New Store, New Perspective

In case you were wondering, setting up an online store from scratch is a pretty intensive and time-consuming process. I suppose if one uses Shopify or one of the big pre-packaged store builder services, it would be somewhat less so, but I did that when I first started selling books (in 2011), and ended up not making enough money to pay the rent, so to speak.


So this time, I decided to be smart, use my web developer skills, and set up a store (check it out on my BSB site here) that wouldn’t cost me more than it will possibly make back. If I eventually start making enough money on a regular basis, I’ll move to a “prettier” solution, but for now, it’s free WooCommerce and a few choice plugins. Plus PayPal as the sole processor, because they’re the only remotely affordable processor willing to process transactions for the more adult ebooks my Trinity alter-ego writes (if you’ve noticed her site was down, yes, I know – it was my mistake, and I’m working on it. It’s back online, but still needs some backend fixing.).

Yes, I know lots of people just ignore the Terms of Service, do what they want and hope for the best. I’m risk-averse, so I’d rather have permission before anything bad happens, thanks.

Anyways, that’s where all my blogging energy has gone lately. Setting up the store has required a lot of futzing and learning new things from taxes to shipping to order fulfillment and just managing to create and list products. Plus securing the store forms, and testing, testing, testing everything. And now that most of that (not all, but most) is out of the way, there’s the tedium of simply creating and listing all the books – and testing the delivery for each ebook to make sure it works. I’m trying to list at least two books per day (I have about an hour each night to work on this). Once I get all the ebooks up, then I’ll work on print.

In the meantime, I’m still writing, and I have several micro-fiction stories that I really want to make into bookmarks and story cards. I also have several little bits that need to be slotted into larger works-in-progress, and still more that will make very nice short stories and novellas as they’re expanded.

The new perspective I’m really trying to cultivate with all of these projects is one of not having to do everything “right now“. Being able to be okay with working on things in small chunks that don’t require a lot of focused brainpower for long periods of time. It’s very much a workflow and mental shift for me – all my life I’ve preferred to start and finish a project in as few “large chunks” of time as possible, and as quickly as possible, so this doling things out in a trickle is new and somewhat uncomfortable for me.

But that’s how we grow, isn’t it? By doing uncomfortable things, and allowing ourselves to change and flex depending on where we are in our lives at the moment.

I’m mostly just happy to be making the time to be creative. Even if it’s not as much time as I’d like, and it’s still somewhat frustrating to work in such small chunks, it’s better than being frustrated at not doing anything creative at all.

I’m also happy to be working on the business side of things again – something I haven’t done in a long time just because it was just too daunting, and often overwhelming to even try. If I wait until I “have time” to sit down and do the whole thing at once (whatever that “thing” happens to be at the moment), it won’t happen.

So I’m working on tiny pieces at a time, and accepting the fact that it’s not work that will ever actually be “finished”. It will just go on until I decide it’s time to stop.

Hopefully that won’t be anytime soon. Oh! I almost forgot. Smashwords is having their “Read a Book” week sale, and some of my books are on sale over there until Saturday. If you like cheap ebooks, check it out! You’re sure to find something interesting and entertaining!

Also, my apologies for having to add Captcha to the comments. The amount of spam written in Cyrillic was just seriously getting to be way, way too much to keep up with. And since most readers comment more on social media than here anyways…I figured it would affect a minority. Please do let me know if it gives you problems, and I’ll see what else I can figure out.


That’s it for this week! If you have a favorite thing to share, or want to recommend a book, TV show, video or podcast, comment below, email me at jamie@jamiedebree.com, or catch up with me on Facebook or Instagram.


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Digital Moves & New Routines

As you may have guessed, I’m still trying to get my new routines settled. This means that for the past two weeks, I’ve been doing my “50 words per day” during the times I’d normally be writing a blog post.

It takes awhile to establish new routines, so I expect (hope) this will get better going forward. I’m writing a lot more regularly now, and my “50” words often come in at 150 – 250 per day once I get going, which is exactly what I was hoping for with that resolution.

The other thing that took some time and focus last week was a site hosting issue. My old web host (A Small Orange) was bought years ago by one of the huge conglomerate services, and I’ve been wanting to move my sites to an independent host for several years now as the service and support through that big conglomerate has gotten increasingly worse. I’ve just been too lazy to pull the trigger, as I’m currently running four active and a couple inactive sites, plus email with special configuration for the majority of my domains. Needless to say, the thought of moving all that was a very daunting thing.

