Waking up to a review and an interview...

What a pleasure to wake up to a good review of my short novella, "Dead Wrong" by Rebecca at Bending the Spines, and my interview by Lisa Haselton.

I am very grateful that Rebecca enjoyed the book, and to be featured by Lisa!

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

"Dead Wrong" in Paperback

Dead Wrong is now available in paperback.   I'm not too keen on the price for such a short novella, but I've noticed that paperbacks in general are getting more expensive these days.  What's the deal with that?!

If you wanted to purchase it in paperback because you prefer physical books or do not have an ereader, but find the price off-putting, you can always order it on Kindle and download the Kindle for free for your PC.  It's a short read, so at least you wouldn't be staring at your computer all day!  ^.^

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

When Getting The Finger is a Good Thing...

Much to my delight, somebody has rated Dead Wrong at 5 fingers at the Damnation Books website (what are the odds it's somebody I actually know?  Heh).  They also asked when the other stories will follow.

Alas, Dead Wrong was intended to be a short, stand-alone novella.  However, I am writing a sequel that expands upon that first story.  There will not be stories, but just the one sequel.  It will be much longer, I guarantee that.  However, whether or not it gets published is not something I can guarantee.

All I know is, if you've read the story, you don't realize what a *huge* mess has been left behind for Shiva and Desmond to clean up.  ;)

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Query & Synopsis

Those are the most frightening words in the publication world, especially when you have a child who suddenly thinks *now* is the time to make excessive noise - when you've just completed your final draft, and have turned your attention to the query and synopsis.

It's got to be Murphy's Law of parenting!

But, yes, I am working on that process now.  Or I was, until my son decided this was the Very Exact Moment to Make As Much Noise As Possible, and to incite the caique to flutter around like a crazy bird. 

In a way, working out your query letter and synopsis is a more difficult task than writing the story.  A good query letter is like a good cover letter (to which you should attach a very professional resume): it needs to make the publisher say, "Hmm, this sounds like an interesting story..." and not, "This person can't type worth a damn." 

Yes, the absolute first rule of *anything* written is good grammar.  In fact, I'm appalled when somebody who considers their self a writer types liek dis in their bio, forum postings, reviews, chat, and more.  Not that you need to be professional when speaking with friends, but I believe that getting out of the habit of text speak is probably for the best if you want to write for publication. 

Once the publisher decides the query makes a continued perusal of your submission worth their while, they are going to turn to the synopsis.  Should this be a dry outline, such as you might include with a science experiment or history paper in school?  Or should it detail the highlights of your story, especially those qualities that set it apart from others?  I think you can figure that out for yourselves.  ;)

When I was co-publishing a local newsletter back in Delaware, one of the biggest challenges was editing.  Some people would submit wonderful, well-written articles.  Others would send an article that was interesting, but simply awful with regard to grammar and punctuation.  While most writers might think it's just the manuscript itself that should be their "best work", I think a query and submission should also show plenty of polish.  After all, they are the first things a publisher sees!

Well, I should take a break.  It's 11:40 a.m. here in England.  That means cage time for the caique and lunch for my son.

Although... the cage is big enough to contain an 8-year-old...  ^.^

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Critique and Feedback: A Writer's Best Friends

These late-night writing sessions are definitely turning me into a zombie.  I need to start getting to bed before midnight, not at 2 a.m.!  Either that, or I need to take up drinking coffee.  Unfortunately, coffee really isn't an option, so I guess I'm going to have to do the sleep thing.  ;)

As I work on the final draft of a romantic Steampunk fantasy, I'm naturally still hard at work promoting Dead Wrong.  I love to write, and a writer's work is never done.

Meanwhile, I'm reading Tempest's Legacy and The Nine Orders.  I *tried* to get into Tales of Aradia: The Last Witch, and simply could not.  It was just too adolescent for my tastes; definitely geared toward teenagers, rather like 666 Park Avenue.  Though another problem with "Aradia" was that it really, desperately needs editing.  I think it is probably one of those instances in which somebody wrote a story, and a few friends looked at it and said, "Great story!  You should publish this!"

Friends don't let friends self-publish without proofreading first, however. 

That is one of the biggest challenges as a writer - finding somebody to give your work (amateur or otherwise) helpful feedback and a critical eye.

I am very grateful to my friends who have done this for me.  For every five who offer to read one of my stories to give such feedback, one generally comes back with a useful critique.  (Two generally read it and say, "Great story!" and two ultimately are too busy to read it, even if they want to in the first place.)

I'm not sure what part of "constructive criticism and feedback" people do not understand.  Heh.  "Great story!" does not tell a writer anything.  It does not tell us why you liked a story, if there were any parts you did not like, and if there were any parts that left you confused, annoyed, bothered, upset, angry, happy, pleasantly surprised, etc.

