Even being a stay home mom I work with clowns…

I was sitting down minding my own business editing when I was needed to run to the store really fast to grab a few things for dinner. I left all my editing stuff out (although I did take my phone with me).  Leaving it all out might have been a mistake.

This is how it looked when I left…

One computer has all my writing (I don’t have internet on it), one has a dictionary/ thesaurus open, and one is just for research. I know I could have windows open for the research and thesaurus, but I didn’t want too. Also I had my phone next to me because I always get phone calls and texts when I’m writing or editing — not because of Facebook or Twitter or anything. I’d never waste time there. 😛 The binder is one of my beta’s with their notes and such, and the list on the binder is my “said list.”

When I returned home from my store run I found this…

Ok, one of these is broken, one is my oldest daughter’s, one is my husband’s, and then they put their cell phones on the high chair… *deep sigh*

Yep, I can’t get away from clowns in my work place. I guess I should be glad that they didn’t mess with anything important.

Note ~ My “said list” is a list of about 100-200 ways to say “said” so I don’t always say “she said” or “he said.” It reminds me to add the extra emotion and use words like words for example “she cried” or “he chuckled.” When I first write the story I usually write it so fast I just over kill the word “said.”

To B, or not to B: that is the question…

I know lately I’ve drawn a lot on here.  It’s been fun but here is a normal blog post… boring I know, but I still needed to do it. 😀 (FYI ~ I couldn’t help myself there’s a funny at the end.)

This is the back and forth topic that a lot of us are now being forced to choose.  The first choice we have is do we self-publish or not.   That is an entire different blog post that many authors have done, and a choice that only you can make on your own.  But if you’ve made up your mind to self-pub, here is the second choice and a new question… Do we go with the $.99 book that Kindle is offering us?  We all keep hearing the rags to riches stories.  And, although we know our work is good, we are also aware that there is only one JK Rowling out there and unfortunately it’s not us. (Ms. J.K. Rowling, if you are actually reading this, please give me a shout out. 🙂 <– Shameless promotion, mixed with wishful thinking.)

To get back on track, I’m going to list the perks and the downs. Yes, another pros and cons list by yours truly. This one is about the 99 cent books which are becoming labeled B books –just like the old B movies.  I shall start positive with the perks.

The pros…

1. Your book will sale. There is truth to it.  People don’t mind wasting a buck on a book when a latte’ costs 4 to 5 times as much.

2. You will make a profit — IF you did it all yourself.  You still might make a profit if you hired an editor, which, no matter what, you should do everything you can to be properly edited, even when it costs 30 to 45 cents a word!

3. Well, there is no three I just felt there should be at least one more…

The cons…

1. You will be labeled as a B author. That is not “you might,” you WILL be labeled.  The truth of the matter is we do not yet know in 20 years if that will matter, but we know right now it’s not a great thing.  If you are planning on NEVER going traditional or you think only snobs will care and bookstores are dead… then being labeled doesn’t matter one bit to you… which is great! Go for it!

2. Traditional publishing is not dead, it’s just a little sick and chances are it will recover. There will be changes but it will recover.  The only indie movement we have to compare this new one to is the one the music world faced years ago.  Music labels and big companies didn’t die, they just changed.  By stating this I’m saying we shouldn’t place all our eggs in either basket.  I think there is going to be a meeting ground.  Why is this a con when we can just about guarantee that self-pubs are here to stay too, you might ask. The reason is we know that self-publishing will not dirty an author’s name, but we have no idea yet if being a “B” author will.  If, by some unforeseen event, the entire self-pub dies out, and one is labeled a “B” author, traditional pubs are less likely to tarnish their name by publishing a “B” author.

3. This is going to sound very cliché, but there is nothing in the world like holding your book in your hands.  It’s very much like seeing your child for the very first time.  You love to just look at it and hold it.  After all you created that book.  I’ve held my book in e-format… not the same.

Here is a good link to read a little more… http://www.publishingebooks.blogspot.com/

Now before everyone gets mad at me for what I’ve said please read this last part.  The reason this blog is up is because for the last 3 months I have taken this topic into the deepest consideration.  I have asked myself, “How fad is it?”  “How bad would I suffer?”  But after long, hard deep, consideration I have decided that I will just keep doing what I’m doing.

