December 27, 2011

Favorite reads of 2011

2011 is almost over, which means it's time for "The Best/Top/Favorite _____ of 2011" lists! Here's my contribution: the best books I read in 2011.

  1. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
  2. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
  3. Feed - Mira Grant
  4. Unwind - Neal Shusterman
  5. MockingJay - Suzanne Collins
  6. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
  7. John Dies at the End - David Wong
  8. Smoke and Mirrors - Neil Gaiman
  9. Severance Package - Duane Swierczynski
  10. The Scorch Trials - James Dashner
Given how much I've raved about The Hunger Games, it's no surprise that the trilogy took three of the top five positions, including #1. The Hunger Games was the best book I've read in a few years.

Thanks to The Hunger Games trilogy, I also discovered the Young Adult Dystopian genre this year. Unwind and The Scorch Trials are both YA Dystopian stories, and Feed could be considered one too, although it's more of a zombie novel.

Absent from my Top 10 list are any books by indie authors. Indie books made up less than ten of the 70 or so books I read in 2011. While I did read a couple of good ones, none were among the ten best. I expect to read more indie books in 2012, and perhaps one or more will make my list next year.

December 17, 2011

Busy with author-y stuff

If there's one lesson that I've learned in the past month, since the publication of George and the Galactic Games, it's that writing is only one part of a "real" author's job. It's still the most important part, but once you've written and published your book, you still need to put it in front of readers. In other words, authors should not rely on "build it and they will come." No one will read your book if no one knows about it.

To address that, I've been busy with non-writing tasks, such as:
  1. Making George and the Galactic Games available in different formats
  2. Creating author pages on Amazon, Goodreads, and Smashwords
  3. Setting up a Twitter account
  4. Visiting other sites that can help increase exposure through book reviews, interviews, or giveaways

It's too early to tell if my efforts will pay off, but I know that I'm better off now than if I never did any of the items listed above.

December 12, 2011

George and the Galactic Games part of YA book giveaway

You can win a copy of George and the Galactic Games along with other YA books at the BIG AWESOME YA GIVEAWAY! Three lucky winners will win a package of TEN ebooks, and a fourth winner will win a print package of NINE books. It's easy to enter, and the contest ends on Tuesday, December 20. Good luck!

December 9, 2011

George and the Galactic Games available in other formats

For those of you who don't have a Kindle or the Kindle app, I'm happy to announce that George and the Galactic Games is available in other formats!

Electronically, the book is available from these vendors:

Last but definitely not least, I'm also excited to say that the book is available in print format for those who prefer to read from paper instead of electronically at this Createspace link.

December 5, 2011

New cover for George and the Galactic Games

The Kindle eBook for George and the Galactic Games has a new cover now. I wasn't that pleased with the original cover, and I hope the new one will be a little better. What do you all think?

December 2, 2011

Almost 1 million eBooks in Kindle Store!

According to a Techcrunch article, Amazon has nearly 1 million eBooks in the Kindle Store now! The actual number is a little less, but it's just a matter of time before they go over the 1 million mark. According to the same article, eBook sales are expected to grow from $3.2 billion this year to $9.7 billion in 2016. I guess I should be happy when my book has a 5-digit ranking in the Kindle Store -- it means it's selling better than 90% of all eBooks!

November 21, 2011

Can't wait for The Hunger Games movie

I just saw the new trailer for The Hunger Games. It looks great! I can't wait for the movie to come out next March.

November 12, 2011

George and the Galactic Games

I'm excited to announce that my second book (and first novel) is available in the Amazon Kindle Store! It is titled George and the Galactic Games, and it is a science fiction story suitable for young readers as well as adults.

George is the new kid in school. He also recently lost his father to a heart attack. In an effort to cheer him up, George’s mother takes him on a camping trip. That’s when their troubles really begin. Extraterrestrials abduct both mother and son. Now George finds himself an unwilling participant in the Yumal Contests, a galactic game against an alien species. He must overcome his fears and limitations to win because these games are not just a casual sporting event… his life hangs in the balance.

