November 30, 2011

A day in the writing life…


Woke up wondering if the glitch in the website had fixed itself. 
Spent 20 minutes avoiding the glitch by 1) calling Allstate and 2) Checking to see if a shipment of books had been delivered to upstate NY.

Checked the website.  The glitch was still there.
Tinkered with the short story for the contest to win two tickets to Seminar.  Decided it needed to ferment more.

Hardware diagnostics running on PC…PC has slowed to a crawl.
Read a review of Ian Bostritch at Carnegie Hall while waiting for IE to close.

Decided to pack it in while hardware diagnostics were still running and went to breakfast.
Checked email.  The class proposal I submitted to RVCC has been approved!  I can now do about 100 hours of developmental work for around $.50 an hour only to be tortured by students in March and April.

Added course to my to-do list.
Locked in mortgage refi rate by talking to a guy on the phone who either 1) is attending law school 2) afraid to stop talking.  45 minutes out of my life.  Found the best way to stop him talking was to whistle at him.

Spent 20 minutes trying to decide whether to go ahead and work on Remarkable Likeness or drag myself back into Loft.  Compromised by coming up with a totally different novel.
Spent 15 minutes looking for my idea book so I could write down the idea for the above.

Couldn’t find the idea book.  Wrote it in a word document that I know I will lose in the PC.
Almost lunch time. 

Decided to fix website. Didn’t.
Called new doc for appointment.  Spent 10 minutes giving info to scheduler.   She says I’ll have to fill out a form when I get there with that info.  So why did she ask for it over the phone?

Papers came in from refi blabbermouth.  Signed, scanned and returned.  Quickest chore of the day so far.
Decided to check sales.  Wrong.  Disappointed.  Back to writing.  But is it worth it?  Stop being existential and write.

Back to the prize-winning story.  Still stinks.
Lunch with my old friend.

40 minute post-lunch private melt-down

Cleaned writing desk

Decided to recycle
       or clean the bedroom
                      or clean the bathroom

Long self-lecture about pencil-sharpening and its effects on writer output.

Recycled.

Found the idea book while shelving another book.  Now I can’t remember the idea.

Fixed the science experiment in the kitchen sink.

Made a Dr’s appointment.

Made an appointment to bring my car in for service.

Remembered the idea and wrote it in the book.  Filed the book very close to my favorite chair.  Hope I remember where I put it.

Wrote on Remarkable Likeness for 10 minutes.

Phone rang.  Old college friend.  Talked for an hour.

9PM

Back to thinking about website.  Got into Website Tonight.  Found I could fix the glitch in about 3 and a half seconds.  Fixed the glitch.

Checked Amazon.  Book reviews for In Season and Shepherd’s way by C. Nisaragi are both appearing twice thus distorting my review stats.

Decided to bag it.

November 29, 2011

Double wahoo!

I submitted a proposal to teach a Self-publishing course at Raritan Valley Community college in their Life-Long Learning section in the spring and my proposal has been accepted.  Bucket list reduction continuing.

November 28, 2011

Wahoo!

While some folks think this is a lot of nonsense I love doing NaNoWriMo and once again:


I am a winner!  Since Scrivner is one of the prize supporters I am hoping to get a discount so I can buy this writing program.

November 14, 2011

Ahem...the next step on my journey




Available now on Kindle (and shortly in paperback and on Nook), my latest novel, The Shepherd's Image, my latest novel.  A look at what you will be getting into (cause I know you're going to buy it):

When Wall Street takeover star Adelaide Wasserstein wanted something more in her life than just numbers, she took her father’s sage advice and went looking for a hobby. What she found was an art teacher who kindled in her an interest in the mystery of religious experience in a way that her classical upbringing in languages, in theology and in economics had never done. Entranced, she followed the artist through the doors of the Episcopal Church and into the spiritual life she hadn’t known she needed.


   

November 4, 2011

The argument against Agent/Publishers

A few posts ago I lauded a Literary Agency for offering self-publishing services.  Here is a link to a reasoned blog on why agencies should not become actual publishers

Jason Allen-Ashlock


Publishing Perspectives

I believe literary agent Jason Ashlock has a perspective that definitely has to be considered.  As in all markets, buyer beware.   "An agent representing a client’s works to licensees cannot realistically maintain his or her unwavering allegiance to that client when the licensee is the Agency itself — however the “digital publishing arm” of the agency is described. "

November 1, 2011

The race to the finish....

