Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A day as Elizabeth Sharp

I've screwed around all day and don't feel I've accomplished anything, and I"m ok with that. It means I have a lot to do another day, but it was nice. Now I have no choice but to get to editing since I still have to do five chapters to get done on time...

I want to make a profound entry today, but I'm not feeling profound. I'm feeling tired and weighed down and a little anxious. Probably because I have to work tomorrow since I agreed to finish out my schedule... I have to work three more days, including five hours tomorrow and two 8 hour Saturdays in a row... *blech* But I wanted to blog so I opted for blogging about nothing. And so from my desire to not accomplish anything, I give you a day in the life of Elizabeth Sharp:

9:00 am Though I've been awake for a little while I am only now stumbling out of bed. I collapse, bleary eyed into my computer chair and check all my emails (I have six) and Facebook to see what immediately needs my attention. I deal with those (these tend to be typos in something I've made, a minor tweak in an image, something that needs added or removed from the website, etc...)

10:00 am Due to my issues I have to set a schedule. This is when I am supposed to eat breakfast, take a shower, get dressed, all the taking care of myself things that should be automatic. Normally however, this time placer breezes by without me noticing as I chat on Facebook, look through stock art, check my Twitter, Goodreads, Deviant Art, and generally just surf the web.

10:30 am Realizing I am already behind schedule, I decide I can skip the shower for now and continue working on the computer. I will take time to do all that hygiene stuff this afternoon. Instead I open MS and start writing, Adobe and start manipulating and continue chatting on Facebook and checking my sites. This is not an or thing, I'm doing all of them at once.

11:50 I realize I have been so engrossed in my tasks I haven't eaten yet. However it is too late in the day now, so I will just wait for lunch.

Noonish My husband arrives home for lunch, wrenching me forcefully from the writing i have only just managed to fully submerge myself in. He fixes his lunch and proceeds to repeatedly speak to me despite the fact that I am obviously trying to write. I give up on trying to write with him there and switch to art or Facebook.

1:00pm I realize that though my husband has been gone for over half an hour, I still haven't returned to my art. I also realize about this time I never took anything out for dinner and there's no time to defrost naturally. Oh, ewll, I'll defrost something in the microwave later. Back to writing/arting/facebooking.

3:00 pm: I suddenly have a panic attack thinking it's late and I need get dinner started. I go rifle int he freezer for something that sounds tasty and dig it out. Nothing does but I select something anyway. I then realize that it is too early to start dinner, so I leave the meat sitting to thaw a little before i defrost it. I return to "work"

4:30 pm I realize my husband will be home in hte next hour expecting dinner which I now don't feel like cooking at all. I decide to continue working and pretend I lost track of time. Maybe I can throw those fish sticks in the oven.

5:30 Hubby arrives home, tired and a little cranky cause things are kind of stressful for him at work right now. When he realizes there is nothing cooking he comes into the office where I am typing furiously on my latest chapter, hoping he doesn't notice by the low word count that I spent more time screwing around online than working. I tell him I got lost in my work and lost track of time, and he nods. By now it is an excuse he is used to and honestly valid a lot of the time, just not at dinner time. I may or may not have eaten yet (it's an ongoing issue. I'm working on it) so I could be starving and want food now, no time to cook. We spend time batting around places to go while I pretend to look in the freezer and fridge and cabinets like I'm trying to find an alternative. I deliberately don't see the Hamburger Helper, the fish sticks and the meal in a box that can be ready in half an hour as we decide where to go tonight.

Sixish We arrive home and I plop back in my computer chair where I realize my day slipped by without me actually accomplishing anything so I loose myself in my work, trying to make up for a day spent slacking.

Ninish: Hubby gets bored playing WoW and expects me to entertain him. Depends on my mood and level of productivity whether or not he gets his wish.

10:30 If I watched something with hubby or not, by this point I am back in my chair trying to work. I hear him come into the office and hear the tell-tale signs of him getting in his computer chair, but i know he is not here to play on his computer. Eventually I look over and see him peeking at me over the back of his chair, only his glasses and hair visible over the top. I attempt to ignore him but he makes a nuisance out of himself so eventually i stop to see what ridiculous outfit he has chosen for tonight's "seduction". He has used a sock, "tighty-whities" I bought him that are The Flash, a faux-lather thong some friends bought him as a joke, his Budweiser boxers with a certain part hanging out the open flap... You get the picture... I either look back at my computer and tell him a reason I can't "I already made Liz wait so we could watch true blood" "MD is having a crises and needs me" "If I don't get this written I"m going to forget. Go on in and if you're still awake when I'm done I'll be in" (The last one is my favorite because he never is awake.) If I do give in, it won't take too long until I'm back. Fast doesn't mean a lack of efficiency either. (Now that you know more about my husband than you ever wanted to, read on anyway)

11:00 pm Whether I yielded to "Flash Flea Gordon" as my friends call him or not, I realize the day is almost gone. Suddenly I am charged with energy and ideas and I type furiously or manipulate the crap out of some art.