November 5, 2011

Searching for the next Hunger Games

I've written before about how great I think the Hunger Games trilogy is. Since then, I've read other books in the genre, hoping to find a worthy successor. The closest I've come is Neal Shusterman's Unwind and James Dashner's Maze Runner trilogy. IMHO, Unwind was the superior book, but Maze Runner came closer to re-creating a world similar to Panem. I've also read some recommendations in the genre that were disappointing, most notably Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy. Despite its good reviews, the story never grabbed me so that I couldn't put it down, mainly because I thought the characters were hard to believe in and sometimes acted irrationally given the circumstances they were in.

If anyone has other suggestions for books similar to the Hunger Games trilogy that I should read, let me know!

October 30, 2011


November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The NaNoWriMo website let's authors track their progress throughout the month and hands out certificates to those who finish a novel of at least 50,000 words by the end of the month.

I heard about this a few years ago and have always been too chicken to try it because I didn't think I had it in me to write a novel at all, much less to do it within a month. Now that I've actually written a novel, I might consider participating in NaNoWriNo in the future. This year, I've set November 1 as the start date to work on my next novel! I won't finish it in a month, but at least NaNoWriMo will have nudged me into starting it.

October 15, 2011


For two years, I had been using the weRead Facebook app as my online bookshelf. I had never used anything to track my books electronically before, and at the time, weRead seemed like a good choice because some of my other Facebook friends used it too. Now, two years later, I'm switching to Goodreads. There are several reasons for making the switch:

1. I don't like having to log in to Facebook to view or update my bookshelf.
2. The weRead app is down more often than I like.
3. The functionality in Goodreads is better. For instance, I like being able to sort by rating, which, believe it or not, I can't do with weRead.
4. I like the recommendations on Goodreads (so far).

Additionally, I've heard that Goodreads is a good platform for authors. I haven't looked into those features yet because I've been using it as a reader more than as an author.

So now I will leave you so that I can enter more books I've read into Goodreads.

October 1, 2011

Writing is fun, editing not so much

I have spent the last three weeks editing my book based on feedback from proofreaders. It hasn't been fun. Unlike writing, which I enjoy doing, I find editing to be more like work than like fun. Part of the reason is that I'm tired of going over the manuscript so many times. Since starting on the first draft, I've worked on the entire story seven times already, and I expect to go over it all at least once more. I've written and re-written some parts of it more than ten times, probably more than twenty! There are only so many times that I can stare at the same words without getting bored or going crazy! The other reason why I don't like editing is because every time I go through the manuscript, I find something to tweak. Maybe I'm being a perfectionist, or maybe I'm just indecisive. Either way, I feel like I'll never be done. To draw the line somewhere, I've decided to put a limit to my editing: if I go through the manuscript and change 1% or less of the text, then I will consider myself done.I hope I get to that stage soon.

September 24, 2011

Advice for aspiring writers

No, I'm not qualified to give advice to any aspiring writers. I'm talking about an article that prolific comic book writer Ron Marz penned giving advice to his 10-year-old daughter. The article is titled "Advice to a 10-Year-Old", but it applies to anyone who is thinking about writing full-time.

I got a chuckle out of his first piece of advice -- "I will tell her that if she wants to be a writer, she has to be a reader" -- because of my last blog post about writers who don't like to read.  :-)

The remaining advice is all good. Not only does he give tips on how to be a writer, but he paints a realistic picture of what the life of a full-time writer is like. Warning: it's not as glamorous as you may think. You will wind up working all the time, and even then, your income isn't assured. I don't want to be a full-time writer right now (because I like my "real job" profession, not because I don't like being a writer), but I'll keep Marz's advice in mind if my goals change in the future.

September 15, 2011

Wanting to write without wanting to read

I came across a article titled "Writers who don't read" that talked about the growing number of young writers who don't like to read. At first, the article made me angry at these aspiring writers because I believe that the two prerequisites to writing well are (1) reading a lot and (2) writing a lot. Anyone who thinks they can be a good writer without reading is just crazy. My love of writing grew out of my love of reading. I'm not a great writer (yet), but I wouldn't even be half the writer I am today if I didn't read so much throughout my life.

