Mar. 24th, 2009 12:54 am
patinagle: (Default)
Pardon my excitement, but today is the release of THE BETRAYAL. Been a long time since I last had a book on the stands.

Excerpts are available at Book View Cafe and at my new website for this fantasy series, aelven.com

I'm also doing a guest blog today at Literary Escapism, talking a bit about how I came to write this novel. 

And for those in New Mexico, I've got a couple of appearances coming up.  All that info is on my calendar page



Sep. 22nd, 2008 10:14 pm
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It's the equinox. Time to pause and look at where we are in the season.

To me, this is not the first day of Autumn, but the middle of Autumn. Weather is decidedly cooler; we haven't used the air conditioner for a couple of weeks. Days are just about perfect, nights beginning to be cool. The hummingbirds are still around and there are lots of robins in the bird bath. Pansies, nasturtiums, petunias, bachelor's buttons are blooming happily. Tomatoes are ripening in the garden. It's time to harvest herbs.

And the piñons! We have a good crop going this year, as evidenced by the dozens of cars alongside the road. Families come to pick piñon (pine nuts) wherever the trees grow--which around here is pretty much everywhere. We have quite a few on our land, and I went out and gathered a couple of handfuls of nuts already. Must get serious about it and bring in a good harvest, but I've been busy with revisions.

My fantasy novel, The Betrayal, launches in six months, on the Spring Equinox. In honor of that, I've posted a free read to my website: "Kind Hunter," the story that sparked the novel.


May. 15th, 2008 02:11 pm
patinagle: (aurora)
Much rejoicing! We had some rain yesterday, and today it has been almost non-stop. This is a huge blessing, since we hadn't had any rain in at least a month and my water barrels were getting empty. Now they are full! Yay!

I planned to plant flowers and herbs today. (I bought a lunar gardening calendar--much fun!) Looks like the rain has paused so I'm off to do it now.

Then back to the copyedits that arrived earlier this week.
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Visit Novelists, Inc.Last weekend I attended the Novelists, Inc. Conference in New York. I am still processing all the great ideas and information. What a fantastic conference, and well worth the time and money!

This was my fourth NINC conference, and the first one I've been able to get to in New York. All of the conferences I've attended have been great. I think this one beat the rest, though. They just keep getting better every time. For someone who intends to make a career out of writing novels, this is a terrific group. Not only do you get to meet lots of wonderful writers (like Mary Jo Putney, Rebecca York, and Laura Resnick), you also meet industry professionals who have great information to share.

I had the pleasure of meeting my editor, Liz Scheier, who is lovely and gracious. Six degrees of separation came into play when I discovered she already knew my travel buddy and roommate, Pari Noskin Taichert, from a Southwest Writers Workshop conference years ago.

Theresa Rebeck was our keynote speaker, delightfully entertaining. She talked about her own writing experiences, and boy could we relate! (There's a fun interview with her on the NINC website.)

Sessions included panels with agents, publishers, editors, and publicity professionals. Writer and publisher Lou Aronica gave a fantastic presentation to cap the conference. He brought some things into focus that I had been trying to understand for years. I'm still absorbing what he talked about, and I'm going to be making some changes here in the blog because of it.

This is not a conference for aspiring writers. It's for experienced writers, and that makes all the difference.
patinagle: (Default)

Recently I passed the three-year mark on the 2+ pages challenge. I got this from Julie Hyzy, who's been doing it way longer than I have.

Simple idea, really. Write two manuscript pages a day. More if you want, but at least two.

Every day.

Rain or shine, sick or well, disaster or no.

I wrote on the Katrina days. It helped me remember the world beyond the horrible sadness of that time.

Two manuscript pages equals about 500 words. Some writers have asked me how I manage to write so much every day. Others I know would laugh at how little that is.

What matters is the "every day" part. I learned about this idea long ago. Roger Zelazny used to require himself to sit down three times a day and write at least one sentence. The idea was that at least one of those times, he'd get caught up in the writing and do more. Regardless, even three sentences a day adds up surprisingly quickly, and what's perhaps more important, it keeps the writing fresh in your mind.

Some writers work in spurts, producing many pages in a short amount of time (like a novel in a month, or in a week), and then take long breaks, maybe a month or two or more. Me, I have trouble getting started again after that long away. If I need a break from one project, I find it's better to write on a different project for a while than to stop writing altogether.

So I write two pages on weekends, on my birthday, my anniversary, and when I'm on vacation. On regular work days I try to write more.

Two pages a day = 730 pages a year = 182,500 words which is about two novels or one really big one. Again, some writers can't fathom writing that much in a year. Others write a lot more than that in a year.

