I recently joined Goodreads, and got set up with their author side.  I haven’t set up a blog with them–I have this one, and another one elsewhere.  I spend a lot of time on Facebook, too, checking frequently for messages from friends (and I accept a lot of people I’ve never met as friends, once I’ve checked to see if I can tell if they’re a spammer, bot, or fake).

They set up seed questions for authors: things like where do you get your inspiration?

Well…that depends.  Some things are inspired by things I’ve seen, others by things I’ve heard.  Detritus, for example, was sparked by “Low Man’s Lyric.”  My unfinished book, The Schrodinger Paradox, was inspired by Starset’s entire album Transmissions–not any particular song.  The Modern Gods series is a lot different: I dreamed the very first chapter, woke up laughing, and had to write the story…which spawned another, then another, and then a wild plot appeared.  My Pendragon books were sparked by a “what if?”  Specifically, what if King Arthur Pendragon had been a shape-shifting dragon, rather than straight human?  How would that work with the stories that have been passed down, and what might have been gotten completely wrong?  My current project which has only a rough working title was a writing exercise from a class when I was in college that I decided to carry on with.  Another was sparked by a button pin that read Certified Public Assassin.

In other words, the inspiration differs.  I find things to write about in everything in life.

The horrid drivers in town might want to be aware of that.  Larry Correia and John Ringo might not be the only people looking for redshirts.

Petty annoyances

So, I fought with the blog all weekend to update the sidebar with my books.  I’d put out three more pieces since the ones that were showing: “Bar Tabs,” Fire and Forge, and Detritus.

I failed.  Hell, even posting a thumbnail showing the cover instead of a simple link in the post announcing Detritus didn’t work right.  Something just won’t work between WordPress and Amazon’s embed the cover html code.  And I don’t know how to fix code, so…yeah.

Ended up just adding another page to the blog.  Up along the top, between the header and the blog text, there’s a page listing my books in their series, and in their proper order.  Yes, it is growing.  It will continue to.

Last Friday, my headphones died.  The wire broke, down next to the plug.  That was the third pair I’d bought in ’17, and it lasted less than a month.  I spent, in all, $50 on headphones last year.

And the fail point is always the same: the wires break somewhere near the little plug.

I spent $50 on a Bluetooth capable pair that can also work wired…which means that the wire is replaceable.  And I shouldn’t need to buy another pair in six months or less.

This morning, I thought my keyboard had given up the ghost.  Neither it nor the laptop were seeing each other.  Yes, my especially for comfort during writing sessions ergonomic keyboard that’s less than six months old.  I decided I was going to get a new keyboard, a cheap USB one that might be a little quieter than this monster, then was advised to plug it in and try a hard restart.  I plugged it in, accidentally elbowed a key, and my browser shut down.  All the stupid thing needed was to be threatened with replacement.

The dishwasher likes to do that, too: refuse to work until I call the repair guy, then work when he gets here.

I’m getting really tired of all these petty annoyances stacking up and making my life harder than it should be.

Interesting rebirth

The very first libraries outside of individual collections were university libraries.  Places for scholars–and only scholars–to study and learn.  Not available to the public.

In the mid 1700s, that started to change.  The first libraries accessible to the public were those that charged an annual fee to those who’d borrow books.  According to an article from the BBC, the first one in Britain was founded in 1741, by a group of miners and a schoolmaster.  The first one in the United States, however, was founded by Benjamin Franklin even earlier than that, in 1731.

Many of the subscription libraries that sprang up became what we know today as public libraries: county libraries, and city libraries that are free for anyone to access, and for locals to check out books.

However, in a lot of ways, public libraries are changing.  Some are increasing their floor space to accommodate electronic media and audio/visual holdings.  Others are reducing their traditional books, journals, newspapers, and the print media so that they can expand into what the common American wants to have access to.

Either way, what this frequently means is that there are fewer books, and libraries are unwilling to take chances on newer authors, choosing to stock only best-sellers…which are often only best-sellers because of publisher pressure, and are frequently badly written or badly edited (including, occasionally, bad copy editing).

Recently, however, Amazon has moved into the fray: they’ve stepped into the older, subscription library role, twice over, in their e-books.  Subscribers to Amazon Prime have access to a lending service (sadly, a very limited one).  Their other service, Kindle Unlimited, is (while still limited) very much a better bargain.

Amazon Prime permits the loan of one book per month.  I haven’t looked closely into the service, mostly because both my husband and I read exponentially more than that.  I’m not entirely sure which books are available through this service.

Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, on the other hand…that one is much more our speed.  We pay $10/month, and can take out up to 10 books at a time…but the overall number of books we can read is limited only by the number of books available to the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program.

Yes, we use the hell out of it.  I think we recoup our value within the first week of the month, even considering the much lower prices of independently published books we tend to read.