Then the article got me thinking about something else. It offered the open-ended analogy, "Wanting to write without wanting to read is like wanting to ___ without wanting to ___". Then it diverted to a discussion about culture today. Well, there is something that I find troubling with today's culture, and that is the amount of trash on TV. For example, I hate reality shows. I watched one episode of the first season of "Survivor", and I tried a couple of other reality shows years ago. Since then, I avoid them like the plague. So I can see how someone can want to make good TV shows without wanting to watch TV. As long as you don't want to watch what's on TV today. You still need to watch well-made TV shows from the past, or the handful of good shows today (e.g., "Fringe", which I am a big fan of).

So if there is any truism to wanting to write without wanting to read, it would be if you don't like what publishers are cranking out today, i.e., sequels and cookie cutter stories from the same handful of authors. But there are plenty of good books that have been published in the past. You still need to read.

September 12, 2011

Why I write?

It's a sad commentary that I felt the article "80% of People Quietly Despise Their Lives" described me so well. It's not that I hate myself or my life, but I can honestly say that I "dislike the things [I] must do in order to make the living that will allow [me] to continue disliking [my] life".

But this isn't a post to gripe about life or to solicit pity. It's to talk about what makes my life more worthwhile, namely writing. There was a thread on the Kindle Boards a couple of weeks ago that asked whether authors enjoyed writing (vs. editing, marketing, etc.). I thought it was ridiculous that any author would say they don't enjoy writing, but some actually did. Why write then? My writing takes time out of my day that I could spend watching TV, playing video games, reading, or going out. So why do I do it? Because I enjoy it! Not because I want to become rich and famous, and not because I have to do it.

Ironically, when the article talks of how to become part of the happy 20%, it mentions devoting your life to a purpose. One example it gives: "It might take you 20 years to write your novel, but put a sentence or two on a page every day." Since I started writing regularly again last year, I've found that the times that I write are some of the best parts of my day. I'm in a better mood when I write, and conversely, in a worse mood when I go days without writing. So even if I never become a best-selling author, I plan to keep writing for years to come, until it stops making me happy.

September 3, 2011

Write YOUR story

Dean Wesley Smith is an author whose blog I recently started following. His latest post is about not trying to write what's "hot". The article interested me because I thought of doing so for my next book. Wouldn't it be easier to sell a book, I thought, if I wrote in a popular genre? Why don't I try to copy Amanda Hocking and write paranormal romances? Or write thrillers like Joe Konrath? In the end, I decided not to because that would be too hard. (Especially if I were to write paranormal romance, which I don't even like reading. I can see myself writing a thriller later on because I like that genre, but I don't have any good ideas right now.) 

Smith offers some guidelines for authors who are tempted to write something because it's hot:

1. Never talk about your story with anyone ahead of time.
2. For heaven’s sake, never, ever let anyone read a work-in-progress.
3. Never think of markets or selling when writing.
4. Follow Heinlein’s Rules, especially #3 about never rewriting.
5. When an editor says they are looking for a certain type of book, ignore it.
6. Get passionate and protective of what you write.

Underlying the rules is the principal that when you edit your story, you should do it only to fix mistakes, not to tailor the story to someone else's liking. I need to keep these guidelines in mind if I ever contemplate writing a story for someone else in the future.

August 20, 2011

Edits done

I'm done editing my book, and the manuscript is now in the hands of proofreaders. I went through two rounds of editing. In the first round, I changed about 25% of the text, either fixing mistakes, tightening the story, or fleshing out something that I thought needed more elaboration. Because of how much I changed, I wanted to go through it again from beginning to end. But first, I took a week off from the manuscript so that it wouldn't be so fresh in my mind. The second round resulted in only minor changes to less than 5% of the story.

I'm satisfied that the book is close to as good as it'll get without feedback from someone other than myself. That's what I'm waiting for now -- independent and (more) objective feedback. I have no idea whether that will result in major changes or minor tweaks. I expect to find out next month.

In the meantime, I'm working on a short story. It's an idea that I've been turning around in my head, but I didn't want to devote any time to it until I was done writing my book. Now, while I have a break, it's a good way to keep practicing the craft and scratch an itch at the same time.

