Writing is a journey, not a destination.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Grace Is Coming

Doesn't have quite the auditory impact as "Dawn is coming" from the season four finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the potential is there.

A few things came home to me this week. I wrote Daughter of Anasca six years ago. That's when Caleb walked into my life, and became a character in that book. Six years. I've had a completed book (for the most part) sitting on my hard drive for six years. That's the time it takes a human to be born and start school.

That is waaaaay too long to do nothing with a finished manuscript.

If I remember correctly, and that's a big if considering six years have passed between then and now, I planned to produce a book every two years. I'm OK with slow and steady, but I've passed into imperceptible as far as movement goes. Part of me knew this, but seeing it there in black and white on the vet appt. reminder card put it all in perspective.

Time to get moving. Past time.

Grace knows things I want to learn. She seems amenable to teaching me. I have seven days to absorb how to format print and ebooks, the basics of GIMP and cover design, where and how to choose fonts, and how to make a book through CreateSpace. Oh, and how to hook my url to this blog so www.robynntolbert.com starts working again.

I doubt I can learn everything in that amount of time and still get some fun things in, like visiting cemeteries and hellmouths -mwahahahahahahaha!- but I intend to try.

Once Daughter of Anasca is out of the way, according to Orson Scott Card, I will have removed the primary block to writing my next book, Dangling Participles. We'll see.

Yes, I talk big. I've talked big in the past. But I've hit that "fish or cut bait" moment where I really do have to write...or stop. I don't believe I want to stop. That means I have to write.

Happy Wednesday, dear readers. Take a moment to review. Grace is coming.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Covers, Fonts and Pen Names

I've flailed around for a cover idea for Daughter of Anasca for years. I have only one experience with cover creation, but it had me in tears and nearly puking on a regular basis. Praise God it lasted no longer than a typical bout of flu, or I would have died of dehydration.

No offense, Grace and Iguana. I blame myself for overreacting. I'm sure I couldn't plan a wedding, either.

As of yesterday, I have a solid cover idea to pursue. I may need to snap some pics of my own to make it work, but I'll do it.

Rick Copple shared an interesting (to me) post about how indie authors shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to cover design. I don't know who Dean Wesley Smith is, but he makes some sense, so I'm taking his advice seriously, including the part about using a different name.

Daughter of Anasca is YA. I deliberately kept it at a PG rating. I had no such restraints in Star of Justice because I wrote it for adults. Younger people read it at their own risk (not that I wrote anything you couldn't see on basic cable after 5 PM). The blog author, Dean Wesley Smith, points out that folks who like one of my books may be startled or turned off by reading something of mine in a different style or genre. Worse, a younger reader may like Daughter of Anasca and pick up Star of Justice or its potentially rougher sequels (once they're written) and freak out the parents.

I don't like the idea of a pen name, but I am thinking of using initials: R.C. Tolbert. That, plus a different cover style, which must happen because I don't have the same skill as Newsome Creative, will help differentiate my YA from my adult. Of course, since I'm thinking of publishing as Graveyard Publications, I don't know why I'm bothering to differentiate anything. You read the Turtle, you get the Turtle, guts and all.

Happy Tuesday, dear readers. Enjoy the weather. It won't last.

Monday, July 7, 2014

That Money Thing

I recently took a walk on the dreamy side imagining life where money isn't an issue. Came home this weekend.

I took the holiday to build that shelter for my blueberry plants in The Swamp. I had planned, measured, sketched and calculated until I was certain I couldn't fail. On the DIY scale, this was a 1. I bought materials and went at it.

Well, it's done, but in the process I made three trips to the hardware store, failed to anticipate the effect of the PVC elbows on the overall dimensions, and even though I thought I'd left plenty of overage, underestimated the amount of fabric I needed for the shade. So much so that I will need to make a new one that takes into account the southern exposure. In short, I made mistakes. Lots of them.

Mistakes happen. I'm not going to kill myself because my blueberry shelter isn't perfect. What I have figured out as an adult is that certain mistakes cost money. Sometimes a lot of money. If I'm not willing or able to deal with losing money to mistakes, I won't take the risks.

This is why I stopped drawing. Somewhere in college I subconsciously did the math of supplies + time = massive waste unless I'm selling or gifting the stuff, and I did neither. I can't afford piles of artwork lying around or boxes of pens and brushes that don't pay for themselves. Therefore, I don't create art (It was so simple when the folks paid for everything).

It's sad, and kinda pathetic, but there it is. I don't try more things because I can't afford the inevitable mistakes. I want that loft bed with desk, but after this weekend and my 1 that turned -1, I don't know that I can afford it. Back to the calculator.

Happy Monday, dear readers. Take your risks, if you can afford them.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

If Money Weren't An Issue

Would my life be different if money weren't an issue? I wouldn't have to be as rich as the Queen or Col. Sanders, but, you know, wealthy enough to not have that immediate dollar-shaped "stop" sign when an idea pops into my head.

1) I'd still work. I enjoy work, and I'd enjoy it a lot if I didn't have to think about how cheap my special brand of enthusiastic slave labor is. I might not work 40 hours a week, but I probably would. I get oddly upset on extended weekends.

2) I'd have a similarly sized house. Maybe a little bigger (900-1200 square feet) but nothing huge. Even the plot wouldn't be outrageous. Maybe an acre or three. Enough that my nearest neighbor can't hear my toilet flushing. I would have a different house, though, an Earthship with a cistern and solar power. Maybe some of those solar freakin' roadway panels. I could pay workmen to do stuff, so I'd have lots of built-ins, catwalks, a solarium and an atrium. Skylights would be nice. And rounded edges instead of square. Oooh, and one of those endless pool things. Those look neat.

3) I'd buy used cars. I might splurge on a work truck as a second vehicle, but it would be used. Through a dealer. I learned that lesson.

4) I'd have more cats. OK, maybe not more, but the current ones would have the best of everything. I could afford the exploratory surgery I suspect Skuttle needs because I have back-seat diagnosed her with some kind of colon issue after reading a Catnip article. I could leave food out for everybody instead of the current four feedings a day because I could afford every cat eating the same prescription cat food all the time.

5) I'd help more friends. I have so many people I wish I could slip a $100 or $500 just because they could use it. Or a $20,000 investment in a good idea (like solar freakin' roadways). They're trying so hard, but life doesn't always respect effort. It would be nice to be the generous friend. I mean, I buy a coffee now and then, but it's not the same.

6) I could support more causes. I give currently (more than 99% of Americans, apparently), but I wish I could give more to more. I have three charities I regularly support, but I wish it were five or six. I bet I could find a few more if money weren't an issue.

7) I would never get upset over money again. I hate worrying about money. It's a family habit, but when I think I won't have enough to cover whatever needs covering, I get very upset. More upset than need be, considering I'm a person who learned this year (through testimony, not experience) that utility bills come in different colors depending on how late your payment is. I didn't even know a utility payment could be late (Hate me if you must. I'm a Princess Turtle, but I do pay my own way).

8) I'd go back to school. Not for a degree. I don't ever want to do that again. But I'd love to take some vo-tech classes on electrical wiring, or woodworking, or oil painting. Or Photoshop. Maybe welding. To have money to learn something just because I want to learn it? That would be awesome.

I find these musings following me around this year. They distract me while I'm driving. They follow me into my dreams. Is this a mid-life crisis? It's a little early.

Anyhoo, now that I've written it down, I should stop thinking about it. I bet you won't. How would your life be different?