Note ~ I cannot stress editing enough. Before you submit to agencies, edit. Before you self-pub, edit. Before anyone but betas read it, EDIT! Have a pro look over it and fix what you, your friends, and your family didn’t see. It is VERY worth it! Your book Your baby deserves a fair start on the selves.

Note Note ~ Yes, I broke a writing rule and used ‘you’ all over the place.  Please forgive me Mrs. Brundidge, you and Mrs. Fleming are still my fav HS teachers! (My hubby is too, but he was never my actual teacher.)

Note Note Note ~ Some people do love B movies! Just NEVER watch Worm Eaters your eyes, tummy, and mind will thank you.

My first book, The Flowers and the Flowers…

When I was 6 years old there was nothing I wanted to do more than to write.  I wrote a book called The Flowers and the Flowers.  It was all about flowers.  We were living with my grandparents at the time.  My grandpa had a big garden in his yard.  One day I went outside with him and looked at all the lovely flowers.  He told me all of their really long names and I got a little overwhelmed.  I told my grandpa that I was going to write a book for him about flowers.  He told me that as long as I didn’t pick any, he would be happy with it.  I wondered back in to the house.  My grandmother gave me some typing paper, I grabbed my crayons and I went into the back of the house.  I sat on the floor at the foot of the bed in the pink bedroom while my mother unpacked and I enjoyed writing and drawing.  When I was done I told my mother that I was going to be a ‘book writer’, I was corrected and told ‘author.’  I didn’t like the name out of fear of someone thinking I was changing my name to Arthur.  I called it a ‘book writer’ for many years before I would finally say, “I want to be an author.”  Looking back on it now, I think that everyone thought I just liked the flowers, and although I thought they were nice, I just wanted to write a book.

Skipping ahead now to when I was 10-11, a few friends and I decided to write a sequel to Stand By Me (the movie).  I didn’t know about laws, copyrights, and such at that age. We worked on the outline together and I was supposed to fill in everything else (write the main story) and they were going to take turns adding to it when they read it.  Anyway, I filled about 3 note books full of writing before one of the other girls wanted to borrow it, so she could see where we were, and I never saw it again.  I was sooooooo bummed.  We were sure Hollywood and Stephen King were going to love it.  I was so very naive.

Fast-forward about 3 years. We were moving back in with my grandparents.  I was bored… very bored… So I wrote about 6-9 comic books on an art pad my Aunt Barb gave me. In truth these were funny and good.  About 9 years ago I ran across them and laughed my butt off.  I wrote them in comic book format but like a very large comic strip.  I had read several comics by 13-14 so I knew how many pages they were.  I had 5 to 6 main people in the story.  I don’t want to say too much here because if I can find them I will share them.  The art work is a little on the blah side but the main people don’t vary too much from frame to frame.  I really had fun with it.

When I was a sophomore in high school I had a teacher who was mad at me for having “Too much imagination for creative writing.”  Somehow I was skipped over when the “tell’em what you’re going to tell’em, tell’em, tell’em, tell’em, tell’em what you told’em” speech happened so I was writing stories, not papers.  When I found out the formula all was great. But I still never understood why they called the class ‘creative writing’ when it was anything but.  I wanted to be creative when I wrote and I wanted to write stories.

I’ve always wanted to be an author.  There were years upon years when negative people told me that I couldn’t, I was young and trusted them.  I stopped tell people what I wanted to be and started telling people what I was told I could do and what I was told I wanted to be.  When I was 25 my ex-husband, who was my ex-husband at the time, told me that he knew I could be an author. He said that he knew that’s what I really should be.  He wasn’t my friend, he wasn’t someone who cared about me, but he knew me, and when he said it I knew one day I would write.  I didn’t know what would finally push me, but I knew I would write.  Then with the support, love, and constant encouragement (plus treats) I get from my husband I feel I was and am strong enough to do this.

Follow your dreams and don’t let anyone hold you back.  If you want it bad enough you will find away.  There are armless artists who use their feet or mouth to paint and draw, there’re dyslexic and autistic writers, there are one armed mountain climbers, and if no one else in this world has faith in you, I do.  If we can fly in the air, survive underwater, and be shot into orbit, your dreams might one day be a reality.  The only people I don’t have faith in are the bullies; the ones that bring us down so they can feel better and stronger.  I pray for them to grow past who they are, but experience has taught me too, I have no faith in them.

Shhh, I’m working…

Shhh, it's a secret...