12:00am I get to a point and realize I need an opinion, and everyone else has gone to bed. Maybe I should to. I go to start closing all the windows I have open, but decide to a few last things in each as I close them.

1:00 am I finally get everything closed and make it to bed, where i pick up my Kindle to read my latest book.

3:00 am I wake up, praying the drool on my Kindle won't ruin it. I check to make sure I didn't turn any pages in my sleep and realize that I only read two paragraphs. Oh, well, there's always tomorrow....

Monday, June 27, 2011

OK folks, I know i'm not a book blogger, but I got another awesome one for you. Allen Schatz has written an amazing mystery, Game 7: Dead Ball. It's a really good mystery (though I'm not done with it yet) which is a lot coming from an urban fantasy lover like me. I will give a more complete review if your interested when I finish it, but for now the books is available in both ebook and hard cover.

B&N - ebook only.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

LiveScribe Echo

I have always written long hand. I got my first computer when I was already old enough to drink, so by that time my writing habits were pretty set. The problem is I hate transcribing. I'm a crappy typist at best. I have taken numerous touch typing courses and I still can't get the hang of it. I spend alot of my time looking at where my fingers are and because of it I'm  not the fastest typist. This gets really hard when you add a third thing, a piece of paper I have to look at.

But writing entirely on my computer creates a different problem all together. There are too many distractions and many of my friends keep in touch with me online. So when I am working on my writing, I have Facebook open in a browser. I tend to try working on multiple projects at once, getting nothing accomplished. There has to be some middle ground, right?

Well yesterday I think I found it. I purchased the LiveScribe pen and so far it's a Godsend. I was able to write 719 words while watching television. But that's just another distraction you say? ah, but it's not a distraction when watching television is what you set out to do and you just happen to write while you're at it. Imagine what I can do with my full mind concentration!

So how's work? There's special notebooks full of special dot paper that the pen recognizes. You write normally. When you're done, you hook the pen up to your computer where it opens in the LiveScribe desktop. To convert your handwriting to typed text, you have to download an app through Livescribe called MyScript. Apps are not cheap, but $30 with the 15% off coupon it comes with isn't unbearable. It would have been nice to know this BEFORE I bought the pen. There was a lot of frustration getting the two to cooperate,  and I honestly don't know how I fixed it, but in the end it worked and that's all I care about. do I recommend this system to other writers? Maybe. IF you prefer to write longhand AND you have some money to play with AND you have patience to copy and paste the text into Word, then yes, this is a good way to do it. If you possess self discipline and can make yourself turn off the social networking and hoe the ground in front of you, save your money. But if you like me, need to completely disconnect to write at times, this could be the solution you've been waiting for.

Wanna know more about LiveScribe? Click here to check out there site, or click the link above to go straight to the pen I bought. Please don't just get it cause I said so. Do your homework and make sure it's the right choice for you....

Monday, June 20, 2011

What's in a name?

Everyone knows that quote from the bard, and most likely the next one about roses. But as a writer, I'm interested in names, because a name can make or break a character, or it can be just a name. I have several different processes in naming my characters, and I thought I'd share today.

1) Some characters come complete with a name. When I created the characters that eventually got cast in Natural Selection, most of them came with a name already attached. Admittedly they all got changed when they moved, but there wasn't conscious thought of "I name you this" at the time it was just part of them.

2) Sometimes I just need a moment to reflect and the perfect name jumps out at me. I ove that ah ha moment, but the more I write, the more characters I create, the harder this gets.

3) has a list of the 50 most popular names for both boys and girls. If I'm looking for a general name it is often from this list. At number six you might find a familiar name, and 17 is her middle name. ;)

4) 2,000 Names from Around the World is the site I use when looking for a name with a specific ethnicity or heritage to it. It is responsible for the names in works I haven't yet shared with the world. 

5) My newest method, that works when I have no internet access. I grab a random magazine and open to a random page and use the first appropriate name I find. This happens twice in Second Nature. Bob Dylan and Russell Brand won't mind if I borrow their names, would they? ;)

These are the main ways I name my characters. How about you? How do you name yours?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New look, new feel

As you might have already noticed, the site has had an overhaul. I changed the appearance, added several tabs and will soon be getting an official web domain address for it. :D I just want to be ready with a professional looking page before August 12, when you can all finally buy Natural Selection. July 12 I think I'm going to add a counter to count us down to the day. I'm ecstatic and terrified at the idea of my work being available to strangers. I'm not sure if it will ever be real to me, even after the books are publishing. I'm not expecting to be the next JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyers, but I wouldn't complain if I was.