The old host gave me an annoying shove when they raised their price around $7 per month. I was already paying nearly $40 per month, so that was excellent motivation to find a new host. I spent several hours last week researching web hosting and potential hosts, going back and forth, and finally settled on GreekGeeks, which is an independent hosting company that seems to be proud of its independent status (so less likely to “sell out”, hopefully), and also had more good reviews than bad when it comes to customer service.

GreenGeeks isn’t the cheapest host out there, but I’m a “get what you pay for” believer, so I wasn’t looking for cheap, just less expensive. They have a good deal running right now, so I bought a year’s worth of hosting for $60, which is over $20 less than one more *month* would be with my old host. After that, it triples to right at $200 per year, but it’s still $300 less than I’d pay with the old host. Win!

The best part though (so far), is the free migration service. I requested it and figured they’d move one site, and I’d have to do the others plus my email accounts manually. But they have some sort of very cool tool, and one hour after I requested the migration, I got an email saying it was done, and telling me to repoint my nameservers. I did, and everything just…worked! I do use WordPress and cpanel, so obviously the tool is specific to that, but that saved me *hours* of work…had I known that was possible, I’d have switched hosting a long time ago.

So, here we are on the new host, the sites are running well, and now since I’m thinking about the technical bits, I’m thinking it’s a good time to update my templates. I have one picked out for my author blogs, and just need to purchase it. I was kind of at a loss for the main BSB site though, because I also want to install WooCommerce and set up my own web store, so I want a theme that will work well with that. Hmm.

Then while browsing the GreenGeeks blog, I found this article, specifically on WordPress themes for selling books! Huzzah! There are two of these I really like…can you guess which ones? Which one is your favorite?

I have vacation time that I need to use up from the day job (use it or lose it!), so I’ve scheduled one day off per week for the next four weeks, and I’ll be working on these template updates, the store setup, and some publishing tasks that should (if all goes well) result in some new stories coming out this quarter, as well as the newsletters picking up again.

So that’s what’s going on, and why blogging is kind of sporadic at the moment. There are good things to come though, methinks. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching, and making decisions on what I want to prioritize and spend time/focus on, and it’s time to get back to treating writing as a business, rather than a hobby.

In the past, I’ve thought I needed to have wide blocks of time in which to do things, and sometimes that’s still true (the template changes, for one), but increasingly I’ve been focusing on making the most of smaller blocks of time to get “a little bit” done every day. For right now, that’s working, so I’m rolling with it for more than just writing.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by what I’ve been writing during my daily micro-sprints, and some of those have been for the Magpie stories. So that’s encouraging, and I’m excited to get some of these little bits polished up and available to buy in several formats, hopefully from my own store on my own site as well as everywhere else.

Thanks for staying tuned, so to speak!


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Call Me Goldilocks

Administration

I’ve been re-jiggering my schedule lately, in no small part because I’m having trouble finding the time to finish and post these blog posts (I have plenty started). My mental bandwidth has been a bit lacking lately, and I’ve been working on moving things around in my weekend schedule so I can work on blogging and such then, when day job projects don’t intrude so heavily on my non-work time.

Being able to write these posts on the weekend instead of in the evenings should ensure that they don’t conflict with writing time, and also that they actually get done and posted. Like this one!

Photo(s) of the Week

I was going to just post one, but…that wouldn’t really be fair to the other one, would it? Athena was being her adorable self just begging in the kitchen last week, and Apollo insisted on a hoodie to go out and pee, because he melts in the rain (I don’t blame him – I do too).

Too Tall, Too Short, Just Right?

A few years ago, we bought a new bed. No, I can’t remember exactly how long (pre-2020), but we went in to buy a new mattress because we’d been sleeping on the one my husband’s grandparents had, and it was worn out and hurting our backs (as you might imagine).

We bought the new mattress and box spring (foundation? There are no springs…just sayin’.), and while I was paying for that, hubby wandered over in to the furniture area, and found a bed frame he loved. So, he bought that too. I remember feeling like the salesperson was going to say something about the mattress when we were checking out, and then when he realized we’d already bought a mattress set, he decided against it.

