Scribbles and thoughts ...

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

Monday, August 29, 2011

Promotion, summer-style

I am once again thinking about promo. I took a month off while we moved but I'm going to gear up and get back in the swing of it next week. I set Sept. 1 as my "start off with new habits" goal, and I'm contemplating what my goal should be for promo.

It has to be fun, something I'll do, and something that won't annoy me. I really dislike strident "buy me" kinds of promotions, so I'll probably try to figure out something fun, like "Avoid my blog on Fridays, that's when I promote" or something like that. I have a hefty back list I can promote, and that's what I'm going to focus on this fall.

So here's my first blast: the History Patrol series. Buy it (kidding: check it out.) It's got reincarnation, romance, shape-shifters, telepathic animals and great villains (John Dillinger, Jessie James, a mad scientist). Seriously. It's fun and thought-provoking.

And I had a heckuva time writing them, so I hope you appreciate the effort!

But they were fun to write, too....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Road trip!

I'm on the road again, this time going to Minnesota -- what an odd feeling, going FROM Iowa TO Minnesota. This is my first trip back since we moved, and it will be interesting. I'll be staying in a hotel, and it will be a very fast visit: in on Thursday, back on Saturday.

Mixed feelings, for sure. I wanted to drop by our old house and gather seeds from one of the plants in my old garden. I brought those seeds with me from Pittsburgh when we moved, 20 years ago, and the plant should be seeding now. But the buyer of our house has sent a nasty-gram to her realtor, describing how we "deceived" her about the condition of the house.

I don't want to get into details in a public forum. Suffice it to say, there was a house inspection done and we corrected any issues that were brought to our attention. The issues being raised are ones we were unaware of at the time of sale.This whole thing has been very hurtful for us, because we really bent over backward, trying to fix the house up and leave it in great shape for the buyer. We put together lists of info about the house (maintenance things, when we bought what, who to contact about what, how to manage the garden)... very detailed info. My husband spent hours (really, days) of time spackling and painting and cleaning and organizing and checking a million little details. We really felt we were turning over an excellent home -- only to be told ... well, I won't go into details.

Our new home has not been without pitfalls. We've done some repairs we didn't plan on but these things weren't found during the inspection, so that's how it goes. We had an excellent inspector go through the house, but he can't find everything. We expected to spend a bit of cash, and yes, we're spending more than we planned. But it's an older home and that just comes with the territory.

So I won't be able to go to the old neighborhood when I'm in Minn. To be honest, I don't want the chance of a confrontation. That's sad, because I have friends there I'd like to see. I'm hoping, in time the buyer will realize that this is all a part of home ownership. Maybe she's never owned a home before; maybe she got bad advice. Maybe she'll realize that it really is a great little home. Because it is, a nice home on a nice piece of land in a nice neighborhood.

That's why this will be a very odd trip -- a mixture of pleasure and worry. I'm looking forward to being there and also looking forward to coming back here -- because now 'here' is home and, as you know, there's no place like home!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Packing and Publishing

I discovered a surprising correlation between moving and writing as I packed up our house of 19 years and prepared for another move. I've moved a lot in my life (28 times at last count), but this time I really focused on weeding out as I packed. As I did, I was also working on a new book and I found myself comparing the two processes: writing and packing.

The key question I asked myself as I packed was: "do I want to unpack this when I get there? Is there a place for it?" I tried to imagine using that item in the new house. If I wasn't sure, I tossed it.

Okay. Confession. I kept a few things that have memories and will probably stay in a box for a long time, but for the most part, I winnowed it all down to only those things I thought I'd use.

I found that I did the same thing in the book I was writing. I tossed out scenes that just weren't quite right. They were fine as they were, but I didn't think they would move the book where I wanted it to go. I kept in a couple that I'm not sure will stay, but for the most part, I'm editing as I go and I know when I get to the end, I'll have only those scenes that I'm sure will work.

I normally don't edit a lot as I go. I usually slap down a first draft then go back and fix it up. But I think the job of packing made me stop and think as I write, just as I stopped and thought as I packed.

What has been interesting is to see are the consequences of my pack-and-toss method. We've been in the new house for two weeks and every box has at least been opened, if not unpacked. What was surprising?

We moved way too much stuff! Despite all of our efforts to weed out, it seemed like an unending stream of boxes came out of that moving van. And when I unpacked items into my new office, I found myself saying, "Why did I pack that? I could have tossed that and not missed it." I moved research books that I used for previous novels, I moved files and folders and ... stuff. I don't need it. I wanted to have it with me, though.

It made me realize that, a lot of the time, I'll write a scene in my current WIP because I want to write that scene. It may not be useful in that book, but I'm pretty sure I'll use it somewhere, sometime. So I'm not going to restrain myself anymore. I'll write the scene. And maybe when I get to the end and go back to "unpack"(edit) my book, I'll shake my head and say, "What the heck was I thinking?" Then I'll just move that scene to a new folder called "Orphan Scenes" and I'll keep for the next book, or the next one, or the next.

I'll find a place for it -- just like I've found a place for all the things I moved but probably 'shouldn't have.' I suspect at some point in the future, I'll be glad I kept it. And when I get to the next move, maybe by then I can let go of it. 

Or move it ... we'll see!