Not sure if I've shared on here, so I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself. I have been in contact with my local library. They have already said they will carry my book, which is exciting on it's own. On top of that, they told me they are starting a once a month "author's day" and are adding me to the list of people who will be featured! This is wonderful news to me. Once the date is closer, I"m going to go to all the book stores in town and introduce myself to the owners and see about setting up a signing. I may even drive to some of the other bigger towns around me to do it as well. My greatest fear is that I put this out there and people don't respond to my work. Love it or hate, I want to evoke a response. Now if it can be the kind of book that you get sad because you're nearing the end, that would be great. Not that I made you sad, but that I gripped you so thoroughly!

I am still trucking along with Second Nature, though it kind of stalled out for a bit. I felt the story was shallow, so I went back and tore the last chapters into pieces, inserting other things to fill it out and give it a more 3D feel. I'm really loving some of my new characters I've introduced, and the story itself is developing well. Now I just need like five more hours in the day to actually spend writing and it'll be perfect!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dark Corners

I'm so excited to tell you guys about an amazing book I had the priviladge of beta reading. It's called Dark Corners by the amazing Liz Schulte. It is what I hope every Dean Koontz book will be like but they seldom are. Thrills, chills, and so much more! I seriously got so into this book I was jumping at everything. I'm not gushing because we're friends (which we are) or because we're in business together (even though we are) but because this is simply one of my all time favorite reads. It kept me guessing whodunit the whole way through. I know you're going to love it to!

Wanna know more? Head to Bat Country for a chance to win a copy or head to Amazon, B&N (will link as soon as it's ready!), Smashwords or Goodreads to buy your very own copy today!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Write on!

MD Christie and I are starting a private writing challenge tomorrow and I want everyone to hold me accountable! ;D Before you decide it sounds like fun and jump on our band wagon trust me when I say hold out, there's something better coming down the pike. Keep your fork! (I wish I could remember where I read that to share, it's a wonderful analogy!) But we are going to try and churn out 1500 words per day to finish our manuscripts in a month. I'm looking forward to starting it, since I need to buckle down and get serious about Second Nature. I would like to have it written before August 12 when Natural Selection is published.

In other news, I had a blast on my vacation and will be posting my horrifying day at the beach another day. It's funny now, but not so much at the time. I can't even chalk this one up to research. I also want to spend some time on my ghost tour which CAN be used as research, but again, not today.

It's hot. And since my husband left the fan on top of the vent it's unbearable in the office and I must leave now....

Edit: Actually posting a blog entry makes it much easier for people to read...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

On Stock art...

So today I wanted to talk about stock art. I have been a member at Deviantart for a long time and am very aware of their stock photos. As a digital artist, these are my bread and butter. I understand there are a lot of authors wanting to use stock art from DA but aren't getting any response or permission. Her's my thoughts.

  • Read their rules. Some of the photographers say "note if used off DA" or "Note if downloading for commercial use" but they say nothing about waiting for a response. So send a note and you're good. Let them no the name of the piece, the name of the book. If you need to, give them the credit in your legalese page.
  • Don't be afraid to strike up a relationship. I have a couple of stock artists that i will always check first when looking for stock because I'm comfortable that their rules either allow for me to use their stock or they will respond in a reasonable amount of time.
  • If you have noted and gotten no response after a long period of time, made every reasonable attempt to get in contact with the artist (I try and Google or Facebook the author as well as note them again on DA) I say that can't care too highly if they abandoned it like they did.. They knowingly left their art in a format that can be downloaded in high resolution, and make no effort to check for contacts, they probably aren't going to care how it's used. If this is the case I would DEFINITELY list the stock artist on our legal page. 
The use of fantasy art on book covers is as new as the e-revolution in publishing, so we are not entirely certain how this will play out. I am not a lawyer and one could very easily disagree with what I've written if so, don't do it! lol In closing I'm going to link you to the stock artists I like, who i have gotten permission to use stock for covers without any trouble. If you can afford to, please donate to these wonderful artists because they are wonderful artists. Don't feel guilty if you can't, that's why it's a voluntary donation. I have only thrown in pennies myself. Anyway, here's the good stuff....

Kxhara - I used her in my witchy picture, and since I comment on all of her work and follow her blog. I like to think I have a relationship with her, and I hope she feels the same... 

Mjranum Aside from his rules cracking me up, they are very fair and straightforward. If you are easily offended beware as his work is often mature...

Liam-stock I have never gotten a response, despite the number of times I have noted her, but her photos are phenomenal...

There are so many more, but these are the first three I check when looking for stock art. I'm also fond of Deposit photo because of their reasonable prices and great selection...