Once we finally got everything home and set up, we realized that with the frame, the standard 9 inch box spring, and the extra thick mattress, the bed was *tall*. As in, higher than my waist. Up to my ribcage. So tall I had to actually step onto the side rail of the frame before I could literally crawl into bed. I’m not tall, but I’m not exactly short either, at 5ft 4in.

The mattress was also much firmer than the “test mattress” at the store, which we learned later is a sales ploy they do, and then when you call to complain that it’s like sleeping on concrete, they tell you to sleep on it for a month and it will break in. Needless to say, it took a good six months and a 4 inch thick mattress pad before I could sleep comfortably on that mattress.

But I digress.

I thought about getting a step stool for my side of the bed, but never quite got around to it. Then after my surgery, I realized I couldn’t actually climb up into the bed with the swelling. Nor could I “roll” into bed, because it was just so high. Once I finally decided I’d slept on the couch enough, I put a stool by the bed so I could stand on that, turn around, sit down and roll into bed like you’re supposed to after abdominal surgery (who knew?).

The thing about having a stool next to the bed, and that stool being on the same side of the bed as the door is that both you and the person who has to walk around the bed to get in and out the door have to remember the stool is *there*. When you’re half-asleep, especially. There were several incidents involving the stool, toes, shins, and me just plain forgetting where it was when I tried to roll off the bed, and nearly missing it (which would have hurt in several ways).

So the last weekend in May (about a week and a half ago), we finally decided to take the box spring/foundation out from under the mattress. For the time being, we figured we’d just sit the mattress on the bedframe (which consists of three narrow slats running horizontal between the two side rails, plus a headboard and footboard). If that worked, we’d get more slats to put underneath it in the frame.

While we both appreciate not having to actually climb into bed (and hubby no longer feels like he might fall and injure himself if he rolls too far), now it’s too short. It sits far enough into the frame that it’s nearly impossible to tuck the sheet corners under (it’s extremely thick and heavy), and when hubby sits on the edge, it compresses down so his legs are on the side rail.

So, the bed has gone from being too tall, to being too short. Plus it sags between the frame slats at the moment, so the support is…somewhat odd.

I did a little research, and apparently there’s a “low profile” box spring/foundation that is only 4-5 inches tall. I took a tape measure in, measured 4 and 5 inches above where our mattress sits now, and I think that would be about the perfect height. They’re around $150 each, so affordable, but it’s been raining so much over the past week and weekend that our truck hasn’t dried out enough to actually go get one (yes, it would come wrapped in plastic, but the amount of rain we’ve gotten isn’t trivial – there’s a lot of flooding, and I wouldn’t want to risk getting water anywhere near something like that).

Hopefully things will dry out enough soon that we can go get a proper, low profile foundation for our mattress, and be done with this whole “Goldilocks” experience. Though I have to say, it did give me a few story ideas. I should probably keep the receipt for the new foundation – I might be able to write it off on our taxes as a “research” expense if I actually write something related. Silver linings!

Writing News

I got a couple of good dictation sessions in last week, but that’s about it. As I mentioned, I’ve been using up my brainpower on day job projects, and it’s a struggle to switch gears fast enough to dictate, or to focus enough to even edit late in the evenings when that happens. But, things should be leveling out a bit to not require so much intense thought now for awhile, so hopefully I’ll be able to make good progress for the next few weeks.

Recommendation(s)

We just finished watching two Netflix Original Series that were really good! If you like thrillers about government agencies and political espionage, check out The Night Agent, and The Recruit. The Night Agent especially is phenomenal – very well written with a few twists I didn’t see coming (something that doesn’t happen often). The acting is very good, too. But they’re both very engaging, and the characters are fascinating – especially Max in The Recruit.

Have you watched either of them? Let me know what you think!

That’s it for this week! If you have a favorite thing to share, or want to recommend a book, TV show, video or podcast, comment below, email me at jamie@jamiedebree.com, or catch up with me on Facebook or Instagram.


 

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Year in Review Part 2: Good Workflows & Wide Margins

Early this year when I decided I really needed to kick the writing and publishing business into gear (or stop, one of the two), I started looking hard at my daily, weekly & monthly habits and routines. I’d been trying to just “fit writing in” wherever I had time, and allowing myself the flexibility of working without deadlines, which…really doesn’t work for me.

