Monday, October 31, 2011

The Thrills and Chills of Being an Indie Author and Farmer

It's not easy being Indie, I'll probably be the first to admit that. And it's especially hard when times are trying. Case in point- careless drivers. What would've been a routine trip to the hardware store turned into a major accident just a few miles from home. Hubby was driving our farm truck to get a roll of wire fence when he was ran off the road by an inconsiderate driver. No, and the person didn't stop. The truck rolled and ended upside-down on an embankment. When you see the pix, you'll wonder how someone could've survived with only a bump on the noggin. Yeah, we got insurance, but of course it'll only cover the Blue Book cost of the truck. So, we're going to end up scraping to pay a truck note again. Just when you think you're starting to get ahead, then something happens. I know, that happens to everyone. I'm sure you're asking why is it such a big deal to me? Well, if you were a farmer and you only had one truck, it'd be a big deal. Not to mention we're both living on retired pay--which isn't always enough.

So, being the author I am (and desperately wishing I was really famous), I needed to think of something to help out. Another author suggested that I release a series of short stories instead of doing them all as one book. OK, good idea. Most will blush at my chosen subject matter: erotica, but hey, smut sells! Or so I'm hoping. Living in the middle of nowhere doesn't give you many job options, what little I make from writing goes into an "emergency" account. Well, there's about $1,000 in the account- hardly enough to get a truck and get what we need on it to haul horses and supplies. I'd love to make that account MUCH bigger.

And this may or may not have an outcome of being Indie. Had I gone with a large publishing house (if one would even take a woman who writes military thrillers) and pitched a story to them, they would probably him-and-haw around for a year making up their minds if they liked it. Then it would be sent back for numerous rewrites and editing. After all that, they may decide to release it in a few years. I'd probably only get a $2000 advance- if that, and I'd be waiting several years for my book to be published. As it stands, being Indie allows me to take a work, give it the best edits I can (with what my budget can afford at times) and design a cover, then get it all together and publish. I did just that with the "farmer aid" erotic short story: "Farm Girls are Dirty."- Yeah, go ahead and laugh at the title! I had it reasonably well edited (no, it's not perfect, but it'll have to do) the cover done, and up for sale in less than 24 hours. I've had a few sample downloads and one purchase so far. But I also have a great network of other Indie authors and erotica writers that have reposted on Facebook, Twitter, and on their blogs- thank you all for helping out!

Being Indie I've made lots of friends who are willing to read stories and give feedback- even if it's not always what I wanted to hear. I take that feedback and digest it, then try to improve my writing. Along the way we trade helpful hints and story ideas, sometimes leading each other to write a new story based off a comment. The Indie community is a wonderful, free-flowing, dynamic environment that should really be used to better ourselves in the craft of storytelling. I can tell already that my style has changed, and I have other writers to thank for pushing me to my limits.

For now, I'll leave you all with a link and a few pix.

Until next time my creatively obsessed friends.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Back to the grind

OK, this is going to be a short post, mostly because I seem to be having issues with Networked Blogs not sending the feed to FB and Twitter. The link is obviously good, it appears on my Amazon author's page. Can't figure it out. All was love and roses before I went away to MWSA, but upon returning home, it's no longer working, and I haven't changed a thing! Damned technology!

Hubby and I thought we would be nice and re-string the paddock fences so the horses could have some fresh grass. Our thoughts are: the more grass they eat, the less hay they consume, and the more $$ we save over the winter. Yeah, being nice to horses is a mute point. Not even 5 hours after moving 2 of the three horses, we had a jail break with the stallion deciding to jump his fence. He's not at all a jumper, so we figured Mr. Zappy would keep him behind his fence. Nope. And he managed to do so very quietly. Then he ran down the hill and busted out the gelding and they decided to have a grand ol time. Fortunately, the mare decided to stay behind her prison of wire and ran around like an idiot. Not a sound was heard, and we were in the house with the door open not even 100 yards away. Sneaky buggers. After all were remanded to their cells, we found 4 areas with broken fence tape that needed repair. Then I went over to the neighbors house and got 8 tobacco stakes and the stallion paddock is now fenced 4 strands and 5' high. So far, no attempts at escape, but the day is young...