I’m working on a secret project that I really hope goes well… It’s for me and in the hopes that I can advertise better.  Right now it’s eating up my time.  I guess really I’m working on two secret advertising projects. I’m also trying to improve my art skills.  I don’t know if that can be done but I have a few new toys and I know I rock like no other with stick figures… well, maybe not as awesome as JC Little or a few others but hey I can do stick like people ok enough . 😛
Anyway, my editing is moving along. Two of my betas for book two asked if I can give it to them a week later than plan.  This worked out just right for me because I was rushing myself to get it done sooner.  I just wanted one extra week and BOOM I got it! The other beta had no issue about waiting.  I’ve still been wondering how many people other authors use as betas.  This will be my first run ever wih betas and I’m very nervous about it.
My new computer is great. Only issue is I still need to sort through and move over my junk. I have about ten outlined, half written, or all the way written blogs on it. My old computer isn’t wireless and had to be moved into another room while I slowly go through all of everything.  Some of its pictures, double pictures, cropped pictures, old documents, old school papers, to-do lists, blog stuff, book stuff, music, videos, and you name it and I pack-ratted it on to my old ‘puter.
Also in two months I will have been doing this blog for two years and I don’t know if I should be doing anything for that date… we shall see if I have time and can come up with anything. 😉  I’m super, crazy, stupid, busy right now and I still need to clean out the garage. Well, I’m off to go do something secret… Shhh…

Characters, my favorite part of the book…

Characters make the story, at least for me they do.  Everyone comes up with different ways to write them. Sometimes they are like Frankenstein’s monster with their bits and pieces from old friends, a cluster of flaws from people we know to make a neurotic creature, or maybe we borrowed little morsels of cuteness from a few crushes of the past to make our dream love come to life.  No matter how they’re made though they have to start with something, some idea of what’s needed, what makes them tick?  It’s the author’s job to know that and work it all out.

I love dark hair with blue eyes.  I think it’s dreamy.  My husband has near black hair and sky blue eyes.  I love his eye color.  Anyway, I’ve found that I wrote a book with way too many ‘good looking’ people.  My biggest villain, dark hair with blue eyes, my other villain, dark hair with blue eyes, my hero, longer dark hair with blue eyes, one of my main ladies, dark hair with blue eyes.  I’m going to have to give one or two of them brown eyes.

This got me wondering about how everyone else sits down to make their characters.  I feel that this is one of my biggest strong points in a story.  I’m bad at scenery, but great at the ‘people’.  I start with my idea. Then I draw (a poor sketch): One of a close up and one of them standing.  They are either standing next to a ruler or a tree to give me an idea of their height and girth.  My art could be better, but I’m an artist of words, not an artist of pictures.  On the opposite side of the paper I have a character sheet.  For those who are unfamiliar with what that is: it’s a page where info such as age, height, weight, hair color, personality flaws, rich or poor, and so on are written down.  For me the detail all depends on how important the individual is in the story, that’s how I decide how much info they are given.  For important ones I give them four to six pages and both drawings, for less important ones, two pages and one (maybe two) with very sloppy sketches, for a one time encounter just one sheet with the bone basic info.  I keep all of these in a binder just for that book. I save it, and if needed, I rewrite repeat characters from the series, put it in the folder for the next book, and write in the changes.  I use birth year and date, not age.  Ages change even with immortals so dates act best.  Also, I have found that to give them more flaws and personalities I’ll give them a little history, even if it’s not told in the book.  I feel this helps to add depth.  This is also if I ever need a little more of a reference to the individual, it’s there.  One of my characters is gay.  I don’t think it will ever come out but he just is. I need that info when I work with him so he never looks at the ladies.  Two of my characters are 1/2 brothers that are very close and one of them had a mother who was a slave, the other mother was sickly. I need this so I know why and how they both might feel in certain situations.  We never read more than one line about Mary’s sisters, but in my binder their age differences, married family, and such are written down just for reference.

I would love to hear (read) other ideas for characters and if you have any tips for landscape details, besides just visualizing, please, please, PLEASE share.