So, I decided to change it up, set some deadlines, and then force myself to figure out how to meet them in the time allotted. I knew I wouldn’t be successful for awhile, but only because I needed to go through the process and fail in order to find the process that would actually work. Often there’s no way around good old fashioned trial and error in order to set or reset habits and routines.

I struggled. I lost sleep (but tried not to), I pushed myself hard, I experimented with different times and schedules and routines and processes…and I met deadlines or just barely went past them. I published a book. I decided not to publish another one, and I moved the publication date out for yet another. I came up with an idea for a huge series that could span all three of the genres I write in, and be connected, but not in a way that would require a reader to experience all the books to enjoy their particular genre.

I switched newsletter providers three times. I tried out different blog templates, email templates, and posting/sending schedules. I missed deadlines. I started novels I never intended to start, while leaving a few I meant to revise and publish behind (temporarily, I hope).

The most important thing I discovered in all this is the writing/revision workflow that works as long as the technology it requires works. At least three days a week, I dictate a scene while I’m driving home for lunch and back to work after. Then late at night, I revise that scene (or one I dictated earlier) into something more polished and descriptive. So I’m basically writing the first draft by voice while driving, Dragon Anywhere transcribes it to text, and then late at night when I finally have time to really focus, but not necessarily the mental power to actually draft on a blank page, I polish the first draft, add description and detail, and end up with a very nice second draft of that piece of writing.

This has been amazing for my writing output. I can speak faster than I type, so dictating gets the initial story out on the page much faster than I could ever actually type it in. And while my brain is pretty much done doing any heavy lifting late at night, it can totally handle revising words and story that are already there, plus since I’m already tired, I don’t resist the revision process nearly as much as I do when I’m more rested and raring to write new things rather than edit old words.

It worked for me for a good while, and I think it will work long term, but it’s not perfect. I do have days when my lunch hour gets preempted or something, but I can normally ensure that three days out of every week are good dictation days, and I have four nights for revisions that I protect pretty heavily.

Until the technology fails, like mine did after a recent phone update that made my Bluetooth microphone stop working. I did figure out a work-around, but it took me a week, in which I lost productivity and failed to meet deadlines because I didn’t have a buffer of serial installments done.

After that, I also developed some good workflows for blogging, newsletters, and publishing tasks. And they’re all sustainable for the long term, with one major caveat: I’m working too close to the margins.

The vulnerable thing about a workflow is that because it involves more than one routine to accomplish the larger task, it’s easy to get interrupted during one or more of those routines, which throws the whole thing off deadlines. I’ve been using my new workflows with no margin for interruption or error, which…makes them less effective (and far more stressful).

Which is why I really need to focus on maintaining wide margins.

This translates to other things in my life as well – specifically finances, where I am currently annoyed with myself and paying (mentally and financially) for choices I made when my “impulse control” was…well, not controlled. I narrowed my financial margins to a rather embarrassing state, and now it’s going to take me a long time and a lot of self-control to return them to a comfortable width. I’ve been working on it for a few months now, but this is the worst time of year for such things.

Still, I’m holding the line and not making it worse, which is all I can do for the moment, and after the holidays are over, I should be able to make better progress.

My weight is another area where my “margins” are too narrow, but I’ve been making progress with that recently as well. It’s a toss up as to whether the bank account or my body will become healthier faster, but as long as they’re both headed in the right direction, that’s all that matters.

As far as the writing and publishing goes…that’s where the two weeks off in November came in, as well as the recent “break for technology”. My intent was to establish a week-wide margin for these blog posts and my serial novels. I didn’t quite manage for the serials, but that’s partially due to the holiday in the middle, which interrupted *all* my workflows for a week, and then the whole microphone failure.

It was wildly successful for the blog posts, however, and I now have a nice wide margin of time in which to write new posts while you, dear reader, are reading a post I wrote several weeks back (and updated shortly before posting it this week, but the bulk of it was done, which saved me a lot of time). Now if my blogging workflow is interrupted, I have the time and space to catch up without it affecting the actual blog posting flow, which takes a lot of stress out of the process. And it’s easy enough to put an impromptu post up if I feel like sharing something more immediately.

I wanted to be ahead on serial installments by the time this went live too, but I’m still working on that. Life is so unpredictable, even in a very habit and routine driven existence such as mine. Building wide margins into my workflows will give me the gift of more peaceful productivity, which is good for stoking the creative juices.