Why is it that the closer I get to publishing a book the faster I want to go?  I know that this "race to the finish" attitude is the reason I would be very, very bad at traditional publishing.  I want it to happen now.  Not six to twelve months from now.  Oh well, I guess I have to live with my race horse mentality.

October 21, 2011

Put in Your Two Cents


Okay.  So I’ve lapsed back into the publicity world.  One of the things that readers may not know about books in the ever evolving world of publishing is that books live or die on their reviews, and reviews are no longer solely the purview of the New York Review of Books and The New York Times.  In the world of internet publishing, every single reviewer can have an effect on how a novel sells.
When Jeff Bezos first decided that customers, any customers, would be allowed to review product (negatively and positively) on the Amazon site, detractors said that it would have a generally negative effect on sales, but Bezos defended the decision (correctly) by saying that the purpose of a review is to help customers make the best product choice. As far as I am concerned he was spot on.

If I don’t create a quality product, I deserve what I get.  If I make your socks go up and down, tell other people so that they may enjoy my book too.  Don’t be shy.  Go to Amazon.com or Goodreads and put in your two cents!

October 19, 2011

Punctuation Lesson

Very delinquent (I'm setting up a parallel blog) but I stole this today from FaceBook.  I need to internalize it (my editors would say).  Not the sentiment for I've committed that to heart from an early age, just the punctuation lesson.

September 9, 2011

The Process of Writing

I've concentrated for the last few months on the process of marketing, or (as it used to be called) selling.  For the past few weeks I have done so so very intensely that it has interruped my writing process.  My back has been out, I've been in a really ugly mood and I haven't figured out why.  Until now, that is.

I am a writer.  I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

You're about to see a change in this blog (yes again).  I'm going to be writing about writing and the process thereof.  The purpose is to bring me back to home.  To bring me back to where I love to be. 

I wasn't made to sell, I was made to write.

August 30, 2011

Diversify

            So.  Hmmm.  Well there’s no way around it.  Today you almost got a rant.  Almost, that is, until in searching for ammunition for the rant (a rant requires substantiation) I found a breath of fresh air that wasn’t only a result of the tail end of Irene.

As you know, I have self-published my two books using CreateSpace.  I have also e-published these books.  I have been very satisfied with this arrangement.  Any success I have or any success I don’t have is attributable to my own efforts (or lack thereof) and I like it that way.  It is, for me, an acceptable arrangement.

That said, I have watched with some sadness the increasingly strident tone of the “traditional” publishing industry and writer's associations with regard to those of us who self-publish.

In the first instance there are professional organizations which consider a writing professional only those who have been published by a traditional publisher.  Therefore, if I am a self-published author who has sold 10,000 copies of my self-published book LOVE ON THE LAWN, I would still not be able to be a General Member of the Romance Writers of America. 

In the second instance there are various and sundry agents (yes I know they make their money shopping their clients’ books to traditional publishers) who continue to denigrate those authors who self-publish as somehow sub-standard writers.

But I have been a bit encouraged by agents who are branching out to find new ways to assist their clients who want to self-publish and e-publish.

I remember fondly the movie “A Majority of One,” and especially the line from that movie that should be the mantra of anyone working in a changing  industry.  The very New York Jewish mother of the American trade attaché in Japan (Rosalind Russell) says to the (oddly cast Sir Alec Guinness) Japanese cloth magnate who is mourning the loss of business to cheaper cloth producers that, from her experience in her husband’s business, he must “diversify.”


What encouraged me was a post on the blog of the agents of Bookends ( http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2011/07/bookends-strategy-for-self-epublishing.html ) dated July 25 and announcing:  “After a lot of thought and work, BookEnds has also come up with a plan for how we will work with self-epublishing and what we want to be able to provide our clients, and it's a little bit of everything.” 

This involves supporting their clients in whatever way they want to publish and even providing the clients services to help the client e-publish.

Their blog post announcing their new venture dated July 25th of this year has, to date, generated 169 comment, some of them a bit vituperative.

I admire Bookend’s boldness in branching out and I hope to see more of this inventiveness in the future.

August 5, 2011

PRESS RELEASE!!!!



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Christina Wible
Website URL: www.christinawible.com

SECOND NOVEL BY LOCAL AUTHOR RELEASED

Clinton, NJ, August 1, 2011-- IN SEASON, the latest novel by Christina Wible, has been released in paperback. It is available on Amazon.com, through Chris’ website and directly from the author to friends who want a signed copy. The release of IN SEASON kicks off a three-month-long promotional tour that will include book signings and readings. 