Today brought sun and loads of work. I mowed, raked, and seeded various paddocks and the orchard, hoping grass instead of weeds will sprout. Still have more work to do, but need to start working on the final edit of Battle Rhythm so it can hopefully be out by Christmas.

Until next time, my creatively obsessed friends,


The cover still needs some work, getting there slowly.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What I took away from MWSA

Well, home, safe, and no longer on speaking terms with Shelia (the GPS). She decided that I just had to go through Ohio to get home. Yes, it was pretty taking the scenic byway down the Ohio river, but I needed to go faster than the slowest person I was stuck behind on a one lane road. So, after some choice words, I shut her off and managed to get to Charleston WV and then west home. Warp 8.0 or better made me happy, and it took me nearly 8 hours to finally get home.

One thing I noticed when traveling to the conference: my route to get there and back took me on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway, the Korean War Veterans Highway, the Purple Heart Trail, and the Tuskegee Airmans' Memorial Highway. Fascinating. I was reminded going and coming of what this country has gone through to get where we are. I'm just wondering when (or if we already do) have a Gulf War Veterans Highway. If not, there should be one considering what they all went through.

The Military Writers Society of America annual conference was held in Pittsburgh at the Airport Marriott. Hmm, funny, I hardly saw a plane the whole time we were there. And, ouch, the prices to do anything  or even eat were beyond painful. There wasn't much close, you had to drive to go anywhere else. But the folks who put the conference on made sure we had a hospitality room with munchies- a big help, thank you!

I got the opportunity to hang around and learn things from some great authors, poets and speakers. The classes were very relevant to what we were all trying to do, and there was lots of input from everyone. I enjoyed the screenwriting seminar, the PTSD writing lecture, and promoting your books with social media. Probably the one thing that tickled me the most, was catching award winning author Jack London in the lobby, starting up a conversation, and ending up teaching him about Smashwords. He was thrilled! And I somehow ended up in the poetry class with jim greenwald and Mike Mullins, and as you will see below, was inspired to wrote a poem with what I saw on my travels home.

Saturday night was the awards banquet. My first novel, Project: Dragonslayers was up for an award in the fiction-thriller category. Although I didn't place anywhere near the top three, it was a valuable learning experience that found me thanking lead reviewer jim greenwald for his time, effort, and the personal email that he sent me, telling me my book was great, but it needed major editing help. He gave me his editor's email, and she and I have been working together ever since. I thanked him for pushing me to a higher level of writing, and to make me a better writer because of his kind, yet truthful feelings about my first book. I got to see many of my new friends win great awards, and I hope to see them next year a Dayton.-- much closer drive this next time!

I made quite a few new friends and hope I can see them all next year. Betsy Beard touched us all with her stories of her son, and why she is a Gold Star Mom. Dwight Zimmerman and Louis Intres kept us entertained with their costumes and characters; and Dick Hrebic serenaded us at the banquet. But I don't think there was a dry eye in the house when Fr. Ron Camarda read a passage from a book about a dying cancer patient and his nurse. It especially hit home for me, since I lost my mother to cancer back in '98 and really wished she could've been there to see me that night. I know she would be proud.

Next year I hope to be there in Dayton. I've even mentioned to Joyce Faulkner that I could teach a class on Book Cover Pro and maybe an intro to Smashwords. And I hope I can earn enough Buckaroos to have more fun at the auction on Sunday. I'd like to have another book nominated next year, and God willing, I hope I will. Certainly my editing will be much better, so perhaps there is a chance. I've also learned a lot about the craft of writing and hope that will apply.  In closing, I'd like to leave you with a poem that I wrote after I got home.

Raping Mother

She's hot, she's warm, she's cold
From her womb is ripped the blackness

The blackness mankind craves
The blackness keeping him alive

Into her depths man roughly intrudes
Pulling her blackness into the light

He takes it by land, by river, by sea
The blackness burns; mother is hurt

Without remorse he burns and burns
Tears from mother rain down black

She cries for help, but no one hears
Our lives too dependent on her to care

And then one day she will say no more
The blackness of her womb will vanish

She's had enough of our raping
It's just a matter of time before she dies.

Until next time my creatively obsessed friends,