The point is, find a process that works for you and stick to it. Two pages plus has worked pretty well for me for three years.

Wrote 5 pages today (got inspired)

Points in The Race:
25 for short stories
32 for novels
57 total
patinagle: (Default)
coverI just received my copies of the October issue of Cricket Magazine, in which I have a story, "On Swan's Wings." I'm so delighted with the artwork by Kat Thacker that I had to post a peek here (there are three gorgeous illustrations--the image below is a detail from one of them).

This story has its own story, which will come as no surprise to you writers out there. I wrote it with the intent to submit it to a specific magazine (they were doing a Valentine's issue), but the magazine folded before they even read my story. Needless to say, the Valentine's issue never materialized, and I thought I'd wasted my effort. I sent it out anyway, remembering my mentors' advice (thank you, Kris & Dean), and lo and behold, Cricket liked it. Voila, happy ending!

4 pages written today

Points in The Race:
22 for short stories
32 for novels
54 total
patinagle: (Default)

Today I received a contract in the mail for a two-book deal with Del Rey. They announced it a while back in their July Internet newsletter, but I've been waiting for the contract in hand before yipping.

So, yip! I am very happy. The novels will be fantasies. I'm delighted to be working with editor Liz Scheier on these books. More news as it comes.

2 pages written today (then I drove a truckload of mead from Santa Fe to Bernalillo for the Wine Festival)

Points in The Race:
25 for short stories
16 for novels (down 16 points the good way--through a sale!)
41 total
patinagle: (Default)

patio potLots going on in the garden these days. My patio pots are blooming nicely. Petunias and lobelias, also salvia that I grew from seed this year for the first time. Very proud of those.

The veggie patch is not so photogenic, but still wonderful. I have four varieties of tomato, all doing well though the clear winner is the Sweet Million, which was recommended by the local nursery. Before I got those I had planted a Sweet 100, and two Oregon Springs which are supposed to be good for higher altitudes, and a Big Boy that was in with the Sweet 100's and that I bought by mistake. Even it is happy. All the tomatoes are blooming and several are setting fruit, and the Sweet Million has a couple already ripening.

Chives are coming into a second bloom. Parsley (grown from seed) is doing well. I started a big bowl of mixed lettuce for microgreens last week, and they are now coming up.

patio potThis year I'm growing nasturtiums for the first time. They're fun! And edible. I understand the leaves taste like watercress. Maybe I'll try an egg-and-nasturtium sandwich with my tea. They are also good companion plants and repel squash bugs, according to the Wikipedia entry. That's terrific! Those squash bugs are terrible pests. I'm going to grow nasturtiums every year!

patio potOne plant that was here when we moved in is pink yarrow, which I had never seen before. Here it is in its bed, along with some spearmint. I also have white yarrow and moonshine yarrow (yellow).

This morning when I was tying up the tomatoes, I heard an owl. Nice moment.

Dean Wesley Smith has made a great blog post about The Race, which he invented. Really interesting history, and some names you'll recognize.

4 pages written today, plus 3 chapters edited of a completed novel.

Points in The Race:
25 for short stories
32 for novels
57 total
patinagle: (Default)

I've seen this quote in a couple of places lately: "The opposite of winning isn't losing - it's quitting" (attributed to Martha Rosett Lutz in this column by Running Times Editor in Chief Jonathan Beverly).

Good words for a writer to remember. There are many, many temptations to quit. Many frustrations for a writer, including long communication delays, waiting in general, inccessant rejections, and factors over which one has little or no control but which can have a huge impact on one's work (such as cover art). Notice how none of these has anything to do with actually writing.

The only way a writer can lose is to quit. If one is writing, one has succeeded. To complete a novel is something many people idly dream of, but the number of people who actually do it is relatively small. The number of people who write a novel and sell it is much smaller. And the number of people who continue to write and sell novels after the first one . . . very small indeed.

I'm fortunate to belong to a group of the latter, Novelists, Inc. This is an organization of professional, multi-published novelists, and I've gained an enormous amount of information as a member. I've also made some wonderful friends. Worthwhile for any novelist to consider.

Another advantage of Novelists, Inc. (and other writer friends, including Kris who told me about the quote mentioned above) is that they've helped me through the dry spells. Just about every professional writer has periods during which they're not selling anything, and it can be murder on your confidence. That's when having a network of other writers is invaluable. They can remind you that you aren't a failure just because you haven't sold recently. Your work hasn't suddenly become unmarketable. Selling a novel is difficult to say the least, and takes enormous patience and a huge dose of faith, not to mention luck.

So my hat's off to every writer who sticks with it through the tough times. Those are the real winners.

6 pages written today.

Points in The Race:
23 for short stories
24 for novels
47 total


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