August 9, 2011

A great book is like a drug

I just read a a great book, Suzanne Collins's Catching Fire, the second book in the Hunger Games series. How did I know it was a great book? Because I couldn't put it down. I couldn't stop reading it. I didn't want to go outside, I didn't want to watch TV, I didn't want to eat, I didn't want to sleep. I just wanted to read the book. It was like a drug. I couldn't get enough and I didn't want it to end.

What made the book so great? I've read many good books with interesting plots and characters, but I think the main difference between The Hunger Games/Catching Fire and other books I've read is how engaged I became with the characters. Contrast that with Stephen King's The Stand, the last book I started reading and put aside to read Catching Fire. For all of King's supposed prowess in character development, I couldn't care less what happens to the people in the book. It wouldn't bother me the least bit if all of them died from the plague. On the other hand, I feel like Katniss Everdeen of the Hunger Games novels is someone I know. I care what happens to her. When something bad befalls her in the story, I feel it as if it happened to a friend. Harry Potter is another example of a great book. (Not all seven books in the series are great IMHO, but at least some of them are.) I feel like Harry, Ron, and Hermione are my friends. Even the loss of characters
 like Sirius and Dobby strikes a chord.

Is the book I'm writing a great book? Sadly, I would have to say no. It's a good book, and I like it (much more than I like anything I've read from Stephen King), but it's not at the level of Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. Will I write a great book one day? Maybe. Great books account for less than 5% of the books I've read. It would be quite an accomplishment if I become good enough to write one. It's definitely something to strive for.

August 6, 2011

Started The Stand, but putting it aside

I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to read The Stand after reading Stephen King's On Writing. A week ago, I started reading it. Two hundred pages later, I'm putting it aside. Everything that I dislike about other Stephen King novels I've tried to read before are in The Stand. King suffers from what he himself calls "diarrhea of the word processor." His fans call it character development, but I just find it long, boring, and unnecessary. Will I continue reading The Stand in the future? Maybe. In the meantime, I'm going to start reading Catching Fire, the second book in Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games series. I read The Hunger Games about two months ago and loved it. After a week of diarrhea, it's time for something better.

July 25, 2011

Stephen King's On Writing

I am not a fan of Stephen King. I like some of his short stories, but I've never managed to get through an entire Stephen King novel. I find them long and boring and failing to deliver on the premise described inside the book jacket or back cover. However, as I'm trying to learn more about writing, I found that several authors reference his book, On Writing. Finally, I decided to read it for myself.

It is probably my favorite Stephen King book now. Part how-to and part autobiography, On Writing gave me a lot of good advice, and timely since I'm starting to edit the first draft of my novel. I don't agree with everything he suggests, and I found some advice somewhat hypocritical since I don't think he follows it himself, but the book was very useful to me. Without giving away the entire contents of the book, I came away with three major areas to work on:

1. Write more
2. Let the situation and characters dictate the plot
3. Kill your darlings

The best way to write better, King advises, is to read and write a lot. I've always read a lot, and I still read whenever I have the chance. With my Kindle app, I can now read all the time without having to carry a book around. However, I don't write as much as I should. I write mostly on the weekends and sometimes at night. King recommends a more rigorous writing schedule. He writes a minimum of 2,000 words a day. Legend has it that John Grisham wrote for two hours every morning before work. I clearly need to carve out more time to write.

Stephen King likens writing a novel to unearthing a fossil. The story is there, buried under the dirt, and the writer's job is to find it. The way to discover your story, King says, is not to think of the plot beforehand or write outlines. He starts with a situation and a small number of characters in the situation, and from there, he lets them lead him forward. I mentioned in a previous post (also inspired by On Writing) that I wanted to try this for my next book. I am a planner by nature, so I don't know how well it will work. We'll see.

The third bit of advice that struck me was King's phrase of "killing your darlings." By that, he means that nothing you write is sacred. No matter how much you like a character or scene, if it hinders the story, you need to remove it. I'm going to keep the phrase in mind as I go through my editing process.

There's lots of other good advice in the book. I recommend any writers who are interested in improving their skills to read it. Also, it made me want to read The Stand. Maybe I'll finally be able to finish a Stephen King novel.