It’s also good for my overall mood and well-being.

Sleep, exercise, good workflows & wide margins. These are the things I think will allow me to meet my goals going forward, as long as I use them wisely and prioritize them in both life and business.

What are the tools you gained this year that you’ll be taking into 2023?


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Magpie Shiny: On Hold

As you know by now, I’ve kind of burned myself out. I’ve been writing three weekly serials simultaneously, and as it turns out, one technical glitch can throw my whole writing world into complete and utter disarray. The dictation software I use to “write” my first drafts threw a temper tantrum with the last update to my phone, and it took me a week to figure out how to make it work again. By that time, I was even farther behind than I’d started out, and I kind of just had a mental meltdown about it.

I’d decided to cancel the serials…but…I have a problem with starting something like that and not seeing it through.

So, I’m going to take the next couple of weeks, try to regroup and get ahead (or figure out a more foolproof writing solution), and then I’ll be back to finish the serials (hopefully with a proper buffer of installments in place).

My apologies to those who have been reading & enjoying the story so far. And thanks for your patience.

The Year in Review non-fiction posts will continue, so watch for the next one on Tuesday the 20th.


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Back to ‘Old School’ Blogging

Still here? Thanks for sticking around through the blog break! I really needed that – not that I actually took much of a break, but I used the time to write and schedule these posts ahead, which I think is really going to be key in moving forward with blogging (and all other forms of writing/publishing, honestly), which I definitely want to do.

This is going to be a long post because…well, because I write. It’s what I do.

This blog has splintered, morphed, moved, and morphed again over the years, and this year in an attempt to make it fit my “author branding”, I renamed it with a writing-related title, and have tried to keep it restricted to mostly writing-related content. I’ve also written several books serially on the blog over the years, often to the consternation of people who are interested enough to want to read my weekly non-fiction posts but have no interest in my fiction. Fair enough.

And so, here we are. I’ve taken a break (sort of), and done a lot of thinking about where I want to go from here.

People tend to like and read blogs that are centered on one main topic, not on a slew of different personal interests. I get that. But much like has happened with my hairstyle, I’ve grown weary of trying to maintain something that will please the majority of readers, but doesn’t necessarily please *me*. I am a person of many interests. One of those interests is fiction, which encompasses all things reading, writing and publishing. I’m also interested in my dogs, crafts, cooking/eating, technology, hair/nails, tea and whatever else happens to catch my fancy on any given day.

So, since this is my personal space, blogging isn’t exactly “cool” anymore anyways, and I am indeed the sum of all my various interests, this blog is being renamed (again) to:

Unrestrained Miscellany

Don’t worry – the address is not changing again, only the title.

I will be posting about writing, but I’ll also be posting about other things, and this is not going to be a “writing” blog, it’s going to be my “public personal journal” – a true “web log” (aka blog).

In short, it will be a reflection of me, and what’s going on in my brain from week to week. If you want to stop reading (or unsubscribe, if you’re reading through email), I totally understand. If you’re sticking around, participation will never be required, but it is always welcomed, so please feel free to jump in and comment on anything that catches *your* fancy.

Because I understand that not everyone likes to read fiction, and not everyone likes to read serial fiction, I’ll be moving the serial story from the blog space to an email subscription starting…well, when I get it done (it will continue on the blog until then). It will be free to sign up, will be sent out weekly just as the serial story is posted now, and it will be a separate email list from both my blog emails and my author newsletters, so those who want to read along can sign up and read in their inboxes, and those who aren’t interested won’t be bothered by it. I can’t promise I won’t ever post fiction here on the blog, but I’ll keep it to either excerpts of books already for sale, or complete stories done in one post, rather than serial stories.

The serial novels on my pen name sites will remain on those sites – it’s just this serial novel that will be email-only, due to the varied nature of subjects here and thus varied potential readers on this site.

If you do want to keep up with writing news but you’re not interested in the personal miscellany, that’s where my author newsletter and Facebook pages come in. My newsletter is and will be writing and book-centric, so if you want writing-only news without perusing social media, that’s the place to get it. If you prefer to get writing news from social media, my Facebook author page is the best place to do that. Obviously I’m on other social media platforms as well, but those are all writing peppered with personal life, so FB is your best social media bet for writing-only news from me.

