Scribbles and thoughts ...

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Time for a look back ....

It was around this time two years ago that I signed my first publishing contract. I think that anniversary makes me pause, just like the anniversary of my father's death makes me pause, my birthday makes me pause, etc.

I had a brief moment of panic this weekend. Am I releasing too many books too often? Should I back off? Should I wait?

Here's the scenario: I had 4 books release last year, two of which are in print now. This year I will have 4 more new books out and 5 total books in print. For the next three years, if all my submissions get bought, I'll have a new book out almost every month with assorted print books out (I made a table going into 2011 to track what might occur).

I don't want to hold on to these books. I just don't see a reason to. They're all written, they're all solid, and I have editors who love my work.

Look at it this way: if I didn't have an e-release AND a p-release, I'd be right up there with Nora, releasing 3 or 4 books a year. But because I have double releases for almost all books, it looks worse than it is.

I think I just need to hone my strategy for the specific promo needed for the two types of releases, e-format and print. If I can nail that, then I think I can manage all of this.

As always ... stay tuned.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Where am I?

I'm deep in the forest of another planet.

This new book is going very, very well. Words seem to be flying off my fingers. I know I said I was going to try to work on two books at one time, but this one is progressing so well, I may save the other book to work on if I get stuck in this one.

I hope it's hanging together okay. This is tricky because it's the second book in a series and I use many of the same characters. I have to allude to what happened before, but I can't do a bit information dump telling what occurred. And I want to make sure I'm consistent with personality, setting, etc. So I'm referring back to the first book a LOT.

Along the way I'm creating my Bible (detailed histories for characters, descriptions of locations, etc.) This will help me when I write the third book, which I'm already starting to jot notes for.

so far, so good!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Maps and their making

Remember when I talked about how important it was to get the right stickers?
Well, the same is true about maps. I'm working on two books at once, and this week I'm working on my "other planet, let's overthrow the government" book. I've created a new planet, new land masses, climate, topology, language (based on English, of course), culture, philosophy ... the list goes on.
I've been struggling with my maps lately. In the first book, it was based mainly on one island group (lots of islands on this planet). But this second book, and the third one will take place in several different spots.
So I drew up some maps, tweaked them, tweaked them again, tweaked them again, and again and now I THINK I've got what I want. And now comes the fun part:
I get to start coloring! Off to Target to buy some crayons.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sliding out of summer

Summer is just starting to wane. It's still hot, muggy, and the flowers are blooming, but the thing that always tells me the seasons, more than weather, is the light. There's a certain angle of light that tells me we're at the peak of summer, it's waning, it's passing, etc.

Odd how our senses catalog these things before the brain really processes it. It's almost instinctive, I think, this evaluation of our surrounding without conscious thought.

I think writing is like that, too. When I allow myself to drop into a book (and a character and a place), the writing is instinctive. Words flow out, scenes develop, and I don't have to consciously craft a chapter. I 'hear' dialog and I 'see' a setting. When that happens, it's almost magical. I wake up from a trance and realize I've written two chapters and wow, the book is heading in a direction I didn't anticipate.

That's fun. And it's for those times that I write -- for that feeling of 'slipping away' somewhere else. I have more fun in my own head than any TV show can provide, and I suspect other writers would say the same.

Now to go back into that place ....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is there a spy in the house?

I'm not sure if I'm going to continue doing this or not, but ...

I set up an RSS feed, so the contents of this blog appear elsewhere (specifically, in my Amazon blog, which I don't visit regularly).

In the past, this has been a 'private' blog, just for family and friends who know it's here. Now I feel like it's being 'advertised' to the world -- not that people on Amazon are beating down the doors to read my blog.

I may disable this feed so I can still post things here 'privately'. For now, I'll let it populate the Amazon blog.

But it still feels like someone might be spying on me ....

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Yes, feeling better

I think some medication I was taking was upsetting my 'system' ... I appear to be better now. Luckily I only have to take one more dose, and then hopefully I will be back to normal.

It was a good day, nonetheless. I used it doing research for the next book -- my Wizard of Oz book. I want to craft this book to have many layers -- there's Oz symbolism, as well as a good, old-fashioned mystery, and another layer of character development which mirrors the character development that occured in the 19 years when the Oz books were produced.

I read about Frank Baum today, and it was interesting reading.... I didn't know (1) that there were so many Oz books and (2) that there were so many people interested in Oz.

Now to start the layering ....

The importance of good health

I'm a bit under the weather today, so no post ...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The importance of the right sticker

I'm getting organized for the next book. As some of you know, when I work on a book I keep a small notebook (5x7) of thoughts, ideas, pictures, etc.

The next book requires a bit of research, so I'll have 2 nb for it, one for the 'hard' research and the other for snippets of dialog, thoughts, ideas, etc.

I always buy cheap notebooks at Michael's or Target and decorate them with stickers that indicate what I think will be the theme of the book: family, trust, honesty, fear etc. I also use stickers to indicate where it's occurring: on a trip, in farm country, in a city, on a construction job, etc. It's amazing what kinds of stickers you can find.

I got my Research NB all stickered up okay then I started writing in my Other NB before stickering it. Then I went back and stickered it and decided I just didn't like the look. The cover was too busy -- not from stickers but from the original cover design.


I'd invested some time in getting the NB set up with info in it, so I couldn't abandon it. So I got out some background mattes (sticky pages, essentially), covered up what was there and re-stickered the front.

MUCH better. I felt very good about it.

At this point I realized I was working off superstition and had a good laugh at myself, but I'm telling you, the right stickers make all the difference in attitude. And that's what's needed when starting a new WIP -- you've got to get the attitude right.

So now it's Onward with a freshly stickered book. I still need to do some creative brainstorming before I'm ready to write, but figure in a week or two you'll start getting info about the next project.

All stickered up and ready to go.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I need a day off more often!

I had a list a mile long of things I wanted to get accomplished this weekend, some of which were BIG (web site re-organization, finish WIP, work on Free Reads).

I've made a serious dent in that list. I had Friday off, and I'll have this weekend AND MONDAY -- WOOT! I don't remember the last time I had 4 days off when I wasn't traveling. At this rate, I'll be able to start my next book (the Oz book) on Monday!

I need this kind of time off more often. Man oh man ....

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

As promised ... an update

I told you back on May 1 that I was going to write my next book in two months. So here's my update:

I'm THIS close to finishing. I'm on chapter 16 of what I think will be 18 chapters. I'll have some tweaking to do, but I'm hoping by next week at this time it's finished.

I had a few interruptions to my normal writing schedule: funeral, flood, overtime at work, so I feel good about my progress. In fact, this whole process of having a deadline worked so great I'm going to use it on all my upcoming books -- I'm going to set a date and try to hit it. It really kept me focused and on-task.
Now back to Chapter 16. My heroine is in peril and I've got to write her out of a bad spot.
You'll read about it next year!