July 19, 2011

Bye Bye, Borders

Borders Group, the nation's second-largest bookstore chain, announced that it will liquidate and close its remaining 399 stores. Borders filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and failed to find a buyer to keep it alive. While not completely surprising, this is still sad news for me. I loved going to Borders and missed it when my local Borders closed last year. On a semi-related note, I went to a shopping mall last weekend to watch the latest Harry Potter movie. I got there an hour before the movie started and wanted to browse in the meantime. My first instinct was to hit the mall's bookstores, but when I looked at the directory, I found that the mall had no bookstores! I know that ebooks are gaining steam, but I miss those brick-and-mortar book retailers.

July 16, 2011

First draft done!

A month ahead of schedule, I finished the first draft of my YA sci-fi book! This first draft was handwritten in a notebook. Yes, in this age of laptops and word processors, I'm still writing long hand. I'm very excited about reaching this goal because it makes it even more likely that I'll meet my New Year's resolution of publishing the book by the end of the year.

The next step is to type up the manuscript and edit it while I type it. Since I've been writing on and off in spurts, I'm sure the story won't flow as well as I'd like. Hopefully, I will be able to fix some of the obvious faults as I type. The plan is to spend a month on typing and editing. By the end of August, I want to have an edited version of the manuscript that I'm happy with and won't mind sending out to others to proofread.

July 11, 2011

Blogs I follow

The more that I'm learning about self-publishing, the more good blogs I discover. All aspiring writers should read these blogs, whether you're planning to self-publish or go the traditional route -- although you will likely decide to self-publish after reading them :-).

Some of my favorites:

  • A Newbie's Guide to Publishing - IMHO, if you can read only one blog, Joe Konrath's is the one to read. It's the one that got me started on the self-publishing kick, and there's always insightful information and opinions.
  • Write to Publish - I like this blog because not only does it talk about the business of self-publishing, but it comes from the point of view of someone who is running a small press publishing company, so you don't just get an author's point of view.
  • The Passive Voice - this is a good blog to get an aggregate of the popular postings on the industry. The author of the blog posts several times a day, and it almost feels like a feed of other blogs and articles.
  • Let's Get Digital, Digital - David Gaughran is another indie author who writes insightful posts about the industry. Think of it as a less influential/popular version of Joe Konrath's blog.

June 25, 2011

The Great INDIE Summer Read Giveaway

I'm happy to be participating in the Great INDIE Summer Read Giveaway, a promotion currently running on the Coffeemugged website until July 31st. Over 100 books are up for grabs during the giveaway! You enter by filling out the entry form, and then you can earn more entries by following the daily posts and performing the activities described, such as commenting the post or following the authors. Go check it out! With so many chances to win, what are you waiting for?

June 23, 2011

JK Rowling, self-publisher

If self-publishing wasn't getting respect before, it should now. JK Rowling will self-publish her Harry Potter books in eBook format. Rowling will initially sell the eBooks on her new site, Pottermore, instead of using e-tailers like

I visited the Pottermore website (which doesn't officially open until October) and watched JK Rowling's video. It sounds like her eBooks will be more than just digital reproductions of the printed books. There will be some level of interactivity with the readers. This could open up new possibilities for other authors and platforms to consider if it proves successful for Rowling.

June 21, 2011

John Locke sells over 1 million Kindle eBooks

Amazon announced that John Locke has become the first indie author to sell one million Kindle eBooks. Although I've never read any of his books, I've read a lot about John Locke because of his success. What is notable about him, aside from his books constantly being on the bestseller lists in the Kindle bookstore, is that his novels are priced at 99 cents. All of them. All the time. Some say that he's leaving a lot of money on the table because of the price, and they may be right, but as I understand it, Locke is more interested in having people read his books than to get rich off of publishing them. Either way, I can't complain -- he has a lot more credibility than I do. I'd be ecstatic to sell one million books, even at 99 cents.

June 17, 2011

How I Write

I read an interesting article on Karen McQuestion's blog about her writing process. Before commenting on her blog post, let me describe the process I'm following for the book I'm currently working on:

1. Outline the story - done
2. Determine from the outline what the chapters will be an write a synopsis of each chapter - done
3. Write a first draft - in process
4. Edit, fix, and improve
5. Repeat step 4 until satisfied
6. Done

For some (OK, for many), this sounds like overkill. In retrospect, it probably was, but that was how I thought writing was supposed to happen. After reading Karen McQuestion's blog, in which she experimented with writing quickly, I find that process to be appealing. I do it now with short stories. I don't outline or over-plan the short stories I write. Perhaps I shouldn't do so with a novel either.