IN SEASON is about love, horse breeding, and petty thievery… though not necessarily in that order. It takes place in the exclusive world of New Jersey horse breeding—a world about which Wible, a long-time rider, owner, and lover of Morgan horses, offers a rare insider’s peek.

Exclusive it may be, but caring for elite Standardbred horses still involves plenty of mud, sweat, and determination. Fortunately, Wible’s main character, FE Booker, is used to mud and sweat, and has determination to spare. Sure, she has a habit of keeping people at arm’s length, especially her aunt, who is both her bookkeeper and the only family FE has left, and her new vet, whom she initially mistakes for an effete New York model.

“I’ve lived in New Jersey almost my entire life, and still this book offered a completely new perspective on all those sprawling, beautiful horse farms I pass every day on my way to work. Non-Jerseyans who think all we are is a backdrop for The Sopranos will be amazed,” says Wible’s editor, Alexa Offenhauer.

IN SEASON also offers trademark Wible facets such as strong female characters, troubled relationships, dry humor, and even a touch of slapstick. Readers of romance, epic dramas, comedic women’s literature, and even Westerns will be drawn to this book, which incorporates elements of many genres and is, above all, about how one independent woman learns how to live and love within a community that supports her more than she could ever have imagined.

ABOUT

Christina Wible is a long-time horse lover and former Morgan Horse owner who lives and writes in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. She recently took the plunge and quit her day job, and is now a full-time writer. She embraces the freedom and control of self-publication, and is already in the editing stages on her third novel, REMARKABLE LIKENESS.

For more information, contact Christina Wible at the above website.

July 19, 2011

The Demise of Borders

            Awoke this morning to the news that Border’s had gone under for the third time and will be liquidating.

Not sure how to take this but I know that I have to say something.  While they don’t publicize it (and they don’t have a FB page) one of my Independent Book Store acquaintances is jubilant.  I say watch out what you wish for.

I’m an independent author.  I prefer that to self-published because of the derision that has been heaped  on that moniker of self-pub by the traditional publishing industry and because I know I probably work harder at it than most conglomerate published authors.  I know what it takes (whether I choose to or not) to sell a book.  It takes hard work and knowledge of your market.  It also takes a willingness to learn and use new technologies.

Come to think of it, that’s what it takes to thrive in a capitalist society.  For the most part, the government is not going to give you a boost if you cross your arms and refuse to go where the rest of the world is going, preferably before the rest of the world gets there.

I know a couple of independent book store owners who blame the fact that they are just scraping by (if not operating in the red) on the large book stores (Borders or Barnes and Noble) but in order to thrive in a capitalist society you have to be one step ahead of the competition.  In the play “A Majority of One” the Jewish housewife from New York tells the Japanese textile baron that in order to get ahead he must “diversify.”   This was written in the 1950s and it is just as true now.  The only way you succeed is to find the new niche and go there.  Stick out your neck and have the guts to be one step ahead.  It may mean you judge the trends wrong and fall on your face, it may mean you come out ahead.  What it does mean though is that it’s your face, not someone else’s.  It’s yours to either make it or not.

I was a very shy child.  When she had to encourage me my grandmother would say “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”  When I whined about doing something she would tell me that if I didn’t do that thing, it would be “my bed and I would have to lie in it.”  That’s what it’s all about isn’t it?  Blame and whining don’t work.  Someone might sympathize for a moment but, in the end people forget you and move on and you are left to yourself.  Time to move on.

July 13, 2011

Wack-a-mole

I have to quote one of my favorite authors from her FB page today.  Laurie R. King says: “After playing whack-a-mole with plot for the past few weeks--every time I fix one plot problem, another two or three pop up--I think I've flattened the thing into submission. A delusion, no doubt, but momentarily comforting.”

Oh do I know that feeling.  Laurie writes mysteries and they are absolutely the worst for plot thread interactions.  You’ve just got your hero in the right place at the right time and you realize that he was supposed to be in London two hours before and the Concorde doesn’t fly anymore.

The book I’m currently writing (tentatively titled Remarkable Likeness) has a twist that has me going back all the time to see if I’ve telegraphed too much or too little.  I have so many notes in my RL notebook I can’t find anything anymore and last week I found a character who had three different names and they weren’t supposed to sport any aliases.  Whack a Mole.