Of course if you want publishing news, you can follow the BSB blog and/or sign up for that newsletter, and my pen name blogs and newsletters will be about subjects pertaining to those types of fiction (horror and erotic romance, respectively).

But this…this is my personal space. And much like my hair, I’m styling it to please only myself these days.

The rest of the month and the beginning of next will mostly be focused on my year in review, and my plans/goals/resolutions going forward.

Is there a space in your life you’ve been moderating to please others, that you’d like to take back? Tell me about it – comment here, or wherever you’re reading this post from. Let’s connect!


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A November Pause

If you read my last post, you’ll know I’ve been thinking a lot lately about living and working “too close to the margins”. In light of that, I’ve also been thinking about how to give myself some space to get away from that, and get ahead of the things I’m doing so that I can build that “wiggle room” in for myself.

I think the best way to do that is to give myself a few weeks to…well, get ahead. And since there’s never going to be a good time, the time is now.

So, I’m taking the rest of November off from non-fiction blogging. Non-fiction posts will resume here with the year in review starting on December 6th.

The serial novel installment will be posted this week (the 18th), but then will skip November 25th, as that’s the day after Thanksgiving here in the states, and since that whole week will be very “holiday-ish” around here, that seems like a good week to take a break and get ahead on the serial novel.

See you in December!


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New Feature & Email Subscriptions

Once upon a time, I posted my draft novels here on the blog in serial form, one scene or chapter per week. I stopped doing that for a myriad of reasons, even as things like Wattpad and most recently, Kindle Vella, became popular (where writers do the same basic thing). I know some authors are using Patreon for this as well, where drafts and draft chapters are available for subscribers.

The whole reason I started serializing in the first place was to give myself a good, solid deadline for getting a certain amount of writing done per week. And it worked. It’s very motivating knowing that someone (even if it’s just one or a few people) is/are looking forward to reading the next part of what you’re working on as you write. I got books and stories done, and I had fun doing it, even though I did end up with a fair amount of editing/revising to do (when you’re pantsing it, that’s a fact of life).

When I stopped, my productivity went down instead of up. Turns out, that external accountability is far more powerful than one might expect. I’ve been writing a lot more lately, but I thought it would be fun to reinstate the “Friday Fiction” feature and give myself a solid weekly deadline again.

To that end, a new serial novel will begin this Friday, September 3rd. The title is Magpie Shiny, and it’s going to be the start of a trilogy that I have been plotting and prepping for awhile now. I’ve been working on the draft, too, though I’m not as far ahead as I’d hoped to be (more motivation!). There will be no charge for reading the story, but I am going to include a “tip jar” link with each installment (if I can figure out how). If you enjoy what you read, please consider leaving a tip! All tippers will receive a nice thank-you gift when the novel is published.

As for email – if you visit the blog to read (as opposed to reading in a feed reader), you may have noticed the subscriber forms changing in the sidebar. I’ve been testing out different email platforms, and have finally settled on one I like (Aweber). So if you want to get these blog posts in your email so you don’t have to look for a link elsewhere or keep checking back on the blog, sign up in the sidebar or here, and you’ll receive an email every time a new post goes live (twice a week, unless I have a new release or important news that just can’t wait for the normal Tuesday post).

Also – I am restarting the monthly newsletter! The first issue of Wafting Pages will go out on September 5th, and you can expect a new issue on the first Monday of every month thereafter. The newsletter may include bits of trivia from my research, a general writing update and/or excerpt, links to the month’s blog posts, news about new releases or sales, and occasional recommendations for a book I enjoyed reading and think subscribers might enjoy too. Subscribers will also receive special pre-release deals, free stuff and sneak-peeks before anyone else. If that sounds like fun to you, sign up here.

If you were previously subscribed to my old/defunct Variety Pages newsletter, you should get an email before September 5th, asking if you’d like to remain a subscriber, or if you’d like to unsubscribe (and how to do that).

One last thing – both of my pen names will be restarting their newsletters as well, as well as a Friday Fiction feature in the coming weeks. If you are interested in erotic romance, then you’ll want to check out https://trinitymarlow.com and if you’re interested in thriller/horror stories, check out https://alexwesthaven.com. Trinity’s latest post will be up on Thursday of this week, and Alex’s will be up on Friday. Both of the fiction features on those blogs will tie into the new Magpie series I’m working on here, but from decidedly different perspectives and voices.

