Scribbles and thoughts ...

These are ramblings from J L Wilson, published author of romantic suspense, mystery, and paranormal -time travel fiction....

Friday, March 28, 2008

Another day, another cover ...

Posting early because I anticipate a busy day tomorrow. A window is going into the 6' hole in the basement wall -- yes, there's a big hole there (covered with plywood right now) and it is still winter in Minnesota. Luckily it's in the basement and it's not causing too many problems. Yet.

Anyway, I suspect the power will be off and on and off, as well as my DSL connection, so I figured I'd post while I could.

And here's what I'm posting: a new cover! Ta da!

And if you go here, you'll see a new banner (at the bottom of the page) for my book coming out in June. And if you go here, you'll see new reviews posted for If Not For You.

It's been a pretty busy week, and that's not even to mention all the construction! Whew! Now I just have to finish my WIP, get those contest entries judged, get ready for a conference coming up, go to a concert on Saturday, finish final edits on a book my editor is waiting for ... Onward!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Coping with change ... the old-fashioned way

I'm doing the 'whistle while you walk by the graveyard' equivalent in the way I'm reacting to our wintry weather.

We've gotten more snow in the last 2 weeks than we got in Nov, Dec., and January combined. I mean, we've had a wimpy winter up to now, so I shouldn't be surprised, but still ...

The way I'm coping with it? I planted seeds. Yep, I've got pots lining the window sills and under grow lights in the basement. I lost my prime growing spot downstairs because we're in construction mode and that spot is now full of Stuff, so my seedlings are now on the counter near the laundry, which means whenever I want to do laundry, I have to put the seeds into the nearby (unused mostly) sink.

And LO -- THERE WERE SPROUTS. Woot! Yes, those little gourdlings pushing toward the sky are a sign that there is life after March. I have visions of those gourds twining around my (now snow-covered) fence and producing bright blossoms (which the deer will probably nibble but maybe not, who knows?)

Yep ... change. When in doubt, try to ignore what you don't like, cope with what you have to deal with, and effect change where you can. Or to re-phrase that old adage:

"Give me the serenity to deal with that I can't change, the courage to change what I can, and the strength to wield heavy artillery when needed."

Or something like that ...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My characters just aren't behaving ....

My current WIP is taking a bit of a tangent. As most of you know, I'm not a plotter -- I tend to write spontaneously with just a general idea of where a story will go.

Well, this book ("Murder at the Casino") is going in all kinds of interesting directions. The hero proposed marriage in chapter 6. I thought he was going to propose on the final page. Whoa. Having them be engaged that early in the story adds a layer of complexity I hadn't planned on.

Then there's his past -- the FBI agent sent in to investigate the crime turns to have slept with him right before he met the heroine.

Whoa again. Another right turn -- now we've got some jealousy going on.

My books are getting as unpredictable as the weather ... and they both keep me on my toes!

Happy Easter -- pretend that snowman there is an Easter bunny -- we've had about 8" of snow this week, so it takes some imagination!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's all a matter of timing

I was just thinking about this morning's snow event. 3-4" of slushy snow. No biggie, really, as these things go.

But it started at 2 a.m., was heavy until about 8, then quit. Smack dab in the middle of rush hour. It was the sort of snow that is best left alone. If you shovel (plow, scrape, whatever) it turns to icy pellets. Of course, the plows were out so there were a gazillion accidents. Now here it is, noon, and the roads are dry as a bone with nary an icy patch in sight.

It's all just a matter of timing. Some fellow authors and I have been musing about this, too. Most ebook publishers specialize in HOT writing (erotica, porn, call it what you will). These kinds of books do a HUGE business in download because, let's face it, folks don't want to walk into a bookstore and buy a book like that from a shelf. Maybe now and again, but not on a regular basis.

My fellow "non-HOT" authors and I have been wondering how to reach out to those folks who like ebooks but don't necessarily want HOT writing. Is that audience even out there? Or are we kidding ourselves -- is there really a market for our stuff? I mean, I sell some copies, but no where near what those HOT writers sell.

But I keep coming back to ... it's not about the sales. It's about my comfort level as an author. I like being in ebook publishing, I like online promo, I like not worrying about sell-through and numbers and my place in the bookstore or on a list. So maybe it's all about timing after all. This is the right time for me to do this kind of publishing. Maybe that time will come when I'll 'graduate' to a traditional publisher, or maybe not.

Only time will tell....

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Funny ... an old book has a new life ...

I've got my book in my hot little hand.

Okay, not really IN my hand, but sitting on the desk. It's out in print (Mom, I just put 2 copies in the mail, one for you and one for Virginia at the library).

This book had sort of fallen off my radar since it released last June in digital (or was it May? I've lost track).

Then it showed up on my doorstep (a box of 'em) and all of a sudden I opened it and started reading and thought, "Damn, this is a good story. I should read this again. If nothing else, I should proof it and make sure it's okay."