I'm going to finish my first novel by following my original plan, but I'm going to try writing more quickly with my second novel. I don't think I can skip the outlining phase entirely, because I need to figure out in advance where the story should go, but I want to try letting the story lead me along more than I allow it to now. It was comforting to know that when Karen McQuestion wrote quickly without all the self-analysis, only 10% of the book needed to be re-written.That sounds like a more natural and faster way to write, and maybe the story will turn out better too.

June 8, 2011

Is it taking me too long to write?

Since I published Number Plus Four in the Amazon Kindle store, I've been participating in the Kindle Forums. For authors (and Kindle readers) out there who don't know about the forums, I recommend stopping by. There's a lot of good information and discussion going on. One topic that caught my eye was "How Long Does It Take You To Write A Book?" As expected, numbers range across the spectrum, from weeks to years. Most fall into the three months to one year timeframe, although it's unclear whether that involves just writing the first draft or whether it's from start to finish. I shouldn't feel too bad taking a year to write my book then. I'm still expecting to finish my first draft by August and publish it by December.

May 22, 2011

Why I Won't Succeed

One of my inspirations to self-publish is Joe Konrath. If it wasn't for his blog, the thought probably would've never come to me. Joe's most recent blog post is titled "Why You Won't Succeed". I need to keep these points in mind in the years ahead, which is how long I hope my new writing "career" will last. I think I am already addressing #2 ("You expect instant success") and #10 ("You haven't written enough").

Since publishing my collection of short stories, Numbers Plus Four, in February, the number of copies I've sold is in the double digits. I've read of new authors who've sold ten times or a hundred times that in their first three months. Am I disappointed? Sure, I would love to have sold more copies. Am I disillusioned and giving up? Heck no! I've just started! I'm still working on my first novel. This is still the top of the first inning.

Back to Joe's blog post. The points that I'm most worried about are #4 ("Your book sucks") and #8 ("Your cover sucks"). Joe suggests reading your reviews as an indication of what sucks about your books. My problem right now is that I don't have enough sales and reviews to tell me what's wrong with my writing, if any. Everything about my books will be done by myself and my friends (who are naturally biased), which also leads to point #8. Joe suggests hiring a professional artist to design your cover and edit your book. Right now, I don't have the cash to pay for those services. Maybe that's a bad approach because I should invest for the future. Maybe this will be my downfall. But I've also read that authors who paid for professionals also don't wind up selling many copies. I'm willing to wait and see how my homegrown approach does before paying for a professional book cover and editing. I can always change covers in the future.

It's still the beginning for me. There's plenty of time to make mistakes and learn from them.

May 1, 2011

Halfway Through

When I first started writing my novel at the beginning of the year, my goal was to be halfway done with the first draft by the end of April. I'm glad to say that I reached my goal! If things go as well with the second half of the book, I'm still on track to finish the first draft by the end of August.I honestly didn't know if I would be able to stay on schedule when I started the endeavor, but now it seems like the goals I set in January are in reach.

April 9, 2011

Traditional publishers don't get eBook pricing

Most indie authors price their books between 99 cents and $2.99. Some go as high as $4.99. The reason isn't because these authors think their works are inferior to the books written by traditionally published authors. On the contrary, I believe it's because indie authors are more in tune with readers' expectations and have the freedom to price their books accordingly.

Readers have spoken loud and clear that outrageously high eBook prices are not tolerable. For example, there was a recent article on CNET titled "Kindle and Nook readers bash high e-book pricing with angry one-star reviews". Giving one-star reviews for high-priced eBooks is one option, but readers can better express their displeasure by not buying the books at all. Traditionally publishers won't lower their eBook prices until they find it economically unviable for them to maintain the high prices they charge, either because readers stop buying them, or because competition from lower-priced indie books squeezes their profits (because readers stop buying the more expensive eBooks from traditional publishers).