This is why when two indie authors were looking for feedback, I was more than happy to give it.  Unfortunately, one's book was quite overpriced, and while I did not mind reviewing the excerpt, I did not want to purchase the book.  I think it is probably a very good book, but the self-publishing company she used set far too high a price on a paperback, in my opinion.  Had it been an ebook, I probably would have downloaded it.

A serious writer does want to know, not just the positives in their story, but also the flaws.  As much as people have been enjoying Dead Wrong, the one flaw that has been a common theme among readers is that they want it to be longer. 

It was intended to be a fairly stylized short, dark story of betrayal and revenge.  The romance and erotica are only meant to be barely there, and just serve to set events into motion.

But if that is what people want, then I am listening.  Writing sometimes needs to be about fanservice; about giving people what they want.  We all have a vision that we are trying to get out there - that we hope will entertain people.  So that is why a sequel to Dead Wrong is in the works (hold onto your hats - it's going to be a very long, bumpy ride there).

After I finish this final draft of my Steampunk fantasy, of course, and get it off into a publisher's hands!  ^.^

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Deciding What to Write Next

Actually, it is less of a matter of deciding what to write, and more of a matter of deciding what to finish, or consider finished.  I have 26 works in progress (25 fiction, 1 non-fiction), all in various stages of completion.  More like 28 or 29 if you count a few articles I have been working on, and have not had the time to complete.

Yesterday, I thought that I must decide what to do, what to focus on, what to complete.  However, when I tried to actually sort it all out in my mind, I could not decide.  It seemed best to sleep and let go of that idea for the night.

This is one of those mornings where I have woken up and know exactly what to do.  I love mornings like that, don't you?  ^.^

Since I consider one of my stories (it would qualify as either a long novella or a short novel) complete, I will seek out a publisher for it.  It is a romantic sword-and-sorcery fantasy about political intrigue, with a light Steampunk layer to it.  It takes place in another world, with a very Victorian-age-like setting.

The other project I will focus on completing is my non-fiction book of Goddess pathworkings.  I'm hoping to sit down and get to work on both today!

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

I'm a busy writer...

Between the release of Dead Wrong last week (available both through Damnation Books and Amazon), finally getting myself into Shelfari and GoodReads, and my willingness to critique the work of two other authors (which is something I plan to get done today), I have been busy.

If you throw in the fact that everybody wants more, more, more about the story in Dead Wrong, I've been going at a non-stop pace. 

If I'm not working (writing, reading, keeping in touch with people), I'm homeschooling or giving my caique attention.  Even then, I tend to multitask as much as possible.  Bringing my son to the playground means bringing my laptop or a notebook, so that I can write.  My caique is using my hands as a perch at this very moment as I attempt to type.  My son has just asked if I would start lunch. 

When my husband gets home from his TDY, I can only imagine what I will be up to then!  We are newlyweds (married about 170 days; we have seen each other for 22 of them), so I'm sure you can imagine that we want to spend all of our time together, whenever possible.

For now, I'm trying to get myself organized.  My routine is a bit haphazard, and I do not have any set goals as far as writing.  This has got to change.  I have committed myself to certain things every day, but not with regard to writing or working on getting my next story published. 

Fortunately, I am a creature of habit and tradition.  Once I make something a routine, I stick with it and get it done.  So I need to look at the work I have - works in progress, completed first drafts, completed second drafts, and completed final drafts - and figure out what my next priorities are going to be.

My morning basically consists of getting up, working out, cleaning the bird cage, having breakfast, and then homeschooling my son.  After that, we either get out to the playground or run errands.  The afternoon is much more lazy and that is when I find some time to work.  For now, evenings are completely free, and that is when I am most focused on accomplishing things.  When my husband gets home (soon, I hope!), that will change and leave me only with the afternoons.

There are never enough hours in the day, are there?  ^.^

As a writer, how do you like to organize your day?

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Sweet Miss Magnolia's Review of "Dead Wrong"

Sweet Miss Magnolia posted her favorable review of Dead Wrong.  It's great to see somebody enjoying a book that isn't in the genre that they usually read!  Thank you so much for the review.  :)

Meanwhile, if you are a member of Shelfari or Good Reads, you can find Dead Wrong there to add to your bookshelf, and please feel free to friend me on those sites.  I love seeing what people are reading and sharing the books on my shelf too!

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

"Dead Wrong" is Live!

Whoa!  That sounds like an oxymoron.  But it's the truth - the ebook version of Dead Wrong has gone live at the Damnation Books website and you have the chance to order it at a substantial discount until midnight tonight.

At the moment, the price is sitting at a mere $1.50.  The price of download will increase by 25 cents with each subsequent purchase, until reaching the full price of $4.50, which is still a nice little price.  I wish many things cost less than five bucks.  ;)

For those who do not do ebooks (like me) or prefer paperback, the print version should be available by the end of the week!

Now to get dressed, run around all day, hope for the best for my book!  We have homeschooling to do, a playground to visit, and errands to run.  Good morning to you, wherever you are!

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan