Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trying out a new selling place

Well you never know where an author will sell a story.  As part of my on going search for new places to sell my stories I found this new store front.  They say that I will get 85% of what ever I sell over there.  At the moment I just put up one tale and we will see.  If you are interested in picking up the Sudden Disappearances novella this would be the place to go.  The only other place to get it would be as part of the Guardians of the Gate city collection. 

If you are interested why not pop over here and pick up a copy?

http://www.lelivro.com/sudden-disappearances.html


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Finding new avenues to promote

Finding your place as a writer can be a tricky process.  I have been writing for a long time and in the beginning no one saw my work.  As I grew more confident I started to share my work with friends and then on the net.

The various places that allow you to post your work for free are amazing as a tool in the beginning but there is only so much you can do in those places.  Spring boards like Wattpad and Storyenet or Fictionpress and fanfiction.net are great if you are say a teenager writing YA fiction but if you write things that are a bit too odd for them ore take a more adult mind to understand well you are over looked or at worst slammed .

but the thing is  once you start selling your work you don't want to put them up for free.  I have 60 odd titles up for sale, which makes me proud but the hard thing is getting sales.  As a barely noticed author I don't have a lot of readers and I don't have any cash.

In the old days you had publishers who did the marketing.  Now a days you have to do it yourself.  If you have money you can advertize and hopefully pull in those readers that we all live for.  If you have no cash, like me, you need to hit up social media.

Now like a good online person I have done my best not to flood the places that I have access to.  the MOA boards on Amazon, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, Google Plus Group and twitter.  These places can bring awareness if you are lucky.  If you arent well you just have to hope for the best.

I am happy that I get some sales each month.  So far I have thirteen for the month of October.  Not great but not shabby.  The thing that surprises me is that most of those sales have come from barnes and Noble which I have no way of nudging and from my erotic titles which I do not promote.

Does this mean I should be just an erotic author?  Should i give up on trying to sell my novels?  Well I don't think so.  I want to see my novels finding readers, getting reviews and yes of course making me a little bit of money.

As a writer I have made about $150 over the past year and some but that is $150 that I didn't have before.  I might not be rich, I might not be famous but I am enjoying what little attention I get. 

So in conclusion of this ramble, go look up those less popular titles, check out the less expensive books and then review them.  Help some poor struggling author like me.  We have tales that are new or old and told in new ways.  Some are bad, some are good and some just might be great. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Back to working with yarn

With a friend having a baby I got to play with different ways of making things.  Crocheting a carriage blanket and making little bootie shoes and using my knitting loom to make a hat and scratch mits.

Now you might not know what scratch mits are so let me explain.  Scratch mits are little finger/thumbless mittens to cover a newborn's hands and keep them both warm and stop them from scratching themselves and you.  They are very simple to make and dont need much yarn at all.  As you can see by this picture they are kinda cute and I used a simple braided cord for the tie on.






The other thing I made up was of course that carriage blanket.  Simple strips in shades of green done in single stitch and then multiple rows of double stitches around the outside.  This is not a square blanket because it is meant to tuck around a baby in his/her carriage.  It is pretty and warm and that is essential at this time of year.






One of the best things about doing baby stuff is if you have a lot of left over yarn from other projects you can use it up making things for babies.  If you don't have any yourself why not make them up and donate them to the local neonatal unit at your nearest hospital?  They never have enough warm and colorful things for the babies in their care.  The more they have the better those babies will do.  Or give them to your local women and children's shelter.  A good deed makes your day and may make their month.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Writing and music

As I sit here with my earbuds in listening to Annie's song from John Denver I realize that I write more to music than I do without.  While my songs are not the songs of the characters they do set me in the mood to work.  There are a lot of distractions in a simple day even for a stay at home mom, wife and writer.

As my other blogs have shown there are a lot of things i work on during the day.  From crocheting blankets, to painting to making little plastic models of robots, I can get myself distracted.  I bake a lot, cook a lot and try to do many things each day.

This is both a good and a bad thing.  As a writer I should be sitting my butt down and typing up a storm every single chance I have.  And to be honest I do do a lot of writing.  In the past year I have written 41 separate tales that have been published and I have 15 more that are finished and either submitted to anthologies or pages or are waiting for covers to be released by me.  That is all since the first of the year.  A lot of work done yes.

Now though I want to complete the novel I started last year.  I have spent two days editing and now I need to settle down and write and write and write.  This tale is a good one i think with a touch of romance, magic and of course conflict.  There are good guys, bad guys and everything a tale needs but can I finish it this time?  Who knows but I plan on it.  So off to work I go.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thanking about new book trailers

When you are a writer there are so many things you have to do.  You have to write, edit, make covers and market your work.  Used to be in the days of the big publishers you could just write and they would do the rest but now a days the big publishers don't do anything more than take money out of their writers pockets.  So of course self publishing is the way to go.

As a self publisher I am always trying to get my work out to the public in a finished form.  I don't take enough time to market my work because I am not that good at marketing.  But one thing I can do is make book trailers.

Just like a movie trailer a book trailer is meant to catch the eye of the consumer and hopefully induce them to part with their hard earned money.  In my case not much of it since my work is on the less costly side.my pricing goes from free to about $4.99 for ebooks or up to $9.99 for paperbacks.  While I am rethinking the pricing of my items I am also thinking about making more trailers.

Trailers can be fun to make and really are best if they are under a minute long.  Most of mine are a simple 30 seconds of images, text and music.  Here are is an example.

video


This is a great example of what I can do given a bit of time.  As of now I have twenty nine completed.  This is a good number but when you have sixty odd titles for sale and a number more finished and just needing covers, well I am way behind aren't I?

The hardest part is coming up with the right image for each trailer.  I don't want to over use the music and well there are only so many hours in a day right?  I have seven tales in my finished folder that don't have covers.  Never mind that I have nine tales that are in various stages of publication in outside anthologies.  A lot of stories that need videos

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A new free story

One of the joys of writing short stories is that there are places you can submit your work if you look for them.  I found a new place via one of the Fiction Writers groups on Facebook.  They were looking for submissions and thankfully I have a number of tales that I have finished this month. 

So for your reading pleasure here is If Shadows Could Speak.  A dark little tale of love and magic and this will be a part of my Magic and Darkness series.

http://www.thewritersdrawer.net/if-the-shadows-could-speak.html


Friday, October 18, 2013

Trying to hang my paintings or what another fell!

Today I picked up my hubby's hot glue gun and attempted to hang my paintings.  Now if you have followed me before i have mentioned that I do small canvases.  Most of them are about 3X5 and are maybe a half inch thick.  Because they aren't on the box style like bigger canvases I can't just twist in hooks or hammer in tiny nails to hang them.

I tried to find frames at the dollar store but they are just too thick for what they carry.  Now I could go to Michael's and pay for professional framing but come on we are talking my little paintings and no matter how nice they turned out I can't afford to pay more than a couple bucks to do this.









As you can see they are not really that big.  Now what I tried was taking the glue gun

And attaching the little brackets directly to the back of my paintings like so







Well this method worked, for a few hours.  They looked really good up on the wall but when I was working on a short story I hear a crash.  The first of my attempts at hanging had fallen down.  Okay one I could expect, figuring I just didn't glue it good enough but well.  An hour or so later bam, second one falls.  So it is obvious that hot glue is not going to hold the hooks onto the paintings.  I am going to have to find a new method to hang my art.






Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Drawing in different mediums

Okay I am not the greatest artist.  My images are at times overly simple, badly done or even just awful but sometimes I come up with things that even I say look good.

For years I have been very fond of taking a pencil and sketching but having three kids meant that any art supplies I had disappeared between one day and the next more often than I could count.  Not that I hold that against my daughters.  They are all very talented in what they decide to do.  They have imaginations that I like to claim come mostly from my genes (sorry dads) but I know that really comes from deep inside them.  They all can tell stories via the many different mediums that exist.  As they grew older I am hoping they will follow in my footsteps and offer those stories for sale to the world around them.

But back to me =) Everyone knows I am a writer first and foremost but at one point in my life I wanted to be an artist.  One teacher in my years of taking art in school destroyed that dream for a while by little things like telling me I wasn't doing enough to "Fill" the paper to accusing me of cheating and stealing anothers work.  Any one who knows me for real knows that I don't do that but I was a kid and it put me off doing original art of my own for a long time.

Now i know I am a good copy artist.  If you go over to Elfwood.here:

http://www.elfwood.com//~lprior

You can see some of my earlier pieces of art.  Most of these have been lost do to moving countries so sadly they are only available as a digital image now.  Some of the work there was copied from other sources and then changed a bit by adding colors and other things to make them better.

The fan art of Ranma, Shampoo and others is what a lot of people do when learning to draw/paint/color work.  You need to try and find the flow before you try to do original stuff right?  Well that is what i told myself.  I do know a lot of famous artists would do drawings or paintings of statuary or even live models so they were not pulling it from their heads entirely.

Flash forward a decade or two and it is the new millennium and I am in a new country with a hubby who is a great artist himself.  While injuries have stopped him from drawing, he does his art on models now...cool stuff that I am just learning to do.

But back to drawing.  Thanks to the dollar store i have a nice quality drawing pad that I can use with various different types of things.  From simple number 2 pencils to color artist pencils to oil pastels, I have been experimenting and trying to find what I can do with these tools.  And thanks to winning a short story contest I have bought myself artist quality oil pastels, water color pencils and water color paper.  So I get to play between my other creative pursuits.

I flipped through what I have done and while none of them are museum quality I think I am slowly getting better.  We start out with the simple pencil drawings, some partial and others complete











As you can see some are okay and some are awful but occasionally some are pretty good...As I retrained my hand on how to flow I was happy with the start of this.  So I moved to using the fine artist colored pencils my hubby gave me as a surprise gift (love my hubby)














As you can see I do better with color than just black and white.  Yes I have duplicates here but some images show different angles.  And yes i have a lot of flowers but I seem to be doing my best work in flowers.  My best photographs are flowers, my best paintings are flowers so why not my best drawings right?

Today I decided to pull out my oil pastels and try a few drawings.  Now I have not used actual oil pastels in well over two decades.  As I type this i have multicolored smudges all over my hands and in a way it feels really good.  Like the artist in me is trying to break free again.








Now you can see that I am just barely back to using oil pastels the right way.  The flower and the oranges aren't too bad but the bottom pic is HORRIBLE!

And one last little drawing.  I pulled out the water color pencils to see how they felt in the hand and on the paper.  This drawing a little different and yes that one ear is bad but it was fun.  Once I get through a lot more stuff i plan on taking a water brush to this image and see how the colors blend.  That is the cool part about water color pencils.  You draw like normal and then do a wash and it becomes a water color painting!  So who knows where I will go with this medium 



So you can see that I am a bit of a nut but I do more than write short stories.  These were fun and I plan on more soon but first I think I will go do some acrylic paintings again.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Crystal and Gold lead to some interesting little guys

Well yesterday the hubby and I decided to build the dual set we picked up.  Inside were your normal sized gundams but the best part was that one was all gold metal and the other was clear plastic parts in various colors.

They took barely anytime for use to put them together.  The hubby beat me by a few minutes but then he has been building longer than I have.  Here are what they look like.











As you can see the top images are of the crystal one I built.  I had a funky light that doesn't quite make it past his chest but it changes colors making my little guy look really cool!

The bottom image is of my new metal guy.  Not as good a pic as it could have been but some days I just can't seem to take good photos




And they looks so cool on horses that I just had to post this one (again) I am looking into getting a few more horses.  Found one that is a Pegasus!  That would be way cool right?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Some times SDs are bigger than the normal

What does that mean you ask?  Well for those of you who know me, you know I have started following my hubby's hobby of building gundam models.  I do the SD or super deformed mostly.  Why?  Because they are cuter than all get out.  They are colorful and have silly weapons and are simpler (some are but not all) to build.  They average only a few inches in height and are just plain fun to build and take photos of.

Well yesterday I got a new one that we expected to be a bit bigger than the normal SD.  The last one I did that was larger was the size of the 1/144 models and was more complicated than the usual SD models.  Well I was a bit off on the estimate of size.  This little creature was far from little.  In his completed large size he was the size of my hubby's 1/100 models!



To give you an idea the partial image to the right of the top pick is a 1/144 Zaku.  He is just a huge model.  Took me longer than I expected and my dearest hubby helped me in the end with the stickers and putting the sections together properly.

The cool thing about this model is that it converts.  You can bring it down to its SD base size (which is a huge blocky thing, we call him Mr Blocky) or you can convert it to a base that allows you to put other SDs on display on it.  Personally of course I like him this way and plan on keeping him big.  

It is hard to see in these photos but the wings in the back have the image of pheonixes in flame.  All in all this was a difficult but fun bit of building for me.  I am still a rookie when it comes to kits but I built it (mostly by myself) in one day.

My next kit will be a dual set that includes a shiny metal SD and a crystal SD...yeah crystal...still plastic but the pieces are see through and will sparkle when lit up.  We plan on displaying it using a lighted stand.  Should be fun.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A finished project

As I said in my last blog I have been working on an afghan for my youngest daughter.  And the thing you need to remember when making something for a ten year old is that their sense of color and yours might not match.

I admit we are using up yarn left over from my deceased mother in law's knitting hobby.  She left us with a huge amount of yarn, most of it in white and pink.  I let my daughter dive in and pick what she wanted and then started the project.  For this afghan I used a Boye size N or 9.00MM aluminum hook


Yup not the best pic but gives you an idea what I used.  I then chained 21 stitches and went on to crochet single stitches.  Now anyone who knows me understands that I hate working from a pattern.  I worked the rows till I felt the squares were big enough.  In this case the length from the base of my palm to the tip of my longest finger looked right. 

As I was making this for my daughter's bed I had to figure out how many squares I would need to cover the typical twin size mattress.  After I put together a dozen or so squares I went up and lay them on the edges of the bed.  This gave me the measurements of 7 squares across and ten down.  So obviously I needed 70 squares to cover her bed entirely.

Taking my time between working on writing short stories, making homemade yummy flavored chocolates, baking and of course the rest of my wifely duties this project took me about a week.  I used up a lot of different left over skeins of yarn as you can see.









Then I took the squares and attached them together but a simple single stitch again, giving the afghan an interesting frame to each square.  First I did the squares in rows of seven so that I could try to instill a bit of pattern to this wild mix of colors, textures and weights of yarn.  Then I attached those strips together trying to again do something a bit more pattern like.  In the end I crocheted first a row of single stitch in white to finish the edges all the way around and then a row of double stitch to complete the project.

As soon as I did my daughter took it from me, lay down on the floor and watched tv wrapped in her new blanket.  That is a testament to your work, when the person you intend the project for loves it.

Now I know most afghans are done to patterns and match in color, texture, weight, style and stitch but you don't need to look like a professional project for the person you give it to to love it.  Get out that left over yarn and pick a hook and just go for it. 

Next I have planned a bunch of knitting loom projects.  A friend is having a baby and she will need baby hats, little tiny mitties (scratch mittens they are called) and of course baby blankets.  I will put them up as I make them.