March 27, 2011

Number Plus Four available on Barnes and Noble

My collection of short stories, Numbers Plus Four, is now available on the Barnes and Noble Nookbooks store. I use Smashwords to distribute the book to retailers other than Amazon's Kindle Store. To date, I'm aware of the book's availability at three locations:

In case you're interested, Numbers Plus Four costs only 99 cents at all three stores!

    March 20, 2011


    No, 1+1=1 isn't some new kind of math. It means that while I was writing chapters 6 and 7, I decided to combine them into one chapter instead. Chapter 6 was too short, and since 6 flowed into 7, it seemed like the logical thing to do. Of course, for purposes of counting my progress, I still plan to consider them as two chapters, so I'm done with seven chapters, and I'm still on schedule!

    March 8, 2011

    Go, Amanda, Go

    Amanda Hocking is one of my inspirations for taking the plunge into self-publishing and for writing my novel. From anonymity a year ago, she's become the hottest indie author today. Three of her books appear in the top 20 list of bestsellers on the Amazon Kindle eBooks store!

    Recently, Amanda Hocking has also gotten a lot of mainstream press for her success:

    Seeing stories like hers are what keeps me plugging along.

    February 27, 2011

    Five chapters down

    Despite getting sidetracked with self-publishing my short story collection earlier this month, I managed to stay on track by completing the fifth chapter of my book this weekend. Two weeks ago, I was still in the middle of writing chapter four, but I didn't want to fall behind so early in the year, so I spent every free minute I could find writing. I feel better having caught up now. Another two-and-a-half chapters to write in March!

    February 14, 2011

    Numbers Plus Four

    Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

    My self-published collection of short stories is available in the Kindle Store!  The book is titled Numbers Plus Four because it consists of a story called "Numbers" and four other short stories.  Get it?

    I have to say that the self-publishing process wasn't as painful as I thought it'd be.  The hardest part, aside from writing the stories, was creating the cover for the book.  I went with a simple cover that I could make myself, but I might need professional help for future covers.

    February 12, 2011

    I'm Publishing!

    On the heels of getting my short story published at Every Day Fiction, I decided to put five other short stories together into a collection and self-publish it on Amazon's Kindle Store. I'm doing this mainly to get practice going through the self-publishing process. I don't know what gotchas are involved with self-publishing, how long it takes, etc. I'd rather experiment with this collection of short stories than the book that I'm currently writing. If my short story collection happens to sell well, that's an added bonus!

    So far, I think I've successfully formatted my ebook and uploaded it to Amazon.  According to the Kindle Direct Publishing website, it takes a couple of days before the book shows up in the Kindle store.  I can't wait!

    February 10, 2011

    I'm Published!

    Big news! I've been published for the first time ever! A short story that I wrote was published at Every Day Fiction. It may not be the most prestigious literary magazine ever, but I'm super excited that someone published something I wrote.

    And now we resume our regularly scheduled program.

    February 3, 2011

    New Year's Resolution

    This blog came about as a result of a New Year's resolution... actually, two New Year's resolutions.  My 2010 resolution was to start writing again.  I've been writing fiction since grade school until my 20's.  Then kids and family obligations came along and I stopped.  Last year, the urge to write again became so strong that I resolved to make time for it.  Over the course of the year, I wrote several short stories to get back into the flow of writing. 

    In December 2010, I stumbled across Joe Konrath's blog.  (If you're not familiar with him, you should read his blog).  He's a successful self-published e-books author, and he inspired me to dip my toes into the world of online self-publishing.  So my 2011 resolution is to take one of the novel ideas I've had in my head for years, finally write it, and self-publish it by the end of the year.  For me, that is an ambitious goal.  Based on my outline for the story, it requires eight months of writing (roughly two and a half chapters a month), then three months of editing, and a month to put everything together for publication.  So far, I've written two and a half chapters, so I haven't fallen behind on my schedule yet.  :-)

    January 29, 2011

    Hello World

    Welcome to my blog!

    I don't know how you found this blog, but I hope you enjoy it. I plan to write about my adventures in writing. I have no idea yet what I'll write about or how often I'll post, but my intention is to update this blog about once a week.