I restrained myself. No use going back and reading what I wrote. I'm afraid I'd think, "I should have changed his actions in this scene, that doesn't make sense", or "Why did Hannah do that? She should have done ..."

Nope. Better to let sleeping books lie. And move on to the next one on the "To Be Written" stack.

Here's the Buy Link for anyone interested in getting a print copy of "Grace". It'll be on Amazon and B&N in mid-April, though, if you want to wait (I get a better royalty on the current version on Cerridwen's site, but hey, the shipping is higher on the CP site so I don't blame you if you wait).


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pitching -- not the editorial kind

In the publishing biz, 'pitching' is getting a few minutes with an agent or editor and trying to sell them your story. Many people agonize over their pitches, memorizing them and honing them and sweating over every word. I didn't worry too much about them, but it is a nervous event.

I'm involved in pitching of a different kind. I'm weeding out as we do some remodeling and prepare to move my current cramped office into bigger spaces. I've gone through just about every drawer, file cabinet, and box I own, looking at stuff I haven't seen in years, much less used.

You've got to have the right mindset to do a good weed-out. You have to be willing to look at something, evaluate it objectively, then toss (or keep). It's good practice for writing. So often I work on a scene and I love it. But I have to go back later and evaluate it and decide if I want to keep it or not. Yes, it's useful -- but is it REALLY useful in context of the book I'm writing? Or is it just a Good Scene? It's hard to eliminate a few hours of work, just like it's hard to toss out old letters or books. You've got to have the right mindset to do it.

Call it Spring Cleaning, but I'm in the zone on it. I've gotten ridden of a bunch of junk and man, does it feel good. I feel like I'm paring down the junk in my life and getting ready to open a new door.

Of course, the construction dust has to settle and I've got a few weeks of work ahead of me before I can do that ...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Woot! Another book in print!

My second Cerridwen book came out in print this week -- just in time for the RT convention, in April.

It's available right now at the Cerridwen web site then will be available more widely (Borders, Amazon, etc.) in early April.

This was the book I wrote when I was briefly unemployed a few years ago and it stars Hannah Paxton and Jude Brenner. Hannah was a witness at a murder trial 30 years ago, and in the present day she's a juror in a murder trial. The two murders become intertwined, and Hannah gets put in danger, which brings Jude (a detective) into the picture.

The kittens on the cover do have something to do with the story, but it's not as big a plot point as it would appear. But hey, authors have no say about their covers, so don't blame me {grin}.

I'm glad it's finally in print and available for wider distribution. Now I need to promo it and Candy, so I'll be busy busy busy!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

and yet another contract!

Seriously. I've lost count.

Got a contract for another mystery with Wild Rose, so let's see, where are we?

2 to come from Wild Rose (probably just one more out this year with them). They have requested more from me, so I've got 3 I want to send in (need some prep work).

3 to come from Cerridwen (probably two of them this year). They've requested more in the History Patrol series, so have to write those.

1 more to come from another publisher (but I haven't inked it so can't count it). That will be this year. And I have 2 follow-on books to that.

This was the year I was going to take it easy! Wow. What happened to that resolution?

I'm almost to the bottom of my "to be sold" stack -- those manuscripts I wrote a few years ago and never sold. But I'm also writing new stuff all the time. I sort of fall back on those 'old books' when I need a sub-plot or characters. So far so good.

Now if the remodeling on the house goes as well, I'll be happy!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Yep, it's clone time again

No, not 'clown' time.
I'm just getting so darn busy ... I need a clone!
Deep breath.
First of all: RELEASE DAY YESTERDAY!! Mad happy dance, the Pig is free (well, no, it costs $6) and available for download. Yea!!! I have been blogging and chatting about the book for a day or so and will be doing so for another month or two (then again in August when it comes out in print).
Secondly: the CONTEST. A bunch of Cerridwen authors banded together and we're having a scavenger hunt through our web sites and blogs. I'm sort of in charge of it. It's a blast, but a lot to manage. Go to to see the scope. It's HUGE. Fingers crossed I don't blow it {insert nervous laughter here}.
Thirdly: the HOUSE. I'm acting as general contractor for a remodeling project so I am trying to find people to put holes in our walls, tear up our floors, fuss with electricity and gas and just generally make a mess. I have to schedule job A before job B which needs electrician C but I need to order material for floor D before carpenter E comes ... It will be great when it's done, but it's a bit chaotic right now. I'll post pictures of the final result.
Then there's the book I just sold (the 3rd book in the History Patrol series), the 4th book I should be researching, the 2nd book for my third publisher which I'm working on, the 3rd book for my 2nd publisher ...
Deep breath. One thing at a time. Like this blog. Just relax, sit back, and make lists. Then dig in and GET IT DONE!
Back to work ....