Thanks for reading, and for those of you on or joining the email lists, thanks for subscribing! Writing and sharing stories is what I like to do most in this world, and I appreciate anyone who chooses to come along for the (often wild) ride, no matter how you choose to do so.

Now, back to our regular (and new) scheduled posts. Tune in Friday for the first chapter of Magpie Shiny!


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Making the Time

**Quick note: MacKenzie Saves the World is on sale now for just 99 cents at Barnes & Noble and Kobo! The sale ends Monday, August 14th at 12:00am, so get your copy today!

Impromptu blogging break last week because…I decided I needed to make writing new words more of a priority, which means reserving my weeknight writing time specifically for writing and/or revising fiction.

And that means, if I don’t get a blog post written and scheduled for the week between Friday night and Sunday night, it doesn’t happen for that week. When I made the “rule” for myself, I was thinking it shouldn’t be a problem. But of course, things happen, especially on weekends, and I’m still working out the kinks in my schedule to make sure I have the time I need.

I’m also struggling a bit with trying to find time to work out certain elements of plot with this new story. I need to work out a family tree so I know the lineage I’m working with, and can refer to it in the story without getting things all dangled-up timewise. This isn’t “writing” per se, but I feel like I really need to have it worked out before I go much further, probably because it’s an integral part of the main storyline. I think I’m going to have to make that more of a priority as well, but once it’s done, it’s done, so at least that’s a finite part of planning.

Of course I have a few side projects I want to work on kind of at the same time, so there’s that. I have issues with way, way too many ideas, and not nearly enough time to explore them all at once. I always work on more than one project at a time, but I know that makes all the projects slower. But working on one project for the duration is just…well…boring.

So you see my problem.

The important thing is, I’m making writing fiction a priority, and I’m very optimistic about the whole thing.

But it does mean I might miss a blog post here and there. Sacrifices must be made, sometimes.


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Writing Notes: Planning? Plotting? Who Am I?

As you can see, I’ve finally settled on a new name for this blog. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to add a banner to the blog page on my site, but I will, because I’m quite fond of this one I whipped up last night. It makes me chuckle. And we all could use a good chuckle, right?

Welcome to Writing Lint.
🙂

As a friendly reminder, the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale for ebooks is in full swing, and this week,The Biker’s Wench and The Minister’s Maid are discounted, and The Handyman’s Harem Girl
  is free! They’re campy and fun and perfect summer reading.

I’ve been doing some planning. Or a lot of planning, actually. I follow Holly Lisle’s blog, and she’s been doing something very inspiring over the last few months (moreso because she’s also been moving her entire online presence to a new platform, which is about the least fun thing ever for anyone, but she has an entire course load and community to shift, which is about like moving the Titanic).

Holly’s been writing/revising a five-book series all at once. Well, one at a time, but consecutively, without releasing any of them until they’re all done. She wrote all the drafts, and now she’s going back through and revising them all, to ensure continuity and cohesiveness throughout the series.

Which is genius, when you think about it. Once you have all the books in a series done, the hard work is finished. And then you can release them all at once, or one per month, or one every other month…which means people can finish one, look forward to the next, and pre-order the rest, since they’ll all be scheduled out and public.

Genius, I think. Especially when you can write as steadily as she has for the past…nearly a year.

In any case, I don’t know if I have the patience to do the same thing Holly’s doing, but I love the concept. And just watching her work has inspired me to, if not write all the books at once, at least plan all the books in the series out before I even start writing, getting as much detail down as I can, and making sure the plots mesh as much as possible before digging in.

Things will change as I write – they always do, but even though I like to just start writing and see what happens, it’s a lot less work to have a roadmap when I have to make the most out of every little bit of writing time I can grab.

So I’ve been planning, and plotting, and laying out a series that’s getting bigger the farther I dig into it. Once I decided that I really wanted to write a family saga, the floodgates kind of just whooshed open, and suddenly I had three families involved, starting with mail-order brides (which I now have to research) and ending up in present day with the tangible items that each of the first three women deemed important enough to pass down through generations.

The story feels big – really big. We’ll see what happens as I get deeper into the storylines, but I’m excited to explore the different legacies swirling around in my head.

More to come as I dig deeper into The Magpie Legacies.

Of course, I also recently got an idea for a series themed around lamps….

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