Juggling…

I have a few books that I am working on. The Vampiress Sagas, of course, is the one at the very front of my work load.  There are more though.  I have been working on a comedy sci-fi that I truly hope is funny.  Another one that I’m working on is a YA fantasy.  Then I have family life, kids with school, husband just back to work, and (for those of you who don’t know… I’m finally talking) in September I’m due to have another baby.  So, yeah, right now I’m juggling.
The Vampiress Sagas is my prime, ‘you have to work on this’ book.  There will be four in that series when it is done.  But there will also be a planned three in another series with a large amount of the same characters.  I’ve fallen in love (or a wonderful dislike) with most of the heroes, villains, and anybodies in this series that I don’t know if I will ever tire of working with them. (Ahhhh, warm fuzzies.)
The sci-fi book is my second priority with work, and the one my husband is dying to read the most.  He absolutely loves the storyline.  He loves the others too, it’s just this one makes him laugh and it tests some of my boundaries.  I’m writing this one a little differently, and working on changing some of my style… just for this book.  I work on this story when I’m in a more playful mood and just can’t settle into my vampire world.  This book also takes very little historical research.  So if I’m stuck in a doctor’s office for an hour I can just freely type without having to worry about investigating the past.
Just like with The Vampiress Sagas my YA fantasy has been in my head for years.  When I was in high school I wrote a short story of it in a journal.  I’ve also, over the years, have had several dreams with this storyline.  I work on this when I’m in a dreamy mood.  And although the characters in this book and the sci-fi one are fun, enjoyable, completely developed, I just can’t see either being more than one book worth, so no sequels are planned.
There is also an additional book that I have to start thinking about… I think it will be a novella.  My 10 year old requested that I write a werewolf book.  I’m going to need to think about it very carefully.  I’ve never planned on writing anything with werewolves.  I’ve loved and enjoyed several movies and books featuring or ‘starring’ them, I just never planned on this.  I think it’ll be a challenge, but one I’m sure I can handle.  I’m only doing it because she was a little broken hearted that my vampire book had sharks, zombies, and vampires, but not her favorite… the werewolf.  I still will not add one in my vampire world because they don’t work there, but I will write a story just for her.
My husband started back to work two weeks ago, but his students just came back last week.  He has been upset about the lack of reading that will go on this year.  His school, like so many others, got rid of their AR reading program and they are not getting another reading program in its place.  With him being the high school librarian he is going to need to come up with an incentive program for the kids or most of them will never read.  It’s really sad.  My daughters start back soon and they are both a little eager.  And everyone wishes that my due date was in July so we could have started the adjustment period with the new baby when the family was all at home.
So here I am working on three different stories, while trying to think of a fourth.  My husband and kids are getting ready for school and my baby is getting ready for her big day… the day that will always be her birthday.

Here is my little question/s for you… How many books are you taking on at once?  And if you are also adjusting to the new school year, how are you taking it?

I was just e-mailed my Press Release…

The Strongest Fire
Book One of the Vampiress Sagas

On New Year’s Day in the year 1000, a young widow is suddenly plunged into the vampire underworld. In The Strongest Fire (published by iUniverse) by Sarah Winters, Mary must learn to adapt and survive in her strange new existence.

Having lost both her husband and young daughter to untimely death, Mary is used to being alone. But having gone to live with and help her brother and his wife raise their 12 children, she is rarely all by herself. One cold night, though, when she isn’t sheltered under the watchful eyes of her father and brother, Mary is accosted by a vampire named Barnabas. His bite changes her life forever.

Barnabas explains that he is very selective about choosing people to join his band of the undead. He learned of her by keeping tabs on his family; Mary’s deceased husband is one of Barnabas’ descendants. Her great beauty and emotional strength appealed to the vampire, who determined to make her his own.

Now Mary must learn to survive in a new life that isn’t really life at all. She is taken to Barnabas’ ship to join his band of sea-faring vampires as they seek adventure in such varied places as Ireland, Africa, Iceland and Greenland. The all-male crew of vampires welcomes Mary for the most part, but her adjustment is not easy. In addition to learning to live without her family, Mary must also get used to her new cravings, which she has to sate exclusively with fish.

Winters’ novel is written for the most part for a late-teen and adult audience and anyone interested in vampires and medieval times. Readers will enjoy this adventure-filled story that takes a slightly different approach to the typical blood-thirsty vampire tale.

About the Author
Sarah Winters grew up in a military family and spent the first five years of her life in Washington, several cities in Germany, Texas and California. She continued to live in different cities and towns along the coast of California before finally settling in the south of the state. Winters is currently a stay-at-home wife and mother. She hopes to continue writing more novels.

The Strongest Fire: Book One of the Vampiress Sagas