecraftian underground monster that gets woken up by oil drilling? And it infects the artesian water that was so popular back then and turns people into zombie slaves.

Him: Where does the steampunk element come in?

Me: Um. Well, it’s the technology that they use to fight the monsters.

Him: But how is it integral to the story?

Me: … Well, see, there’s this whole back story about monster attacks occurring in Europe and elsewhere, so Teddy Roosevelt put together this government agency, and this agent (who is Will Rogers’ future wife) escorts this scientist to Claremore to test this new drilling machine he invented, and that’s what awakens the monster. And also the weapons and technology that the agents use are steam-powered.

Him: Ooookay.

Sigh. At least when I write down my plots I can make them sound cool instead of convoluted and stupid. Not so much when I’m trying to put it into speech.

Five Writing News Tidbits On a Friday.

Here’s a quick and random Friday Five to update everyone on what’s happening in my corner of the writing and publishing world.

1. Last Friday, I submitted Eucha Falls to a horror anthology for consideration. As of today, their submission tracking system says it’s #705 in the queue and their average response time is 20 days. And so I wait…

2. I’m still taking a break from Radium Town as I work my way (slowly) through Holly Lisle’s latest free course, “How To Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck.” By the time I’m done with it, I should have a new flash fiction anthology ready to publish, with a couple of stories set in the Dominion-verse.

3. Otherwise, I’m pondering the future of my writing career and the path I want to take. As much as I enjoy self-publishing, the entirely DIY model is SO much work — really, I can’t overstate how much work is involved in producing your own book, especially if you care about quality — and my marketing reach is pretty limited. I’m thinking about shopping the Dominion trilogy around to some publishers, or maybe even some agents, to see if I can get it picked up. Even a small indie publisher would lift a lot of the burden off of me and extend my reach.

4. Along that same vein, I’m considering serializing Radium Town. I think it would lend itself well to serialization, and if I could get it into the Kindle Serials program, I could be earning on each episode (not to mention building a fan base) as I write the novel. I need to do more research before I decide on that, though.

5. I don’t really have a five, but Friday Four sounds lame. Oh! But I guess this counts as a #5 – if Eucha Falls gets accepted to that anthology, then I will be mightily encouraged toward writing more short stories for paying markets and seeing if I can turn that into a regular income stream. But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Let’s just wait and see how EF does for now.

In other news, we’ve had a lot of wicked weather this week, with more expected this afternoon and evening. Last night, a major storm passed right over us, with enough rotation to make the rain fall at odd angles while it dumped a bunch of hail on us, before moving a few miles southeast and turning into a full-blown tornado. Some roofs got destroyed in Broken Arrow, but nobody was hurt, thank goodness. I hope tonight’s weather stays on the mild side. Or misses us altogether. If you’re in Tornado Alley today, stay safe!

Back On Track

I have done writer-type things this week. On Monday I made a complete editing pass on Eucha Falls, and then gave it to Matt to read. In an unprecedented turn of events, he read the entire thing that afternoon, pointing out a few typos and liking it so much that he’s started storyboarding a graphic novel and/or film version in his head. Then I fixed the typos and sent it off to some beta readers, and also contacted a lovely and amazingly talented young artist about possibly illustrating a cover. She got back to me today, and we’re negotiating. I might have to do another Indiegogo campaign to raise enough money to pay the lady. So that will set the planned publication date back a few months. Although I’m debating whether it’s worth all that trouble for a novelette. I guess I’ll wait and see what the beta readers think.

Today I finally got back into the first draft of Radium Town, and wrote the first 505 words of Chapter 2. The story is already over 5,000 words long, and I’m only starting the second chapter. If you’ve read either of my other books, that should give you an idea of how different this one will be from what I usually write. I’m usually a cut to the action kind of girl, and I have to force myself to slow down and spend time on description. But with this one I’m taking more of a meandering path to get to the point, which I’m enjoying more than I thought I would.

Here’s a sample from today’s output:

“So what do you call that thing again?” Betty stood back with the professor as the workmen unloaded his machine from the back of the wagon. Miraculously, nothing had been broken when they’d dropped part of it earlier at the train station. Still, the professor kept an eagle eye on every move the men made with it, barking instructions with an incessance that was clearly starting to grate. Betty knew full well what the machine was called, but she hoped her show of interest might distract him and let those poor men do their work in peace.

“Professor Noble’s Subterranean Combustible Location and Penetration Device,” he said. She detected only a slight note of pride in his voice as he named his invention, and she wondered how much louder that note would’ve sounded if he wasn’t so distracted. “Here, now,” he shouted at the men as they pulled the largest piece off of the wagon, “be careful with that! Don’t you understand that this is a prototype?”

“That’s quite a mouthful,” Betty said, ignoring his shouting. “What do you call it for short?”

“I don’t call it anything ‘for short,’ agent, but if its proper title is too much for you, simply referring to it as ‘The Penetrator’ should suffice.”

In other news, Demand Media Studios contacted me about possibly being a “Section Expert” for their new, soon-to-be-launched Crafts section. It’s an editorial/managerial position, and though it’s only part time, it pays better than writing articles. I interviewed for it this afternoon, and they’re going to schedule another interview with the person in charge of developing the section. I also signed a new web design client this week — a photographer this time. This will  be the first photography site in my portfolio, so I’m jazzed about that. Things are starting to look up in the employment realm.

The other thing I’ve been doing this week is trying to develop a daily marketing habit. Right now I’m focusing all of my efforts on Bauhaus Online Creative, but once I work out the kinks on a streamlined strategy that doesn’t take up half my day, I’ll start doing more to promote my books and this here blog. Remember when this blog used to be about the ins and outs of self-publishing? Yeah, I plan to get back to that at some point, and also start promoting other indie authors on a regular basis again. Although, I’ve been disappointed in the lack of ROI on my Indie Spotlight column. Part of the whole point of having blog guests is that they, y’know, promote their own guest posts or interviews, thereby helping to build traffic and SEO, but very few of my guests have made any effort to do so, which I don’t really get. I’ve promoted the bejeezus out of any guest posts or interviews I’ve done on other blogs. It’s kind of common courtesy, but I imagine a lot of people don’t know that. Anyway, that went to more of a ranty place than expected. Maybe that’s one of those instructional-type posts I need to write when I get back to writing teachy posts instead of just rambling at you about my life.

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