If you have a chance read one of Laurie’s books as part of your summer reading.  I recommend her Mary Russell series if you want great mysteries in a series (hint: Sherlock Holmes finds a late-life partner in crime) the first of the series being The Beekeepers Apprentice.  For more serious, but still woman-friendly reading, I would recommend Folly, a psychological thriller. 

Of course in a month you will be able to read my latest, In Season, on the lighter reading side.

June 29, 2011

The pitfalls of Cover design.

The pitfalls of Cover design.

Cover design for me is coming parallel with block design and I haven’t given enough attention to Lex who is designing the cover.  I think she is trying to see if I am awake.
A great design arrived this morning with the following back text.  I honestly wish I could actually use it.  Hmmm.  I just might.

FE Booker is a cool lady who you will enjoy reading about.  She’s very, very cool and funny and also snarky.  She has horses, and she does things with them.  Then she falls for a hot guy who happens to be her vet.  Then some tack gets stolen and, unrelatedly, she breaks her ankle.  She’s pretty pissed about that, but thinks turn out alright in the end.
This is obviously not real copy.  “But maybe there will be a quote here, or something about a liverwurst stealing dawg.”

Christina Wible has been writing books since she could spell but this is the second that is being published.  She wishes she could say that she had only researched on paper the parts of this book that involve horse semen.
Please buy her book, as she has quit her job and is now broke.

June 22, 2011

The unbearable lightness of unemployment

Permit me today a digression into the life of a soon to be full time writer. Today I quit my day job.  Well, I mentally quit a while back, but today I walked up to my boss and handed in my resignation.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked my day job and most of the people I worked with.
But it was interfering with the time I wanted to spend writing.  I had, by saying I had too much to do at work, a built-in excuse for not writing.  I’m shedding that excuse and paring my life down to the bare bones of simply being able to put fingers to keyboard whenever the spirit moves me.  And whenever the plumber is not unclogging the sink.
Easy for you to say.
Well, it wasn’t easy.  Having a day by day job allows you a little socialization that you don’t always get sitting at home at the keyboard and talking to the statue of Buddha on the floor next to you.
The gift it does give is freedom.  Freedom from intraoffice politics that sap my strength.  Freedom from having to be in bed by 11PM if I want to get up and go to work at 5AM even if my inner muses are all night owls. Freedom to really understand what drives me to scribble in the dead of night.
The drawbacks are obvious.  I’m going to be poor and in debt.  I’ve reworked my budget innumerable times.  I’m already poor and in debt.  I’m just going to be poorer and more in debt.
But I have dreamed, since I started writing when I was 14, of being free to do this.
As so many pundits have said “life is a journey”  I’ve stopped living it one stupid day at a time, resentful of every time I got in the car and slogged to work. I am now going to inhale it in big gulps grateful for every single one of those breaths. 
Or at least I think I will .  After July 14th.

June 11, 2011

I've been Kindleblogged

I've been Kindleblogged! (Apologies to those I'm FB spamming but I'm excited!) I've blogged in the past about the difficulties establishing a following when you are a self-published author. Kindle Author provides some outside exposure for those publishing on the Kindle platform. And, as a self-published author there is no reason you shouldn't publish on Kindle!

Click here to see my interview.

Sometimes ADD is a good thing!

Recently I was asked (as a facebook question) “What is your ideal writing environment?” and I responded thusly:  My ideal would be to sit here at home at a desk I already have set up and type away. My muse hates my desk. Lately the only place that I can write is at my desk at work which means stolen moments and a lot of incomprehensible prose.”

Actually I CAN write anywhere.  Because I am ADD (but not ADHD) I used to find it pure torture to sit in a classroom and listen to a professor.  In my later days of degree collecting I spent four years in a school where classes were given in the evening (very convenient for those of us who were working full time) and once a week.  The latter meant that I would spend three hours a night in the same professor’s class and do this three times over each week. 

As you can imagine, with ADD I should have been climbing up the walls.  And I would have been if it had not been for the fact that I was ambidextrous.  I would sit at my (smallish) student desk with two pads of yellow legal paper and two pens.  With my left hand I would write novels.  With my right hand I would take notes. 

Now I’m not going to tell you I was so good as to be able to do those two tasks simultaneously, but I used up a lot of yellow legal pads.