It is a godsend for independent authors (like yours truly).  Yeah, people are unwilling to spend money on an author they know nothing about.  However, by enrolling books in the KU program, authors can change that.  If people aren’t willing to buy the books outright, they might be willing to borrow them…and the KU program pays the author by the number of pages read.

Each and every one of my books is available through Kindle Unlimited.  Partially because I like getting paid for book borrows, but mostly because I’m getting a lot out of it as a subscriber.  It’s a really neat program, with an awesome lineage.

It’s live!

Detritus fought me.  It wanted to go the way it wanted to go.  I had writers’ block every couple of days writing this beast.  I wasn’t expecting the main character’s decisions, the kids’ reactions, the neighbor (at all), or for this to end the way I wanted it to.

The story itself sparked off of a Metallica song: “Low Man’s Lyric” from Reload.  Other music I listened to while I wrote was Shaman’s Harvest’s album Red Hands, Black Deeds, their Smokin’ Hearts and Broken Guns, and The Pretty Reckless’s Going to Hell.  I also listened to a couple of “best of” type Rolling Stones albums.

Part of how it fought me was that it refused to be longer than a novella.  Right now, this is it.  Who knows if another song will spark another part?  I’ve got it priced fairly reasonably for a novella, I think.  And it’s available to read for free if you subscribe to Amazon’s update of the old concept of a subscription library, Kindle Unlimited.

Without further ado:

Feeling accomplished

I survived both Christmas Break and three snow days in a row without snapping too badly.  Including a frozen/broken water pipe incident on day 3 (and its repair, yesterday).

I’ve finished the last read-through/revision of Detritus.  I’m walking it through Amazon’s KDP process now.

My house is mostly clutter-free, with just a few things to finish straightening up/gathering up for giving away.

I have another project (Normalcy Bias) finished in the first draft, with feedback from first readers to get that revised, and The Schrodinger Paradox is barrelling towards being finished.

I have the next project actually mostly outlined, as well as started.

Shopping is done for the week, and I have another hour and fifteen minutes to write before I go get the kids.

Yeah, there’s still a lot to do, but there’s also a lot done.  I’m choosing to focus on what I have done, instead of what I still have to do, because if I do otherwise, it’s overwhelming.


My children went back to school, today.  I’d planned on doing a little work at the old house, getting the last few small things and cleaning a bit in preparation for selling.  I woke feeling…physically iffy.  I did what I could, but it wasn’t much.

When I got home, I pulled up Detritus…and finished the last two chapters’ edit.  I’ve since saved and closed it, and won’t look at it again until Thursday or Friday, when I’ll go over it one more time with fresh eyes before I publish.  Yes.  This weekend.  It’ll be Kindle only, so it shouldn’t take long for it to go live.

And then…then, since I still had over an hour before I had to go get the kids, I pulled up part 3 of The Schrodinger Paradox, and wrote.  I got around 1,300 words before I had to quit to go pick my monsters up from school.  And fight with the older one about getting his homework done.  It took him almost two hours to do twenty minutes’ worth of focusing and just doing the damn worksheets that he could have gotten done at school, if he’d just, y’know, do them.  Instead of stare off into space and try to figure out how he could create an AI without it turning Ultron-crazy-murderous.

I have an hour before they go to bed.  Once they’re in bed, I’ll see if I can get a bit more done.

So far, that project (parts 1 & 2) is 54K words (without the alterations that may add quite a bit to both parts).  Part 3 is 12K words, and spiraling up.  I’m guesstimating that this is going to end up somewhere around 95K words (Fire and Forge was 93K words).

Still working…

So, I’ve posted the first chapter of Detritus.  I’m about a third of the way through editing it.  And reworking it.  And adding to it here and there.

Yes, it’s taking a while.

NOT my fault.  The kids have this week left of Christmas Break, and then the pace will pick up.  Much as I love them, they’re assholes, mostly to each other.  And it’s been bloody cold for their entire break, except for one day, so far.  I was not planning on two weeks of near-unbroken highs in the teens and twenties for their Christmas Break.

I’m still planning on putting that out there this month, and then Normalcy Bias in March (once I get the cover art together).

The kids go back to school on the 9th.  I’ll try to get more done, then.  Editing, housecleaning, and writing.  Lots of writing.  I’ve realized I’ve got to bust tail to get the work done during the times they’re in school, because I cannot focus on the writing process with the small monsters taking so much of my attention and energy, both mental and physical.  And parenting is a lot more important than writing (and harder for me to get right).

Right now, the outside temperature is higher than the highest it got yesterday.  And right now, I’ve got to go find boots, go outside, and figure out a way to get the ice out of the dog’s water dish without breaking it.  And repeat frequently, because today’s high is still ten degrees below freezing.  Then, I’ll get back to work, and see how much I can get done while the kids are acting like semi-considerate human beings to each other, instead of fighting.