Only one novel remains from those days.  The rest of the stuff was unmitigated blather.  BUT, I did find out that you can write anywhere and everywhere.  I can sit down in a library, I can write waiting for my oil change, I can type reports at work and write novels split screen.

So when someone tells me that they have to be in complete silence and have all the stuff on their desks aligned I laugh.  I tell them that they should become ADD.

April 16, 2011

The Blurt

I guess it’s called a lot of things: an elevator pitch, a sales pitch, a blurb, but I prefer a blurt. It is the very short paragraph that is intended to interest an agent or a publisher in your book either when you trap the target in an elevator, attend a Pitchapalooza or use it as the centerpiece of your query letter. So how do you describe it?

It’s harder to write to the book itself.

Its effectiveness is highly subjective. (One person’s blurt is another person’s blah?)

If at all possible an army should be enlisted to write it.

Just when you think it is perfect, it isn’t.

If the book isn’t being accepted by an agent or publisher you can blame it on the blurt and start over. Preferably after taking a stiff drink.

After awhile you will be able to recite it in your sleep. And probably will.

Once you’ve sold the book to a publisher they may or may not use it on the back cover.

Once you self-publish the book you will use it on the back cover because you will never, I repeat, never want to write another one for that same book.

Now you may think from all of this that I dislike writing a blurt. I don’t. I hate it.

April 6, 2011

...and you said you were doing what?

So why am I not blogging? I got chastised the other day by one of my friends because my blog and my website were so BORING. I agree. I completely agree. I have some excuses. Wanna here them? No of course you don't. But just so you get a blog entry here I go.

I have four novels and various promotional schemes floating around my skull. I have no room for a blog.

I also work to feed myself (you think my novels put donor on the table?).

It is Spring. (Alright that's a bit lame).

Whatever the excuse I frequently wonder if it is all worth it.
I write novels because I have to, even if they were never published my books would (and have) still come pouring out from somewhere within me. They have always taken precedence over everything else.

Now don't get upset. I still love you. All three of you. But the purpose of this blog at this moment in time is not to promote my one published novel but it is to tell it like it is about the writing life. Someday, when I am famous, this will be a promo blog. Right now it is just a stream of consciousness. And I'm a bit unconscious right now.

January 14, 2011

Excuse the typos, I'm observing...

Long time no post. I have been doing extensive research for Loft. Since I’ve never written anything with more than just a passing reference to an historical event I have been working my way through all the book information I can find on clothing of the early 20th century and the Triangle Waist fire. It’s interesting but I have to say that I’m doing it more to absorb the atmosphere than anything else.
As a side burp and to counteract the boredom brought on by too much time with head stuck in book, I have also been doing some opera research which left me open to a two day vacation in NYC to see an opera and just to soak up the City’s atmosphere (and alright, if you must, to feed the howling beast of obsession).
Thirty six hours of observation (20 straight of which I was awake) and application of several Buddhist principals that I have been reading about lately have left me with tons and tons of new material. Since Loft is already over 100,000 words that’s a problem not an asset.
So…the off the topic observation is that opera singers approach acting in a totally different way than those who work in the musical theater (not a new observation, ask Paulo Szot) and that that is eminently visible when an opera singer who has taken a side trip to musical theater returns to the opera stage.
At Carmen last night most of the singers were quite decent opera singers and all of them (except Szot) went exactly where the music was taking them, giving us no more nor no less than the music demanded and at times falling into either stand and deliver or melodrama. (Here I must note that it has always been my contention that if you took Carmen and just transported it to the musical theater without a complete book rewrite it would never, ever make it past the first week-the book would be laughed out of the theater.) But the fact that they stayed within those that operatic stereotype made me yawn. Since I am quite familiar with all the music of Carmen, I knew exactly what to expect of each singer and was given just that. Boring.
Szot, with his hard-earned musical theater experience, was in another opera entirely than the rest of the cast. Whenever he showed up there was finally someone on stage who was inhabiting the role. Yes, the other singers were emoting the music but he was inhabiting the role. I wish to high heavens that the rest of the opera world would catch up in the acting category, stop wrestling with the music so much and wrestle with character.
Until that time I guess I will just have to pray that integration of music with acting is something that the opera world will discover for themselves someday by using some power of observation that they have lost along the way.
So all of the slogging around in the City-of-yellow-and black-snow made me realize that A) you only love the place you’re not (personal observation and B) collecting data for books is much more fun if you are not sitting in a library and reading but spending your time just paying attention to that which is around you.